15 Minutes With Carrie Fisher

90339169 15 Minutes With Carrie FisherCarrie Fisher’s touring show Wishful Drinking was recently filmed for an HBO special that debuts December 12. The show, which began on Broadway, is taken from her book of the same title and provides a broad overview of her many tabloid scandals — though Ms. Fisher says she’s actually not that much of a drinker. We recently had a chance to talk with her from her home in Los Angeles.

 

So, you just got back from Australia.
Oh, god. Six weeks.

How did you like it?
Well I don’t recommend Canberra. It’s where all the politicians are, and all the porn.

Too much competition there?
Yeah! What a combination, though, right?

In the show, your impression of your mother Debbie Reynolds is dead on.
Well it’d better be!

What does she think of it?
She likes it. She’s come on stage with me. Both my parents have. I did it for awhile up in San Francisco, where my dad lived. My mom would usually come on stage and sing or something. You know, that’s what our family does. Have you met my mom?

I haven’t had the pleasure.
Well that is what she’s like.

She’ll burst into song at the drop of a hat?
More my father would do that. Everything was song cue for him. She wasn’t as much like that. Isn’t.

How has it been to do the show, since losing your father, the singer Eddie Fisher? He’s a big part of it.
Yeah. He was fun to be around, my father, and it was nice that I had to do the show up in San Francisco, so I could be with him quite a bit during the last four years. I don’t know, I miss my dad. But then, I always did!

In the show, you compare him and your mother to Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, with Elizabeth Taylor in the Angelina role. Celebrity news must drive you nuts.
It just seems endless, doesn’t it? I wasn’t around when they did it to my parents, but in those days my parents satisfied that urge. It’s interesting, it’s always a threesome, you know? That’s so in almost everything—Star Wars, Singing in the Rain. Threesomes, always.

People hated my father forever for that. There was a quote actually from Jackie Kennedy who said, “The only thing that I could do to make people hate me would be to date Eddie Fisher.”

In your show, he comes off as perfectly likeable.
He was! He was this incredibly childlike man. They’re both very likeable, but my father was never really a parent. I finally figured that the way to have a good relationship with him was to not wait for that. He was not put on this Earth to do that.

Someone else who crops up quite a bit is your ex-husband Paul Simon. Do you know if he’s had a chance to see the show?
I don’t think so. But he’s aware of what was in it.

You depict him as kind of passive-aggressive. Was that what you were going for?
I wasn’t going for anything. Paul did have a lot to put up with me. He put up with me for a long, long time. And I don’t think it was easy. Passive aggressive how?

These awful songs about you just seemed to “occur,” released into the public sphere.
Yeah he wrote songs from his life and still probably continues to—like we all do—write from life. He just wasn’t that flattering. But there were certainly some flattering songs. I don’t know if he was passive aggressive…

The show also touches on your battle with bipolar disorder. Given that, and your past drug use, what was it like playing a substance-abusing crazy person on 30 Rock?
I portrayed an alcoholic, which was not anything that I ever was. But there was a scene that took place in my apartment, and they had put prescription medication bottles all over the apartment—I mean like 20 of them. And my thing was: Okay, yes. But we should reduce the number and, certainly, we’re not pretending it’s real, because of course you hide them when you’re an addict. You don’t just leave them out. It was fun to do that, it was really well-written and I had a good time doing it. And I think I play crazy people well.

You rip into George Lucas pretty good during the show. I was wondering if you had any memories of Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner, who passed away just last week.
Kersh? Kersh was great. George wasn’t a really hands-on director. Actually one time someone came to visit the set and after three days said, “Which one is the director?” That was on the first movie. But Kersh was very great. He reminded everyone of Yoda. There was something about him. He could do a great impersonation of Yoda. That was my favorite movie, as I think it was for most of us that were involved in them.

I understand you’ve got a new book you’re working on?
It’s anecdotal memoir. I have so many weird stories and things I’ve survived that I’ve just thought, well I’ve done Wishful Drinking and since that is an anecdotal memoir, I will do something not dissimilar. 

Got a title?
It will have more stuff about my getting shock treatment. I’m calling it Shockaholic.