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Tuesday, July 22, 2003

I Went to Hollywood and All I Got Was This Lousy Intervention

I knew there would be trouble when I returned to my Hollywood compound after a Fourth of July weekend in Baghdad and found Matthew Perry sitting in my living room.

Matthew Perry, if you’ll recall, is the star of the long-running NBC sitcom "Friends".

“We’ve been waiting for you,” he said. There was something both expectant and sad in his eyes, the puffiness of a hard-fought and still-new sobriety in his face.

“We?” I asked.

He clapped his hands quickly and loudly, as if summoning the help. I was momentarily confused because I have the help trained only to respond to the tinkling of a porcelain bell I’d picked up in some down time on a whore-binge in Rangoon.

Perry clapped again. Drew Barrymore, Ben Affleck (with his personal assistant, who due to arcane Hollywood assistant convention, only warrants mention in parentheses despite her engagement to Matt Damon and a brief, yet intense, sexual relationship with me), and “Personal Power” guru Tony Robbins entered single-file from the pantry.

“What’s this about?” I asked. But I knew what “this” was “about.”


“We need to talk,” said Perry, his eyes a little sadder, his face puffier than even a moment earlier, his hard-fought sobriety seconds older. “Why don’t you have a seat?” he said, gesturing to a beanbag chair in which I’d once spanked Barrymore with a whoopee cushion covered in mayonnaise during one of my chubby-chasing phases (this, obviously, was before her "Charlie’s Angels" gig). She averted her gaze as I plopped down in the chair and prepared for the worst.

Affleck stepped forward. “Dude, this is for your own good.” Behind him, Tony Robbins flashed his patented whiter-than-the-face-of-God-at-the-Rapture smile and loudly popped his knuckles. For reasons I don’t entirely understand, he was wearing a spandex speed-skater body suit and one of those helmets with holders for two cans of beer. But instead of beer, there were two cans of Red Bull.

It was Drew’s turn. She sat in my lap, looked into my eyes, and said “I care about you. We care about you.” I hardly heard her words as the sense memory of a good, authentic Bronx cheer and the cool slipperiness of Hellman’s fired through my synapses.
I was snapped back into the troubling present by Robbins’ crackling knuckles.

“I’m just going to say it,” said Affleck. He had a hickey suspiciously close in size to Robbins’ gigantic mouth, but as a gentleman I will refrain from speculating on its origin. Perhaps J-Lo can unhinge her jaw like a python.

“No, let me. I called you all here,” said Perry. He pulled a folding chair in front of me, spun in around backwards so that he could sit on it in a fashion that suggested caring, and ran his hand through his hair.

I swallowed hard. I needed a drink, badly.

“You’re a starfucker,” he said, his eyes immediately breaking our gaze and pointed to the floor. I could hear Affleck sigh, and Robbins momentarily stopped smiling. Drew shifted uncomfortably in my lap, and I had to summon all my powers of imagination to conjure Ellen DeGeneres buttering bread to avoid an embarrassing erection. (Affleck’s personal assistant had taken a call and slipped out to another room.)

“Starfucker,” said Affleck, nodding.

“Star-f’er,” said Drew, determined to keep this PG-13.

I started to speak, but Robbins silently placed a huge index finger across my lips.
Perry continued, “You’re a starfucker. We all know it. It’s time to do something about it.”

“OK,” I said. I just wanted the whole thing to end.

“You’re not going to write about any of this. Make up some shit about going on a camping trip or something without mentioning the names of a single celebrity,” said Affleck.

“You can’t write about this,” said Perry. “That’s the first step. Now watch.”

Robbins retrieved a six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon from behind the sofa. He handed cans to Perry and Affleck, who promptly popped the tops and took long swigs. My mouth hung agape, but that was just the beginning. They shook up the beers, stripped off their shirts, and began covering each other in a thick lather of beer suds.

“You can’t write about this,” said Drew.

Perry and Affleck dropped their empty beers and proceeded to beat each other with Nerf softball bats. I don’t know where they came from – they certainly weren’t mine.
Then, without warning, they stopped and put their shirts back on. Drew got up from my lap. Robbins collected the spent beer cans and the Nerf bats.

“Starfucker,” said Perry.

“Starfucker,” said Affleck, as he, Perry, and Barrymore turned to walk out. “You can’t write about this.”

I am so weak, I am so weak.

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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