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Tuesday, August 12, 2003


Aftermath Dept.

It's been nearly 24 hours since Ben Affleck launched me into late night TV history by quoting one of my bon mots about his box-office disaster Gigli on Monday's Tonight Show.

And my life hasn't been the same since. Affleck's mention of "Bunsen television" has been the biggest boon for my livelihood since Robert Evans called me "the greatest cocksmith that Hollywood has ever seen" in the middle of a coked-up soliloquy on the Dick Cavett show. But just like that tossed-off homage to my handling of the tools of the masculine trade, these things often come with a price.

It all started when I awoke Tuesday morning to the sound of knocking on the door of my Hollywood compound. I'd demised my door-answering girl for the night in a shortsighted, absinthe-fueled haze of generosity after hearing the sweet sound of my name tumble across Affleck's lips. This left me to roll out of bed to answer the door myself. I don't think I'd turned my own doorknob in over a decade, but somehow I puzzled through it to stop the incessant knocking. I opened the door to a stampede of belly dancers flooding into my place, the cacophony of finger-cymbals and spectacle of ample hips slamming into me rendered my confused cries ignored. A note pinned to the navel ring of the lead dancer explained that they were a gift from Matt Damon, Harvey Weinstein, and Kevin Smith.
Bunsen, Thanks for giving Ben something humble and self-deprecating to say about that mess of a movie. You just may have saved Jersey Girl from certain ruin. If only you'd been around for Daredevil... Enjoy.
PS-- J. Lo is still not speaking to you. She thinks she's bulletproof.

I laughed softly to myself, as Damon knows full well my phobia of finger-cymbals ever since an unfortunate incident in the champagne room of The Seventh Veil (a Middle Eastern-themed skin joint). The sound of the cymbals alone is enough to geld me for a week.

Luckily, the dancing girls brought bagels and schmear, so the morning was not completely ruined. I also thought I recognized former "It Girl" Gretchen Mol hiding behind one of the veils. I didn't want to embarrass either of us by calling attention to her identity.

After I managed to shoo the last of the dancers from my place (do they all have to be so hippy?), I wanted nothing better to collect my thoughts on my place in the Hollywood food-chain in the wake of The Ben Mention in the place where I do my best thinking. But that plan was ruined when I smelled something amiss in my first floor commode/inspiration chamber. Closer inspection revealed that I'd been the victim of the dreaded "upper tanker" and a voicemail on my cellphone claiming responsibility in a badly-disguised girlish titter that could only belong to my supernemesis, Harrison Ford. I groggily remembered that I'd dismissed the entire staff along with the door-answering girl the night before, leaving no one to clean up the mess and providing Ford with an ill-gotten (albeit temporary) win in our Hollywood blood feud. I will leave it to courser Internet destinations than this one to speculate as to the national origin of the cuisine that led to this ephemeral semi-victory.

(This incident reminded me of the time when Ford hired someone to hack into my email account -- surely you didn't think the simple part-time carpenter understands how to get his AOL mail, much less initiate a computer breach, did you? -- and sent messages to Jessica Alba in my name declaring that I wish I'd gotten to her when she was 15. Dr. Jones is nothing if not a dirty pool player.)

I thought I might go for a drive to clear my head of the mischief my sudden incremental burst of Ben-induced celebrity had visited upon me. But I found all four tires on my Tuesday car (decorum dictates I withhold the make) had been relieved of air pressure. Another note.
You didn't really think that I found that shit funny did you? Jennifer is firing my publicist as we speak for allowing me to emasculate myself in front of that anvil-headed, squeaky-throated panderer. Take your third-rate, Kimmel-monologue Gigli joke and walk yourself down the hill to get yourself some fresh air for your tires. See you at The Standard tonight. Your pal, Ben

And this after I'd had my people rush him the famous "Bunsen made fun of my box office disappointment and all I got was this lousy T-shirt" T-shirt after he stepped off the Leno stage, redeemed.

I decided that maybe I'd relax in bed and catch some Dr. Phil with the basket of cookies and brownies that Ben's agent had sent me in thanks for helping to show off Ben's lighter side. But in the chaos of the day's events I'd briefly forgotten that I'd left one of Ben's comely PR flaks, on loan from San Francisco to stanch the Gigli bloodletting, collapsed in an exhausted heap on the waterbed after a heroic evening of Ride the Crossover Internet Celebrity Writer. There'll be no Dr. Phil and snickerdoodles this day, I thought, as I left her softly snoring.


Can a man with a suddenly-elevated industry profile ever know peace? I suppose that's my particular burden to ponder on this day after Ben Dropped the Bunsen Bomb.

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."
If You Like Bunsen, Then You'll Love Bunsen