Letter from occupied Bel-Air

Our fearless correspondent's first dispatch from the entertainment industry's demilitarized zone: hot tub adventures, Jay Leno's handshake and bad behavior with Trey Parker's digital camera.

Published October 8, 1999 4:00PM (EDT)

Dear Button,

Did you watch "The Price Is Right" when you stayed home sick from school? Even if you pushed the little lederhosened mountaineer off the cliff, there was still a chance for you at the wheel. A second chance for you to be a winner. The American Dream, Hollywood-style. I couldn't get enough. I wanted to stay home everyday. Same with "The Tonight Show." There was no backstage. It was all Hollywood magic. Everyone just sort of appeared. Jetted in, jetted out. Lying on my parents' bed laughing at Johnny's monologue I was overcome with the promise of the entertainment industry.

But then Matt and Trey were on and I was backstage in their dressing room and in comes Jay with the scripts. They had done a pre-interview over the phone the day before and some PA had typed it all up and here was Jay to go over everything. It lost so much charm right then. Then, when they were on a second time, we were backstage and I went to pee and when I came out of the bathroom (you could still hear the toilet flushing) I walked smack into Jay and he remembers me a little and so like a gentleman puts out his hand and receives my dry shake. No post-urination wash-up. There was a slight pause of recognition between us and then I slithered away. (What Jay doesn't know, however, is that I was a left-hand operator on that particular occasion, and he had nothing to fear.)

The point is, Hollywood came crashing down. No magic. Scripted interviews and dry handshakes. When the announcement came on "The Price Is Right" to send for tickets and the address was Burbank, Burbank was a distant paradise of palm trees and star homes. Now it's where the Burbank airport is, and warm chocolate chip cookies.

After Trey and Matt finished filming "Baseketball," Universal or Paramount or whoever got them a private jet and we all went to Cabo San Lucas. Pre-flight we're all sitting at the hangar. Then our pilot and first officer come over to get our bags and inform us that we'll be taking off as soon as they take the chocolate chip cookies out of the oven.

So that's what Burbank has become. And travel. When we took a private jet to the Aspen Comedy Festival last March, the bill was footed by this gazillionaire who credits his success to an acid trip he had once. Saw a vision of what he needed to do, did it, and now he's driving his trophy girlfriend and bratty kid right onto the tarmac and next to the plane. Out goes the cockpit crew to valet his behemoth Suburban, carry his bags and escort him onto the plane. And you can bet the car was waiting in that exact spot -- turned around and running -- when we got back. So, who wants to fly coach anymore? Or carry their own bags? Wait in line, are you kidding me?

Trey always takes me along to fun things mostly so we can steal those private looks at one another, the ones that say: Who ever thought we'd be doing this when we were little dickheads back in Evergreen High School? Who thought we'd meet Elton? Or Clint? On more than one occasion Trey's woken me from fitful slumber in order that I might play his second when the model and her hot friend arrive to enjoy a night of hot tubbing. To which I have always said, "Well, OK." I mean, he's my best friend. What else could I do?

Went to the premiere of "Three Kings" on Monday. We got really drunk and took pictures with Trey's new digital camera. Once you take all the pictures you can put the memory stick into what's called CyberFrame. It's a small LCD picture frame that lets you cycle through each photo or pick one to display. Anyway, we ran around drunk, taking pictures, yelling "CyberFrame woo-hoo!" and when people would give us weird looks we'd point at them and in total surfer dude voices scream, "You're a robot!"

Also, I decided to rub up against the stars, literally. So I slid my Versace shirt against Cindy Crawford, Rose McGowan, George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and this hot chick who is the roommate of my friend's agent. Oh, and I fellated a hot dog. "CyberFrame!"

Love, David

By David Goodman

David Goodman, like Steven Spielberg before him, grew up in Haddonfield, N.J. He writes for "South Park" and is the editor of bluelawn.com.

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