Skip to comments.My Buddy Bill [Clinton smokes hash in Amsterdam, Hillary, and more in a new play about the ex-prez]
Posted on 11/26/2005 5:42:33 AM PST by summer
Rick Cleveland tells Bill Clinton stories in his one-man show.
Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse, Westwood, CA
Through Dec. 18
Bottom line: A must-see, must-hear show to open the fine new second space at the Geffen.
What is it like to pal around with Bill Clinton? Rick Cleveland gives us the skinny in "My Buddy Bill," a fascinating and finely executed one-man show based on Cleveland's friendship with the former president.
The friendship is over now, for reasons that become clear in the evening's most revealing episode. But no matter what you might have thought of Clinton going in, you're going to understand him much better on the way out.
Cleveland met Clinton in 2000 when, as one of several writers on "The West Wing," he was taking a tour of the White House. When Clinton's dog Buddy peed on the rug in the Oval Office, Cleveland, who knows a lot about dogs, gave the president an impromptu lesson in dog behavior. It turned out that the two had things other than dogs in common, both having had alcoholic fathers and a "white trash" background to overcome.
It also is clear that Cleveland is a pretty easy guy to like. He's a folksy sort with a dry wit, a laid back manner and an impish glint in his eye. Imagine a grown-up Huck Finn rafting down the Potomac and you can see why Clinton was drawn to him.
Cleveland's stories are chock-full of intimate details and amusing enough to tickle the most demanding funnybone. There was the time he was invited to Arkansas and winds up jamming, drinking beer and playing Trivial Pursuit with Clinton, his strange brother Roger and Billy Bob Thornton. We're also told about a trip to Amsterdam where Clinton, Christopher Walken and Cleveland smoke some very good hash in a stoner bar and Bill, perhaps under the influence because he definitely inhales, has some intriguing things to say about Monica Lewinsky, Sharon Stone, Ann Coulter and other topics of interest.
But of all the people we meet, including Clinton, no one is quite so ... um, commanding as Hillary. We first meet Hillary at an Italian restaurant in Santa Monica where Bill and Rick are double-dating with their respective wives. The Clintons arrive late and obviously have been fighting on the way over, so the dinner has the feel of low-level warfare with lots of sniping and an occasional ambush. One thing is crystal clear: Bill Clinton is not the same person with Hillary around that he is when she's not around.
Hillary, it seems, is not only "watching me like a hawk," as Bill puts it at one point, but she has someone else watching her fun-loving husband. Based on what happens next, one is forced to conclude that one, Bill Clinton would not have become president if not for Hillary; two, Bill Clinton would not have continued to be president if not for Hillary; and three, Bill Clinton owes Hillary Rodham big time for what she has done for him, and she has her own ways and reasons for collecting on that debt, not all of them pretty.
Is Cleveland telling the truth? He does his best in the show's final moments to sow some doubt in our minds, but most of what he says rings true. Completely true or not, though, it's a delicious show to sit through, subtly written, humorously delivered and skillfully directed by Peter Birkenhead for maximum effect.
A final note: This is the debut production of the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the newly remodeled Geffen Playhouse. It's a warm, intimate second space certain to find much use in years to come. The opening piece is a corker.
MY BUDDY BILL
Presented by the Geffen Playhouse
Written and performed by Rick Cleveland
Director: Peter Birkenhead
Set designer: Karyl Newman
Dramaturg: Mary Cleveland
Well, if I was in CA I would certainly go see this play! It sounds like it was very well written by someone in the know...
Presidue: The Bill and Hideous Clinton Story
What?!! no pictures of Ann?
LOL...I'm very curious what Bil Clinton would say about Ann Coulter. I can't imagine he would like her, on the other hand, she is quite attractive, so who knows. Maybe he does have a secret crush on her.
I meant to ping you on #6.
FYI..Ya think they'd hire you to design the poster and playbill..
Except that despite becoming President, Clinton never really overcame that background.
Oh, I think name-calling in that vein is sort of juvenille. I mean, the guy WAS president, like him or not. (And, his wife may well become president.) Not that I am eager to see him anywhere near the White House again, though...
I've known all along that was just a ruse. Anybody trying reefer is definitely going to inhale. He knew that somebody was liable to say, "Bill and I smoked dope." Clinton would have already commented about it. A preemptive statement about it, if you will.
And, the former Prez Bush likes to hang around with him!
HILLARY in a -NY- Yankee Cap =
DUKAKIS in an -ARMY- Tank
His wrongful acts aside, he just seems like such a kid in so many ways. Hillary probably never wished for a little boy, since she has already has one in her hubby, who often appears to have never grown up. (But, still, I wouldn't call him names.) But she's probably wished she married someone else.
If Clinton didn't have that charm and a smattering of intellect he'd be living in a single wide manufactured housing unit down in Texarkana.
I saw Susan Estrich on C-SPAN the other day, making the case for Hillary (and for Susan's new book about the same topic). I don't know. I think Hillary may not make it through the primaries due to her refusal to side with Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore, etc.
LOL...c'mon, this is America, where anyone can achieve their dreams! :)
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