Saturday, February 28, 2009

Medium Rare's Weakly Astrological Projections.

Astrological forecasts are provided for entertainment only. Please no wagering or gambling based on the information contained here in.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pisces- Rise above the horizon so you can see what is ahead. Don't forget to plan, but let it come without forcing it. Try a more diplomatic approach and see if there is an better way to see your mate. You are in your own way.

Aries- The fountain is flowing forth more than you can accept. Do not wish for abundance when it is pours out more than you can accept. Do not water down your ideas, stay single minded and strong.

Taurus- Have you been listening to the chicken littles of the world. You know the rumor is not true, and you know things are looking up. Be happy, work at being happy. Be strong and work hard for someone else in your life.

Gemini- Try to bridge the gap between what seems to be two entirely different ideas. One looks like the beginning the other an end. You are the connection that will make them both one. Focus on the center.

Cancer- It is sometimes ego to observe yourself too much. Keep a perspective, but realize that it is you watching yourself and you can't really be objective. Others have a stake it the outcome. Don't smother people with your words.


Leo- It is a roller coaster ride for you. There have been ups and downs happening so fast you can't keep track. In fact sometimes you have mistaken a valley for a hill. Don't worry the struggle is always followed by a hill to coast down. Save your strength for the next hill.

Virgo- You want to stay home, but force yourself to get out. The more you stay in your shell the more you will spiral downward. Go to that party, it will make you feel like a different person.


Libra- The path is straight and swift for you right now. Use the strength you have now to see the goal. Become one with your goal as the arrow becomes one with the target. Celebrate.

Scorpio- Don't be over blown. You can be bigger than life, but try being better not bigger. The bigger you are the more you need to help the smaller. Take care of the little ones, human and animal.

Sagittarius- There are things you are taking for granted in your life style. Be grateful and don't over indulge. Know that this time is a gift and treat it so. You may think you are in balance, but you are just a little bit off. Change your habits just to do something different.


Capricorn- You have some bad habits that need to be looked at. It doesn't seem to matter now, but you need to correct them now while you can and have time. Others may see you as pure as the driven snow, but be honest with yourself. You know what you need to do.

Aquarius - Combinations of seven and six are all good for you this month. There are seven days in the week use them all to reach your destination. Today is the sixth, it will be a lucky day for you.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Too Much Travel
I got this video from my friend Michael Holly. Michael is a fabulous juggler and the lead flash act at the Tropicana in Las Vegas. We recently worked together in Cabo.

The video is a time lapse of air traffic in an average 24 hour period around the world. Each yellow dot is an airplane. The whole thing is unsettling to my mind. It begins to look like some oozing yellow organism that either feeds off the planet or keeps it alive.

You be the judge.

video
I think I was on that one dot in the middle just the other day.

Have a great weekend and I'll write you on Monday.
As you were,
Jay

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Naked Truth
I went to see "Minsky's" last night. That's the new musical by the "Drowsy Chaperon" creators and producers. As you might have assumed it is based on the play, "The Night they Raided Minsky's" which for you infants was a famous New York Burlesque theatre in the 30's. I assume the show is heading to Broadway, if Broadway is still open when they get there.

It doesn't have the cleverness that Chaperon had, but it does have quick flashes of topless female dancers. In my opinion naked young women on stage that can compensate for many short comings of the lyrics, book and music. Perhaps not enough in this case. Better songs or more tits would be my suggestion.

My friend and stage manager Susie Walsh is the second SM for"Minsky's". Susie is very funny and has the best energy to be around. I absolutely think the world of her. I am trying to persuade her to take a major cut in salary and perhaps self esteem to stage manage my show here at the Colony in December. That decision will probably depend on Minsky's journey to New York.

Susie said that during one of the last scenes of the show all the girls are rushing around back stage naked. She turned to the lead tap dancer, a gay man, and said, "If either one of us liked to look at naked women, this would be the perfect job."

Thanks for the laugh, Susie. Do the Colony with me! How can I do it without you?
As you were,
Jay

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


The Magical
Mystery Tour








Although we are less than a month away, and details are still coming in, "The Two and Only" is coming to:

Geva Theatre NextStage
75 Woodbury Boulevard
Rochester, NY 14607

March 19 - March 29

I don't know if they have actually announced it yet, but I am planning to come do the show and I hope there will be someone there to watch. This is a Downstairs Theatre Group production at the GEVA Theatre. There could be some confusion over jurisdiction. When I have some more online information I will let you know.

For everyone who has asked when the show was coming East, well here it comes.
Hope to see you there.
As you were,
Jay

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Great Day for Gary Condit
I recounted my story about being in Boston during 9/11 and how I just missed being on AA flight #11 in this blog back in September. One thing I remember clearly that I didn't talk about then. The first phone call I got that morning. I was in a taxi trying to get away from Boston and somehow closer to California. The Hartford Airport Hilton was the place I decided to go until the airports opened and I could get home.

It was Harry Anderson who called me. He didn't even say hello he just said, "This is a great day for Gary Condit." It is the kind of gallows humor we share as friends and I laughed for the first time all morning.

Until flight #11 hit the World Trade Center, and for the summer months before, "the top story" on every news station was the disappearance of Chandra Levy. She was a young intern working in Washington, DC, romantically linked to a Washington Politician . The press was following a California Congressman named Gary Condit around, convinced that his alleged affair with Chandra Levy led to her death.

He was being hounded day and night by reporters. The career and private life as he knew them were over . Although he was never called a suspect by the police, in the eyes of Chandra's parents and the obsessive television watching public, he had killed Chandra and dumped her body somewhere. Isn't that what politicians do with ex-girlfriends?

Mid morning on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 the Gary Condit/Chanda Levy story ended abruptly. It was never mentioned again until yesterday. After eight years of quiet investigation DC detectives caught the guy who actually killed Chandra Levy. He is in jail serving a life sentence for acts of violence against other women. The killer wasn't Gary Condit. It wasn't a political murder or a love triangle gone bad, just a random act of opportunity by a predatory killer.

There won't be any apologies from the press. There won't be any law suits to restore Gary Condit's reputation, He is just another casualty of sorts. An innocent man brought down by our insatiable desire to voyeuristically make real life fit some Hollywood movie script. He probably isn't the last innocent man to be brought down by in a trial by media. With more "i -reporters" Youtube channels and video cameras in every cell phone I have the feeling it is only going to get worse.

I hope it is some sort of closure for the Levy family. And as for Gary Condit, this must be a another great day for him.
As you were,
Jay

Monday, February 23, 2009

Not Alaska!
I took this picture at LAX while I was waiting for a plane this week end.  It is not always you see the mountains that surround LA so clearly. The best time is after a rain.  In this case the rain in the Valley was snow at lower elevations in the Santa Monica range.  The snow doesn't last very long so this "Alps-like" show doesn't stay.  I'm glad I had my camera for the shot.  California is going though some rough times with the financial crisis world wide.  We just passed a budget for the state last week.  However, you can't beat the weather. I mean this is February, and at 72 degrees this is about all the snow that you ever have to deal with.
As you were,
Jay



Saturday, February 21, 2009

Medium Rare's Weakly Astrological Projections.

Astrological forecasts are provided for entertainment only. Please no wagering or gambling based on the information contained here in.

Saturday, February, 21, 2009

Pisces- Be aware when you are over doing it. Things are going well, but don't get lax. Celebrate in moderation. Celebration can become a deterant to moving forward. There will me time to pat yourself on the back later.

Aries-You have not been lucky recently, but it has not come to harm you. Something has kept the flow from running out. You will continue to be filled and soon the luck will turn around. It will be tempting to take the lid off, but remember it is what keeps the inner live safe.

Taurus- Get over your anger, the strife is all over now. It is time to blow it off. You don't have to fight or hide for fear, there are more options opening up. Wear something with feathers.

Gemini- It may be time to take on a cause. Help someone or some group who needs you. Your talents can make a dramatic change in the lives of others. It is time to show your light and let it shine for others.

Cancer- You missed that one o'clock appointment but it will be fine. Reschedule and you will hit the mark. Time to use your Zen state. Enjoy the sunshine.

Leo- There is something about the East that compels you life right now. It is a good thing. East is where the sun rises and this is the time of a new beginning for you. Where you were struggling to breath only months ago, now you are looking for a fresh new day and new way.

Virgo- A minor set back but things are going well. It is the tally at the end of the day that matters. Roller coasters can be fun, when you know they are really not going anywhere dangerous. Enjoy you pet.

Libra- You need to spend more time with the ones you love, particularly your number one lover. You are so comfortable with them it seems that you take them for granted. Love more, there is an economic swing coming soon.

Scorpio-- It is time for some smooth sailing. Everything is seasonal and now it is time to relax. Don't let indulgence dull your senses, watch that party personality. You need a clear head so you don't get over confident. Enjoy the ride. Do it now.

Sagittarius- Drama seems to be unavoidable, but it is not. Like a Greek tragedy on the stage it is just an illusion. Learn what you can from observing it without getting involved in it yourself. Have discussions not debates.

Capricorn- Just do it. Don't over think, it is better to make a move than just keep spinning. The only mistake is the fear of making a mistake. Each will be its own journey. Make the sale you are thinking about.


Aquarius - Your love life is front and center as you are looking to complete the circle with romance. Don't rush head long into a dark place. The rule for success is gentleness and grace. Try that instead.

Friday, February 20, 2009

IT'S NEVER TOO EARLY
to start planning a night at the Theatre

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Officer of the Dick
On a cruise ship the surveys at the end of the journey are the life blood of management. I have enjoyed mostly good notices and surveys with Royal Caribbean. You occasionally have people that don't like anything. I'm always prepared for the occasional ventrilophobic. Usually the ship management takes it by the numbers, if you get mostly good reviews they never say anything. They place greater value on the good notices than they do the bad ones. At least that is what I thought.

At the first part of the second half of my week. (Yes, that is correct. I split a week and get a shot at two sets of passengers.) Anyway, starting my second half, I was called into the production manager's office and told that I had gotten a couple of bad notices from the first set of passengers. The Production Manager was very serious and I couldn't imagine how I had offended anyone with the act that I do on a ship. It is as clean as a corporate show which is cleaner than a shot on network television. The shows had gone extremely well, and I was really pleased with the reaction. It is hit or miss on a ship given the day you go on, what time, how old the crowd is, and 10 other variables. But it all worked that night and I was very happy. So, I was baffled as to what was bad enough to be called into the office.

Very seriously the PM said, "Two bad notices... One person didn't like that you said the word Ass. Another person objected to your use of the word Pornography." I asked if this was a joke and he got a little offended. "No, they really complained." I started to giggle but he was treating it like it was a big problem. I asked if I had gotten any good notices. He said I got a lot of those. I asked if it was in the report that I got two standing ovations and the Revue show the night before had gotten none. Yes, that was in the report, he said. Do you want me to cut the words? No, he wasn't asking me to change anything, but I ran the risk of getting more bad notices if I didn't. I still couldn't believe we were even having this discussion. It did not seem to matter to the Production Manager that whomever wrote those surveys were obviously way out of touch. "They were passengers," he said. "No problem, " I said. "I will change the word Ass to Hiney....and instead of the word Pornography I will say Fuck Film." His jaw dropped and he began to stutter.

People with a tiny bit of power and no common sense should stop wasting time on ridiculous "meetings". I wish I had a survey to rate his performance. I would be able to use the word Ass in its proper context.

As you were,
Jay

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

This is quick and it is from my friend Mike Price,Genius. (That's not just my opinion it says so on his business card.His title is listed as "genius", just like Wylie Coyote) Mike is a comic writer and stand up. At his age I would suggest it is time for him to sit down. Nonetheless, he provides your laugh for today.

Ther is a new cocktail called the "Captain Sully": Two shots of Grey Goose and a slash of water.

Thanks MP. I'm back on land in about 12 hours. I'm not sea sick just sick of the sea.
As you were,
Jay

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I am catching a signal in St Thomas on my Black Berry. My friend A.Scott tells me if I kept my verizon World Wide data plan I could get the signal from the ship at sea. But alas after London I opted for a cheaper plan.

I love St Thomas. If the blog reads as if I am trying to sound like a Pirate it is because I am thumb typing, "arggh they be simple mistakes they be". I feel like I have been gone forever, time stands still at sea. That is a really good thing if you are on vacation but not when you are trying to do a show and move on.The audiences have been really good this run. Sometimes they are too old or too stupid on a ship.These audiences are like the baby bear in Goldie Locks, just right.

We are getting close to announcing a couple more cities in the 2009 "Still only Two" tour in addition to the Colony in December. We hope to be coming to a city near you soon.
Thumbs away and achors ahoy.
As you were,
Jay

Monday, February 16, 2009

Today is a very special day in the story of "The Two and Only".Feb 16, 1974 is the day I was booked to perform for the Miss Teenage America Pagent in Decatur, IL. It is the day I called my friend Art Sieving and ultimately became care taker of Harry O'Shea.

There aren't many anniversaries to my professional life, but this is certainly one. I guess I was subconsciously thinking of it last week when I waxed nostalgic about life's mentors. I regret that I never got to tell Art Sieving the impact he had on a young kid.

Perhaps like we celebrate Valentines Day we could find a date for Mentor's Day. Aren't the card companies always looking more dates to sell cards. From what I understand Mothers Day was a marketing invention of Hallmark.

So if the guy (or gal)who makes the rules is reading this right now...let's find a day.

As you were,
Jay

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Please excuse Mr. Johnson from his blog duties today. He is unable to submit his writing because of technical difficulties.

If he was able to write a blog, he might talk about the lonely Valentines Day he had yesterday texting loved ones from the ship. There was excitement when a drunken reveler fell over board. He attempted to walk the ships docking line bolstered by some alcohol induced courage/stupidity. He suffered a badly cut leg and was knocked unconscious for a moment. Luckily the ship was docked. Had it been moving I doubt they could have gotten to him in time.

Hopefully, Mr Johnson can fill you in when next he can blog.

Best regards,
Mr. Brown
www.monkeyjoke.com

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Medium Rare's Weakly Astrological Projections.

This forecast is specially prepared for Valentine's Day.  Medium Rare hopes you are with the one you love.  "BE COMPATABLE."

Astrological forecasts are provided for entertainment only. Please no wagering or gambling based on the information contained here in.

Saturday, February, 14, 2009

Aquarius- Your love life is front and center as you are looking to complete the circle with romance. Don't rush head long into a dark place. The rule for success is gentleness and grace.Try that instead.

Pisces- Some of your plans have not worked out like you thought. But stay in the moment. What you are doing now is preparing to make your future mark. The two actions are concurrent and you will soon see that this is the time you saw the target. Be free and fly.

Aries- The future is what you make it. If it seems there is less in front than behind you are looking in the wrong direction. Today is a new day no different from yesterday, make it what you want it to be. Don't carry the past around, it is a weigh on your shoulders.

Taurus- As the year comes to and end you are amazed that plans have worked out better than you thought. What was going to be a break even is now looking like a profit. Keep doing what you are doing you are on the right path.

Gemini - You don't want to become too routine. You learn from the odd and the obscure and as an artist you need to be stimulated. Don't let the challenge get to you. Know that it is all about learning and expressing yourself.

Cancer - There are rough days and there are calm days, but they are just days. Nothing is permanent but change. You can write your name in the lake but it won't stay. Know that the calm waters of you home port is just ahead.

Leo-Combinations of seven and six are all good for you this month. There are seven days in the week use them all to reach your destination. Today is the sixth, it will be a lucky day for you.

Virgo- The future is what you make it. If it seems there is less in front than behind you are looking in the wrong direction. Today is a new day no different from yesterday, make it what you want it to be. Don't carry the past around, it is a weigh on your shoulders.

Libra- Just when you thought there was no room to go up, the trend fooled you. Things are brighter than the world is telling you. You see the future as bright and it will be the way you see it. Stay focused on the prize.

Scorpio- If it seems like you have been fighting a trend you have. If you are going in circles you at times you will be going the same way as the crowd. That doesn't mean you are part of them, you are just going that direction any way. Try to keep a clear head and focus on the goal.

Sagittarius- Try to bridge the gap between what seems to be two entirely different ideas. One looks like the beginning the other an end. You are the connection that will make them both one. Focus on the center.

Capricorn- The number eleven is important this month. Follow where it leads it is a sign of direction. There may be several blocks in your way, but there is a path. Look for the signs which are sometimes not written in stone.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Trying to reach Neptune
This morning I will catch a plane that eventually connects me with a ship docked at Curacao half a world away from Los Angeles.   I know from many such experiences that once I'm aboard, my Internet access will be limited and expensive.  I think the rate is still 75 cents a minute with a connection that is as slow as a 57k modem.  I remember once running up a charge of fifteen dollars on a ship before I even got to log onto the dashboard of my blog.  The ship's antenna now allows Verizon customers to make cell calls (at a very expensive roaming charge) but the cell phone texting and Internet features are disabled.  They make you have to use the slow, expensive computers at the ships Internet CafĂ© for that.

Contrary to what is shown in the television ads, for me a cruise becomes quickly boring. I used to be able to bring guests aboard, but tight economics have cut that perk way back. Sandi can still come with me, but right now she is working "The Big Bang Theory" for CBS.  

So, eventually even a 30 dollar session on one of the ships computers seems like a good deal, if it will help the time pass more quickly. All of this means I probably won't have a chance to blog much during the coming week.  If we dock where I can catch a cell tower, off ship, for my BlackBerry then I can "thumb" in a blog, but I never know when that might happen.  So there may be a few days of" blog black out".  Medium Rare will still be able to publish the Astrological Forecasts on Saturday to there will be a little activity.  

On the upside there are usually some funny things that happen during these cruises and I will have more stuff to write about when I get the chance.  Until then, Ahoy, Avast, Weigh Anchor and watch your Keel.
As you were,
Jay

Monday, February 09, 2009

And.... Action
I mention Jay Sandrich, the director of SOAP, in "The Two and Only". We had and still have a great friendship. The "Two and Only" is a show about ventriloquism, but also about mentors and, although I don't actually identify Mr. Sandrich is a mentor, he fits all the qualifications. My co-creator/producer/actor/friend Paul Kreppel would definitely agree and uses the term mentor clearly in reference to our friend Jay Sandrich.

I offer the following into evidence:

Often Chuck and Bob would have a single line in the entire weekly script of SOAP. Granted it was usually a great line and got a laugh, but I wouldn't say I was ever heavy in a weekly episode. I remember one time in the Campbell living room, I had no lines at all. I distinctly remember the script said, "Chuck and Bob are sitting on the couch." That was it.

So on the first day of rehearsals for that scene Jay Sandrich asked me, "What are you going to be doing on the couch when the scene opens?" You see acting is not just the words you say, but what you are doing while you say them... that is why it is called "acting" not just "talking". I would ultimately learn that lesson watching Jay Sandrich direct.

Danny, played by Ted Wass, was also in the scene. I think he had a line or two later but the scene opened with us just hanging out. Here is where the creative mind of a great director takes over. Jay said, "What if you and Danny are playing a game? How about checkers?" The prop man got us a checker board and we set it up so Danny and Chuck could be involved playing the game at the top of the scene. The first run through we just sort of mimed a game without much thought, after all the scene was about Burt and Mary and really didn't involve us.

Second run through Jay gave us some more business and kept adding to it each time we did it. Here is what we finally ended up with.

At the top of the scene Chuck moves a checker. Danny thinks for a moment and starts to make his move. As he does, Bob, watching the game from Chucks lap, shakes his head and says, "Nah." Danny takes the move back and starts to make another. He looks at Bob and Bob says, "Nope." Danny takes the move back . As he starts for another checker Bob says, "Definitely not." Danny retreats and thinks about it for a long time. Danny finally makes his move and Bob says, "Oh Yeah". Immediately Chuck jumps four of Danny's checkers and wins the game.

It got a huge laugh from the audience, and as it turned out it was my only laugh in the show that week. It wasn't written, it wasn't part of the plot it was just the way a great director adds life to a scene. For me, it was the difference of being an active character in the scene or just a piece of furniture. There were countless other times when Chuck and Bob got a laugh not because of the snappy line or clever delivery, but because of the business Jay Sandrich gave us to do.

I don't know how you thank someone for having such an affect on your career and your life. How do you truly give back to a mentor? One way I guess is to let others know who it was that helped you and what they did. Society quickly points the finger at those who have a negative impact, let's start celebrating the people who light the torch and at least say thank you.

Thank you Mr. Sandrich.

As you were,
"The other" Jay

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Medium Rare's Weakly Astrological Projections.

Astrological forecasts are provided for entertainment only. Please no wagering or gambling based on the information contained here in.

Saturday, February, 7, 2009

Aquarius- You don't want to become too routine. You learn from the odd and the obscure and as an artist you need to be stimulated. Don't let the challenge get to you. Know that it is all about learning and expressing yourself.

Pisces- You are traveling soon. The holidays look very bright for you. You can make the old ways and your new person fit together an easy way. Just be who you are now and don't worry about how people have seen you in the past. This is another major passage for you.

Aries- Legal matters have not been resolved. Make sure you are not trying to find justice in the legal system. The justice is in yourself. Give the legal system that which is needs and stay out of the fray as much as you can.

Taurus - Some of your plans have not worked out like you thought. But stay in the moment. What you are doing now is preparing to make your future mark. The two actions are concurrent and you will soon see that this is the time you saw the target. Be free and fly.

Gemini- Be aware when you are over doing it. Things are going well, but don't get lax. Celebrate in moderation. Celebration can become a deterant to moving forward. There will me time to pat yourself on the back later.

Cancer- Just when you thought there was no room to go up, the trend fooled you. Things are brighter than the world is telling you. You see the future as bright and it will be the way you see it. Stay focused on the prize..

Leo- That project of cleaning out the closet is still waiting. Remember when you go through that storage unit, you are cleaning up your mental attitudes as well. Get rid of the old stuff and make use of the good things that have been sitting there waiting for you to get back to them.

Virgo- You are traveling soon. The holidays look very bright for you. You can make the old ways and your new person fit together an easy way. Just be who you are now and don't worry about how people have seen you in the past. This is another major passage for you.

Libra- Set backs last month seem to be coming into focus. You are still the king of the jungle, but the rules change daily. A king rules by accepting the changes and making them his own. Rule by compassion and forgive often.

Scorpio - That project of cleaning out the closet is still waiting. Remember when you go through that storage unit, you are cleaning up your mental attitudes as well. Get rid of the old stuff and make use of the good things that have been sitting there waiting for you to get back to them.

Sagittarius- Legal matters have not been resolved. Make sure you are not trying to find justice in the legal system. The justice is in yourself. Give the legal system that which is needs and stay out of the fray as much as you can.

Capricorn- Just when you thought there was no room to go up, the trend fooled you. Things are brighter than the world is telling you. You see the future as bright and it will be the way you see it. Stay focused on the prize.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Network Test
Part 2 of 2 parts


I can't think of anything more intimidating, more defeating and more odious to say to someone about to audition a Network test for a cutting edge comedy show than, " Wow, you better really be funny." I sank deeper into the devil couch. Like Alice in wonderland either the room was getting bigger or I was getting smaller. I couldn't study the script any more. As I seemed to be getting smaller the task became insurmountable.

Perhaps another 20 minutes past slowly by. I watched the blond receptionist perform her job. It consisted of being intimidatingly beautiful and telling visitors to have a seat and wait. Once the blond had shown you the seat she was done with you. Eventually an assistant to the person you were waiting to see would come out to the lobby and lead you to the proper office. I did notice there was a hidden drawer in the large, shiny, hardwood desk. It contained basic survival gear for the blond. There was a small compact mirror, lipstick, eye shadow and a few other necessities. When no one was looking the blond would secretly open the drawer and take a quick survey of her appearance.

After some more time the casting directors came back out to my shrinking universe to say that Pam Dixon had been freed from the elevator. She was heading to her office. If she felt like it, the Network test would continue, if she didn't then the whole experience would have to be rescheduled. There was one thing that I didn't want to do, and that was come back and do this all over again. The casting directors left but not before once again planting the seeds of a mind f---. They parted with this admonition. "Be up and ready and BE FUNNY. Pam is really going to need a laugh if we get to do this today." Thanks ladies, just shoot me now.

Eventually, the ladies returned to say the test is happening. "She seems like she is in a good mood but let's get it over quickly before that changes." They begin to walk me down a very long hallway to the inter sanctum of Pam Dixon. I don't remember much about the walk except retreating into my own mind movie. I was flanked by two guards named Bertrand and Billy Bob. Bertrand would yell out "dead man walkin' " as we pass the other cells. Eddie "the hatchet" could be heard playing a dirge on his harmonica from the last cell before the gas chamber. They opened the door to the chamber and there were all the witnesses lined up ready to watch.

Pam Dixon was behind a big desk, her assistant sat in a chair on the right side of her taking notes. Filling the couch was Paul Witt, Tony Thomas and Jay Sandrich. The casting directors took chairs to my left. A couple of people who went unidentified stood at the back.The only unoccupied seat was in the middle of the room at the center of the semicircle. It was my seat.

There were pleasantries exchanged. How do you do. Nice to meet you. Sorry for the wait. Then came that uncomfortable silence that precedes the start of reading an audition scene. Fortunately I had a champion in the room, the director of the show, Jay Sandrich. He immediately took charge. I will always remember his words and be grateful.

"Pam, we are really blessed to find Jay to play this part. Now that we know who we are writing for we plan to adapt it to his performance. Do you want him to read what we have so far? It is going to change and be rewritten."

Pam Dixon said, "I know Jay's work. I've seen him at the Horn. He doesn't have to read the scene just do one of his routines for me." This is exactly what I did and Pam Dixon laughed. When I finished the room broke into applause as I packed SQUEAKY back into his case.

Jay Sandrich said, "Thank you. Now if you will just wait back out in the reception area while we talk about you, we'll let you know our decision."

A huge weight rolled off my back. It was so much easier to do my routines than to read the script. I skipped back to the mausoleum. I smiled and nodded at the blond who did not remember I had been there before. The room seemed a little smaller, or perhaps my head had grown to fit. In either case it was the first time I had been able to relax in a couple of weeks.

But that didn't last long as the time began to slowly pass by once again. Thirty minutes went by. No one was coming out to talk to me. Why was the decision taking so long? Either Pam liked me or she didn't. She said she knew my club work, which was nothing more than a cosmic gift. Were they having to convince her that the part with me in it worked? I was now imagining all kinds of negative scenarios that were going on in that office.

Finally Jay Sandrich appeared. He was smiling. He came up to me and said, "We forgot you were here. You got the job. Pam loves your work and seems to be a fan. We started talking about her experience in the elevator and everyone forgot why we were here. You can go... you're done...congratulations. They'll give you a call but I'll see you on Monday."

And from that moment on my life took a really exciting turn.

Epilogue: There is a side bar to this whole experience. I found out much later that Pam was in a great mood that day even though she had been stranded in an elevator for a couple of hours. It seems that a young improv comic happened to be in the same elevator car that day. He began to adlib bits and do material off the top of his head entertaining the small audience of elevator riders. They laughed so hard that time passed very quickly. Spirits were high and everyone remained calm during the entire ordeal. The comic was arriving at ABC to attend a concept meeting for a new series that was about to start production. The series was "Mork and Mindy" and the comic was Robin Williams.

It may be the last time that Robin Williams will be my opening act, but Thanks Robin. You sort of made the day that changed my life.

As you were,
Jay

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Network Test
Part 1
Before I could be hired to play the part of Chuck and Bob on SOAP I had to go though what is called a Network test. I think in the olden days it was actually a filmed screen test. Now rather than wasting money on film the test is just a reading for the heads of the Network. In my case I had to get the approval from head of casting for ABC network. I remember her name was Pam Dixon.

At the time ABC Network offices were located on the 10th floor of a prominent building in Century City. The main reception area for the Network was an impressive two story marble like structure that resembled a mausoleum, cold, shiny, sterile and not particularly inviting.

Directly off the elevator was a long hardwood conference desk polished to an incredible shine. This was the day before personal computers but even at that there was nothing on the desk not even a note pad, nothing except a beautiful designer multi-line telephone. The phone was used by a receptionist who was a young, stunningly beautiful blond lady; a model type who was dressed like she had just come back from a fashion shoot. The blond was about six feet tall and wore stiletto heels. She actually stood up when I approached the desk. Between the two story entrance and her height with heels, I felt very small. I found out later that the ABC reception area had actually been designed specifically to make new arrivals feel small and valueless. It was a well crafted first salvo in the dangerous executive game of brinkmanship.

I told the receptionist I was there to see Pam Dixon. She rang her office. I remember she said "There is 'a' Jay Johnson to see Ms Dixon" as if I was one of many Jay Johnsons scheduled. As I remember, it was as if you could replace any ones name with the word clown. "There is a clown to see Ms Dixon. The blond said it would be a moment and invited me to have a seat on the couch.

The seating area was basically a couch, a couple of chairs and a low coffee table. Like the blonde's desk the low table was hard wood, shiny and completely devoid of any kind of clutter. Usually a waiting area has magazines or something. This table had nothing. It was the days before smoking was banned from buildings, but the table didn't even display an ashtray.

The couch was black over stuffed leather with very soft padding. When I sat down I almost sank to the floor. I was eye level to the arm rest of the couch. Again it was designed to make you feel small, and it was working. My nerves were on edge and I felt like the most insignificant person in the world. What was a ventriloquist doing at ABC, I thought.

Soon the casting directors for SOAP arrive. They said hello and have a copy of the script we are going to read. They ask me if I need a copy, but I was at that moment clutching a dog eared copy of my own. The casting ladies seem more nervous than me and are saying things like "Wow, big day. A lot riding on this audition, huh? This is probably the hardest thing you will ever have to do. Doing the work is much easier than this process... well, good luck" and they are ushered immediately into Pam Dixon's office.

Next the producers arrive with director Jay Sandrich. Jay Sandrich says, hi. He is a very nice guy and I was calmed for the moment. He also says to me, "Don't worry, just do it like you did it for us at the audition." The producers say nothing to me but reluctantly acknowledge my presence. (Note: the producers of SOAP remain some of the most unapproachable social misfits in the business). They are all quickly hustled down the hall to the mysterious office.

I am alone again with just the intimidating blond receptionist posing at her desk across the marble room. I smile at her, but she deflects the smile with body language that clearly tells me she is not there to socialize with me. Time does not fly by. I wait and wait and wait some more. I study my lines so much that I start to forget them. I go from the calming words of Jay Sandrich to a heart racing panic attack but I am still waiting.

After 45 minutes or more the SOAP casting directors come out to the couch. I try to stand up thinking it is finally time. It is very difficult to get out of the couch that has engulfed me. But the casting girls tell me to keep my seat, they aren't ready for me yet. It seems Pam Dixon is not there. As soon as she arrives we will start.

More time goes by and again the casting directors come out. I don't even try to get up this time, I'm not sure it is possible, the couch is actually devouring me. The casting ladies tell me that Pam is not there because she is at this very minute stuck in an elevator between floors of the building. She has been trapped for more than an hour and although they are trying to get the elevator running again, the engineers have no idea when they will be able to free the passengers.

Upon delivery of this news the ladies begin to contemplate between themselves what it means saying things to each other like: "I hope she is not claustrophobic. Can you imagine being stuck like that?... what a panic. I wonder if the lights are on or maybe they are in total darkness. Do you suppose she will feel like listening to a reading when she does get out? Wonder what kind of mood she is going to be in..." Then one of them turns to me and without really thinking about it says.... "Wow, you better really be funny today." And they walk back to the mystery office.

To Be Continued tomorrow.....

As you were,
Jay

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

To Be Continued...

When I said I wanted to be an entertainer as a kid the detracts would say, "What do want to do that for? The best you can hope for is performing in the middle of nowhere for a bunch of drug dealers. " Well, here I am at a resort in the middle of the Arizona desert performing for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. I guess I have arrived at my destiny.

I am thumb typing on my BB so this blog will short. Tomorrow I want to tell the story of my ABC network audition for SOAP. Although I talk about the call back audition in my show (Tony Award winner) the Two and Only there is an interesting story that was cut from the script.

As you were,
Jay
www.monkeyjoke.com

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Memorabilia
In my Tony Award© winning show...I never get tired of saying that. Besides it really is an obligation. It is a title bestowed on the show by the American Theatre Wing. It's like the show was knighted and now has to have a Sir in front of its name. Besides, I am really proud of that accomplishment and it's fun to say. Okay, enough justification of my own insecurities.

In my Tony Award© winning show I mention an ad in Daily Variety that changed my life. It was the open call for ventriloquists when they were casting Chuck and Bob for SOAP. This very ad is quoted in the dialogue of my show toward the middle. When writing that scene, I wanted to make sure I was remembering and quoting it correctly. There was no doubt that I had kept the ad but couldn't remember where it was filed. Well, it suddenly appeared yesterday.

I am gathering memorabilia to send to Vent Haven Museum in the next week. A few puppets, box of video tapes, old pictures and tons of newspaper clippings. The museum plans to catalogue the items and archive them. In one of my files labeled "dressing room bulletin board" I found the Variety ad. The dressing room referred to in the label is obviously my old SOAP dressing room.

I scanned a picture of the ad along with a ticket to a taping of SOAP and published it above. On the back of the ad, in my own hand writing, is the name and number of Linda Otto the casting director. I am not sure if I will be sending this ad along with the rest of the clippings headed for the Museum or not. Now that I have found it I want to hang on to it for awhile. Besides I'm not sure anyone but me would ever appreciate the significance of a two column inch ad.

The satisfying thing is, even though I did not have it for reference when writing The Two and Only, I did quote it correctly in the show. I guess in reality it was never misplaced since it was in my head the entire time.
As you were,
Jay

Monday, February 02, 2009

Puzzle of the Day
My Mom and Dad like to assemble jig saw puzzles in their spare time. I thought about my increasing number of canvases and realized that Mom and Dad are going through the same thing with puzzles. Where do you put them once you have assembled them? Some have found their way onto their walls, but here is a digital solution. Below is a link to the "Puzzle of the day". I don't know what the real name of the picture is, but I call it... "Clown fish in Macroni" ...."Itallian Sushi" or "Nemo is No -mo' "

Click on the arrow and it will shuffle all the pieces, then try to make it look like this again.
Happy puzzling Mom and Dad.
Click to Mix and Solve

As you were,
Jay

Sunday, February 01, 2009