What started as a simple trip to the grocery store turned into an embarrassing turn on national television. I was on NBC’s Today Show. Have a watch. (SFW):
Here’s a screenshot from the website:
If you’re too uninterested to watch but for some reason are still reading I can be seen in the segment declaring my undying love for Twinkies, Ho-Hos, Ding Dongs and all other Hostess products.
You know Hostess, right? The company that makes diabetes for kids? Yeah, that one. Turns out they declared bankruptcy recently, which is surely an unnerving sign for the economy. When American consumers can’t afford to keep a snack food company in the black then you know then you know belts are being tightened, and not for the reason belts usually get tight, which is snack food. As a famous economist once said: Empty calories require full wallets.
Anyway, I was in that part of the store to buy salad dressing. Earlier I’d spotted the camera guy and producer lady in the aisle, right in front of my brand and creed (Hidden Valley®, Lite) of dressing. It wasn’t clear what they were up to. The tripod looked expensive, that much I knew. It certainly wasn’t one of these Best Buy tripods, which is the kind I own. Not wanting to disturb them I decided to circle around and return to the aisle after I’d selected a Kraft® shredded cheese and read the nutrition contents of Dannon’s® fruit-on-the-bottom yogurts and maybe impulse-bought some Philadelphia® flavored cream cheese. They’d be gone by then.
They weren’t. I guess I don’t need salad dressing, I told myself. I’ll do without. I’ve been meaning to go dry, anyway. But then my sense of pride kicked in. Go get your fucking salad dressing, you pussy, I thought-screamed. They’re not going to care. They’re in YOUR way, not the other way around. Also, do some more pushups! Let’s get those nipples pointing forward, you jiggle monster!
Yeah, I agreed. You’re right, self. I will do more pushups, but first I’m going to go get that salad dressing.
I approached the pair and was about to grab the bottle of squirty flavored cream when the woman interrupted me.
“Excuse me, sorry. Do you eat Hostess products?”
“No.” I told her.
“Do you avoid them?”
“Would you like to talk about that on camera?”
That’s roughly how it started and before I knew it I was being filmed having a pleasant chitchat with a lady I just met.
She was very professional and very good at her job. The camera guy, too. They were patient and courteous to other shoppers who wanted to pass by. I felt in capable hands and sensed this wasn’t their first trip to the Ho-Hodeo. Such a disposition is important for people whose job it is to make strangers feel comfortable in front of a camera and microphone. Little did they know my entire purpose in life is to put my stupid thoughts into any willing microphone that holds still long enough. I live for bullshit like this.
I don’t know anything about Hostess and I don’t know anything about their bankruptcy but motherfucking yeah I have an opinion on it. I let slip (intentionally, of course) that I was a comic during a tween-take pause but I reassured them that I wouldn’t try to be funny, which was a complete and utter lie. After I expressed disgust at the lack of nutritional value in any of their products and that it was a terrible thing to eat for any person remotely concerned about his or her health she asked if I’d eaten any as a kid. “Oh yes,” I said. “Lots and lots.” Then I proceeded to name Little Debbie® products such as Oatmeal Creme Pie and Nutty Bars, each time resulting in a lamenting headshake from the producer about those not being Hostess products. Unable to think of a single Hostess offering, she stepped in and asked about Twinkies. I told her how I used to try to extract the foam or whatever from the Twinkie without damaging the bread. I made her and the camera guy laugh a few times, which was very gratifying, and which I took as a certain sign that they would immediately change the story from “Hostess Declares Bankruptcy” to “Funny Man Has Hilarious Thoughts About Everything.”
Afterwards she asked where I can be seen doing comedy and then somehow I didn’t end up having sex with her. Were it a movie that would have been the next logical step because movies are a lot more logical than real life. Smashcut! Creampie! Boom-shaka-laka! I asked about their association with NBC. They were part of the national crew, the Midwestern bureau, but shared space with the local NBC affiliate. I was about to ask if they need any sluggers for the softball team in order to slaughter those NBC Chicago jerks this Spring but another shopper approached and caught her attention. Turns out she was there to actually do her job rather than prattle on with some local schmoe with nowhere to be.
“Don’t forget your salad dressing, ” the camera guy said. He didn’t, really. But he does in the script I’m writing. I grabbed my bottle of flecked white viscous ooze and said it was good talking with them and walked off. It felt good. I felt good. I was surprised at how not nervous I got. Maybe doing all this stand up over the last three years and doing the podcast has helped me train my brain to quickly organize my thoughts. Maybe there’s something there.
By the time I got to the end of the aisle I had convinced myself that I was the perfect guy to host a travel/cooking/eating show, one in which I go around the world cracking wise while people cook and feed me food. I said a small prayer to our Gastrian Overlords that this would someday happen.
The next day I woke up and checked the Today Show website, hopeful that they were participating in the 21st century by making their content available online, something I was uncertain of because why would I know that?
It was, and when I saw myself I laughed heartily at how completely silly my comment seemed. As far as the millions of people who saw it are concerned I said exactly what I said. The sentence fragment they used made me seem like some kind of Hostess fan, or fan club member, or President (Host?) of the fan club. A high high fructose junkie. A cholesterol-clogged devotee of the Cult of Corn Syrup, there at the grocery store to purchase every last item on the shelf in a desperate act to gird himself against the coming shortages. What on TV was a period was in real life a comma, one followed by the thought that as you get older and get more information about the stuff you realize how terrible it is for you and that there’s no reason to eat any of their products.
Not since I was a Twinkie in my father’s eye have I been this offended. Just kidding. It’s all in good fun. Plus, I’m in desperate need of a TV credit. Or was.
In much more important Internet news, this is something you need to watch: