"I guess I have a lot of problems, so many that I don't have time to go into them all in detail. Suffice it to say I'm anal, obsessive, vain, quick to temper, overly introspective, lazy, judgmental, insecure, and self-righteous. Probably the most annoying thing about me is that I'm hugely opinionated. But I kind of make up for that by always being right."

Monday, February 27, 2006

Unsettling Accounts (Part 1)

This is a cautionary tale -- not funny, but heartfelt -- about four good friends I lost by mixing money with friendship.

The first was Jeannene Hansen. She was an ardent supporter from the earliest days of my first one-man show, and many nights after a performance we would go over what had worked in the show and what hadn’t. She was also just a wonderful person, and for years one of my very best friends. But when she put together a proposal to produce that show theatrically and I rejected it in favor of a more experienced producer, she cut me out of her life. Though I have no memory of having led her on in her quest to produce the show, I believe it is entirely possible I did, and, if so, I am truly sorry. It was a heady time for me, and I can be a selfish prick. I recently sought Jeannene out on the Internet and was happy to see that she is very successful, having written the definitive book on holography. There was also a picture of her in one of the articles, and she looked great.

A similar thing happened with my friend Kevin Pollack. He and his partner, Lucy Webb, produced my second one-man show at a theater in San Francisco. They were both incredibly supportive and nice. We had an agreement that they would also produce the “special” of the show, if there ever was one. When I was getting ready to do a sitcom loosely based on the show, they wanted to produce it through their production company at Warner Brothers. I wanted them to as well, but both my manager and my agent convinced me that it would hurt my chances of getting it on the air. They took this rejection as both a personal and a professional affront. Which, if I’m really honest with myself, it was. I don’t know Lucy all that well, but she is one of the funniest women I have ever met. But it’s Kevin I really miss. Nobody could make me laugh the way Kevin did. He’s one of those genuinely funny people who can “riff” on any subject and have you on the floor. And who would have guessed that he could act, too? Today, I find myself ashamed that I chose money over these good people.

(To be continued)