The lure of the small screen -- or any screen -- is so strong that I've done some embarrassing things in order to get my face there. Like pitching the following 10 programs, which were offbeat, wacky, and at times downright humiliating. Mercifully, none of them were picked up.
1. In the aughts, an aspiring actress/writer dropped all kinds of names and claimed she had connections with HBO, which was allegedly funding a short film she wanted me in -- a sort of way-too-late riff on AbFab. I believed it, and even bought the fact that they'd air her short and it would surely lead to other, better things. But when she broke her promise to pay me, I knew her project was toilet bound. And when I saw the finished result, which was so amateurishly done that you couldn't hear the dialogue, I was mortified. But there was one good thing about it: You couldn't hear the dialogue.
2. In 2001, I met with a co-host I'd worked with and a bigshot over at a movie channel. He was supposedly a big fan and wanted us to do some kind of chat show for him, and we were thrilled about it. But at our meeting, he weirdly talked about his own marital situation a lot, as we tried to be witty and/or comforting while nodding like bobbleheads. Throughout the entire encounter, we never got to say anything about ourselves or delve into just what kind of project we were going to do. And then he never contacted us again! It was like he just wanted a free therapy session!
3. In 2002, I was involved in a pilot for a gay talk show that was sort of Queer Eye-meets-The View. The idea was that gay men are like women, so they should sit around and discuss women's issues. But as I've pointed out before, it's lesbians who are like women. This was such a nutty idea that I sat through the taping praying that God would punish it. And honey, he did.
4. Ages ago, a friend of a female model put together an elaborate pilot whereby the model would introduce videos at a loft party, after which oddballs like me would engage in supposedly festive shtick (some of it involving card tricks and magic stunts. Riveting, no?). My bit involved telling a blind gossip item to a woman playing an elderly fashionista, upon which she fell over in faux disbelief. So did the targeted network. The model's friend had said he had an "in" there, but it turned out they had no interest in this thing at all. End of party.
5. A nightlife presence wanted me on a show about older clubbies mentoring younger ones. I agreed, but I didn't think it would make it, since it was feel-good and inspiring, and that's not exactly what reality networks are looking for. (They generally want cursing and hair pulling.) Sure enough, I never heard another word about it, so I've had to restrict my mentoring skills to real life.
6. A self-professed reality producer claimed to be a huge admirer and wanted to meet me to discuss TV possibilities. When I did so, he was smashed and so full of shit he had no idea what I even did. At one point, I suggested a club-related show about my nightly travails, and he replied, "You mean like Girls Gone Wild?" I left him there with the check.
7. In 2001, a very nice guy who worked for Al Roker's production company was convinced that Roker and I would be a good match for a movie review program, along with a female critic who'd already been handpicked. I guess it was Siskel and Ebert-meets-The Mod Squad. The three of us got together, shot a sizzle reel, and never met again, except when we ran into each other by accident. But hey, they're great, and it was fun to try.
8. Some years ago, the fab Richard Belzer hosted a pilot about conspiracy theories, and the panelists included me, Johnny Rotten, G. Gordon Liddy, and Janeane Garofalo. It didn't get picked up, and I have a conspiracy as to why that is -- I sucked!
9. I was a judge on Catwalk Challenge, a sort of Project Runway attempt crossed with a makeover show, starring a plus-sized host. Apparently there was no room for it on the dial.
10. There was also a spoof of a reality show (this one focusing on a dizzy socialite) in which I did some gossipy narration. Alas, reality shows tend to spoof themselves, so Oxygen -- for whom the show was done -- gave it no oxygen.
I won't include the pilot I was in (as a commentator) for a show about trashy reality stars doing charity. I was happy to actually donate my time -- dutifully chopping vegetables at God's Love We Deliver -- and I was thrilled that Lindsay Lohan's father didn't come at me with the paring knife!
But let me now concentrate on my new show, which is on. And it's fabulous! It's Cocktails and Classics, starting on Logo any day now, and I appear on four episodes. Check me out. Applause. Thank you. And scene.