It's New Years Eve and everyone counts down and - at the stroke of twelve - whoops. It's impossible to whoop when you're heartbroken so I'm going to take a Xanax and skip tonight, just pretend it never happened. My friend Carrie Fisher died. I'm in South Africa so am exempt from watching the circus that must be happening in the world. I can imagine people globally mourning Princess Leia's demise. That's the nice side of fame: everyone knows what part you played; the bad news is that when you die it's not for you they mourn, it's the character.
Who she actually was, was greater than a trillion Star Wars, she was a comic genius. Like a composer hears notes in his/her head when composing, she would imagine words and phrases, craft them to perfection and reel out daisy chains of comic jewels. They say that when we laugh it's a half scream. We hear or see something we weren't expecting and express shock and when we realise it won't hurt us, the relief comes out as a bark of joy. I barked with joy a lot in her presence throughout our friendship. Her language ambushed you, taking you by surprise by the originality of it all that was so edgy, so dark and scary, the only thing you could do was laugh. She knew how to translate pain into something screamingly funny, which is what comedy is meant to do (see Greek comedy). It's to show us how absurd and ridiculous we all are under our pretentious fronts. Underneath, we're just quivering heaps of jelly trying not to screw up and doing nothing but screwing up.
Years ago, I worshipped Carrie after reading, "Postcards From the Edge". I had a talk show and asked my producer, Clive, to get her as a guest. Year after year I begged him to try to get Carrie. Finally, he delivered and when you meet the girl of your dreams, you either can't speak because your tongue is paralysed or you turn on the big guns, dig deep in your soul and try to be funny. So there we were, she would deliver a great line and I would whack it back. Never as good as her but I was happy to be the midwife as she delivered her golden egg. When I'd make her laugh it felt like I was winning an Oscar. So there we were, lobbing bon mots at each other, and we fell in love. That was so many decades ago but from then on we remained friends; travelling together we made Thelma and Louise look brain dead.
Her tragedy was that she was born into Hollywood royalty, which is more toxic than Chernobyl. Some of these people can't really mix with the real world or even share our oxygen because they're so revered, they can only mix with each other. It becomes like inbreeding, which is ultimately unhealthy and can produce mental freaks. Of course that world gave her great material but I always thought if she could have hung out with a few more non-famous folks she would have been happier. She was always destined to be the best comic writer of her generation it was only due to circumstances beyond her control she became 'Princess Whatever'.
If the emails she's written me were ever published I know she'd win a Booker Prize. We'd often lie in bed together (not sexual) she'd call me 'mommy' and read out scrawls from her notebooks and I'd just lie there thinking, 'how lucky am I to have this woman as a friend?' To the end of my life I'll never get over that.Suggest a correction