On Monday, I got a call from the University of New Haven asking if I would be on WTNH (based in New Haven) to talk about tonight’s State of the Union address.
Channel 8 had called the school asking for a political scientist or a journalist. I am under no delusion that I was the first person called. There are loads better candidates to serve as talking heads and you know what? I’m OK with that.
I was told the show started filming at 5 a.m. and I would be expected to be there on time. I made some snotty comments about the university owing me, but I agreed because I’m a good soldier. I would get a confirmation email with all the particulars later.
But the email never came and television being what it is, I assumed they’d found someone else. So I went to sleep. I slept really well, and thus missed a multitude of emails, texts, and phone calls from both the university and, eventually, the show’s nice producer. In fact, I woke up to her call. She asked if I would come in to film something, even though the show was over.
At this point, a sane person would back out, so I showered and drove to New Haven, and was let into the building by a man who asked if I was there for “Style.” I was not, but it seemed a good way to get in the door. I was ushered into a green room (which was actually red) and thought how funny it would be to be walked out onto a set with neither I nor the show’s hosts having a clue as to why I was there — funny, but liable to show up in a blooper reel that will haunt me forever.
So I called the show’s producer, and after a brief scuffle between her and a woman I assume was affiliated with “Style,” I was walked to a set, where a nice man named Kent shook my hand, and a nice man named R.J. pointed a camera at a newly-mic’d me.
I stood behind a glass table on a taped black X on the floor and talked to Nice Kent about the State of the Union address, which I am freakishly interested in but about which I am in no way an expert. This is the result. Yes, I am a professor, but what they didn’t say is I can make credible fart noises with my hands.
In journalism college, there was much discussion about which branch of service we’d go into. The stunners went to television. The moderately-good-looking went to radio. The rest of us, well…and I was OK with that, too. I only ever wanted to write. I have only watched this once (I promise) and now I believe I shall go back to my day job. I hope you got a giggle, and I trust this will serve as important inspiration to those of you who one day want to stand under bright lights and say, “Well, Kent, I’m glad you asked that question.”
Only don’t say “Kent” if the journalist’s name is “Bob” or “Claire.” Use the right name. And that is all the career advice I have for you.
Funny! That’s great!
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