Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Way It Is, According to Mario Cantone

A new friend, Mario Cantone and Yours Truly in fine spirits at the "Sex and the City 2" party at Bergdorf Goodman. Photo courtesy of Bergdorf Goodman.

DON’T get it twisted. Mario Cantone was the first male cohost on “The View,” not Tom Selleck (factcheckers are on the case).

The actor made the declaration on the air when he cohosted the last day of the show’s male best friend week. And he is sticking to it, as of the “Sex and the City 2” afterparty at Bergdorf Goodman last week.

“I’ve been appearing on “The View” 12 years,” says MC who was one of the names being bandied about as a replacement for Rosie O’Donnell after her stormy exit.

"The View" is one of the hot topics that Himself and Yours Truly jaw about during a meandering conversation in our little corner of Bergdorf’s first floor after the HP advanced screening of “SATC 2.”

He likes (surprise!) the film, which did slightly disappointing business ($51.4) at the box office from Thursday through Memorial Day but still has blockbuster potential. “They cut a lot of my best lines,” demurs he in that familiar rat-a-tat delivery.

In the early scenes of the film, MC and former nemesis Stanford Blatch (Willie Garson who is also at the party) tie the knot. Theirs is a wedding that only a gay man can dream up if his betrothed gives in to his every whim – on one condition. There are swans. Fountains, too. And there is Liza Minnelli. She officiates and entertains.

“I’ve known her for years,” MC says of his old friend whom he did a hilarious impersonation of during a Christmas carol medley on “The View.” “She’s great and she looks fabulous.”

Other things in the world that he’s passionate about at the moment are an actor and his play. “You have to see ‘Fences’. You’ll love it. It’s great,” he gushes, calling Tony-nominated star Denzel Washington, “the greatest actor of all time.”

That’s a massive statement, so outsized that I give him an opportunity to zoom in. “Yes,” he agrees, DW is the greatest actor of his generation. “There was Burton. Then DeNiro. And Denzel, hands down.”

He has good things to say about Mrs. Washington, too. “This woman came up to me, and I didn’t know who she was. And she said she was Denzel’s wife. Such a nice lady … but you have to go see the play.”

Meanwhile, some people make love in the afternoon. Mario goes to the gym. “You work out in the morning; you don’t work out in the afternoon or evening,” he asks, incredulous after I explain that I must watch my Mo√ęt et Chandon intake, lest I go tripping into my a.m. step class.

“Oh, I can not get up early in the morning. You should go to the gym around 2,” recommends MC.

Then the man who is starring in what will probably be one of the top-grossing films of the year; who has a successful standup comic career begins to bemoan his so-called life – all of these terrible events like red carpets and top-shelf parties stealing his rest/sleep. The very man whose second home appears to be as a cohost on a top-rated morning program. Himself who has known for years iconic figures that most – straight or gay – will ever only dream about. And at this moment, the man who has people hanging back, waiting for his next command. This man living such a miserable existence … all of which I point out, interrupting his screed.

He mulls over my words, regards me as if I am in focus and pulls himself together. “OK, you’re right,” he concedes with a hug and kiss and off he goes. His people follow.

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