|Son #1 and me at Radio City Music Hall, circa 2006|
In August 2006—almost nine years to the day of the final Daily Show—I took Son #1 to NYC for a reading at Radio City Music Hall, titled “Harry, Carrie & Garp.” The authors appearing: Stephen King, John Irving, and JK Rowling.
If the author lineup wasn’t blow-you-away-worthy enough, the three writers were introduced onstage by a few surprise guests: Whoopi Goldberg, Kathy Bates, and Jon Stewart.
It was like a real-life version come true of that great party question, “If you could invite any three people to a dinner party…”
Here, thanks to a transcript I found online, were my favorite lines that evening.
Jon Stewart (the story about Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic rant had broken that same day): “I was running a little late and I was talking to my friend Mel Gibson on the phone. He hopes that tonight's mishigas puts a smile on your panim.”
John Irving: Irving’s short talk was terrific, but the highlight was when he read a passage from A Prayer for Owen Meany, one of my very favorite books of all time. *swoon*
JK Rowling (on the perpetual female attraction to bad boys): “Oh you girls and Draco Malfoy. (She shakes her head.) You've got to get past this.”
Kathy Bates: “It’s no wonder at all why I have been asked to introduce the first author (Stephen King). After all, I am his #1 fan. I used to be the #2 fan up until about 15 years ago when a woman named Annie Wilkes came off the list and the top spot opened up.”
Stephen King (on what scares him): “How about standing in front of 6,000 people? And checking to make sure that you've zipped your fly. Everything scares me so I just try to turn it around. That's the best I can do, I mean. Elevators— they talk about power blackouts in New York and I get in an elevator and I think, ‘Oh my god!’”
Whoopi Goldberg: “Harry, Carrie, and Garp. Somebody maybe should have put them all together a long time ago. Did you know, if one of those boys from the Hogwarts School had asked that poor girl—you know, the one at the prom—if somebody had just asked that poor child out for a date, a lot of people would have been saved a lot of grief.”
What an evening. And so, the question begs to be asked: If you could invite three (or in this case, six) people to a dinner party, who would they be?