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    After reading about my radio interview misadventures, some of you e-mailed me, “Did the same things happen on TV?”  All I can say is that, “It’s more difficult to hide the boo-boos on television than on radio.”

    My co-author, Lynne and I were invited to be interviewed on a television news show in Atlanta. It was our first television gig, and we were nervous. The show producer had provided questions to the publicity person at our publishing house, so we felt prepared.

    I was seated next to the interviewer, the camera lit up, She put her highly made-up face next to mine and said, “Is doing humor anything like doing drugs?” I kept my composure, turned to my co-author and said, “Lynne, would you like to answer that?” To this day, I don’t know what she said.

    When we wrote our celebrity cookbook, MAMA’S COOKING, we were scheduled onto a television news show in Tampa, FL. We were supposed to cook a dish in a few minutes on the air. So flying from Atlanta to Tampa we had to pack a pan, utensils, and all of the ingredients for the dish. Oh, Yes, This was before 9/11.

    The studio had a working stove, but no refrigeration, no sink, no water, and nowhere to put garbage. On the program we quickly chopped, stirred and cooked. When the show was over, the camera men ate the food. So, we had to get the Hell out of there—fast—before they died!
    But, there was no place to dispose of the grease in the pan. I spotted a hole in the floor and dumped the grease on the big cables down there. Then, we ran!

    CNN’s World Headquarters are in Atlanta, so being scheduled on a call-in television talk show at 3:00 a.m. is not unusual. It was dark outside, but when our car dropped us at the studio, it was amazing—-so much light and so much activity in the middle of the night. But then, it’s not the middle of the night in other cities around the world. We were placed on chairs in a studio with a monitor in front of us. The two interviewers were somewhere else, but we could see them on the screen, and for the audience, it looked as if we were in the same room.The subject was humor, and the calls kept coming.  All went well until a man called in and growled, “My wife doesn’t have a sense of humor!” I said, “How long have you been married?” He said, “Forty years!” I said, “Believe me, Your wife has a sense of humor.”

    My favorite late night TV interview (can’t remember the city) was a show that featured several guests. I was seated in the “Green Room” waiting for my turn to be interviewed. There was a TV monitor in the room, so those waiting could see what was happening in the studio. I remember there was a man doing bird calls. The other “acts” in the room looked much more interesting to me.

    There was a man who had 8 cats in a cage. He was going to demonstrate a video for cats that he had invented. He claimed it was a calming influence, and that his cats loved it. The other “guests” in the room were a hypnotist and her husband. He was her subject. I said, “Are you sure that you can hypnotize him on television?” She said, “I can hypnotize him anywhere,” and she did!—-right before it was announced that they would be next on the air. At that, she snapped her fingers, and snapped her fingers, and snapped her fingers, but he wouldn’t wake up (or whatever you call it) so she and her Zombie husband had to go on air the way they were.
    Much of the interview involved, “This has never happened to me before,” and lots of finger snapping.

    Next came the guy with cats in the cage. The cat man had given his video to the engineer, so it came onto the screen.  He opened the cage and, happy to escape, the cats ran all over the studio.  It was lots of fun watching the cat daddy, the host, and a the stage crew trying to herd those cats. None of us paid attention to the video. By the time, I came on, to talk about my latest book, the host was close to catatonic. He said, “So tell me about humor.” I said, “You must be kidding!” as a cat ran across my foot.

    When my husband, Warren, and I, went trips, our publicists would schedule both of us for interviews. In Las Vegas, we went on a show, where the interviewer was beautiful—probably a former showgirl. She had the deepest cleavage of any interviewer I had ever seen…even compared to the guys with open shirts and gold chains. And, her fingers sported the longest red talons I had ever seen anywhere. She could have been on the endangered species list. Talking with her hands, and getting to the heart of a matter, takes on a whole different meaning when she swung those nails in my direction.

    Finally, she slapped Warren’s book, JUMBO SHRIMP,  to her enhanced bosoms, and said, “Give me an oxymoron.”With a twinkle in his eye, he said, “Well, I can give you a firm maybe.”

    And that’s as good as it gets!

    Esther Blumenfeld

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