Katz’s Deli marks 30th of When Harry Met Sally with fake orgasm contest

The "I’ll Have What She’s Having” contest took place on July 12.

July 13, 2019 20:09
Katz’s Deli marks 30th of When Harry Met Sally with fake orgasm contest

People stand in line at Katz's Delicatessen, the famous deli founded in 1888, in New York's lower East Side. (photo credit: BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)


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Faking it was the real thing at Katz’s Delicatessen in New York Friday when the eatery hosted a fake orgasm contest to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Meg Ryan’s memorable moment of faux ecstasy in the beloved rom-com When Harry Met Sally. . .

The July 12 “I’ll Have What She’s Having” contest — named after the famous follow-up line, when a middle-aged woman at the next table requests whatever has sent Ryan into throes of ecstasy opposite an embarrassed Billy Crystal — invited fans to recreate the scene, which was shot at the 131-year-old Lower East Side eatery, moan for moan. 

Katz’s posted the contest details on its Instagram account: “We’re still celebrating the 30th Anniversary of When Harry Met Sally! Who’s ready to come to Katz’s and bring their ‘O’ game?? People are going nuts up in here! Post with hashtags #katzsdeli #fakeitlikemeg #whenharrymetsally to enter for a chance to win a When Harry Met Sally package shipped nationwide. Packages can also be purchased on the website at katzsdelicatessen.com

The New York Post reported that the re-enactment with the most likes would win a deli package and that a panel of social media influencers to would weigh in and choose their favorites, who would score some classic cold cuts. 

“We may have to put a sign up on the door so people don’t come in with their kids,”  Jake Dell, the owner of Katz’s, told the New York Post. He said that at least once a week, someone comes into the deli and experiences fake ecstasy at that table, which has a plaque on it that reads, "Where Harry met Sally...hope you have what she had!"

When Harry Met Sally . . .  was written by Nora Ephron, who went on to a directing career, making several other rom coms that starred Ryan, such as Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail. Rob Reiner directed the film and it was his mother who played the woman who wanted whatever made Meg moan. But Ephron always admitted that it was Crystal who came up with the “I’ll have what she’s having” line.

The movie follows a quirky friendship between Ryan and Crystal’s characters that blossoms into romance after 12 years and is underscored by a debate on whether men and women can truly be friends. 

But it’s that moment at Katz’s which is the best-known scene from the film.

In an interview with PEOPLE magazine for the mag’s special edition marking the 30th anniversary of the films, Crystal and Reiner recalled watching the film with Princess Diana during the 1989 royal premiere in London. 

“All I’m thinking the entire time is, ‘How is she responding to this?,'” Reiner told PEOPLE. “And now the orgasm scene is coming, I’m going ‘Oh God. Oh my God.'”

Crystal said, “The lights went down and she whispered to me, ‘I’m taking my shoes off.’ So I went, ‘I’m taking my pants off.’ And she goes, ‘Oh, you’re so naughty!’”

Crystal noted in an interview in The Hollywood Reporter that the scene came about when he, Reiner, Ephron and Ryan were all sharing ideas. “That's how the movie got real, because of Meg and I and Nora and Rob sitting around, talking about, ‘How can we make it better?’”

He noted that the anniversary celebration was poignant because Ephron and his co-stars Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby have all passed away. 

“It was such an important movie for all of us. None of us had any idea what it would become,” he said.

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