Thursday, August 5, 2010

Press And Other Crippling Embarrassments

Last week I sat down with a reporter for the NY Times who was doing a feature about the show. The idea that my name could end up in the NY TIMES!!! without it being about me having a lot of heads in my freezer seemed far fetched. I thought of how proud my parents would be and how unimpressed my children would be. I dressed nice (belly shirt), I thought of really clever things to say, I debated buying a pipe just to smoke it while I relayed fascinating anecdote after fascinating anecdote.

Every time I answered a question the reporter looked like she was sniffing a jug of rotten milk. THAT? THAT'S YOUR ANSWER? was the general sense that I got from her. She had a tape recorder going but after about five minutes it ran out of tape. She leaned down to put a new one in and then stopped and said, "it's fine, if you say anything interesting I'll remember it." Five minutes later, when I had failed to say anything interesting, she was gone. It appears I will have to kill someone to actually make the Times. I knew that I was boring, it's just a little painful to have it confirmed by a journalist.

We're also doing panels and such with the whole cast of the show. I don't know if you've seen the cast of our show, but I'll give you a second to look them up. They're pretty hot. Especially Jon Voigt. As a slightly less than normal looking human being, let me tell you that it's very difficult to sit on a stage with that bunch and not feel like a gargoyle. When reporters say they have a question for the 'ugly guy in the belly shirt' it rattles your self confidence.

Doing TV is like an eight day a week job that I try to do in 5 so that I can occasionally see my wife and offspring (unless you're Aaron Sorkin in which case you probably do it in 3 and a half and then take a long nap). We had a family vacation planned that I ended up only being able to drop in on which was both great and sad. My major contribution to my children's development seems to be the fact that Ripples now says 'Goddammit' with shocking regularity, mostly when we're in restaurants and mostly at the top of her lungs. It's sad to see photos of the whole thing and realize I was only there for a sliver of it and that sliver mostly involved cursing.

That sliver also came with bad weather so that my flight out of the mountains was cancelled and I had to take a six hour bus ride to another airport and then spend the night on the floor next to a bathroom so that I could get to LA to appear next to our beautiful cast and answer questions. Any media consultant will tell you that the thing you want to try to do before you face a crowd of bored, tired, slightly angry journalists is spend the previous 34 hours awake on busses and airport floors. It puts you right at the top of your game. If you google my name and the word spectacular you simply come across headlines about me calling the show a 'spectacular failure' which any marketing consultant will tell you is exactly how you want to sell something that hasn't aired yet.

The truth is, four years ago I was pulling cable through laundromat ceilings. Every day that I put on my belly shirt and drive to the studio to find that there's still a parking space with my name on it is a great day. I'm confident that mere weeks after you actually see the show that parking space will go away and I'll find the door to my office lock changed with a little note that says 'Sorry, finally realized you're a moron,'. Until then I will keep boring journalists and ruining cast photos because frankly I'm excited about the opportunity to make not just a mess, but a BIG mess.

I have a friend who's really into very high end, super competitive kickball. Like, the grade school kickball, but played by really athletic adults. And they invited me out to play and I thought, this is going to be awesome. I pictured balls flying over fences and diving catches and people being plonked in the head with concussion causing force.

But it turns out that the way you win at super competitive high end kickball is to bunt. Over and over you just tap the ball down the third base line and beat it to first. It's STUNNINGLY boring. When it was my turn I asked why we didn't just kick the hell out of it. We're ADULTS! Couldn't we kick it over buildings and things? He told me that really it's hard to get the ball over the fence. When you really kick it you usually end up just popping it up where is lands softly in someone's arms. I found this hard to believe, so I went up, kicked away, and then watched it sail high and get caught by the shortstop for an easy out. My team was deeply disappointed in me.

The point is, I really don't belong in this office any more than I belonged on that kickball field. And I'm actually fine with being an easy out in both places. But if you're only going to get one shot at the plate, you don't bunt. If you hate the show and we get cancelled after the first night, I'm totally cool with that. I just want you to know we were trying to put it over the fence.

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