Carrie Fisher is the balls. I love her heavy eyeliner. I love that she was shoeless during her one woman show, Wishful Drinking.
She’s Hollywood royalty, she's Princess Leia, she's a Jenny Craig spokesperson. And her turn on "30 Rock" as Liz Lemon’s depressing future? Might be one of the best moments in pop culture history.
She's also a scathingly funny writer. Her novel, "Postcards from the Edge," is one of the most enjoyable roman a clefs out there … and hey, it’s quite an honor when you get Meryl Streep to play you in the movie.
We love a good addiction memoir, here, obviously, and "Wishful Drinking" is no exception; I adore her bravery and candor: She woke up in bed one morning to her best friend dead beside her from a Oxycontin overdose. Paul Simon wrote "Graceland" as an ode to their failed marriage. She slept with Dan Aykroyd. Her second husband left her for a guy.
Cliché or silly as it is to call famous people with loads of money "survivors," Carrie has earned the title. But you don't have to take my word for it, Reading Rainbow fans: you must read "Shockaholic."
I picked up a copy at the airport last weekend and I was delighted. It’s chock full of celebrity feuds, insights on her eccentric and "famous for their time" parents (Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds!) and scathing honesty about her battles with depression, bi-polar disorder and drug addiction.
The double-entendre title comes from the electro shock therapy she gets to keep depression at bay and stay away from pills. (Apparently ECT is nowhere near as traumatizing in treatment today as it is depicted in "Return to Oz.") According to Carrie, they knock you out, shock you, give you an anti-convulsion drug and you go home and sleep for four hours. Only downside is losing about a couple months of memories prior to treatment. WORTH IT, according to Miss Fisher. If nothing else, there's some pretty fascinating insight into current mental health treatments.
But, as it happens, there is plenty else. Proceed below for some candid and delightful Carrie Fisher stories and then see if you don't want to read the whole damn thing.
Christmas with MJ
“On Christmas Eve 2008 -- Michael’s last -- I went over to his house, which is located just down the hill from me and a few blocks over. He was giving his children the childhood that he never had. A childhood outside of celebrity with people who didn’t objectify them. Because normally, for Michael, life was like being an animal at the zoo. An endangered species forever behind bars. I could get in the cage with Michael and not get freaked out, and there weren’t that many people who would’ve known how to, or known that it was even something they might actually be required to do when with him. But I did…And then, to change it up, Michael asked me to do the Star Wars hologram speech for his kids. I didn’t mind. Someone actually had to remind me what a big Star Wars fan Michael was."
Dinner with Ted Kennedy and Chris Dodd in the mid 80’s
“Suddenly, Senator Kennedy, seated directly across from me, looked at me with his alert, aristocratic eyes and asked me a most surprising question. 'So,' he said, clearly amused, 'Do you think you'll be having sex with Chris at the end of your date?'"
Liz Taylor Throws Her in a Pool
"I'm going to push you in the pool," she informed me. Not in a threatening way, but more as if catching me up on the afternoon's upcoming events. I studied her. Was this a threat or a ... threat?
"Do it," I challenged her, causing her to tilt her head to one side, suspiciously, her eyes narrowing.
"No, you'll just pull me in after you." I shook my head, removing my non-waterproof watch and setting it on a nearby glass table. We studied one another in the hot sun.
Eddie Fisher: Father of the Year!
“On another occasion, when I was about thirteen, I remember taking a walk with him down the road near his home. So, you know, what do you say to someone who really didn't know how to ask questions and coincidentally happened to be your father? I mean, our exchanges never really went much beyond an assortment of, 'How are you?' or 'What grade are you in now?' or 'What's your favorite subject?' This time though he turned to me quite casually and said, 'I see you're developing breasts.'"
"Shockaholic" is available now from Simon & Schuster.