Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Functional Addict of the Month

In the aftermath of the recent suicide attempt of comedy actor/nose job “before” picture model Owen Wilson, we were presented with some startling information about UK comic actor and noted addict Steve Coogan. He actually fucked Courtney Love. Wow. This guy must be doing more drugs than we all originally thought.

I mean we all knew Kurt Cobain had to be eating Quaaludes like skittles when he married the slag, but at least she was artistically relevant at the time and therefore provided an adequate Nancy to his Sid.

The perfect mess couple, covered in blood, spit and shit, and loving every minute of it, and us loving them too.

But lets take a step back. Realize that Cobain was a rock star. This is the only profession in the world (well, maybe stand-up comedian fits into this category as well) in which a beautiful positive correlation links drug use with success, wealth, popularity, and, most importantly, functionality. Lets be honest, as Kurt’s life spiraled out of control it only made his music more tantalizing. We all wanted to be on the Nirvana bandwagon before his inevitable self-destruction, if only so we could point out to the Johnny-come-latelies that we loved Kurt before he slashed his wrists, or swallowed the medicine cabinet, or hanged himself, or blew his head off, or some combination of the aforementioned.

But make no mistake. Hollywood actors do not share the same perks as their overly flamboyant, melodic counterparts. Just take a look at Hugh Grant (whores), Robert Downey Jr. (drugs), and Tom Sizemore (both). All three saw major hits to their images as they ceased to be dramatic and instead became punch lines when their embarrassing stories became public. The latter has yet to recover and earlier this year released a VH1 mini-series chronicling his struggles to salvage his life and career. As even Ray Charles (one of the great functional addicts in history) can see, mixing addiction and professional acting seldom ends up functioning. Other famous addicts like John Belushi and Chris Farley remained successful, but as their early deaths taught us, they weren’t exactly leading functional lives.

For actors, in most cases, addiction is a career killer. This is what makes the Steve Coogan revelation so mind-blowing. We all knew he was a party animal with a soft spot for Oxys and a tendency towards womanisation (did I just coin a word. Suddenly Webster’s dictionary seems inadequate), but few knew he had actually gone this far. Imagine how many lines of coke, or shots of Jameson you would need to go home with and fuck Courtney Love in the dark. Now imagine what it would take to wake up sober in bed with her and not commence the self-offing. If this man actually repeatedly dated Courtney Love, as major media outlets have noted, or was even repeatedly seen in public with the sagging bag of shit, he must have been severely twisted for quite some time.

And this is where we meet the true brilliance of Steve Coogan. This man has set the bar one notch higher for the rest of us as he has exhibited uncanny functional addiction for an extended period of time. As he, now quite apparently, crashed into rock bottom in 2006 in a total orgy of chemical bliss, he continued to climb the ladder of success appearing in comic classics like Tristram Shandy: a Cock and Bull Story in the UK while opening eyes in the US as well, scoring a role in commercial success Night in the Museum and inking a deal to star alongside Larry David in the forthcoming season of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. In fact, it may just be that Owen Wilson’s demise has given birth to a new star in Hollywood. Coogan continues to disprove the theory that supreme heavy addiction will do nothing but destroy an acting career.

But actors beware. This combination of complete discipline mixed with total lack of control is not easily achieved. Hang with Coogan and you just may end up like Wilson, with a boatload of sympathy but without any demand for your smug little nose-job needing face. Not everyone can be as smooth as Steve.

Coogan has truly earned the adoration of many a functional addict and has undoubtedly given countless young professionals out there the courage to make an attempt at a life worth living, a chemically supplemented life, that is. Sir Coogan, we bestow upon thee the unparalleled honor of Functional Addict of the Month. And you deserve it. May we all unite in raising our glasses to a shining example of what functional addiction truly is, and can be.