Alan Cumming recently appeared on Watch What Happens Live! to speak with host Andy Cohen about the latest Broadway run of Cabaret, in which Cumming plays the Emcee. During that visit, Cumming revealed a little bit of himself that surprised a lot of people.
He and Monica Lewinsky are good friends.
“We met at a party about 16 years ago — this Marie Claire party,” he told Cohen. “They’d done a thing about her and I’d done an article for Marie Claire and we were at the same table. [We] went for dinner and we just stayed friends.”
“She is really one of the kindest, most loyal, loving, tender, funny girls I’ve known,” Cumming expounded. “I think she’s really one of my best friends. She’s been at my wedding, she knows my family. She’s lovely.”
Monica Lewinsky has continued to be the butt or punchline to jokes about blue dresses and oral sex long after the scandal that resulted in President Bill Clinton’s impeachment had stopped being a problem for him.
Lewinsky, who is now 40, has done a lot since the Clinton years. She got her degree, left the country for a while, and tried to start her own business. But she says that no one will give her the time of day.
“Because of what potential employers so tactfully referred to as my ‘history,’” she says, “I was never ‘quite right’ for the position. In some cases, I was right for all the wrong reasons, as in ‘Of course, your job would require you to attend our events.’ And, of course, these would be events at which press would be in attendance.”
Back in 2008, when Hillary Clinton was deep in a primary that she eventually lost to now-president Barack Obama, Lewinsky had to endure more of the jokes and snickers.
In anticipation of a 2016 Hillary run on the White House, Lewinsky is striking preemptively to rescue her image. She started with an article in Vanity Fair, in which she attacks head-on the American practice of “slut shaming” and bullying, when women are held to a different standard than men for the same behaviors.
She says she is uniquely qualified to lead this charge.
“In 1998, when news of my affair with Bill Clinton broke, I was arguably the most humiliated person in the world,” she wrote in Vanity Fair. “Thanks to the Drudge Report, I was also possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet.”
Alan Cumming believes that she can do some good by sharing her own story.
“I think what’s prompted her to come back into the public eye is that she just realized that her life was so difficult for her to move on from this thing,” Cumming explained. “To actually try and hide and not be a part, not be in the world, was so difficult and was so kind of frustrating for her, that she was just like, ‘Hey everybody, this is what my life’s like. I’ve learned some great lessons about it and I would like to share them with people.'”