“I’m sorry, we’re looking for someone with talent.”

That was the caption, years ago, of a New Yorker cartoon that I instantly ripped out and taped into a notebook.  It had a schlubby actor (before Seth Rogen made that a desirable thing) alone on a stage, and from the darkness came the casting director’s pronouncement: “I’m sorry, we’re looking for someone with talent.”

There’s nothing quite like auditioning, is there?

Hello, I've been heavily airbrushed.

In what other possible profession do you bring in a somewhat false photo of yourself, and then proceed to literally perform like a monkey all the while no one–not a producer, not a casting director, no one–gives you any real feedback?  (I’m thinking prostitution, really.)  I’ve never auditioned for anything big in my life, alas, but I’ve been on dozens and dozens of small auditions, and it’s a ritual somewhere between an awesome, roller-coaster high and what I imagine my first enema will be like.  (Oh, the things to look forward to!)

Which is all by way of saying, This is how I found myself yesterday afternoon, at 2:37 pm, in an audition studio on 8th Avenue, counting down to New Year’s Eve and screaming like a drunken Times Square reveler (again, hooker).

It all started innocently enough.  Several weeks ago I got an e-mail from a friend, the husband of a friend, a great guy, really– he was field-producing a live webcast from Times Square, and did I know anyone who might audition for co-host?  Well sweet Jesus, my whole life’s a cocktail party!  (Literally: Monday night, last night, Friday night, this coming Monday night…)  No where am I as good as a glass of chardonnay in one hand and a glib line in the other.  So two days ago, I auditioned.

Um, no comment.

I looked directly into the camera and welcomed dozens of viewers to a live webcast from Times Square!  I conducted a mock-interview with a mock-pedestrian and his invisible wife!  (They were from Idaho, which I’m not entirely sure is a real place.)  I made an inappropriate Tiger Woods joke!

And somehow, I got a callback.  So yesterday afternoon I put on my tuxedo (a dapper number once owned by my father in the ’70’s…  I’m not kidding) with a skinny black tie and, for that requisite touch of insouciance, black sneakers, and went back to the audition studios, formerly an old stomping grounds from my theatre company days.  I clicked the Black Eyed Peas on my iPod (is there better get-pumped music?  No.) and, well, got pumped.

And now I'm forced to actually admire this guy.

Actually, I spent a lot of time waiting, which is what acting and auditioning–and life–entails.  Thankfully, it was me and a cadre of pretty actresses, which I seemed to both charm and annoy in equal measure.  (One of them asked me what it was like to live with myself all day.  Not sure that’s a compliment.)  Hey, I was That Guy, the quip-a-minute, havin’ fun, wearin’-a-tux-with-sneakers, rockin’-a-Jewfro-guy.  Oh, yeah.

For my callback I again welcomed viewers to our completely fake webcast, segued into an interview with a Times Square designer (which may have led to an inappropriate Rockette joke) and generally tried to walk that fine line of being a charming ass (aka, life).  They must’ve liked we enough, as they paired me up with two sets of the pretty cadre, and here’s where it got good: We bantered about resolutions!  We counted down to 10!  For goodness sake, we belted “Aul Lang Syne” into the camera, in front of a room full of stony-faced producers, on the afternoon of  Tuesday, December 8th!

Life is surreal sometimes.

Did I get the gig?  Don’t know, but probably not.  You don’t often get the gigs you want (seriously, spending New Year’s hosting a webcast from Times Square would be kick-ass awesome).  But I got to audition.  And despite all the strum and drang, I guess you gotta enjoy that to participate in this surreal game.

Addendum:  In preparing this post, I Google-imaged the term ‘auditions.’  It seems most of the world, if they are auditioning, is auditioning for porn.  Huh.

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3 Responses to ““I’m sorry, we’re looking for someone with talent.””

  1. alexandria Says:

    hooray and congrats! when do you hear? that would, indeed, be the coolest way imaginable to spend new year’s.

  2. thiswaytotheegress Says:

    Nice to see you’re reading the blog! Thank you; it would be so cool. But no news is usually bad news… we’ll see.

  3. Dee Says:

    It was their loss if they didn’t pick you.

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