- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 27, 2003

Strange brew

Never mix alcohol and anti-anxiety drugs.

Country singer Glen Campbell blamed his drunken-driving arrest on an accidental cocktail of alcohol and a prescription drug called Lexapro.

“I’m taking Lexapro, and you can’t have alcohol with it, and I did. I forgot. That’s just it in a nutshell, really,” Mr. Campbell told the East Valley (Ariz.) Tribune the day after his arrest this week in Phoenix.

Mr. Campbell, 67, said he’s been taking the medication to treat anxiety for the past seven or eight months.

Humble Albert

Actor Albert Finney doesn’t reflect too long on his impressive body of film work.

“When I’ve made a film, I’ve made it. They go out into the world, and they’re on their own, really. They’ve got to either exist or not in their own right,” Mr. Finney told The Washington Times during promotional rounds on behalf of Tim Burton’s upcoming “Big Fish.”

The four-time Oscar nominee compared his films to children. “You don’t say which is your favorite or which did you enjoy bringing up the best,” he said.

Mr. Finney adds that he often doesn’t associate himself with his on-screen incarnations.

“The man on the screen who’s supposed to be me, I feel it’s somebody else,” he said. “It’s him up there; he’s doing that. Here’s little me down here.”

High ‘Number’

The old saw that there’s no such thing as bad publicity is still true — even, apparently, for Michael Jackson.

His compilation “Number Ones” album hit the streets last week on the same day police combed his Neverland Ranch looking for clues related to Mr. Jackson’s child-molestation case.

The album debuted at No. 13 on the sales charts, selling nearly 122,000 copies — a far cry from the performer’s mega-selling days in the 1980s, but better than the modest 100,000 units that had been expected, according to Reuters News Agency.

Retailers this week said the publicity may have helped stir interest in the album. “The attention made people aware that the album was out, and it’s a great collection of his hits,” Sue Bryan, manager of a Manhattan music store, told Reuters.

‘Raw’ no more

“Raw” comedian Eddie Murphy has by now become thoroughly cooked.

The once foul-mouthed stand-up used to poke fun at Bill Cosby for being too tame. “Now he is Bill Cosby,” Rob Minkoff, who directed Mr. Murphy in the family-friendly “The Haunted Mansion,” told the Associated Press.

Even Mr. Murphy admits it.

“Making movies like this and doing family stuff is just a natural progression, because I’m an older guy,” he told the AP.

Although some critics, including one at this newspaper, think Mr. Murphy has lost his comedic edge, others think he’s found a rare balance of being wholesome and funny.

“In a way, it’s harder to do that in this day and age,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, co-founder of “Shrek” distributor DreamWorks. “To achieve the kind of comedic result that he does — and do it without relying on edgier, blue language — you have to be more inventive, you have to be more clever.”

Plumbing for laughs

Working with comedians is like plumbing.

That, at least, is how director Tom Shadyac approaches them.

Mr. Shadyac, who has worked with high-energy jokesters such as Jim Carrey (“Bruce Almighty”) and Robin Williams (“Patch Adams”), likened the experience to relieving pressure in plumbing hardware filled to bursting.

“I call it blowing out the comedy pipes,” he told the Associated Press.

“There are ideas that collect on the pipe system, and if you don’t get them out, these guys walk away unhappy,” Mr. Shadyac said.

“You start to know that look after you work with them, and you say, ‘What’s up, man?’ They’ll go, ‘Ah it’s nothing. … I just wanted to try something back there.’ So I learned to let them try it, and let them get it out.

“Sometimes you just have a fun time, and other times you get gold,” he said.

Compiled by Scott Galupo with Christian Toto from staff, wire and Web reports.

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