Samuel Beckett said "Nothing is funnier than unhappiness," and Carrie Fisher is here to prove he's still right.

And she should know. In "Wishful Drinking" - her personable, almost excruciatingly personal autobiographical show and gossip-fest - the witty actress/author clearly appreciates the absurdity of her own tabloid-ready life.

How cleverly she fills in the blanks - headlines floating across a "Star Wars" cosmos - for theatergoers not even born when famous-father Eddie Fisher left famous-mother Debbie Reynolds (and two babies) for even more famous Elizabeth Taylor in 1956. And - just in case anyone doesn't connect the barefoot 50-something woman in the duster and roomy black pajamas with the one frozen forever as lovely young Princess Leia - Fisher spends much of the show with a cinnamon-bun wig on her head.

Grotesque? Yes, but in a smart-cookie way. You see, Fisher is the sort of person who makes sure she mocks herself before anyone else can. She also knows a good story when she lives it. Drugs and alcohol? Rehab and mental institutions? Divorces from Paul Simon and from a Hollywood agent who left her for another man? And a dead gay friend in her bed? As Fisher sees it, this is material begging to be confronted and enjoyed in public - not just postcards from the edge, but live onstage with glitter and an R2D2 throw pillow on the divan.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

The show, tenderly directed by Tony Taccone and developed at his Berkeley Repertory Theatre, does teeter on the uh-oh edge of self-help inspiration during the meandering second act, and the audience-participation bits are pretty stale. But the visual aids are bliss, including a blackboard for Fisher's merciless Hollywood Inbreeding 101.

She makes an expert witness to fame in all its ridiculousness and peril, who knows that celebrity is "obscurity biding its time." She's a loose cannon with satirist's discipline, a still-crazy-after-all-these-years survivor who knows how it feels to have been a Princess Leia Pez dispenser and an entry in the abnormal psychology textbook. The item about her has a photo, which, naturally, we get to see.