After several months, it was the end of the season for Carnie! I had actually survived my first stint in TV and I was hooked. In addition to the craziness previously reported, there were lots of other insane times that just didn’t fall into any category.
For example, there was the time there was a snowstorm which made travel virtually impossible. Our guests were in, but we still needed a “justice of the peace” to perform a TV wedding, aka one that doesn’t count but appeases the bride and gets the man off the hook, at least until she finds out that the whole thing was a sham. These TV weddings also included giant fake “diamond” rings that I would buy from a sweet old couple that worked at the old Woolworths on 42nd or clothing at Lane Bryant on 125th Street. For the snowstorm wedding, everything was set, except the officiant. Without anyplace else to turn, I recruited a friend from law school, who decided to do the “wedding” on air even though neither one of us was sure this was a breach of legal ethics. In the end, the wedding was performed and no one got hurt, well almost. While my now former friend wasn’t disbarred, he did wind up spending more money on an accountant than we paid him just to figure out how to claim his TV fee on his taxes.
Of course there were the memorable shows, like the time we hosted a mother/daughter beauty pageant complete with an opening dance number. This show was of course quickly followed up by an episode about mothers who hated their daughters where we had to bribe the mother with a trip to Disney World just so she would come to NY to be on our show. For every I Wanna be a Drag Queen show, there was the Sisters Who Never Got Along reunion.
There was even the time I agree to go on the show for staff makeovers. I transformed from a Ralph Lauren wearing fool, into a Ralph Lauren wearing fool with a new haircut and who for a day wore a Versace shirt. The upshot of that episode was six months of dyed hair and the need to change my home phone number after someone on the staff gave it out to an “obsessed” fan who was now enthralled with my new look.
And then one day it was gone. I was finished. I was out of work.
And then for the first time in my life, I went to the unemployment office, a right of passage for some in the Entertainment industry. In NYC one of the unemployment locations is on West 54th street, right near the old David Letterman theater. Now, if you haven’t been there, it’s a nondescript building that I’m quite sure was the model for the office that George Costanza visited when he was filing for unemployment. Let’s face it, this building is right down the street from the Soup Nazi. Making me even more certain of this fact, is that I’m convinced that the Seinfeld created, Keith Hernandez loving Mrs. Sokol was based upon the woman who “helped” me. Anyway as Mrs. Sokol was going over my resume and I was being my typical jovial self trying to crack jokes and make her laugh, she stabbed a dagger in my heart.
“Oh, Cardozo, third rate law school.”
I was astonished. I didn’t hear anything she said after that. I mean second rate I could maybe understand, but third rate! We had just reached number 51 in the country, third rate! Thoughts raced through my mind. Should I dare ask what year she graduated Harvard. Should I get up and walk out? Was it a test or was she simply that big a fuckin bitch. Either way, I never found out because soon enough I was working again. That’s right, I landed a gig at NEWSTALK television. Starting salary, $200.00 per week. Time worked there, two days. Nothing more to really say about it simply because I can’t remember much beyond leaving a voicemail to let them know that while I appreciated the job, I wouldn’t be coming back because I had just landed an associate producer job in Seacaus, NJ at the Richard Bey Show.
No joke, it was a dream come true. The Richard Bey Show. Since I returned home to attend my third rate school, I had been a fan of the show. From the wheel of torture, to the I Hate my Sister Olympics to the Mr Punyverse contest, it was television at its most outrageous and I was about to join the fun..
#carnie #seinfeld #costanza #richardbey #daytimetalk