My entire life I have had an obsession with characters. From the first time I ever saw Adam West portray the “Caped Crusader” when I was all of five years-old, to just this past Thursday when Mac continuously split my gut for 22 minutes while watching Sunny. My passion is with people who stand out, are unique, just plain different.
Just last night I was watching Al Pacino get interviewed by Charlie Rose---nobody on the planet is like this guy, he wrote the book on eccentric. Two nights ago I was watching Mob Wives---Big Ang---are you freakin’ kidding me? I could sit there and listen to this woman spew gangsta-talk all day long. She’s OVER---not another like her---not even close. That’s where my fandom of reality TV comes in---all natural, raw characters, from JWOWW of Jersey Shore to Janelle Evans of Teen Mom, these personalities are those of the one-of-a-kind brand. Often imitated . . . but never duplicated.
Whether the characters are scripted, or just plain “real”, really makes no difference to me---as long as they STAND OUT. If you’re just one of “the crowd” you are never going to draw anybody’s attention---definitely not mine---but if you’re ranting and raving, chewing someone up and spitting them out---I’m listening. I guess that was always my draw as a writer, I just thrived on creating those types of individuals.
Since 1983, I have been greatly influenced by Howard Stern. If I had never gotten into wrestling . . . I certainly could have seen myself going down the “King of All Media’s” path. Stern is a genius, I don’t care what anybody says, and it’s not the adult-orientated material---to be honest---that’s the weakest part of any show---Richard and Sal ARE NOT FUNNY---it’s Stern’s ability to not only be a great interviewer, but to also spot talent---CHARACTERS from thousands of miles away.
Most people don’t know this, but when Stern first started, he didn’t get the guests that sit on his couch now---not even close. He was an unknown, an unproven talent; no big name celebrities would do his show simply because they didn’t know him. So what did Stern do? He went through the rolodex in his mind, and brought on guests that entertained him as a kid---guest that had their 15 minutes decades ago, but still had plenty of octane left in the tank. Italian comedian Pat Cooper was BRILLIANT on the Stern show during his early years at K-Rock, to this day I YouTube those guest appearances and fall of my chair in laughter. “Grandpa” Al Lewis from Munster fame was another one. Lewis did every other appearance on the Stern show so liquored up, that it was the most entertaining thing you ever saw. My favorite, Tiny Tim, was another one. If you ever heard a Double T interview---you would just be drooling for more. Character, character, character!!!
But with Howard, there was even MORE. The ability to take his own staff, along with those who called in frequently, and parlay that into THE SHOW, was just something that was beyond GENIUS. Baba-Booey, Fred, Robin, Jackie, Artie, Ronnie “The Limo Driver”, Scott “The Engineer”, Doug Goodtstein, “Stuttering” John, JD, Schuli, “High Pitch” Mike, that total goof Benji, RALPH, Jon and Jason, DePace, Gange, KC, Liberman, Lisa G.---THAT’S IT---I”LL BE HERE ALL DAY. Stern took these “regular” people who showed up every day for their “regular” jobs, and made them stars through grandstanding their individual CHARACTERS. That’s who I tuned in to see every day . . . not Alec Baldwin.
But, with the “King”, that wasn’t enough. From there he made his freakin’ audience a part of the show. His beloved “Wack Pack” was the most entertaining thing on both radio and TV. You know them—“High Pitch” Eric, Hank “The Angry Drunken Dwarf”, Bigfoot, the “Pet Lady”, “Crackhead” Bob, Fred the “Elephant Boy”, Beetlejuice, Jeff “The Drunk”---this Island of Misfit Toys was worth the Sirius subscription price alone. Then there were those icons not considered members of the “Pack”; “Elegant“ Elliott Offen (my favorite), the legendary Jesus Twins, “Medicated” Pete, Tan Mom—again---not enough pages here to complete. In wrestling you call it “Making Chicken Salad out of Chicken S***”, and Howard didn’t just make it into salad---he made it into MILLIONS!!!
My point? This is a model that I always one day wanted to duplicate, copy, or just plain RIP-OFF. With my burning love and fascination of “characters”, I now want to bring them from my field into the mainstream----and I know they’re out there. Hell, I just signed “The Dawg Man”, half man/half dog, known him for 16 years. And, what about the “It’s Still Real to Me Dammitt!!!” Guy? We all know he’s BIG, BIG, MONEY!!! Characters like these are OUT THERE, and I want to find them---why---because it is there that the best entertainment lies.
Are you a “Ham-n-Egger”? If you are, tell me why. Tell me what makes you a character that the world just can’t wait to see. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and if your personality bursts through my computer screen---then you are in!!!
But remember---CHARACTERS ONLY!!!