Lunch-goers may hear more pleasurable moaning than usual Friday at Katz’s Delicatessen.
The 131-year-old Lower East Side meat mainstay is hosting a fake orgasm contest in honor of Meg Ryan’s legendary performance as Sally Albright in “When Harry Met Sally,” which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
July 12th’s “I’ll Have What She’s Having” contest challenges fans to recreate the scene in all it rapturous glory. Throughout the day, the public is invited to deliver their best “O,” either at the table where the famous scene was shot, or in the comfort of their own homes.
“We may have to put a sign up on the door so people don’t come in with their kids,” says deli owner Jake Dell with a chuckle.
Videos and photos can be tagged #katzsdeli #fakeitlikemeg #whenharrymetsally on social. At the end of the day, the commenter with the most likes wins a special “When Harry Met Sally” package of deli meats sent anywhere they please. In addition to the battle for the most likes, the deli is enlisting a panel of social media influencers to judge their favorites, who will also get the deli package.
The cacophony of coital bliss will probably only be slightly more than usual. Katz’s is ground zero for the mock performance, which in the movie lasts exactly 1 minute and 8 seconds.
“It happens at least once a week, if not more, and more likely at 3 in the morning than 3 in the afternoon,” Dell says. “It’s from men, women, people young and old. We’ve seen everyone do it.”
Dell and his staff even give feedback: “We cheer if it’s a good performance or boo if it’s bad, like if someone who doesn’t bring their ‘A’ game.”
He expects the biggest crowd to be there for the “lunch rush,” which will have a whole other meaning when the performances begin.
Anyone planning on competing should probably put in plenty of practice first. Even Ryan couldn’t get it right the first —or twentieth — time (though, it should be noted, the scene was her idea). Co-star Billy Crystal, whose character Harry Burns brags about his sexual capabilities with a mouthful of pastrami before Ryan’s famous scene.
“On the other side of her, I ate 27 pastrami sandwiches. For any Jew, that’s a lot,” he quipped in April at the Turner Classic Movies Festival.
Consider also Crystal’s take on the performance when channeling your inner animal. When director Rob Reiner modeled the scene for Ryan before filming, Crystal noted at the festival that Reiner had “an orgasm that Mighty Joe Young would be proud of.”