Fisher, who's now 53, was born in the glare of celebrity as the daughter of Hollywood’s then-reigning sweetheart couple Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. And she has stayed there through her parents’ headline-grabbing divorce, her starring role as Princess Leia in the early “Star Wars” movies, her on-and-off-again romance with the singer-songwriter Paul Simon, her sex-drugs-and-rock ‘n roll years during Studio 54’s heyday as a disco, her numerous stays in rehab, her bi-polar disorder diagnosis, her up-and-down weight, her marriage to the Hollywood agent Bryan Lourd and divorce from him when he left her for another man (click here for a quick recap she gave in a CBS Sunday Morning interview).
Both Ann and I had read Fisher’s memoir and novels, which make use of the same material, and so we were familiar with her stories. But Fisher knows her way around an amusing anecdote and a punchy one-liner (and she’s equally adept with the fast ad-lib as she demonstrates with an audience Q&A segment in the show). So Ann and I laughed at things like the "Hollywood Inbreeding 101" tour through her family tree that she’s had mapped out on a blackboard and her riff about how it feels to have the image of her 20-year-old self on all the Princess Leia paraphernalia from tiny action figures to life-size inflatable sex dolls.
There is a therapeutic quality to Wishful Drinking, which Fisher has been touring around the country over the past three years and which is scheduled to end its four-month New York run on Jan. 17. The show is a textbook case of laughing to keep from crying. You get the feeling that if Fisher weren’t onstage telling you these stories, she might be out in the real world living even worse ones. But the support doesn't flow all one way because you also get the feeling that if she can live—and still joke about it—through the mess of her life, then you ought to be able to make it through the mess of yours.