It’s late as I write this, and I need to get some sleep after three nights of not getting any, but here goes . . . .
Came in Wednesday and parked at the Graciela, a great little boutique hotel in Burbank convenient to NBC–Universal studios. Caught a car out to Santa Monica to see my childhood pal Toby, his wife Andrea, and their kids Alexander and Isabel. Toby is a movie producer, and he starts filming a remake of Prom Night next week. How cool is that?
Woke up Thursday, and Rishia and I went to the studio for the day . . . . Kitchen bug-prep, rehearsals, meetings with bigwigs, and hanging in the dressing rooms.
So here is the Tonight Show skinny.
No one lets you take pictures!
Kevin Eubanks is very short in real life, but his band is twice as good live as they appear on camera.
Jay has about a hundred cars he keeps in an airplane hangar, but the one here is his current favorite, a custom made Rocket. It's a single-seater, but there's room for a small person behind the driver's seat if need be.
You get awesome swag, like cool clothes (thanks Danielle!) and a car and driver to take you wherever, whenever. The private dressing rooms have bathrooms and showers and phones and TVs and all the other bells and whistles. Like what, you might ask? Well, every room you are escorted to and from has a rolling buffet in it just for you—you get treated like a king, doors opened, yes sir, no sir (all right, no one says no), you get nameplates on your dressing room. You get to hang out with John Melendez, Mo Rocca, and Fred Willard all day, so you pee your pants you are laughing so hard, and to top it all off, the best TV people in the business are rehearsing you, lighting you, pressing and primping your clothes, taking care of your every need, and making every guest look and sound better than they are in real life. Amazing stuff.
Jolie Ancel, Tonight Show super-producer, took care of me all day long and walked me through the show several times. The marketing and PR people from the Travel Channel came out to hold my hand and make some media magic (they are the best in the cable world at what they do, trust me), and my wife was a rock the whole day long, reminding me what to focus on (enjoying this once in a lifetime opportunity) and what not to (how petrified I was).
Jay hung out with us in my dressing room for a while, shooting the breeze and talking food—everyone loves to talk food. He had three hot dogs, a bag of chips, and a half gallon of OJ last night for dinner, and he swears he has not eaten fruits or vegetables in thirty years. While he was chatting with Rishia and I, Colleen Steward (my Tremendous Entertainment boss) and her posse arrived, and we all hung out until the show started.
The show went better than I ever imagined, mainly because I imagined getting so nervous that I would run screaming from the building, but that never happened, and even Dan Rather joined in all the gonzo food festivities by taunting Jay (with all the joyful exuberance of the Texas native he is) as he tossed down some bull's balls.
We left the studio, lots of smiles and waves of relief palpably emanating from my every pore, and headed out to Beverly Hills, where we had dinner at my friend Bert's house with his kids Georgia, Kate, and Henry. Bert's wife Jennifer was in NOLA shooting a pilot for Fox, and she called us from Herbsaint, where my pal Donald Link was wining and dining her into oblivion. After dinner we went to Holmby Hills, where Bert and his partner Chris were shooting a pilot called Football Wives, which is sure to be a big hit next year. We got the big tour while they were shooting some night scenes in the mansion next door to Hef's place. Talk about some interesting neighbors!
I am going to bed now.