Today’s the day I am sitting by the phone in case I am called upon to be a “Phone-a-Friend” lifeline for my pal and fellow caricaturist Jim Batts, who is taping his show this afternoon in New York City.
Actually the way this works is he is there and ready to compete if called upon. It is possible he might not be picked from the pool of possible contestants during the taping sessions he is scheduled for. I doubt that, as he is just the kind of guy they’d want on the show… he’s quirky, has an interesting career and he knows a #%^$*@ lot about movies. In fact it’s kind of a joke I am on of his “Phone-a-Friends”, as I know a small, tiny fraction of the vast knowledge of entertainment trivia that Jim knows. In fact, Jim once participated in a radio call-in entertainment trivia game when he was working in Las Vegas doing caricatures at Excaliber, and he broke the bank. No kidding, they could not stump him. His winnings escalated with each question, and he had won over $1,300 before they cut him off. After that they had a new “ceiling” for what you could win. Jim’s going to win a bundle… I’d not bet against his taking home a million dollars.
Basically my job is to cover some small, specialized knowledge he does not possess. Mainly I am his ringer for any Harry Potter movie related questions, but if he gets one on a Batman movie or any of the films I did the parody of for MAD, he might tap me for those as well. I will take endless ribbing from my workout trainer if I end up answering a Brokeback Mountain question for him.
So I am supposed to get a prep call between 10 am and 11 am EST today, just to make sure I am available. Then I must stick by the phone between 12 pm and 7:30 pm EST to answer a possible call. I’m not sure what I’ll do if I get a call from a client today. I doubt my caller I.D. will say “Meredith Vieira” on it if they call. It will probably say “Unknown Caller” or some such. I’ll have to keep my conversations short. I was told they will call me after Jim is done so I need not wait around all day.
There is a very small chance I’ll get a call. First, I cannot imagine Jim not knowing something about a movie. Second the Harry Potter films were such big blockbusters the only questions they’d likely to be the subject of will be the very easy first several, and even someone who has not sen the films will likely know the answers to those.
Still, I’ll be ready. Bring it on, Meredith!
UPDATE- I’m off the hook. “Millionaire” called and told me Jim used a different Phone-a-Friend. I feel all empty and hollow inside… sniff… sniff…
754 My cover art for the next issue of MAD, exclusive sneak peek from @entertainmentweekly website
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