“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen of the press. Let me start off by saying ‘Fuck Paul Simon.’ Just a schmuck. A real schmuck, y’know? It’s a charity concert, we’re trying to raise money for Africans who are very hungry, and I gotta deal with calls about his hairpiece budget. I say to him: Paul, every dollar we spend on your skull is a dollar less to put in an African’s stomach. He says: no toupee, no Paul play.
“So again: Fuck Paul Simon.
“When Bob Geldof, who is a schmendrick, called Bill Graham Productions and begged us to produce Live Aid, I was honored but then I wound up screaming at him over the phone for two hours. He wasn’t thinking big. ‘Bill,’ he says to me. “I’m thinking about inviting Status Quo out for drinks.’ I say, ‘No, let’s have two simultaneous concerts on two continents.’ Geldof says, ‘Your idea is better.’ It was a transatlantic call, so it probably cost around a hundred bucks just to call an Irishman an asshole.
“And what does he do, this little pisher, this one-hit wonder mieskeit? He torpedoes me! This whole time, he torpedoes me.The Beatle he keeps, The Who he keeps, Bowie he keeps. All the good limeys. Sends me fat Ozzy and that little Phil Collins person. I didn’t ask for Phil Collins. Duran Duran? I didn’t want one Duran, but he sent both.
“The whole production, Geldof’s treating it like a competition. He calls me up, ‘I got Charles and Diana.’ He’s so excited, he’s bipping and bopping on the phone, and I just couldn’t bear to hear him so happy. Though the show was only two weeks away, I got on a plane to London so I could scream at him in person.
“On the plane ride back home, I thought about names. Royalty. They got royalty? Fuck ’em, we got royalty, too. Who, though?
“If this were next year, I could have called Refrigerator Perry, but he’s not famous yet.
“If we were doing the show in the Bay Area, I would call up Willie Mays and Joe Montana and be done with it. Montana ain’t gonna fly in Philly. I need a movie star. Stallone is perfect, but he’s out of the country. Clint! Clint Eastwood, right? Who’s bigger than Dirty Harry?
“Clint refuses to take my calls. I fly out to whatever that little beach village he rules with an iron fist is called, and the police meet me at the town line and throw me in the local jail. The charges are Conspiracy to Bother Clint and Vulgar Ethnicity.
“It’s a white little town. I stood out.
“Luckily, I was wearing my lock picks on my giant necklace right next to my Africa medallion. Just as I escaped from the Nazis, I escaped from Clint Eastwood’s goons.
“Now, your normal promoter–your Ron Delsener, your John Scher–is going to need a day or two to decompress after that experience, but I immediately made for the Hollywood Hills. Jack Nicholson. I’ll get Jack Nicholson, who is a better actor than Clint Eastwood anyway, and isn’t the tyrant of a seaside bedroom community.
“Jack refuses to take my calls. Luckily, he lives right next door to Marlon Brando, who I know from doing Apocalypse Now with him. I call the great Marlon Brando and explain my plight. Marlon won’t talk to Jack, but he will let me use the zip-line the two of them have in between their homes.
“I say, ‘Why the hell do you two have a zip-line?’ He says, ‘Girls and cocaine.’
“The great Marlon Brando.
“The plan is that Marlon will call Jack up and tell him there’s something coming. Then I zip over, and I figure I got maybe ten seconds before Jack starts shooting or calls the cops, right? Marlon agrees, and hands me a tranquilizer gun that he had handy.
“This is the part of the story where I remind you that I’ve been up for 60 hours straight at this point, and also I was abusing cocaine quite heavily with the great Marlon Brando.
“He says, ‘Just start firing away first thing. Jack’s quick, and he’s armed. He is a dangerous adversary, Bill Graham. Use your Jewish instincts.’ And before I had time to ask him what he meant by that, Brando pushes me out the window. ZZZZZZIPPP I cross the lawn twenty feet up, and I crash into Jack’s bedroom.
“There he is! I shoot him, like, seven times with the tranquilizer gun. WHAM! Right down!
“I hear laughing from Marlon’s place. It’s Marlon, but it’s also Jack! The sonofabitch is in the window with Marlon, and he’s grinning. You know, Nicholson. The grin.
“I yell over, ‘So who did I tranq?’ And they’re laughing so hard they can’t answer. It turned out to be a teenaged hooker that Jack was bored of! When he can breathe, Jack says that he’ll do the show. And then the grin, you know? Nicholson. The girl died, but I had my royalty.
“We’re also please to announce that Ashford & Simpson have been added to the lineup, and fuck Paul Simon.