SUPERIMPOSE: Two weeks ago
The writing staff of Studio Moron are in the office bouncing sketch and scheduling ideas around. The mood is stagnant, energy is low. After a moment, LON's phone rings. LON gets up to leave the room to take the call. He returns in short order with a huge grin on his face.
JBM has a new column for us.
Everyone perks up.
Apparently she was hosting a night at
the comedy place she works at, and
this guy from this canceled show was
doing a standup routine and he bombed
BIGTIME. As he was coming off stage
he got all up in her face and started
calling her names and... get this...
SHE TOOK A SWING AT HIM!
The room erupts with laugher.
That's fantastic, she's like 4'11" right?
That must have been awesome to see.
Have her write it up.
She's off on a trip, but she said she
will as soon as she gets back.
FADE TO: Restaurant. KLAE is standing along the food line. CHEF is cooking.
SUPERIMPOSE: Restaurant, Yesterday. Okay, let's cut the script format, it's a bitch to do in LJ.
So there I was, at the restaurant, when the chef says to me, "Did you hear about the M****** R******* meltdown?"
I blinked, "Who's that?"
"You know, he played K***** on S***feld."
I blinked more, "He had a meltdown?"
Chef nodded, "He totally went off on these guys for talking during his act, filled with racial slurs and stuff... I couldn't even watch the whole thing it was so bad."
I blinked ALOT more, "If *YOU* couldn't watch it, it MUST have been bad." Chef just nodded.
I sprinted to the office to pick up my phone to call LON so that he could call JBM to get that article in, but when I did, I saw that I already had a message from LON... err... Lon, sorry, still slightly in script format mode.
The message basically said what I just heard. I called Lon back, and he told me he'd left a message for Jeremy, and as soon as he had the article, he'd forward it to me to post on the website. Now, the original article she was working on was to be a comedy piece, not a commentary on the state of anyone's mental health or bigotry status. We didn't want to change that, and JBM wasn't too happy with the fact that all of this was going down, so we prefaced the article with a little intro, and got it up onto the site within an hour. When I got home, I dropped nuggets pimping the article on Digg, Fark and Boing Boing.
CUT TO: This morning.
The lawn guys woke me (as is usual for a Tuesday), and so I got up and staggered to my computer to check on all of the spam that arrived overnight thanks to the power of the Spammertubes. Much to my surprise, there were emails in my Moron Life folder from the New York Post and from Inside Edition both asking for JBM's contact information. I blinked a few times and then fired up the website, and it seemed that overnight, we'd had about 500 hits on the article. I immediately picked up the phone and woke Lon up.
"We've got email from the New York Post and Inside Edition asking to speak to JBM."
I could hear Lon blinking through the phone, "What?"
"They want her contact information to talk to her about the M****** R******* article. I'm forwarding you and her the email, but you should call her and let her know."
Lon agreed, and we hung up.
It was at this point that I saw that there was a text message on my phone from bripadme telling me that the story was reprinted on a gossip website. So I went to check it out, and to my surprise, there were alot of comments basically saying that JBM had made the incident up to cash in on the whole comedy club fiasco. I refrained from commenting back, and called Lon again.
"She doesn't want to talk to the news people, and I don't blame her. This could be huge negative backlash for her."
I agreed, and Lon and I talked for about an hour about how to deal with this... I also found two other sites that had reprinted the whole thing on their websites, too. And I got ANOTHER email from the NYPost asking me for JBM's info again. I politely declined and told them I'd let her know it was important, but that I couldn't give that information out without her permission.
In the meantime, I bounced some emails back and forth with JBM who told me that she wasn't going to do anything about the emails. I told her I understood and agreed, and then she asked "Would you do something?"
"Would I do something in your situation, or would I do something for you to shut them up? :)"
"I don't know, that's why I'm asking."
It was at this point that I crafted a "statement" for her to give to any press that contacted her, basically making the website her fall guy (because it really was all our doing). "Look, this piece was in the works for two weeks. The editors at MoronLife.com chose to post it when they did for their own reasons. As I said in the article, I *AM* okay with Mr. R********, and as such don't want to go on record with a comment on the current situation."
She liked it, thanked me, and I told her that I'd forward it to the Post if they emailed again.
It's really weird, because I'm seeing this whole thing from three different angles:
1) Actor: What honestly talented person wants to get press because they were witness to someone else being an asshole? It should be about your skills, not your being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
2) Publisher/Editor: OH MY GOD WEBHITS! What sane publisher/editor wouldn't ride this bitch for all it's worth, talking to every news source and milking as much publicity out of it as possible?
3) Human: There's a good possibility that there's something really wrong with this guy, and people should probably be aware of it so something can be done for him before he hurts himself, or someone else hurts him because of it.
And because of all this, we're just going to coast. No mad press pushes, but no pulling the article, either. We were fucking noticed by the New York Post for Bob's sake... that puts us into a little bigger radar space than we've been before. And really, at the end of the day, that's all we can ask for.
As of right now, we're looking at over 1500 hits on the article. In just over 24 hours. I can't complain. Maybe one of those hits will be someone who came in anger to read the article, but leaves laughing at a sketch. Maybe.
Regardless, it's really interesting how fast the machine works, and how you can do a 180 on things and how you think they need to be played out several times in a day.
Learning the ropes...