Friday, September 24, 2010

Game Shows, Guy Friends and Fortune Cookies

This week has been fascinating. I wish I could give full disclosure on things, but there is a thin wall between this blog and my undisclosed personal life.

I will start with Million Dollar Money Drop. It was a two day shoot but the show didn't want the same people both days, so Debby would only book me for one day. Luckily, unbeknownst to the show, I was able to book with another agency for the second day. I need the cash.

Day 1 of Money Drop

Matt was there, but he was with his girlfriend so I couldn't play with him.

The show is based off of a UK show. I must be discrete since it hasn't been broadcast yet. The host was Kevin Pollak. Kevin Pollak? My heart skipped a beat. The Kevin Pollak fascination was born when I watched the first Project Greenlight. He was the funny, sarcastic actor who was unsatisfied with the level of professionalism on set. Then I noticed him in movies (he is very talented) and saw his stand-up on Showtime last week.

I could say the Kevin Pollak fascination is a platonic one, but all my male fascinations are equipped with a vision of what it would be like as a couple. Let's be honest, if you are funny, I don't give a shit what you look like.

I was escorted to the front row on the wings between Crazy-Pixie-Haired-Loud-Bitch from previous blogs and a Norwegian model. Great.

Of course Crazy brought with her a tote bag full of food. I think we covered every single food group. She started with the chicken salad and ranch sauce (which she sucked off of her fingers), then roasted seaweed, Toblerone and finally, then . . . gum. Delightful. All of that was chewed, sucked and swallowed in my left ear drum. Bitch.

The other girl would just keep looking at me like she wanted to talk. I was reading THE FEMALE BRAIN, I can not be bothered with small talk by some gorgeous 20 y- old. She was new, she let men sit down and talk her ear off for an hour at a time.

Now, I could see Pollak was the type to get surly. All the more reason to seduce him with my eyes. We made eye contact a few times. And there were a few times I caught him looking at me. How do I know? If I was looking away and drew my eyes back to the stage, as soon as they landed on Kevin staring at me, he looked away. Then he stopped looking at me totally. I was hoping to have my one Game Show Host moment, but it never came.

Bill was our Audience Fluffer. He is one of the best because he is genuinely funny and actually really advocates for the audience's best interest. Basic needs for us like water, restrooms and body ache rarely occur to anyone else.

He asked if we could go to restrooms and one of the stage wranglers snapped at him, a pudgy blond girl with a voice that could crack plastic. Bill said, "I am just delivering a message of concern. Geez. Everyone, that right there is why I am gay." And he pointed at the girl who was now lost in the shadows.

Bill, "Was anyone on the last show I worked? I made a pot joke and 70% of the audience applauded. Do you all really go out to your cars and blaze up between shows?"

Yes.

Bill, "I mean, even the 60 yr olds were cheering me on."

Another joke, "Did anyone see the VMA awards? It was awful. Yeah, Lady Gaga had steak on her head. If I have meat on my head its a good night." Ha ha.

Since there was a million dollars cash in the studio, there were security guards everywhere. As I was closest to the stage, I had the pleasure of facing Gil all night. Gil is a silver haired, Italian dude who looks like he has killed a few people. He looked around all the time, occasionally doing the neck cuff twitch as he stood there. It reminded me a lot of my oldest pit bull Maggie. No matter where we are, she is always scanning the horizon for potential threat.

When my parents were visiting, my mother would screech, "Maggie, relax! Jesus Christ. Enjoy the walk. God, its making me nervous." Maggie wagged her tail and looked at me. I simply shook my head. She's crazy. I mean . . . my mother.

Maggie May is the one animal I have who adopted me. When I took her in off the streets, I stopped having nightmares. She is my body guard.

Back to Money Drop, Gil stood out from the other security guards because he had Dean Martin's hair cut. I stared at him a lot, just because the dude was so fascinating. He smiled at me. Uh oh.

The Female Brain pg 5: "One study scanned the brains of men and women observing a neutral scene of a man and a woman having a conversation. The male brains' sexual areas immediately sparked- they saw it as a potential sexual rendezvous. The female brains did not have any activation in the sexual areas. The female brains saw the situation as just two people talking."

Crazy walked up to him and said, "Love your hair." What a fucking moron.

One of the questions on the show was who was the most disliked sports figure. While the couple was negotiating the answer, Kevin said, "Am I hearing that dog fighting is worse than adultery?" This is where I clapped. I have 3 pit bulls, of course I clapped. The people from Standards & Practices who were monitoring the show for legitimacy really didn't like that and felt that I was cluing the couple into the correct answer. We were all lectured for it over the next 48 hours. To be fair, no one said I couldn't clap during the minute the couple's decide where to put the cash. Whatever.

We were held for over 6 hours, which meant we were paid a meal penalty. When they let us out on our first break 7 hours later, smokers spilled out of the door with cigarettes in their mouths, lighting up as they walked away. It was kind of brutal to be held into a studio for so long. Not the worst scenario, but it was brutal.

While waiting outside between two actresses to get back inside the studio:

Actress #1: (holding a bag of beef jerky) "97% protein. See that? There is practically nothing else in here but protein and sodium."

Actress #2: "My candy bar has protein in it. I wonder why? (holding up a Snickers bar wrapper) There isn't meat in it, at least I didn't taste any meat in it.

When we were let back into the studio, I was placed on the other side of the stage, underneath Kevin's teleprompter between a beautiful girl from Canada and some other pretty girl. Conversation with them was the only actual work I had to do on this job.

The contestants on the show are couples. Lovable or stupid. The last couple was both lovable and stupid. They were newlyweds, Italians from Chicago. It was the husband's birthday. It was like watching Cher and Nicolas Cage in real time negotiate where to put their cash. You kinda just fell in love with them.

The show is cruel because it physically puts people within a few inches of a lot of cash and forces them to place it on answers to very broad questions reducing the show to simply chance. On all these game shows, I see easy come, easy go. This time it was harder to watch.

The couple wanted to help out their family and visit Italy. The wife started crying on the very last question with what little remained of their winnings. Kevin even gave them $5 to help with their luck.

When the money dropped, my eyes burned. I turned to the girl next to me and saw tears in her eyes. I could feel moisture softening my contact lenses. I said, "That fucking sucks."

The couple cried. We all stood up and clapped for them, and as they walked out, we sang Happy Birthday. He held his wife's hand, turned to us and waved sadly. Easy come, easy go. Tough lesson.


Day #2 of Money Drop

I wore my hair in a pig tail and put on big sunglasses in the hopes no one would recognize me and I could disappear in the second audience. I checked in and Travis from Day #1's agency saw me and just smiled. We were cool.

A girl came up to Travis and said, "I am voting for you! For sexiest audience wrangler ever on Facebook! You are number #1." (I looked for it, but couldn't find it)

Genital Herpes was there. He saw me and smiled.

GH, "Hi!"

Me: "This is a totally different outfit from last time. It was Hipster/Swingers/Vince Vaughn this is Lumberjack."

GH: "Lumberjack?"

He was in a green button up flannel with jeans on. The call was for business upscale.

Me: "Upscale Lumberjack."

He looked down.

Him: "Its Los Feliz" Me: "Canadian."

GH went back to get a sweater and then came back to stand next to me in line.

I said, "The sweater was just a ruse to sit next to me through the show."
He said, "You guessed it."

We were escorted in. Once again, I was placed directly under Kevin's Teleprompter. GH sat behind me and invited a young actress from Indiana to sit next to him.

I turned and said, "How is your girlfriend?" Feel lucky I didn't ask about the Herpes.

GH: I don't have a girlfriend. We broke up a long time ago."

Me: "I'm sorry"

GH: "No, I am happy. I didn't like her. I never had sex with her. Well, like once . . . . . . . . a week."

ME: "How long were you together?"

GH: "A year"

Indiana was trying to compete for his attention, but she was just a kid. GH wanted my validation.

ME: "Why would you date someone you didn't like for a year?"

GH: "Convenience. And she was always trying to do everything for me. She worked really hard and wouldn't take no for an answer. There are people you just reject and reject, and they keep coming back for more. So I just kept her around. Now I have 4 girlfriends. Oh, here is a text from her."

ME: "By 'her' do you mean your ex or the 4 others in orbit?"

GH: "The Ex (the text read something to the effect that dinner is waiting on the stove) See? Girls fall in love with me."

ME: "And you are being intimate with all of them?"

GH: "Yeah."

Me: "Well, women's brains release a chemical cocktail of dopamine and oxytocin during intercourse which makes them feel enamored. But, congratulations, sounds like you are spreading all sorts of things around."

GH: "When I was young, I had to really work for sex. Now its just so easy. You want to know my secret? Become their friend."

ME: "I know that's the secret. I just read in a book (The Female Brain) that a woman's orgasm is contingent on a feeling of trust and her feet have to be warm. Of course, if you make a woman orgasm during sex, her uterus is actually sucking up and retaining more of your sperm."

True!

GH: "I don't care if they orgasm."

Indiana starts giving GH some heavy eye rolls and the look of disgust on her precious little face was priceless.

ME: "You really are amazing. Have any of them asked you about STDs?"

GH: "Not one (laughing) I have no STDs . . . . . . . . . . . diagnosed by a doctor."

ME: "Nice parenthesis"

The Female Brain (pg 64): " Seduction and abandonment by males is an old ruse, going back to the beginning of our species; one study found that young college males admitted to depicting themselves as kinder, more sincere and more trustworthy than they really are. Some anthropologists speculate that natural selection favored men who were good at deceiving women and getting them to agree to have sex. Females, as a result, had to get even better at spotting male lies and exaggerations- and the female brain is now well-adapted to this task. Modern females have fine tuned their superior ability to read emotional nuance in tone of voice, eye gaze and facial expressions. "

The female is looking to mate with a man who will secure the nest; protect and commit to the family to insure survival of offspring.

GH: "Dating people holds you back. With your career."

GH is a comedian through Second City. It really annoys the FUCK out of me that people like GH can afford to pay the tuition for Second City, or Groundlings, or Upright Citizens Brigade and launch some kind of career in comedy. We poor people get no such opportunity. When did being funny rely on your pocket book? Really.

Me: "I agree with you actually, but something can be said for having consistent support while you struggle through your career."

GH: "Eh. I don't need that. When I make my first million, I will settle down with a girl and a big house. I can call and tell her when I will be home. Then I can be in control."

ME: "Being in control? You should want a partnership."

GH: "No, I want a girl who is young and stupid."

Me: "What? Young and . . ."

GH: "Stupid! HAHAHAHAHA! Its so nice talking to you. We aren't dating so I can be myself and tell you exactly what I am thinking."

He is the orange throat lizard (The Male Brain, pg 59) "Alpha-male harem strategy. They guard a group of females and mate with all of them." Not to mention, they spread disease.

Bill, "Anyone own a Honda Civic? (silence) Point and laugh. No just kidding, you are getting towed."

A tall white boy in a button-up top slowly stood up.

Bill, "Dude, you parked in someone's driveway? Really? You just hoped they wouldn't notice?"

The boy shrugged his shoulders and walked through the studio in front of 300 people. We all applauded him.

Bill, "Well don't walk. RUN! (as the boy exited the studio, Bill made his default gay joke) Call me! (then) I know where you can park your car."

Oh Bill. I love that we are always attracted to the same boys.

Other highlights included a small, white girl with incredibly long, brown hair belly dancing to Beyonce in the audience.

This chick was lifting up her shirt, almost to her bust. Every time she lifted it a little higher, the audience would say "OOOOHH!"

I was stuffing my face full of trail mix. Me (with a full mouth) "Oh My God!" A piece of shredded coconut fell out of my mouth.

The crew on set put a spot light on her, and different disco colors flashed over her as she swung her torso around. It was, quite honestly, mesmerizing.

(I can never hear what people say to Bill when he talks to them across the studio, so he repeats their answers into the microphone)

Bill to Belly Dancer, "Thank you. The people in the booth and the head of Fox really enjoyed that. What? You have other talents. I will hang on to the microphone. Oh, creative writer."

On the next song, a black girl stood up and shook her ass hard. Equally impressive. The crowd was getting rowdy and even the security guards redirected their focus from the $1 Million dollars to the hot black girl/hot white girl dance off.

GH: "Now that is real entertainment!"

In lulls, Kevin Pollak would do little things. He mimed a dance that ended in both of his middle fingers pointed at the cameras. That was nice.

He also did a Humphrey Bogart impression. The crowd was quiet, I don't think most of them got it. A girl in my row clapped, and I shouted out, "I love you, Kevin."

Then he did a Woody Woodpecker impression and the crowd cheered.

Anytime, he had to plug a product mentioned in the questions or clear up a celebrity fact, he would stare at the camera with this priceless expression . . . like he was holding in fecal matter embroidered with, "My career" on it. Its a recession.

During the last break, an Asian guy mentioned he could play guitar.

Asian Fruit: "I play like 8 instruments."

Me: (gesturing to GH) "This guy is a DJ, maybe he could play your stuff."

My quiet revenge on genital herpes. GH puts hood on and went to sleep.

Asian Fruit (earnestly to GH): "I do all kinds of music, hip hop, R&B . . . soft rock."

This kid had a hair cut that screamed Duran Duran. And he kept talking.

Asian Fruit: ""I am 1/6 Russian, 1/6 Mongolian-"

Me: "Do you know Genghis Khan raped so many women, his DNA is in 0.5% of the world's population? That means your great, great grandmother was probably raped."

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/02/0214_030214_genghis.html

Asian Fruit: "Actually, I am from the tribe to the south that fought and usually conquered the Genghis Khan dynasty."

Me: "Ah, so your great, great grandfather did the raping. You are on top of that genetic scenario!"

He nodded and smiled at me. He really was proud of that.

Asian Fruit, "I have had my share of girls. I am dating a half German, Half French actress who wears a bikini and bartends at night. I have dated a few girls that were with black guys, and they said they didn't like it. I always say, the smaller I am the closer to the clitoris. I have a friend who is a little taller than me and always on me about comparing his penis. He never lets up, he is always putting me down."

WTF was this guy talking about?

Asian Fruit: "I know how tall a guy is means how big he is."

Me: "That's not true. The tall white guys I am usually with are tiny. Right?" I slapped GH's leg (he is a tall white guy). He popped up from a deep sleep and went back under almost immediately.

Asian Fruit: "I am very quick, most of the time I lose people in conversation."

I don't know what it is with small Asian guys ... but they are the worst at bragging. Men think if they tell you something, you will believe it at face value. 'Oh, you are awesome in every way, wow- can I date you? Please? I will share you with the German Bartender in the bikini!'

It really is sad and pathetic. He followed me out, but at 1am in the studio the temperature of a meat locker I have no patience for small men and their soliloquies of sexual superiority (unless its Napoleon, gush). Honestly, I prefer the conversation with Genital Herpes.

Bill said what he always says when we wrap a show. "I would say I hope I see you again, but I hope you guys book work doing what you want to do."

Walking out, we were waiting in line for 20 minutes. The day had gone longer than expected, and the coordinators were racing to get the cash envelopes correct for everyone. I was cold and tired. The beginning of the lethal combination for my bad mood.

Me: "Come on, come on. What the fuck?"

The Girl in front of me turns to me.

Me: "Sorry, I am complaining in my head, but sometimes my mouth opens."

Girl, "I know exactly how you feel. This is ridiculous."

A few Russians were trying to figure out the tax paperwork in front of us. One of them said, "Just make up a social security number. Jesus! Just put down anything. I am cold!"

When the line started moving, I saw an Asian girl approach the coordinator with the cash and say, "Did you give me $80?"

Me, "Yes, now get the fuck out of our way."

Only the Russians and girl in front of me heard. They laughed. I was serious.

*******

So the last blog touched a few souls mentioned. I received messages from both The Comic and my friend that they wanted to talk. I assumed they read this blog.

EPILOGUE

Monday: The Guy Who Always Says the Wrong Thing

The Comic came to Pasadena in the afternoon and we decided to play pool. It was an especially hot day out, so I suggested a cold beer and a game. It was friendly. I would say, even taking into account the few weeks we dated, The Comic was the most natural and fun on Monday. Even after reading my last blog.

The jokes regarding the eHow discovery are of course, never ending.

The Comic, "Well how do you seduce a woman?"

Me, "Be patient and start a friendship . . . not with me. Of course. But that is the best way in general."

The Comic turns and nods

Me, "Not with me."

The Comic, "Maybe further down the line."

Me, "No."

(silence)

Me, "I mean, how did you come to that page anyway?"

The Comic, "I googled How to seduce a woman."

He did spend about $50 between beer and lunch afterward on our conversation. I am truly mystified by what he thinks he gains from our friendship.

Tuesday: The Guy Who Always Says the Right Thing

Mr. On the Right, my good friend, had a pending date with me. I texted him about reconnecting with Abe but I knew the blog would be more detail than he cared to read.

I knew he didn't drink, but felt if we were going to talk, the conversation warranted some hard alcohol. I also knew that he needed a girl drink, like an apple martini or as he would say, "an appletini", so we hit the PF Chang's Happy Hour.

Mr. On the Right always does say the right thing, but because it is the right thing it comes more from his brain than his heart. We had a very open conversation about everything, which honestly, I have to modify my martini limit because 1.5 unlocked every secret I had in the world. That was messy.

It was kind of like the end to LAST TANGO IN PARIS.

Mr. On the Right, "You deserve a guy who has to tell you how amazing you are every day." That is a wonderful thing to say to somebody. Sadly, I am not amazing.

Both suitors, all things considered, do not know me very well. My theory was because I have dated both in the past (one last year the other 10 yrs ago) and never had intercourse with either, their biology wanted to conquer me. As far as intimate connections go, I have experienced a greater bond with the few men I had sex with while dating. They never call me years down the line. (*Real boyfriends exempt)

It's mystifying to me that the lovers I had who shared secrets and made promises never contact me. Where is the burning itch I see in those who haven't had the pleasure of my company in bed?

Then there is Abe. Dear Abe who has texted me and called me everyday since our reunion. A for effort. I would like to be with the man who makes me dizzy with magic and butterflies. Over the last few months, I dreamt of Abe in a photo album, the pages flipping through time.

Recently, I opened a fortune cookie that said, "It is not too late to take a different path."

I can't stop thinking about what that means. My first instinct was my acting career. It wasn't too late to get a degree in Early Childhood Education and become a pre-school teacher. Then I thought, but I am so good at this lifestyle (aka. scrounging for cash and living each day on my wits). It feels right in my gut.

So, what is the different path? I have been looking at things in my mind to what it might mean. Clearly, God was trying to communicate something very important to me after dinner.

For years, I have been trying to escape a darkness. My mother claims she can see it in my eyes.

I hated being a kid and through high school and college, cut my wrists, arms and ankles. It's called wrist scratching, common in teenage girls with low self-esteem. I still have scars and even placed a tattoo over a wrist to help conceal 18 year-old cuts. It is impossible to hide all of them.

As an adult, I have worked on projects in prisons and brothels. Suffered from nightmares and sleep paralysis. The cocaine induced love-ins with Not-for-Profit, including confessions to every disturbing sexual thought we ever had.

Above all of the murder, misery, masochism and abuse is the most alarming event of them all- it fascinates me.

After finishing my documentary on abused women in prison, one of the professors on my advisement board said, "Stay away from the dark side now." That is part of my motivation to go into comedy, to keep away from the dark.

Abe knew the moment he met me, that I struggled with the light and dark. I don't have to explain it to him. He will say, "Look to the light." He can make me feel better just by saying it. Looking up from the computer screen now, there is still a fortune he found and taped to my wall from our first week together. "Everything will now come your way."

When I think of a life with him, I see big meals, a house, life on the beach, family and a white light. With the others, I think I could drag them down into the shadows.

Abe . . . yes, I want to be with Abe. All things considered, I logically can not put myself in the position to be heartbroken again, so I have to modify our formula to insure protection of my nest.

On the Phone
Me: "I think we should go back to the original plan and wait to have sex, so I am not so emotional about things."

Abe: "Well, needless to say that's a disappointment, but if that's how you feel then I guess we have to do it. You might have to tell me again since I will probably forget. Goodnight. (click)"

My first instinct is I should renegotiate so he isn't mad at me. Women have a natural compulsion to resolve conflict to keep the family unit alive. Then, that weird strong undercurrent of a feeling came back . . . the same one that made sure I quit smoking and it whispered, 'Stay strong. Protect yourself.'

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