My Favorite Mistake: Harry Shearer

Article excerpt

Byline: Harry Shearer

The comedian on when marriage is a punchline.

Judith Owen and I had met in 1992 at the Conrad Hotel in London. I was over there doing Spinal Tap at Royal Albert Hall and she had taken a gig singing in the lunchroom. I had hair extensions and had grown my facial hair out, so I really did look like Derek Smalls, and This Is Spinal Tap happened to be her favorite movie. We were checking into the hotel, and Chris Guest, who was standing with me, says that as he watched me spy this singer through the lunchroom door he saw my eyes go cartoon-boing.

Not long after, I invited Judith to the U.S. and she said, "All right, I'm coming to Los Angeles." She's a U.K. citizen, and she'd never been on an international flight before. She lands and the immigration people ask, "Are you here for business or pleasure?" And she says, "To tell you the truth, I'm coming to meet the man I'm planning to marry." They say, "Come with us." And they do a four-hour interrogation and say, "We'll let you in, but if you leave the country you'll never get back in."

So now we get married, because she doesn't want to be deported. We're together because we love each other, and I could have lived for another 4 million years without registering my emotions with the government again, but she had a good reason. Now two years down the line we have to go do this examination to prove to the federal government that our marriage is not a sham. So we head to the federal building in downtown Los Angeles. …