Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

By , February 23, 2005

Today in the car, my Mother and I were discussing that famous question: “If you could have dinner with any three individuals, living or dead, who would you choose?” I began to wonder if one picks say, Julius Caesar or Hammurabi, if a second seat has to be reserved for a translator. I also worried that if I picked too clever a bunch, I’d be left out of the conversation altogether. What do I even have to say that Einstein, Aristotle, or Mozart could give a damn about?

I finally settled on Thomas Jefferson, whom I’d ask to give his opinions of modern day politics through the eyes of a framer of the Constitution, Douglas Macarthur, as he would definitely have some exciting war stories, and Takeru Kobayashi, just to see how much he would eat.

You probably think that answering today’s question is going to require you to compile your own list of three diners, which you are welcome to do, but the real question is yet to come

You see, later on we were listening to the radio and, utterly coincidentally, the host suggested that audience members draft a list of the 20 guests, living or dead, they’d invite to a cocktail party. Suddenly he was talking my language; and though he didn’t specify it, I think that it is assumed that the dead invitees would be somehow plucked from their former lives and placed in the room ready to party. A room full of cadavers does not make for a swanky soiree, and zombies don’t drink cocktails, they are cocktails.

Currently Playing: Oingo Boingo – Dead Man’s Party

I suppose now the question I am about to ask has become a bit more obvious, but here goes: Today’s Question: You can invite 20 historical figures to your cocktail party. Whom do you invite?

I am hard at work on my list, and will post it soon.

How soon is now? Here are my guests. I hope they can all make it! I have alphabetized them so nobody feels bad about being at or near the bottom of the list. Also, I’ve selected ten men and ten women, to balance things out.

Maria Callas
Winston Churchill
Cleopatra
W.C. Fields
Greta Garbo
Cary Grant
Ernest Hemingway
Audrey Hepburn
Hedda Hopper
Veronica Lake
        Douglas MacArthur
Groucho Marx
Marilyn Monroe
Dorothy Parker
Sylvia Plath
Edward G. Robinson
Preston Sturges
Mae West
Oscar Wilde
P. G. Wodehouse

Musical entertainment will be provided by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians.

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32 Responses to “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”

  1. Fizzy Pop says:

    eating wax is not good for you.

    i see that simone simone did not make the cut. and your dinner guests are from the last couple centuries or so. why aren’t older corpses invited?

    [Reply]

    Peasprout Reply:

    @Fizzy Pop, Eating Wax?

    As for the unfortunate Miss Simon (or was she a Mrs.?), I would have invited her, but since you will obviously be my date, I wanted to avoid the inevitable cat fight that would have erupted were you both in the same room.

    [Reply]

    Peasprout Reply:

    @Peasprout, Whoah– freaky– I just checked online. Simone Simon died two days ago. Now I feel bad about not inviting her. Also, she never married; she was holding out for me.

    [Reply]

  2. anglestar23 says:

    eating wax?? what?? yeah so why r u inviting people from the dead to ur luncheon? they probably wont be there anyways…. cuz u invited them. hehehe….

    [Reply]

  3. anglestar23 says:

    hey! whats up with u and ur peasprout???!!!??

    [Reply]

  4. SatanLuciferi says:

    Can I just be a coincidental stranger who mistakes your place for a different party she was supposed to attend and manages to charm her way in to your party?

    Please?

    [Reply]

    Peasprout Reply:

    @SatanLuciferi, I suppose in theory I don’t have a date to this party…

    [Reply]

    SatanLuciferi Reply:

    @Peasprout, I’d happily be your date. Anyone who can put that guestlist together is worth knowing.

    [Reply]

  5. Anonymous says:

    Many bonus points to you for inviting Maria Callas. I don’t know all that many who know her at all, let alone place her so high. She was a very gifted woman. Would that one day I might share a portion of her talent.

    [Reply]

  6. Serene Journal says:

    Good question. Hmm. Without spending TOO much of my workday thinking about this… [I’d have to put a rider on this that my partners get to attend. Otherwise, it would be no fun for me. Or at least less fun.] Audre Lorde Richard Dawkins Stephen Hawking Joan Baez Zora Neale Hurston David Sedaris BB King Josephine Baker Thomas Jefferson Elizabeth Cady Stanton Frederick Douglass Buckminster Fuller George Bernard Shaw Carl Sagan Gloria Steinem Oscar Wilde Dorothy Parker Lizzy Borden Laurie Anderson Judith Martin (Miss Manners) Thinking of who would do the music was even harder than thinking of this list, so I gave up.

    [Reply]

  7. Serene Journal says:

    I always forget the lines don’t break in comments. Here’s a more readable version:
    Audre Lorde
    Richard Dawkins
    Stephen Hawking
    Joan Baez
    Zora Neale Hurston
    David Sedaris
    BB King
    Josephine Baker
    Thomas Jefferson
    Elizabeth Cady Stanton
    Frederick Douglass
    Buckminster Fuller
    George Bernard Shaw
    Carl Sagan
    Gloria Steinem
    Oscar Wilde
    Dorothy Parker
    Lizzy Borden
    Laurie Anderson
    Judith Martin (Miss Manners)

    [Reply]

  8. Anonymous says:

    thats quite a list

    [Reply]

  9. Le Chats Meow says:

    Ditto with the girl above who said she would like to charm her way into the party. I would like to meet: From literature: Charles Dickens, E.Hemingway, Kahlil Gibran, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte,Agatha Christie…From Art: Monet, Toulouse Latreuc, Michelangelo, Da Vinci,Andrew Wyatt, Steinlen, From Theatre: Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, Natalie Wood, From Music: Robert Johnson, Beverly Sills, and Billie Holiday.

    [Reply]

  10. Serene Journal says:

    How could I have forgoten Billie Holiday?!?

    [Reply]

  11. Kendra says:

    We like smaller dinner parties.

    Jesus
    The Apostle Paul
    C.S. Lewis
    Einstein
    Ronald Reagan
    Jerry Seinfeld

    My daughter, Ash, wants Britney Spears as the entertainment.

    [Reply]

    Peasprout Reply:

    @Kendra, Kendra– your party sounds like a somewhat sober affair, although I would like to see how Einstein, an atheist and a communist, gets on with Jesus and Reagan.

    [Reply]

  12. Audrey says:

    Phil Hartman
    Chris Farley
    Marilyn Monroe
    JFK (oooh, I bet they’d play footsie under the table)
    Bob Marley (I better cook extra because he’ll have the munchies)
    Audrey Hepburn
    Gene Kelley
    Andy Warhol because I want a first hand telling of Studio 54
    Princess Diana
    Jimmy Stewart
    Grace Kelly
    Daniel Tosh

    [Reply]

  13. Dave says:

    ah man.. my list is going to be so lame.. here goes:

    Music-

    Hendrix (no brainer)
    Nick Drake
    Ray Charles
    Stevie Ray Vaughan
    Martin Sexton

    Sports-

    Jordan

    The Arts-

    Coen Brothers
    David Fincher
    Darius Khondji
    Roger Deakins
    Caravaggio
    Katsushika Hokusai
    Dorothea Lange
    Walker Evans
    Da Vinci ( cliche much? )

    Misc

    Pops
    Grandma Z
    Sri Ramakrishna
    Eknath Easwaran
    Benjamin Franklin
    Nachiketa
    Gandhi
    Barack

    [Reply]

    Peasprout Reply:

    @Dave, I like your guests, although Nick Drake may be a bit of a downer. Maybe see if he can handle coat check, lest he depress people too much.

    [Reply]

  14. Audrey says:

    My party will have lots of jokes, a scandalous love affair, well dressed elegant ladies and gentlemen who dance and tell stories like no other, the one trippy guy with great stories, sweet regae music, and I’m cooking so of course the menu will be top notch. You intelligentsia are not invited so there!

    [Reply]

    Peasprout Reply:

    @Audrey, Yes Audrey, your party and mine will certainly be much more upbeat affairs than the rest. Perhaps we can rent adjacent banquet rooms, especially since Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe are invited to both soirees!

    [Reply]

  15. Fudge Guy says:

    I gotta pick how my guests? — they gotta be dead?

    Nikolia Tesla — I’d let these three prowl the internet for about a month.
    Robert A Hienlien
    Theodore Sturgeon
    Jayne Mansfield — just for the eyecandy factor

    At this stage I honestly can’t think of any more.

    [Reply]

  16. Joseph says:

    I don’t want to eat with twenty people. Too much happening around me. Let me see if I can do this in no particular order( which is of course, a lie, I just don’t want people to think I REALLY thought of Warren Zevon first)

    Warren Zevon
    Townes Van Zant
    Gram Parsons
    Tom Waits
    Joe Strummer
    ( this would basically be the corner of the table that I would stay in for the bulk of the evening)

    James Joyce
    Graham Greene
    Kate Chopin
    Kenneth Burke
    Wallace Stegner
    Michel Foucault
    Jonathan Kozol
    Ward Churchill
    Augustine
    Joseph Campbell
    Dana Randall ( my wife)
    Joseph Smith ( my grandfather not the mormon prophet….although)
    Vine DeLoria
    David Foster Wallace
    Michael Stipe

    You all are welcome too of course

    [Reply]

  17. Jesus
    Buddha
    Mohammed
    Lao-tzu
    William Blake
    Soren Kierkegaard
    G. I. Gurdjieff
    Albert Camus
    Ram Dass
    Leonard Cohen
    Roald Dahl
    My great grandparents on my grandfather’s side
    My grandparents on my mother’s side
    My girlfriend ABC
    Joe Strummer
    John Muir
    Ansel Adams
    Albert Einstein

    I’m sure I could think of more, but to plan for this bunch would be quite an honor as it is

    [Reply]

  18. Idle Beth says:

    You know I am too shallow for this. It would all be cute men. Jk. I will think of a list.

    [Reply]

  19. Idle Beth says:

    Here is my list, per request. Not sure if it would be a problem having Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick at the same party:

    Princess Diana
    Audrey Hepburn
    Jane Austen
    Eleanor Roosevelt
    Edith Head
    Sylvia Plath
    Queen Victoria
    Marie Antoinette
    Edie Sedgwick
    Zelda Fitzgerald
    Leslie Howard
    Cary Grant
    Jack Kerouac
    James Dean
    John Peel
    Robert Kennedy
    Oscar Wilde
    John Keats
    George Harrison
    Andy Warhol

    [Reply]

  20. Well, I thought twenty couples could make for an interesting night. People get lonesome with ennuie sometimes, you know. So here are lovers, rivals, collaborators, or just couples I wish had become of acquaintance. Real, imagined, or otherwise:

    Jacqueline du Pré and Daniel Barenboim
    Noel Coward and George Sanders
    Andrei Tarkovsky and Aleksandr Sokúrov
    Myrna Loy and William Powell
    Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir
    Lord Byron and Lady Caroline Lamb
    Bette Davis and Joan Crawford
    Fyodor Dostoevsky and Albert Camus
    Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten
    Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
    Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy
    Friedrich Nietzsche and Hannah Arendt
    Peter Sellers and Alec Guinness
    Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison
    Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz
    Cleopatra and Marc Anthony
    Georg Cantor and Kurt Gödel
    Napoleon and Josephine Bonaparte
    Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith
    Oscar Wilde and I (as his muse, of course)

    [Reply]

    Peasprout Reply:

    @Chrissy a.k.a. Betty Grable, Will you be attending as Chrissy or Betty Grable?

    [Reply]

    Chrissy a.k.a. Betty Grable Reply:

    @Peasprout, Chritty Grable

    [Reply]

    Peasprout Reply:

    @Chrissy a.k.a. Betty Grable, Also, how did I ever throw a party and not invite Peter Sellers. Perhaps he will end up accidentally invited to mine, à la Hrundi V. Bakshi.

    [Reply]

  21. Kim says:

    20, eh?

    1. Vladimir Horowitz
    2. Theodore Roosevelt
    3. Frederic Chopin
    4. Alicia Keys
    5. Paul Farmer
    6. Walt Disney
    7. Robert Frost
    8.

    [Reply]

    Peasprout Reply:

    @Kim, You never finished your list…

    [Reply]

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