In today's paper I review Rosie O'Donnell's new book, Celebrity Detox, in which she details the pitfalls of fame, among other things. Perhaps Rosie could benefit from reading her former colleague Joy Behar's new book, When You Need a Lift: But Don't Want to Eat Chocolate, Pay a Shrink, or Drink a Bottle of Gin (Crown, 232 pages, $19.95).
Behar really hasn't written a book at all. She writes a two-page introduction and a half-page of acknowledgments at the end. In between are testimonies written by various celebrities and other folks of note, letting us in on what they do when they're down in the dumps...
A good many of them simply count their blessings in one way or another (the gratitude journal, originally made famous by Oprah, is popular).
Patch Adams — the real-life doctor made famous by Robin Williams in the horrible film, "Patch Adams" — does for others when he's feeling blue. Pat Boone reads the Bible. Barbara Bush reads Jane Austen. Mario Cuomo shines shoes. Lee Iacocca smokes a cigar, drinks a little scotch and gets a cuddle from his bulldog. James Earl Jones plants sunflowers. Larry King watches comedies on DVD. Regis Philbin exercies ("It's the endorphins. All right!). The Fonz (Henry Winkler) goes fly-fishing.
If you've noticed, there are no A-listers in this group (except maybe Regis!). Behar's cadre of positive thinkers seems to consist mostly folks of her generation and older, many of whom are New Yorkers and those in and around the comedy biz. Here's a few more examples: Kay Ballard (eats pasta); David Brenner (thinks about how he's better off than dead people); Phyllis Diller (reads joke books); Larry Gelbart (lets go of resentments); Lainie Kazan (exercises); Ed McMahon (eats ice cream loaded with peanut butter and hot fudge); Anne Meara (watches reality shows); Liz Smith (cleans up her desk); Dick Van Patton (goes to the racetrack).
Here are my two favorites:
Bruce Hornsby: "I look at my friend Chip deMatteo's eighth-grade picture and all becomes well again."
Penn Jillette: "Don't ever try to cheer me up. I don't want to cheer up. I want to stay bummed. It never last long and I always want it to last longer."
As for Behar, here is her list of mood-enhancing activities, in order:
1. Goes to a department store and loiters near the handbags.
2. Gets a manicure/pedicure.
3. Gets on the phone and gabs with her girlfriends.