You’re tired of being a celebrity? You want out? Just take a cue from the Class of ’92 and do what they did: Quit. It’s simple if you follow the rules.
1. Go gracefully. When Johnny Carson bade his Tonight Show audience ”a very heartfelt good night” and Masterpiece Theatre‘s Alistair Cooke quoted King Lear and offered ”a very grateful thank you,” they did themselves proud. Remember: You can’t take back your last words.
2. If you can’t go gracefully, go wittily. Top honors this year go to Dennis Miller’s fall-of-Saigon helicopter exit from his talk show (if only the whole series had been that funny…) and Bebe Neuwirth’s hilarious departure from Cheers.
3. As a last resort, go mysteriously. This year’s Master Class in Generating Speculation through Silence will be taught by Barry Diller.
4. If you’re going, stay gone for a while. We loved it when Bill Cosby waltzed off the Huxtable living-room set in May. We did not love it when he popped up again in You Bet Your Life. Farewells should not be followed by immediate returns. Naomi Judd, this means you.