My Almost Fame with The Daily Show
I Thought I was a Contender
In 1985, Andy Warhol said, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Well, it’s 2021 and I had three minutes of almost fame with The Daily Show. That was two weeks ago, and I’m still sitting around, waiting — waiting desperately for the 12 additional minutes of glory.
It all began on a mundane Monday, although all days are pretty much mundane these days of pandemic waiting for “THINGS TO GET BACK TO NORMAL.” I worked a little. Cleaned the house a little. Over-ate a lot. And, of course, didn’t exercise at all. Same old, same old.
The Daily Show Knocks
Then, IT happened. The most exciting IT happened: I received an email from a producer from The Daily Show! Drum roll, please. Blare the trumpets, please. Be still my pounding heart,
It read — and I quote:
My name is___ and I’m a Producer for The Daily Show w/ Trevor Noah. I’m reaching out because we are thinking about doing a segment about women named “Karen,” and I came across a piece you wrote titled “My name is under attack — enough with the Karen memes!” I loved the piece and was wondering if you would be open to hopping on the phone with me?
Let me know what you think.
Back in the Day
Now, way back in the day, when I was a news reporter, I was on national TV. In fact, I worked for the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour.
But this, this was entirely something different. Now I labor in the lonely, free-lance fields of comedy writing. Why this … an appearance on a national comedy show could propel me into the stratospheric heights of fame and fortune!
“Would I be open to hopping on the phone” with her? Would I “open” to cutting open a vein to appear on a national comedy show? Come on! So, faster than you can say hyperbole and hyperventilate, I pressed respond and typed — in my coolest hipster font, “Hey, ___, sure I’m open to talking. I’m available anytime!
Realizing that “available anytime” sounded too desperate, I deleted those words and typed in a few time options, including “and also, later this afternoon.”
The producer responded right away! (Wow. She really must have “loved” my story and really did want to talk to me!) Was I available then and there? “Sure,” I graciously replied, my pulse racing.
Then, nothing. Nothing for 10 minutes. 15. Two hours!
Later, a message: “Sorry, I got pulled into a meeting. Heading into another one. What’s good for your tomorrow?”
I sent her another set of options and hurried into the family room to record The Daily Show, so I could “study” camera angles, lighting, guest repartee — the whole comedic nine-yards.
That night, I could hardly sleep. Instead, I made a list of the calls I needed to make first thing the next morning:
- Hairdresser to cover up my shelter-at-home lengthy gray roots;
- Dermatologist for fillers and Botox to conceal the wrinkles;
- Aesthetician for a facial to get a post-pandemic glow; and
- A buyer at Bloomingdale’s for help selecting an attractive blouse to conceal my sheltering-at-home weight gain.
As I tossed and turned, I also fantasized about my contract “demands:”
- A lighting expert to help set the perfect lights and gel filters for my Zoom debut on The Daily Show;
- A make-up artist to come to the house to beautify aging me;
- A jar of M & M’s delivered — with colors separated, of course, and
- Finally, swag, baby, swag — Daily Show coffee mug, tee-shirt. Whatever there was. I wanted it. I wanted it all! And if Trevor Noah does recordings for people’s smartphones, bring it on, baby! Bring it, on!
The producer called at 10:47 a.m. I thought it would be like an audition. I thought I would play it C-O-O-L, not go for non-stop funny, not yuck it up. But I thought wrong.
The producer was sweet and sincere, not a touch of funny to her interview questions. She asked how I had been affected by the Karen memes. Was I hurt? Had I cried?
Huh? What was this? An interview for Oprah?
I stammered and I stuttered. I said I didn’t like the mean Karen memes, but I hadn’t taken them personally.
The producer seemed disappointed. She told me several Karens she spoke to were deeply hurt by the mean Karen memes. When I said that made me sad, she apologized! Worse yet, she seemed upset that I was now sad. So, then, I apologized!
The call lasted three minutes. She thanked me for my time, and said brightly, “Be sure to watch for the segment.”
That was it.
Clearly, I had failed the sensitivity test. But if that’s what she was looking for, she should have checked with my family. They could have saved her a lot of time and effort.
Hours later, I tried salvaging my television comedic career by sending a thoughtful, sensitive email follow-up but never got a reply.
That was two weeks ago.
And while I haven’t completely given up hope, I am fearful that perhaps the producer is telepathic. Perhaps she got wind of my midnight fantasy contract demands and feared I’d be difficult to work with. Imagine — sweet easy-going me, difficult to work with!
So, desperately — like a jilted lover — I thought maybe if I send her just ONE MORE EMAIL, I could win her over and secure a spot on The Daily Show.
So, while I sit desperately waiting for those additional 12 minutes of Andy Warhol-promised fame, I spend hours composing new emails to The Daily Show. Emails like:
Hello, Ms. Daily Show Producer:
Honestly, I really don’t need the M & M’s separated. That was more a wish than a demand. Also, I can do my own make-up and lighting. It will be fine.
And about the swag, if I could just have a coffee mug, honestly, that would be swell. I don’t need anything else.
Sincerely yours in desperate desire of fame and TV comedy show glory,
Karen, but not THAT Karen
I tried to get Jon on to discuss cool energy topics when Jon Stewart had the chair, and even appealed to him on the basis of their shared “correct spelling” of their first names. Made the first cut but alas, not the final one. You actually got a call!
Alas, still just a contender! Hope all is well with you. Good to hear from you!
Wow – I’m excited you even got the call. Your writing reaches far and wide!
It was admittedly a thrill, albeit a short-lived one! But a girl can dream!