I lucked out and got the chance to be the warm-up comedian for “Michael Bublé’s Christmas Special” which will air in December on NBC. Pronounced “Boo-Blay” you may recognize his chart topper "Haven't Met You Yet" from his 2009 “Crazy Love” album. This Frank Sinatra-style crooner sang Christmas classics with Latin singer Thalia, country music star Kellie Pickler, and hosted special guest ... wait for it ... Justin Bieber! Wow! That's a big get. What could go wrong? Funny you should ask.
I now truly understand why uber-celebrities need security. The scantily clad, starry-eyed tweeners and teeners weren't so bad as they alternately swooned and screamed at the mere mention of You Know Who (Bieber not Lord Voldemort). I, however, was more deeply shaken by a young lady who I'll refer to as Psycho Girl and her cohorts, The Psycho Posse. This girl of maybe 16 didn't smile, nor did she blink. She was fierce and focused on all things Bieber.
Believe it or not, you know this girl. We all do. Hall & Oates sang about her in "Man Eater." Stephen King wrote about her in "Misery." We saw her in the movie Fatal Attraction or wait, was it C.H.U.D.? Either way I was afraid, very afraid.
Psycho Girl came up to me. Well, actually I never saw her coming. She was just suddenly there in front of me, firing off questions.
"Which way is Justin coming in? Is he coming in the same way as Michael?OMG, I have to see him! Is his manager here? What about his body guard? Have you seen his body guard, Mike? He's wearing a green hoodie.”
I felt as though a wrong answer here was going to earn me a beat down from the Psycho Posse. I actually didn't have any answers and thankfully Psycho Girl and her crew soon veered off like a school of sharks scenting blood elsewhere.
I have no idea why she chose to ask me. If you know anything about entertainment, then you are well aware that on a TV show the warm-up comic is the lowest form of life next to the writers. Looking back, I think I made three critical errors. First, I looked friendly. Ironically, as the warm-up comic, that’s my job. Second, I stood still, an easy mistake to make and one that gave The Psychos a chance to focus on me. And third, I was holding a clipboard. On a TV shoot, holding a clipboard has the magical ability to convey power, knowledge and authority. It’s not quite as commanding as sitting behind a camera or wearing a headset, but it’s enough.
I wish I could say that was the end of it, but Psycho Girl & her Posse came back. She wasn’t smiling, per se, but her demeanor was even more excited and agitated than before. She thrust her iPhone at me so I could see a picture of her — still not smiling — and the blurry profile of someone’s nose. “That’s him!” she said. “That’s Justin!” Of course it was. “That’s very nice,” I said. “I’m happy for you.” And I meant it. I was afraid not to mean it.
She swiped her finger across the screen and showed me a picture of her standing with her arms around a grungy, curly-haired, blond boy in a baseball cap. When I failed to show automatic recognition or the proper level of excitement, Psycho Girl said, “That’s his drummer, So &So!”
While I had the good sense to keep my gaze on the photo and not look Psycho Girl directly in the eye, I guess my blank stare was too much for her. She said, “You don’t know him? You don’t know any of them do you?” And by then I was too tired to be anything but honest and I said, “No. I’m sorry, Boo. I’m old as shit.” And now it was her turn to look confused. And that bought me the time I needed to slip away and get back to work.
When Michael Bublé finally brought Justin Bieber out on stage to sing “Mistletoe” from his new Christmas album, the younglings went wild and began screaming, “We love you Justin!” Well, for some reason this was too much for the … um … mature women in the audience. They seemed to take this as a direct challenge and affront to their love and support for Mr. Bublé. They tried to drown out the Bieber babies by screaming, “We love YOU Michael!” And for a very tense moment it was an odd estrogen-fueled version of The Sharks vs.The Jets. If I had to put money on it, I’d say that the over 30s could have easily trounced the teeners. (The former can run and fight in high heels. The latter are still learning how to walk in them.) I’m equally certain that Psycho Girl would not have hesitated to take them all out, Uma Thurman Kill Bill style, if it meant she could get a clearer picture of Justin Bieber’s nose.
You wouldn’t think being a warm-up comic is such a perilous job, but clearly it has its moments. I wonder if I should be allowed to carry more than just a clip board.
Thanks for reading The Urban Erma. You can listen to the podcast on Podbean or subscribe for free on iTunes. In case you were wondering, in addition to blogging I am also a pretty good stand-up comedian. I do "Thinking Cap Comedy." If comedy were music, I'd be Jazz. Want to see a show? Check out my schedule at @ www.VeryFunnyLady.com.