Yesterday at about 4:00 p.m., I got a phone call from an unidentified New York number. I answered and the guy on the phone said “Hi, this is Jon, calling from David Letterman.” So, at first I thought he was calling about Sam (I don’t know, I was confused and on the elliptical). Then he reminded me I had applied for tickets to the show online and did I want to go tomorrow? I said yes, and he told me he was going to ask me a Letterman trivia question, and if I got it right, I could have the ticket.
Now, I haven’t watched the show regularly since college, (it is on way too late for me), so I was worried and asked him, what if I get it wrong? He said, “then you don’t get to go. And you can’t use the internet or ask anyone for help.” I was worried it was like a “Live with Kelly” type question, like, what is Eva Langoria’s favorite ice cream that she discussed on yesterday’s show. But the question was, “What instrument does Paul Shaffer play?” I screamed “I know this! Keyboard!” and I got my ticket. I then immediately rushed out to get myself a new outfit, and shoes, so that Dave would like me.
The last talk show I went to was called “Kelly and Company” filmed in Detroit in the 1980s. The show I went to back then was about the new craze, step aerobics, and I was a demonstrator. They put me in the corner of the studio because I kept falling off my step in rehearsal.
I got there really early today, and met a new friend in line who I went out to coffee with after we got our special “gold tickets” from Jon (hi Elissa!). Then, about an hour before the show, the Letterman pages give you a speech in a tiny room that is about 20 degrees with about 400 people in it. The main thing they tell you is how you are allowed to cheer and clap during the show, but you can’t say “Whoo!!” I don’t know why. You try cheering without saying “Whoo”. It is really hard.
Paul Schaffer came on first and he is awesome. I feel a connection with him because he dated my cousin Gilda Radner (ok, well, her aunt Ceilia Radner and my grandma Ceilia Ochs were first cousins. But we are totally blood related so do not question it. I wanted to invite her to my bat mitzvah but my mom said no.)
They don’t tell you who the guests are, literally, until the show starts and the announcer Alan Kalter announces it. It was definitely my lucky day because the main guest was Michael J. Fox, who I have loved since he was Alex P Keaton and Marty McFly (also Lena Dunham who was so funny, and now I have to start watching Girls on HBO).
Michael J Fox came on and his Parkinsons was very evident. He proudly talked about his son Sam (I know, coincidence, right?) who is presenting at the Golden Globes. But he was mainly there to talk about his Parkinsons Foundation and this devastating disease he is trying to cure. It is amazing to watch him. He is so determined to cure this illness, even though it is very debilitating and he is fighting it so hard. Seeing someone you have admired so long struggling so early on in his life is hard to see so close up (I was in the 4th row. Look for me in my new black and white polka dotted blouse. And also my new earrings which I didn’t tell Craig about yet).
When he was done talking and walked off the stage during the commercial break, he paused and waved to the audience with a big smile on his face. It reminded me of my friend Audrey who just passed away from cancer. She could still stop to talk to anyone, even though she was in so much pain. It is amazing to see people who are fighting something so hard that they cannot control, and yet they don’t have an ounce of self pity. They are energetic, friendly, and full of life. It is simply remarkable.
So when he walked off the stage, and the audience got to cheer because Biff the stage manager told us we could, I had a really really hard time not yelling Whoo. Because if anyone deserves a Whoo, it’s him. So, Michael J. Fox, and anyone else out there who is fighting something they can’t control, and still soldiering on and living life to the fullest, consider this your Whoo!