Years ago I knew a talent agent who had what I thought, at the time, was a rather bizarre outlook on the entertainment business. He would regularly shriek, at clients, producers, moguls or employees, anyone who may have dared to say this or that was wrong, “There’s no right or wrong in the theater! There’s NO right or wrong IN THE THEATER!” The volume of this could escalate. And escalate…
On his worst day, the agent was talking to a very nice young actor who said, “I’m going to propose to my girlfriend. It’s the right thing to do in my relationship.” Uh-oh! Red alert! Wrong choice of phrase, kid!
I was there. I heard the conversation. The actor wasn’t saying everyone on the planet needs to propose to his girlfriend. He was merely saying it’s the right thing for him to do with regard to his relationship, period.
Well, the agent went ballistic. He went on about this mild mention of a proposal for days afterwards, all the while screeching his favorite line about there being “no right or wrong IN THE THEATER!!!!!” He said he even had to talk to his therapist about the actor who was proposing to his girl because he felt it was “right.” (Oh, to have been a fly on that wall!)
I have never quite witnessed such a marathon, several-day-long conniption fit quite like it, before or since. I wonder if the therapist had as much trouble as I did, keeping a straight face.
Finally I could not stand listening to it any longer. The whole idea of there being no right or wrong in the entertainment business is ludicrous. It always was. It always will be. I finally spoke up. I had to speak up. If I hadn’t, it would have been like remaining silent whenever some nut says the world is flat. I remember saying, “Oh, for God’s sake! Why don’t you go into a theater, any theater, bring a gun, shoot somebody in the foot, and then see what happens? I guarantee you, you’ll find out there is right and wrong in the theater, because within ten minutes the cops are going to show up and haul you away!”
Many years later, I took an acting class to have some fun and meet new people. The acting teacher made a similarly weird statement. It was along the lines of declaring, “When I was young I decided I’d be an artiste.” This was said with the French pronunciation, yet. “I wasn’t going to live by normal rules. Normal rules don’t apply.” Her tone of voice was maddeningly rational, her statement absurd.
Well, it looks like those two weren’t alone in their assessments of what does and doesn’t constitute normalcy in the entertainment industry, doesn’t it? Bill Cosby. Harvey Weinstein. Kevin Spacey. Dustin Hoffman. Who am I missing? Every day the news yields more viable accusations about sexual abuse in the entertainment industry, and as it turns out, most people do not believe there’s “no right or wrong” in the theater, or that “normal rules don’t apply” in the entertainment industry. It’s been amazing to watch the groundswell of women and men standing up and declaring that the “anything goes” era is finally over and will be withstood no longer. There’s the #MeToo Movement, the #TimesUp Movement, and there’s definitely a new day dawning. Rose McGowan, Ashley Judd, the mother of the teen Kevin Spacey zeroed in on – brava and bravo to the entire list of all those who happen to be mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore. Sing out, Louise! The list of those making accusations continues daily.
So does the list of perverts. Today’s latest sicko turns out to be Grandma the Clown from the Big Apple Circus. You read that correctly. “Grandma the Clown,” in case you’re not local, is a guy, real name: Barry Lubin. He was beloved by the people of New York. He had a great act! It was a joy to see him perform…
But Barry Lubin/Grandma blew it, the way these egomaniacal narcissists who think they can declare themselves above the law so often do. Grandma the Clown resigned from the Big Apple Circus after he took pornographic pictures of a sixteen-year-old acrobat.
A sixteen-year-old acrobat? How brainless can this clown be?
I will say this about Grandma the Clown: it was a decent move for him to resign, but it’s still hideous he thought he had a license to be a predator in the first place.
Guess, what, Artistes? There is right or wrong in the theater!
And in the circus.
And in Hollywood.