It seems Jeremy Piven wished to be excused early from the run of David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow on Broadway. He was just exhausted and incidentally wanted to attend the Golden Globe ceremony. The schedule was adjusted so that he could attend, tired though he might be, then return and finish his couple of weeks as the lead in the play.
Fulfilling his obligation proved too much for the actor’s constitution. He ditched his well-reviewed role and forced his costars to go on without him. Why? Too much sushi. Somehow he had managed to give himself mercury poisoning.
Forget that the man would hardly have time to utter a line between shoving fistfuls of tuna in his piehole to have that effect. Even if he were sucking, snorting and skin-popping the stuff—I think you catch my drift. Bullshit.
Surprisingly, there was much handwringing done over this. It was taken seriously, with urgent talk of mercury levels, fattiness of fish, highness on the food chain, et cetera. I believe a tuna may have been called in to testify. An order of protection may have been issued.
Whether Mr. Piven could resist the urge to leap facefirst into a sushi bar and wallow, snuffling, in its fleshy delights was a cause for grave concern. Limo routes were adjusted accordingly.
Needless to say, this medical crisis precluded Mr. Piven’s return to Broadway. His experimental chelation therapy via single-malt Scotch had doubtlessly already begun.
At some point, a reporter with Daily Variety thought to ask Mr. Mamet, the play’s author and director, his opinion of Piven’s untimely departure. Mamet said, “My understanding is that he is leaving show business to pursue a career as a thermometer.”
Boom! This is why I love David Mamet. What a perfectly crafted line. I like you, too, Jeremy, but you’re the Tawana Brawley of Broadway. Don’t turn your back; there might be a writer there poised to take your measure.