My Beef with Bourdain

February 14, 2011. The day my mother and I wasted $100 to hear Anthony Bourdain speak in Philadelphia.

I think I expected too much. Is an engaging, intelligent, interesting talk too much to ask for, especially from the man who lives by the “I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks” motto?


Tony was mundane. The audience was supposed to think it was an extemporaneous speech, but I could tell the punchlines were carefully calculated. Most of Tony’s stories came straight from his texts or shows. Really Tony? You’re going to tell the story about getting molested by Sandra Lee? I read the fucking book, Tony. I didn’t come here to hear you retell the stories. I have the audiobook. I’ve heard it already. Unfortunately it became clear that Tony was catering to his nearly mentally challenged audience. The people that came to see “that tall guy from TV” speak, who wanted to hear a joke or two about vegetarians being dumb.

Everyone sitting there reminded me of a high school class, where nobody read the assignment but everyone pretended they knew what the teacher was talking about. When Tony did stray from his book stories, his lack of explanation sent the audience into confusion. Discussing Adam Richman and Alan Richman was a mistake, Tony. Most of the audience was confused when he first praised Adam and then called Alan a douche. “But I thought he liked that guy from Travel Channel, why would he call him Douche of the Year?”

Eventually Tony announced there would be time for Q&A. I stood in the question line. I was wearing heels. My pants were also unbuttoned due to my gluttonous meal two hours beforehand. At least 5 fucktards asked “I’m going ____, where should I eat?” The girl in front of me asked “can I have your autograph?!?” and ran up to the stage. Really, fangirl? That’s what you ask when you have the chance? I had an intelligent, academic question to ask him. But standing there, I realized my question was far above the majority of the audience and what Tony was prepared to answer. I kept rewording it in my head to make it more understandable to the general public, but there was no need since Tony never got to my question. He announced that the girl in front of me was the last one. I stuck out my hip and glared at Tony like a piece of meat. I paid to come here for THIS, Tony? At least let me ask my god damn question. But he didn’t, because he had a time limit, and needed to get to the special “meet and greet” that however many people paid over $100 per person for.

It saddened and (mostly) angered me that Tony would dumb himself down so much for his audience. I understand (to a certain point) you have to give what your audience wants, but really Tony? I considered him an intelligent and well spoken individual from his books and TV show. I always thought his whole attitude was “be yourself and fuck everyone else.” I guess when fame and money is involved, that isn’t the case.

$50+ to see Bourdain speak, with the option to pay an extra $100 or so for a “meet and greet?”  It seems Tony has noticed he’s on the last minute of his 15. A man I once respected is selling the fuck out.

Then I went home and watched Justin Bieber on Chelsea Lately. At least those sluts know who they are.

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  • Mary Lou March 8, 2011  

    As the Mom who was there with ML, I must say Tony’s talk was so dull and boring, disaterous was an understatement . It was awful and I thanked god that I didnt shell out the extra $$$ for the meet and greet. Spending Valentine’s day with my daughter was a treat but we should have picked something else, anything else to do but sit there and hear him phone it in

  • Lora March 9, 2011  

    How disappointing. Even the most talented personalities deserve a kick in te ass now and then. Good for you for giving him one.

  • gansie March 10, 2011  

    don’t leave us hanging – what was the question you were going to ask him?

    and, i had a similar experience with a disappointing (yet free b/c of my media pass) author event courtesy of Jonathan Safran Foer.

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