Daily News gossipista Lloyd Grove had the most delightful column yesterday, in which he detailed a reading last week for Mike Albo and Virginia Heffernan's book, The Underminer: Or, the Best Friend Who Casually Destroys Your Life. Featured readers were to tell stories of their own personal underminers; writer/actress Nancy Balbirer talked of a former roommate named "Jane," a fellow then-struggling actress who advised Balbirer to be more "fuckable," stuff chicken cutlets in her bra, and appear "less desperate."
Jane's identity was never revealed, but certain characteristics most certainly were: Jane attended the High School for the Performing Arts, was the daughter of a soap actor and a "plastic surgery victim," had a big nose from her "Greek half," and later, after a nose job and some hardcore weight loss, became a famous sitcom actress on a show about a group of friends living in the Village. (Wait, is Jane really David Schwimmer?!) When Balbirer was later cast in a recurring role on Jane's sitcom, she was promptly fired two hours later. She received pay, but never an explanation. Later, a producer informed her that Jane had her immediately axed. (OK, David Schwimmer would never do that.)
While Balbirer never revealed Jane's true identity, Grove has a modicum of pop culture awareness and identified Jane as a "thinly veiled Jennifer Aniston." Rocket science, right?
Nevertheless, Balbirer is pissed at Grove's "false" revelations, and she's sent a nice letter to the editors of the Daily News demanding a correction. She kindly sent us a copy, as well, which we've reprinted after the jump, complete with our handy translation services.
I am writing to clarify some inaccuracies in the article that ran in today s Daily News, titled A Friend in Need, But Not in Deed? - By Lloyd Grove.
This article makes the following false statements:
Nancy Balbirer (below) helped Jennifer Aniston (above) get a foothold in New York before the days of 'Friends' fame. The reward for her trouble? Snubs from the new superstar and a rejection from the show, Balbirer claims
These statements are inaccurate. The story I read at Joe s Pub on Feb. 23rd made no claims about Jennifer Aniston at any time. Furthermore, the Daily News article misleadingly puts in quotation marks the Lowdown spy s summary, which completely misquotes my performance piece.
Translation: "I never once said the name 'Jennifer Aniston.' Jane does not automatically mean Jen, even if it totally did in this one instance."
I read an original unpublished story at Joe s Pub about a friend named Jane. It was a story about hurt and betrayal by someone I thought was my friend. I never said Jane was anyone else. In this piece, I explore the bewildering compromises people make in the pursuit of fame. What happened to me was sad, not hilarious.
Translation: "Jennifer Aniston hurt my feelings, and you turned it into gossip. Now you've made me cry. Not as hard as Jennifer Aniston made me cry, but still."
Huvane vehemently denied Balbirer s claims of plastic surgery .
At no time during my performance at Joe s Pub on February, 23rd 2006, did I claim Jennifer Aniston had plastic surgery. I insist that you publish a correction of these inaccuracies.
Translation: "I never said Jennifer Aniston got her nose trimmed. I said "Jane" did, who is absolutely Jennifer Aniston, but I never said that. By going to Aniston's publicist Stephen Huvane with these misquotes, you've assured that Huvane will never represent me should I ever become more famous."
I am an artist. My work is not crass or gossipy. As a writer and performer, I use the backdrop of my life experiences to examine larger issues. It s not about airing anybody s dirty laundry, except, perhaps my own.
Translation: "I am an artiste, which is more than I can say about anyone from the cast of Friends."
Some of those in attendance at Joe s Pub that evening are well known personalities, who are available for comment (see below**).
Translation: "Cintra Wilson was there, and she's got my back."
The article also falsely states that I ratted out Ms. Aniston. Again, I made no claims about Jennifer Aniston. I will not dignify some of the things that have already been written. However, given what has been printed, I need to clarify that neither the piece I read at Joe s Pub nor the book I m working on Take Your Shirt Off and Cry, is connected in any way to Mike Albo s The Underminer: The Best Friend Who Casually Destroys Your Life, or any other projects associated therewith.
Translation: "I 'ratted out' Jane, who is Jennifer Aniston. Did I mention I have a book coming out?"
I d also like to add that the article failed to mention that the event on Feb. 23rd at Joe s Pub was a benefit for 826NYC, a non-profit organization that teaches inner city children creative writing skills.
Translation: "Even if I did reveal that Jennifer Aniston is a crazy bitch, I did it for charity."