Last November the popular washingtonpost.com live discussion Chatological Humor* went dark. The decision by host Gene Weingarten was controversial even though he said he would return in April. Recently, I had the opportunity to ask Mr. Weingarten some questions about his sabbatical.
WFY: You said you were simply too busy to keep doing the chat. Specifically, you said:
I have arrayed before me five months of deadlines that are squeezing me like a F-cup breast (work safe) in one of those mammogram machines. I’m writing a book. Writing a movie with Dave Barry. Writing a new, dreadful, immovable cover story on deadline. A comic strip, with my son. Something had to give. I’ve already given up vacations, weekends, sleep, and sex, but I draw the line at food, particularly sushi and Tiramisu.
However, those are not the real reasons, are they? You just want to look like a big man and take a sabbatical like Gary Larson, Bill Waterson, Gary Trudeau, and Dave Barry. Oh and you wanted to hurt us too, right?
Gene Weingarten: I’m too busy to answer this one.
WFY: How are those “projects” going?
GW: Think F-Cups in mammograms, but don’t think about it too long.
WFY: In order, please list which features of the chat you miss the most
a) discussions of lavatory etiquette
b) talking about short skirts, boots, VPL
c) the bully pulpit for your political beliefs
d) gushing about dogs
e) confronting your unrequited love for your Chatological Humor’s producer, Liz Kelly
e) virtual panties being thrown at you by hotties
GW: It’s probably the panties. Which permits me to disclose something here, possibly for the first time. I have on occasion received actual, corporeal underpants in the mail. I believe four times, total. One was from a man. One was so large I really, really want to think it was a joke. In fact, if the lady who sent them to me is within the reach of this phosphorus, could you please confirm to my man Yurasko here that it was a joke?
WFY: Speaking of Liz, how is she holding up now that she does not have to moderate the weekly discussion? Is she relieved, or will we be seeing a column called “Why washingtonpost.com doesn’t need Weingarten” any day now?
GW: Lizzie and I were talking just yesterday. It it sad what has happened to the woman in my absence. Turns out, I was really the poor kid’s life. Chivalry does not permit me to be specific, but think fishnet stockings, MD 20/20, and 14th Street. (WFY: Ms. Kelly’s side of the story is here.)
WFY: What about The Rib? Have you made dinner table conversations insufferable for her since no longer have an unedited, weekly forum? What about your puppy? Pat the Perfect?
GW: Fishnet stockings, MD 20/20 and 14th Street for the lot of them.
WFY: Q: Has your credulity as the sole arbiter of humor been questioned since you stopped the chat?
GW: You mean credibility, I think. I also miss the grammar/language authoritarianism.
WFY: I do mean credibility, this was a spell checking error that I caught immediately after the message was sent. Apparently, my attempt to recall the message was fruitless. Let’s try it again:
WFY: Has your credibility as the sole arbiter of humor been questioned since you stopped the chat?
GW: No, my license has been renewed, by God, through the spring of 2009.
WFY: A popular search on my blog is the pronunciation of the restaurant Les Halles. How do you pronounce it?
GW: Rhymes with Lay Doll, no?
WFY: How many games will the Nationals win this year?
WFY: You are coming back, right?
WFY: Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions, slacker.
GW: Expletive deleted you, too.
WFY: Shouldn’t that be “F you!”
* Formerly known as “Funny? You Should Ask.”