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Monday, June 16, 2003


Telephone Dept.

Sunday, June 15th was Father's Day. I was going to ruminate on the importance of the father-son bond, how generally having a positive male influence and a relatively stable family life made me into the ladykilling cad that I am today. I think that women sense that stability in me and are lulled into swooning over my favorite opening folly, "Don't I know you from somewhere? Like from my dreams from my very stable childhood, with a strong male role model, a father-figure role I will subconsciously fill for you, though in the context of a sexual relationship?" That's about all I have to say about that, other than thanks, Dad.

Saturday, June 14th was a different day entirely. On That Day in History (though, obviously, in varying years), the following notable people were born: "Uncle Tom's Cabin" author Harriet Beecher Stowe, "227" star Marla Gibbs, real estate supermogul Donald Trump, cross-dressing pop pioneer Boy George, former "Baywatch" beauty Yasmine Bleeth, and Teutonic tennis great Steffi Graf.

To celebrate this improbably fertile date for the birthing of historically important individuals, I invited all the birthday boys and girls to my Hollywood apartment for a game of "Telephone." For those of you unfamiliar with the game, I had the participants sit in a circle, then introduced a phrase to be quietly passed from one person to the next. By the time everyone's heard the message,the last person repeats the phrase out loud to the entire group. The phrase typically changes significantly from its original version. Birthday fun!

Bunsen: [whispering, introducing phrase]: "This phrase will be comically mangled by the time Yasmine says it."

Harriet Beecher Stowe: [whispering to Marla Gibbs]: This phrase will be cosmically mangled by the time Yasmine says it.

Marla Gibbs [whispering to Donald Trump]: This phrase will be cosmically strangled by the time Yasmine says it. [aloud to Harriet Beecher Stowe] I just loved "Uncle Tom's Cabin" when I was a girl!

Stowe: Thank you.

Steffi Graf: Is that just because you're black? [note: Marla Gibbs is African-American]

Gibbs: Of course not.

Donald Trump: Can I go now?

Bunsen: Yes, just go. Keep the game going.

Trump [whispering to Boy George]: This phrase will be cosmetically strangled by the time Yasmine says it, you Limey fruitcake.

Boy George: Excuse me?

Trump: Just play the game, would you?

Boy George [aloud to Yasmine Bleeth]: Donald Trump just told me that before this phrase reaches you, he will have already fucked you in the pooper in Bunsen's closet.

Yasmine Bleeth: What?!

Trump: I said no such thing!

Boy George: Also, he said you were a run-down crackwhore.

Trump: Stop it before I shove that feather boa up your ass! [to Yasmine]: Sweetie, baby, I never said that about you. You are a beautiful woman. And it's very well-documented that I am a lover of beautiful women.

Stowe: What's a crackwhore?

Gibbs: Why are you asking me? Because I'm black?

Stowe: I wasn't, I was asking everybody -- I mean, I know what a whore is, but crack --

Graf: So quick to play the race card, Marla.

Gibbs: It might not have been in the air if you hadn't shot me that Uncle Tom bit, Nazi.

Graf: Nazi? I'm married to Andre Agassi!

Bunsen: Agassi is Jewish?

Graf: Well, no, but he dated Barbra Streisand...

Bleeth [to Boy George]: What else did he say about me?

Boy George: That your ass got big since "Baywatch," but that it wasn't so hot to begin with. And he called me a Limey fruitcake.

Trump: I never said that!

[Bleeth dumps her drink underneath Trump's hairpiece and storms out of the apartment.]

Bleeth: Have fun fucking the Limey fruitcake, baldy!

Trump: This hair replacement system cost me ten grand! [to Boy George] And you're gonna pay for it!

Boy George: The hell I am, you ancient model fucker!

Trump: I've got to get this to a cleaner right away.

[Trump runs out of the apartment.]

Gibbs: I have an early audition, I have to go. [to Graf] See you later, Nazi.

[Gibbs leaves in a huff.]

Stowe: Uh, I have an audition too.

Bunsen: Come on, you've been dead for a hundred years.

Stowe: Yeah, I'm really late.

[Stowe exits, taking several books from a shelf by the door.]

Bunsen: Well, maybe now we can finish the game.

[On the couch, Graf and Boy George are making out.]

Bunsen: Hey, hey! George, you're gay!

Boy George: I wanted to see if I could taste Andre on her.

Graf: I was just doing the whole fluid German-transgressive sexuality thing.

Bunsen: Gotcha.

[The door opens. It's Yasmine Bleeth.]

Bleeth: I forgot my purse.

Bunsen: Really now.

Bleeth [reaching for purse]: Yeah, it's right here.

Bunsen: Uh huh. You don't feel this thing here between us?

Bleeth: What thing?

Bunsen: You know, this aura of stability coming off me. The one that makes you feel safe around me, and yet incredibly turned on. The sexy father-figure.

Bleeth: Oh, I --

[The door opens again. It's Trump, holding the hairpiece in his hand, sheepishly covering the top of his bald pate.]

Trump: What's the hold-up?

Bleeth: Um, my dad was bald? And had a helicopter.

[Bleeth and Trump close the door behind them.]

[Graf is straddling Boy George on the couch as the continue to tongue-wrestle.]

Bunsen: [fake, exaggerated yawn] Well, I'm getting kind of tired. I think I'm gonna turn in.

[They ignore me.]

Bunsen: Oh, and the phrase was, "This phrase will be comically mangled by the time Yasmine says it."

[They ignore me.]

Bunsen: Happy Birthday

About this site

This is the internet home of Mark Lisanti, a Los Angeles writer sometimes known as Bunsen. He is the founding editor of Defamer, a weblog about Hollywood, where he now serves in the nebulous capacity of "editor-at-large."
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