The Plank

Jeremy Piven, Thermometer


Vulture shares the show-business dis of the week, courtesy of none other than playwright David Mamet:

While omens of the forthcoming Broadwaypocalypse have been dragging us down for months, the recent revival of David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow was the one play that seemingly had everything going for it: some strong reviews, a healthy marketing budget (we always see commercials for the show during SNL), an endorsement from David Mamet (something he failed to give American Buffalo), and a cast of accomplished actors. All of which translated into strong sales for the show, reportedly in the neighborhood of $500,000 a week
since the show's October debut. However, all that positive momentum was
halted when self-proclaimed master thespian Jeremy Piven abruptly
bolted from the play last night due to, get this, very high levels of
mercury in his blood. We suppose that's a more plausible excuse than
"the dog ate my homework," but not by much. So what happened?

Well, it seems that Piven hadn't exactly been on his A-game of late. Not only had he been making a habit of showing up only minutes before curtain, but during a matinee performance of the show on Saturday, he temporarily disrupted the play
to impatiently stare at his watch (while tapping his feet!) when a few
theatergoers arrived to their seats late. Then he failed to show up for
Tuesday and Wednesday's performances, which led to his being diagnosed
by himself a team of doctors with that mysterious mercury
ailment. All of which prompted David Mamet to issue this instantly
classic dis to Variety:

"I talked to Jeremy on the phone, and he told me that he
discovered that he had a very high level of mercury. So my
understanding is that he is leaving show business to pursue a career as
a thermometer."

--Christopher Orr

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