At the Italian restaurant Carvaggio in Manhattan last week, amongst platters of veal Milanese and octogenarians wearing slightly askew wigs, Andrew Stein, the former New York City Council president, took a big bite of pork chop. He began to choke on it. What happened next is not for the faint of heart: Woody Allen, the movie director accused of sexual abuse who was dining with Stein, saved his life by giving him the Heimlich maneuver.
“I am embarrassed to say it, but Woody actually saved my life,” Stein told Page Six. “It really was like a scene from one of his movies. If it wasn’t for his quick thinking, I fear I may have died. I owe him my life.” (I’d also be fucking embarrassed if I owed Allen my life.)
Weirdly enough, Allen also successfully saved Saturday Night Live producer Jean Doumanian from choking in 1992, published an essay in his 1980 book Side Effects about the origins of the Heimlich maneuver in which he imagined performing it on an attractive woman, and directed a scene in Everyone Says I Love You, in which Drew Barrymore nearly chokes on an engagement ring hidden in her food. Not entirely sure how I plan to connect the red string between all of these incidents, but that’s certainly a lot of potential asphyxiation surrounding the creep.
What makes matters more upsetting is that Stein’s other option at having his pork heaved out of him was fellow dining companion, Alan Dershowitz. Of course, Stein willingly decided to break bread with them, so I don’t exactly pity him for the company he chooses to keep, but they’re certainly two men who I would not trust with watering my plants let alone saving my life.
Which brings me to an important question for you: If you were at Carvaggio choking on pork—or anywhere choking on anything—would you let Woody Allen squeeze his arms around you to save your life? Or would you let fate take its course and exit this mortal plane, ribcage unscathed by Allen’s cursed touch, throat full of pig? For me, personally, I’d bid this world adieu.
Or, perhaps we’re looking at this the wrong way; maybe people keep trying to off themselves while dining with Allen and he won’t let them. Just some food you’re not in danger of choking on for thought.