If ever David Mamet had justification to launch one of his famous, profanity-studded tirades, the news that Jeremy Piven had abruptly (and weirdly) quit his play Speed-the-Plow would certainly seem to fit the bill.

The play is one of the few on Broadway still going strong, but the Entourage star has been missing more and more performances. Finally, he pulled out, with this doozy of an excuse:

Piven has informed the producers that he hasn’t been feeling well and that the condition is attributable to a high mercury count.

The show’s producers weren’t returning calls, but Daily Variety reached out to David Mamet, who wrote the showbiz satire and seemed skeptical of the reasons for Piven’s departure.

“I talked to Jeremy on the phone, and he told me that he discovered that he had a very high level of mercury,” Mamet said. “So my understanding is that he is leaving show business to pursue a career as a thermometer.”

A burn well north of 98.6, Mr. Mamet. Commenters on the NY Times story suggest that Piven had become increasingly fed up with latecomers and early-goers who refused to stay in their seats to fully savor the mastery of the Pivs. We think it owes more to the low Broadway per diems that left Piven's daily manscape artist/confidante out in the cold, unable to give his boss an outlet for thoughts like, "Why am I doing matinees for blue-hairs when my pecs yearn to breathe free on Carbon Beach?"

[Photo Credit: WENN]