PIERS MOR­GAN

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - RADIO WEEK -

Few things have got me into more of an apoc­a­lyp­tic frenzy of ex­cite­ment than the news last year that there’s to be a se­quel to An­chor­man, the fun­ni­est movie I’ve ever seen.

Tonight, at a party in Wash­ing­ton at the French Em­bassy, I sud­denly spied a large, un­mis­tak­able han­dle­bar mous­tache walk­ing past me, at­tached to a head with longish Keanu Reevesstyle dark hair. It was Brian Fan­tana, the fash­ion- ob­sessed, nar­cis­sis­tic, over­sexed lead field re­porter of San Diego’s KVWN-TV Chan­nel 4 Evening News team. Or rather, it was Paul Rudd, who plays him.

‘THANK you!’ I ex­claimed, spon­ta­neously. ‘For what?’ he laughed. ‘For do­ing the se­quel.’ ‘Ah… an An­chor­man fan?’ I toyed with re­ply­ing, ‘I’ll give this lit­tle cookie an hour be­fore we’re do­ing the no-pants dance. Time to musk up!’ to prove my su­per­fan cre­den­tials

( I’ve seen it at least 20 times). But I wasn’t sure the other three guests around us would un­der­stand. ‘Is it all the same cast?’ ‘Yes, we’re all back.’ ‘And is it as…’ ‘Funny? Oh, yes. Ac­tu­ally, I was talk­ing to Will [Fer­rell] about this, and we think it might be even fun­nier.’

I al­most hugged him. ‘When’s it com­ing out?’ ‘De­cem­ber.’ I’m clear­ing my sched­ule. At the same party, I met two of the most fa­mous wives in Amer­i­can TV drama right now. Jessica Paré, who plays Don­ald Draper’s long-suf­fer­ing wife, Me­gan, in Mad Men. And Morena Baccarin, who plays Brody’s wife, Jessica, in Home­land.

I said ex­actly the same thing to both of them: ‘You’ve got to leave that guy.’ Both laughed, then slowly nod­ded, know­ingly.

‘Mick’s spar­row legs were skin­nier and his en­ergy lev­els marginally lower, but no one moves like him’

laughed, ‘then named her favourite of my movies as “200”.’

‘I checked with her af­ter,’ I replied. ‘She only saw two thirds of the film.’ Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger was my guest on CNN tonight, but was run­ning late, and rushed in 20 min­utes be­fore the end of the show.

I re­hearsed the in­tro to his seg­ment dur­ing a com­mer­cial break, and did my best to pro­nounce his sur­name cor­rectly. Most peo­ple say ‘Sch­warz’ like ‘shworts’, but it’s ‘Sch­warz’ like ‘sh­varts’ — the ‘a’ is hard, and the ‘w’ more like a ‘v’. Arnold chuck­led at my over-elab­o­rate enun­ci­a­tion.

‘Ac­tu­ally, that’s still wrong! If you want to know the true Aus­tri­anGer­man way of pro­nounc­ing it, then you need to say ‘Sh­varts-en-eg­ger’.

He said it very slowly and de­lib­er­ately, in three dis­tinct parts. The last one be­ing ‘eg­ger’ with no ‘n’.

I have never heard any­one say it like that, so now you know. I’d seen The Rolling Stones live once. It was in Au­gust 1989, at the Vet­er­ans Sta­dium in Philadel­phia, and I’d been sent by a news­pa­per to cover the first night of their Steel Wheels tour.

It was a scin­til­lat­ing per­for­mance, ce­ment­ing my love — at the age of 24 — for the great­est rock ’n’ roll band of them all. But for rea­sons that slightly baf­fle me, I’d never been able to see them play live again — un­til tonight at the Sta­ples Cen­tre in Los An­ge­les.

Once more, it was the start of their Amer­i­can tour, this time dubbed ‘50 & Count­ing’.

I took my lu­di­crously ex­pen­sive seat near the stage, and a tall, very at­trac­tive blonde, clad in black leather, turned slowly, stood up and

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