Carrie Fisher Opens Up About Drugs, Sobriety, Insanity And Death

By Fred Topel Carrie Fisher put all the drama of her drug addiction, her parents’ love triangles and the Star Wars phenomenon in a one woman show based on her book Wishful Drinking. Now HBO is filming it and Fisher entertained the Television Critics Association with more tales of debauchery and tragedy. With all the scandal behind her, she can finally laugh about it.

“Maybe some of it was with 12 step,” Fisher said. “Gradually what I realized was when I got sober, overdosed, went to a mental hospital, all these things, it went in the paper. ‘Guy dead in my bed.’ My thing was wait a second, if it’s going to be out there, please let my version be in it. So it was sort of a bit like that. Also there’s the saying, ‘You’re only as sick as your secrets.’ I’m sure most of you have that T-shirt. If you can claim it, it has very little power over you.”

When Eddie Fisher left Carrie’s mom Debbie Reynolds for Elizabeth Taylor, it was that day’s Brangelina. Although, it ultimately ruined Fisher’s career and Brad Pitt still seems to get work.

“He didn’t have as big a career as Brad’s to destroy, though it was considerable,” Fisher said. “No, it is very similar and I did point that out to Brad once at a party. He pretended at least to know what I was talking about. Yes, it destroyed my father. It wasn’t simply divorce that destroyed him. It was kind of every choice after that. It was drugs, it was Connie Stevens, it was the Playmate of the Year, it was marrying Ms. Louisiana. My dad is not the bastion of good judgment but he’s really fun.”

Elizabeth Taylor has crossed paths with the Fisher daughter since, and she’s even signed off on mentions of her in Carrie’s show. “I actually gave her an award and thanked her for getting Eddie Fisher out of our house,” Fisher joked. “I mean she’s fine with it. Her grandchildren are friends of mine and my daughter’s. I like Elizabeth. I’ve spent a lot of time with her. She did ‘These Old Broads’ for me and we have an interesting history.”

Fisher consulted all of the celebrities she would mention in her act and respected any sensitivity they had on the subjects. “It wasn’t that they didn’t want to be mentioned. It would be, ‘Don’t say this that way’ or something like that. They would have that option too. I didn’t want anyone to be made uncomfortable except me.”

The show even includes the tragic incident where Fisher woke up to find her friend dead in her bed. She’s modest about what she’s overcome in her life. “It evolved. It really evolved. A lot of the stuff I talk about, when the things happened at the time I would have been too ashamed to talk about them. So there’s great relief in being able to just sort of own this and have it be something that happened that I learned from and wasn’t defeated by. If I can do that and some of the stuff was really hard, then anybody could do it. No, I don’t have the kind of courage or bravery that people do that have to live with poverty and live in a Port-au-Prince of whatever, but I was lucky. My tragedies have happened and I was able to eat through them. I mean, so that big a tragedy I’m not but I did wake up with a friend of mine dead and that was really hard.”

A moment of honest underpins all of Fisher’s stories, and her overall humor reflects a healthier philosophy. “I used to say, ‘I want to live on one side of the magnifying glass or the other. On the side that makes big things small or small things big.’ I live on the side that makes big things small. You meet a better class of people there and they’re also usually a little older. So I make big things small.”

Her jokes, however, KILLED in a room full of about 200 television critics. “My whole life is one long joke so I’m waiting for the punch line. I hope it’s not too soon. I do feel a lot of times like a reality show but I think doesn’t everybody at this point? They’re just filming anyone now.”

Wishful Drinking airs on HBO this December.

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