Fran Lebowitz Once Got Kicked Out of James Beard’s House

She puts her ketchup wherever she wants to.
She puts her ketchup wherever she wants to. Photo: Katy Winn/Getty Images for IMG

At a La Grenouille luncheon yesterday celebrating Gloria Steinem and HBO’s new documentary about her, Gloria: In Her Own Words, we bumped into Fran Lebowitz. We wondered if she’d ever done anything along the lines of Steinem, who famously dressed up as a Playboy bunny for a story. “I’ve never tried to get a story, unfortunately,” the iconic writer told us. “I just see stories around me.” Nothing? Really? Well, she finally admitted, there was that one time she got herself kicked out of the James Beard House.

“When I was really young, a friend of mine and I went to James Beard’s house, which was in the village,” she says. “We were taken there by Arthur Bell, who was invited; he was a journalist for the Village Voice. He actually had a crush on this friend of mine, and he invited us to go. I said, ‘I don’t want to go James Beard’s. I don’t care about things like that.’” Eventually, she says, she relented — on one condition. “I said if I went, I’d bring a bottle of ketchup. So we did.” But Beard wasn’t happy to see the guests putting ketchup on their food. So what happened when she was caught, um, red-handed? “We were thrown out.”