Bill Maher not laughing about Comedy Fest award |

Bill Maher not laughing about Comedy Fest award

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

For all the press coverage that Aspen gets about being a billionaires playground, sometimes the town gets coverage that makes it look like a cool, happening city with a touch of intellectual sophistication.

Take the April 1 issue (no fooling) of Fortune magazine which asks “Is Free Speech a Laughing Matter?” in an article by Marc Gunther, who writes:

“For Bill Maher, the host of ABC’s Politically Incorrect, getting a First Amendment Award at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colo., was bittersweet at best. ‘I’ll treasure this award,’ Maher said, ‘but, I’ll tell you, life is less bumpy if you’re not in line for one.’

“Maher wasn’t the only comedian feeling a chill in Aspen. Freedom of speech was a theme of this winter’s festival, a four-day confab of big stars, Seinfeld wannabes, agents, producers, and media moguls. The consensus seemed to be that the pressures on comedy to play it safe are greater than ever,” the article states.

And the piece made it seem as if, for a while anyway, Aspen was home to a cluster of brave citizens not afraid to laugh at reality.

“During a festival performance called ‘Regarding 9/11,’ Maher let fly with the kinds of barbs that got him in trouble last fall,” the article said. “Poking fun at the White House, Maher joked, ‘We certainly saw compassionate conservatism in Afghanistan. They dropped bombs and snacks. We don’t want to kill anyone on an empty stomach, you know.’

“He got cheers from the crowd,” Gunther notes.

@ATD Sub heds: Dewi, Missher, and Howe

@ATD body copy: Do you remember Dewi? We do. And so does the Jarkata Post, which ran a glowing review of Dewi Sukarno’s life on Sunday, March 17, by Emmy Fitri.

The piece recounts how the sixth wife of former Indonesian ruler Sukarno rose out of poverty to a life of relative glamour and ease, with one slightly awkward stop in Aspen.

“It’s her utter belief in herself that must have helped her weather two possible public relations disasters in the early 1990s,” the Post reported. “In 1992 Dewi spent a brief period in jail in Aspen, Colorado, for assaulting another socialite, Maria Victoria Osmena, at a party (she has always denied she was in the wrong).”

The tussle involved a catty remark and a swipe with a broken champagne class. For a few months, Dewi was the latest Aspen anti-hero. But the town missed the next chapter.

“Dewi then stunned the Indonesian public with the publication of Syuga, a book of photographs of her, many of them showing her nude.”

Today, the 61-year Sukarno “keeps homes in Paris, New York and Jakarta … but her primary residence is in Tokyo’s exclusive Gotanda district. “‘… I am now one of the most popular people in Japan. I make public appearances every day on television shows,’ she said.”

We welcome a repeat appearance in Aspen …

@ATD Sub heds: But did he get tipped?

@ATD body copy: The Sydney Sun Herald newspaper ran an article on March 17 by Alison Plummer with some advice for single parents on where to take their kids on vacation.

Plummer looks to “author and TV star Gretel Killeen, son Zeke, 13, and daughter Eppie, 10” for some insight.

Killeen relates how she “‘recently took Eppie to Aspen, Colorado, and decided to further my snow-boarding skills while Eppie skied.

“‘My son and I had a 45-minute lesson, after which the instructor said he was in love with me and then abandoned us in a white-out on the top of the mountain. ‘”

Well, sure, isn’t that how all ski school classes end?

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