One of the perks of producing a top rated radio show is getting invitations to all types of events with Cirque Du Soleil being one of them. In 2010 their Hollywood themed show, Iris was getting ready to premiere and take up residency at the then Kodak Theater (Now Microsoft). Hollywood Boulevard was blocked off for the after party featuring the top restaurants in Los Angeles. This was a big event with an A-list guest. Somehow I got an invite.
If you’ve never been to a Cirque Show, before it starts, the characters mingle with the audience. As we settle into our orchestra seats, a clown came up to me and asked if I was a famous director. I told him I was a nobody, just a lowly radio show producer and not famous at all. In retrospect, I should have made something up.
After intermission and in keeping with the Hollywood theme, the ring master started announcing nominees for the Cirque Iris Award for best actor called the ‘Rabbim’. The first nominee was the clown I had spoken with earlier and his picture was flashed up on the big screen. The same occurred for the next two nominees, one member of the audience and another clown. The ringmaster then names the final nominee, “Ted” and I see my face appearing on the huge monitor. I start freaking. I am not one who enjoys the spotlight .
I’m thinking that I have a 25% chance of winning, so I tell myself if it happens I will just stand up, wave to the crowd and it’ll be over. I was wrong. I was the winner and the next thing I knew a Cirque character was standing next to my seat , dragging me up onto the stage.
A side note here. Not only do I not enjoy this kind of attention, I’ve been to many Cirque Shows and the part I detest is when they bring an audience member on stage.
I was now that guy, standing on stage in front of a full house, about to get my award, when all of a sudden I see running onto the stage one of the nominated clowns, loudly protesting the judge’s decision. My escort, standing behind me whispers in my ear, “Just go along.”
The clown challenges me to three competitions. The first is a dance. I follow with some type of moves that made the crowd clap. The second is acting. This was easy, I pretend to get shot and fall to the ground. The third is to show some unique talent. The only thing I could think of was my ability to touch my nose with my tongue which I demonstrate and is promptly shown close-up on the jumbo screens. That might have been what got me to keep my award. I’m not sure. All I know is that I got to hurry back to the safety of my seat and my wife who had clearly enjoyed my act.
When the show was over we headed for the lobby and the party on Hollywood Boulevard. Among the many people coming up and congratulating me is Jon Favreau. I never have enjoyed the spotlight so it makes me feel a bit odd. As I attempt to get a drink and some food I keep getting interrupted by people wanting to shake my hand. Then a reporter from some Canadian newspaper starts interviewing me. She assumes I was a plant and not picked at random. I correct her and finish by asking if it looked like I was having fun up there. She laughs and says, “Actually yes!”
Finally we sit down for a drink, great food and nobody recognizing me. At first it was fun and a good ego boost to be the center of attention, but after a while it was just plain annoying. I guess some people crave this attention, but it’s something I can do without. My fifteen minutes of fame was more than enough for me!
Ted tells Mark & Brian about his 15 minutes of fame