Saturday, August 12, 2006

Fabulous, baby

Today I was on television for the very first time! I was interviewed by Jenny Mayer for the Morning, Noon & Night Show on Plum TV in the Hamptons ... and it was live. I probably didn't rise to the level of fabulous, but I'm relatively sure I didn't make a total ass of myself.

I was told to be there at 8:15, and was so nervous about arriving late I left myself a ridiculous amount of time to get there--three hours for a one-and-a-half hour trip. Don't' laugh--it's the Hamptons. If you've ever gotten stuck on Montauk Highway in the summer, you know how deadly traffic can be out there.

So I left at 5 a.m., which meant getting up at 3 so I would have time to shower and fuss with my hair and maybe even change my mind about my outfit. I knew that would leave me little time for sleep, so I told the children I would consider it a personal favor if none of them woke me up during the night. They knew I meant business.

But I think this warning sent a panic through my dear, darling, diva daughter, whose psyche collapsed at the thought that she wouldn't be able to rouse me in the middle of the night if she was in the mood for a hug. So of course she awoke with a stomachache at one a.m. and refused to stop whimpering.

The upshot is that my daughter's fine, but I got a little less than three hours sleep, which will affect me tomorrow. Anyway, I bolted out of the house by 5, got into my minivan and pointed it southeast.

Of course, there wasn't a car on the road and I got there before 6:30, leaving me nearly two hours to kill. So I bought a couple of newspapers in the Candy Kitchen (which, to my disappointment, turns out to be a restaurant and not a candy store). Then I sat in my car and read for an hour.

At 7:30 I moseyed over to the grassy outdoor area where they shoot the show. Everyone was warm and welcoming and did their best to make me feel comfortable. But I was shaking like a leaf, aggravated by the fact that it was COLD at 7:30 this morning in Bridgehampton.

I was happy to meet the other guests on the show, including Bryan Boyhan, publisher of the Sag Harbor Express. I pressed him to take one of my books, which he graciously accepted. However, he left at the same time I did, and I couldn't help noticing that he did not have my book with him when he got into his car. Oh well. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he just forgot it in all the excitement.

By "all the excitement," I mean that the show had a very special guest today. And no, it wasn't me. It was Katie Couric. And what an auspicious time to have her for a guest, just as she's about to take the anchor seat at CBS! But more on Katie in a minute.

I sat and watched the monitor while the guests before me did their bits. I was especially impressed by the musical group but ack! I can't remember their name. I'll get my hands on it later and let you know, because the singer just about knocked me off my chair and I want you to know about them, if you don't already. (ETA: The group is called Christina Courtin's Running Kicks.)

When it was my turn, the producer called me up and I was miked. Thank God the thing wasn't sensitive enough to pick up my heartbeat, because it sounded like Desi Arnaz playing Babalu.

And we're on in 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, finger, finger, finger point ...

Jenny Mayer, the host, is utterly adorable and charming, and made it easy for me to listen to her questions and pretend to be calm. She asked me about the genesis of the story, about using George Clooney, about whether or not the town and the characters had real life models, etc. I think I handled it all well, and am pretty sure I didn't stutter or stammer or say "uh" or "um" while I answered. Then Jenny thanked me and I panicked because I hadn't plugged my upcoming appearances, so I butted right in! "Thank YOU, Jenny, and I'd like to mention that I have some Long Island appearances coming up ..." I gave the dates and locations and my website address!

Was that professional or ballsy? So hard for me to judge!

They're sending me the show on DVD, so I'll let you know after I've had to chance to watch it.

Another thing I'm worried about is that as soon as I took the guest's chair my eyes started to tear from the wind. I didn't want to wipe my face on camera, but I'm worried that my makeup ran. So it's entirely possible I had black blotches under my eyes during the interview. Ugh!

Anyway, shortly after my segment, Katie Couric showed up. I was determined to give her my book, so I marched right up and introduced myself. I told her I was a new author, and she quickly introduced me to her friend and scurried away while I was shaking the other woman's hand. Poor Katie--I guess I bumrushed her! Still, I was not to be deterred. (When did I get this aggressive?) I handed my book to Katie's friend and asked if she would give it to her.

After that, I stuck around for Katie's segment, which was quite charming, and then I drove home.

And now, of course, I'm ready for a nap. Meanwhile, I promise I'll do my best to post a clip when I have it ... unless the eye-tearing left me looking like a Jewish version of a certain televangelist's wife.


Myfanwy Collins said...

So exciting and great and it was EXCELLENT that you plugged your appearances and web site. Good thinking.

I'm positive you did not look like Tammy Fay, Ellen! There's no way that would even be a remote possibility.

Hope you get some much deserved rest!


Maryanne Stahl said...

Wow! Just reading this made me nervous for you! Sitting in your car reading for an hour? That must have been the worst! But sounds like you did a brilliant job!


RobinSlick said...

Oh, this is such a fantastic account! I'm hysterical over Babalu.

You do have such guts! I'm really proud of you. I can't wait to hear your reaction to the DVD. I bet it's great.


whitefridger said...


Susan Henderson said...

What lucky timing - your show will have a huge audience! Can't wait to see the DVD of the show!

(Katie C. went to my rival high school.)

Devon Ellington said...

Couric's actually very nice -- she went out of her way to be inclusive when she was backstage shooting one of those "DReam" shows on WICKED (and they brought me in to dress the woamn in the segment).

Live TV is something, isn't it?

I love working TV, but when I'm the one actually in the chair, being interviewed, I prefer radio. Put a radio mike in front of me, and I'll do anything.

When a show I wrote was in the Adelaide Fringe a few years back, I was a guest on a morning radio show. It got such high ratings, they kept me as "guest co-host" for the rest of the month -- what a blast!

Nice to know there's a fellow writer not so far away -- I'm up in Rye right now (soon to relocate near Boston) -- but my acupuncturist is out near Belmont Park (she works on racehorses and people).

I spent several big chunks of time out in Montauk a few years ago, doing an article on the lighthouse.

Let me know when you do signings, etc. in the city, and maybe I can take you for a drink at the Algonquin or something (which is still a great place for literary pilgrimmage).

I look forward to reading your book!

Ellen said...

Myf, thank you! I slept like a rock last night. Phew.

Maryanne, you're right. It was an excruciating hour in the car reading those newspapers.

Robin, thanks!

You too, Whitefridger!

Susan, I don't know about that audience. My sitemeter hasn't shown one single hit from the Hamptons. Maybe they're all too busy shopping for my book? Ha!

Devon, you sound like a person of many talents. Congrats!

Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

I'm out of town but this sounds like you had a blast. And to meet Katie Couric--you're dyanmic, Ellen!

May this be your test run for Oprah :)