Following an Oscar-qualifying theatrical run (that helped save a storied New York City theater), Marriage Story is now on Netflix. Noah Baumbach’s critically heralded divorce-drama stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as spouses struggling with the process of conscious uncoupling. Yet one of the biggest questions of this award-season contender has left audiences with is: What was the punchline to Alan Alda’s joke?
In the film, Alda plays a doddering and big-hearted divorce attorney who frustrates his client by telling a long-winded joke while on the clock. Here’s how it begins:
This woman’s at her hairdresser’s, and she says, “I’m going to Rome on holiday.”
He says, “Oh really, what airline are you taking?”
She says, “Alitalia.”
He says, “Alitalia, are you crazy? That’s terrible, don’t take that.”
He says, “Where are you gonna stay?”
She says, “I’m gonna stay at The Hassler.”
“The Hassler! What, are you kidding? They’re renovating the Hassler. You’ll hear hammering all night long. You won’t sleep! What are you gonna see?”
She says, “I think I’m going to try to go to the Vatican.” “The Vatican? You’ll be standing in line all day long—”
At this point, a frustrated Charlie (Driver) cuts him off, asking the lawyer to get to the point of their sidebar. So, the punchline is lost. However, following the film’s press screening at the New York Film Festival last fall, Alda finished the joke during Marriage Story’s Q&A.
Here’s what he said:
So she goes to Rome. She comes back, and the hairdresser says, “How was it?”
She says, “It was a great trip, it was wonderful.”
“How was the Vatican?”
“Wonderful! We happened to meet the Pope.”
“You met the Pope?”
“Yeah, and he spoke to me.”
“What did he say to you?”
“He said, ‘Where’d you get that fucking haircut?’”
However, how this joke spoke to Charlie’s circumstances remains a mystery!
Marriage Story is now on Netflix. For more of Alda talking about the film, check out this episode of his podcast Clear and Vivid, in which he interviews co-star Driver.
Header Image Source: Netflix