Day 43. A Job?! & The Future of Late Night

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I’m not big into awards, but today I had a funny poignant moment. Around this time last year, I was named one of Springfield Business Journal’s “40 under 40,” an award that recognizes 40 people under 40 years old in the community. This year, on this day, I sat in black pants, a new white button down shirt, a black tie, and borrowed shoes failing miserably on a written exam testing my knowledge of being a server for a catering company.

I chuckled to myself as I had no idea where the protein on the plate should be oriented to the guest, what slushing the floor means, or which of the two knives pictured is the salad knife. I’ve never used a knife on a salad. After watching a ridiculous video with a group of hopefuls all dressed alike, it was my turn to do the individual interview. I explained to the gentleman that I would not have the high score on the exam, but what I lack in that I made up for in professionalism and people skills.

He bought it.

I’m the newest struggling actor now waiting tables in Los Angeles.

I think.

I’m pretty sure.

I go back in next week for a “Skills Assessment” test, and I’m pretty sure they do that after you are hired. Either way, I’m buying my own pair of black dress shoes with laces. If your career really is a ladder I’ve got one of those that has sideways and down options.

After that, I went to a live taping of Chelsea Lately. I got tickets through my web of friends of friends. It was a really quick taping, maybe 35 minutes. I sat in the second row and laughed when I was supposed to. Here’s the thing, all these shows have a warm up guy whose job it is to get the audience excited and then explain how you are to laugh and cheer for both funny jokes, and the unfunny ones. You hear everyone around you laughing and think, “Yes, yes this is funny.” I wish I would have thought of that for the Mystery Hour.

Oh man, today had so many highlights.

After the show I went to a networking event for LA Casting where other actors that use the LA Casting website have drinks, mingle around, and try to make up stories about how their careers are taking off. The reality is that if their careers were taking off they wouldn’t even be there. I’ve done a lot of networking events in my time and they are all awkward. They’re never good. The best you can hope for is deliciously awkward, which is where the awkwardness reaches a point that you can taste it, and it tastes good.

I stood in line for a free drink. I got a Jack and Coke, which tasted like Jack and Coke had a big falling out and Coke kicked Jack out of the apartment, leaving only hints that Jack ever lived there. There was so much BS in that room. There was a guy in a shiny jacket with sunglasses on his head (dark outside). There was an old guy who I watched the last two minutes of the women’s national championship game with. There was also a guy who had a lanyard with an image of himself on the front. He handed me a glossy postcard which declared that he was the future of late night.

Here was our conversation (I will not use his name, because I’m positive he Googles himself):

Jeff: “Hey man, you’ve got a lanyard, you look all official.”

Guy: “A what?”

Jeff: “A lanyard, you know around your neck.”

Guy: “…”

Jeff: “It’s the card thing around your neck…Hey, I’m Jeff.”

Guy: “I’m Dennis (made up). Here’s a card.”

Jeff: “Oh wow, it’s says here that you’re the future of late night, huh? Cool.”

Guy: “Yes. I produced and hosted the first late night talk show in the history of Orlando (made up city, I don’t know what is on his Google alerts). We did eight episodes.”

Jeff: Cool

After four minutes of declaring how great it was Jeff is given the opportunity to talk.

Jeff: “I actually hosted a local talk show where I’m from in Missouri for a few years. There aren’t many out there, that’s cool.”

Guy: “Was it televised?”

Jeff: “No.”

Long pause as we both stare at the women’s basketball post game report.

Jeff: “Well, good to talk to you.”

Today I learned about BS. Others can do it. Me, I’m not so good at it.



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8 responses to “Day 43. A Job?! & The Future of Late Night

  1. Best post yet and I think you can you could totally take the “future of latenight” guy. He looks weak.

  2. Yeah, that dude is seriously weak.

  3. Mary Helen

    So I laughed out loud several times reading this, and read some to my husband so he could laugh, too. I think you are the future of late night. Or something big, anyway.

    • Andy Walser

      Jeff, I think next time you go to one of those you should wear a bolo that has a picture of yourself. (Or maybe one of those short gentleman’s ties that Jim Rayburn used to rock.)

  4. Michelle


  5. Yay for the job! You should watch Pretty Woman to learn about the silverware. Good luck. 🙂

  6. Jeremy

    the best part about these experiences are the stories! Show or not your hilarious.

  7. Pingback: Day 74. Becoming a Man | The Mystery Year

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