Magazine articles

from THE NEW YORKER                                                         

Presidents’ Day at the at the William Henry Harrison Museum        2/18/17                                                                 

Meet Enid Borden, the lonely docent at the William Henry Harrison Museum, in Vincennes, Indiana. It’s her job to welcome visitors and give them tours of the home of the ninth President of the United States, if and when they show up. So desperate was she for company, Enid didn’t even question it when the former homeowner himself appeared on Presidents’ Day morning.

William Henry Harrison: I’d imagine there’d be a big crowd today.

Enid Borden: And why is that, sir?

W.H.H.: Well, it is Presidents’ Day, is it not?

E.B.: Yes . . .

W.H.H.: And I was a President, was I not?

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ROGER & ME

By Alan Zweibel

So here’s what happened the first time I met Roger Ebert.

Friday, September 18, 1992.

The Friars Club was roasting Billy Crystal and, because I’d written a few jokes for this verbal onslaught, I was in the ballroom of the New York Hilton that afternoon. As was Roger Ebert, who, along with his much thinner partner, Gene Siskel, possessed the most highly regarded opposable thumbs in the country.

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from the Huffington Post

Rosh Hashanah For Dummies

Scene: Two kids talking on a playground.

– How come you weren’t in school yesterday?
– Because I’m Jewish.
– So?
– It was Rosh Hashanah.
– What’s that?
– New Year’s.
– But it’s only September 30.
– Well, that’s when it came out this year.
– This year?
– Yeah, it’s different every year.
– Why?
– I’m not sure.
– Geez…   more>

“Then Why Are You Crying, Alan?” 

Alan Zweibel: former ‘SNL’ Writer’s Grave Discussion

Scene: Robin and I are sitting in our den. We are empty nesters. The TV is on. She’s engrossed in the same program that I’m pretending to be watching when, in fact, I’m wondering why we aren’t naked.

And then a commercial. The one where a woman on the phone has just been told it will cost up to $6,000 for her father’s funeral. She sits at her kitchen table shaking her head. I let it play for a few more beats and then break the silence.

– You think we should get that, Robin?
– Burial insurance?
– So the kids won’t be financially burdened in their moment of unspeakable grief.
– I don’t think so …
– Robin, it’s $6,000. And since I’m fairly certain that someday we’ll both be dead, that’s a
huge chunk of change to make sure they won’t leave us lying around or propped up in
these chairs.    more>

A Tooth, Some Turkey, And A Cat Named Livingston

          Last Friday I threw my back out when I bent over to pick up my tooth.

I think that sentence bears repeating.
I threw my back out when I bent over to pick up my tooth.

No, this piece is not about the horrors of the advancing age or eroding health this event implies. I’ll leave it to others to share tales of how their bodies, despite all dietary and aerobic regiments, are grinding to an inevitable halt. All I know is that while I was down there on our kitchen floor, now eye level with the $3,000 implant that decided it would rather spend time against the molding under the pantry door than embedded in the upper left quadrant of my mouth, the first thought that entered my mind was that I’ll just get up and continue with my day. I had a lot to do. There was a script I had to finish. more>

‘I’m A What?’

After My TV Appearance, I Got Called A Name That Shocked Me

I write. This is what I do. My job is to sit down with my vocabulary, select words, and decide what order they should be placed in an attempt to keep someone’s attention and perhaps provide them with a laugh or two along the way.

I am not an actor. Yes, every so often I appear on talk shows to promote something I’ve written and I enjoy doing so because I have a lot of stories to tell and I like making audiences laugh. But that’s not acting. That’s just me being me. I do a good me. But that’s extent of my range. Me.

So if anyone wants me, they should call me. I won’t disappoint. But if they want even the slightest deviation from whoever it is I am, they should look elsewhere. Whether it’s an accent or a limp or the hardy belch of someone who didn’t grow up in my house and, to be exact, share a bedroom with my younger brother Duke, I’m not your guy.

I’m a specialist.  more>

The Club Name That Should Never Be Changed 

Just know that I am not writing this as someone who was a friend of Gilda Radner’s. Or as a writing partner. Or as a father whose three children, to this very day, refer to their godmother as Aunt Gilda. I am, however, writing this as an empathetic human being who is appalled by the unadulterated idiocy behind any Gilda’s Club changing its name to a generic one because “young people don’t know who she is.”more>