Clean and sober

By JAMES PARKER  |  January 23, 2007

Innocent tourists climbed aboard the bus the next day and through wincings and snickerings of microphone feedback heard Michelle, on no sleep and with a smeared grin on her face, ramble about “the element of being in the caliber of the rich and famous.” Jumpy Tim helpfully pointed out to the all-ages audience that John Belushi had died at the Chateau Marmont “after injecting a speedball.” “It was the microphone situation,” he lamented later, with a rather poetic sincerity, “that forced me to feel dread and true misery.” Michelle, capturing the mood in her odd way, described the experience as “a bit of a disaster logistically. But we also recognize that there were some people on the bus that were certainly not angry. They felt for us, they had some sympathy.”

Rather than get fired, Michelle committed boardroom harakiri, bravely declaring that her spirit was affronted by the proceedings and that she must thus resign. This prompted the inevitable stream of noisy vituperation from the Donald, who banged on about losers and quitters and lifelong regret, but Michelle held her ground. An admirable piece of opting-out.

I’m from Rolling Stone (MTV, Sundays, 10 pm) wobbles on. Is it possible that anybody who is not a music writer would be interested in this? The clang of the deadline, the editor’s murmur . . . Pete, the drunk Aussie, floundered around at a Band of Horses show. Tika lost her notes after an interview with the Roots. And Russell, dear dark-minded Russell, started to twitch and pop with authentic mania while refusing to turn in his Nellie McKay write-up. “It’s never uncomfortable for me to be in trouble,” he soliloquized. “That’s always comfortable.”

Next week I’ll be back on the celebrity-cop beat with Armed and Famous, having a pop at American Idol, and considering the improbable excellence of I Love New York. Stay tuned.

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