Thursday, January 21, 2010

Catapulting To Fame Because A Funny Guy Thinks I'm Clever

(picture via GottaTopic)
Keep reading, it'll make sense soon

One of the great things about the city is that there's so much free shit going on. For instance, if you've got a friend with some initiative and you're willing to take a day away from your mindless job and stand outside in the slowly dropping temperatures for upwards of three hours, you can go to The Daily Show! You should do it by the way, because it's totally worth it to see how the TV magic is made. For instance: they do the whole show in one take. Incredible really. You figure there would be a line flubbed here or there, but no, they push the no do-overs rule to its limit at Comedy Central. You could also perhaps play a small part in television history, like I did.

So on Tuesday night, after waiting in the cold, me and my friends Tim, Conal and JP (who has no internet presence but that's OK) walked into the magical Daily Show studio. It was small but contained huge amounts of stuff, cameras everywhere connected to expensive looking equipment and other bright shiny things. After we sat down, I noticed an enormous tripod with a monitor attached at one end and what looked like a telescoping rod with a camera at the end on the other side. Since I can only think about destruction, I mentioned it looked a little bit like a catapult, wondered aloud if the crew had ever converted the tripod into one. "But you know, not just a regular one, what's the French one called?" I asked

"Oh, you mean a trebuchet?" JP said.

This was exactly what I was thinking of and I got more excited because I finally knew how to pronounce the word. We sat around for a little while longer, listening to the pump up music, which included Bon Jovi and Jimi Hendrix and BOSTON, get louder and louder to the point where we had to shout to talk to each other. Eventually the warm up act came on and made some unlucky audience members feel very uncomfortable, before introducing us to Jon Stewart, for a promised quickie Q and A session before the show started taping. After the rapturous applause died down, he asked if we had any questions and I immediately raised my hand. Cable TV's best fake news anchor looked right at me, pointed and then-

"CAN I HAVE A JOB?" Yes, some uncouth bastard stepped on my question to ask for a job. Because that's how things work in TV, you show up in the audience and ask for a job and are granted one. Stewart humored him, asked him what he did ("TV producer") and then asked him what he'd produced.

"Um, not much."

"Well then I don't think I can do much for you," was the last word in that particular interaction. I thought I was going to have find that dude after the show for stepping on me, but Jon Stewart turned right back to me. "Yes, you had a question."

Now or never. I pointed to the tripod. "I was just curious, has anyone in the crew ever tried to convert that thing into a trebuchet." My friends laughed and we waited for an answer.

"Wait a what? What the hell is a trebuchet?"

"It's a catapault. Well it's a little different, but it's a catapault."

From there it became the perfect forum to watch two Jews argue as Stewart remained perplexed and I gestured wildly at the tripod, tried to explain that JP had just taught me the word and attempted anything else to hold my own and get my point across that we had been talking about trebuchets before the show.

"Right, but what's so special about a French catapault?" Stewart finally asked.

JP came in with an awesome save. "It surrenders more easily."

The audience laughed, Stewart laughed, pointed at her and said "You're hired." Take that, job guy!

A couple more questions were asked before Stewart walked over to his desk, and some kind of director or something gave us the countdown to cheer wildly. He hit one, the theme music hit and everyone went wild. Then, this happened:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Intro - Trebuchet
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

I just about floated out of my seat. I hit JP on the arm and laughed harder then anyone in the room, then watched the show with a grin plastered to my face. During the breaks between segments JP and I high fived and all I would talk about was the trebuchet joke.

I'm not going to sit here and say I'm famous now, but I will say that this follows a pattern than I always seem to follow, which is if given an opportunity to showboat in front of famous people or cameras I will absolutely make something happen. It's not very often, but this isn't the first time for something like this. When I was seventeen and had blue hair, I got to be the face of the globalization protests on UPN when I told the person interviewing me that, "Fair is fair. If [the cops] get riot gear, we should get riot gear too." When Sean Hannity showed up at a protest against the surge, in Times Square, I got on "Hannity's America" by doing the exact opposite of the people screaming curses at him. I started chanting "Hannity is a hero" and he came over and put his arm around me and called a fan. Before you get all angry, I also got my anti-war sign in the shot. Mission accomplished.

So if I can offer advice to any aspiring famewhores, it would be to look for the odd in the situation. Find your own trebuchet reference and run with it, and maybe you'll be telling friends and family that you wrote the first joke on that night's Daily Show. What? It's kind of true.

Oh, and don't be like the asshole that asked for a job. Or if you do, at least bring your resume with you. Jesus.