“Celebrity Autobiography,” created by Eugene Pack and a Drama Desk winner for Unique Theatrical Experience in 2009, has been running on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City and touring across the United States ever since. The show is taking part in Origin’s 1st Irish Theater Festival, with good reason: if it can work here, it can work in Ireland. Why? Because this show relies on only two sources of material: celebrities who choose to write ( and I use this term loosely) their autobiographies when clearly they have no business being anywhere near a keyboard; as well as actors and comedians who will stand up in their street clothes and read directly from said autobiographies, with hilarious results.
In short, an abundance of riches.
The actors and comedians are different at every performance. The night I saw it: Tate Donovan, Geraldine Hughes, Michael Urie, Jackie Hoffman, Dayle Reyfel, Alan Zweibel, Maulik Pancholy, and Eugene Pack himself.
Some of the autobiographies they read from: “First Step, Two Forever” by Justin Bieber; “All Things Kardashian,” by Kris Jenner; two battling books, one by Donald Trump (all about him) and one by Ivana Trump (all about her children); one by rapper LL Cool J (all about sex); three different canines – Shirley MacLaine’s, Paris Hilton’s, and Sandy from the show “Annie”; one by Diana Ross (all about being a control freak).
You get the idea.
To a certain extent, this is like shooting fish in a barrel. But consider a sample of what was written and subsequently read:
LL Cool J, first time on tour: “We didn’t even bother taking off our clothes, I just bent her over the sink.”
Diana Ross, on playing Central Park when it began, unexpectedly, to rain: “The dream had changed without consulting me.”
Kris Kardashian, on visiting the Mona Lisa with her daughter, Kim: “Like the lady in the frame, to many we remain a mystery.”
Many of the readers now say they will never venture into this particular genre, out of fear. And after listening to the most amazing drivel for an hour and a quarter, I agree with comedian Rachel Dratch, when she says, in the trailer for “Celebrity Autobiography,” “Maybe don’t write one of these.”