Use “Who” (Subject) and “Whom” (Object) to Refer to People

Use “who” and “whom” to refer to people. “Who” is a subject. “Whom” is an object.

Use “that” and “which” to refer to things.

Actress Jessica Lange has won two Oscars, and her advice to anyone who is nominated for an Oscar is to have a few words that you can say “just in case” you win. She also says that the best speech ever given by a winner was very short. Tommy Lee Jones said, “Thanks for all the work.” In Hollywood, getting work is very important.

When he was four years old, actor Steve Buscemi was hit by a bus and got his skull fractured. This doesn’t mean that he was unlucky—the accident could have been a lot worse. In addition, when he became 18 years old, he received a $6,000 settlement from the city. He used the money to pay for acting school at the Lee Strasberg Institute, where he studied with John, Lee’s son, who was more laid-back than his famous father. For example, Mr. Buscemi describes an acting scenario at the institute: “They had this thing where if you were in a desert and imagining sun beating down on you, you couldn’t use the stage light to imagine the sun. But John said if the stage light works, that’s fine. The audience don’t know and don’t care.” Mr. Buscemi, of course, gets results, as is evidenced by his roles in such movies as Fargo, Reservoir Dogs, and Ghost World.

Director Werner Herzog originally wanted Jason Robards to star in his movie Fitzcarraldo, in which a 340-ton steamship is carried over a mountain (the people involved in making the film actually did this) in the Peruvian rainforest, but Mr. Robards contracted amoebic dysentery and was unable to keep on filming the movie. Therefore, Mr. Herzog hired Klaus Kinski, whom critic Giles Harvey describes as an “incendiary, egomaniacal, tantrum-prone bull.” Of course, Mr. Kinski acted in such a way as to live up to Mr. Harvey’s description of him, and a Native American chief who had been hired for the movie told Mr. Herzog that he was more than willing to kill Mr. Kinski. Mr. Herzog declined the offer—which was appreciated.

Even big-time directors like Francis Ford Coppolo don’t have as much power as people tend to think they do. In 1997, he wanted to cast Johnny Depp—whom he regards as “one of the three greatest actors of his generation”—as the lead in The Rainmaker, but the movie studio would not let him do that because at the time Mr. Depp was not the major star that he is now. Therefore, Mr. Coppola had to tell him, “Listen, they absolutely forbid me to cast you in this.” Mr. Depp replied, “But we thought you were a god!” Mr. Coppola says, “A lot of people think that being a name director, you do absolutely what you want to do and only what you want to do. Maybe Steven Spielberg’s earned that right with his extraordinary career. But he would be the only one who has that type of power.”

Comedian Fred Allen once met a fan who told him that she had traveled to New York all the way from San Francisco to see him broadcast his radio program. Mr. Allen replied, “Madame, if I had only known you were coming all that way just to catch my little old show, the least I could have done was meet you halfway—say, about Omaha.”

Back when vaudeville was alive and well, Eddie Cantor and George Jessel were performing together. Mr. Cantor made an ad-lib that got a big laugh, and then Mr. Jessel made an ad-lib that got an even bigger laugh. Not knowing anything to say to get a bigger laugh than Mr. Jessel, Mr. Cantor took off a shoe and hit Mr. Jessel on the head with it. Upset, in part because of the huge laugh that Mr. Cantor had gotten by hitting him, Mr. Jessel started complaining to the audience, “Ladies and gentlemen, this so-called grown-up man, whom I have the misfortune to be working with, is so lacking in decorum, breeding, and intelligence, that when he was unable to think of a clever retort he had to descend to the lowest form of humor by taking off his shoe and striking me on the head. Only an insensitive oaf would sink so low.” Mr. Cantor had the perfect response to Mr. Jessel’s speech. He hit Mr. Jessel on the head with his shoe again.

British comedian David O’Doherty once performed in front of 40 people, 20 of whom were members of the Active Elderly Association, which meant that much of his audience were in their eighties. Unfortunately, his act was not meant for people in their eighties, so he was performing routines about iPhones and about spying on a naked lady doing aerobics when he was 12 years old. During intermission, he figured that all the old people would leave, but they were still present when he walked out for the second half of his act. He asked them, “Why are you still here?” One of the old people replied, “The bus doesn’t come to get us until 11.” He also used to do readings of children’s books in libraries. Ten minutes after he began reading one book, a small boy raised his hand and asked, “Does this get good soon?” Mr. O’Doherty says, “It was so profound. How many times—not just at a gig, but in a relationship or at a family get-together—have you wanted to raise your hand and ask that?”

Sam Mayo was a British music-hall comedian who was popular for a time, but whose comedy fell out of favor and forced his retirement. After retiring, he used to stand outside of music halls listening to the applause given to other performers as tears ran down his cheeks.

Comedian Robin Williams earned great fame as Mork of the TV sitcom Mork and Mindy. Mork was an outer-space alien, and when Mr. Williams was asked at an audition to sit in a chair while in character as Mork, he did exactly that—and sat on his head. Fame really did come quickly. At an ice-skating rink, Mr. Williams stepped into a telephone booth to make a call. He was recognized by fans, who gawked at him through the glass. Mr. Williams says, “I felt like I was in the San Diego Zoo.”

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