The Nutty Backstory

I’ve gotten a lot of very amused (and amusing) responses from the very short video attached here.

Let me take a minute to put it into context (Kahn text?):

I spent a summer playing in the band for a production of “The Wizard of Oz” at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier. I bet you didn’t know that Shakespeare wrote that, did you now? Lauren Frost was our Dorothy; she had garnered a relatively high profile around that time by being on a Disney Channel TV show called “Even Steven”, and had also performed with Barbra Streisand (I think that she portrayed young Babs). The producers booked Lauren on a locally-produced interview TV show in order to generate some publicity. The tremendous honor of playing the piano for this was bestowed upon me.

We discovered upon arriving at the studio that the show’s other featured guest was none other than Barry Manilow. BM was interviewed while sitting at the piano, and he seemed like a pleasant guy while being interviewed. I did notice something strange, though: when responding to questions, he played quiet chords on the piano. It was like he felt more comfortable doing it that way, kind of providing a spontaneous soundtrack for his commentary.

But wait! I’m getting ahead of myself a wee bit here. I remember that the show’s host approached me prior to taping, dutifully and professionally asking my name. When I replied, “Jeremy Kahn”, she said. “Oh, that’ll be so easy to remember; it’s just like the nut!” Having no idea what she meant, but always trying to be agreeable, I simply nodded and began the mental preparation necessary to make a positive impact on our television viewers.

In retrospect, it’s now quite obvious what she meant by “just like the nut”. But, for chrissakes, this woman’s job seemed to be relatively simple: look somewhat telegenic, be perky, ask softball questions and accurately identify the guests. I mean, have YOU ever met anyone with the last name of Pecan? After the taping, I approached our hostess to let her know that she hadn’t gotten my name right. “It’s actually ‘Kahn’, not ‘Pecan'”, I told her. With no apology, she started laughing hysterically. Tee-freaking-hee.

I wondered what my on-camera reaction had looked like while being introduced as a nutty morsel. About a year later, I emailed the show and asked if I could have a copy for my personal use. Hostess replied that, gee, she’d love to, but that the station’s policy precluded her from doing so. Disappointed, I got to thinking about it: Baloney, I thought to myself. What if Barry Manilow had asked for a copy? Would he have gotten the same blonde cold shoulder? I think not. I prayed to the Patron Saint of Awkward Television Moments (St. Ashlee?) and was rewarded when a DVD was delivered to my door. I edited out the chaff so as not to waste your precious time.

Moral of the story? Once again, none. But no one remembers when everything goes according to plan. It’s those little screwups and surprises that get our juices flowing and make life interesting, even when the initial reaction feels like someone squished a grapefruit in your face.



3 thoughts on “The Nutty Backstory”

  1. HILARIOUS! I don’t think I know anyone else with so many stories… Hope to see you soon.

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