I Was A Trope At Cathy Seipp's Roast
4 p.m. Sept 10, 2006. I arrive at the Hotel Figuroa. There's already 50 people on hand. I recognize most of them.
I'm told I'll be a trope throughout the evening.
"What's a trope?" I ask.
I learn that it's a theme.
I feel flattered that I have so thoroughly wormed my way into Cathy's life.
She sits up front by the mic.
"...When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. When life hands you cancer, you make canceraid. That's what we're doing today." (Youtube.com video.)
"Welcome bloggers. You are in the outdoors. ...The objects next to you are people..."
One highschool boy tells me that bloggers are pretentious to think that anyone cares about their opinions.
"What about people who express their opinions in newspapers? Are they pretentious?"
He says no.
"What about people who express their opinions on television? Are they pretentious?"
"What about people who express their opinions on the radio? Are they pretentious?"
About half the crowd raise their hands to say they're Democrats.
A few weeks ago I was asked to speak, but I could come up with nothing funny. I've been mildly depressed for two months and drained of creativity.
Rob Long and Sandra Tsing Lho host the program
Rob: "We've asked our speakers to keep things short, Luke Ford." (Audio)
Rob introduces me. "Our next speaker is unembarrassable...in the Freudian personality disorder wheel."
I wrote out the brief talk below but then winged it at the mic (I was the second speaker after Andrew Breitbart).
After Luke Thompson's five minutes of stand-up, Rob Long says: "It makes you appreciate professionals."
Allan Mayer, former publisher and editor of Buzz magazine: "Reading her blog and her columns at National Review Online, I'm amazed at how Cathy continues to hold my interest, even when I have no idea what she's talking about."
"She can be totally clueless about the effect her writing has on people."
Rob: "Mickey Kaus sent a video, even though he's here today."
Mickey on the video: "She won't let me bring bimbos to Yamashiro. If Lindsay Lohan showed up to Yamashiro, she'd say, 'She's not a journalist. What is she doing here?' Everything has to be literary. Everything has to be professional.
"Have you seen her blog? Look at the prose. She's no Tiffany Stone."
About three years ago, Cathy forced Mickey Kaus to stop bringing Tiffany Stone to the monthly Yamashiro meetings of various top writers including Allan Mayer, Scott Kaufer, Matt Welch and company.
Seipp's trump card? "We got extra security for you at that AFI panel [with Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs]."
Mickey: "What is it with this Luke Ford thing? I know the bee-stung lips, the leonine hair, the strong stream of urine, but he doesn't even own a bed."
Ross Johnson says that if you look carefully at my smile, you'll see Jon Benet Ramsey's DNA.
Matt Welch describes the late laexaminer.com as "like Kevin Roderick [LA Observed], except funny."
"In a way, we're all Cathy's ex," says Rob Long.
Near the end of the roast, Cathy's ex-husband Jerry Lazar gave a moving speech.
"Cathy asked me to be here today," says Jerry. Cathy shakes her head.
"She wanted to prove that long time ago there was a time she did suffer fools gladly.
"I didn't come here to speak but more to listen. [Having been married to Cathy,] I've always been a good listener. What else is there to do?
"The biggest difference between me and Cathy -- I'm guessing that through the years very few people have asked her what it is like to live with me."
"Wow, we're getting good all of a sudden," says Rob. "We have a video from Toby Young, otherwise known as the English Luke Ford."
Rob Long met Cathy in 1990 when he was 25. She asked him if he'd like to be in Penthouse magazine. He said yes.
Lionel: "I wasn't supposed to speak but after three meetings with Jim Beam..."
"I first met Cathy when she came to the Wednesday Morning Club, an organization that started in my backyard and later became the property of David Horowitz, who you may or may not know. I know him but we no longer know each other."