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What Happened to Rick Moranis?
Twenty-twenty, we’re going to have to ask you to leave.
Canadian treasure, most famous recluse since Greta Garbo, and reason many of us are exclusively attracted to shy nerds, Rick Moranis, was assaulted on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in what authorities are calling an unprovoked attack. He sustained injuries to his head, back and hip, and though he has been released from the hospital, the rest of us have been prescribed bedrest.
Moranis, who stepped back from his film career nearly twenty-five years ago to raise his children after his wife’s passing, had just dipped a toe back into public life. He had planned to return to the big screen in the Honey, I Shrunk The Kids reboot, Shrunk, which like all things except the onslaught of bad news has been slowed down due to Coronavirus. A recent cameo in a Mint Mobile commercial with Ryan Reynolds brought Moranis back into the public eye, one of the rare bright spots in this year’s big box chain store of horrors.
And then on Thursday morning, he took a morning walk on Central Park West and got sucker-punched by an unidentified assailant. The incident was captured by security cameras, NYC CrimeStoppers got grainy video of the suspect, and honey, they blew up his spot.
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Imagine. You’re finally, tentatively making appearances in public after a decades-long retreat. You’re reintroducing yourself to the world, you’re finding it to be a friendly and welcoming place, you’re saying to yourself: “Hey, this isn’t so bad. Maybe it’s time I came back here. Maybe I have something that people need.”
Yes,” you tell yourself as you inhale the inviting aromas of a New York autumn, the roasted nuts of a street vendor’s steam cart, the hot coffee of a Pret A Manger, fresh cabernet vomit. “Yes, I do believe I’m back.”
And then you’re hit in the face with a closed fist by a guy in a I Heart New York hoodie. This is abomination before the Lord. SCTV Nation, stand back and stand by.
Rick Moranis, with his children, in 1990. Moranis left acting to raise his children after the death of his wife.
Time & Life PicturesGetty Images
I am outraged, but because I am a Pisces and therefore doomed to see both sides of every situation, I cannot help but place myself into the assailant’s shower shoes. Listen: we are all just about to boil over. We are all agitated, we are all on a hair-trigger. Each and every one of us has felt like we could snap, and it is frankly a miracle that more of us haven’t. But imagine you’re that guy. You’re tightly wound. Things can’t get worse, and you’ve said that to yourself on the daily since St. Patrick’s Day. “One more thing,” you say to yourself through grinding teeth, “and I swear to God I’ll pop somebody.” And then one more thing happens. Maybe it’s the sight of an America’s Got Talent bus ad still up from April, the memory of John Prine, the sound of Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor as they chortle their way through another ZipRecruiter ad in your AirPods. It’s been building inside you each day for seven months. You can’t keep it in, you can’t keep it down. The need to punch someone overwhelms you. You swing at the first person you see.
And it is Rick Moranis, the single universally agreed-upon good thing in the world. It’s worse than you imagined. It doesn’t help. It’s a horror on the level of finding out that Shrunk will focus on Rick Moranis’ son from the original Honey movies, who will be played by Josh Gad, and taking in the implicit suggestion that the 2020 version of Rick Moranis is Josh Fucking Gad. You have given in to the dark side of the Schwartz, and it’s awful.
Don’t you leave us again, Moranis.
There are two broken men wandering the streets of New York today. May the Lord have mercy on them both.
Don’t you leave us again, Moranis. As it was in 1997, it is in 2020: we long to be close to you.
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Dave Holmes is Esquire’s L.A.-based editor-at-large.
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