6 PM Wednesday 11th October 2017 Nunhead Heights
I met Harvey Weinstein in New York in late 1999 through his brother’s Bob’s girlfriend who knew me from the Comedy Cellar. She brought Bob and Harvey to see me host shows at the Cellar, which was just starting to boom again, with Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld returning to try out new material. I was doing my ‘not gay’ thing. Harvey came up to me after the show and told me he wanted to see me in a movie, which was lovely but I didn’t expect much.
In early 2000 I ran into him in the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills where I was staying while getting married to my first wife. He told me – coincidentally – he had just called my manager about a project he might have for me and invited me up to his suite for a drink. He wanted to see only me, not my wife and me, which should have seemed weird, but didn’t as it was Hollywood and business and I was Lewis Schaffer and it was all happening for me, or so I thought.
I went up to his stonkingly huge suite, looking out across LA to the Ocean and down toward San Pedro, and devoured a bowl of fresh melon and peach pieces. Funny what you remember. He told me how funny I was, that I was unique talent, that I reminded him of a cross between Norm Crosby and Totie Fields – two of my favourite old school comics. He was making a film with Jerry Seinfeld and thought I should be in it. Then he put his hand on my shoulder, bent over and asked if he could kiss me.
I was stunned. I wanted to be polite, not wanting him to think that maybe I wasn’t gay or didn’t like him, and afraid he would be embarrassed if I said ‘no’. But I didn’t want to kiss him. I pushed him away, as gently as I could, telling him I thought he was sweet and very sexy but my wife would kill me and probably him, too, if she found out. I was getting married the next day! I white-lied to him, gushing that someday, maybe, there could be something between us, but not yet.
He then told me he had to get ready for his meeting with Michael (Eisner of Disney) and had to take a shower, offering me chance to ‘freshen up’ in the high school gym-sized wet room with him. I demurred, again, and told him I had to go. I left thinking that I had blown my chances with Harvey Weinstein.
I never heard from Harvey again. He hadn’t gotten my number from Barry, my manager. He didn’t call me every week or every other week telling me not to stop doing comedy. That I was brilliant and funny. He never asked me to come back to New York so I could be in Jerry’s movie – The Comedian. Another comic, Orny Adams, was cast in the Seinfeld movie.
And he never got to tell me he wouldn’t be calling me as much as he was helping other artists make it. I missed out on all that, all because I wouldn’t kiss or take a shower with Harvey Weinstein.
I didn’t want say anything about this before, but now I feel I can.