This is only vaguely joggling related but it was a pretty fun moment in my life so I thought I’d report on it here. It also can be instructive for jogglers who might be presented with the opportunity to be on some television show. It has happened to a number of jogglers.
I never planned to make an appearance on The Tonight Show. Of course, I knew about the show and have generally liked it, but I never thought much about getting on the show. I was however, open to the idea of being on the show. What joggler doesn’t like an audience? Perhaps one of the reasons that I was asked to be on the show was that I wasn’t trying to get on the show. I think that is the first lesson
It’s easier to get on a show if you are not trying to get on a specific show
It was interesting the way that I got contacted. While working in a local coffee shop, I got a phone call from an unknown number with an 818 area code number. When I picked up it was a producer from the show. ”Hey we saw your video on YouTube and thought it would be great for our show.”
That brings us to lesson 2,
If you want to get on a show, post videos of interesting things on YouTube & other video outlets
Some years ago I had posted a video of me playing the ukulele while balancing a hat on my nose. I didn’t think much of it at the time but I posted it and eventually got about 2500 hits. People just naturally found it. While it was four years ago, the producer happened on it somehow and that’s how they contacted me.
When I first was contacted, I was eager but remained skeptical. In the past, people have asked me to do lots of things that haven’t panned out. So, while I was excited about being on the show, I was fairly certain that there was a high probability that it wouldn’t happen. And in fact, it didn’t happen the first time. Originally, I was going to be used as an audience member and do a trick from the crowd. They cancelled that and said they would call me at another time. I thanked them and figured it was over. But surprisingly, they called me a few weeks later. When I got the email with flight information, it felt much more real. That’s another lesson…
Be a little skeptical and very flexible.
While I had practiced my trick when doing the video, I hadn’t done it for quite some time. When I first tried it again I could bare do it. So, I practiced and practiced some more. Eventually I got to the point where I did it 10 times in a row without a miss. Fortunately, I had kept up the hat balancing so I just had to remind my body how to do the trick. One of the keys to balancing stuff, keep as much focus on the balancing as possible.
Incidentally, if you want to learn some useless talents like this one here is a great website for that.
When I got to the show we did a quick run through of how the segment would go. The producers want to see you do your best so they have you rehearse a few times. This is extremely helpful. It soothes your nerves and also makes you aware of any kinds of unexpected challenges you might face. For example, when balancing a hat on your nose the stage lighting can get right in your eyes and make it much harder. Also, there was a slight breeze on the stage that I had to compensate for when balancing the hat. It was helpful to know that.
We did the first walk through at around 12:45 pm and then watched Placido Domingo practice his song. He was great. We did our first rehearsal at around 1:30 pm. I didn’t balance the hat so great the first rehearsal. Next, we did the second rehearsal (this time with Jay Leno) and I did the trick perfect. I felt great. We broke for lunch at about 2:30 pm then went back to our “green room” at about 3:15 pm. I sat around chatting with another guy who was doing a trick on the show (he did push-ups while solving a Rubik’s cube) and we waited…and waited…and waited. Taping began at 4:00 pm. At that time they took us to the make-up room, just to take off the shine, and cleaned up our faces.
Next, we headed out to the stage.
I was the first to go. It was all exciting especially with the addition of the studio audience, the band, the extra lighting, and all the energy surrounding the taping. When Jay said my name, they opened the doors and I walked out on stage. There was a loud roar of the crowd. Siting in front of me was William Shatner and Jay Leno. It was pretty cool. They did a quick interview with me asking where I’m from and what I do. They cracked a few jokes then I did my trick.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a great balance point right away. But I got it steady enough and started playing and singing. It was going great and the crowd started to applaud loudly. About three quarters of the way through the trick I started feeling the hat move. I lost focus and let it drop on my head just before finishing the song. It wasn’t perfect but the audience cheered loudly and I got through most of the song. Overall, I was pleased. Sure it would’ve been nice to be perfect but as long as it was entertaining to the audience, I was happy. This does bring up another lesson…
If things don’t go perfectly, just keep going! Make it look like it was all part of the act.
Ultimately, I did not thrill Bill Shatner but he was entertained and the crowd liked the trick too. He was thrilled by the hog caller who came next and the shirtless Rubik’s cube solver however. They both did an excellent job and were very entertaining. Overall, it was a funny bit.
I had a great time on the show. Everyone was super nice and the travel arrangements and lodging were excellent. I did find the stars to be a bit aloof but that is pretty much to be expected. Jay Leno was nice and came out afterwards to pose for pictures. I did get to shake William Shatner’s hand but he left immediately after the bit. He was nice enough but not super friendly. No pictures with him.
Incidentally, in the hallway I passed Chelsey Handler who was the person interviewing on the show. She gave a friendly smile and hello. She looks the same in person as on TV. Her interview with Jay was funny too.
Highs and Lows
Perhaps the biggest high of the whole experience was the reaction I got from everyone on Facebook, Twitter, email, and text messaging. People were genuinely interested in the appearance and I got some great comments. This is another lesson…
If you’re going to make an appearance on TV, let everyone you know know!
As far as lows go, I didn’t really have any. It would’ve been nice if I hit my trick perfectly and if I was a lot more entertaining. Plus, I was a bit lonely and it would’ve been nice to have my wife come along for the trip, but they weren’t paying for two flight tickets and she had to work. However, neither of these were really lows, just things that could’ve made the experience even better.
Overall, I had a great time and I would do it again. As a bonus, I unexpectedly got paid $300 to be on the show. My first paid television appearance. That was cool.