This Post Is About ‘Memory’ From ‘Cats’ Not Trump’s Gross Penis
Former part-time White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham has a tell-all memoir coming out next week that's annoyingly titled, I'll Take Your Questions Now, a trolling reference to how she never did her actual job. The book is expected to reveal that Donald Trump is an unhinged sociopath prone to violent fits of rage, which we already knew. Maybe it's for the best that she never held a press conference. She might've bored us with similarly redundant information.
"I knew that sooner or later the president would want me to tell the public something that was not true or that would make me sound like a lunatic," Ms. Grisham writes, offering a reason for why she never held a briefing.
Let's hope Grisham's learned not to take a job where those are your only two options. Even when you're selling overpriced coffee with strange names, you aren't lying to people. Unfortunately for Grisham, she repeatedly said, in front of cameras that were rolling and everything, that press briefings weren't needed because Trump was so “accessible" and the "best spokesperson" for his policies. She clearly failed to dodge the “sounding like a lunatic" bullet.
She also claimed reporters only showed up for White House press briefings so they could get famous and write books about Trump's presidency. Guess she showed them.
Honestly, I don't care about Grisham or her cash-out-on-fascism memoir. I'm only writing this because Grisham reveals that whenever Trump got the sads, “an unnamed White House official" (code name “Music Man") was responsible for playing him his favorite show tunes, because musicals have charms that soothe the Trump beast. According to the Times, the “Music Man" was Grisham's allegedly abusive ex-boyfriend, Max Miller, who is also Trump's pick to unseat Republican Anthony Gonzalez, since Gonzalez voted to impeach the insurrectionist in chief. (The Ohio congressman recently announced he's not running for re-election.)
Trump's musical pick me up wasn't “Mean Green Mother From Outer Space" from Little Shop of Horrors (too on the nose) but “Memory" from Cats, possibly the best musical that Andrew Lloyd Webber released in 1981.
If you haven't seen Cats or only watched the terrible 2019 movie while high, Grizabella is a shabby gray cat whom the Jellicle cats (that's a whole thing) have ostracized. She's old and mangy and no longer resembles her former “glamorous" self because she's apparently lived a hard life where she was rode hard and hung wet. Grizabella is too decrepit and weak to dance with the other cats in leg warmers, so it's a pretty good gig for someone who wants to just sit back and gesture grandly before performing the only song from the musical anyone remembers.
Memory, all alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember a time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again
How dare Trump find comfort in words that best describe how we felt before he was president?
Oh well, I doubt he understood the lyrics or could comprehend the genuine emotion Betty Buckley conveyed when she originated the part on Broadway. Maybe he just thought it was pretty, but even that's a stretch. Trump seems like someone who'd pull the wings off a fly if he needed cheering up.
In a statement Trump released Tuesday about Grisham's book, he said, "Stephanie didn't have what it takes and that was obvious from the beginning." It's unclear how he's describing “beginning," considering Grisham was promoted internally to press secretary when Sarah Huckabee Sanders left. She wasn't installed in the position by the Supreme Court.
Here's the legendary Betty Buckley at the 1983 Tony Awards.
And here's Laurie Beechman, who was Grizabella when I saw Cats during my first trip to New York in June 1987. It's fun to rag on Cats but I confess the performance that night blew my 13-year-old mind. People are singing and dancing on stage! This is how life should always be.
Beechman performed at Bill Clinton's second inaugural gala before passing away from ovarian cancer in 1998. She was 44.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."