“There’s an old saying in Tennessee – I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee – that says, fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.” ~President George Bush
Mr. Steve Harvey…(tsk tsk tsk, wagging pointer finger side to side)…
At times I find myself in very random situations that are usually brought on by my own random curiosities. So it’s no surprise to me that I landed in the audience of the Steve Harvey Show, a talk show geared toward the average person, which casts average people and has segments about the average persons successes and challenges. Still, I was a bit surprised to see that the inner workings were performed in a less than average manner and well…to be honest, from the average person’s standpoint, I was underwhelmed by all that was staged to appear glitzy and glamorous.
One afternoon while the girls so graciously napped together, I got it in my head to request Steve Harvey show tickets and before I could come to my senses I’d already pressed the “send” button. Within an hour I was receiving a choice of dates in which I could join the audience for a taping…which should have been my first clue; it was just too easy! When I reached out to confirm my reservation with the communications rep the night before the taping (after not hearing from them), that should have been my 2nd clue. And finally when I received the one pager on “what to expect” and found multiple misspellings, that should have been my 3rd clue.
Still, curiosity trumped my instincts on what was panning out to be a bootleg operation, and I decided to go anyway. After all, I’d never seen a live taping of a talk show before. My mother joined me for the fun and though our initial excitement was met with an incredibly long line and a bit of disorganization when funneling us upstairs, I still maintained a bit of eagerness. When the “hype man” came out to get the crowd hyped, he succeeded in doing just that. We sang, practiced our best clapping and standing ovations and then sang, clapped and stood some more. Exhausting!
The show started and we went through the “Ask Steve” segment where the strangest questions were asked of Steve from the studio audience allowing Steve to make some comedic response to solicit laughs; but really he only solicited furrowed brows and confused looks amongst the studio audience. Who in the world would ask that type of question of Steve Harvey if you could ask him anything at all? Now stay with me here…because there’s more.
As the show proceeds the following segments are equally as lackluster. A girlfriend of 13 years can’t get her boyfriend to put a ring on it and the best way to cut the fat, calories and guilt of slumming it at a fast food joint is to eat less of it! No brainers, right?
At the close of the show, Steve left us with his parting thoughts: “My mom was a school teacher and she would always tell us don’t be afraid to pray because prayer changes things.”
The End….well not really. As we filed out of the studio, one in front of the other, energy depleted and starving we were asked if we’d be willing to come back another time to do an “Ask Steve” segment, the same segment of strange questions that totally bewildered the audience. The young lady who inquired of me and my mother seemed fairly nice and I thought sure, why not, I can ask a decent question on air. But afterwards I wanted to bail.
I wasn’t ready for the limelight and well what would I ask? Certainly nothing that would get me booed off of the stage. So I settled on the following question:
“Hi Steve, I’m a stay at home mom of 2 baby girls aged 2 years and 6 months and I try to socialize them via play dates and playrooms like Gymboree, But the more that we hang out with other kiddies, the more we run into toddler bullies with parents that refuse to discipline them. What should I do?”
I’m sure you remember this controversial topic from a previous blog entry. So I truly wanted to hear his candid response and I just knew toddler bullying would be an awesome topic of interest. It’s something that has touched many of us, regardless of what end of the bullying you were on. But would you believe that after sending my question to the communications rep I was informed of the following:
Were you as mortified as I was reading this for the first time? First of all, I don’t frequent the gym in the morning, I prefer to sleep in until the girls start beating me in the head with odds and ends. Secondly I’m more of a yogi…I prefer contortions to the cardio machines. And thirdly, but most importantly, I love little old ladies! I adore them, I respect them and one day I know I’m going to be a little old lady and I’d hope some young whipper snapper would grant me a pass if I overstay my welcome for the simple fact that I’m old and I’m at a gym! Sigh…the questions are all scripted!!! Hence the reason why the questions we heard in our previous visit sounded so strange. Who writes for Steve?
Still, I’d already agreed to participate, and while the juggling of the girls and the thought of limelighting chilled me to my core, I brushed off my heels and went through with it. The hype man had the same hyped shpill, they played the same groovy songs and we sang and clapped and stood and then sang and clapped and stood some more.
There was a give-away that day. The audience members each received a card when they checked in, well everyone except me since I was instructed to arrive earlier for hair and make-up. The prize was a family vacation. I knew that 3 members of the audience would receive a free trip, but what I didn’t know was that the audience members had been pre-selected before they even entered the studio! So when a representative hurriedly shoved blank tickets my way to pacify my inquiry, I was soon informed by another audience member that it didn’t matter. Instead of a chance at a cool trip, I walked away with a bottle of sauce compliments of the “Swamp People.”
And at the close of the show, Steve imparted his final adieu to us: “My mom was a school teacher and she would always say to us don’t be ashamed to pray because prayer changes things.”
Audience files out of studio
….well not really. As we filed out of the studio, one in front of the other, energy depleted and starving (again) we were asked if we’d be willing to come back another time to do an “Ask Steve” segment, the same segment of strange questions that totally bewildered the audience (and that I’d so thanklessly participated in). But this time, there was a young man reaching out. I could see the desperation in his eyes…would anybody say yes? Would the average somebody/anybody take the bait and step out of the shadows into the limelight?
But this time, I stared straight ahead and scurried to the elevator. Fool me once, shame on you, Fool me twice, shame on me…but there won’t be a third time.
So what am I saying?
1. All that is glittery isn’t gold – television has very real people behind the lens
2. We all make mistakes – even those folks that get paid a lot more not to make mistakes, make them
3. No one likes surprises– even comedians who “appear” spontaneous know that routine creates order
4. Don’t be a fool 3 times – The third time will be very much like the first
5. The best part of any experience is sharing it with someone you love – Thanks Mommy and Allyson!
6. Stay away from the Steve Harvey Show – You’ll leave with a bottle of Swamp Sauce!
Now for the lovely women who actually made this adventure worthwhile…
Can you apply any of the above to an experience you recently had that was nothing like what you envisioned?