Fran Lebowitz is such a wry, curmudgeonly treasure to so many people that it takes no less than Martin Scorsese to actually make a documentary about her. The film ‘Public Speaking’ debuts on HBO this Monday at 10pm, taking an adored look at the career at the woman whose wit became a comic voice in the pages of New York publications in the 1970s and 80s.
Her books ‘Metropolitan Life’ basically gave me my first viewing of an underbelly of New York that combined the city’s 1970s downtrodden grit with champagne verbal riffs lifted from Dorothy Parker and the Round Table. With that book and ‘Social Studies’, she became the wisest commentator of both Manhattan gloom and glitterati without ever really seeming a part of either.
One of most famous quotes about the city: “When you leave New York, you are astonished at how clean the rest of the world is. Clean is not enough. “