I realized about ten or so days ago that I wanted to be a Talk Show Host.
I’ve been amazed at the reactions from the people in my life. Most of the time, without fail, they say something like, “You’d be good at that” or “What a good idea.” I’m not surprised by the support of the people in my life–they are always truly wonderful that way. What I’m surprised by is the way that all of a sudden all the pieces of all of my projects start fitting together. I am a person of many diverse and spontaneous interests, and the forum of a talk show is suddenly the perfect fit for all (or most) of these.
On Saturday I got it into my head to film my first show three hours later. I accepted that it was going to be a true experiment. I had no script–only a guest and a few silly questions, a couple products to plug and a spattering of friends to be the studio audience who I knew would come through with ideas if we hit a lull. And they did–without their urging I wouldn’t have attempted a monologue and I probably would have gone on and on about the virtues of Tupperware far longer then I did.
This inaugural filming, I faced many challenges–logistics, nerves, fear, and, perhaps most importantly, my inability to deadpan. One of the questions I wanted to ask Mike, my guest, was, “I have a cabinet in my kitchen that won’t stay closed. Is there anything analogous to that in your life?” (I don’t recall whether his answer was usable… I’m afraid that it won’t be…) I had to ask the question twice because the first time I found it so ridiculously funny that I cracked up. Even the second time will only be usable if I cut to his reaction because I could not suppress my wide smile.
This is a problem perhaps; I am extremely good at cracking myself up. The talk show hosts I admire (a list I’m working on expanding! Taking suggestions!) are able to keep their composure no matter how funny they might be or find themselves. Stephen Colbert’s occasional crack up is the one exception I can think of (I don’t blame him!) but he is so quick to regain his composure.
I mentioned this to my friend BoAe who is on board to co-produce my talk show, and she seemed to think that I was fine cracking up. It was my personality and the show would adjust. Of course, she hasn’t seen the footage! (I haven’t either, actually–who knows how much, if any, is usable!)
I will try not to dwell on the 29 wasted years I could have been learning to joke without laughing. I am trying to stay thankful for my jovial nature and trust that I will find my own way to lead a talk show, unsuppressed laughter or no. But seriously: if anyone has any tips, exercises, suggestions…please send them along!
I will spend my evenings this week piecing together a Talk Show so please stay tuned!