Living Retired — ‘In The Studio Audience’
Living Retired – ‘In The Studio Audience’
By Gary Chalk.
As a kid The Ed Sullivan Show was must-watch television. Every Sunday night at 8 o’clock my parents, my sister Dianne, and I were entertained by buxom Charo (the ‘Cuchi-cuchi’ lady), a stuffed mouse called Topo Gigio, and some guy in a tuxedo running like a madman across the stage spinning China plates on sticks. Now that was show business!
I enjoyed when Ed introduced people in the audience. “Ladies and gentlemen, we have Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Yogi Berra from the World Series Champion New York Yankees. Gentlemen, please stand and take a bow.”
That was the type of studio audience that impressed me; but it is different these days…
Ron Popeil the infomercial guru made a fortune with his rotisserie chicken invention. But I couldn’t get over the nitwits in the studio audience screaming “SET IT AND FORGET IT!” Every time the camera panned over to the bleachers these simpletons were rapidly clapping their hands together staring in awe at each other like the Toronto Maple Leafs had won the Stanley Cup! Instead of “GO LEAFS GO! “they chanted “SET IT AND FORGET IT! SET IT AND FORGET IT! SET IT AND FORGET IT!”
How about the studio audience on America’s Funniest Home Videos? It doesn’t take much to get them laughing. For instance, a home video taken at their family picnic when Uncle Clarence accidentally stepped on a rake that sprung up and smacked himself in his you know what’s. Not only were these boneheads silly enough to submit the video to Americas Funniest Videos, they travelled halfway across the country to join the studio audience AND SAT IN THE FRONT ROW! The only thing missing is the rake — and their pointed dunce hat.
Whenever I rant about these hopeless hacks, Jan is quick to remind me about a television appearance I made many years ago. I was not in the studio audience. I was on the show.
“Gary, remember that time you were the guest on that half hour television program?”
“I do dear. They caked makeup all over my face so I would look good under the bright studio lights.”
“Well I am not sure it worked, Gary. Anyway, you said you thought you looked like a movie star so we went to a fancy restaurant after.”
I knew where Jan was going with this, but it was too late.
“When the maître d seated us he could not help but notice your black suit jacket — large flakes of crusty dried makeup were raining down onto your shoulders.”
I could not disagree with Jan’s recollection of that night.
“Gary, during the salad course more big blobs of dry makeup fell from your face and bounced into your bowl. You made things worse by calling the waiter over to our table and tried to convince him the flakes were what you see in thousand island dressing, and you ordered oil and vinegar!”
Even after all these years Jan was right again.
“Before the main course the waiter used that little stick to clear the breadcrumbs from the white linen tablecloth. He looked twice when he scraped up mounds of makeup under your plate.”
“Jan why do you keep bringing this story up?”
“Because it gets even funnier! When the waiter stood beside our table cooking our chateaubriand, he took one look at your face and was aghast with all the spots on your forehead!”
By now I wondered if Jan would remember what happened next. She did…
“Gary, that little guy with the violin stood beside our table playing Edelweiss. He never took his eyes off your blotched pockmarked face. And the lady that sold roses felt so sorry for you she gave you one free.”
“You might as well tell the rest of the story, Jan.”
“When dessert arrived the waiter lit the peach flambé and took one look at you and said, “OH MY GOSH! Did the flames singe your face?”
We have not been back to that restaurant since. And I have not had any more makeup on my face. Well, there was the time at Halloween when I dressed up as Alice Cooper. I wore a black wig and smeared Jan’s black eyeliner under my eyes.
“Gary, that is another story. Do not go there.”