Being the Straight Person isn’t Easy. And I Don’t Mean Heterosexual.
The Eggman and Impractical Jokers
It all started with a call from Chris on the staff of Impractical Jokers asking me if I would be willing to do a presentation on camera. I thought it was a joke at first. After checking out the show online, I realized that I actually knew the show and thought it was pretty funny. My friend Nikki said, "You have to do it!!!"
After several weeks of finagling schedules, they found their ‘mark’ company: Tiny Beans. And they were wonderful. And, I knew the company. The deal was that I was going to deliver a Public Speaking Workshop as a special offsite lunch-and-learn for the team. This is what I do. Easy, right?
Oh, boy. The day I arrived "on set," which was a shared office space, the Impractical Jokers team met me and were incredibly welcoming and professional. There were a ton of logistics to set up: timing, getting mic’ed, learning what I should and shouldn’t do and that the goal was to keep the group’s attention away from Joe while he was finding and eating eggs in the room for at least 10 minutes.
I was amazed at how many people it takes to put on the show and how much painstaking work they do to ensure no one sees cameras or catches on that they are being filmed. It was a lot of pressure! Good thing I had all those relaxation and focus techniques in my arsenal – I utilized them all.
Joe was posing as the building super and I was supposed to play it off when he came in that I knew he was coming to do some maintenance. My job was to not engage and go on as if he wasn’t really there. Normally, in this kind of situation, I would interact with a person in the room in this capacity, but I was to basically ignore him.
Let me tell you: this was the most challenging presentation of my life. I had a room of highly distracted (yet lovely) people and a man walking around searching for, finding, cracking, and eating hard-boiled eggs. No big deal…
I had an earpiece, which was mostly silent, except for one brilliant line they fed me…The presentation went on for 45 excruciating minutes. I kept thinking, when will this be over? And doing what I could to get the group to focus on me.
How did I not see the guy leaving eggshells all over the place? Standing next to me chomping on an egg? That is called: FOCUS, my friends. Being totally engrossed in my task and having a sense that I was about to completely lose the audience’s attention. So, I would change it up: ask a question, stand up, tell a joke, anything to keep them from asking about Joe.
He left the room. He came back in the room and found the last egg, at which point I dropped my façade and let the room laugh. Omg, I was never so relieved.
After that, the crew came and told the Tiny Beans team that they were being pranked by their CEO. All I could think was: how could this even be funny? I was just blathering on to a group of distracted people.
One of the crew rushed in and up to me and said: "WHO ARE YOU?? HOW DID YOU DO THAT??" I said, "What?" "You kept a straight face the whole time? You were like the 5th Joker!" That made me feel good. Really good.
Once I knew the show was going to air I got nervous. Was I going to look completely idiotic? Would it even be funny? Well, you tell me.
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