"What was it like being married to Carmen Electra?" the little man in the Mao jacket asks. "She's a babe. She's a hottie. She's the bomb! What was it like?"
"What kind of guy is Hulk Hogan?" the little man continues. "I remember when you and the Hulk went up against Lex Luthor and the Giant. What action! Then you had those matches against Randy Savage, the late and great Macho Man. Too bad about Randy."
The Macho Man?
"Can you still dunk? I bet you can. I bet Michael [His Airness] Jordan can't dunk any more and you can. Am I right?"
* * *
The news that Dennis Rodman is in Pyongyang, North Korea, hanging out with the country's baby-faced dictator Kim Jong Un at this moment registers very high on the neighborhood Bizarre-O-Meter. Might even be a sports-page record. Shaquille O'Neal could be named Pope tomorrow afternoon and it would not be a stranger story.
Here is this evolving world figure, this Kim Jong Un, so mysterious that no one in the West even knows his age, guessed to be somewhere in his twenties. His biggest pronouncements in 15 months on the job have been against the United States, which he has called "a rabid dog." His message has been punctuated with missile tests and underground nuclear explosions, the most recent one two weeks ago. There is no US embassy in North Korea, no formal diplomatic relations between countries, contact somewhere between extremely limited and non-existent, but now Kim Jong Un finally meets a famous American.
That famous American is Dennis Rodman.
* * *
"Did it hurt to have all of those metal things pierced through your body? It looks like it must have hurt. I mean, the hoop or whatever it is that is going through your lip…doesn't food get stuck in there? Just has to be a colossal pain. I can't even imagine saying a tricky word like 'suspicious,' with that hoop thing in there. Try to say 'suspicious' for me."
"What about the hair? What's your favorite color hair? Yellow? Red? Aquamarine? I think you looked great in purple. Hair is a big deal in my family. My father used to have some pretty funky hair, but it mostly stayed the same. Yours is always different. My dad always admired your hair. He'd say, 'Kim, that man has great hair.'"
"And then there was that wedding dress. You were a fine-looking bride, my brother. How'd that feel, wearing that wedding dress, the high heels, the lipstick…the veil? There's always been that gender-bending wackiness to you. Is that real? Or is that part of the daily show?"
* * *
A movie is involved. (Of course a movie is involved.) Three members of the Harlem Globetrotters have gone along to Pyongyang (of course three members of the Harlem Globetrotters have gone along to Pyongyang) and a producer/director is filming everything for a film that he proposes to show on HBO. If this sounds like an instant remake of 'Argo,' last week's Oscar winner for best picture (of course it sounds like a remake of 'Argo,' maybe 'Argo 2' or 'Return of Argo' or 'Argo Unchained') well, that simply is part of the bizarre package. John Goodman and Alan Arkin could appear at any moment.
Rodman, 51, would seem to be the most unlikely diplomat in all of American diplomatic history. His life has evolved as a comic strip with a never-ending sequence of panels. In addition to a 15-year professional basketball career that brought him five NBA championship rings and a place in the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Ma., he has found an afterlife at the highest levels of tabloid celebrity, a tatooed trash fame that has included addictions, parts in movies, talk-show tomfoolery, bankruptcies, professional wrestling and a report by the Newport Beach police that they were called to his house over 70 times for complaints that parties were too loud. He is is a layabout, a rebel, an ultimate party person, all of the above.
Which perhaps is what Kim Jong Un found attractive.
* * *
"I saw you on 'Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew.' There's a bunch of hard stuff on that show. Did it help you at all? I'm thinking not. I'm thinking you've backslid once or twice since then. Am I right?"
"Talking about hair. What about Donald Trump's hair? What about Donald Trump? I always think about him when I talk about my 'bitter hatred for American imperialists.' Is he really a hateable guy? They treated you all right on 'Celebrity Apprentice.' Do you think you'll ever do that show again?"
"You were the commissioner of the Lingerie Football League for one season. What was that like?... 'The Tonight Show,' Jay Leno. Fun?... The movies you made with Jean-Claude Van Damme. Do you think Jean-Claude could whip Hulk Hogan's butt? What about Superman against Batman?... What about Madonna? She's another babe, another hottie. You went out with her. What's she like?... What's Bill Laimbeer like? Scottie Pippen? His Airness? Larry Bird? Magic Johnson?... Did you ever sit down and just talk with Bill Russell about rebounding?... I saw you once were entered in a wife-carrying contest in Finland. What was that like?... I saw just a couple of weeks ago you were behind a booth at a dental convention…
* * *
The report yesterday was that Kim Jong Un and Dennis Rodman watched a basketball game in Pyongyang. The Globetrotters and some North Korean stalwarts played and it must have been a heck of a game because the final score was 110-110, a tie. Rodman and the Globies and the film crew then were invited to state dinner at the big house. Libations allegedly were served.
Wouldn't you like to have listened to everything that was said? Every single word?