Saturday, October 28, 2006

I'm On Tee Vee

On this last Tuesday (24 Oct) I was in NYC for the day for a sales call. The sales person and I wrapped up about 5:00 p.m. and I headed from where we were at 3rd Ave and 49th St (Midtown on the East Side) toward Penn Station, which is at 8th Ave and 34th, by way of Times Square.

When I got to 50th and Broadway I realized that the David Letterman Theater was right there so I cut up to 52nd to take a look and see if I could buy a coffee or something at Rupert Jee's Hello Deli, which regularly features in Late Show skits.

When I got there, there was a crowd lined up outside and guys who were obviously guarding the door, so no coffee from Rupert, but just as I walked up, the guy in the blue jacket and knit cap was saying "now when the camera comes out I'll raise my hand and everyone start clapping and cheering like you're really happy to be here and it isn't cold." So I got in the line and hung out, hoping that the camera would come out before I had to hoof it down to Penn Station to catch the train over to Newark Airport (I was on the 8:00 Newark to Austin flight).

Crew at work
We waited about 15 minutes as various functionaries, assistant producers, interns, stage managers and others milled about, looked at their watches, talked into their sleeves, and looked at their clipboards. Cap dude rehearsed us a couple more times. The David Letterman Models, who award the consolation prizes, came by to go to their staging area.

Finally the outside stage lights came on and then the camera came out and we all started cheering. The camera panned passed all of us and then into the Hello Deli.

Then nothing happened. Watching the show later I discovered that Dave had done a long digression on something to do with the World Series before coming back to the skit ("Find the Pumpkin").

From our vantage point we had no idea what was happening inside the deli, so we just stood there where we'd been told to stand and waited for something to happen. All we knew was that Rupert would not be picking someone out of the crowd because an actual actor would be playing the part of the contestant picked from the crowd.

Relaxing after the filming
At some point in here the models came and positioned themselves just inside the door, ready to hand over the deli tray, which is the usual consolation prize. It was a little comical because they were both wearing bulky fur coats and had to try to slip out of them there in the doorway without making any noise or getting in the way of the camera man, sound guy, and actors.

Finally, the skit was over and all the actors, including the models, sat down inside of the Hello Deli to have a cup of coffee and a smoke or whatever. They turned off the outside stage lights and we all just drifted away, our very brief moment in the spotlight over.

By this point it was about 6:00 p.m. and I wanted to be on the train to NJ no later than 6:30 in order to get to the airport about 7:00, so I raced down Broadway to 7th ave and then down to 34th st. (Macy's!) and thus into the warren of twisty passages that is Penn Station. I bought a ticket from one of the ticket machines and raced down to platform 3 just as they were calling "All aboard". I was through the security checkpoint and heading toward my gate by 7:00 (only to discover that my flight was delayed by almost an hour, so I went to the Continental President's Club where I could use a bathroom in peace in get a free drink from the bar--membership does have its priveledges).

I also feel compelled to comment on the David Letterman Models and in particular the taller of the two. If you watch Late Show at all you've seen the models a hundred times. They are of course strikingly beautiful women but on TV the taller of two looks almost freakish because she has a fairly wide face and very strong bone structure which is accentuated by the flattening aspect of TV (and it probably doesn't help to watch it in high def on the big screen).

Image009But seeing her in person I was truly struck by just how incredibly attractive she is, much more than on TV. She's so pretty she's almost inhuman. It's rare that you get to be in the presence of someone that remarkable. The closest experience to that I've had is seeing Bill Clinton in person during his first campaign for president, where the full force of his charisma became apparent, an almost electric force compelling you to watch him. I had to work to keep myself from just staring at her face.

Anyway, it was fun to be a small part of something we've watched for many years. And I still made my plane.


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