Saturday, April 28, 2007

An Encounter with Walter Matthau

(Photo via Brooklyn Vegan)

A couple of weeks ago, I caught the latest installment of the Dave Hill Explosion at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Dave's guests included Dick "Chatty Cathy" Cavett and the absolutely delightful Rufus Wainwright. Dick Cavett was a special treat -- if only because my own parents made me call into his CNBC talk show as a girl only to ask him why he talked more than his guests. And you wonder why I have emotional problems.

While Dick brought a handful of old timey entertaining stories (think Groucho Marx and Woody Allen), believe it or not it was Rufus Wainwright who absolutely stole the show. After singing two mesmerizingly beautiful songs, Rufskies sat down and regaled the audience with his charming laugh, his thick head of hair, and hands down the best story of the night involving everyone's favorite late curmudgeon, Walter Matthau. It went something like this:

Walter Matthau and his wife had taken a trip to Auschwitz. As they were about to enter one of the gas chambers with their tour guide, a woman runs up to him.

"Oh my God, Mr. Matthau!" she screamed. "I am such a huge fan of yours! Would you mind giving me an autograph?"

"What?" he responded. "Absolutely not. That's completely inappropriate. I can't believe you would even ask me that here." With that, him, his wife and the guide go into the chamber.

About an hour later, he's walking out of the compound, and the woman approaches him again.

"I just want you to know," she says "You ruined my trip to Auschwitz!"

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