High Times Greats: Fran Lebowitz, America’s Funniest Femme Fatale

in Culture

Fran Lebowitz is 69 years old October 27. To celebrate, we’re republishing Glenn O’Brien’s interview with the living legend from the August, 1978 print edition of High Times.

At the age of 27, Fran Lebowitz has been suddenly hailed as the funniest writer to come down the pike since Dorothy Parker or, by some accounts, Oscar Wilde. There are a lot of funny people around, and a lot of writers too, but somehow the combination of great humor and great writing has become an exceedingly rare commodity in the modern world. And that’s why Fran’s first book, Metropolitan Life, has become a smash hit.

Fran began her pro writing career at 20. She had managed to infiltrate the staff of a New York underground arts magazine called Changes as an ad sales person and eventually conned her way into writing assignments. At first Fran had to sneak in her own brand of humor. Then, in 1972, she began writing for Andy Warhol’s Interview. Interview was then a film magazine, and it reviewed almost every film that was released. Fran’s column was called “The Best of the Worst”; her job was reviewing the best of the current bad films, and she worked as hard as a Variety critic, taking in two or three screenings a day. As a result, the column was the last word on Hollywood’s follies, and it was also hilariously funny, winning her a small cult of fanatical fans.

But after a while Fran outgrew the bad-flick format. She needed something bigger to disapprove of, and so her column became “I Cover the Waterfront,” and her beat became the entire universe of questionable taste. Fran took on modern manners, aesthetics and culture the way William Buckley takes on liberalism. But her crankiness betrayed a heart of …

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Author: High Times / High Times

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