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Billy Crystal felt hot tears roll down the bridge of his nose and into the space once occupied by his stupid beard. The impossible had happened… the ragtag, undisciplined Red Sox had humiliated his invincible pinstripers…beat us in our own “house”…come back from a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 deficit…greatest comeback ever…etc etc…
Something about the nature and timing of the defeat seemed to strike a particularly resonant, almost personal chord with the funnyman. Was it an echo of his own decline? After all, he’d just been recently passed over as host of the 2005 Oscars for the younger, more “dangerous” Chris Rock. Could it be that his endless, grating public persona as endearing Americana-nostalgia peddler was wearing thin? Why did seeing his heroes lose seem so catastrophic? Of course *61, his biopic about Maris’ pursuit of the Babe gave him a proprietary feeling towards the Yankees and their mystique. Even so, the intensity of his grief seemed all out of proportion…
The sight of Crystal sniveling over his vanquished heroes on national TV seemed to throw into relief his recurring roles as ally/ass-kisser/flatterer/trumpeter of more serious, physically dominant and/or mythical men, e.g., De Niro, Jack Palance, Yankee heroes past and present—even the big blue creature in Monster’s Inc to whom Crystal’s one eyed, wisecracking monster played sidekick/comic foil.
Was it possible people were starting to find his desperation to be liked, always simmering just below the surface of the perpetual funny voices and facial contortions, exhausting rather than endearing? Was this why the Yankees had lost? This couldn’t be right, because he had tried so hard for so long. A wave of panic consumed Crystal, and some internal safety mechanism sprang into action. Inadvertently, unconsciously, he began to shtick frenziedly, talking and singing in sped up, cartoonish Brooklynese. At the same time he began to mug as never before, his sickly grinning, rubbery face a hilarious amalgam of tics, double takes and reaction shots.
Date Written: October 14, 2004Comments:
Author: Jon Matza
Average Vote: 4.44444
10/22/2004 qualcomm (4): 4.3 -- but is there an error in 1st sentence, last graf? can't understand it, especially first clause.
10/22/2004 qualcomm: oh, now i understand. i thought "people" was the subject of "to be liked". i was wrong.
10/22/2004 qualcomm: one thing i'd like to add to your crystal exegesis: not only does he toady to physically dominant, more serious men, he toadies to physically dominant, more serious, and most importantly, quintessentially unjewish men.
10/22/2004 Ewan Snow (3): What is this an op-ed piece? This short makes more or less obvious points about a second rate has been, and does so mostly through exposition. Doesn't live up to the first sentence.
10/22/2004 qualcomm: now i really don't think that's called for, snow. no, i really think you're out of line there.
10/22/2004 Ewan Snow: Tough cookies!
10/22/2004 Dylan Danko: Hi everybody!
10/22/2004 The Rid (5): I have to give this five stars, simply because I hate the shit out of Billy Crystal. When will that no-talent jarhead asshole just stop, already? Your borscht-belt schtick is fucking tired! Quit mugging! My Giant really, REALLY sucked! Aaaaarrrrgggghhhh!
10/22/2004 anonymous: Snow-I take your points, but sadly must point out that considering the erstwhile SNL cast member a harmless has-been may be dangerously premature.
10/22/2004 Streifenbeuteldachs (4): Last paragraph was gold!
10/22/2004 TheBuyer (5): pinstriped stormtroopers.
10/22/2004 Mr. Joshua: By what sleight of hand was this short able to jump the queue?
10/22/2004 Litcube: Hrm.
10/22/2004 anonymous: M. Joshua: I, author, had another short in the queue...but in the interest of timeliness slyly pulled the sweet switcheroo.
10/22/2004 Benny Maniacs (5): Yeah, this resonates with how I felt, except the other way. I'm a Bosox fan. HA HA HA HA
10/22/2004 Will Disney (5): boy it was great to see that bastard all mopey
10/24/2004 John Slocum (4):
10/25/2004 Jimson S. Sorghum: While there are some excellent points made here, I fear they may be cancelled out by the fact that Mr. Crystal has created a WONDERFUL picture book for children--I Already Know I Love you. Have you checked it out, Mr. Matza? I know it must be on your list, but I suggest you move it up and pronto. It's really quite moving. About being a grandpa. I know it will resonate with you.
10/25/2004 scoop: Hey Jimson, what's the name of that children's book about the bird who finds the magic rock and then gets sick of it and throws it in to his disappointment closet?
10/25/2004 Jon Matza: Holy F'ing Roman Catholic Church, Jimson. You've found the one thing in existence viler than a frenetically mugging Crystal...a heartfelt Crystal.
10/26/2004 qualcomm: i'm afraid that yankees' loss is an echo of something far more tragic than the decline of billy crystal: the decline of these very united states that "america's team" has come to represent, the end of a century of american dominance beginning at the end of WWI (which, not coincidentally, was roughly simultaneous with the commencement of the curse of the bambino, in 1920). and what is it that the red sox represent, with their sharia-compliant beards and shameful record on racial integration?
10/27/2004 scoop (5): This one made me fantasize about a real nasty session of Russian Roulette between Matt Lauer, Crystal, and that twat Bob Costas, monitored by a Ho Chi Minh loyalist still harboring the old wounds.
08/19/2005 Mr. Negative: Hey, I know everyone already said this, but Billy Crystal is a real cunt.