Sunday, September 25, 2011

Two and a Half Awkward Men

The nice thing about LA is that you never know who you might run into. This past Labor Day the GF and I saw an awfully skinny Jonah Hill at a grocery store in Santa Monica; I gotta admit I liked him better pudgy. Earlier that day, I ran into another powerful individual in the entertainment industry at this brunch spot called Blue Plate.

I had never been to this restaurant and when I walked in, it didn’t give off the best vibe. There was a bit of a wait for the table and the staff wasn’t the friendliest; I don’t ask for much from a host or hostess except for a little pleasantry. This particular hostess reacted as if I was asking her to be the mother of my child, when all I’d done was give her my name to add to their waiting list.

Despite my baby face, I can sometimes act like an elderly Jewish man, so I tell my GF that we should go somewhere else where they will respect our business. After walking down the block, there weren’t too many other options we reluctantly did the walk of shame back to the restaurant. When I was reunited with the lovely and cheery hostess, she let me know how upset she was I hadn’t materialized when she called my name. After stumbling over some lame excuse as to my whereabouts she finally sat us down at a table in the back. 

About half-way through our meal, I noticed a gentleman in his 50s walk in with an attractive woman. Even though he was wearing sunglasses, I immediately thought he looked familiar and told the GF this new customer was indeed Chuck Lorre. For all you readers who are too cool to watch television, Mr. Lorre is probably the most powerful man in TV today. He has created hit shows such as “Two and a Half Men”, “Big Bang Theory” and many other successful ones that are in syndication. 

Chuck Lorre (Jonno's future boss)
Not many people would recognize Chuck Lorre, but given that my passion in life is comedy TV writing (and the fact that I religiously study the medium) I knew it was him. Our table was towards the back of the restaurant and near the bathroom. A few minutes later, Mr. Lorre walked past our table to use the facilities. As if by an act of God, at that same moment, I too had to use the little boys’ room. (Although my situation was a bit more serious) Because the bathroom was a tiny, one-person facility there was unfortunately no opportunity for me to challenge Mr. Lorre to a sword fight. (Regardless, I probably would have lost) 

The GF encouraged me to approach Mr. Lorre when he exited the bathroom. At first I told her I didn’t think it was the best idea, but then in so many words she told me to grow a pair and just do it. In order to protect my manhood and integrity (which I feel like I have to defend on a daily basis) I obliged. Right as I approached the bathroom, Mr. Lorre walked out. It happened so quickly that I wasn’t properly prepared to say anything. Plus, I didn’t think it was the best location to have a conversation, since the restroom was practically located in the middle of the kitchen.

After we paid the check and were ready to leave, I saw my next chance.  A person in my situation doesn’t get many opportunities like this, so I knew I couldn’t leave without talking to Mr. Lorre. Upon leaving the restaurant I decided to take my chance and walked up to him, nervously to say:

“I’m sorry to interrupt you, but I just wanted to let you know I’ve always been a big fan of your work and I wish you the best of luck for this upcoming season.” 

I purposely kept it short and sweet. If he gave me a cold response, I could walk out and be content. That did not happen. Mr. Lorre was extremely friendly and seemed flattered by my comment.

“Thank you very much. What’s your name?” replied Mr. Lorre. 

I had nervously mumbled my name way too quickly, he asked me to spell it out for him. (Or get a translator) Since he gave me a warm reception, I decided to pull out a little Jonno banter and say:

“By the way, if you’re looking for another writer for one of your shows feel free to let me know.”

At this point I knew it would be a good time to give him my business card and lucky for me the GF was holding my wallet ready with the card to give him. Mr. Lorre studies the card very closely.

“It says comedy writer. I like that,” said Mr. Lorre. 

I then brought up a mutual friend and he sarcastically told me that knowing him was a strike against me. As George Costanza taught me, it’s always essential to go out while you’re on top. I took that as my key and gave my goodbyes.

Even though I realize the chance of Mr. Lorre actually reading this blog are the same as me becoming a shirtless Abercrombie model, I would like to thank him for being a genuine human being and I look forward to working with him in the future. (Even if “working with him” means becoming his butler)