Thursday, December 31, 2009

But Seriously.

It was fun, bitching for eight days about overeating and braving the cold. We get it – I’m a fat pussy.

Little did I know that a really nice actor from my workshop named Jonathan Thompson had a serious motorcycle accident in early December – not his fault – and wound up fracturing multiple bones in his body, including his jaw, pelvis, knee, arm, etc., etc.

His mom came into town from Virginia to care for him, and has been blogging about the horrendous facility taking care of her son. She seems to be quite a great mom, having quite a crappy holiday season.

So, how about before we all go out and get obliterated tonight, we stop by the website Jonathan’s mom has set up and sign the guestbook. Can’t think of two people who could use more holiday cheer right about now:

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Day 8: Pressurized Pressure.

As I write this on the flight back to Los Angeles, and realize I may be the first man to post a blog entry from 32,000 feet, I feel a Neil Armstrong-esque obligation to say something that will resonate for eternity.

Let’s see… hey, the inflight entertainment is starting, and it’s Hannah Montana: The Movie. Sweet.

Oh, no wait – that doesn’t count. Dammit!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Day 7: Ooh, Shiny.

It takes them eight months to select the Rock Center tree – I figured the least I could do was pull over and snap a pic... I overeat so much when I’m here that whenever I pass I mirror, I look for bubbles over my head like you see in comic strips… Odd scenario: I like to stay on Cali time, and my mom likes to get up early for the day-after-Christmas outlet center sale, so she woke up to leave before I went to bed… Speaking of old broads and sleep, as I exited Sherlock Holmes (good, but see Up in the Air first), some yenta was griping about “not being able to stay awake at these late-night movies.” The flick started at 8:15, Aunt Bea.

Day 6: Hello, My Name Almost Was:

Tucked away in my mom’s bedroom is a baby-naming book with a scrap of paper inside. It’s a list of all of the possible names for me, written before I was born.

I firmly believe that a name makes the man – call your kid Waldo, and chances are he won’t be suiting up for the Packers on Sundays. So I hereby review each of the finalists, and the accompanying profession had my mom and dad chosen it:
  • Blaine – male nurse
  • Blair – male shampooer
  • Brent – Ponzi scheme kingpin
  • Brett – weather guy who prefers the term “meteorologist”
  • Cary – towel boy for the WNBA
  • Eric – Geek Squad assistant manager
  • Greg – white 7-Eleven employee
  • Ian – suicide hotline operator whose job is outsourced to India
  • Ives – Civil War reenactor
  • Jeffrey – owner of New Jersey’s best slow-speed dial-up service
  • Jeremy – mobile pet groomer
  • Neal – janitor who huffs glass cleaner while on the clock
  • Olin – chimney sweep
  • Oran – creator of an iPhone app that helps you locate the nearest rub ‘n tug
  • Todd (which they did choose as my middle name) – semi-pro foosball player
  • Victor – utility infielder in the Astros organization
  • Kerry – bed & breakfast owner who’s a little too touchy/feely
  • Wendy Beth – Tiger Woods mistress

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day 5: God, With The Buzzkill.

White Christmas, postponed by rain…

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Day 4: I Prefer The Term “Caucasian” Christmas.

Back in Cali, I tried to explain to Danielle the Hottie Haircutter the term “wind chill factor.” I should have stabbed my ears with the cutting shears as a demo… What do you get when you pair my favorite actor with my favorite director? Up in the Air, the second-best movie of the year. (Inglorious Basterds is #1.) Us Jews saw it Christmas Eve – now it’s your turn… My mom’s neighbors have a litter of nine kids. I’d call that some serious W.T. action if they didn’t live in such a cool, 200-year-old house (next door to the one above, which is the one I grew up in)… I put on six pounds in the first two days here, thus unseating my dog for the title of chubbiest dude in our apartment… More pornstaches on the TV news teams here than I remember… The term “bums” is very much kept alive by Mets fans who call in to bitch about their team on local sports radio.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Day 3: Merry Christmas.

Matt, Petey and Mexican Santa Claus

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Day 2: Culture. And All That Crap.

Quality, original theater vs. adapted-kid-movie theater. It’s the difference between champagne and carbonated pee.

I blogged about this once before, and people got all worked up. What I learned was that everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion, but I’m entitled to fact. And last night, I saw a David Mamet play on Broadway called Race that truly backs me up. It was perfect.

Only James Spader can play a lawyer this charismatic. David Alan Grier got the most out of his Yale drama degree. Kerry Washington was hot and focused. And Richard Thomas – well, John Boy has grown up.

Mamet did such a nice job with his writing that the senile folks in the audience actually unwrapped their hard candies gingerly, so as not to miss a word.

If you make it to New York this year, see this play. That is, unless you prefer the domestic pee.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Day 1: 16° And Snowy.

Yeah, it’s cold here. The “change of seasons” just blows donkey… Suck it, smokers. I used to feel your pain on a long flight in the form of Internet withdrawal. But last night I had in-flight Internet for the first time, with full access to the porn box the entire way to New York. It was nerd’s delight… Getting on the plane, a kooky chick in front of me asked two flight attendants if we were going to get to JFK before or after our arrival time of 11:20. They shrugged their shoulders and then, when the woman was out of earshot, one said, “The effin' crystal ball reader ain’t working today.” I told her that was awesome… Even though I grew up in this house, I’m not here much anymore, and if I have to get up to piss in the middle of the night, let's hope my mom isn’t counting on 100% accuracy.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

63° And Snowy.

Let’s see: I get every Yankee telecast online, Mulberry Street Pizza flies in their water and there’s snow on the streets of L.A. It’s official: New York has been rendered obsolete.

I got to trudge through this winter wonderland on the way to my agent’s birthday party the other night. A film was being shot on Normandie in downtown L.A., and the crew had done an amazing job creating remarkably real snow in some rather balmy temps.

While New York is dead to me, my ticket there for the holiday has already been purchased, and I’m heading out today. I’m taking the blog with me to Angry Town, along with my Kevlar vest – no dying allowed before I get to wolf down my mom’s latkes. Talk soon.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Why Thank You.

I was shocked when I heard that after recently hosting “Saturday Night Live,” Taylor Swift was the first host to ever send the cast and crew hand-written thank-you notes and gifts. That’s 35 seasons full of rude, cheap-ass MFs before Taylor did the right thing. Give that doll the extra half-point and bump her up to a ten.

What makes this so much of a head-scratcher for me is that I put pen to paper thrice a week and thank the casting directors that come in to my workshop. I’ve corralled a few portions of the ones I’ve written, and pasted them below. They all reference scenes the CDs assigned me, thus making them out of context, but oddly interesting:
  • "It was nice to take a night off from dealing with my mother issues to do a scene about father issues."
  • "If I had a nickel for every psychiatrist who pronounced me “cured,” I’d be broke."
  • "If I had a nickel for every stripper I drove home, only to turn down her advances, I’d be broke."
  • "I’ve never pulled off the perfect divorce, but when it comes to getting dumped, I’m a Viking."
  • "For the record, I’ll only perform my Jewish man-sneeze in return for beer tickets and pretzels."
  • "I would have turned out way cooler if my parents had named me Rafe Hernandez Shevin."
  • By the way, I would never racially profile against anyone – except white folks."
  • "The only thing tougher than getting through a gory embalming is getting through your mom’s bat mitzvah. You’re a mensch."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

An Amendment.

Screw being Derek Jeter’s stand-in. My whole life has led up to this latest actor search:

Must stand 5'9'-6'0' and be an appropriate weight (185-195 lbs). Black hair, matching skin tone a must.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Incorrigible Namedropping.

I can’t quite put my finger on what stands out the most about “Extreme Home Makeover.” Maybe it’s the lack of empty beer cans on the job site. Or the contractor who has washboard abs and actually shows up when he says he will. Let’s go with all of the above.

We had a bit of a wait for Ty Pennington, but it was a damn good wait, seeing as it took place in the green room of “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” complete with a fully-operating bar, catered food and ESPN News on giant plasmas. I just got a retroactive boner.

Ty was the nicest, most outgoing guy, with a smokin’-hot girlfriend and a photo autographed by Kermit the Frog which he claimed was his prize possession that he takes everywhere with him. He’s a big kid who loves life.

I’ll now make one more sweeping generalization, following my love of all Canadians: guys named Pennington are damn good people. Chad Pennington is the classiest guy in the NFL, and Ty Pennington is just classy, period. Ask Kermit.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bald-Faced Namedropping.

Hilary Duff is all of 22, and has a gorgeous, perfectly-furnished home, and a Mercedes G550 SUV parked in her driveway.

When I was 22, I had a filthy couch that had been my brother’s at his fraternity.

I still have that couch.

My favorite part of recording Hilary was keeping her four dogs from yapping the whole time. Risa and I divided and conquered: she took care of the Yorkie and a Chihuahua, while I recorded with one hand and alternated between Chihauhau #2 and the Border Collie with my other hand. Done and done.

I don’t trust anyone that doesn’t like dogs, so Hilary is good stuff in my book. And as long as she’s doing her part to rescue what seemed to be half of the strays in L.A., I’m going to defy the “Gossip Girl” demographic and tune in to her show. Join me.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gettin’ Five-O On My Ass.

The other night, on my way to a casting workshop, I hustled up La Brea Blvd., otherwise known as the Hollywood Grand Prix.

At a red light, I encroached a couple of feet into a crosswalk before stopping. The stoplight camera, however, assumed I was cruising through, and lights flashed as it snapped my pic. I quickly took my own photo, above, and emailed it to myself, hoping it’ll serve as some sort of proof that I put the brakes on.

I’m not sure if every city has these godforsaken contraptions at their intersections, but here in commuter-heavy Los Angeles, they carry a lingering reputation as the Darth Vader of rush hour.

So now I watch the mail, waiting for a ticket and a wallet-size photo of me at the light. But let me make this clear: I’m not going to be bamboozled out of 450 bucks for something I didn’t do. Bring it, pigs.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Flagrant Namedropping.

I can’t pinpoint why I’ve never seen an episode of “Desperate Housewives,” but I’ve got a theory: the title of the show contains two of my least favorite things.

Andrea Bowen plays Teri Hatcher’s daughter on the show, and while I assume her TV family is even more dysfunctional than my real family, it sure ain’t art imitating life.

Andrea lives in the guest house behind her family’s home, which we walked through on our way to record her. Her fellow-actor brothers and sisters were well-adjusted and sweet. Her parents put hors d’oeuvres in our hands as we passed. The place smelled like Christmas.

I’m Fedexing the adoption papers over there in the morning. Nice knowing you, mom.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Unabashed Namedropping.

I’m going Larry King USA Today column stream-of-consciousness-style on this one:

Paris Hilton lives in a fancy, gated community, and the guard told us that to find her house, just look for the matching light-blue and pink Bentleys out front… Over her doorbell is a large metal plaque with raised letters that say “Princess Paris”… She has a big waiting room where her very cute assistant sits, and a bunch of Paris’ clothing, purse and perfume products are displayed in glass cases… Her Chihuahuas, who run in a big pack, greet you before her, all wearing tiny holiday sweaters, and jump right into your lap. Points for the owner of small dogs that aren’t skittish… Paris was beautiful, extra dolled-up after doing an interview and a quick photoshoot… She’s done thousands of magazine covers, and every one is framed in her house… Stripper pole in her bedroom… We recorded in her “music room,” which had an elaborate mixing board, and music-related posters of Paris in bikinis, if you can imagine… Arguably one of the more surreal experiences of my weekend.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pardon Me While I Break My TV In Two.

When I was a little kid, our next-door neighbors took pity on us Jews by inviting us over to help decorate their Christmas tree. Fond childhood memory, yes. Fascinating, hardly.

Yesterday, I saw an actor search for something called “TLC's Invasion Of The Christmas Lights”:

We need a man with a FAMILY that wants to put lights up on his house for the very first time. We provide the budget for lights, he and his family do the decorating. We want fun, interesting, intriguing families with a lot of LOVE and ENTHUSIASM for Christmas.

Question for The Learning Channel: what exactly are we going to learn? That the goyim like shiny things? Come on.

I thought I loathed reality TV before, but I was mistaken. Calling this show crap is an insult to crap.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Drop-Dead Namedropping.

I’d kinda been hoping I wouldn’t see the inside of Jay Leno’s green room until I had some tremendous project to plug. Yet there I was, in the epicenter of Hollywood success, and the only thing close to a project for me was combating the silverfish behind my toilet.

Jay Leno is the latest celeb on the Winter Olympic Voiceover Tour. Really good guy. Does dress in all denim. Isn’t as tall or heavy in person as you'd expect. And he's very composed – as we recorded him, people kept entering the room and interrupting, but he kept his cool and was gracious. He’s a calmer man than I.

As much as I tried not to enjoy being there, I just wasn’t successful. Though as we walked out, Matt Damon came strolling in with his wife and daughter, and for a second I wished a gypsy had switched Matt and I at birth. Just tell me that the Oscars are on the same par as the Tacoma Film Festival, and I’ll sleep better tonight.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Namedrop, Therefore I Am.

I’ve learned a few things over the years. Like if you want to keep your jeans from fading, turn them inside-out when you wash them. And if you want to learn how to be a great kisser, watch a lot of lesbian porn.

One more thing: all Canadians are cool. I’ve never met one I didn’t like, including the most recent one, Eric McCormack, as the Winter Olympic voiceover tour continued.

Eric is exactly what I hoped he’d be: the straight version of Will. Friendly. Outgoing. Remembers your name. And self-deprecating – he couldn’t believe how cold he, a Toronto native, was feeling yesterday. Though that’s justifiable. Temps the last few days in L.A. have dropped to an ungodly 45 degrees, leaving us formerly tough, northeast types crying in our Snuggies.

It’s been said you should never meet your heroes, but for every philandering prick like Tiger Woods is a guy who really gets it. Go Canada.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Profiles In Showbiz.

Michael Merton. Or as he’s more commonly known: kickass actor/acting coach/recent-new-friend-of-mine-on-Facebook.

Chances are, if you own a TV, you’ve seen Michael, guest-starring in countless top TV shows (And if you don’t own a TV, de-friend me on Facebook tout suite.)

Last week, as Michael and I attended a casting-director workshop, an actress suffering from a nasty cold got up to a do a scene. I told her she should have done it from home on speakerphone, then leaned over to Michael and told him that if that luxury were possible, I’d have him call in and nail my scene for me. “Nah," he said. "The casting director would hear my baldness.”

Genius. Hire him.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Once Again, Namedropping.

Yesterday, I boldly went where no man has ever gone before – but a lot of smokin' babes probably have: William Shatner’s private office.

I was there with my friend/super event coordinator Risa to record another voiceover for the upcoming Winter Olympics.

By the way, I realize I shouldn’t be too starstruck with these folks, seeing as I’m going to eventually be working with them, but it’s nice to meet them in pressure-free settings. I’m also in the middle of writing my next film, and the next one, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to feel a connection with some talent.

William was funny and cool, and pretty spry for a 78 year old. He was fascinated by the DAR device we used to record him, and claimed he loved high-tech gadgets but never had any idea how to use them. It was right then that I realized who he reminded me of: my dad.

On the obligatory matter of his hairpiece, I stood right over William and got a good look, and it seemed to me that he’d upgraded to a very well-done hair transplant. TJ Hooker is a stud.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Festivus, Part XXXIX.

It’s a geographical fact: here in SoCal, the natives can’t distinguish Maine from Vermont from New Hampshire. You might as well ask them to single out each non-Alec Baldwin brother – they’re all interchangeable, and one of them’s a bit too religiousy.

Well here’s something noteable about New Hampshire: they’ve got damn good taste in films. The New Hampshire Film Festival is the 39th fest to accept The Beneficiary. Well played, NH.

And for the record, Baldwin-wise, Billy is Alec before Alec got plump, Daniel is Alec after he got plump and Stephen found Jesus when he no longer found acting work. Piece of cake.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Actor Search I Thank God I’m Not Right For.


Caucasian Male, height 5'6-5'7. We have a wig so you do not have to match hair. Must be physically fit and well-toned, but not huge. Will be shirtless and possible in briefs in scene.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Only 21 Shopping Days.

My everlasting affection can be purchased, for a mere 5500 bucks.

The jersey John Belushi wore while playing for Wheaton Central High School in Illinois is available on eBay.

This is the kind of gift that’ll make me set my alarm clock early so I can go stare at it in the closet. It's gorgeous.

But if you find it too expensive, I understand. You don't have to love me.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Cautionary Tale.

Most days, scrounging up an idea for my blog is like pulling my dog’s teeth. At 1100 bucks, I don’t know which one of us felt more pain.

Other days, ideas just drop from the heavens, much like the script for Good Will Hunting fell into Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s conjoined laps.


Today’s story definitely came from above, delivered via a film crew while I was waiting to record Amy Poehler. And it came to them directly from Noah Wyle of “E.R.”

One day, Noah opened a fan letter and found a feather enclosed. As he read the letter, he tickled his face and neck with the feather, enjoying the nice fan’s words.

Then he flipped the page over.

On the other side was a picture of the fan – a guy, with the feather sticking out of his ass.

And, scene.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Slice Of Death.

There's nothing like changing wardrobe seven times in front of a bunch of dead Jews. I suggest you try it.

While taking new headshots in the gorgeous-yet-kinda-creepy locale of Forever Hollywood Cemetery, I came across Mel Blanc’s grave. How lucky was this guy to have a catch-phrase suitable for a headstone?

I’m gonna start working on one for me: "Time for me to peace out."

Nah, I can do better: "I get to see Tupac before you do."

Best one ever is already taken: "I’m coming, Elizabeth!"

I'll the meantime, no dying until my phrase is catchy, so pardon me while I cover myself in bubble wrap.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving – Round Two.

Ah, the power of the written word. It’ll take you places so fancy you’ll find yourself showering and putting on long pants – two acts I normal associate with kicking and screaming.

I met my friend Duncan after he googled his volleyball team and found a post I had written. Turns out Duncan is as outgoing as he is tall (6’4”ish) and invited me to his parent’s annual day-after-Thanksgiving party: The Gobbler.

Their home is in the fanciest part of Santa Monica, and they open it up to over a hundred friends, including a celebrity or two, and keep the food and drinks coming.

In front of the place was a catering truck making not just made-to-order Mexican food, but Mexican food made-to-order by Koreans. I felt like I was a Kennedy.

If this blog is my ticket into the happening soirees about town, pardon me while I get cracking on that entry about Hugh Hefner and his kickass shuffleboard team.

Thanks, D.