Sunday, January 29, 2006

Depressingly Funny Thoughts From Mr. Allen

This is a bit old by now, but in the December issue of Vanity Fair, there was a profile of Woody Allen. It covered a lot of old ground, but it featured a new interview with him, and I thought these two excerpts were worth sharing.

This first one comes after Allen has compared himself unfavorably to filmmakers he considers to be geniuses. The interviewer asks him if he's depressed by the thought that his best work won't match that of his idols. What follows is a perfect combination of grim and funny:
No, it's not a depressing thought. What happens is that--let's say I'm in a room with Bergman or Kurosawa, and they have achieved this (greatness), but ultimately they're going to the same place I'm going to. You understand that art doesn't save you. It doesn't save me. So then I think to myself, What's the value? After Kurosawa sits back and says, 'Yes, Rashomon--I did a very fine job there,' what happens? He still has to come home, you know, and eat his bowl of rice, and down the line, they bury him.
I relate to the next one perhaps too strongly, aside from my very minor puffing experience and my substitution of drinking buddies for a shrink:
I remember being with Jack Benny, who was much older than me, and a very staid, Beverly Hills, Jewish comic. And he was saying to me, 'I've got to try marijuana--I'm just dying to try it.' I've never had a puff of marijuana. I've never had cocaine. I've never had speed. I've never had heroin. I've never in my life had a sleeping pill. I don't have drug curiosity. I don't have travel curiosity. I don't have any curiosity. That's part of my symptoms. ... It's kind of like part of or half a depression. ... My shrink said to me, a long time ago, 'When you came here, I thought it was going to be extremely interesting and kind of fascinating, but it's like, you know, listening to an accountant or something.'


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