ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

Sep 03, 2013

Join us next Tuesday to laugh, cry, and dish about the moments that amused you, shocked you, or caused you to yell things that frightened the other people on the subway.

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Connect on Twitter: @PostLive | @petridishes

I will be the last to come and first to leave today, so make it quick! Also it feels oddly like a Monday and I am all discombobulated and wearing my most I Am Clearly Indispensable To This Paper outfit, which makes it difficult to type over all the ad space. 

I got it! I can dispose of the obligatory references in one swoop: So, would 50 Shades of Soylent Green represent the worst kinds of abuse?


Okay, this chat was fast.

Alexandra, I wish YOU had interviewed the new chief for today's interview. What questions would you have asked him?

It would have devolved into groveling rather quickly, I think.

That or I would accidentally have gone right out of the gate with something like, "WHAT DO YOU HAVE AGAINST PRINT BOOKS?" and then it would have ended really well I'm sure.

I wish YOU would write the screenplay adapting Fifty Shades of Grey. Imagine the fun you'd have with it. Also, no doubt the film will be a huge box office hit, so the royalties will set you up nice for life. We fans are always looking out for you.

I think the biggest challenge in marketing will be creating a way for people to walk into a theater showing 50 Shades of Grey while disgusing this fact from their friends and colleagues. Maybe they can issue fun masks at the box office. 

Remember when Amazon started? They basically sold stuff for less than it cost, to build up the brand. If he can do that for, say, 50 or 60 years, you'll be set into retirement. But you won't be able to print comments like this one. :D

I can feel myself slowly becoming a Kindle!

Monday falls on a Tuesday this week. The good news is, if it pushes the rest of the month off by one there won't be a Friday the thirteenth this month. Unless the 13th falls on the 12th.

Also, speaking of being lost, it's time to nominate mustached Americans for the Goulet Award. Any immediate frontrunners? Go to!

There's the a-, who crosses the street to avoid meeting people, and whose hobbies include napping; the animad-, who upon meeting people starts criticizing them, and whose hobbies include blogging and commenting; and the per-, who... I think I'll stop right there.

Funny story: I had "per" in there originally, and the whole illustration was someone sweating and sniffing a pair of undershorts. 

It did not, shall we say, make it to print. 

While I would never consider swimming across a pool without a kickboard, I do wonder if we are not focusing on the wrong achievement by Ms Nyad. Is her greatest feat not that of cajoling people to swim ahead of her detering sharks with stun guns for 90 miles?

I thought they were in boats! Link, please?

What about the theatrical equivalent of the plain brown wrapper? Imagine a stealth social media campaign where the movie masquerades publicly as a Nicholas Sparks type of romance, but with subtle clues in the advertising that only 50 Shades fans would notice.

Ha! I like it!

No, no, they need to embrace the naughtiness. "This film is so SHOCKING, you can't be the only person you know to miss out! Take all your best friends!"

That's true! If everyone does it, the effect is neutralized! 

Maybe they need to advertise post-screening talkbacks with important professorial types. But the house lights need to stay down to cover up the fact that most people will leave before the talkback.

Talk-backs in the dark with important professorial types! I can see this being relevant to 50 Shaders' interests...

I got it. The way people may go to see the "50 Shades) movie without feeling any shame would be to entitle it "Star Wars: Episode 50: The Shades of Grey".


Maybe Bezos will rename the paper Kindling.


Congrats to Diana Nyad and her successful swim. I wonder how she kept the sharks and jellyfish away this time. I'm guessing the sharks were busy filming the Sharknado sequel, but the jellyfish? Can't figure that one out.

One stung her before. I think it learned its lesson. 

Here is how audiences will be willing to be seen going to see the "50 Shades" movie: ShadesNado. A tornado sucks up billionaires and....Hmmm, maybe this needs a little more work.

Please, this is a family kindling. 

Not a bad name, but I would have chosen the Oates Award, as in Hall and Oates. John's upper lip hair in the 1980s was the standard by which all mustaches should be measured.

True, but I think Goulet had just passed when the award was conceived (are mustache awards conceived?) and it was named in his honor. 

I am so glad the male lead in Fifty Shades did not go to Benedict Cumberbund. We do not to further inflate his ego.

You mean Bandersnatch? 

True, but he's so talented and... interesting looking, and he sounds like a fertile dragon. 

Every time I decide the "50 Shades" jokes have run their course, they pull me back in. So, I understand the movie version will be about romances between motorcycle clubs and their old ladies?

Although I'm old enough to remember his interviews with Nixon, my first thoughts on Frost's passing were of Eric Idle lampooning his old mentor's penchant for self-promotion. Do you remember "Timmy Williams' Coffee Time"? Or ever see Idle and Ackroyd on SNL parody the Nixon interviews?

No, but I'll go look them up right afterwards!

Just as you've noted many people like to read 50 Shades of Grey over people's shoulders on the commutes to work, maybe movie theaters can promote watching the film in stealth over other people's shoulders. ...oh wait, that's what people already do in theaters, unless you're in the front row, and nobody sits there, too hard on the neck looking up. I prefer sitting way in the back.

I'm a front-sitter, myself!

Actually, in theaters where this is an option, I'm an in-the-big-middle-aisle-area-between-the-front-and-back-rows sitter. 

My inner goddess is telling me that the box office might not be much, but the DVD sales will be through the roof.

Is she salsa-dancing while she tells you this?

I think I've got this one -- Guy Fawkes masks; this way, everybody thinks you're going to either Comic Con or seeing a late-night V for Vnedetta revival, and, well, it would make the the who thing even creepier....

That's completely terrifying/I totally would go to that screening. 

And on that note, I'm off! Toodles, all!

In This Chat
Alexandra Petri
Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost, a lighter take on the news and issues of the day, and she contributes to the Post editorial page. Her work has appeared in venues such as The Huffington Post, The Week,,, Collegehumor, and The Harvard Crimson. She has appeared on Jeopardy!, Showbiz Tonight and Canadian radio, and she has performed at Boston's Comedy Studio and Comedy Connection. She would love to be on your TV show, radio show, Daily Show, HBO special, or to be an honored guest (or regular guest) at your Bar Mitzvah. She is the author of two books (unpublished, but contact her!), two screenplays, three plays, one musical, and one memoir (Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast.)
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