American Masters


Why Fran Lebowitz Always Sought Advice From Toni Morrison

Cultural critic Fran Lebowitz says there's a specific reason why she would ask her good friend Toni Morrison for advice. In these outtakes from "Toni Morrison: The Pieces I am," she also talks about the time someone asked if she and Morrison were related. A film by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.

AIRED: June 24, 2020 | 0:03:09

- I met her in 1978.

She's 20 years older than me.

We did this reading which turned out to be

a fantastic combination.

And when we finished Toni said

"This is a great combination

we should have a show and go on the road"

It was like an instant friendship

Which is not that common for me anyway.

It's extremely deep friendship

and it's you know really long lasting one.

I have never really had a fight with Toni

which is really unusual for me.

We did have a very lengthy

argument as to whose mother made the best dessert.

Her mother's apple pie or my mother's apricots strudel.

Toni had to admit, upon tasting

my mother's apricots strudel.

That they were equally good.

My mother who I bought Tony's mother's

apple pie to my mother

said that yes, it was as good as her apricots strudle.

And then my mother goes, I make apple Pie too

I said mum, lets not.

Let's stop it at this.

Okay, you know, we used to go

to the movies all the time.

And this is, you know, this is what people like

we were once in line

for the movies at the Angelika.

In our house history

and a girl standing behind us in line said,

I see you two together all the time.

Are you related?

And I said, Yes, she's my son.

When you do something with Toni

or you go to something of Toni's

a reading or something

I've always said to her

you don't have an audience you have a congregation.

I do readings I diss beaches.

I have an audience.

There's a lack of reference in my audiences

that is not lacking in Toni's

I have actually been to

readings at Toni's given

where people bring her books

and they follow along with him

like people do like in a church.

I think that what surprises

me most about Tony

always even though I know

this is the case is tolerant she is.

When I was child, my mother used to always say to me

can't you be the bigger person?

And you know truthfully i can't.

I'm by nature the smallest person.

Toni is a bigger person.

She's always the bigger person.

That's just character.

That has nothing to do with who you are,

where you're from, you know what?

sexual or what?

You know, that's Toni.

She has a lot more sympathy

for her fellow man than I do.

I have always sought advice from Toni.

I'm not like a world's big advice seeker.

You know, so I've always sought advice from Toni

but what Tony is that

almost no one else I know is is wise.


And that is not a function

of age particularly part of that.

What wisdom is,

is just this very large capacity

that she has, you know, for

human life and understanding of humans.

I mean, very often I've turned Tony for advice

or solace, you know,

because she could always think of something worse.


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