While Carnie! was a daytime talk show featuring fun and tears and even horrors we also had our share of celebrities. It was always interesting to have these “non-real” people on the show. It wasn’t until later in my career, when I saw a celebrity trash a hotel room, or throw their luggage across a lobby or ask for security even though no one knew who they were, that I realized that a few of these celebs in fact acted much much worse then the real people looking to be booked on “I want to father Madonnas baby”, where yes, in fact we had a bunch of men competing so the audience could determine, who they thought would be the best person to be the imaginary father of the baby Madonna was talking about having. For me, the best part of the show was the fact that all the guests were local so the entire travel was a roll of subway tokens.
So while we did, like most other 1995 talk shows of the time, focus on the real Americans who spent their time watching our shows and visiting our sponsors, following is a list of my favorite celebrities, well at least the ones that I can remember and/or have a picture.
Now, besides my trip to the hospital to retrieve Doug Bady, when it comes to celebs on daytime talk, first on my mind, and most likely anyone who ever produced the genre is Richard Simmons. While in hiding in recent years, back in the 90’s Richard was everywhere; so of course we had our chance to book him. When the viewers found out Richard was going to be on the show the phone lines went crazy. It was then up to me to find the women/teens he would counsel. It was show full of anguish and these women were going to meet their hero to hopefully get the help they desperately needed. Everyone was set and then the unthinkable, one of Richard’s dogs died. He was heartbroken and didn’t want to travel. I honestly can’t remember what changed his mind, I’d like to think it was the stories, but he pulled through, made it to the show dressed in his trademark short shorts and tank top, and was as crazy and off the wall as you can imagine…and he also changed the lives of the women who flew from all over the country to meet him which was awesome. I wish I had taken a picture with Richard, but I didn’t, so I guess it’s onto the people where actual photos were taken.
Now I have pictures with both Jaid Barrymore and Tiny Tim. Her claim to fame was being Drew’s mother, he, famous for Tip Toe through the Tulips, was an amazing avant guard performer from the 60’s. I don’t know why they were on the show, or if in fact I even produced them, but I know I’m glad I have these mementos of our meeting.
Now the final celebrity I can remember having the pleasure of meeting was the Penthouse Pet of the Century and one of the stars of “Caligula”, Lori Wagner. I met her through a friend who used to model for Playboy…my rolodex was way more interesting back then. Now Lori came to New York to do a show on reunions; she was to be reunited with her best friend from grade school who was now a middle school teacher/librarian in the Northwest. Now I had a policy for all out of town guests; I made it a point to visit them all to make sure their trip went well and/or to make sure they wouldn’t bolt like the Philadelphia people. Because I always believed in my own safety, I always brought along my PA or someone else who looked tougher then me in case things went down. To make a long story short, when we got to Lori’s room, she greeted us in a bathrobe and nothing else. Chatty and funny and full of stories we sat there as she talked for an hour. It was like a scene out of any 1980’s teen movies; two nerdy guys in the presence of a Penthouse Pet who leave with their virginity intact. The only thing I can remember from that night is her passion for the reunion and her desire to talk about her latest movie “Frankenpenis” starring John Wayne Bobbitt and Ron Jeremy. The guy with with dick cut off and the guy with the most famous dick in the business. Who could say no? The next day Lori was great, her friend was even better and “Frankenpenis” was featured on national TV. A job well done.
I’m sure there were other celebs on the show, but they just didn’t resonate like the ones above.
Up next…the final bookings and my first cancellation.
#carnie #tinytim #drewbarrymore #penthouse #penthousepet #loriwagner #ronjeremy #madonna