YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Tinseltown is nothing if not a Botox-induced wrinkle-free fairyland of illusion and make-believe. It’s a wacky world in which oodles of beefy waiters drive Range Rovers and Maseratis paid for by their older man-friend benefactors and glammy middle-aged grandmothers have tramp stamps and porn star-style boobs. It should come as no surprise then that many of the entertainment industry’s most famous funny folks don’t actually write their own bon mots and witty repartee. For decades, the job of making celebs seem hilarious or, at least, droll has fallen to the Bruce Vilanch, a La-la Land legend who recently put his long-time Los Angeles, CA home on the market with an asking price of $1,150,000.
Think of Mister Vilanch as a kind of Wizard of Oz. He’s the man behind the curtain pulling the joke levers. His snappy way with words has earned him a special brand of fame. He was a regular on Hollywood Squares, lost 75 pounds on Celebrity Fit Club and he recently popped up on RuPaul’s Drag Race dressed as a somewhat slovenly Santa Claus. He even had a documentary made about him called Get Bruce!
The campy and disheveled appearing overweight homosexual–who typically sports Sally Jesse Rafael-style eyeglasses, ironic t-shirts and a tussled blond shag that he probably pays Sally Hershberger $800 to cut–clearly does not adhere to Hollywood’s rather limited perception of beauty that tends toward fake tans, fake pecs, fake lips and fake every damn thing that can be made fake. He is, none-the-less, a beloved, witty, charming, self-effacing, flamboyant, over-sized, over the top, sharp and funny funny funny showbiz treasure.
Mister Vilanch actually started out as a journalist, in Chicago. In the mid 1970s he somehow hooked up with Bette Midler and wrote her Clams on the Half Shell Revue for Broadway in 1974. He’s been penning ditties for The Divine Miss M ever since. He relocated to Los Angeles to write for the Brady Bunch Variety Hour–an idiotic but delightful piece of tee-vee trash, for sure–and was soon began to provide quips and funny bits for legendary entertainers and comedians who include Lily Tomlin, Billy Crystal, Roseanne Barr, Elizabeth Taylor, Dolly Parton, Donne and Marie Osmond, Barry Manilow, Paul Lynde, Betty White and Robin Williams. Since the late 1980s Miz Vilanch has written gags and what-have-you for the presenters and the hosts of the the Academy Awards and in 2000 he was named head writer of the self-congratulatory awards program. He has Emmy awards and nominations up the wazoo and a close examination of the listing photo of the living room turns up a couple Emmy statuettes up on the built-in entertainment center thingamabob in the living room.
It’s not clear when Mister Vilanch purchased his dingy-looking wood-sided post-and-beam home in the semi-rustic Nichols Canyon neighborhood in the Hollywood Hills but, according to someone Your Mama knows who’s friendly with Mister Vilanch, he’s lived in the house for decades. Listing information for the two-story cabin-style crib shows it contains 3 bedrooms and 3 poopers in 2,399 square feet.
The Mexican paver floors start in the entrance hall and continue into the living room that features an exposed wood beamed ceiling and a stone fireplace and is furnished with a pair of rose-colored swivel bucket chairs that make Your Mama’s heart come to a complete stop. And not in a good way, ramekins. Clearly and contradictory to common belief, as the children can see from this decorative hot mess, not every gay gets the decorating gene. Shiny copper-colored pillows on the tan sofa do not make up for the grievous error of the geometric rug. The worn pavers continue through the house to the ho-hum but far from horrid galley style kitchen complete with up-to-date stainless steel appliances, white-tile back splash, blue counter tops and sky light. Mister Vilanch’s kitchen in its current state ain’t going to win any style awards, but it’s 10-14 times better than all those over-wrought and over-corbeled “gourmet” kitchens they install in thousands upon thousands of suburban-y mock-Med mcmansions all over Los Angeles.
The stairs that lead from the upper to the lower floor are carpeted wall-to-wall but beige shag. Gawd. Your Mama loathes carpeted staircases. Unless you can afford to hire a minimum wage gurl whose only job is to fluff the shag on stairs, carpeted staircases just get nappy and matted and quickly look like nasty ol‘ crack house carpet. Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter are, in fact, gearing up to replace the nasty carpet that lines the stairs in our house. (Don’t blame us, chickens, it was there where we moved in.) The master bedroom, also with beige wall-too-wall carpeting, includes built-in cabinetry, a bank of sliding glass doors fitted with shoji screens for privacy and light modulation, and a built-in platform bed buried in a fur blanket and matching fur pillow shams. We know there are a lot of people who enjoy wrapping themselves in dead animal pelts, but Your Mama genuinely hopes those creepy bed things are faux.
The house opens to series of tree-shaded decks that hang over the bucolic seasonal crick that runs through Mister Vilanch’s canyon property. Say what you will about the somewhat distressed condition and questionable day-core of this house but how amazing is it to live right in the center of the damn city and have a crick run through your yard?
We’re not sure why after all these years Mister Vilanch has finally opted to pack up his whoopee cushions and move but Bruce, doll baby, Your Mama has a message for you: Please give us a shout when you get moved to your next crib and we’ll come help you pick out a sofa and dining room table because you can not–do your hear Your Mama?–you can not move all that crappity-crap-crap furniture to another house. Iffin you don’t want to deal with Your Mama–and we can understand why you might not want to–we sincerely hope you’ll utilize your deep connections in in West Hollywood to find and hire a nice, gay decorator who can do up your new house in a manor more befitting a man of your professional stature. We’re not saying you ought to occupy an Architectural Digest-ready superstar-style mansion in Beverly Hills like Jennifer Aniston. But even a more modest residence could benefit from the insane talents of a young gun color maverick like Rafael de Cárdenas who worked over the New York City apartments of supermodel Jessica Stam and indie film royal Parker Posey. We just think you need an exuberant and colorful house to match your exuberant and colorful personality.
listing photos: John Aaroe Group