Here's the thing with Barbra Streisand: she just ruins music.
What? What did he say? All the Jews (including the author's relatives) are coming towards me with venom, pitchforks and torches.
Okay, hear me out and let me talk (like I can do that with all these disgruntled Jews around me who haven't had their Entenmann's cake and coffee yet).
What I mean is Barbra's albums, from "Partners" backwards, are just amazing forms of pitch perfect musical perfection and everything after that just plain blows.
Barbra, like few others before her, is a pure, expressive musical instrument. She's the kind of singer who can listen to a full 120-piece orchestra and stop because Saul, the second bassoon is slightly sharp and perhaps incontinent. She hears everything.
We are so not on the corner of Auto and Tune here. There is no relentless electronic thumping, no Seventh Avenue hooker outfits (and therefore no tricks...just treats), no booty twerking. All you get is pristine melody, harmony, deeply felt emotion and despair, commitment to performance and a large steaming claw tub of endless love.
And to a straight guy...she makes me feel even straighter, because despite what many might think, she is one of the sexiest women that I have ever met.
Yup. I met her. I sat with her in her home on Carolwood in Bel-Air.
I had a fun film idea for her and my then partner Bob Kosberg set up a meeting for me to go to her house and pitch.
For any Jew this was an audience with our Pope. We have had very few Jewish heroes in our lives. Jerry Lewis. Sandy Koufax. Sammy Davis, Jr., Esther (formerly known as Madonna), Billy Joel, Captain Kirk, The Fonz. Oh: and Jesus (Hey Sandler: you missed that one).
So off I went wearing sweat and little else, and approached Mecca. The concrete driveway door slid open (SO "Oz"---not the HBO one).
I was first ushered to a small house on the property which was relegated to the world of busy bee PR people. The constant urge to urinate at this point was at high alert GUSH level. My toe tapping sounded like Savion Glover's house.
Then I was led through a forest (again: ENCHANTMENT) to the sun room of the MAIN HOUSE. For me: 12 Years a Slave---or the Jewish version: A 100 Years A Slave.
I was dumped into chair and immediately noticed figurines in Yentl outfits, whose outfits I think she designed.
I was then pre-interviewed by Cis Corman, her manager I think, who laid down the rules and told me what I could and could not say. The only words I heard were: .
And then SHE entered---wearing a white cashmere sweater and matching pants outfit and the first thing I thought of was: nice boobs....but more than that her eyes were so BLUE. It's like she went too far with the Listerine gargling and it all backed up.
And then suddenly, I'm sitting knee to knee with HER. And what do I say?
"So. You working?"
She looked at me like I just sat on her poodle.
"You know what's really nuts? I don't know you. All of my life I have stared at you, listened to you...and yet here you are and you are a complete stranger."
Cis shifted in her seat like Cersi Lannister in Game of Thrones eye darting Tyrion with her hate soul.
Then I said (I'm still talking. SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP)
"I mean, I close my eyes and I'm ten and listening to "Barbra in Central Park" in my underpants...and now I open them and boom: total stranger."
She smiled slightly and adorably crooked, threw her hair back and said: "I get that."
Now I had a few advantages. I was working with her ex, Eliot Gould at the time on a sitcom, I had met her little son Jason numerous times and my mentor in Hollywood had been Gail Parent who amongst other things, had written "The Main Event." Plus I was currently developing a sitcom with her then beau Don Johnson.
Well I shared all that. And then it was time to pitch.
Two lines into it, she stopped me and told me why it would fail. Nicely. Politely. But DEFINITELY.
Okay, that threw me off my game.
But then she asked if I felt like pitching something else.
And that's when I fell in love with her more.
She had every reason to throw this little Jew slave back into the desert. I mean there were seas to be parted!
But she didn't. She hung in there with me. She was enjoying me. In the right there moment with me. She cared.
But I was SO done. All I wanted to do was run out and scream like a girl with her hair on fire towards anywhere but here.
This was way too BIG. Too momentous. Too special. Too important.
So I babbled like Elmer Fudd on ecstasy and did a backwards Moonwalk out of there---which in retrospect has always bummed me out because I did have some better ideas.
But you know, I did just fine. I staffed, ran and co-created lots of hit sitcoms from Fresh Prince to Mad About You---where my new leader became Pope Paul the First.
I wrote movies for John Travolta (another story: I stayed at his house and LOVED him) and Kevin Costner among others.
Dreams I think always come true...with or without you.
But that day, which will stay with me forever, I heard Barbra's true music right up close
And it all came from the heart.
Now go away and get her album legally and help her have a number one album in six consecutive decades.
Oh: and yes I have had fantasies of pushing James Brolin off a very large cliff. But in my dreams he always beats the crap out of me and rides away on a motorcycle with Dr. Welby.