PRIME RIB: Robin Williams' latest line, delivered at a Los Angeles benefit for Tripod, an organization that helps the deaf: "Here's something you'll never hear in South Africa: President Botha—white courtesy telephone, please."
PUT YER HANDS UP, THIS FINGER'S LOADED: Rodeo star Montie Montana Jr., 50, and his 51 member troupe just got back from an engagement in Kuwait that made the gunfight at the O.K. Corral seem like child's play. "As soon as we arrived, customs officials confiscated our six-guns," says Montana. "That meant we had to use our fingers during performances. Every time we fired them, someone offstage had to coordinate an explosion with black powder." Montana says attendance started off well but began to drop. "The local mullah wouldn't let his followers attend because the cancan dancers and female roughriders had bare shoulders." Then came the final insult. Since the show's Palestinian promoters failed to pay the rent on the performing arena, it was padlocked mid-run. "I went to some friends at the American Embassy for advice," says Montana. "I was told I could be held responsible for the closure and put in jail for a year and a half. They suggested we leave the country as soon as possible, which we did. All of our costumes, tepees and stagecoaches for the show are still there." Summing up the experience, Montana furrows his brow and says, "I only wish I had brought real bullets."
TOUGH CROWD: National Wrestling Alliance heavyweight grappler Exotic Adrian Street was in Miami to promote the film Grunt: The Wrestling Movie. Asked what he thought of wrestling audiences, Street admitted that "some of the fans disgust me. They swill beer. They drink whiskey. Their teeth are black from chewing tobacco, which they spit all over the place." He was quick to add, "And some of the men are just as bad."
REFRESHER COURSE: Novelist Joan (Play It As It Lays) Didion, who has a fear of public speaking, was describing a course she once taught at UCLA. "Three times a week I would come into the class." she said. "They would look at me, and I would look at them. And I could never get beyond the first word." Didion said she tried bringing in pictures of her loved ones for moral support but still remained dumbstruck. Then she had another idea. "There was a Coke machine in the hall," she said. "I would go out to the machine, get a Coke, come back into the class and drink it. They all stared raptly at me. It was the only class they had that consisted of going in and seeing a woman drink a Coca-Cola."
GOODNESS, GRACIOUS: Trouble-plagued rocker Jerry Lee Lewis was hauled back to Methodist Hospital in Memphis with another bout of bleeding ulcers. This time he had one-third of his stomach removed. After awakening from surgery, Lewis looked at his wife, Kerrie McCarver Lewis, and asked, "Honey, how are ticket sales?" The sixth Mrs. Lewis, who at first was taken aback, realized that her husband was in an anesthetic haze. "We're all sold out," she replied. "That's good," said Lewis, who went peacefully back to sleep—dreaming, no doubt, of singing Great Balls of Fire to an SRO house.
DRIVEN PERSONALITY: At a Friars roast in Hollywood for Monty (Let's Make A Deal) Hall, comedian Slappy White noted, "Monty is such an honest, decent guy he'd steal a car and keep up the payments."
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