They say that fame can turn you into a different person and make you expose your nether regions inadvertently while disembarking from SUVs, but I haven’t had too much of a problem with that so far. Most of the time, it’s been advertent.
I’ve tried to stay as down-to-earth as possible since my big debut on the “Colbert Report” last week, though it’s not always easy to deal with the temptations of stardom. I’m thinking about skipping all the intermediate steps and just going straight to rehab.
In case you missed it, I was the guy going “Yeah!” at the beginning of last Thursday’s episode of the “Colbert Report.” Also, I purposefully kept clapping a little bit longer than most of the other people. It seemed to me that the other clappers in the studio were just phoning it in; they clearly hadn’t spent countless hours honing their craft in front of the mirror like some of us had. After we got home and watched the DVR recording, I was hoping I’d made enough of an impact to qualify as “clapping person #87” in the closing credits, but, like so many great artists, it appears that I will go unrecognized in my time.
When my cousin Erin asked my wife Kara and I if we were interested in accompanying her and a friend to a taping of the Report in New York City, we were thrilled. Erin instantaneously jumped way up on the Best Cousin in the Universe list, supplanting my cousin Todd (whose name isn’t Todd Todd, though that would be awesome), who took me for a ride in a Corvette when I was six. Sitting there in the studio among one hundred other budding TV personalities, the air crackled with possibility and my knuckles.
“Stop cracking your knuckles!” Kara said.
“That crack was brought to you by a member of a live studio audience,” I replied.
I had to make sure my ligaments were limber for the big moment. When Stephen came out to start the show, we had a sacred obligation as members to clap like we’d never clapped before, or to clap like we’d clapped many times before, whichever way meant that we were taking our clapping seriously. When you’re a member of a live studio audience, it is also your responsibility to yell your esophagus off, making high-pitched “Wooooooo!” sounds over and over again, no matter how feminine that sound might be. Also, if you ever spent the time to learn how to do that whistle that involves sticking two fingers in your mouth, this is your time to shine.
After yelling “Wooooooo!” over and over again, I began to feel that an expansion of my repertoire was in order. I mixed it up with a few “Yeahs!”, because “Yeah!” is a sound you can make without trying to hit C above high C.
Incidentally, there were no light-up “APPLAUSE” signs to be found in the studio. When they wanted you to cheer, a guy just waved a rolled-up piece of paper over his head like he was considering bopping us all over our heads for peeing on the carpet, which I assure you we did not, mainly because there was no carpet.
The whole experience was really very cool, and Stephen Colbert is a genuinely nice guy. I can say this with confidence because I sat within fifty feet of him.
Watching the recording the next day, we slowed down the half-second camera sweep of the audience to go frame-by-frame.
“Oh, look, there I am!” Kara said.
“I think that’s a camera man,” I said, squinting.
“Really? No, I think that’s me,” she said. But really, for all we could tell from the recording, everyone in the audience that day had been built entirely of Duplo blocks.
You can say something truthy to Mike Todd online at firstname.lastname@example.org.