The Los Angeles Times, April 16, 2001
Colin, Condi—Need Help? Ask the Celebs
By Bruce Kluger and David Slavin
This week, a new type of international
diplomacy was trotted onto the world stage—
and it wasn't the negotiations between the
United States and China over the midair
collision of an American spy plane and
Chinese fighter jet over the South China Sea.
Halfway around the globe, actor Kevin
Costner met with Cuban leader Fidel Castro
for hours, discussing, among other topics,
Costner's recent film, 13 Days, which retells
the story of the 1963 Cuban Missile Crisis.
told Reuters news service after the landmark powwow. "But [I will say that] he
responded to the film very favorably, and we had a very interesting discussion
April 30: Actress Suzanne Somers meets with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin
to discuss ways in which Russian women, customarily depicted as perilously
overweight, can benefit from Somers' endorsed line of thigh-slimming exercise
equipment. The four-hour talks break down when Russian apparatchik insist on the
presence of additional envoys, specifically John Ritter and Don Knotts.
May 21: Domestic doyenne Martha Stewart confers with Somali warlords to discuss
that nation's ongoing famine, proposing the implementation of "imaginative,
stretchable menus that don't compromise tastiness." At Stewart's suggestion, they
order an immediate air drop of 4 million amuse-bouches over the central part of the
country. "It's a good thing," Stewart tells gathered media before meeting the Somali
interior minister on the use of "sand art as the perfect centerpiece."
June 24: Actors Jack Klugman and Tony Randall are summoned to the 38th
Parallel by the recently united Kims of Korea—General Secretary Kim Jong Il of the
North and President Kim Dae Jung of the South—to direct the leaders in a joint
Pyongyang-Seoul dinner theater tour of The Odd Couple. Rehearsals end abruptly
when the two Kims begin arguing over top billing.
July 17: A joint delegation led by animal activist and ageless game show host Bob
Barker and former singing televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker travels to London to
advise British Prime Minister Tony Blair on humane alternatives to destroying
livestock infected with foot-and-mouth disease. Proposed solutions include
instructing the fetid cattle on the joys of abstinence and reminding them that "just
because you're stricken with a hideously degenerative disease, that doesn't mean
you're not a nice cow."
Sept. 18: Florence Henderson flies to Bahrain to lobby Arab leaders for the
inclusion of Wesson Oil in the OPEC alliance. Back in the U.S., ABC-TV executives,
inspired by the event, immediately begin pre-production on the forthcoming special,
A Very Brady Ramadan.
Oct. 4: Music and fashion impresario Sean "Puffy" Combs (a.k.a. P. Diddy) jets to
the Balkans for closed-door meetings with detained Serbian war crimes suspect
Slobodan Milosevic (a.k.a. S. Milo) to plot successful strategies for beating a rap.
Assisting Combs are celebrity lawyer and inveterate rhymer Johnnie Cochran
("Slobo's no bobo!") as well as diplomatic attaches Vanilla Ice and Gary Coleman,
who advise Milosevic on "life after exile."
Oct. 25: A delegation of top American sight-gag comedians—led by Rip Taylor,
Gallagher and Carrot Top—meet with international terrorist Osama bin Laden to
implore the notorious revolutionary to stop his campaign of violence and instead
consider "knockin' 'em dead with laughter." The meeting abruptly derails when Bin
Laden, a devout Muslim, ejects the funnymen from his hide-out after Taylor pulls a
rubber pork chop from his pants.
Nov. 15: The cast of HBO's hit show, The Sopranos, flies to Tel Aviv for a meeting
with members of the Knesset to propose "a more persuasive diplomacy" in
negotiating with the PLO. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon tells the actors he will
take their suggestions under advisement, but then confides his disappointment to
his top aides. "Maybe I read the briefing papers wrong," he confesses, "but weren't
we also supposed to meet with those shiksas from Sex and the City? "