Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy (Politically Correct Pronoun)
In California you know the season has turned not by the color of the leaves, but by the Valet parking in front of Fred  and Mary Willard's house.  It denotes their annual Christmas Party which is always a "to do", and for me the seasonal invitation I cherish receiving the most.
Sandi and I have the luxury of walking across the street to attend, and it is like walking into the Friars Club of the Valley. Not only is the house completely redecorated with more Christmas trimmings than the North Pole, the food is spectacular, drinks flowing and the guests are the most interesting people you would ever want to hang with. If you want to get a bead on what is happening in the world of comedy, on screen, on stage and on television, or if you just want to have a laugh, you have but to engage in conversation with a Willard's party guest.
Through the years I have crossed paths with the attendees and have worked with most of them in some way.  If their names don't ring a bell their faces and voices do. In fact the party itself rings with laughter from every table and every cocktail grouping.  It's not the usual frantic comedy feeding frenzy when everyone is trying to top everyone else. It is not an LA resumé recital when the question "How are you?" is always heard as, "What are you doing now?". At the Willard's Party it is just genuinely funny people who see the world from a humorous point of view. It is the perfect mix of comics, actors, writers, musicians, performers and one ventriloquist who have made a mark in their chosen career. I for one can not get enough of that kind of psychic stimulation.
Mary Willard is the catalysis. She writes and casts her parties like she would her scripts.  There is always an impromptu performance hosted by the hostess. Mary is the modern day, west coast-version of Elsa Maxwell.  Although I can't imagine a Maxwell party being as much fun. 
There has always been a "feast and famine", "boom and bust" quality to show business.  In this economy it is even more extreme. But the one perk that is not economically driven is joy and laughter.  The artists Mary embraces make her parties a recess from reality where the world is lighter and no one takes it seriously. I for one am grateful I get to be a small part of that world.  The rejection that every comedy artist must face vanishes with a glass of Mary's home made eggnog and her heart warming laugh. 
Agness Repplier said, "We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh." In this season, when we celebrate the coming of Love, the Willard's Christmas Party provides enough laughter to love the world, even in the craziness of 2011. 
Thanks Mary and Fred.  You are adored.
As you were,

1 comment:

P. Grecian said...

I'm a longtime fan of Fred Willard's work. Now, thanks to you, I'm a fan of Mary Willard as well.