Sunday, August 28, 2011

Scott Brown (the critic, not the Masshole)

Ok. This is the funniest thing I've read in a really long time. It's unfortunate that theater critic Scott Brown shares a name with my hated U.S. Senator, but the guy can't help that. He can, however, put new playwright Zach Braff's whiny friend (aka Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence) in his place quite hilariously.

Scott Brown's Response:

Dear Bill,

I do, in fact, wear a monocle. Not by choice.

At 6, I contracted a rare eye disease that left me half-blind and hideous. The monocle helps correct my eyesight — but, unfortunately, not my revolting deformity. Also, I'm told I give off a Lovecraftian fetor that makes women swoon, and not in the I-am-now-having-an-orgasm way.

Ack! "Lovecraftian fetor"! See, there I go again. Sometimes I try to compensate for my "mutilation" (my mother's little term of art for my disability) by using big words and too many hyphens. It's a defense mechanism. I can't say it's improved my love life much — you certainly nailed that one. Twice a year, I pay a blindfolded prostitute wearing a respirator to service me. (And she's not as funny as Anna Camp. In fact ... I've never seen her smile! That might just be the respirator, though.)

The rest of the year, I pour my frustrations into my reviews and my secret desk-drawer mystery novel, The Killing Pun: A Harlan Grantham* Theater Mystery! Which I would be honored if you'd read. (Sorry to impose! I know you must get this all the time, but it's not often I rub elbows with powerful television producers!)

This is all pretty personal stuff, and difficult to talk about. But I'm glad you brought it up. I believe that intelligent, open dialogue heals all wounds — perhaps even my rancid ocular cavity. I'm so glad this didn't degenerate into snark.



P.S.: I'm sorry I didn't like your friend's play.

To fully enjoy its brilliance, you have to read backward to Lawrence's complaint letter and the original review that prompted the whining. (I also don't think Braff's play is great, though Brown and I disagree on where it goes wrong, and I don't spend nearly as much space ragging on Garden State.)

As I mentioned before (in reference to Vassar/NY Stage & Film's request for Internet silence regarding their productions including The Nightingale and Nero), the New York Times has invited guest columnists to contribute to its Theater Talkback series this summer on a variety of theater-related issues (including what good can come from bad reviews, whether audiences should boo, and if preshow announcements should be nixed). I'm really enjoying the discussions so far.

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