Annie Barrett
December 18, 2008 AT 07:45 PM EST

Jeremy Piven, who still registers in my head as “Ellen’s cousin Spence” instead of “Ari Gold,” has backed out of David Mamet’s Speed the Plow, saying he’s been feeling ill due to a high mercury count. This seems vaguely ridiculous, but it turns out I don’t need to find some bitchy way to make fun of a possibly serious condition, as Mamet himself has done it already. “My understanding is that [Piven] is leaving showbusiness to pursue a career as a thermometer,” Mamet told Variety. Amusing quote! Especially when you listen to it delivered by E! News correspondent Holly Hannula in her UBER-EARNEST E! News voice! Do that at your own risk.

So, PopWatchers, does this mercury-level excuse sound plausible, or is Piven just being a diva? Do you think Piven would make a believable thermometer?

More Jeremy Piven:
Stage review: ‘Speed the Plow’
Ari Gold on the art of the deal
Ausiello Files: Piven roasts the Emmy hosts
Emmys 2008: Backstage with Jeremy Piven

Read next item:
Eddie Murphy as the Riddler? Hmm…

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