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