Billy Masters

"Suck it, sexy boy!" - Matt Damon's e-mail to George Clooney. Although Clooney has been named "Sexiest Man Alive" twice by "People," Damon was just named "Most Bankable Star in Hollywood" by "Forbes." More to the point, what on earth is Matt offering for George to suck?

The call came in just after 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 21. WeHo hot spot Micky's was hotter than usual - it was on fire! I called friends who work at the club and nearby businesses. Many had yet to hear the news. Others were in shock. Within 90 minutes, the fire was out, the damage inestimable, and the employees who depend on the club for their livelihood stood around in a daze. The only club open through the ordeal was Eleven, one block away. This became a de facto home for the Micky's staff and, as in most homes, they were not charged a cent for their food and drink that evening. The club offered to try and work some staffers into available shifts, and planned to host a benefit for the now-displaced Micky's employees. Sometimes the worst of times brings out the best in people.

It seems that everyone in Hollywood is in a tizzy about Merv Griffin dying without ever acknowledging any of the gay rumors. May I remind you of the generational difference - Merv was born in 1925, and many of today's Hollywood power brokers were born in the 1970s. That's five decades - which in gay years would have Merv born sometime around the Nativity! Griffin came from my parents' generation - strike that - my grandparents' generation. The same people who never even talked about heterosexual sex. People who whispered the word "cancer." People who believed in sticking with a miserable marriage for the sake of appearances instead of getting a divorce. So does it come as any surprise that someone from that generation isn't gonna talk same-sex experiences? And even if he did, would it have truly affected any of us?

I've never believed that anyone has a responsibility to discuss their sex life. I only take umbrage when it's someone who actively works against gay people. In Merv's case, the worst one could say is that he shot down a palimony suit and a sexual harassment suit by male employees (one being Denny Terrio - a name which is unlikely to turn up as an answer on "Jeopardy"). In doing so, Griffin never denied being gay <> he denied the acts he was accused of. e very well may have been completely innocent, so I'm putting that aside.

To me, Merv was never a sexual being. He was that family friend I watched when I came home from grammar school, who hung out with the Gabors, and who sang about a "lovely bunch of coconuts" (a song Big Daddy Masters used to sing while bathing me - but that's a story for another time). Merv epitomized showbiz glamour, urbane charm, and a world I dreamed about inhabiting. Maybe it was all just an illusion, but Merv made it real for me every afternoon. And that's the man I'll miss.

On the other hand (because you know there has to be another hand), I did chuckle when I read that the official list of mourners at Griffin's funeral included "a fully bearded Ryan Seacrest." Ironic, eh? And yet, it is entirely plausible that Ryan is our generation's Merv Griffin - and I don't mean that as a dig at the sun-kissed blonde who was weaned at Merv's teats. Almost inexplicably, Seacrest has catapulted his way from hosting E!'s coverage of the Emmy's red carpet (which he will do again this year) to hosting the actual event! And maybe he'll work as the men's room attendant during commercial breaks! Anyhoo, Ryan Seacrest joins the ranks of such recent hosts as Ellen DeGeneres, Garry Shandling, and Conan O'Brien by getting this gig. Why him? Need I tell you that this year the awards will be televised on FOX? Who'd you think they'd pick as host? Homer Simpson?

Speaking of Miss DeGeneres (who was also at Merv's funeral with Miss de Rossi), Ellen is returning to stand-up. After teasing us with rumors of a possible run in Vegas, we can now confirm that DeGeneres will be performing as part of the Las Vegas Comedy Festival from November 14-17. Don't worry if you can't make it - TBS will film a two hour special from Caesars Palace and air it on Nov. 18. "Ellen's Really Big Show" will include stand-up, skits, music, and special guests. Stay tuned...

By the way, Ellen's daytime show will kick off the new season by returning to NYC. On Aug. 31, two shows will be taped for airing on Sept. 4 and 5. Who is the first guest of the fifth season? Hillary Clinton.

I know this isn't funny, but according to "The Globe" tabloid, Scott Peterson is having a gay ole time in prison. Allegedly, he was caught having "gay sex" in the shower with several guys, and has been caught smoking marijuana. Nice to know the security at San Quentin is so good that inmates can get pot, while I can't even bring a Dr. Pepper on American Airlines! The article also claims that Scott has one rather large inmate who is protecting him - and who calls Scott his "bitch." Sigh - even people on Death Row are having more sex than moi!

This week's "Ask Billy" question comes from Josh in Hoboken: "I watched 'The Tudors' on Showtime and thought Jonathon Rhys Myers (sic) was hot as 'Henry VIII.' But who was the guy who played 'Charles'? He was even hotter, and was naked quite a bit. Will the show be back? Do you have nude photos? The more, the better."

I don't think "The Tudors" was what anyone would call a hit, but it did hold its own, gave Showtime a bit of prestige for its extraordinary production values, and has been nominated for several Emmys. So, yes, the series will be back next year. I have to agree with you about the cast. Rhys Meyers is undeniably hot with that lip curl and lean physique. But Henry Carvill, who played "Charles," gives him quite a run for his money - particularly in the ass department. This is one helluva handsome hunk who doesn't mind being naked on camera - whether it has anything to do with the plot or not. And he can act, too! Since it's hard to show you him flexing his classically trained muscles in pictures, we'll suffice by showing you every inch of him on

Could it be that a certain star of yesteryear has fallen on bad times and can't get up? So say people close to the once fetching fella who tell me that he's actually renting himself out for parties. Don't get any ideas - these are not of a sordid nature. But for a mere $5K, you too could have a legendary lad at your dinner table, regaling your guests with bon mots from Tinseltown's golden age. The sad thing is, there aren't many takers. And those who have paid up are not happy. He drinks himself into a stupor and dozes off. Sounds like many of his film performances!

When Ryan has a beard made of actual facial hair, it's definitely time to end another column. Summer's over. It may not be technically over, but when Boston dips into the 60s, it's time for me to think about heading back to Tinseltown. But first we have the Jerry Lewis Telethon, a highlight of my year. Where else is Norm Crosby described as "the funniest man alive"? Not on, that's for sure! Feel free to send any questions my way at and I promise to get back to you before Scott Peterson and Bubba petition for Domestic Partnership. So, until next time, remember, one man's filth is another man's bible.

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