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No Joke — Billy Crystal Is 'Still Foolin' 'Em'

The comedian's new memoir is a 65th-birthday present to his fans


Q: Most people downsize in their later years, but you and Janice added to your home in the Pacific Palisades to make room for your grandkids to stay over. When was your last grandparent playdate?

A: Yesterday. Hudson [Griffin's 3-year-old brother] called me in the morning and said, "I want to come over." We just hung out. We drew pictures and ran around after each other. It was five hours of not doing anything.

Q: Do you still have that crush on Sophia Loren? [It began backstage after Crystal's third Oscar-hosting gig in 1992, when Loren invited him to "kiss me twice."]

A: I hear from Sophia every now and then. It's always a thrill.

Q: Give me some tips on appearing so at ease in front of an audience. Do you imagine them naked?

A: No, because then I couldn't concentrate! I prepare, but I don't write everything down. I can't really explain it — I just go, and I've been able to do that since I was a little kid. I'm comfortable with a lot of people.

Q: Your pal Robin Williams is heading back to TV this fall. Would you consider doing another weekly series?

A: I'm doing a pilot for a series called The Comedians. It's about a young comedian (Josh Gad, of Jobs) and an older comic working together on a sketch variety show. It reminds me of The Larry Sanders Show — hilarious and edgy.

Q: What's the best advice you ever received about enjoying your golden years?

A: I asked George Burns (who lived to be 100) his secret, and he said, "Get out of bed." I asked him if he would ever retire, and he said, "To what? What would you do?"

Susan Wloszczyna is a culture and entertainment writer whose work appears nationally.

Crystallize This!

Still Foolin' 'Em by Billy Crystal (Courtesy MacMillan)

Billy Crystal celebrates "65" with a funny memoir for his fans. — Henry Holt

The thoughts of Chairman Billy, as distilled from Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys?

Sex

If you're 65, certain conditions need to be just right in order to do the nasty. She can't be having a hot flash. He can't have had too much asparagus. And there can't be a new episode of Homeland on that night.

Sleeping

Every night I go to sleep at 11, then wake up refreshed and ready to go at 1:10 a.m. Hi, I'm Billy, and I'm an insomniac. I've been up since 1948.

The Whole Tooth

Take care of your teeth! It's why baby boomers should floss, brush, go to the dentist. Dentists are important people, even if they weren't smart enough to get into med school.

Grandstanding

You've got to embrace being a grandparent. It's a sign from God that you've succeeded as a parent. Plus your genetic line will continue, and if you have a good estate planner the government won't get your money.

Decluttering

I can get rid of things that are just objects, that I'm not emotionally attached to (as 70 percent of guys in show business do with their first wives). But the tassel from my high-school graduation cap hangs 10 feet from my work desk.

Celebration time

Too many people try to ignore their birthdays. Why pretend it didn't happen? Every day I'm here, I'm grateful to be on the other side of the dirt.

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Video Extra

BILLY CRYSTAL AT THE RED CARPET PREMIERE FOR MONSTERS UNIVERSITY: Billy Crystal discusses why he likes portraying Mike Wazowski and what it was like when he was in college.

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