A Very Depressing Story

I’m writing a piece about the work of John Gregory Dunne (aka Mrs. Didion) and while reading a book of his, came across this very sad story he wrote about a C-list Vegas comedian:

“There had been a parting of the ways between Jackie and his friends and representatives; the giant height had never been reached, the necks were no longer stuck out.  The night before, Jackie had gone to Bill Cosby’s opening in the big room at the International.  Cosby had seen Jackie in the lobby and told him to come to the opening, he would introduce him from the stage, Ladies and gentlemen, a true star, my very good personal friend, Jackie Kasey.  Jackie had not wanted to go to Cosby’s opening, his cold was not good, but Cosby was a superstar, Leslie Uggams warmed up for him and Leslie Uggams was a headliner at the Riviera in her own right, and the true superstars brought out all the big agents and Strip bookers to their opening nights, so it was best to attend, especially if Bill Cosby had promised to introduce his very close personal friend from the stage.  It was the kind of introduction that might help a semi-name become a name and that was something to consider.  Jackie dressed carefully for Cosby’s opening dinner show, a brown double-knit suit with flared pants and matching tie, shirt and handkerchief.  The effect was a little like an optical illusion, but at least when Cosby introduced him from the stage nobody in the audience could say he had missed him, he’s the little guy in the optical-illusion brown in the banquette down front and center.  Everything was set, the management comped the check, Jackie toyed with his roast prime rib of beef au jus garni, Cosby came out, did fifty minutes on Fat Albert and Weird Harold and forgot to introduce his close personal friend, Jackie Kasey.  Jackie just sat on the banquette watching the cherries jubilee melt, occasionally stirring them around in the dish with his spoon, like a child playing with toy boats in a bathtub.”

~John Gregory Dunne, Vegas

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