Screenwriter Bruce Vilanch Holds Off On Hotly Anticipated T-Shirt Auction

transom bettemidler Screenwriter Bruce Vilanch Holds Off On Hotly Anticipated T Shirt AuctionOn Wednesday, April 25, at around 9:30 p.m., scraggily-haired screenwriter Bruce Vilanch—best known for his uncanny ability to write mildly entertaining material for presenters at the Academy Awards—arrived at the Bellavitae restaurant in the West Village. He had just finished performing as part of the ensemble cast of Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell at the Minetta Lane Theatre.

Mr. Vilanch, who resembles a jumbo-size lumberjack, had plenty of energy to spare. “I always liked the monologues, and I’ve read them a couple times with Bette Midler, who I’ve worked with for 35 years, even though she’s only 32,” he said with a hearty chuckle. (Mr. Vilanch, who is 50, later trotted out the same joke when Ms. Midler, who wasn’t giving interviews, was within earshot.)

“On a totally unrelated note, ” The Transom began.

“What? Dinner?” Mr. Vilanch joked. He was wearing one of his famous T-shirts, this one emblazoned with the words: “This is my party shirt.”

“My assistant says I’m an eBay auction waiting to happen,” he said. “I have a very large collection of T-shirts … about 4,000 now. Maybe I’ll pillage it someday. I have resisted the offers to do a line of T-shirts.”

Why?

“What if I made the T-shirts and nobody wanted to wear it?”

What’s his favorite shirt?

“Well, of course, my favorite is: ‘Excuse me, you’re standing on my penis.’”

That’s how he makes the big bucks, folks!

Later, the late monologist’s wife, Kathleen Russo, said that she had such an enthusiastic response to the first national tour of Stories Left to Tell that she’s taking the play around the country again.

“When you read them, you realize you have more in common with him than you would have thought,” Ms. Russo said of her husband’s monologues. “When he was alive, he was really alive, and he was always taking notes and taking prisoners.”