‘Wishful Drinking’: Carrie Fisher Brings Her Dysfunctional Past to HBO

Carrie Fisher in Wishful Drinking (HBO)

Carrie Fisher in Wishful Drinking (HBO)

Nothing is off limits in Carrie Fisher’s one-woman show, ‘Wishful Drinking,’ which makes its HBO debut on Dec. 12.

From her famous parents (the late ’50s singer Eddie Fisher and MGM’s brightest star of the ’50s Debbie Reynolds) to the man who made her famous (‘Star Wars’ creator George Lucas) to her pill addiction, bipolar disorder, and electroshock therapy, Fisher bravely and hilariously takes the audience through the craziness that is her life.

Fisher dives in deep to her famous family tree and dishes on all of the scandal and failed marriages, particularly the Eddie-Debbie-Elizabeth Taylor love triangle fiasco that she compares to the modern day Brad Pitt-Jennifer Aniston-Angelina Jolie drama. "Dad consoled Liz Taylor with his penis," she jokes in the show about how he hooked up with the star following the loss of her husband and his best friend, producer Mike Todd.

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Her mom, however, takes the brunt of the parenting issues when she shows clips of the actress doing dangerous dance moves while pregnant with her and dishes on how her own mother wanted her to have a baby with one of her husbands through artificial insemination which she believed would happen via a shot in the arm.

Fisher was even brave enough to bare the Princess Leia braids that made her famous and poke fun at the fact that Lucas owns her likeness, "so every time I look in the mirror, I have to send him a couple of bucks." She also ripped into Lucas for not letting her wear a bra under that famous white Leia dress because, he said, "There's no underwear in space!"

Though billed as a"documentary," 'Wishful Drinking' is presented more as a comedy special. 'Drinking' was taped in front of a live audience in New Jersey this June. Fisher first debuted the show in L.A. in 2006, and will continue touring through next year. She also turned it into a book of the same name in 2008.

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Fisher - and her mom! - chatted up reporters before the Los Angeles screening of 'Wishful Drinking' on Tuesday night to talk about the show, 'Star Wars,' and her famous mom. Here you have it:

When did you realize it was liberating to talk about your own issues like this?
Carrie Fisher: When the stuff was already out there. Here’s my choice, you get to read in the paper, literally there was an article that said, ‘Carrie Fisher’s Tragic Life,’ or some sh-t like that. And so I thought, Well, that’s their view, and if it’s gonna be out there like that, then I’m gonna have my version.

What is your favorite moment on the show?
Carrie Fisher: I like my show best when the audience is in it. Otherwise, I’m so alone. No, but I do because then it’s sort of unexpected for me and I don’t exactly know what’s going to happen and I have a good time.
Debbie Reynolds: One which I never understood, because she says to me I’m a Gay Diva [a ‘gay icon,’ actually] and I had to ask her what that meant. She said, ‘Mother, it means all the gays love you.’ I said, ‘Oh I thought that meant I was gay.’ She said, ‘Oh no, that doesn’t mean that mother, grow up!’

When you do it live, what bit gets the biggest reaction?
Carrie Fisher: When I say I was invited to a mental hospital. Most of the mental illness stuff gets a big reaction.

What’s the weirdest thing that has happened live?
Carrie Fisher: In Australia recently, a woman breast-fed in the second row. That was awesome. And people ask me the weirdest questions because I give them permission to ask questions about a dead man in my bed and they don’t believe me at first. It’s always fun for me, someone always thinks they’re being hilarious when they ask, ‘Was he stiff?’ [The dead man in her bed, by the way, was Republican political operative R. Gregory Stevens and it happened the morning before the 2005 Oscars.]

How did the conversation go when you have to call George Lucas and ask him to use your own image?
Carrie Fisher: He’s very nice about it. He also knows at any point I can actually be called upon to give him an award or something and he has to be nice to me or I’ll make fun of him again.

Earlier on, did you ever see yourself doing a one-woman show?
Carrie Fisher: No, the opposite. The act of rebellion in my family is not doing a nightclub act. My mother didn’t like me doing drugs, but much worse that I didn’t do a nightclub act. So now I finally became my mother.

You still know how to push her buttons?
Carrie Fisher: Yeah, anything to do with my dad.

You talk about your mom a lot in the show, what was her reaction when she first saw it?
Carrie Fisher: It’s show business. If she had any negative about it, she kept it to herself. She’s always been very supportive.
Debbie Reynolds: It is funny. It’s very intellectual and it’s very hip so the younger people really like it. It’s not my kind of entertaining because she talks about drug use and a lot of things that I wouldn’t talk about onstage myself. But I’m another generation. She’s hysterical. The show is very funny and well received everywhere. And we’ll see tonight if it translates to film and it will.

Carrie, does your mother have a show like this in her?
Carrie Fisher: She’d need to be guided through it. Some day maybe I’ll write one for her, but based on her, not my version.
Debbie Reynolds: She’s lucky that I’m not doing a play – ‘Mother Talks Back.’ [Laughs]

What do you think of the ‘Star Wars’ movies coming out in 3D?
Carrie Fisher: Thank God. I didn’t know what was wrong in my life. That’s what it was. It was that I wasn’t in 3D. [Joking, of course]

Are you surprised that ‘Star Wars’ is still living on?
Carrie Fisher: It’s more endless than I [thought], so it’s funny. It pops up in the stupidest places like, you know, in science reports. [Fisher herself has popped up in psychiatric books using her as a case study in bi-polar disorder, which, coincidentally was taught at her daughter Billie Lourd’s psych class recently.]

Are there other roles you played that you wished people paid more attention to?
Carrie Fisher: No. I was not an actor. I just wanted to be in 'Star Wars' because it was a genius script and I would've rather played Hans Solo because that was a better part. But, you know, I wasn't an actor ever like, 'Have you seen my Ophelia?' I didn't go into show business. The bitter trick would've been to stay out, so I didn't stay out.

‘Wishful Drinking’ debuts on HBO on Dec. 12.

Are you excited to see 'Wishful Drinking?' Seen the stage production? Tell us about it in the comments below.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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