February 08, 1988 12:00 PM

ULLMAN ARE CREATED EQUAL: Tracey Ullman, that cross between Eliza Doolittle and Phyllis Diller, suffers from majestic malaise. While she may be queen of the crop on Fox Broadcasting, Tracey says, “Royalty’s the kind of thing that amazes me about Britain now that I’ve lived here [in Los Angeles] for a while. It really is dumb. I’ve never gotten why we pay them millions of pounds to wave to us. There we are standing at horse shows and letting them splash us with mud while we say, ‘God bless you, Ma’am.’ ”

LATE NIGHT, EARLY MOURNING: He may be Mr. Popular among American talk show viewers, but these days David Letterman isn’t flying on British airwaves. Late Night With David Letter-man has been running on Saturday nights since late November on England’s Channel 4. (Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show had a brief run on British telly in 1981-82.) So far Letter-man’s reviews have been nasty. One English reviewer thought Dave seemed “bent on making a career if not an art form of rehearsed incompetence.” This despite a respectable 2.2 million viewers. Another critic wrote, “Letterman came on all nonchalant, joking—using the term loosely—with the leader [Paul Shaffer] of the resident rock band and picking his teeth. The studio audience responded with wild whooping noises, indicating mirth.” But this comes as no surprise to Dave. In an interview with the London-based Observer magazine, he admitted, “I personally have no confidence in this experiment whatsoever. I’m only going along with it because I have no choice…. This show is so culturally locked. It’s so incestuous.”

HOLLYWOOD HAHN HER MIND: When that great epic on the life of Jessica Hahn is filmed—and, as yet, there isn’t one planned—Hahn says she would like to see either Kelly McGillis or Valerie Bertinelli in the title role. “[McGillis] can really put herself in character, and she picks up on things fast. I can see her as me,” says Hahn, who gained notoriety last year in the sex scandal involving TV preacher Jim Bakker. Why Bertinelli? “I just like her.” Perhaps the film will capture Jessica’s more touching side. When Steven Hoefflin, her plastic surgeon, asked her to autograph her photo for another client, Michael Jackson, she sent this message to Michael: “I know how it is when they just don’t stop. Hang in there, okay? Love, Jessica.”

SWITCH BLADES: Multitalented Patrick Swayze, who besides acting and dancing in last year’s Dirty Dancing also sang the smash film’s chart-climbing song, “She’s Like the Wind,” may owe it all to coming in from the cold. In the early ’70s Patrick worked briefly as a professional ice skater at the Galleria in Houston. “My mother was a skater, so I started ice-skating and became so proficient at it that I got offers to dance in pairs from the Ice Follies and Holiday on Ice,” says Swayze. Did he seriously consider them? “For about five minutes,” he says. “Then I went to New York to become a dancer. People kept telling me I could go all the way as a skater, but all I could see was Wheaties commercials in my future.” Rink down the curtain.

GREEK PHILOSOPHY: What’s black and white and bred all over? Dan Aykroyd may have the answer. At a recent Los Angeles comedy benefit for Big Sisters, a charity that helps troubled girls, Aykroyd launched into a painfully accurate impression of deposed CBS handicapper, Jimmy “the Greek” Snyder. “You know, most physical comedians are WASPs,” said Aykroyd. “The good ones are bred that way. You get the high thigh and the big butt. This goes back to the pilgrim days, when you’d get the big WASP guy and the big WASP gal together and make ’em breed. This way,” he said by way of introducing the next celeb, “you’re able to get people like Chevy Chase.”

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