Quiz: Match Chekhov's Characters with Their Celebrity Counterparts


In his new book Celebrity Chekhov, Ben Greenman adapts twenty stories by Anton Chekhov in a satirical send-up of our celebrity-obsessed culture. But whereas the Russian writer featured low-salaried government clerks, choristers, and angsty noblemen in his menageries of human fallacy, Greenman’s hilariously spot-on high-brow/low-brow vision also stars Kim Kardashian, Simon Cowell, Bono, and Paris Hilton in a testament to the stories enduring themes of disillusionment and social breakdown. Test your literary (and tabloid) IQ by trying to match Chekhov’s characters with their closest celebrity counterparts.

1. In “The Death of a Government Clerk,” a man sneezes on an older man of higher rank, while they’re at the theater and then tries in vain to apologize. Who is this disrespectful young man? A. Zac Efron B. Seth Rogen C. Conan O’Brien

2. In “A Transgression,” a middle-aged man is shocked to find a baby on his doorstep, and assumes that the child is the result of an adulterous affair he has conducted. Who is this guilt-ridden baby-daddy? A. Will Smith B. David Letterman C. John Edwards

3. In “Bad Weather,” a woman and her mother await the return of the young woman’s husband. Who is the prodigal bridegroom? A. Ashton Kutcher B. Tiger Woods C. John Boehner

4. In “An Enigmatic Nature,” a middle-aged woman on a train laments to a young man sitting next to her that no one has ever really understood her. Which secretly alienated woman might this be? A. Oprah Winfrey B. Hilary Clinton C. Meryl Streep

5. In “Not Wanted,” a man goes on vacation only to find that his wife has populated his vacation home with noisy acquaintances. Whose social butterfly wife would do such a thing? A. Larry David B. Alec Baldwin C. Rush Limbaugh

6. In “A Classical Student,” a struggling young student gets a whipping for his failures. Who has received such public flagellation? A. Heidi Montag B. Lindsay Lohan C. Snooki

7. In “Hush,” a writer attempts to do his job despite a steady stream of distractions from his wife and friends. Who is this drama-drawing wordsmith? A. Jonathan Safran Foer B. David Simon C. Eminem

8. In “At the Barber’s,” the father of a beautiful young woman confronts a barber who he believes is destined to be with his daughter. Who would sell out their baby girl with such ease? A. Billy Ray Cyrus B. Bruce Jenner C. Donald Trump

9. “The Man in a Case” tells the story of a man who lived his life rigidly, never admitting pleasure or freedom. Who has lived with such limitations? A. Jon Lovitz B. Stephen Colbert C. Michael Vick

10. In “The Darling,” a newly widowed woman is consoled by her neighbor and later becomes involved with him. Who has gone from supportive friend to lover? A. Tom Hanks B. Keith Urban C. Ellen De Generes

ANSWERS: 1-C, 2- B, 3-B, 4-A, 5-B, 6-B, 7-C, 8-A, 9-A, 10-B