The Funniest People in Movies: 250 Anecdotes

These are the first 10 anecdotes from my book The Funniest People in Movies: 250 Anecdotes, available for .99 CHEAP at online booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple iBookstore, Kobo, etc.

Academy Awards

Oprah Winfrey was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in her first feature film, The Color Purple, directed by Stephen Spielberg. Her father made sure that he saw the movie—it was the first time he had gone to a movie theater in 25 years. At the Academy Awards ceremony, Ms. Winfrey did not win, but she joked that she was relieved because her recently altered dress turned out to be too tight: “Perhaps God was saying to me, ‘Oprah, you are not winning because your dress is too tight for you to make it up all those steps to receive the statuette.’”[1]

In 1988, Jodie Foster won a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in The Accused. Following her acceptance speech, she joked backstage that she would immediately put the Oscar to good use: “I rented three videos last night … and they said if I brought this in I would get them free.”[2]

When a man streaked across the stage during the Academy Awards, Oscar presenter David Niven said, “Let’s not pay any attention to him. All he is doing is showing his shortcomings.”[3]


 Javier Bardem, the Spanish actor who played the very evil murderer in the Coen Brothers’ No Country for Old Men, had a number of other jobs before becoming an actor. In fact, for one day when he was a teenager, he was a stripper. He says, “Unfortunately, I made the mistake of talking about it years later and my mother and sister read the article. You talk about showing your *ss and then your mother reads all about it.” As a citizen of Spain, he has a perspective different from that of Americans. For example, one day he had a nude scene, and the American crew made sure that he was covered up when he was not actually working—he definitely got the idea that people did not want to see his rear end. However, when he was murdering people in a scene, the Americans on set were happy. Mr. Bardem says that “the day I was killing people they were like, ‘Yaah! That was good!’ I know I don’t have a nice *ss, but I would go for an *ss over killing people every time.” A final difference between Spain and other countries—which in the opinion of the author of the book you are reading now definitely includes the USA—is this, according to Mr. Bardem, “I like the way people behave in my country. It’s about being open to life instead of being obsessed about getting somewhere. There’s a moment when they put the worries about paying the bills to one side and just live. In some countries, it’s all about being number one and if you are second you are a failure.”[4]

Kathy Bates won the Oscar for Best Actress in Misery, co-starring James Caan and made into a movie from a book by Stephen King. Director Rob Reiner told her that she had the lead part of Annie Wilkes, and Ms. Bates, who had never had the lead in a movie before, said, “The part. I’ve got it?” Mr. Reiner nodded and said, “You’ve got it.” Unbelieving, Ms. Bates said, “The Annie part. Annie Wilkes. That part?” Mr. Reiner nodded again. Still unbelieving, Ms. Bates said, “Annie Wilkes. The lead. And I’ve got it and it’s all set and everything?” Mr. Reiner replied, “All set.” Ms. Bates said, “Let me just get this straight—I am playing Annie Wilkes, the lead, in Misery?” Again, Mr. Reiner replied affirmatively. Ms. Bates said, “It’s done and everything, I mean, I am definitely playing Annie, and that’s set and done and everything, no mistakes or anything?” Mr. Reiner said, “It is so set you wouldn’t believe it.” Ms. Bates sat silently for a moment, then asked, “Can I tell my mother?”[5]

Jack Pierce was a master of makeup, and he created the makeup for such movie monsters as Frankenstein’s Monster and the Wolf Man. When making up actor Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s Monster, Mr. Pierce made sure that the mask he had created came down only as far as Mr. Karloff’s eyebrows. That way, the actor could use his eyes and mouth to express emotion. In the three movies starring Mr. Karloff as the monster, he moves very awkwardly—the result of having a heavy rod placed along his spine, and of wearing boots that together weighed 26 pounds. Mr. Karloff’s performance as Frankenstein’s Monster was very sympathetic and thousands of children wrote him and showed compassion for the monster. Mr. Karloff remarked, “These children saw beyond the makeup and really understood.”[6]

Some people know what they like very early in their life. When Honor Blackman was 15 years old, her father let her choose which of two presents she wanted to receive: a bicycle or lessons in elocution. Young Honor, later to become the female lead in the movie Goldfinger and one of the female leads in the British TV cult classic The Avengers, chose the elocution lessons. (Another thing she likes is anecdotes. She tells about a young, overly enthusiastic director explaining the fine points of direction to actress Irene Handl, who listened patiently for a while, grew bored, and eventually told him, “Excuse me, I think you’ve mistaken me for someone who gives a f**k.”)[7]

In Quentin Tarantino’s first film, the hit Reservoir Dogs, Kirk Baltz played a rookie police officer who is tortured by the sadistic Mr. Blonde, played by Michael Madsen. To get into character, Mr. Baltz asked Mr. Madsen to put him in the trunk of his car, then drive him around for five minutes. (In the movie, the police officer is put in the trunk of Mr. Blonde’s car, then driven around.) Unfortunately for Mr. Baltz, Mr. Madsen also wanted to get into character. Acting like the sadistic Mr. Blonde, Mr. Madsen drove Mr. Baltz around for not five minutes, but for 45 minutes.[8]

In Spike Lee’s movie Jungle Fever, the beautiful Halle Berry plays a crack addict, a role she wanted because too many people assume that beautiful people don’t get addicted to crack—or so the people casting this kind of role seem to think. She worked hard to prepare for the role. She asked co-star Samuel L. Jackson to drive her around some of New York City’s poorest neighborhoods. She also visited a crack house in the presence of some police officers—who made her wear a bulletproof vest. Finally, for the 10 days before filming started, she did not take a bath.[9]

In the screwball classic movie It Happened One Night is a famous scene in which Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert are hitchhiking, but they can’t get a lift until Ms. Colbert shows her legs by the side of the road. At first, Ms. Colbert was shy and declined to show her legs in the scene, so director Frank Capra brought in a chorus girl to serve as Ms. Colbert’s body double. Ms. Colbert looked at the chorus girl’s pudgy legs, realized that movie-goers would think that the pudgy legs belonged to her, and decided to show her own thin and shapely legs in the scene.[10]

[1] Source: Sara McIntosh Wooten, Oprah Winfrey: Talk Show Legend, pp. 67-69.

[2] Source: Therese De Angelis, Jodie Foster, p. 17.

[3] Source: Kermit Schafer, The Bedside Book of Celebrity Bloopers, p. 87.

[4] Source: Martyn Palmer, “Javier Bardem is killing them softly.” The Times. 15 December 2007 <>.

[5] Source: William Goldman, The Princess Bride, p. 339.

[6] Source: Tom Powers, Movie Monsters, pp. 19, 31.

[7] Source: Stuart Jeffries, ‘I have never been a bimbo.’ The Guardian. 28 March 2007 <,,2044261,00.html>.

[8] Source: Joe Bob Briggs, Profoundly Disturbing: Shocking Movies That Changed History!, p. 222.

[9] Source: Michael A. Schuman, Halle Berry: “Beauty is Not Just Physical,” pp. 35-36.

[10] Source: Peter Guttmacher, Legendary Comedies, p. 50.


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Savannah Reach: “Proverbs 31:25” (YouTube)

Savannah Reach: “Proverbs 31:25” (YouTube)

6-Minute Dance to Vivaldi’s “Spring.”

“Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” — King James Bible

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The Funniest People in Dance: 250 Anecdotes

These are the first 10 anecdotes from my book The Funniest People in Dance: 250 Anecdotes, available for .99 CHEAP at online booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple iBookstore, Kobo, etc.


In some South American countries, people who are critical of the government disappear — agents of the government kidnap and kill them. Some relatives and friends of the desapariciones have attracted international attention to the problem by unusual protests — going on hunger strikes, sewing quilts, and dancing alone to show that they miss the disappeared.[1]

African-American choreographer Alvin Ailey, Jr., created Masekela Langage to protest apartheid in South Africa. In the dance’s climax, a bloodied black man staggers into a party and dies. The program note for Masekela Langage states, “Looks like it’s safer to be in jail.”[2]


Ballerina Alice Patelson’s mother was a former Radio City Rockette who taught ballet to neighborhood children in a studio built into her home. Whenever Alice’s mother came downstairs dressed in her leotard to begin teaching a ballet class, the family pet springer spaniel, Lady, went upstairs. When Lady thought the family was busy, she would take a flying leap into the middle of Alice’s parents’ bed, which was forbidden to her. However, the family knew what Lady was doing. After ballet class was over, Alice’s mother used to noisily climb upstairs, giving Lady plenty of warning to get off the bed before being caught.[3]

In her act, belly dancer Amaya — née Maria Elena Amaya — used a snake that ate three mice a month. Unfortunately, one month the local pet shop ran out of mice, so the pet shop owner suggested, “Three mice = six baby chicks.” However, Amaya remembered what had happened when a belly dancer friend had fed her snake baby chicks. At the conclusion of a dance in Las Vegas, the belly dancer had lifted the snake over her head, and the snake had loudly passed gas. Not only did the snake emit gas, but it also emitted a cloud of baby chick feathers!

In her act, belly dancer Amaya — née Maria Elena Amaya — used a snake that ate three mice a month. Unfortunately, one month the local pet shop ran out of mice, so the pet shop owner suggested, “Three mice = six baby chicks.” However, Amaya remembered what had happened when a belly dancer friend had fed her snake baby chicks. At the conclusion of a dance in Las Vegas, the belly dancer had lifted the snake over her head, and the snake had loudly passed gas. Not only did the snake emit gas, but it also emitted a cloud of baby chick feathers![4]

When Rudolf Nureyev was a young child growing up in Ufa, food was scarce and he was frequently hungry. One day, his mother made a long trek through the snow to another village in search of food to feed her family at home. Near nightfall, she noticed yellowish circles of light around her — circles of light that traveled in pairs. Suddenly, she realized that wolves had surrounded her. She took off the blanket she was wearing around her shoulders and set it on fire. Seeing the fire, the wolves fled.[5]

While studying black dance in Haiti, Katherine Dunham was invited to stay at the home of a friend. However, she smelled something unusual in the house and looked up to see an 8-foot python in the rafters. The snake was a “pet” often kept around Haitian homes to eat rats and mice.[6]


 Early in her career, Martha Graham was a dancer for Denishawn. Both she and Denishawn co-founder Ted Shawn had tempers. One day, while on tour, Ms. Graham called Mr. Shawn to say that she wanted to add a new dance to the tour. Mr. Shawn refused to give her permission to add the dance, so Ms. Graham angrily ripped the telephone out of the wall. On another occasion, they grew angry as they talked over lunch in a New York restaurant. Ms. Graham stood up, grabbed the tablecloth, and pulled it, the dishes, and all the food onto the floor, then she stalked out of the restaurant and into a taxi. Mr. Shawn followed her and screamed at her, “I don’t ever want to see you again in my life! And I mean it!” On both occasions, they quickly made up their differences.[7]

When Lindy Hop dancer Norma Miller was underage, she had a chance to go to Europe as a member of a dance troupe. The problem was this: How could she convince her mother to let her go? After receiving the offer, she went home and her mother, who was tired, asked her to do a favor — to wash a few things in the sink. Norma asked, “Okay, Ma, but if I wash out your underwear, will you let me go to Europe?” Thinking that Norma was joking, her mother said, “Yes, if you wash those things in the sink, I’ll let you go to Europe.” The next day Norma told her about the offer — and reminded her about her promise to let her go to Europe. After a lot of arguing, and the promise that Norma would be chaperoned, her mother let her go to Europe.[8]


 Agnes de Mille says, “I’m not a Massine fan at all.” When Léonide Massine was at Covent Garden, his fans were numerous and enthusiastic. Ms. de Mille used to attend performances of his works at Covent Garden and be very quiet. Meanwhile, members of the audience would cheer madly, be wildly extravagant in their love for Massine and his art — and glare at Ms. de Mille because she did not share their enthusiasm for all things Massine. One day, Mr. Massine was introduced at Covent Garden as “certainly the greatest choreographer we have living and probably ever have had.” Ms. de Mille immediately thought of Martha Graham and of Antony Tudor.[9]

Anita Berber, known mainly as a controversial dancer in Weimar Berlin, performed in many countries. In Fiume, a city now in Croatia, she performed in a very small club where she could hear the comments members of the audience made about her. She overheard one insulting comment and memorized where it had come from. After her dance was over, she walked over to that spot and slapped the man sitting there. Unfortunately, Ms. Berber was nearsighted and did not know that the man who had insulted her had gone and that a man who appreciated her talent had taken his place.[10]

[1] Source: Barbara C. Cruz, Rubén Blades: Salsa Singer and Social Activist, p. 60.

[2] Source: Julinda Lewis-Ferguson, Alvin Ailey, Jr., pp. 65-67.

[3] Source: Alice Patelson, Portrait of a Dancer, Memories of Balanchine: An Autobiography, pp. 1-2.

[4] Source: Rod Long, Belly Laughs, pp. 13ff.

[5] Source: Rudolf Nureyev, Nureyev: An Autobiography, pp. 33-34.

[6] Source: Barbara O’Connor, Katherine Dunham: Pioneer of Black Dance, p. 45.

[7] Source: Russell Freedman, Martha Graham: A Dancer’s Life, pp. 33-35.

[8] Source: Norma Miller, Swingin’ at the Savoy, pp. 87-88.

[9] Source: Clive Barnes, Inside American Ballet Theatre, p. 86.

[10] Source: Mel Gordon, The Seven Addictions and Five Professions of Anita Berber, pp. 112-113.

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David Bruce: “Shakespeare’s 12 Comedies: Retellings in Prose” (Amazon)

This book contains easy-to-read retellings of these 12 comedies by William Shakespeare:
All’s Well that Ends Well
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Love’s Labor’s Lost
Measure for Measure
The Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
The Taming of the Shrew
Twelfth Night
The Two Gentlemen of Verona

By reading these books in modern English, you should be able to understand Shakespeare’s early English plays much better.

This book is ON SALE for 99 cents for a few days. Regular Price: 9.99.

Over 1300 pages.


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Recommended Seeing: Tiny Dancers Among Us

Tiny Dancers Among Us: Jordan Matter Captures Amazing Photos Of Dancing Kids (Design You Trust)

Jordan Matter is a talented portrait and dance photographer from New York City, whose work has been featured on the BBC, CBS and NBC and newspapers around the world. Best known for his previous works “Dancers Among Us,” “Dancers After Dark,” and “Athletes Among Us,” Jordan was inspired by his kids, Hudson and Salish, to create his latest project titled “Tiny Dancers Among Us.”

Jordan Matter: Tiny Dancers Among Us

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You’re no Prince Charming, I’ll rescue Myself. (A Poem) 

Sara in LaLaLand

I wrote this poem because a lot of the time I find myself chasing fairytales and also because my head is up in the clouds, I don’t realise that my “Prince Charming” isn’t what he makes himself out to be. At the end of the day, I don’t to be rescued from anybody, I just need to be more aware and less naive. I hope you enjoy.

Until next time, stay creative.


You’re no Prince Charming, I’ll rescue myself:

Your deceptive ways fooled me for a while and I was too blind to see.

You were never the knight, I was never the damsel, you were always the villain to me.

You pretended to save me on your white, shiny horse, turns out it was covered in paint.

You showed your true colours and now I can see that you are in no way a saint.

I do not…

View original post 30 more words

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David Bruce: Not a Haiku?

Five, seven, then five

Syllables. Not a haiku?

Just add poetry

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