These Pipes… Are CLEAN!

by Dave on October 13, 2005

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Some workmates and I went down to Brookline last night to Chris Elliott‘s book reading event at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. I have been a fan of Chris’ since I was a sprog and saw him do an interpretation of William Shatner’s interpretation of Rocket Man on David Letterman. Chris was hilarious, reading from his new book Shroud of the Thwacker for 15 minutes and then taking questions from the audience for another 45.

Upon listening to all the questions that were rapid-fired to him, I realized how many movies Chris has been in that I had completely forgotten about. He’s the cameraman in Groundhog Day, a deep sea miner in The Abyss, Oogie in There’s Something About Mary – and he even played a forensic psychologist in Michael Mann’s far superior Red Dragon precursor, Manhunter. He was asked about all of these, Letterman, obscure specials he’s done for pay TV and of course – Get A Life. “We had no idea there were so many people watching that show. And unfortunately, neither did Fox“.

After the Q&A, The Coolidge screened Cabin Boy – an equally reviled and unsung movie which Elliott hasn’t disowned, but admits he can’t watch because its box office failure was a huge blow and seriously derailed his career back in the early 90s. The packed house went absolutely nuts for it, and he was visibly moved. He signed copies of his book in the back as the audience laughed their heads off, and I felt very happy for him – as he obviously had no idea what his work has meant to so many people. It was quite a thing to be there and watch that kind of realization. This is the first book proper book he’s ever written, and he’d never done a flesh-pressing tour like this in his life.

I waited a long time to get up to talk to him, and I am kicking myself for forgetting my camera at home as he was graciously posing with anyone who wanted a snap. I bought a copy of his book, shook his hand and had a little chat. After he signed the book, I asked him “Are you sick of seeing these yet?” at which point I slyly slipped him the insert from my Cabin Boy DVD in the hopes he’d sign it. “Not at all!” he replied. “In fact, after tonight I am going to call Adam Resnick and see if he wants to do a re-release with a proper commentary and some special features.” He looked up after signing it and smiled. “You had no idea there was a market like this did you?” I asked – “I had no idea” he replied. He shook my hand again and I returned to my seat somewhere near the “Fishstick Kitty” scene.

Chris Elliott is a genius, and a genuinely friendly person to boot. I wish him the best and encourage all of you to seek out more of his amazing work.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Aubs October 13, 2005 at 1:29 pm

He’s also great as Robert’s fiance’s creepy, backstabbing and I think gay brother on Everybody loves Raymond.

Dave Pye October 13, 2005 at 5:08 pm

He mentioned that role, and said there had been talks of him and the brother in a spin-off. But everyone was making so much money by the end of ELR that it would be too expensive.

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