Christie Brinkley Discusses Return to Celebrity Autobiography at SAC

Christie Brinkley in Bridgehampton
Christie Brinkley in Bridgehampton
Jared Siskin/Patrickmcmullan.com

After being canceled last summer due to inclement weather that wasn’t so inclement after all, laugh-out-loud Broadway comedy sensation Celebrity Autobiography is back at Southampton Arts Center with two performances in one night this Saturday, August 20 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

For this edition of the hysterically funny show — which features celebrities reading excerpts from other stars’ memoirs — Celebrity Autobiography veterans Christie Brinkley, Mario Cantone (Sex and the City), Richard Kind (Spin City, Red Oaks), Susan Lucci (All My Children), Sherri Shepherd (the actress and comedian about to take over Wendy Williams’ daytime talk show), TV writer/producer Alan Zweibel (one of the original Saturday Night Live writers from 1975–1980) and show creator Eugene Pack will perform.

Susan Lucci performs Celebrity Autobiography
Susan Lucci performs Celebrity AutobiographyAndrew Werner

Created by Pack, an Emmy nominee (America: A Tribute To Heroes, 2001), and developed with Dayle Reyfel, the show finds funny, absurd and often clueless passages in celebrity memoirs, such as Vanna Speaks by Vanna White, The Dirt by Motley Crue, Star Jones’ You Have to Stand for Something, Or You’ll Fall for Anything, and Prairie Tale: A Memoir by Melissa Gilbert, among many others.

Celebrity Autobiography’s genius, of course, is that the readings don’t change any of the writing. They instead highlight the comedy and unintentional parody inherent in what the self-important celebrity authors actually wrote.

Mario Cantone
Mario Cantone

The actors reading these books bring their own style to each performance, playing to the crowd, sometimes going totally dead-pan, pausing for effect, making faces or hamming it up, depending on their individual approach.

During the night’s show, audiences may find answers to questions they never thought to ask, like: Why did Tommy Lee put on his “dirtiest f___ing leather pants” and “an old T-shirt that stank of BO” before he went to meet Pamela Anderson for their first date? How does Vanna describe the challenging work of turning her letters? What does Stallone store in his freezer? How did Justin Bieber end up stuck in the trunk of a car? What does Hasselhoff reveal about the beauties of Baywatch?

Sherri ShepherdPaul Bruinooge/PMC, patrickmcmullan.com

The passages in Celebrity Autobiography reveal much, and even combine memoirs, such as the famous Hollywood love triangle between Elizabeth Taylor, Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher — told from each of their books in one performance.

Sherri Shepherd
Sherri ShepherdPaul Bruinooge/PMC, patrickmcmullan.com

“We’re due for a laugh and could not be more excited to bring this incredible show to Southampton Arts Center,” SAC general manager Joe Diamond says. “Celebrity Autobiography is a fantastic way to bring the community together with these hilarious performers, some who have special ties of their own to the East End, for some good old-fashioned comedy. It’s a really unique show, and we’re honored to host the only performance in the Hamptons this year.”

Among the talented readers on Saturday are actors and celebs who are based locally or visit regularly, and a couple of them were supposed to be in last summer’s canceled show, including Lucci, Zweibel and Brinkley, Bridgehampton’s resident supermodel and actress.

An international household name who proved her acting chops as Roxie Hart in Chicago on Broadway, Brinkley recently spoke with us about the joy of performing in Celebrity Autobiography and how excited she is to be back on the SAC stage after the eleventh-hour cancelation last August.

Christie Brinkley
Christie BrinkleyAnna Gunselman

Christie Brinkley Talks Celebrity Autobiography

Tell me what happened with last summer’s Celebrity Autobiography performance.

We were scheduled to do it, but remember we had that hurricane or something up the coast… We were supposed to get hit harder than we got hit, but they were making such a big deal about it that I guess they just determined that they needed to cancel the show until this year, so we’re picking it up again. But I’ve done it the other years going back. I’ve done it several times and it’s a lot of fun.

Saturday’s show includes different actors than last year, but some, like you, are returning. Can you tell me about the cast?

Susan Lucci and Alan Zweibel, and of course Eugene Pack whose idea it was (are coming back from last year). This year, I’ve never done it with Sherri Shepherd, so that’s new, and Richard Kind. I have not done it at the same time as Richard. But I’ve done it with everybody from Debbie Harry and Alec Baldwin to Colin Jost, who I love.

What is it about this show that makes you keep coming back year after year?

I just have a blast. First of all, it’s really fun just to be with all the people there, everybody makes it fun. But the way that it sets up, the audience really has a great time. Most of the time I get to go out there and just play completely disparate characters. I’ll be Miley Cyrus in one of them, and I’ll be a Kardashian or Suzanne Somers, or Pamela Anderson in another. So you never know who you’re going to be, and it’s really fun to — you just can’t believe some of these books that people write. It’s really funny how a lot of people think about themselves.

How long has it been since you were onstage last?

Right before COVID hit I did another run on Broadway in Chicago the Musical, and I also did it in Las Vegas. Then COVID came in. Since COVID, last year was going to be my first time back on the boards, besides my appearance on The Masked Singer in March, and then we got canceled the same day that it was about to happen.

And I think part of it had to do with the fact, too, that COVID was still really cranking, and it was scheduled to be outdoors, and then suddenly they were saying there was going to be torrential downpours and big winds and lightening and all of that, so the only way that we could have accomplished it would be to move indoors, and people were hesitant to ask that of the audience. I don’t know what happened exactly behind the scenes, but we got canceled.

So it’ll be fun to be back in that environment. Part of the thing that I love about it, is just backstage and hanging out with everybody, and you can listen in from the wings to what’s going on out there. It’s a great atmosphere, it’s really fun, and we do two shows in one night, and they’re very frequently really different. So it’s kind of fun to see the different ways that people go with the material, take the material to different directions with each reading.

It’s very interesting on so many levels, and a lot of fun. And let’s face it, we could all use a laugh these days, because it truly is the best medicine.

Do you have a celebrity autobiography?

I’m actually thinking about writing one. I have not written one yet, no.

Do you know what you’re going to be reading yet?

You don’t know until you get closer to the show, and then they’ll pass out the — usually I get them the night before, so you just never know!

I think people will be surprised. It’s really funny material, you get to see some fun people reading it, and they’re reading about some pretty fun people as well. And they do these things called mashups, too, where you’ll take two autobiographies and mix, like what Elizabeth Taylor is saying and what Eddie Fisher is saying, and they’ll make it into a scene, like a conversation. So they do interesting things with it, and you just really kind of can’t believe some of the things that people say. It really is funny.

Our hope is to have the audience laughing, and so far, every time I’ve done it, that’s what’s happened. Everybody has a great time, and that’s what it’s about.

Find and tickets to Celebrity Autobiography and more info at southamptonartscenter.org/live.

More from Our Sister Sites