In May 2016, when being interviewed by Stephen Colbert at a Montclair Film event, Rob Reiner told a story about visiting his father, Carl, on the set of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” (which Carl created), and acting like a Meathead.
“When I was 14, I grabbed Mary Tyler Moore by the ass,” Reiner said.
Many members of the crowd laughed, as did Colbert, who then asked, “What motivated this?”
“She was beautiful, she was 24 years old,” Reiner replied. “She had the Capri pants. The hormones were going crazy inside me. And I just couldn’t … I was like, ‘The devil, the devil’ …. And my father called me into his office. And he says to me, ‘Did you grab Mary Tyler Moore by the ass?’ I said, ‘Um, yeah.’ He says, with a big smile on his face, ‘Never do that again.’ ”
The crowd, and Colbert, laughed again.
Reiner said Moore was “a little bit taken aback,” but then went on to talk about apologizing to her for it years later, and about how he and she shared a laugh about it.
Reiner has yet to catch any flak about the incident, as far as I know. Does it matter that he was only 14 years old, or that Moore (who died in January of this year) didn’t seem to hold a grudge about it? I don’t know.
What’s most interesting to me is how much things have changed in recent months. There’s no way Reiner will ever tell that story again, so casually, and there’s no way people will laugh about it, so easily. And that’s a good thing.
And I think it’s safe to say that Colbert — who has been staunchly critical of other celebrities accused of sexual inappropriateness, this year — would not be laughing along, either.
Reiner has told the story elsewhere, as well, including on Howard Stern’s radio show.
Here is a video of Reiner telling the story in Montclair: