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Comeback Player of the Year?

The other night, we took our kids to dinner at their favorite restaurant: the Benihana in midtown Manhattan. The food isn’t very good but it’s great spectacle: the chef cooks at your table, the Shirley Temples come with lots of cherries and paper umbrellas, and since the tables are communal, you’re always seated next to some strangers.

The people at our table were from Fairfield, Ct. At the next table was a group of four middle-aged women from the Dominican Republic and four young women from the Bronx.

And one table over was a large party including someone that all of us recognized, whom we’ll call Celebrity X. A year ago, I don’t think many of us, if any, would have recognized Celebrity X — even though he/she was pretty well known some 20 years ago. You could even say notorious. But that celebrity dimmed quite drastically. If in recent years you thought of this person at all, you probably would of thought of her/him as somewhere between a has-been and a clown.

Thanks to a couple of recent television shows, however, Celebrity X is back on top. This would seem to be due in considerable measure to an impeccable sense of timing.

Any guesses? As with this contest and this one, the first correct answer gets an autographed copy of Freakonomics, delivered just in time for HanuKwanzaaMas.