Sunday, August 23, 2009

How I Met Rowdy Roddy Piper at the Denny's

OK, so I’d been staying at the Best Western for a few days while large men ripped out our kitchen. Week one. Our house is, well, a mess. Even the dust has a thin layer of dust on it. I can only look forward to the day our kitchen will be complete, many years into the future. But anyway, there I was eating every day with Griffin at the Denny’s which was next to the hotel. They got to know me. I was a regular at the Denny’s, at least for a few days.

One morning I go in and who walks in but wrestling legend Rowdy Roddy Piper with two other friends. He sits down at a table close to me. He still wears his “Hot Rod” shirt and looks absolutely great. I have no idea how old the guy is, but he looks like he is his early 50’s. I’m pretty sure he’s a little older, but like I said the man looks great. I better stop now because soon it will sound like I have a crush on him.

I grew up watching him. From going to see him live at the Spectrum in Philly to watching him in Wrestlemania. I went to see Wrestlemania 3 live in Atlantic City about 100 years ago. But also seeing him in movies like They Live with the extended wrestling fight scene was hilarious. He was an entertainer, could be the bad guy, had an amazing sense of humor and was one of my favorites along with Sergeant Slaughter. I even remember him beating the shit out of Morton Downey Jr. during one of the Wrestlemania stunts. Hilarious. Old School wrestling and old school spectacle.

So you would think I would have gone up to him and introduced myself. But I didn’t. I didn’t want to bother him. Another guy sat down next to him and I listened and it was really hilarious to hear Rowdy Roddy Piper in Denny’s say the word “Grand Slam” I always feel like people want to be left alone and I rarely get star struck, but ultimately I just paid my bill and walked out.

I walked to the target and got some more formula for Griffin and then walked back to the hotel. And then I went passed the Denny’s again. I stopped. I wondered if Rowdy Roddy was still there. I thought I may never get the opportunity again and I thought (ridiculously) that it would be a much more interesting story and blog post if I did go up to him.

So I went back in.

I said excuse me and went up to Rowdy Roddy Piper and told him I was a big fan and grew up watching him. He instantly stood up and was the most gracious dude ever. I got a few pics, and I could tell the guy is really appreciative and loves his fans. It wasn’t the fake “thank you, please don’t bother me” vibe that some celebrities give off. It was genuine and I’m glad I met him.
Then it got a little ironic. The guy who was with Rowdy Roddy recognized ME. “You’re a comedian, aren’t you? We met a while back. I saw you sitting over there before” How crazy was that?

He was another comic who recognized me and I instantly forgot his name the second he told me. When you have two children, your short term memory is simply gone. Bye Bye. I now forget things not just after someone tells me something, but AS they are telling me. I remembered his name later in the shower. It was Tommy James. He is a very funny comedian/writer/producer. Everyone has multiple hats these days. We all have to multitask in this biz.

After introductions I said “I didn’t want to bother you before but then I guess I changed my mind” “It’s no bother,” Rowdy Roddy graciously added. The guy was just awesome.

So now I have a story to tell my son when he grows up and wonders who the large man is in the picture who Daddy was all excited to meet. You know, the hassle of redoing the kitchen doesn’t seem as bad now.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

ABC News and the Contest Winner

OK, so the contest winner is… Bad Ass Geek. Not for guessing correctly, but for the sheer number of guesses. I love the enthusiasm. So I’ll be sending him a DVD since he already has the book.

So the contest is still sort of open. If anyone scrolls down and then finds the job I’ve never had, they’ll still win a free book or DVD. I have more.

Recently I did an interview with ABC News. Here’s the link:

Now, it was a very surreal experience for a number of reasons. First of all, it taped in NY. I live in LA. I went down to the ABC affiliate and taped my segment there. I had never been in a newsroom before. It was small. No makeup, no nothing. Just a chair. Being a comic, other comics tell you to bring your own makeup. I didn’t have any. I borrowed my wife’s. I THINK we’re the same shade but I didn’t want to look shiny so I went with it.

I was nervous. No host in front of me, since she was in NY. I just listened in the earpiece and talked into the one camera in the whole studio. The crew guys were awesome. There’s just something about old union crew guys that just puts you at ease immediately. They talked to me, helped me to relax, and told me to stop checking my notes. The camera guys asked me for a signed book for the tech director who just had a baby. I gave him one. I learned to always bring extra books in case. Plus, you always want to keep the camera dude happy. Otherwise the host will be interviewing your feet.

The other reason that the whole thing was surreal was that the ABC lot was where I used to temp as a computer tech and then later worked as a writer for Port Charles. So it was really cool to go from being a temp on the lot to coming back as a guest. Not that anyone remembered or recognized me, but it was still really cool.

I remember when I was temping I has such a detachment about my job. I did the work, but the weird thing was I made all these crazy demands because I didn’t care, and they let me do whatever I wanted. Unlimited time off to go do stand-up, I was the highest paid tech although I was the least experienced, and I realized that it was so hard for them to get competent help that they put up with me because I did my job, didn’t complain, and made everyone laugh. I think that helped the most. I just didn’t care about having or losing the job. It’s the best bargaining position you can have.

I remember I even tried to sabotage the interview by showing up in jeans and answering a question incorrectly but honestly:
“What would you do if someone asks you for a keyboard extender but you know they don’t really need it?”
“I would give it to them, because it’s not worth the hassle.”
The interview ended with my boss saying “I’ll show you where your office will be.”

Then of course the tech bubble burst and all the internet tech support guys flooded back into the market and all the jobs were pretty much gone. But by then I had moved on to being a working and often not working writer.

So it was good to be back on the ABC lot. Sometimes your accomplishments are measured in years, others in moments. It was good to have a moment while sitting in a newsroom chair with my wife’s makeup on my face.

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