So, who the hell is Fran Lebowitz?
The question is tossed at Lebowitz (she parries quickly and characteristically) in Martin Scorsese’s new documentary series, Pretend It’s a City, which may be striving to give its own answer, or is merely another chance for Lebowitz to let the world know just what she thinks about us. It’s probably both, but either way, Pretend It’s a City is hilarious.
Fran Lebowitz is an author, though she hasn’t exactly published a book in 40 years. She’s lived in New York City for 52 years, yet insists she’s never been able to afford it. “Your bad habits can kill you,” Lebowitz says, “but your good habits won’t save you.” These aren’t even a few of the topics covered in Pretend It’s a City, a ramble of seven episodes that consist largely of Lebowitz talking about her beloved city, sauntering about town in Levi’s and cowboy boots, and tearing up everything in her path—all while insisting that “in New York, there are millions of people, and the only person looking where she’s going is me.”
By the end of the show you don’t necessarily know who Fran Lebowitz is. But you will feel you know her, like you’ve been sitting across the bar top from her for three and a half hours, and have lost one lung from the smoke and the other from the laughter.
No matter, if you see her on the sidewalk, do stay out of her way. —Alex Oliveira
Pretend It’s a City premieres January 8 on Netflix