Slate's handy guide to small talk.

Slate's handy guide to small talk.

Slate's handy guide to small talk.

Arts, entertainment, and more.
June 16 2006 3:03 PM

Weekend Cocktail Chatter

Slate's handy guide to small talk.

Slate offers a quick and easy guide to help you fake your way through overly cultured cocktail parties this weekend.

Comedy Central announced that it will air the so-called lost episodes of Chappelle's Show starting in July. Engage in earnest debate about whether Chappelle is a masterful manipulator of the system, has a drug problem, or simply has no need for $50 million. End each conversation with, "I'm Rick James, bitch!"

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You may not have seen The Passion of the Christ, but that didn't stop you from having an opinion about it. So feel free to turn up your nose at Tim LaHaye's (of the enormously popular "Left Behind" series of apocalyptic Christian novels) first movie, Resurrection, the story of Jesus' life after death. It's appropriately slatedfor an Easter release.

Happy Bloomsday! Instead of reading your favorite passage from Ulysses to the assembled crowd, take the opportunity to discuss the threat to Joyce scholarship imposed by Joyce's grandson Stephen, who doesn't take too kindly to analysis of his grandfather's work. English professors at your gathering may be especially put out.

In light of Rufus Wainwright's song-for-song reproduction of Judy Garland's 1961 concert at Carnegie Hall, consider other shows Wainwright could cover: anything from Madonna's Truth or Dare tour or Alice Cooper's chicken concert.

At literary parties this weekend, guests will be discussing the selection of Donald Hall as the new poet laureate of the United States, even if no one knows precisely what the poet laureate does.

Forbidden topics of the week: Ann Coulter, the World Cup, the Matt Lauer-Britney Spears tête-à-tête, Mexican wrestling.