I know you guys are embarrassed to ask me this. You feel like you should know who that is, judging by the tone people take. Don’t feel bad, really!! That’s what I’m here for. I can tell you who that is, and then you may be able to nod more convincingly when someone slings his name into a conversation.
In the interest of decorum, I will answer this question in age bands.
For kids aged 0 to 5 years old asking, “Who Is Woody Allen?” My answer is:
I have no idea. Look at that bird!!
For kids aged 6 to 10, my answer is:
Some filmmaker whose films you wouldn’t like.
For kids 11 to 111, my answer is:
Holy crap. How much do you want to know?
So the long answer is, of course, more complicated. I first saw him on screen when I was a kid, when he was playing James Bond in Casino Royale (1967). Of course, he wasn’t really James Bond, he was embarking on a very successful career of being a caricature of himself. He exaggerated all the things that audiences thought might be funny about Jews, if they never knew any.
He was problematic before anybody tagged artists as problematic, but back then everyone was. If you were going to do comedy, it had to be big and it had to be mean. He was very good at throwing himself on the train tracks for the amusement of other people and he didn’t flinch from putting his ugly little soul out there for laughs. That’s commendable, I guess.
People told me that his movies were great, but I never liked them–the movies, that is. So it was easy for me to refuse to watch his films once the really ugly stories started to surface. There’s dispute about some of the facts, so I am not going to pretend to report facts.
There’s this weird sensation I have when people are revealed to be creeps; it’s almost like a deja vu, like I knew it all along. I felt exactly that way about the news when he married his step-daughter.
That’s really all you need to know. It makes the other allegations seem entirely plausible when someone will do something like that.
A stepchild is a gift of fortune to be treasured and protected as a child.
So, who is Woody Allen? For moms my answer is:
A creep who deserves the very shittiest father’s day, forever.