Anything Else (2003) Script

There's great wisdom in Jokes, Falk, really.

There's an old Joke about a prizefighter in the ring.

He's getting his brains beat out.

And his mother's in the audience, and she's watching him getting beaten up.

There's a priest next to her and she says, "Father, pray for him."

And the priest says, "I will, but if he could punch, it would help."

There's more insight in that Joke, into what I call the Giant So What than most books on philosophy.

Women.

Camus said that women are all that we're ever going to know of paradise on earth.

In your case, Falk, there is a seminal Joke that Henny Youngman used to tell that I think is perfect.

It sums it up perfectly as far as you go.

Guy comes into a doctor's office.

He says, "Doc, it hurts when I do this."

The doctor says, "Don't do it."

Think about that.

That's David Dobel, and I'm Jerry Falk.

We spent many afternoons walking and talking in the park.

Did I know when I first met him how nuts he was?

We met at the office of some so-called intellectual comedian's agent.

We were comedy writers trying to break into the business by writing nightclub routines for comics.

The difference was, I was 21 and he was 60.

He wants truisms. Not Just Jokes. Truisms.

We can't afford the crazy prices for the more established...

Let me say this, if I may.

I can't speak for David Dobel because I don't handle him.

In fact, Jerry and I Just met him now.

But I've handled Jerry Falk since he began, and with Jerry Falk, you get top-quality goods for your money.

You can buy a suit and get the same cut in a cheap fabric as you can in an expensive fabric. Jerry gives you affordable fabric, a quality fabric, at affordable prices. Is this gabardine?

Who is that piece goods salesman who handles you?

Harvey? Don't ask. My cross to bear.

I'd love to dump him, but I'm his only client.

You pay that troll ten percent of your salary?

20. Actually, 25. It's a long story.

He was there for me when my marriage broke up.

Your... don't tell me you got married young.

You thought it would be exciting. It turned out to be hebetudinous and you dumped her. Am I right?

You are not. She left me. I can't leave anybody.

It's my main problem in analysis. I'm afraid to sleep alone. "Hebetudinous?"

You're in analysis already? Yes. Very committed, actually.

I turned down some TV Jobs in Los Angeles because my shrink felt we weren't finished yet.

You chose psychoanalysis over real life?

Are you learning disabled?

[Falk:] Obviously, you're not familiar with analysis.

Wrong. I'm completely familiar with it.

Similar hustlers tried to fob it off on me at Payne Whitney.

You were in Payne Whitney? That's right. A nuthouse.

I was in the psycho ward for six months, a vacation I don't look back on with great nostalgia.

Really?

Relax. You don't have to move away.

Oh, no. I'm not suggesting you were violent.

But I was violent. That's why they put you in a straitjacket.

You were in a straitjacket?

I'm not going to take an ax and split your head open.

Don't be scared. I'm Just surprised.

What happened? Why were you there?

I broke up with this girl, and they put me with a psychiatrist who said, "Why did you get so depressed, "and do all those things you did?" I said, "I wanted this girl and she left me."

And he said, "Well, we have to look into that."

And I said, "There's nothing to look into! I wanted her and she left me."

And he said, "Well, why are you feeling so intense?"

And I said, "Cause I want the girl!" And he said, "What's underneath it?"

And I said, "Nothing!"

He said, "I'll have to give you medication."

I said, "I don't want medication! I want the girl!"

And he said, "We have to work this through."

So, I took a fire extinguisher from the casement and struck him across the back of his neck.

And before I knew it, guys from Con Ed had Jumper cables in my head and the rest was...

Why are you in analysis?

You're afraid to sleep alone. What else?

Fear of death.

That's funny. I have that, too! My dog has it.

It's very common to living creatures.

And I have rough patches with my girlfriend.

You have a girlfriend? I am deeply in love.

Really?

Yes, with the most beautiful, charming, sexy...

But there are rough patches. We'll get through them.

But there are painful conflicts.

She can be difficult. But you'd love her. She's a knockout.

A knockout, but impossible. I never said impossible.

You did! Difficult. She can be difficult.

Now she's difficult. Soon, she'll be impossible.

She's very supportive of my goals. What are these goals?

I want to write a novel.

A novel about man's fate in the empty universe.

No god, no hope, Just human suffering and loneliness.

Stick to Jokes, that's where the money is. Want a lift?

No, I'm okay. I'm meeting my girlfriend.

Today is our anniversary.

You know, maybe next week, if you'd like, we could drive out to watch that intellectual comedian parade his amphigories for us.

Sure. That'd be great.

It's funny. I was once in a cab... this was years ago.

And I was pouring my heart out to the driver about all the stuff you were prattling on about... life, death, the empty universe, the meaning of existence, human suffering.

And the cab driver said to me:

"You know, it's like anything else."

Think about that.

He was a teacher who lived on Roosevelt Island. Public school.

Too frightened to quit and write comedy full-time because, as he said, he knew what it was to starve.

"Amphigories"? "Hebetudinous"?

Meanwhile, I'm on my way to meet Amanda.

I'll be on time, she'll be late.

She's late, she's disorganized.

Incidentally, that's not our big problem.

She drives me crazy, but wait till you meet her.

She is adorable!

Jerry! Amanda! Hey!

Am I late? Not if we go by Rocky Mountain time.

Can you pay for the cab? I forgot my wallet.

Pay for the cab? Are you getting the picture?

You know, we did say 7:30.

Sorry!

It was pretty tough to get a reservation.

What's the matter? I'm in a bad mood.

I can see. Why? I did terribly at an audition today.

You always think you did badly.

I felt so confident until I got up to read, then I completely froze.

Don't obsess. I'm sure it wasn't that bad.

I'm my own worst enemy. I could play that part in my sleep.

I know you can. Just calm down.

We'll go have a good dinner. We'll have wine, you can relax.

I got to tell you about this character I met. He's fascinating.

Don't be mad at me, but I ate.

You ate?

I was starving when I got back from the audition, so I had a little sliver of that Sara Lee cheesecake.

Then I had another one. You know what I'm like when I get started.

Pretty soon, I'd eaten the whole cake.

You ate the whole Sara Lee cheesecake?

Then I figured, what the hell! I finished the spaghetti in the refrigerator, ate that last lobster tail and heated up a chicken pot pie.

Is there any furniture left in the house?

I'm so fat, it's disgusting.

How could you eat before dinner?

I'm sorry. I was so angry at myself for screwing up.

I couldn't help it.

I reserved a corner booth.

It's okay. You can order and I'll get a club soda. I'm dieting anyway.

I can't take their best booth with Just one of us eating.

It's not nice.

It's fine. No, it's not.

It's dinner hour. The restaurant's Jam-packed.

How does it look?

Why do you always care what other people think?

It's embarrassing if just one of us eats.

Okay. I'll order a meal and I Just won't eat it.

I can't do that.

So order me a steak, I'll get a doggie bag, and it'll be my insomnia snack.

What kind of anniversary dinner is that?

"Can I have one dinner, and can you put a steak in a doggie bag?"

I thought we'd sit over some wine and I'd look in your eyes and tell you how beautiful you are.

I'm not beautiful. I'm fat.

Okay, I'll cancel the reservation.

Let's go home. I'll make myself some eggs or something.

There are no more eggs. I ate them.

[Amanda:] What are you doing?

I made myself a sandwich. There were some cans of tuna left.

Thank God she hasn't learned how to use the new electric can opener yet.

My mother's moving in with us.

What? I'm so angry at her.

Wait a minute. Did I miss something?

She left her boyfriend.

What happened? I thought she was finally settled.

What happened is she's Madame Bovary.

She's married to a Park Avenue doctor and that's too dull for her.

Then there's Tom, the money market maven, and Perry, the travel agent guy. But, no, she wants more.

More? More what?

I'm sure she doesn't know. More fantasies.

Her youth back.

She wants to "fulfill her life before it's too late."

Those are her words. Why is she coming here?

She has no money. She has nowhere else to go.

Amanda, we have no room. There's no room here.

I figured we'll put a bed in the office.

In the office, Amanda? That's where I write.

That's where I create. My whole world is in there.

You can create in the living room.

In the...? No, Amanda. Everything is in there, okay?

That's my space. It's where I write.

All of my rituals revolve around my space.

I can't... She's my mother.

She's not staying in a shelter. Why didn't you tell me earlier?

I didn't want to ruin your dinner. My anniversary tuna fish sandwich?

You're making matters worse, okay? You're giving me a migraine.

[Phone rings] Hello.

I'll only be a minute. When I left you, I ran into Danny Wax.

He said the baby-sitter routine you wrote for him is not working.

There are no laughs. Not one laugh in that routine.

People are sitting with stone faces.

The routine is fine. The guy's Just in the wrong profession.

That's what I told him. I said, "Danny, you've been around for a long time.

"You think there's a reason you never made it?"

No tact. None. None.

I said to him, "Danny, a man buys a suit.

"He says he's happy with it.

"Then he sees another suit.

Suddenly he doesn't want the suit he's got!

"He wants a new suit. He's not happy with the old one."

Right, yeah. Listen, I'm a little busy now.

Can I ring you back?

I was up to NBC. There is nothing doing up there.

Not right now. Things being equal, they'll change.

Right now they're not equal. I'd like to have lunch with you this week.

I need a business thing done. We have to talk.

I got a business thing to discuss.

What kind of business? What do you mean?

There's nothing to get anxious about. It's about the future.

Good-bye.

Jerry, do you think I'm fat?

I think you're amazing-looking.

You're Just used to the losers you dated before me.

Losers? Not all of them were losers.

What is behind your back? Something for me?

This is for you. Happy anniversary. Happy anniversary.

You have to forgive the wrapping.

I lost my temper when I couldn't get it even.

I can tell. Not exactly a work of art, but I forgive you.

Open, open.

I think I know what these are. Do you?

These are the earrings from downtown!

I couldn't not get them for you.

You look so good in those kind of earrings.

Do I?

Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

Thank you. You like them?

You're the only one I've ever dated who's known exactly what to get me.

It's because you have a special vision of me.

"No Exit" and "The Flies." Jean Paul Sartre.

That's amazing. Thank you.

It was between that and O'Neill.

I couldn't decide whose nihilistic pessimism made you happier.

I think it was Tennessee Williams who said that the opposite of death is desire.

[Falk:] And I desired you from the first moment we met.

I could live down here. It's so beautiful.

It is. It's very pretty. I don't know about living down here.

I like to visit, but I like to go home to the Upper East Side.

You wouldn't consider it? After we get married, move to the Village.

Why is marriage so important? I Just got out of a marriage.

Just because we get a signed piece of paper?

You moved in with me. We're a couple, right?

Yes, we moved in together. We've been dating over a year now.

I guess I'm old-fashioned.

I know. All your girlfriends are getting married...

Falk, what's up? Bob, how are you?

Bob, this is Brooke. Brooke, Bob Stiles.

How's it going? Falk and Brooke.

This is Amanda. This is Falk.

This is Brooke.

So, what are you guys doing down here?

She Just bought her dad a ridiculous birthday present.

You think it's ridiculous. I think it's great.

Let them see it. Maybe I'm wrong.

Oh, that's a... A turn-of-the century stereopticon.

You knew that.

Wait. It's complete with pornographic slides.

Isn't it wonderful? I think it's brilliant.

[Bob:] Just what he needs, antique pornography.

I always thought you had a little yen for your dad.

Ha ha.

Hey! We're going to a great Indian restaurant tomorrow night.

We want to invite you. I've hyped you to Amanda.

You can only disappoint. That sounds great.

Are we busy tomorrow night? We're taking my parents out.

But that was tentative, I thought.

You hate Indian food. "Hate." That's a strong word.

I've wanted to give it a second chance since I realized how much you... she loves tandoori chicken.

Come on. It'll be fun. I should give it another shot.

What I love about Bogart is that he's so intensely urban.

The cigarette, the five o'clock shadow.

Always in some seedy nightclub.

Didn't I say that exact same thing about Frank Sinatra? Urban.

Exactly. I even used the term. That's...

Where did you go to school?

Ethical culture. Fieldstone. Brandeis. But I dropped out.

One of her professors fell in love with her.

It was terrible. He was married.

It was way too much pressure for all of us. His poor wife!

In addition to acting, she's a very good singer.

I try to sing, but then I hear someone like Billie Holiday, and forget about it!

She's your favorite!

But you can't listen to the CD's, right? They sterilize the sound.

Didn't I say that? I absolutely agree with you.

It totally sterilizes... that's so funny.

Actually, someone told me about this seedy record store that has all of her old recordings on 78s and 33s.

I'd love to know about it. She is amazing.

It's early. Let's go to the Village Vanguard.

Diana Krall is playing. It should be a great show.

I'll get so discouraged, but I am dying to see her.

Great. You get up so early to write.

Yeah, but I did most of my stuff for tomorrow, so...

Should we? What do you... Yeah, sure.

(music) Hide your heart from sight

(music) Lock your dreams at night

(music) It could happen to you

(music) Don't count stars Or you might stumble

(music) Someone drops a sigh

(music) And down you tumble

(music) Keep an eye on spring

(music) Run when church bells ring

(music) It could happen to you She's so moving.

I agree. She's totally moving.

Absolutely. You've captured her.

[Applause]

What was I saying?

I'd love to take one of those boats down the Amazon.

It's supposed to be so beautiful.

Not tonight?

Of course not tonight. I was... that's funny.

But how thrilling that would be. That would be so thrilling.

You hate heat. You hate mosquitoes.

I hate malaria. It's malaria, remember? I don't hate all mosquitoes.

I want to see the parrots and the giant butterflies.

I've seen pictures in National Geographic. They're gorgeous!

Giant, huge... And wild monkeys would be...

Monkeys? How much have you had to drink?

Do you like snakes?

Do I like snakes?

Some people get queasy around them, but I think they're beautiful.

The way they move... it's so sensual.

So sen... I love snakes. Cobras, for example.

Pythons. Naturally. Pythons.

Garters. Rattlesnakes. I love them all.

I cannot believe I'm hearing this. Oh, please.

I've often said, often, that there's nothing like a dense Jungle in the rain.

I've said this. [Brooke:] You're drunk.

That's not true. Speaking of rain, there's supposed to be a hurricane tonight.

We should rent a car and drive to the Hamptons.

We could walk on the beach... He hates the Hamptons.

Nobody hates the ocean.

She's up for anything. It's too late for me. I can't.

Don't you have an audition tomorrow?

"My candle burns at both ends, it will not last the night."

Millay! Edna Millay! She's my favorite poet!

Don't I quote her all the time? Edna Millay...

Amanda's pretty, isn't she?

She's okay, I suppose. You're drunk.

I was looking at her face in the candlelight and she has this offbeat sexual quality.

Yeah, I guess. Lf, uh, you know, if you find that crippling sense of passionate heat behind those big eyes sexy.

Huh? Hmm?

Nothing. Bob's crazy about her.

I got the whole story while you were in the men's room throwing up.

I'm fine. Believe me, I'm okay.

She moved in with him and I get the feeling he is dying to marry her.

Oh, yeah? They make a nice couple.

He's charming and very attractive.

Are you okay?

Yeah.

Amanda? Hey, it's Jerry Falk.

Good, good. You?

Listen, I was Just about to go to this old record store I found out about.

I know you were interested in picking up some Billie Holiday.

I'm actually vaguely near your house, so I thought that, um...

I mean, if you and Bob are busy...

Right. Of course. He would be at work. What was I thinking?

I could be there pretty soon. Maybe, say, three minutes?

Great. I'll meet you in front of your place. Bye.


These are great.

Let me get you this Diana Krall record as a present since I know how big of a fan you are.

Wasn't she great the other night? So great.

I love that you appreciate old songs. They're so pretty.

I'd love to hear you sing sometime.

I can't sing publicly. I'm too fat.

Fat? I'm sorry. Did you say fat? But I have these great diet pills.

They take away your appetite, but increase your sexual drive.

Is that how you met Bob?

From his record company?

No. He picked me up in Central Park, actually.

Oh, how funny.

And you guys got... seriously involved?

No. He'd like to, but...

I can't commit.

I have a problem with commitment.

I dream of meeting someone who I'll want to give myself over to, where I'd be the one hurt in the end.

But it hasn't happened yet. You?

Me neither.

Um, unfortunately, same here.

Brooke and I are in the last stages, basically.

Really? Oh, yeah.

She didn't give me that impression. She didn't?

Well, that's strange, because that's the only impression to give, really.

Oh! Look at this, uh, record. Cole Porter.

This is a fantas... really pretty songs on here.

Let me get you this as a little present. Can I do that?

I was actually listening to this last night, and I thought of you.

You were listening to Cole Porter and thought of me?

You must really have a crush on me.

I do?

I'd say it's fatal.

I'm sorry. I, uh... I couldn't resist.

Don't apologize. I wanted you to.

You did?

Yes. I've had a crush on you since we met.

Couldn't you tell, the way I was ignoring you?

Well, there was something compelling about your apathy.

I thought you were sweet and sensitive and vulnerable.

And I could tell you liked me, too.

I can't believe I'm in love with a smoker.

I don't want anyone to get hurt.

Where were you? It's 10:00.

Where? Well, um, I had a meeting to go to.

You smell from alcohol. I do?

My God, your tongue is black!

It is? Well, um... that's because I had some wine.

Wine? Why? It's not Passover.

No. Uh, to celebrate. Uh, the deal.

What deal?

I have to tell you, um, it looks like I have a great opportunity to work for, for, um, a very, very funny, uh, puppet.

It's, uh... remember I...

Is this a woman's hair?

Is this... is this a woman's hair?

I mean, it could be...

I suppose.

Possibly from, uh, the taxi.

It was... I mean, I think, you know, all the people in and out, I probably sat up in...

I guess, the woman's hair. I am exhausted.

She asked me if I still love her. What could I say?

Why can't I tell her the truth? I'm in love with Amanda.

Why can't I tell her it's over? Why can't I leave people?

Tell me about your dream.

The Cleveland Indians got jobs at Toys R Us?

Yeah. So what can it possibly mean?

Look, I can't keep wasting my hour here describing lunatic dreams.

I have a date with Amanda.

I can't keep running around town on the sly and live like this.

Amanda can handle it, but I need help.

What do I do? I have to extricate myself from Brooke.

It'll break her heart. She wants to marry me!

The guy will not talk. I've been with him for three years.

What comes to mind about the Cleveland Indians?

See? This is what I get. I need a course of action, and he wants me to free-associate about the Cleveland Indians.

[Amanda:] I love doing it in hotels. It's so illicit.

Check yourself for shoulder-length hairs in hard-to-Justify locations.

I have to decide how to let Brooke down gracefully.

There's no rush. I've been the other woman before.

Bob wasn't upset when you told him?

He was disappointed. But I was honest about myself going in.

Naturally, I didn't tell him it was you I was in love with.

Brooke...

Don't give me that! I don't believe you!

Those are bite marks on your back. You didn't fall on your comb!

What are you thinking about?

Everything.

When we first met, when Brooke found out.

Remember that? Or when we checked into that hotel as S. And Z. Fitzgerald.

Or how we made love everywhere. God, everywhere.

When I think of all the risky places that lust overcame the two of us, it blows my mind.

You know Fireside Memorial Chapel is a McDonald's now?

Fascinating.

Don't.

Why not? I can't.

What do you mean? It's not natural.

We never sleep with each other.

I told you I'm going through a rough patch.

I'll say. It's been six months!

I said you could sleep with other women.

I don't love other women.

I don't want to sleep with other women. I love you.

What did I do to turn you off? I don't get it.

Nothing. You did nothing. It's always about you.

You have such an ego. An ego?

What do you want me to do? Grit my teeth, close my eyes, hold myself stiff and let you do it to me?

It's getting to the point where I may settle for that.

Sometimes I think it's because you remind me of my father.

You once told me you thought your father was sexually attractive.

That's not the part of him you remind me of.

It's not? What is it, then?

You know, his professional manner.

Sweet and supportive.

Gee, I'm sorry I have so many turn-off qualities. I didn't realize.

Sleep with other women. Just don't tell me about it.

Do you love me? What a question!

Just because I pull away when you touch me?

[Dobel:] "Just because I pull away when you touch me?"

Falk, give me a break. She said it was temporary.

Meanwhile, you haven't consummated your passion for her in six months!

It's unbelievable! I have a theory that too much rejection causes cancer.

She encourages me to sleep with other women.

Well, do it! For God's sakes!

There must be a million women who'd be excited to get into bed with you.

Maybe not a million, but I'm sure you could find one, if you got her drunk enough.

It doesn't matter. I have no interest in other women.

See, even my first wife was... Wife? You were married?

A bitter story. I was very young.

I should have known something was wrong on the wedding night when her family danced around my table chanting, "We will make him one of us!"

Oh, boy! I had a rough day.

I got up, put on a shirt and the button came off.

Then I went to the car to open the door, and the handle came off.

Now I'm afraid to go to the bathroom.

What did you do? I wanted to grab the check.

No, you didn't. What do you mean? I did.

I was grabbing the check.

Never trust a guy who fumbles for the check.

He who wants to get the check, gets it.

As you go through life, when you really want to get the check, you will.

Well, I was planning on getting it. Let me ask you...

Did you hear what that guy said?

Three people were coming in as we were leaving.

The swarthy guy?

Yeah. Dark. There were two guys and a girl.

I didn't hear him. He looked at us, and said to the other guy: "Jews start all wars."

Did you hear that? No!

Yes, absolutely. He presumably said it to her or the guy with them, but it was really for our benefit. "Jews start all wars."

I don't think it was for my benefit because I didn't hear anything.

I know who you're talking about. I saw this trio, but I didn't hear anything and I have pretty good hearing.

Because you were obsessed with the physically prepossessing waitresses running around.

Let me tell you, Falk. We live in perilous times.

You got to keep alert for these things.

You don't want your life to wind up as black-and-white newsreel footage scored by a cello in a minor key.

Hey. Hi.

How are you? Good. How was the comedian?

It's exactly like Dobel says.

There is truly a paucity of veridical talent in the world.

When will I meet this polymath?

He is unbelievable. He's read everything.

He plays music. He paints, or so he claims.

I've read some of his poems... all morbid!

Cancer and shock treatments and gas chambers.

And his vocabulary is astounding. You can't get the guy on a word.

It's rare you're so taken with somebody.

Hey, Mrs. Chase.

I told you not to call me Mrs. Chase! My name is Paula!

Mrs. Chase makes me sound ancient. My life isn't over yet.

In fact, I'm Just starting to live it. Definitely, Paula.

And I need some help from you.

Mom, could you talk about this tomorrow? It's late.

What, are we six years old? It's past our bedtime?

It's okay. It's only 1:30.

I decided to put some songs together and do a nightclub act.

Mother, the scene has really changed in the past 25 years.

Why are you so discouraging? I'm not. I'm realistic.

I don't want you to get hurt.

How? I could always sing.

Of course you can sing. I'm not saying that.

But things change. Styles, the cabaret business...

Can't you be more supportive? You're so competitive!

I am not! I hate my voice!

[Falk:] Please. You both have very good voices.

I thought I'd put a few songs together and you could write between-the-songs talk for me.

I've never done that sort of thing. Just some banter. Not Jokes.

I couldn't tell a Joke if my life depended on it. Just some chit-chat.

The truth is, I'm kind of snowed under right now...

Oh, God! Is nobody on my side?

Jerry, you could do it. This stuff comes so easily to you.

You Just said this is a fool's errand. What did you call me?

It's an expression.

I know. I tried to dissuade her, but she won't listen to me.

I'm trying to finish my book. These comics are pressing me.

I've taken deposits from them. Oh, forget I even asked.

Okay. I never said I wouldn't do it.

I Just have to fit it in.

It won't be arduous! I have lots of ideas!

I'm even having a piano delivered!

[Falk:] Here? It's a rental.

I had to rehearse! There's no room for a piano.

Because you don't maximize your space!

I was an interior decorator. Tell him, Amanda.

I know this is a real pain, but it's temporary.

You mean like our lovemaking?

Could you not be gross?

[Falk:] As the days passed, Dobel and I got closer and closer.

After he finished school, we'd meet in Central Park.

He'd usually expound on something.

[Dobel:] You think quantum physics has the answer?

I mean, what purpose does it serve for me that time and space are exactly the same thing?

I ask a guy what time it is, he tells me six miles?

What the hell is that?

Falk, if a guy comes out onstage at Carnegie Hall and throws up, you can always find some people who will call it art.

Years ago, a very wonderful comedy writer wrote a very funny book with a really deep and meaningful title.

It was called "Never Trust A Naked Bus Driver."

You would be amazed how many people do exactly that, and worse.

[Dobel:] Do you masturbate, Falk? What?

I mean, given the circumstances of your sex life, I would think...

This is not... stop squirming.

I'm not. I don't know. Now and then, I guess.

When is now and then? On Easter and Purim?

I don't really enjoy it.

Are you doing it right? Does your hand fall asleep?

I happen to think it's a poor substitute for the real thing.

Really? I prefer it to the real thing.

Last night, I was home by myself and I conjured up a threesome with me, Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren.

It was very erotic.

In fact, if I'm not mistaken, it was the first time those two great actresses ever appeared in anything together.

It sounds nice, but... The only reason I ask is because I think that as you go through life, you learn to depend only on yourself.

You know? Do you own a firearm?

A gun?

A gun qualifies as a firearm, yes.

No. Why would I? For self-defense.

Against who?

Against those who conspire to harm you.

Harm me?

Don't ask what you did to deserve it. I mean, God, read Auden.

You know, come with me to New Jersey.

Falk, I took the liberty a few weeks ago of ordering you a little present.

What?

They're having a sale here on surplus Russian army rifles.

What?

Suppose you're home one night in bed, masturbating, and some guys break in. You need protection.

I'd dial 911. I don't need a rifle.

Have you ever dialed 911? It's like trying to get a mortgage.

Come on.

I don't need a rifle. I'll probably wind up blowing my foot off.

What is wrong with you? Are you such a maladroit you can't keep a firearm without discharging it adventitiously?

I don't need a weapon. Everybody needs a weapon.

What does that mean?

It means the day will come when you wish you had one.

Why exactly?

Why? So they don't put you in a boxcar.

I want to get you some of this stuff, too.

What for? So you can build a survival kit.

I have a perfect survival kit. I've been working on it for years.

Last week I got some great fishhooks, and a waterproof matchbox that floats.

What are you preparing for, the end of civilization?

I have to know if I'm alone in the wilds, I can survive by myself.

Dobel, you're a madman.

That's what they said in Germany.

There were actually groups in Germany called "Jews for Hitler."

They were deluded. They thought he'd be good for the country.

Never trust a naked bus driver.

By the time I got out of bed and loaded it, the damage would be done. That's why you keep it loaded.

I should keep a loaded gun in the house?

Why would you keep an unloaded weapon in the house?

Do you keep a loaded gun in the house?

I have a loaded weapon in my house within reach.

Within reach, Falk. In every room.

Just how crazy are you? Is there more?

Do you hear voices on the radio or worship snakes?

You are a member of one of the most persecuted minorities in history.

The rifle's on me. Let me handle this.

This makes me nervous. I've never owned a weapon.

You have to learn to take it apart and put it together blindfolded.

You may have to do it in the dark.

You expecting Nazis and a blackout?

Incidentally, while you were rummaging around the store in an aimless stupor, I got you a couple of items.

I got you a flashlight that floats if you drop it in the ocean for any reason.

When the hell am I near the ocean?

I want you to build a survival kit. I got you a compass, a...

I live in Manhattan. Why would I need a compass?

This flare gun. I got you some snakebite stuff, fishhooks, water-purifying tablets.

This all sounds a little excessive to me.

And don't pull the trigger.

Squeeze it. Squeeze the trigger.

That's right. Just take aim and squeeze...

[gun clicking]

Sorry! Sorry, sorry! It's empty.

Dobel was showing me how to use a rifle. We were practicing.

Why? Why? Well, it's for protection.

From who? What do you mean, from who?

Dobel, tell her. I'm Dobel.

Hi. Who do you need protection from?

Burglars, rapists, the Gestapo.

It was my idea that, given the tensions in the world, perhaps it would be prudent for young Falk to own a means of self-defense.

Have you had a mental breakdown? You and a rifle?

I know it seems weird. What's this stuff?

This is all very important. These are water-purifying tablets and that's a flashlight that floats.

Let's say you drop it in the ocean. It floats.

Are you Joining the Boy Scouts?

It's all very necessary. Are these bullets?

They're called rounds. Right? Jump in here at any point.

Falk, I don't mean to incite domestic strife here.

Amanda, it's all very safe. See what happens... what I do is take a pliers and I remove the lead part from the shell. You see?

Then I have the empty... empty shell. Okay?

And what I do is I put this now in the breech in the rifle, okay?

So then if a shot's taken, it won't really fire.

Not until the second round goes into the breech.

The chamber! The chamber, Falk!

Into the chamber.

I am not living in the house with a loaded rifle.

You don't trust me to keep a firearm without hurting anyone?

Am I an imbecile? Is that a trick question?

Dobel, would you say something?

It's his feeling that as the economy slumps, crime rises, okay?

And rape... rape has risen. Statistically speaking, rape has gone up.

And he's not convinced that the slaughter of six million Jews is enough to satisfy the anti-Semitic impulses of the majority of the world.

You said this. He's paraphrasing.

I put it more succinctly when I...

[door closing] Oh!

Don't worry, Mother. It's not loaded.

[Paula:] What's happening? I bought a rifle.

A rifle?! I'm not living in a house with a rifle!

Don't worry, Mom. It's leaving. No, it's not. It's not leaving.

Perhaps we should rethink the concept of self-defense.

Mrs. Chase, is it unreasonable to own a fire extinguisher, though you'll probably never use it?

Stop calling me Mrs. Chase! My name is Paula!

I'm not your goddamn schoolteacher!

Falk, urgent business in Tierra Del Fuego requires my presence, so I'll be leaving.

Sir, would you mind helping me shift this piano?

Me? Mother, he's a guest.

Would you take these when you go? [Phone ringing]

I don't care who he is. This room isn't right.

That's because it's too crowded. [Phone ringing]

Meaning what? You want me on a park bench?

Don't be so dramatic. All I want out is this stupid rifle.

Are you going to help me?

I live to serve. Make your wishes known.

Pivot. Pivot. Hello.

Did I get you at a bad time?

I Just want to set the date for the end of the week for lunch.

How's Friday?

Friday. Hold on one second, Harvey.

I have steamers in the fridge from a week ago Sunday. You hungry?

No. I make it a practice never to ingest bivalves that have been dead more than 72 hours.

Christ, I need a drink. This room Just isn't right.

What are these?

[Amanda:] Water-purifying tablets.

What for? Is the plumbing backed up?

Thursday's better. What do you want to talk about?

The who, the what and the wherefore. Thursday, Isabella's, at noon.

Right. Bye. [Paula:] No, you're doing it.

Just pivot it. What's happening here?

I have it under control. Nothing that can't be done with 12 stevedores and some oxen.

Paula, where do you want this? Against the wall.

I'll help you do it. Sir, would you take this?

Mom, here you go. [Glass shatters]

[Paula:] Jesus, what a butterfingers!

Watch your hands when you pick these up.

[Amanda:] These things happen. This can be glued.

I don't understand why those people could leave the room after the dinner party and go home.

What'd you think? It was great.

Yeah, I agree.

Listen, I'm sorry about my mother.

I know she's been out of control. Don't worry about it.

She is a little tough, but nevertheless, I will gladly help her with her singing act.

You are a sweetheart. I don't know what I'd do without you.

I've got a great idea.

Instead of going home, let's check into a hotel.

Let's check into a hotel!

Maybe away from everything in a completely different atmosphere, you'll be more relaxed.

We used to check into hotels all the time.

It was exciting and fun. But it was different then.

But it won't be different. It'll be Just like we used to.

Come on, it'll be great.

Hi. How are you?

We're interested in a single room. How much is that?

A single room is $200 a night. $200. Wow.

It's amazing how even the cheapest ones have gone up.

Let's not get a single. It's so sleazy.

We're trying to be romantic.

You're right. Um, do you have a small suite?

A small suite? Very small.

Let me check. I'll be right back.

Wow!

Look at this place. It's nice.

Thank you. Have a good one.

How much did you give him? Three bucks.

Not five?

Five? He Just turned the light on.

We have no luggage. Should I have given him five?

It doesn't matter. I'm sorry. I'm Just tense.

This is fun, isn't it? It's kind of sexy, being back in a hotel.

Should we order caviar?

Caviar? You Just had all that popcorn at the movie.

Plus the peppermints and the ice cream sandwich.

I know. I'm definitely going on a diet tomorrow.

I can't believe how much they charge for a suite.

It's not what I expected.

Is that what you're thinking about? No.

No, I'm thinking of you and how sexy you are.

I need another. Come here. What's wrong?

It's too bright. Too bright?

Okay, well, I can fix that, I guess.

Is that better? No, it's still too bright.

Really? Yes! You know how hard this is for me.

Maybe it's because of this room. I'll shut these off.

There. Is that better? No. Turn that off.

You used to like making love with the lights on.

Or in a sunny room in front of mirrors. Remember?

Can we start with the lights off? Okay. Not a problem.

There we go. How's that?

Thank you.

Come here. You know how sexy you are?

Here... let's take off your sweatshirt.

I'll take my pants off here.

[Coins falling]

[Amanda:] Christ! [Falk:] I'm sorry.

I had all this change from the movie house when I bought your popcorn.

I can't do this. The moment's ruined.

That's crazy. It shouldn't be that delicate.

It's not about should! Look, I'm a wreck!

Okay, I'm sorry.

I'm sorry, but I can't. I can't do this.

We'll start again, okay? Itíll be fine. A clean slate, okay?

We got this room. Let's take advantage.

We'll Just start over, okay? Come here.

[Kissing]

See? It's nothing we haven't done before, right?

Jerry? Jerry, I can't breathe.

What do you mean?

I can't... What do you mean?

I can't breathe. My throat's swelling.

Your throat's not swelling. It is. This has happened before.

Why don't you sit down? Amanda, sit down for a second.

You want me to get you some water?

No. I feel nauseous. You're not nauseous.

I am. Just, Just take it easy.

Amanda, do you want me to open the window?

Maybe you need some fresh air. You're getting pale.

Are you serious?

[Wheezing] I need a doctor.

You don't need a doctor. Just lay down for a second.

I'm really dizzy.

All right. Just, um, hold on.

Just, um, breathe through your nose, okay?

Come on. Come on. Here.

[Amanda:] Leave a tip for the maid.

[Dr. Reed:] So, if I push on your chest here, do you feel any pain?

[Amanda:] Well, it's right under the breast I get a shooting pain.

Your left breast? Yes.

Have you ever had a reaction like this before?

Yes.

Do you have any allergies?

I hope not.

I'm Just checking your glands right now.

You take all these pills? Yes. They're different diets.

Then I have my antidepressants and my sleeping pills.

But they have opposite effects.

I don't take them all on the same day.

You had a few vodkas, you say? Breathe in.

Hold. Let it go.

Why do you use diet pills?

I have some trouble with my weight.

You're not overweight. You have a lovely figure.

Lean back. This doesn't hurt, does it?

No.

You're a very beautiful young woman. Thank you.

Yeah, breathe. Good.

The doctor had better sex examining her than I've had in 6 months!

She has this wayward appeal. Men go instantly crazy for her!

What do I do? I'm trapped in a situation here.

What do I do? Say something.

Our time is up.

Suppose we continue at our next meeting.

Mr. Falk, I would like to say that I will stop treating you if you insist on keeping that rifle.

What? Why? I think it's an acting out.

And it's more to your advantage to talk about it than act out.

But Dobel thinks in the end, we can only count on ourselves.

I'm afraid our time is up.

If you don't get rid of the rifle, I can't continue the analysis.

Jerry! Hey, Bill. How are you?

I'm good. So, what are you doing here?

I'm having lunch with my manager, inside.

That Harry Wexler clown? I saw him go in.

Harvey. Yeah, yeah.

Nobody understands why you don't lose him.

Lose Harvey? The guy is a Joke in the business.

Oh, yeah? Yeah.

I'm telling you this as a friend. You're starting to happen a little bit.

You don't need a character like this representing you.

Thanks. I'll certainly think about it.

How's your girlfriend? Amanda? She's good.

She's studying acting and singing.

Promise me one thing.

You guys ever break up, you give me her number.

Just kidding. Except I'm deadly serious.

We're not breaking up.

Good to see you. Story of my life. Bye, Jerry!

Sorry I'm late.

I thought I'd be late. My mom had a gallbladder attack.

So, you want to discuss...?

No big deal. I'll get it out of the way then we can eat and enjoy the meal.

A coffee, please.

I'm fine.

Now... our original contract was for three years.

It's almost up. It's up in a few months.

My game plan for you is going perfectly.

A lot of people laughed at me when I said I only wanted one client.

And a kid, too!

It's like a clothing store that specializes in quality rather than quantity.

All the other managers in town, even my own family predicted that you would dump me if you made it big on my efforts.

I said, "You do not know Jerry Falk."

"Jerry Falk and I have a special relationship.

"It goes way beyond the contract.

"We are very close.

"I was at his wedding. I bought him a toaster.

"We are this close. I've done things for him

"you couldn't even write into a contract."

[Coughing]

[Tapping table]

What's this?

Our new agreement.

You don't have to read it now. Take it home and read it.

It's not that complicated. It's the same thing, except it's for seven years instead of three.

I figured, why burden you with signing a contract every three years?

Especially since we're gonna be together for a long, long time!

You can't sign that, Falk. What are you, a cretin?

I can't not sign it. The guy's whole life is invested in me.

The guy's an idiot! He's in the wrong business.

He should be pushing a rack on Seventh Avenue.

He put in the tough work when no one else cared.

He's not a bad guy, he's Just...

I can't figure you out. You've been with a shrink for years, yet you're too guilty to say good-bye to the inept homunculus that poses as your manager.

Incidentally, my shrink says I have to get rid of the rifle.

What? He says it's an acting out.

What kind of charlatan would want you unarmed in this world?

He's not a charlatan. They're all charlatans, Falk!

You know, since the beginning of time, people have been frightened and unhappy and scared to death and scared of getting old and there have always been priests and shamans and now shrinks to tell them "I know you're frightened, but I can help you."

"Of course, it'll cost you a few bucks."

But they can't help you, because life is what it is.

Hey, what did you think of Amanda? I know you only met her for, like, 15 minutes under pretty chaotic circumstances but she has a great quality, doesn't she?

She's cheating on you, you know.

What are you talking about? She's cheating on you!

How do you know? 'Cause I know.

How do you know? You see her with someone?

No. Did she say something to you?

No.

Then why would you say she's cheating on me?

I can tell by her eyes.

Her eyes? Her eyes. Yes, her eyes.

Dobel, you have a certain brilliance. You do.

You're a sweet guy and a wonderful writer of humor, but you are a deeply, deeply deranged human being.

Falk, I'm telling you, she's cheating on you, and you're too typhlotic to see it.

Typhlosis, Falk. Blindness.

[Music plays]

Is she cheating on me?

Dobel has poisoned the well.

How the hell would he know? Is he some kind of visionary?

Not at all. He's a simple, garden-variety paranoid.

[Falk:] "Jews start all wars." A gun in every room of his apartment!

Amanda's cheating on me because he sees it in her eyes?

Bull! And yet...

Jerry? This is Connie. Connie, Jerry.

[Falk:] Nice to meet you.

Connie is a brilliant actress. Amanda's the actress!

Ray! Come with me. I have to talk to you.

Amanda tells me you're a writer. What are you working on?

A novel.

About what?

The absolute terror of confronting one's death.

I Just finished "Notes From Underground."

Isn't Dostoyevsky the most amazing, poignant, talented writer?

[Falk:] Who cares about Dostoyevsky if Amanda's sleeping with that guy?

She always talks about Ray Polito.

Such a hotshot new actor. Animal instincts.

This generation's Brando. They certainly make eye contact.

She's so sexy. Look at her body language.

All verbs!

Have I...? Read "House of the Dead."

Oh, yes. Yes, I have.

I found it surprisingly neoteric.

Modern. Very modern. Yes, modern.

Would you excuse me Just a second? Yeah, sure.

Jerry, hi. You remember Ray Polito?

Nice to see you. How are you?

Good. You?

I was telling Ray about how you have a real interest in old theater posters.

He says he has a great source.

My buddy, Jay Binns, has some really rare ones.

He'd be happy to show them to you anytime.

Thanks. Yeah, maybe sometime, sure.

We could rent a car and drive out tonight. Tonight?

Connie? You should come, too. You should bring Doug.

Who's Doug? Go where?

My buddy lives in Montauk. We're going there tonight.

At this hour, there's no traffic. Montauk? It's midnight.

Montauk at midnight? What could be more romantic?

I can't. Me either.

It's Just too late. I have to get up early.

You know I work best in the morning.

But we'll walk on the beach, maybe take a swim.

Ray'll play his guitar.

You play guitar? Yeah.

I'd rather eat rat poison than watch this guy play guitar on the beach at 3 AM.

[Falk:] You're so quiet. [Amanda:] So are you.

[Falk:] What's wrong? [Amanda:] Nothing.

[Falk:] Don't say, "nothing." Obviously, you're upset.

Are you crushed because we didn't drive 100 miles to look at theater posters and hear this guy play his guitar?

Shhh! My mother's sleeping.

That road company James Dean looked at you like you were a freshly baked cannoli.

Are you in love with Connie?

Connie?

Don't pretend you can't remember her name.

I wouldn't have even looked at Connie if you hadn't thrown us together.

I thought you'd like her.

She's smart and beautiful and very literate.

A literate actress? What, is that like a four-leaf clover?

Most men find her seductive.

If you wanted to go off with Ray Polito, you should have gone.

You didn't need to fix me up with someone.

Please! I thought you'd want to see his friend's theater posters.

I have no interest in Connie. None. Nada.

You can sleep with other women. Just don't throw it in my face.

I'm not sleeping with her! Do you want to sleep with Ray?

[Paula:] Jesus Christ! Will you two keep it down?

I can't sleep. You got any pills?

I'm sorry, Mother. I can't have these late-night discussions.

I need a sleeping pill. Jerry? Come here.

I want to show you something. Now? It's 2 AM.

Come here! Jerry.

This goddamn ballad is driving me crazy. Just tell me what you think.

[Playing piano]

(music) Don't cry

(music) There'll be another spring

(music) I know our hearts

(music) Will dance again

(music) And sing again

(music) So wait for me

(music) Till then

(music) Be glad

(music) The bird is on the wing

(music) Another chance to love

(music) And laugh with me

(music) Just wait and see

(music) I love you now

(music) And I'll love you forever

(music) Oh, don't

(music) Be sad

(music) We'll surely be

(music) Together

(music) For the sky

(music) Is bluer overhead

(music) If you will Just

(music) Believe in me

(music) There'll be

(music) Another

(music) Spring

If life is meaningless, then why choose to live?

Dobel says we don't choose, our blood chooses for us.

What does it all add up to if I die?

Freud says sex and work.

Dobel says work gives the illusion of meaning, and sex gives the illusion of continuity.

[Paula singing]

She's going to practice now?

Hey, Paula? I'm trying to clarify some ideas for my novel.

I Just need...

I have some ideas for dialogue leading to the Judy Garland medley.

Could we talk about it later?

I am so nervous. I don't know why I'm so scared of performing.

Where does Amanda keep her Valium? There. I'll get you one.

I Just need a little bit of quiet, Just for the morning. Okay, Paula?

[Falk:] I went to the bathroom to get her mother a Valium.

Because Dobel made me so damn suspicious, I couldn't resist the impulse to open her diaphragm case to see if it was there, and it wasn't.

Why does she need her diaphragm? What for?

And what's wrong with me?

Why should the thought of Amanda sleeping with someone be both excruciating and exciting?

I feel like committing suicide, but I have so many problems, that wouldn't solve them all.

What should I do? What would you do?

Huh? What do I do?

If it was me, Falk, I would follow her.

Why do you put these paranoid thoughts in my head?

Why does she wear a diaphragm? Why isn't she on the pill?

It's hormonal. The pill makes her crazy.

The pill makes her crazy? Falk, she is crazy!

The Pentagon should use her hormones for chemical warfare!

I don't get it. Where is it? Where is her diaphragm?

Well, you know, I can imagine.

I've never followed anyone.

It's not rocket science, Falk.

The trick is not to be seen. Where is she now?

Acting class. You think.

Christ, don't say that. Of course she's at acting class.

She wouldn't miss that. It's too crucial.

And that's where she sees her acting partner, Ray Polito.

Look, I'm not good at following. Why don't you come with me?

I can't. I promised students I'd take them to the Caravaggio exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum.

I give them a little culture now and then so they don't beat each other to death with bicycle chains.

I'm too nervous to follow her.

There's nothing to it, you know.

You're worried about what you're going to find, that's all.

You are a writer. You have a gift.

You should have a girlfriend who helps you and is encouraging, not some mercurial little Jitterbug who'll have you hold up filling stations to keep her in mood elevators. I shouldn't have looked.

What you don't know will kill you!

What you don't know won't hurt you, it'll kill you.

Like if they tell you you're going to showers but they turn out not to be showers.


Ray Polito. I knew it.


[Amanda:] Where were you? We have theater tickets tonight.

Paula, could you excuse us? I have to talk to Amanda.

My God, Jerry. Has the president been shot?

Fine with me. I have a date tonight.

[Amanda:] What? You have a date? With who?

I must confess. It's with a guy who picked me up.

Where? At my AA meeting.

Great. An alcoholic. He's not an alcoholic.

He's the alcoholic's friend, the enabler.

Even better. What does he do?

He's a horse whisperer. What are you talking about?

What are you looking for, your keys? Yes.

They're over here. He's 26 years old.

Fabulous. You're going out with a 26-year-old horse whisperer.

[Falk:] Amanda, could I talk to you? Hold on!

Would you really care if I got a tattoo? Yes.

We'll discuss it later. No, Mom.

We'll discuss it. Mom, don't.

Mom, your keys. Your keys.

Thanks. Jesus, you're so crazy!

Where were you today? Acting class.

No, I mean after.

At a girlfriend's apartment, rehearsing a scene.

No. No, you weren't because I know you were in the school building with your teacher.

That's right. I saw you.

How? I was spying on you.

Spying? That's right. I saw the three of you.

You, your acting teacher and your diaphragm.

Your diaphragm. It's not here, so where could it be?

There's no such thing as a diaphragm repair shop.

I was there, Amanda. I saw it all.

Okay. Okay, I slept with Ron Keller.

But I didn't do it because I care about him.

No? What then? To punish him?

I had to find out if something was wrong with me.

I can't sleep with you, the person that I love.

I had to know if I was some kind of freak, or frigid.

I had to know if I could even get aroused anymore and have an orgasm!

And can you?

Yeah. It's good news. I can!

Okay. I want out of this relationship.

Jerry, don't say that. You know I need you.

Need me? How can you need me when all these positive feelings happen with everyone but me?

Not everybody. Just Ron Keller.

He reminds me of my father.

I remind you of your father.

You remind me of the good parts. He reminds me of the bad.

I figured I should try everything.

You know, to figure out what the problem is.

How did I get to be the good father? What am I, Kris Kringle?

It is a maddening problem. We had to try every kind of foreplay.

Where's the rifle? I'm going to blow my brains out.

Don't be so middle-class! I did it as much for you as for me.

Oh, thank you. For me? Thank you so much for thinking of me.

Well, it worked.

Now I know that I can get excited. Very excited.

Passionate! I can have orgasms.

Like the ones I had when we first started dating.

You know? Multiple ones, where I claw the walls.

I'm so happy to hear this, Amanda! Really.

This is Just music to my ears.

I don't need the rifle. I'll Just hemorrhage here on the carpet.

Jerry, don't be mad.

And don't be mad at Ron. He was Just trying to help.

Ron? How could I be upset at Ron?

In fact, I'll put him on my Christmas list, if I can figure out how to make a letter bomb.

Jerry... Jerry, please.

[Sniffles] Please. You know I love you so much.

I need you. I can't live without you.

Jerry, please?

That's bullshit, Falk. I don't buy any of it.

She says she did it therapeutically.

That's the kind of therapy they advertise on the back of the Village Voice.

She wanted to make sure she could still become aroused.

Well, I'm glad to hear the little sweetheart can still...

You know, it's not in vino veritas.

It's in eros veritas.

I don't know what to do, Dobel. I'm totally confused.

You said it. You're afraid to sleep alone. That's the whole story.

You surround yourself with this farrago of baby-sitters, this loving-disabled sex kitten who's driving you crazy, the Jew manager, you know?

Let me tell you, I am of the Hebrew persuasion, but that guy who handles you is a member of one of the lost tribes of Israel that should have remained lost.

And you got this shrink who, like God, never speaks and, like God, is dead.

There's nothing wrong with being afraid. We were meant to be afraid.

That's why you have to build a survival kit.

Do you have a little time now? I want to chat with you.

It's Just a Joint, but they have great Chinese food.

We're in luck. There's a guy pulling out.

Let me speak to you about something.

I have an acquaintance out in California who produces and he's doing some comedy shows on television.

I know they're looking for teams of writers.

If I told them that you and I were a team, I think we could get hired.

In California?

Yeah. All the action is out there. It's not here.

I don't know what Amanda would say.

Though her mother's always wanted to go to Hollywood.

Can I explain something? I'm talking about a clean break.

Me with the Board of Education, and you with everybody.

With that fish peddler, garment center manager you have, with your shrink and with that little girl who gives you a hard time.

I can't just leave... go by myself?

Not go by yourself. Go with me.

We'd go together so you can't fall back on being alone.

I've given it a lot of thought, Falk, and I know for me, it's now or never.

[Car starting]

Think about it. Just think about it.

Hey!

Hey, I was waiting for this space for five minutes.

I was here for five minutes, waiting...

You got a problem with me parking here?

You been waiting? Too bad. You slow, you blow.

I'm a busy man. I have things to do. But I was...

What, are you high on crack to be arguing with him?!

I was waiting here for five minutes! You want to meet God?

Do you? Get out of here!

Go home, old man. Do what the man says.

Go, before I kick you in the ass!

Get in your car and go home. And you, turn around!

Idiots!

My God, Dobel.

Either one of those guys could have beat you to a pulp.

Is it so important you insist?

Life's unfair. You said it yourself.

Those guys have the muscles and we're blessed with wit.

Later on, in the quiet and safety of some delicatessen, we can write a biting satire and expose all their foibles and have a great, big laugh. Two Jerks.

[Falk:] But in the meantime, they've got the biceps.

[Brakes squealing] What are you doing?

Why are you parking? Dobel, what are you doing?

Why are we back here? What is that for? Dobel!

Oh, my God. Dobel!

Dobel!

Dobel, let's go! My god.

You're sick in the head, you know that? Crazy!

[Engine sputtering]

Start the car.

What are you doing? [Engine starts]

[Typing]

I had mixed feelings over the day.

On the one hand, I was convinced Dobel was a raving, psychotic lunatic.

On the other hand, I had a kind of odd admiration for him.

I would have Just slinked away, bullied. You know?

But he wouldn't let the injustice rest. He resisted.

There are always some people who will resist.

And, as he says, the issue is always fascism.


He's nuts.

And yet the thought of giving up everything here and starting fresh in California, it's so tempting and exhilarating.

Why do I get so scared? Because I'm not a leaver.

The one time Amanda and I broke up, she left me.

It all happened too fast. I was overwhelmed by you.

It was a whirlwind and right away, we were living together!

I think we'd both benefit by some time apart.

I don't need time apart. I know I love you.

Well, I do!

I can't think. [Horn honking]

I get these migraines and sometimes, my throat closes up and I can't breathe.

I feel trapped and suffocated!

Maybe if we slept with the window open.

I'll move in with April. What if you return to a shrink?

I told you, shrinks don't work for me. I know how to fool them.

Just all that talk about how we were made for each other, and marriage, I...

She moved out. I was miserable.

Eating moo goo gai pan out of boxes every night, having dreams of death.

I tried dating, but it was hard getting her out of my mind.

Why don't you come to the ladies' room?

The door locks. We can be alone.

The wine has put me, um, very much in the mood.

Okay. I'll count to 30 and meet you in the ladies' room.

Meet me where?

I'm sorry.

My mind was somewhere else.

[Falk:] Then, a few weeks later, Just as suddenly as she moved out, Amanda returned.

[Amanda:] I'm back. But if you don't want me, I understand.

You're back?

I couldn't be without you. I tried, but I Just couldn't.

You didn't move in with your girlfriend April, like you said.

I found out you went to Naples with Tony Hanken.

Well, you can understand.

He wanted me to go with him to Naples and Rome.

It sounded so romantic.

Those are places I've dreamed of. I thought that's what I wanted.

But I missed you too much.

But of course you made love with him.

Yes, but I thought of you.

You were really the person I was making love to in Naples and Florence and Venice, on the airplane 40,000 feet in the air...

Okay. Enough.

Oh, yeah... and at the Vatican.

All I could think about while we were doing it was how much you would love that ceiling.

So I'm back. I'm home because...

I can't live without you.

[Falk:] We made love that night. It was wonderful.

If only certain moments in life could last, Just stay frozen, like some old vase.

[Typing]

[Door opens, woman laughing]

Paula, would you keep it down? You're going to wake Amanda.

Jerry, you haven't met Ralph. This is Ralph!

Can you keep it down? Amanda's... we saw Elaine Stritch on Broadway tonight.

She was magnificent!

Unbelievable! I wish I could do that!

You can. I can.

I mean, I have a voice.

I Just need some snappy dialogue from you, Jerry.

Absolutely. I'm sorry. I'm, uh...

[Paula:] Ralph, don't give me much. I've never had cocaine before.

Okay, Just a little. Is that coc... what are you...

Is that, uh...? It's blow.

Blow? What are you doing with blow? And on my computer?

You're such a stick in the mud!

You can partake. I'm not going to partake.

What is going on? I said they'd wake you.

Mother, you know how difficult it is for me to sleep.

I took two sleeping pills tonight.

We saw Elaine Stritch on Broadway. You want some cocaine?

No, we don't want any cocaine, Amanda.

I've never tried it. I've never tried lots of things!

Bungee Jumping, alligator wrestling. I'd have a little.

You don't know what you're doing! No fears, Jerry.

Ralph knows exactly what he's doing.

Nothing to worry about. Great. I won't be a part of this.

[Paula:] You are so goddamn prissy!

Thank you very much, Paula.

She has a point. You're never up for anything.

I'm up for things that you're not up for. Okay?

What is that supposed to mean? Nothing.

[Snorting] I'm not going to snort cocaine, okay?

I'm a nice, square Jewish boy, okay?

I'm not putting anything up my nose. My God, Paula!

Are you kidding me? I don't know. I do it right?

Itíll make you feel sexy, Jerry.

Does it? Does it make you feel sexy?

[Ralph:] Sexy. This could be interesting.

Some people it makes feel sexy. Other it makes belligerent.

With my luck, you'll take a knife to me.

[Ralph:] Come on, Just do a line!

You know what this does to your nasal membranes? Eats them raw.

Just do some with me. No!

Maybe it'll turn me on.

Darling, have a drink.

I have to talk to Dobel.

[Paula:] It's Just a social thing. It's not like we're drug addicts.

They snorted cocaine! Can you believe that?

My mother fed me Cheerios. She's giving her daughter coke!

By the way, it did not solve our problem in bed.

I was not making eyes at my mother's boyfriend.

God, you're so paranoid.

Why would I be interested in a horse whisperer who lives in Topanga Canyon and has one of those giant SUVs and stupid German Shepherds and chain saws.

How do you know so much about him?

Well, he was interesting to talk to.

So you're saying you're on the defensive because you wouldn't snort cocaine?

It's not the cocaine. It's the principle.

What principle? And, you know, she's not entirely wrong.

I mean, I am too rigid and disciplined.

What is this? You don't want to know.

What is it, a monologue for some alleged comedian who thinks to be offensive is in itself enough to be funny?

I wish it were. I certainly can't write at home anymore.

What is it? My contract extension with Harvey.

Unsigned, of course. You don't understand, okay?

If I don't re-up with him, he will truly die.

He'll commit suicide. I understand.

No, I understand completely.

What are you doing? Dobel, what the hell are you doing?!

What is wrong with you?! Where are you meeting him?

What did you do?!

At Isabella's. What did you do? Well, go in and tell him it's over.

Tell him you and I are going to California to write as a team.

Are you insane? Why did you tear this up?!

Because you're not spending five more minutes with this guy, much less seven years with this fumbling vantz who robs you blind with a sliding scale.

I can't tell him it's over, Dobel. I cannot...

I'll go with you. I'll sit in the place while you tell him.

I'll give you moral support. And don't beat around the bush.

Once you tergiversate, you're lost.

I'm sorry I'm late.

My mom has this hyperactive thyroid.

Sorry.

I ran into Dick Mallory.

He's working with a comic who needs material.

I naturally told him your price.

I said, you know, what you get.

The kid works dirty. A lot of bathroom Jokes.

I said, "Look, Jerry Falk is a professional.

"If what you need are bathroom Jokes, he can do them."

Harvey?

What's wrong with your voice? We should talk.

Yeah. That's the way I am.

I always like to settle business before the meal.

This way, you can relax and enjoy lunch.

You brought the contract, right?

Harvey... there's no question that you were there for me from the start.

And if you think it's easy selling an 18-year-old unknown... it's a Jungle out there.

And, and you've done a very professional Job.

And I've paid you... I mean, the sliding scale.

You know, even though it slid toward you.

Now... now I see myself moving in a whole new direction.

Meaning?

Basically, I'm interested in more serious things.

A novel, maybe some plays, maybe not even comedy.

The dollars are in the Jokes. Funny is money.

I mean, you know, as a hobby, later, when you're rich someday, if you want to try a book... fine.

Although... the young kids are not readers.

Harvey...

What? You're all flushed.

I'm not going to re-sign with you.

What?

Now I know this may be a little, uh, disappointing to you, but I'm moving to California and reevaluating my priorities.

You're what? I'm not going to need a manager.

You're not re-signing with me?

It's not the end of the world.

You're dumping me? No, not dumping. I'm moving.

I'm changing my goals. Don't take it badly.

No! My life...

My life is over. You're not re-signing with me?!

Harvey, calm down.

But my future! My plans!

The humiliation! You're dumping me!

You're overreacting.

You ungrateful, phony, two-timing... you louse!

Folks, this is not what you think.

I've invested all my dreams in you! I'm leaving town.

What have I done wrong?! Nothing.

How have I failed you?! You've been great.

Can we discuss this elsewhere?

This is the loyalty I get for years of struggle?!

Harvey, not everybody signs every contract for life.

The room is turning black! Turning black!

Air! Air!

Dobel! Dobel!

He's firing me! This is the payoff I get!

I'm out! He's taking it badly.

Pains in my chest! Can we get some brandy for him?

Please reconsider. Tell him to reconsider.

I'll go home and think about it.

Listen to me! He's not reconsidering.

He's moving on. Get on with your life.

[People gasping]

Everybody, stand back. Relax.

Oh, my God!

[Dobel:] There seems to be a pulse beat here.

[Falk:] What have I done? We should get an ambulance.

An ambulance? What have I done? Oh, my God!

Relax. The paramedics will pound on the chest.

I killed him! I shouldn't have listened to you.

Sometimes the victim comes back. You don't need a manager.

Well, maybe not, but I don't need him to die.

Relax! If he dies because you don't sign a contract with him, then you should have nothing to do with him.

Harvey?

[Falk:] Harvey did not die. As Dobel predicted, he survived.

I walked around in the city, trying to get my thoughts in order.

Whenever I'm unsure or troubled, I take to the city streets.

Walking in New York clears my head.

I couldn't deny it.

There was a feeling of freedom, of exhilaration.

[Falk:] Hey!

Hi! Hey.

Jerry, you remember Connie.

Connie, nice to see you. I invited her for dinner.

You're cooking? Yes.

I'm making spaghetti.

He makes fun of me because I only know how to make spaghetti for eight people.

I can't change the recipe proportionally.

So tonight we'll be having five extra portions.

[Falk:] I have news! I've parted ways with Harvey.

Oh.

The spaghetti for eight is terrific.

Let me explain what happened.

There I am, having a nice time, a little drunk.

I have two drinks and I'm ready to hold up a Brink's truck.

I start to see what it is about Connie that Amanda had raved about.

She was very charming and pretty and smart.

I started to get the feeling that she was finding me engaging.

I've never found conventionally handsome men attractive.

I much prefer faces with character.

I've fallen for some pretty odd-looking men in my life.

[Falk:] After dinner, I found myself alone in the kitchen with Connie and wanting to touch her.

I say this because it was the first time since meeting Amanda I'd even looked at another woman.

And I began to feel that maybe the time had come for me to pack up and start over in California with Dobel.

I'm terminating our sessions and moving to California with Dobel.

There's a Job waiting for us.

I'll miss New York, but if I can accumulate enough money, I can return and work on my own projects.

What do you think about my decision?

What do you think about it?

I told them I'm leaving. I gave notice and I won't starve.

I've saved some money. The thing I'll miss most is the kids.

The kids are wonderful. Bright.

You should see the creative ways they smuggle weapons past the metal detectors. It's amazing.

Now you have to tell Amanda. I know.

And don't tergiversate.

Did I tergiversate with Harvey? Huh? No.

I don't even know what the hell "tergiversate" means, so how can I tergiversate?

Ahh, she'll die.

Amanda? Amanda, I want to talk with you.

Hi. Hi.

I want to talk about something. I need to talk to you, too.

I think I should go first, 'cause it's pretty serious.

Me, too.

Can we sit down? Yeah, I think we should sit.

I'm moving to Los Angeles. I'm moving out.

What?

I want to be totally honest with you, Jerry.

I've met someone and developed very strong feelings for him.

You met someone? Yes.

Have you been having an affair? No, and I don't want to.

I can't do all that lying and sneaking around.

Well, where did you meet him? In passing.

You must have spent time with him to have feelings for him.

We've had a few drinks, nothing heavy. Just a few chats.

So you have been seeing someone.

I've had a couple of casual conversations.

You slept with him?

My God, Jerry. What do you think I am?

Have you? Once. And very quickly.

I had to see if we were sexually compatible.

I refused to let myself have an affair.

That's why I'm being so honest. I want to be straightforward.

I'm at a loss for words. I, uh, I...

I don't know what to say. I'm completely taken aback.

I'll be moving out. Everything will be clean and honest.

Mom will stay here till Phil and I get settled.

Phil? It'll only be a month, until Phil's divorce comes through.

No. Your mother's not staying here. I said I'm moving to California.

I won't be here. That's so great!

Did you get a Job out there?

Yes. Dobel and I, on a TV show.

That's wonderful. You'll knock 'em dead out there.

Idiots who are total losers in New York go to L.A. And become millionaires.

God, this is so much better this way.

It was unfair, the way we were living, you having to put up with my stupid inability to function sexually and me hating myself all the time.

This is sad, but it's for the best.

You know what would be kind of romantic?

If we were to make love, Just one last time.

For old times' sake. I thought you couldn't.

Everything's different now. The psychodynamic has changed.

Who knows? Maybe we'll end up having an affair.

[Falk:] I did it! I did it. I cut all the ties.

I feel free and exhilarated like I'm falling through space.

I feel confident and I'm very positive, but also like I'm buried alive. I don't know.

I'm sure once we get to L.A. And start working...

Speaking of which, I Just bought some luggage.

What's wrong? You sound all weird.

Where? Now?

I don't think I know where that spot in the park is. Where is it?

All right. I'll find it.

You're late! Could you pick a more secluded spot?

Did anyone follow you? No! No one followed me.

Wait until I tell you what Amanda said. I have to explain something to you.

Due to circumstances, I think I should really get away to a less conspicuous venue. Maybe like Alaska or something.

What are you talking about? You have to go by yourself.

I'm not going. What?

You have the Job. It's there waiting for you. It's all done.

No, no, no. That's not the deal.

We go as a team, Dobel.

You're grown up. You can handle it alone.

I don't understand. What happened?

You don't want to know.

You can't cop out and not give me an explanation.

I've changed my whole life around. What happened?

Just some nonsense, Falk. You know.

The other night, I was out of state.

Don't ask me where. The less you know, the better.

I was trying to sell my car to a potential buyer as a preamble to our trip to California.

And I was coming home, speeding a little bit.

What's the fun of having a car like that if you can't get a little velocity going?

And I was stopped by two state troopers.

They were exceptionally nasty, and one thing led to another.

They made some remarks and got physical, and I made some remarks, and they got a little rough, and the next thing I knew, they made some crack about my religion, which I found in poor taste.

Religion? You're an atheist.

Yes, I'm an atheist, but... but I resented the fact, however obliquely that they implied Auschwitz was basically a theme park.

Anyhow, a little bloodied, I returned to my apartment and got one of my many weapons, and I returned to find them.

Don't you dare tell me you shot them.

I couldn't find both of them, only one.

As fate turned out, I located the more porcine of the two.

How serious?

In a satirical mood, I thought it would be amusing if I shot him in the ass, but it was dark and I was nervous, and, you know, time has diminished my accuracy.

[Falk sighs] Dobel!

Dobel!

My God!

I always knew I would use the survival kit one day.

It's Just for a period of time until everything blows over, I suppose.

God. Oh, Dobel.

Dobel.

[Falk:] I never knew if Dobel's story was true or just a piece of fiction he used to get me to go alone.

I never saw or heard from him again.

For all I know, he's ice fishing somewhere in the Yukon.

I thought a lot about that strange, sad, improbable character and remembered very fondly our afternoons in Central Park.

[Dobel:] In life, they'll be no shortage of people who'll tell you how to live.

They'll have all the answers... what you should do and not do.

Don't argue with them. Say, "Yes, that's a brilliant idea," and do what you want.

Whenever you write, strive for originality, but if you have to steal, steal from the best.

And if you take very good care of your styptic pencil and dry it after every shave, it'll last longer than most relationships you're in.

[Falk:] The seminal Joke about Dobel is the old one-liner:

That even a clock that's broken is right twice a day.

Dobel had a real sense of irony and would have appreciated that I got one last, to use his word, adventitious glimpse of Amanda as I was leaving for JFK.

The doctor!

I knew that doctor was hot for her.

[Cab driver:] What'd you say?

I was Just saying how strange life is, how full of inexplicable mystery.

[Driver:] Well, you know, it's like anything else.