I said “Igor”not “Eeegor”
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Historical news is being made. It’s the busy season & I’m a Regular Extra with a real live fake job every week on a brand spanking new TV Sitcom with really famous funny Comedy Stars! Hurrah for the King, hurrah! The Cast has a regular Restaurant Hang-Out & guess who the News Stand Vendor is by the curbside entrance? Widdle old me! “Hey Paper Boy!” “Yeah I got your Daily News right here.” This is my 5th NY Vendor booking this season (& forget-about my Taxi Driver bookings, please). Thank you Dad for being born in Manhattan & Brooklyn bred. Nice entrance. Okay so these are Real Stars & they are really friendly & wickedly witty. Willy. Five episodes in & I can truthfully say several of the Stars are already my closest set-friends (raise your hand if the Female Comedy Award Winning Star asked you to run lines with her last week. Not you? Guess it was me. And she still does major supporting comedy film stuff in big hits. Anyhooooo… per the 2nd 2nd AD (yes that’s correct) I get to place (decide) where all the Extras enter & leave in my area by the fake sidewalk café. I am put in charge (big mistake) of very low ball blocking shtick that helps the atmosphere but is way out of deep focus. We are far far away from the Lens shooting the fun fun fun inside this hip Upper East Side Joint. This month a fellow Background Performer saw 4 episodes of this being filmed (paid audience, don’t ask) & she had no idea I was in the show. She’s known me for years. Ouch. Then she lied and said maybe she saw me kinda. A mercy false-sighting. I like a good set-friend like that, don’t you?
The Gal Star said maybe someday on this show I’d become like ‘Gunther’ from “Friends” (the Extra who became a Regular Actor after they gave him 1 line, then another, etc.). I told her I’d rather be ‘Igor’ from “M*A*S*H”, please. Jeff Maxwell was the ‘Gunther’ of that show (Gal Star loves that I Tap Danced on “M*A*S*H”, but really, who doesn’t?). She read my manipulative mind weeks ago when we started plotting my hopeful one-line upgrade sometime in the television future. She was the first to yell my unofficial nick-name “IGOR!” after falling for my mind-control ‘glam’ powers. She took my bait. Yesterday she joked adding a line “Well Igor at the News Stand told me!” Another Star Pal said “Don’t fill his head with foolish dreams.” I said “Too late.” Hopefully I’m a clever boy who gets lucky. Extra lucky. Like this blog? Fine. Back to the story:
The racks on my News Stand are filled by the Art Department with an 80 year old selection of dummied-up fake copies of old Time, Photoplay & Motion Picture mags dating from the 1920s plus tons of 5-10 year old gossip rags that everyone backstage reads all day while waiting for “Rolling Rolling” to be called. This morning I lined up 15 years of Jennifer Lopez’ Ex-Husbands & Ex-Boyfriends on covers. Folks went nuts. This stuff’s been in boxes in the Prop Department since “Malcolm” shot here. I sell these fake-a-roos for invisible money that I make no change for to my many delightful customers (all of them I seem to know by name, like any real Manhattan byway. I like New York in fake June, how ’bout you?). While impersonating his best Yenta from the Borscht Belt, one of our Top Male Comedy Iconic Stars picks up a 10 year old copy of “Baby Magazine” & discusses the surprising benefits of bottle feeding. With his famous cartoon voice sound effects. People were screaming (I may have started it).
Ask me about last week’s episode regarding ‘Inappropriate Shirtless Guy Extra’. Okay I’ll tell you. We’re all checking-in up in the audience bleachers with an AD I admire. She looks up to the guy wearing only suspenders & jeans & says “What’s with no shirt?” He grunts “It’s hot.” Seriously? Wardrobe walks by & tells him to put on a shirt. And a sweater. Later we break for dinner…& off goes his shirt again. Negative Natalie whispers “what the f**k?” Bitter Bobby says “He should put that back on for all our sakes. Ugh” (okay, I added the “Ugh” but the truth hurts).This Chippendale Wannabe is serving hot stuff by the Catering Truck for your one hour viewing pleasure. So he thinks? Yes he accepts tips, trust me on that by good authority. Mr. Classy-Naked-From-The-Waist-Up-Man was not booked back this week. In the words of Gomer Pyle … “Surprise, surprise, surprise”.
My reflection in “Seinfeld Deli” window.
This week’s episode is supposed to be early autumn in New York & we are next-door to the sound stage my Dad Ben Starr was on when he was co-writing some of the 1957-62’s “Bachelor Father” shows starring John Forsythe (before “Charlie’s Angels” & “Dynasty”). Mack Sennet’s 1915 Silent Movies’ ‘Bathing Beauties’ frolicked with Charlie Chaplin right over where “Gilligan’s Island” Lagoon was (don’t faint, it’s a parking lot now. I know). John Wayne shot cheap Gower Gultch 1930s Westerns on what would become “Gunsmoke Avenue”. My current Sound Stage is on ‘My Three Sons Blvd”. I saw “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” shoot here in 1971. (In diapers, I swear). Last week we shot outdoors on the “Seinfeld” NY Deli Street. Now if this show can please just keep on the air for 5-8 seasons. No 10 seasons please. Pray it sticks. Now. Thanks. Again? Too much? Fine.
Did I mention I’m a Regular? Yippee-ki-yay! Yep they shot Roy Rodgers & Dale Evans here too. All these Stars were regulars at this studio. Like me. Git-a-long-little-doggies. Oh … and Bitter Betty the Extra has been doing on-camera acting, stand-in & Extra work over 40 years. Today she said “My first 10 years I only did ‘Principal’ work.” I mumbled “Didn’t we all darling didn’t we all.”