In honor of Terry Farrell and Adam Nimoy (Spock’s son) getting engaged, here is a brief recounting of my encounter with Ms. Farrell. I hope this will not bring on a restraining order, but I digress.
For one glorious year, actually more like nine months, I had the pleasure of working with Penn and Teller on their show Sin City Spectacular. It was amazing. If you haven’t seen it, try and find it. During that time I produced many bits, but it was one that didn’t happen that stood out from the rest.
When I was assigned a celebrity, I tried to find some unique talent that they could bring to the table. Sean Hayes played the piano and then went on a rant about the Gettysburg address, Judge Reinhold whistled by a campfire and then walked away with a fake armadillo while Gordon Clapp of NYPD Blue fame went bare assed while read a page from his diary which turned out to be a Penthouse forum encounter with his Emmy.
When someone didn’t have a secret talent or couldn’t think of something they wanted to showcase, it was left up to me to try and find something, anything, for them to perform. The fall back was having them do a trick with P&T.
One day I got assigned Terry Farrell. Yes, Terry Farrell or as she would always be known to me, Valerie Desmond from “Back to School”. Others might know her as Dax from a little show called Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
So Terry and I spoke and laughed and in the long run, she decided to leave it up to me to come up with a funny bit, bad idea. I mean I was the guy who once proposed pubic hair makeovers as a show topic. A couple of days later I called Terry, I now had her home number, and proposed something along these lines:
“Even though you can’t really sing or dance, Why don’t we pretend you’re in a 50’s girl group singing the song “Lollipop”. The backup singers will be singing while you go to work licking a lollipop. Things begin to get out of hand and in a sexual frenzy you run into the audience and begin to give someone a lap dance. As you’re about to reach orgasm, the song will end and Penn and Teller will come out and say goodbye.”
There was silence, but this was good. It wasn’t dismissed out of hand, a minor miracle. In fact, she thought it was funny and was game. This was easier than I thought. Talk Soup here I come.
Now, bits like this can sometimes take on a life of their own. The more time someone has to think about the bit, like the one above, the more likely they might realize that its not the best idea. Time was not my friend.
As someone who never slept, especially in the days before we would fly out to Vegas to tape the show, I was prone to checking my work voicemail incessantly. With three days to go I thought I was safe, but then, at 5:00 AM, I got a message from Terry saying she had rethought the idea and wasn’t game anymore and said we should talk later. Calculating that she had left the message only minutes, ok maybe a few hours before, I decided to write up a quick revision, fax it over and call her to review it. I mean who doesn’t like getting a call at 5:30 AM from a frantic producer who’s trying to get you to perform oral sex on a lollipop. It went to voicemail. Not one to give up, I called again. She didn’t pick up. Needless to say, several hours later I got a call from her publicist who wasn’t too pleased. After that. I didn’t speak to Terry until Vegas.
A few days later, we were to meet face to face. I was nervous, even more so then normal. What would she do, what would she say. I was ready for anything. In the long run, she was cool, laughed about the whole thing, but said if I ever contacted her again she would file a restraining order. I’m not sure if she was kidding or not, but I didn’t intend to find out. Unfortunately, she didn’t do the bit or even the 5:15 AM rewrite below, but I did get her to leave a voice mail message, as Valerie Desmond, for my friend. It’s still his most prized possession.
As a post script, the following year I met Terry again while I was working at Donny and Marie. I tried again, but the lollipop bit didn’t work out there either…and fortunately it didn’t result in the threatened restraining order.