The movie theater darkened and one man clapped. Then another couple of men stood up, and, quickly, the entire capacity theater at Loews Lincoln Square on the Upper West Side turned and stood to see Michael Moore ambling up the aisle shortly after 11 on Friday night.
Mr. Moore’s new health-care documentary Sicko was about to start, and its writer, director and producer wanted to say a few words. He wore black jeans, a black shirt, a black jacket and a pale red baseball cap; and smiled a lot.
“I was at the earlier show, sitting in the back, watching myself,” he explained, “and then they asked me if I’d say a few words at this showing.
“We lived in the neighborhood for 12 years," he added, "and this was our movie theater when we went to the movies.” And tonight’s showings of Sicko were the first public showings in any theater in the United States. That was one of many applause lines in Mr. Moore’s barely five minutes of comments. (The movie premiered on Tuesday at the Ziegfeld, an event co-sponsored by The Observer.)
After profuse thanks and an admonishment to be safe in the theater—“I’m told they had to call the fire marshal at the last one because the theater was so crowded.”—Mr. Moore turned briefly serious: “We live in dark times.” His solution: “A little laughter sometimes helps.” One man shouted back, “Thank you, Michael”—another burst of applause.
He exited the same aisle he entered from, shaking a few hands, a grin across his face. The lights dimmed further, and Sicko rolled.