Pretend I’m Fran Lebowitz: A review of Pretend it’s a City, delusion and late night TV


I, like most mentally ill jews obsessed with comedy, spend my nights anxiously awaiting sleep pretending to be on a 70s NBC stage, covered in cigarette ash, being interviewed for late night news. Also, like most mentally ill young jews, I found Fran Lebowitz and watched her Netflix special the day it came out. I have entertained the delusion of morphing into her through nothing but my own sheer willpower, mastery of illusion and desire to escape reality. 

Since the dawn of time, the FunnyFolk sat around a table, talked, and the plebians ate it up with a ladle. We saw this with the Algonquin Table where comics and critics simply spoke well and with wit. People rushed to buy books composed solely of one of those funny people reliving personal friendship moments with another. This evolved to podcasts where I am now auditorily invited to sit with three friends as they read aloud a porno that one of their fathers wrote. It’s all the same. People are perverts and just want to be included in the fun. People like the structure of observing another friend group.Why else would people watch Jimmy Fallon? Something about celebrities discussing irrelevant and intimate moments gives us this illusion of closeness. We devour it. People love to feel connected and what is better than being allowed in on a genuine conversation between friends. In Fran’s case, we, the lame public, were allowed in to hear her and her dear friend Martin Scoresss talk about nothing and everything. 

I do not have a friend like Marty. There I go again, pretending I’m on a first name basis with them. Martin Scorsesse, scoresaycheese, whatever. Once again, he and I do not have a personal relationship, I owe him nothing, not even a spellcheck. I absolutely get that Fran is funny, but this man doesn’t seem to have a judgmental or critical bone in his 5 foot 4 body. I don’t understand how one can get to his icon status as a mover and shaker of New Hollywood by adoring literally everything. Fran would be six words into the set up of a punchline and that sweet bushy eyebrowed Martin couldn’t help but near fall out of his seat. I have close friends. I have close friends I believe to be hilarious. But none of them would ever grant me the support that Martin gives. Won’t you, dear reader, be that supportive, most influential and significant director, casual friend to me? If you will, follow me on this journey through an entirely made up two-person interview I wrote in my notes app at two AM with THC infinitely pooling through my veins. 

Now please, grant me the ethos and clout of a famous person so that what follows is not pathetic. 

SETTING: Studio 8G. Amber tint. Cocaine residue resting on side tables. Smell of Salems, polyester and unchecked male ego.

Late Night: **”Our next guest is a woman with something coming out soon that she needs to make public appearances for in order to sell said thing. We know each other from this niche elite experience and you are all jealous of our hidden relationship. Please welcome, although she is a genius, educated and a great cook, the ~beautiful~ Julia”**

Late Night: Julia you’re a writer. You must like books?

Julia: Do I like books? That’s a very vague question. 

Late Night: Well. Do you read your own books?

Julia: It is to me as blowing your nose or vomiting is to you. It feels incredible to get out of your system but there’s no need to dig into it after to take a closer look.

I am overwhelmed enough by my own existence and the state of the world. I don’t need to read someone else’s fantasies. 

Late Night: **”hilarious response.”** We can tell he has a background in improv. A Harvard boy, but he hides it well. ***Decently handsome hits camera two with his trademark iconic face that makes the pseudo-intellectual highschool girls go crazy.*** “Well do you like writing? What is your process”

Julia: No and not ironed out yet 

Late Night: Sounds to me like you don’t love your profession. What would you do if you weren’t writing?

Julia: I’d like to be a monarch

Late Night: oh ya! And how’s that venture going for you?

Julia: well, I’m technically Jewish and only have my cockney accent nailed down so they are looking at other candidates. That or a furniture designer.

Late Night: Really! Why?

Julia: I like chairs. 

Late Night: wow okay well how do you feel about these. (gestures to my pathetic seat)

Julia: You wouldn’t find it in my store. I would have them also start thinking about their dream job. 

Late Night: “Alright, well what media do you consume if not books?”

Julia: I love television. I’d like to believe it’s my Jewish blood that’s rebelling. It refuses to go against the holy scripture and read something left to right but like most Jewish things ages rapidly and grows tired of fighting and decides staring blankly forward is alright. 

Late Night: Well that is a great new tag line for our show here

Julia: Blankly stare at us. NBC. 

Late Night: “You heard it here first. Thank you guest for making quippy jokes, drinking something out of a black mug, crossing your legs, and reminding everyone that fame is a mirage, and talk shows are nothing but secretly rehearsed circle jerks. Goodnight and have a pleasant tomorrow.”