|THE PHILLY DAILY NEWS' STU BYKOFSKY BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE.|
|Stu Bykofsky is one of the most
popular and most cantankerous newspaper writers in Philadelphia, penning
Daily News's gossip column for close to 17 years. Even though he's a
local celebrity and gets to attend all the fancy pants social events in
Philly (yes, they have those too), he's made it no secret that he wants
out! out! out! of the scuttlebutt game to pursue more inspired writing endeavors.
Bykofsky's had many a pissing match with local politicos and other Philly
writers -- especially those who dare try
to scoop him, like Philadelphia Inquirer writer Michael Klein.
He's begrudgingly participating in our plucky little interview series only because some of The Black Table's editors are native Philly-folk and because he said "nobody will read it anyway".
For an old feller, he sure is feisty.
Boyz II Men. ABC. BBD.
SB: Because I have to deal with too many assholes. Like yourself, for instance. Every freakin' goofball in Philly calls ME to ask what's Patti LaBelle's shoe size and what drugs did Pink take in high school and does Will Smith have a tattoo near his rectum? And I'll tell you age is relative, you young pinhead. You ought to pray to make it to 60 and have had half the fun I've had. I've got half my hair, half my teeth and a girl friend half my age. (For the record: I've written this gossip column almost 17 years, and will stop Any Minute Now, to write about something more meaningful, like the proper care of fish tanks and the Fake Science behind Scientology.)
BT: Do you think Philadelphia is a good gossip town? It seems most of the gossip revolves around the chef from Le Bec Fin and local news broadcasters-with so little to work with does that make it frustrating? Do you ever just want to jump up on your desk, take your pants off, and yell "I hate this town!!!!".
SB: As a matter of fact, my pants are around my ankles right now. It is not a good gossip town for two reasons: 1) No celebrities. (I don't write about the runt French chef; that's one of my pale imitators.) Local anchors are celebrities, because viewers have such empty lives. 2) The Quaker influence. In Noo Yawk -- my hometown, you
aspiring suburban zero -- people not only talk to the press, they lie by a factor of five. Here, it's considered "bad form" to talk about yourself. You know, that Quaker thing? They can't even go for a crap without a majority vote. What kills me is there's only three Quakers left, and I know two of them.
BT: I don't even know what that means. Anyway, you like sports, apparently. Who would you rather give Flyers head coach Ken Hitchcock a massage or share a steam bath with Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid?
SB: Who says I like sports? Don't confuse ME with The Column. That is a very amateur mistake, AJ, or DJ, or whatever your name is. Do you think a garbage collector LIKES garbage? I write about what I need to write about, what my readers care about. I'm a pro. See why age is an advantage? It shields me from silly assumptions, TMJ, or whatever your name is.
To answer the other part of your question, I would rather share a steam bath with Andy Reid because I could use that time to teach him some fresh offensive strategy -- although he has improved lately. (I think I could also talk him out of being a Mormon.)
BT: Do you think the New York Post's Page Six is the best gossip column out there? Would you ever work for them?
SB: Being as they have stolen material from me, of COURSE I have the greatest respect for them. I couldn't work for them, however, as checking things out is too ingrained in me, due to my greatly advanced years, BJ, or whatever your name is. Their practice of often simply throwing it against the wall to see if it sticks wouldn't work for me.
BT: How about this Lloyd Grove fella. Do you think you could have the same success he's had if you left Philly and came to New York? Would you ever want to do something like that?
SB: Who? I'm not kidding. Who's Lloyd Grove? Is that some Noo Yawk big shot and you think the rest of America is worshipping? As
The Stu Bykofsky Workout!
Byko sez: "I maintain my stamina through ingesting
caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. OK -- Viagara too, but only because I
like to view the world with a blue tint. My figure doesn't count."
Pump It! Work It! Own It!
FEEL THE BURN WITH BYKO!
I said, I'm from Noo Yawk. My first job was at the World Telegram and the Sun. (Go look it up, AK, or whatever your name is.) I don't need to go back there to prove anything.
BT: What was your take on the whole Limbaugh/McNabb controversy? Do you think what Limbaugh said was that outrageous or untrue?
SB: I wrote about that. Look it up. It'll cost you a $2.95 archive fee.
BT: Onto another local sports figure -- basketball prodigy-cum alleged hotel rapist Kobe Bryant. Do you think the Philadelphia is being soft on him coverage-wise because of his ties to Lower Merion High School?
SB: Soft on him? We crucify him. No, being "local" doesn't get you a break here, especially when you piss on your hometown.
BT: Notorious playboy weatherman John Bolaris left NBC news in Philadelphia and is now at WCBS channel 2 in New York. Do you think he'll get as much ass in New York City as he did in Philadelphia? And why do weathermen score all the chicks?
SB: He won't get as much ass in Noo Yawk as Philly, because Noo
Yawk has REAL celebrities, and I hear Bolaris is already suffering from
the bends due to his lack of ink. My advice to John -- whose life I fear
I made uncomfortable here -- is to admit his real age, then take his pregnant
girl friend and have her pose nude for Page Six.
BT: How about that Mayor John Street? Do you think he's done anything good for the city?
SB: He towed about 60 million abandoned cars, he put more cops on the street in drug-riddled areas. He's also been very good about keeping his friends off welfare. Many have lucrative city contracts. Makes me wish I was a friend.
BT: Why do people call you Byko? Is it because you like to ride bikes?
SB: People don't call me Byko. There was a redesign a few years ago -- the paper still looks like the inside of a cat food can -- and some genius put the word BYKO! at the top. "Why'd you do that," I asked.
"It looks good," he replied.
"No one calls me that," I told him.
"They will now," he grinned.
I said no, but after he begged, pleaded and kissed my ass -- what the fuck? I don't really care.
BT: Okay, Byko. Have you ever felt guilty about writing a piece of gossip that may have hurt somebody's feelings? Is hurting people part of the territory?
SB: Sometimes yes, to both.
BT: Alright, Mumia Abdul Jabbar. You have strong feelings about this, I gather. Do you think this issue will ever go away? And should it ever go away?
SB: Jee-sus, TKO, or whatever your name is, how can you do the research to learn I care about this, but get the cop-killer's name wrong? It's Mumia Abu-Jamal. The issue will never go away. Which is a good thing. Because when I attack the cop-killer, the cops love me and let me drive at excessive speed on any side of the road I want. (There might be some untruth in that last statement.)
BT: Has Philadelphia ever had a socialite as dopey as Paris Hilton-or as hot for that matter? Do you think Philadelphia would treat a Paris Hilton-type kindly? You think Paris Hilton is hot, right?
SB: Paris Hilton is hot. I would treat her like the royalty she thinks she is. We once had a lady named Kiki Olsen, who was the good time had by all. She was kind of a Liza look-alike, back before Liza was a cruel caricature.
BT: Would you rather eat a cheese steak off of Paris Hilton's naked body or let Britney Spears throw scrapple at your bare bottom in front of the Liberty Bell?
SB: I'd rather eat Paris Hilton.
BT: Oof. You win. You always do.