Thursday, October 1, 2009

Michelle's Secret

Much thanks to Ethan Persoff for posting my Special Depraved Bonus Bits about Michael O'Donoghue at The Realist Archive. This was in reaction to several idiotic reviews of "Mr. Mike," primarily the one in New York Press, the weekly referred to in the piece (I didn't want to give them any publicity -- such was my mindset back then).

Reading this evokes mostly bad memories. It appeared at the time when our home life was imploding, and everything, as O'Donoghue would put it, was covered in snakes. "American Fan" was under attack from the HarperCollins lawyers as money flew out the window, along with the wife and kids, who moved to Michigan while I remained in NYC, chasing ghosts, getting hammered, and stalking around in a fiery mist.

Still, being published by Paul Krassner remains a true thrill in my life. Think of all the satirical and literary heavyweights featured in The Realist's lifespan, from Lenny Bruce onward. My tone was a bit more aggressive than now; I had yet to learn how to shade my anger and channel it into less-poisonous areas. Some of you may not see a difference, but trust me, there's a big gap. That writer was one bitter, nasty, fucked up guy, and he had yet to hit bottom. It makes my stomach hurt just thinking about him.

The photo of O'D in lingerie is genuine. As I point out in the piece, there were numerous pix of Michael's transvestism in his files. His widow, Cheryl Hardwick, helped select the one we used. Dunno how Michael would've felt about this, but he anticipated such posthumous exposure years before he died, so I doubt he would have been terribly surprised.

Here's a segment from "TV," a pilot that Michael tried to sell to Fox in the early-90's. It was roughly the same premise as "SCTV," minus a resident cast. Michael wrote most of the pilot (two younger writers filled in the margins), but as he often did, especially late in his career, O'D recycled old material cut from SNL and elsewhere. The first bit is one of Michael's better concepts: Rutger Hauer as Kid Satin, a western gunslinger who wears a dress in order to provoke duels.

Transvestism, violence, and Debussy. A Mr. Mike combo if there ever was one.