We got Bruce

By Daniel A. Kusner Life+Style Editor

Hollywood’s go-to funnyman visits Dallas for the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade. Punch-line whiz cranks out zingers on Anderson Cooper, Mary Cheney and Shirley Phelps-Roper



BIG MAN OF COMEDY IN BIG D: Vilanch serves as honorary grand marshal at the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade on Sunday.

Nathan Lane said it best: Bruce Vilanch “has given stars more lines than a Hollywood coke dealer.”

Universally regarded as one of the funniest minds in Hollywood, Vilanch has created a niche for himself in Tinseltown, most notably as a writer for the Oscars, Emmys and Tony’s. At 58, he’s been writing funny lines for everybody who’s anybody for more than four decades. While Whoopi, Robin Williams and Billy Crystal probably have Bruce’s number on speed dial, Better Midler is probably the entertainer he’s most closely aligned with.

After emerging from behind the scenes, Vilanch has become a hilarious celebrity in his own right especially after the release of the 1999 documentary, “Get Bruce.”

This weekend, he’s the toast of Dallas’ Gay Pride. On Sunday, he’s the honorary grand marshal of the 2006 Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade. And since Sunday is Sept. 17, our Pride celebration coincidentally falls on “Constitution Day” the purpose of which, is to “to foster in the American people a deeper reverence for and a better understanding of the U.S. Constitution.”

The man is busier than a one-armed monkey with six penises.

Earlier this week, Vilanch responded to an e-mail questionnaire and proved his a national treasure as a gay humorist.

If George Bush’s presidential library ends up at Southern Methodist University, Dubya and Laura will become Dallasites. Do you have any special recommendations how we can celebrate Constitution Day 2006 that would address Bush’s proposed Federal Marriage Amendment?

We can start by burning all the books in his presidential library. Clearly, he hasn’t read any of them.

Can you think of anything that’s dramatically changed for better or worse since your first Pride experience.?

I really don’t remember my first Pride parade, because in the beginning they were drunken bacchanals. Come to think of it, they still are if you do them right. But in between all that, there are significant statements made about the diversity of the gay community, the acceptance we have for each other, and the lack of shame we have about being so different from each other while still being gay.

The parading lawyers and P-FLAGgers aren’t as picturesque as the drag queens and dykes on bikes, but they’re there.

You’re considered Bette Midler’s most devoted funnyman. Three years ago, Bette stirred up a storm when she appeared on Larry King and questioned same-sex marriage rights and commitment issues especially for gay men, who like to “move around,” Midler said.

If you could crank out a punch line for Bette who in 1985 got married in a Las Vegas chapel that might alleviate the strange vibes that spread from her comments, what would you suggest?

All Bette was guilty of was not educating herself on the issue of gay marriage and not realizing that Larry King was going to appoint her as the straight spokesperson for the gay community. Bette has since rectified all of that, and Larry as had at least one heart attack, maybe over his question.

When you’ve got a gay Pride demonstration, you’ve got fundamentalist protesters. If you could ask Shirley Phelps-Roper Fred’s daughter one question, what topic would you address?

Does her dad have any favorite foods we can poison?

A-list park-cruiser George Michael splits his time between London and Dallas. Upon George’s most recent exposure in the bushes, he claimed that park cruising is a part of gay culture. As 2006 gay-Pride spokesperson, do you have any idea what George was talking about?

Not a clue.

The gay community would be happy to claim Anderson Cooper as one of our own. As grand marshal, lets say one of your powers would be the ability to make a “Closet Swap.” If you could trade an openly gay person who’d be shoved back in the closet for Anderson, who would it be?

That poor Teletubby. How he’s suffered.

Finish this sentence: Ann Coulter walks into a gay bar with Mary Cheney and Jeff Gannon. And the bartender says

Hemlock for three, coming right up!

What Web site do you check on a regular basis?

www.HisFirstMonster.com. [Editor's note: If you call up this site, don't do it at work. "Monster" refers to monster-sized.]

When reading online profiles, so many men are seeking guys with senses of humor. You must be quite a catch. Are you available? If so, what advice do you have for any North Texans who’d love to hunt down Bruce Vilanch while you’re in town?

I’m an endangered species, what’s taking you so long?

What types of guys do you find attractive?
Midgets with super-endowments. But they’re in such short supply, I’ll go for almost anything.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, September 15, 2006.

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