August/September 2013

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Billy Crystal Billy Crystal stood before 300 people in an auditorium at New York University, his alma mater, reading chapters from his new book, Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? Whenever he flubbed a word or a passage, he repeated himself, as he had alerted the audience he would. His performance, he explained, would be folded into the upcoming audiobook version of his part-memoir, part-humor book. He had already recorded all of it in a studio in Los Angeles, where the 65-yearold actor, comedian, and nine-time Oscar host lives with his wife, Janice. He had recorded in the studio partly as a backup, he said, and partly because he felt he couldn't read the whole book in front of an audience. "It's hard to hold anyone with a 45-page chapter," he said in an interview before the reading. More than holding the audience, he often had them in stitches as he read from chapters with such titles as "65 is not 60," "Sex" (a word that elicited a squeal from a woman in the second row, to which he replied, "It's not an offer"), and "The Elbow," about his propensity to fall asleep at other people's performances these days, and his wife's way of waking him up. He talked about older men following their wives around malls: "It's like the march of the very depressed penguins." He discussed Cialis ads and no longer looking at 25-year-old women: "Actually, I do, but they're out of focus, and by the time I get my glasses on, they're gone." He did a great imitation of James Earl Jones, in front of whom he nodded off at a Broadway show. Many of the sections were a tad raunchy. The material lends itself easily to performing, he said. "When I first started writing the book, it wasn't a book. I thought it would be fun to do a tour of 20 24 I AudioFile/www.audioļ¬ Photo by Julie Brothers "The energy of performing is all the same. You have to interpret it. You have to bring it to life for the listener."

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