Jewish World Review Oct. 9, 2003 / 13 Tishrei, 5764

Lloyd Grove

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Gray Davis goes to the movies; Ali Wentworth, working blue; Law & Order?; pot of gold at the end of the rainbow room? | NEW YORK — Gray Davis's concession call began predictably enough. But then, Tuesday night, the just-defeated governor of California took the opportunity to give Arnold Schwarzenegger two thumbs up.

I'm told that Governor-elect Schwarzenegger held the phone to his ear while some 50 staffers, friends and relatives witnessed his end of the conversation in the presidential suite of the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.

"Hello," Schwarzenegger said in that amazingly thick accent. "Yes, Governor. Thank you. Yes, well, you are very nice to say that."

Suddenly a quizzical expression clouded Arnold's face. "'Kindergarten Cop'? 'Twins'? Hmm. Oh, yes, I did hear that. Oh, great. Well, thank you!"

The phone call over, Schwarzenegger recounted to the crowd: The governor had just told him that someone somehow had obtained Davis's private cellphone number a couple of months ago and called doing a Schwarzenegger impression.

Except that Davis had believed that his caller was really Schwarzenegger, and told him that his two favorite Schwarzenegger movies are "Twins" and "Kindergarten Cop."

At the Century Plaza, Schwarzenegger turned to his pal Ivan Reitman, who directed the movies: "Hey, Ivan, we were just talking about you," he told the surprised Canadian.

But not all was sweetness and light. On the other side of the country, at the New York premiere party for the movie "Kill Bill," producer Lawrence Bender, William Morris Chairman Jim Wyatt and Miramax honcho Harvey Weinstein were pulling long faces over the putsch in California. Wyatt predicted that further newspaper stories about women being groped would result in yet another recall election. And Weinstein lamented: "What's the world coming to?"

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Decent people would find 7:30 a.m. way too early for a racy, profanity-laced standup routine. But every morning just after sunrise, the producers and crew of the CBS daytime show "Live With Ali & Jack" look forward to the X-rated comedy stylings of host Ali Wentworth.

"Dark Ali," as the crew members call her performance, takes place during rehearsal before the show's 9 a.m. airtime (with co-host Jack Ford safely in his dressing room).

On Wednesday, Wentworth — wife of buttoned-down ABC News eminence George Stephanopoulos — "worked blue," in the parlance of comedy clubs, doing extended shtick on her fantasy of fringe candidate and busty bombshell Angelyne becoming governor of California. She arched her back, thrust out her chest and mouthed sexual innuendoes — the most printable being, "I'll show you my big budget!"

Later on, Wentworth, an alumna of the Fox television show "In Living Color," lifted up her blouse to breast-feed a baby doll. Dark Ali has also featured a Nazi-saluting sendup of Arnold Schwarzenegger and references to various sexual acts not suitable for a family gossip column.

When I asked Wentworth to explain her behavior, she told me: "The reason I do it is so I can get it all out of my system before going on the air live."

Executive Producer Bruce McKay: "She does stuff that's more in the realm of late-night humor but wouldn't be appropriate for morning television. Most of the crew are male, and they really enjoy it."


BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD: It was tasteful enough for the French, but the advertising poster for "The Barbarian Invasions," the Miramax film that won the Best Screenplay prize at Cannes, has apparently shocked the censors at the Motion Picture Association of America. Hollywood lobbyist Jack Valenti's group, which regulates movie marketing in the United States, has rejected the poster because it features doodlings of a female breast and a male organ. "We don't discuss these decisions, but we have an advertising arm that determines what is appropriate material," MPAA spokesman Rich Taylor told me. "Jack Valenti has no knowledge of the poster of which you speak."

LAW & ORDER?: Celebs are lining up to buy the paintings of Natasha Law, Jude Law's big sister and one of the artists in an exhibition at Ingrao Gallery on the upper East Side. Kim Cattrall has paid just under $10,000 for "Esther Red," a large gloss-on-aluminum piece from the show, and Tony Bennett's son Danny has plunked down almost $5,000 for "Pink Shoes," a smaller piece.

"Jude is expecting to be given one, I think!" Law said of her movie-star brother, who recently split from wife Sadie. "It was 10 years of sister-in-law. I'm really fond of her," Natasha said. As for little brother, "The moment he got rich and famous he became the patriarch of our family. . . . He's single. He's so busy working, and he's trying to make sure the kids are OK."

POT OF GOLD AT THE END OF THE RAINBOW ROOM?: First Lady Laura Bush will be in New York Thursday afternoon to headline a $1,000-a-head fundraiser for her husband's re-election campaign. The New York Daily News's Michael Blood tells me that Rudy Giuliani and Judi Nathan are expected at the private event hosted by Gov. George Pataki in the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Plaza.

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10/08/03: Art-time for Hitler; the actress who hates movies; lying "Liam"
10/07/03: Pond scum of the rich and famous
07/24/03: Ali and George, living it up; Mel Gibson's Washington power play
07/21/03: White House smear?
07/17/03: Yet another intern scandal; it's her party and she can pay if she wants to
07/14/03: On the auction block: JFK'S boxer shorts; love bytes the maestro
07/10/03: A hairy situation at Homeland Security; Van Susteren v. Orth
06/30/03: Rep. Patrick Kennedy: I've never worked a (bleeping) day in my life; Drudge's dressing down; Ken Lay's Kerry connection
06/26/03: Rapping the beat
06/23/03: Another Watergate scandal?; AL GORE TV!
06/19/03: Tony Snow, rocker?; that won't be crow on Mr. Carlson's plate
06/16/03: Missing dog, ransom demand, Hollywood ending
06/12/03: Giving both parties the needle
06/05/03: Incoming from Barbara Bush?
06/02/03: Bob Dole's plan for fighting unemployment
05/29/03: Newt's new novel
05/27/03: Hitchens & Blumenthal, together again; He still believes in a man called Hope
05/09/03: Close, but no cigar; Romeo & Juliet with a happy ending?; Geraldo to help Heebs?
05/05/03: So Bill Gates and Tom Brokaw walk into a coffee bar . . .; hotel hell; more

© 2003, Creators Syndicate