Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Martha & Me

Early last month, before I knew I'd be writing this blog, I was in the audience for a filming of "The Martha Stewart Show." 

I shat you not. 

And, by the way, "shat" is not a bad word so you can let your kids read this posting.  But make them log on separately so that I get credit for another click. Appreciate it.

I'm not a mindreader, but I can hear you asking: Why on earth would he go to that show?

Before you jump to any hasty conclusions, I'll tell you that a close family friend from the Jersey Shore wanted to attend, she loves Martha (see, I told you I wouldn't mention your name Marge!) and since I'm an NYC local, I volunteered to chaparone.  Of course, she's 75 but could kick the ass of any two muggers combined  and then curse their broken bodies bluer than any sailor.  ("Ass" isn't a bad word either, bring your kid back into the room.)

Two other female friends also attended.  We had to arrive at 8:30 am for a 10 am filming. The show's staff needed 90 minutes to yell at us almost constantly and treat us like 2nd graders.  They didn't seem to like their jobs, and us, all that much. Here's a picture of the audience in the first waiting area into which we were herded:

 To be fair, we were given bottled water and most of the crew members were not all that unpleasant, but they did yell a lot in a condescending manner, as if we were seven-year olds on a field trip to a museum. 

"Now turn off all your cell phones.  Mr. Cell Phone is bad and shouldn't go off while Queen Martha is speaking." 

"Use the bathrooms now, there will be no bathroom breaks during filming.  And don't chew gum unless you have enough for everybody in the class."  (Ok, I made up that last sentence in each of those two preceding paragraphs, but the crew could've easily slipped those in and nobody would've noticed.

Thankfully, we were given ample, nay, super-ample, opportunities to buy Martha Stewart merchandise before the show began.  The Martha loot was located in a separate room.  I snapped a photo while the guards were looking the other way:

I made this photo extra large so that you could examine it closely to decide if there is anything that you might like.  If you there is, please order it at http://www.marthastewart.com/.  They said that the computer chip that they injected into our necks wouldn't have any effect, but I still feel a strange need to promote Martha's products.  I bought two of the third t-shirt from the right, if you really must know.  Not for me though.  Now stand back please, we're not ready to go in just yet and you're leaning your greasy body on something, I'm sure. 

After a wait that was long enough to make us realize that we were played for suckers and had shown up way too early, they finally started to let us file into the studio.  It was shortly before this that I noticed that I was one of only five males in an audience of about 120.  And of the five, I'm sure I would've won a sports trivia contest or arm wrestling match hands down, if you know what I mean.  And I'm sure you do.  The kids can read this, why not?

When we finally got the exciting opportunity to take our seats, we were rewarded with chairs smack in the middle...but in the last row.  Unfortunately, upon later viewing a recording of the show (I only DVR'd it this one time, believe me), it was revealed that the camera never quite got to where we sat.  Whew, nobody saw me in the audience, great!  Of course, I'm negating that anonymity by now blogging about it.  I would be a very complicated psychological study.  But you knew that.

Here is a picture of Anne, Mary and Marge (last names have been withheld to protect the innocent):

I posted this photo in extra large format to give this trio some media exposure to partially make up for the screw job that the Martha Stewart camera crew perpetrated on us. Marge, the 75-year old, is in the back with the white sweater and red scarf.  I know, I just greatly complimented one woman and pissed off two others since the other two are nowhere near 75 and, presumably, pointing out Marge wouldn't be necessary.  Such is the life of a blogger.  We should all be so lucky as to look as good as Marge when we're 75.  Maybe that will get me into the will (or at least some of her most excellent strombolis, even better!) 

The show is filmed in eight short segments.  I use the term "show" loosely since it is, essentially, one long commercial.  Website addresses are frequently mentioned ("You can buy this nice cake plate at cake-eaters.com") but none so frequently as Martha's ("I know we only gave you half of the recipe, the rest is available at http://www.marthastewart.com/.) 

If you'll notice, every recipe you see made on TV, especially on Martha's show, is only partially revealed and then you are directed to a website to get the rest.  These people are bigger click-whores than me! (Ok, now you might want to let the kids leave the room...)

Here's are two pictures of the show's set:

Fairly mundane, I know, but it was very well set up and the economical use of space was impressive.  And despite my pokes at them, the cast and crew did a very good and efficient job.  The guy who warmed up the audience, and got on camera in one scene, was pretty funny and a good emissary for the show.  I forgot his name however, I was too focused on the Greatness of Martha and her empire.  He's not really many levels above us in the Greater Scheme of Martha, sadly.

So here is what you have all been waiting for, s a picture of the Queen herself.  Brace yourself, you are going to be in the photographic presence of greatness....

Sorry, but I purposefully posted this photo in a small format.  Why did I do that?  Because there was no "extra small" available.  Martha gets enough publicity, she doesn't need her photo on a stinkin' blog like mine, read by stinkin' people like you.  Let's face it.  

Actually, there is another reason too. 

I am punishing Martha, putting her into blogger time-out. Why?  Because when filming had completed the stage manager told the entire audience to wait before leaving.  Martha was going to film some promos.  All 120 of us watched while she spoke into the camera about various upcoming shows.  She did about five takes and it took about ten minutes.  I thought we would be signaled to provide some of our well-rehearsed phony applause, but that never happened.  After the promos were done,  Martha (who didn't look up at, or acknowledge, the audience at all, never mind thanking us for coming) walked off and we were allowed to begin filing out.  That's when I realized that 120 people had been inconvenienced, kept 10 minutes past the completion of the show that we signed up to see, so that Martha wouldn't have to wait for us to file out before she could start filming the promos.  She would rather inconvenience 120 people than herself. 

That really sinks my souffle. It makes me want to cut my American Express card into small pieces and spell out an expletive.

I forgot to mention that we did get two audience gifts as we were departing.  No, not a car, you're thinking Oprah, this is Martha, not  quite as affluent of a billionaire but one nonetheless. 

One gift was a spray bottle of "Wilt Pruf," which claims to prevent plants from wilting (no, it's not a Viagra substitute.)  The other was a $50 gift card for the website Grandin.Road.com.  I don't know if you're familiar, but it's very pricey and hoity-toity, thank you.  I don't think you can even buy a $25 gift certificate for $50 on it.  But it's the thought that counts.

If reading this description of attending the show has made you want to be there yourself, log on to www.marthastewart.com/get-tickets.  Seriously, that's the address. Again, I shat you not.

I must go make a bouquet of flowers out of some tissues, pipe cleaner and the Racing Form now.  Until next time folks....


  1. I actually felt as if I were there with you thanks to your detailed and insightful commentary.
    By the way, how did you amass such a spectacular harem for the show? Perhaps you were a Turkish sultan in a prior life.

  2. Ahahahaha Lazarus! Wonderful post... you know I always wanted to be in her audience. But she scares me a bit; even though my family calls me "Martha" at times I fear her.

    Now after reading this, I am glad I have never had the opportunity to go!


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