Public Speaking by Martin Scorsese-Kelly's Queue It Up

Fran Lebowitz

Fran Lebowitz is my hero, and I don’t even smoke.  A writer, humorist and public speaker, she is never dull.   With a sharp edge and fierce intelligence, she dares to say what so many of us think.

“All God’s children are not beautiful.  Most of God’s children are, in fact, barely presentable.”

Martin Scorsese’s film, Public Speaking, produced and originally broadcast by HBO, shows her in all her lesbian glory.  Whether she is riffing on the Disney-fication of Times Square or her ongoing quest to keep smoking cigarettes anytime and anywhere, this documentary is a rollicking good time.

Lebowitz takes on gay marriage, suggesting that is exactly why she is gay, so she won’t have to marry and calling out parents, who apparently don’t want their children to learn to walk, pushing them in strollers until they are 9-years-old and their muscles begin to atrophy.  You know exactly what she is talking about, don’t you?

She has the ultimate New Yorker’s inside view of fame, fortune and who was doing drugs at Studio 54 in the ’70s.  It may not be a cure for cancer, but it sure feels like a cultural touchstone.

Nobody talks faster and says so much.  Although she claims to have suffered for years from “writer’s blockade,” Fran is never at a loss for biting commentary and, what she refers to as, “talking back.”

Scorsese’s movie is an entertaining mix of conversations at The Waverly Inn, speaking engagements and on-stage interviews.  She is like Dorothy Parker on speed, even managing to elicit laughter from uber-serious, Nobel Prize-wining author, Toni Morrison.

See Fran expound upon writing, race relations, manners, sex and rock ‘n roll.  Oh, and she does it all without a computer and almost always with a cigarette in her mouth.

“In real life, I assure you, there is no such thing as algebra.”

Fran Lebowitz

Public Speaking

Directed by: Martin Scorsese



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