I am pretty much telling everyone this story because it is a little, very little miracle and who doesn’t love a neat little story? Ok, so, I had a few slightly so-so weeks (the usual, existential fears, emotional turmoil and whatnot) and was in the middle of reading Gilda Radner’s “It’s always something”, a book about her fight with cancer that she – sadly – lost on May the 20th, 1989. Because I can’t get enough of Gilda, I looked whether there were more books about her and stumbled over “Bunny Bunny”, the loving memories of Alan Zweibel, the SNL writer who worked with her very closely and became best friends with her. I ordered it second-hand because you hardly ever get these kinds of books new nowadays. A week later, it arrived and it looked like someone had eaten their breakfast on it, plus, on the first page, some idiot had checked whether their pen was working. As I was generally a little grumpy, I rolled my eyes and put the book aside.
Not for long, though. A couple days later I picked it up and took it to work to read it on the subway. I looked again at the first page and wondered whether those weird circles might not – in an alternate universe – form the word “zweibel” and decided to look it up later. And lo and behold, that tattered old book was signed by THE Alan Zweibel – who should really work on his signature, it’s horrible – who invented the famous Samurai-routine for John Belushi and therefore earns all my respect, forever.
Usually, I am not much into autographs, I don’t understand them, quite frankly, but this felt different, it was something unexpected, something personal, a book that itself is very personal. “Bunny Bunny” is not a novel or biography, it is a collection of conversations between Zweibel and Radner accompanied with his charmingly bad drawings (my favourite is him suffering an allergic reaction after eating shellfish, it’s basically a football with a banana as mouth). The last page is an extract from Zweibel’s eulogy at Gilda’s funeral. Just as Gilda’s poem at the end of her book and a conversation with her failing body that her husband Gene Wilder found after she had passed, this little reminder that she is no longer alive, made me cry a little because I thought how all those people must feel that were left without her and still get reminded that she is missing whenever they see a movie with her, or an old SNL episode.
At the same time, she never wanted anyone to be sad at her funeral (which is a big thing to ask for but then again, if you’re the star at your own funeral, you can just as well make big demands), so before this turns into something all too sad, let’s just play this entry out with my favourite song of hers. By the way, this is an extract from her live show and Zweibel also wrote for it.