WHEN HARRY MET SALLY star Billy Crystal turned on the audience members who allowed their cellphones to ruin his TONY-nominated one-man show 700 SUNDAYS recently after he was forced to constantly interrupt his performance.

Crystal felt he handled the awkward situation professionally, even though he was seething inside, but when the NEW YORK POST reported on his outburst, he came across as a control freak.

Crystal recalls, "In the second act the material gets personal and darker and it deals with the death of my parents... It's very hard material to do.

"I'm at the point just where I'm just about to talk about the first passing... and `brrr brrr' and the guy doesn't get it because the guy doesn't want the audience to know he's the schmuck, so he let's it ring... This happens 12 times.

"By the sixth one I say, `Look folks, this is really tough material to get through, if you wanna talk on the phone, go talk on the phone, we'll put the lights on, turn them off, I'm gonna leave just for a second and collect my thoughts. I'll be right back.' Huge applause.

"So I go off, I come back on, I start in again and `badaba badabah badabah...' so now you're losing the show. This happens12 times. It kept happening.

"So I finish the show, I come out, it was really hard to do, they gave me a great ovation... I said, `Ladies and gentlemen, you've been a great audience except we had 12 cellphones go off, so for the 12 of you who may have ruined it for these other people, the next time you go into a theatre... don't put on your cellphone, I was very kind, turn it off or don't take them, or simply shove them up your a**.' It's just horrible."

14/05/2005 01:08