This is almost like a “Before They Were Stars” moment for an idea! Long before Woody Allen turned the idea for his Oscar-winning script to Midnight in Paris into a movie, he had already used it as part of his stand-up comedy routine. If you can’t be bothered to listen to it in the video above, here’s a transcript. I find it really interesting how it took Woody fifty years to turn this into a film.
“I was in Europe, I was in Europe many years ago with Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway had just written his first novel, and Gertrude Stein and I read it, and we said that it was a good novel, but not a great one, that it needed some work, but it could be a fine book. And we laughed over it, and Hemingway punched me in the mouth.
That winter, Picasso lived on the Rue de Bach. And he had just painted a naked dental hygienist in the middle of the Gobi Desert. Gertrude Stein said it was a good picture, but not a great one. And I said it could be a fine picture, and we laughed over it, and Hemingway punched me in the mouth.
I remember Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald came home from their wild new year’s eve party. It was April. Scott had just written Great Expectations, and Gertrude Stein and I read it, and we said it was a good book, but there was no need to have written it, because Charles Dickens had already written it, and we laughed over it, and Hemingway punched me in the mouth.
That winter we went to Spain to see Manolete fight. And he looked to me 18, and Gertrude Stein said no he was 19, but that he only looked 18, and I said sometimes a boy of 18 will look 19, and other times, a 19-year-old can easily look 18, and that’s the way it is with a true Spaniard. And we laughed over that, and Gertrude Stein punched me in the mouth.”