Friday, April 6, 2012

Interview with a TV star who didn't pay her dues

(Recently, the television news industry has raised eyebrows by hiring people who, shall we say, have a somewhat checkered past. People who haven't paid any dues at all and are best known for showing up in the police blotter, courtroom dockets, rehab, or supermarket tabloids. So we decided to sit down with the latest addition to the industry, Barb E. Cue. As always, the meeting takes place in a New Jersey diner. The Grape, like all smart Sicilians, is already seated at the back booth when Ms. Cue walks in wearing a green wig, extremely short skirt and seven-inch red platforms. Every person in the place watches as she struts by and sits down.)

Grape: Nice outfit.

Barb: You like?

Grape: You look like you need a bail bondsman and a public defender.

Barb: You're so funny! But everyone noticed me, right?

Grape: You don't exactly blend. So, tell me about the new gig.

Barb: Oh, I'm so excited. Million bucks a year, nightly talk show, national cable. I'm getting promotion like you wouldn't believe.

Grape: May I ask how you landed this job?

Barb: I'm Barb E. Cue.

Grape: Excuse me?

Barb: I'm gonna tell you a little secret. The best way to get a job in news... is to be in the news.

Grape: That doesn't make any sense.

Barb: I'm sorry. By in the news I mean you have to make news. Be outrageous, be embarassing, turn yourself into a national train wreck. Hell, I make those Kardashian sisters look shy.

Grape: So, how exactly does this work?

Barb: First, you start with the basic fifteen minutes of fame trifecta: sleep with a famous politician, appear on a reality show, do something so outrageous you get a ton of news coverage.

Grape: And in your case, what was that third thing?

Barb: I used to be a librarian. Showed up for work looking like this. The reporters were tripping over themselves after all the citizens complained. I sued the city and claimed my outfit was free speech. Went to the Supreme Court and I won. My name was everywhere. Then I make the rounds of the talk shows, ratings go up, executives see that I've got a fun personality. The key is name recognition.

Grape: Speaking of which, that can't be your real name.

Barb: Of course not. But I'm hot, and I needed a name that says I'm hot. Barb E. Cue. Get it? Barbecue! Barbecues are hot! Any guest on my show is gonna get grilled! Get it?

Grape: Yeah, I got it. What about journalism experience?

Barb: Pfffft! Please.

Grape: No news experience at all? Maybe even as a newsroom secretary?

Barb: I read a book once.

Grape: So what qualifies you to be paid a million bucks a year when there are tons of hard working people out there who have paid dues?

Barb: As we say in the library, honey, dues are for overdue books.

The waitress arrives. Her eyes widen in recognition as she recognizes our guest.

Waitress: Hey, you're the barbecue girl!

Barb: That's me!

Waitress: I just love your outfits. I read that you got your own show.

Barb: Starts Monday at seven.

Waitress: I'll set my DVR!

The waitress leaves without taking our order.

Barb: Ya see?

Grape: Yeah, but I don't believe it.

Barb: Look, somebody told me about you. How you believe in working hard, being ethical, old school, unbiased. And where does that get most of the people in your business? Look at me! No school, no experience, and I've got a network gig! What have you got that I don't?

Grape: The ability to look myself in the mirror.


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