Pretend It’s a City

Fran Lebowitz at home in a comfy leather chair by a lamp in front of her floor to ceiling full wall bookcases in Netflix's 2021 series "Pretend It's a City"

Short of transcribing the entire series, I can’t describe why I want to recommend this Netflix show so highly. “Pretend It’s a City” features the inimitable Fran Lebowitz filmed and interviewed by Martin Scorsese. I am absolutely enamored of her.

There are so many notable quotes. I find myself rewinding and rewatching to catch them. I’m sure I’ve not written them accurately enough to do justice, but here’s some anyway:

  • New York is like living in the Ring Cycle.
  • There’s a density of angry homosexuals.
  • I have news for you, mister baker. If you can say “I’ll have that and a cup of coffee,” that’s not art, it’s a snack.
  • Life is challenging enough. If I can get to the dry cleaners without threatening to sue it’s an accomplishment.
  • Bears have so many salmon to choose from they just pick and choose the parts they like. It’s like a rustic Russ & Daughters.

I have a lot of personal connections to what Fran says. Her relationship with classical music, the Jewish upbringing to feel like you need to kiss every book that drops on the floor, and that it’s a miracle more people aren’t killed in New York City traffic because we seem to be the only people that don’t cross the street while staring at a phone.

On stage at the New York Public Library in 2008.  Toni Morrison takes a sip of water while Fran Lebowitz speaks.  Interview excerpt appears in Netflix's 2021 series "Pretend It's a City"
The highest praise I can think of for how hilarious Fran Lebowitz is would be coming this close to getting a spit take from Toni Morrison.

Here’s a beautiful related article: Fran memorializing her and Toni Morrison’s friendship.

New York City street plaque reads: "Information is light.  Information, in itself, about anything, is light.  -Tom Stoppard (1937-), Night and Day"
From "Pretend It's a City" on Netflix 2021
Pretend It's a City on Netflix end credits:
Sound Mixers Tod A. Maitland, Tony Starbuck
Boom Operators Terrence McCormack, Betsy Nagler, Jeff Livesey
VTR Operators Devin Donegan, Brian Carmichael
Gaffer Greg Addison
Best Boy Electric Meg Schrock
Electricians Katelyn Perez, John Merriman, Jeannie Mailloux, Michael Yetter, Nate Loehrke, Neil Christie
Perhaps most importantly, “Pretend It’s a City” was lit by a solid NY crew.
Pretend It's a City on Netflix end credits:
Key Grips Kevin Lowry, Kevin Flynn
Best Boy Grips Tristan Allen, Vinny Pierce
Grips Rick Marroquin, Vinny Pierce, Sally Foster, Andy Sweeney, Aaron Dawley, Mort Korn, Stephen Girouard, William Moran
Crane Technicians Junction Wen, Martin Lee
Pretend It's a City slate: Roll a4 scene 201 take 1 MOS.  Netflix "UFLP" (Untitled Fran Lebowitz Project) Directed by Martin Scorsese DP Ellen Kuras ASC 2/28/19
Bowen Yang and Kyle Mooney absolutely nailed their take on this! Hilarious.

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