An Evening with Fran Lebowitz
In a cultural landscape filled with endless pundits and talking heads, Fran Lebowitz stands out as one of our most insightful social commentators.
Her essays and interviews offer her acerbic views on current events and the media – as well as pet peeves including tourists, baggage-claim areas, after-shave lotion, adults who roller skate, children who speak French, or anyone who is unduly tan. The New York Times Book Review calls Fran Lebowitz an “important humorist in the classic tradition.” Purveyor of urban cool, Leibowitz is a cultural satirist whom many call the heir to Dorothy Parker. Her writing — pointed, taut and economical — is forthright, irascible, and unapologetically opinionated.
Lebowitz worked odd jobs, such as taxi driving, belt peddling, and apartment cleaning (“with a small specialty in Venetian blinds”), before being hired by Andy Warhol as a columnist for Interview. That was followed by a stint at Mademoiselle. Her first book, a collection of essays titled Metropolitan Life, was a bestseller, as was a second collection, Social Studies. By turns ironic, facetious, deadpan, sarcastic, wry, wisecracking, and waggish, Lebowitz’s prose is wickedly entertaining. Lebowitz is also the author of the children’s book, Mr. Chas & Lisa Sue Meet the Pandas.
Between 2001 to 2007, Lebowitz had a recurring role as Judge Janice Goldberg on the television drama Law & Order. She also had a part in the Martin Scorsese-directed film, The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). A raconteur if ever there was one, Lebowitz has long been a regular on various talk shows including those hosted by Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, and Bill Maher. In an interview with the Paris Review, Lebowitz said “I’m not a nervous person. I’m not afraid to be on TV. I’m only afraid when I write. When I’m at my desk I feel like most people would feel if they went on TV.”
She can also be seen in various documentary films including the American Experience series on New York City, as well as Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures (2016), Regarding Susan Sontag (2014), and Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol (1990), among others. A documentary about Lebowitz, Public Speaking, directed by Martin Scorsese, premiered on HBO in November 2010.
Lebowitz lives in New York City, as she does not believe that she would be allowed to live anywhere else.