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Monday, May 5, 2014

What I Saw At TV’s The View With Comedian George Wallace


I normally don’t get to watch a lot of daytime television. I’m too busy working hard to see that my author clients get interviewed by these programs and newscasts. But I had a chance to see The View ­­­­, now in its 17th season of sticking women together from different backgrounds to dish on topics, personalities, or events of the day. In fact, I saw it from behind the scenes, as I went with two colleagues to accompany our client/guest, comedian George Wallace, author of the recently published book, Laff It Off!

We first checked into security and then one of the production assistants walked us past the line of audience members. He guided us to a freight-like elevator. We went to the second floor, where we were brought through the narrow hallways of an aging building just shy of New York’s West Side Highway.

We made it to a dressing room. The door’s paper banner had a star with Wallace’s name on it. The small room had a love seat, a chair, a TV set, a closet, a desk, and a few snacks. Outside the room you could hear neighbors, namely other guests that were to appear on the show.

Wallace came about 10-15 minutes late of the time we asked him to come, but that’s normal for him and most of our clients. It’s a game everyone plays. The TV show asks you to be there at a time that’s way in advance of when they actually need you. They anticipate guest being late. Authors are late -- often.

Shortly after Wallace arrived Whoopi Goldberg sauntered in. A star in her own right, she came across as herself -- genuine, opinionated, funny. She had colorful shoes on. The high heels helped give her some height but she was no match for the tall, booming figure of Wallace.

The two old friends bantered a bit and in a matter of minutes they suggested working together, maybe doing an HBO or Showtime special. Is that really how deals are done?

After Wallace changed into some flashy clothes that give him a classy but colorful reverence, he went for makeup. He was at the stage of being calm before the storm. When it’s showtime he has a burst of energy that lights up the room.

I started talking to some of the other guests, not familiar with any of  them. They were fellow comedians. Wallace knew all of them. He knows everyone and says hello to anyone who is in earshot. He is one of the friendliest, most gracious, and funniest clients -- and people -- I have ever come in contact with. No, Wallace can’t pay me enough to say what comes from the heart.

We got moved to the Green Room, which is right next to the back of the set. TV shows always look bigger on TV but the sets and audience areas are usually tiny. 

TV royalty, Barbara Walters, entered the room and all eyes were on her. Wallace was drawn to greet her as if she had money on her clothes and he wanted to peel the Franklins off of her. The 80-year old icon is leaving the show that she created in just a few months, so it was nice to see her. I took a cellphone shot of the two of them but it didn’t come out well. Cellphone cameras still could use some improvement.

I forgot to mention that we took an elevator one flight up, from the dressing room to the Green Room and as we got into the elevator we were met by a beautiful woman in a clingy pink outfit. She could’ve posed for Playboy. Oh wait, she did. Jenny McCarthy, one of the new co-hosts, is stunning in person. She is walking sex.

She cozied up to Wallace and she said “We could make a good cake topper.” Wallace laughed. The 60-something bachelor said he’s not ready for that.

Wallace has been telling jokes professionally for 38 years. When he broke into the business he split an apartment with another young comedian named Jerry Seinfeld. Wallace went on to be Seinfeld’s best man at his wedding and has remained great friends.

Wallace just wrapped up a show in Las Vegas that enjoyed a record run of over a decade- five nights a week at the Flamingo. He was dubbed by the newspaper over there as “The New Mr. Vegas.” He’s done more shows there than any black entertainer in the history of The Strip.

He has a huge family. His family gatherings can exceed 700 people, though he doesn’t have any kids of his own. Comedy has been his family, his life. This book is about the gift of comedy and how laughter prevents and heals any problem. He’ll make you laugh so hard, you’ll forget you had any problems.

Just before he went on stage he revealed his vulnerable side. Here was a man who has told tens of thousands of jokes, a true professional who has appeared across the country and on national TV, who now was practicing and testing out loud which jokes he’d squeeze into a three-minute set.

He was taking notes, crossing things out, and muttering aloud. You almost thought he was talking to you but really he was zoned into doing his monologue, as if on stage.

A producer tapped his massive shoulders and indicated it was time for him to go out there. He came out to the stage and exploded with jokes, as if he were the grand finale to a fireworks show, each joke outshining the previous one, each one competing with itself for attention. He went on a tear and just rapid-fired his jokes until the audience couldn’t keep up with the ripple of laughter waves coming at them.

He heard that laughter and the applause, much like he’s heard it before. It seems he feeds off of that praise, off of the approval of others. He feels connected to people when they laugh with him. His sermon heals and inspires all those who come within his reach.

The View was just another venue for the man who has entertained millions of people over the years. He is able to make people of all backgrounds laugh and manages not to alienate anyone when he ridicules everyone.

It was cool being in the same room where national television emanates and where the Wallace joke machine performed perfectly. Tomorrow will be another show for both of them, but to different audiences, thousands of miles apart.

Wallace exited the building to grab a car to the airport. He is not the kind of guy many people recognize, though his name holds some familiarity. But while he was at The View he was treated like a king, the king of comedy. 

He’ll probably tell jokes about the experience. Life requires laughter -- and one must start by laughing at life. 

It is easy to do when you are around The New Mr. Vegas.


Here are some excerpts from his hilarious book:

Parenting
"You got any kids yet? If you don’t, you probably will. And if you never did, like yours truly, you dodged a bullet. Procreation is a mess. Why are you people always showing us pictures of your ugly-ass kids? Every time I turn around, someone’s running up to me in a restaurant with his wallet out, or his cell phone. “Take a look at my baby.” The kid has a snaggletooth, eyes looking two different directions like a king salmon. But you’ve got to say the right thing anyway. “Look out! That kid’s gonna be a heartbreaker.” I got news for these people. That kid is going to be a mirror breaker."

Postal Workers
"I went in the post office last week. They had the employee of the month on one wall and a guy wanted for murder on the other. Same picture. I’m gonna mind my manners when I’m in that place. I’ll pay my ten dollars a stamp and get the hell on, with a smile. 'Y’all have a good day now, ya hear?'"

Aging
"Getting older is strange. You’re getting wiser and wiser, but there’s more and more crap you don’t understand. My neighbor knows the meaning of life but can’t work a microwave." 




ABOUT WALLACE'S BOOK


George Wallace has performed across the globe and in comedy clubs across the country for four decades. He has been in movies, on television and radio, and had his own show in Las Vegas for a decade just wrap up. The Las Vegas Review Journal dubbed him The New Mr. Vegas. But he has never put his story down on paper – until now.

His debut book, Laff It Off!, contains humorous chapters on money, aging, parenting, religion, and racial differences. He also muses on postal workers, bullies, playing hooky from work, stupid people, the economy, the Food Network, clutter, and things made in China. Wallace also presents glimpses into his youth and Atlanta upbringing, his early jobs that included selling rags and bus advertising, and how he got his first break in a long entertainment career that has been praised by Jay Leno, Chris Rock, Arsenio Hall, and his mailman.

Wallace, recently honored for his lifetime achievements at BET Centric’s Soul Train Awards, was rated one of the top 25 funniest tweeters by Rolling Stone Magazine, and ranked by Comedy Central as one of the all time greatest stand-up comics.

Wallace offers insight on the following:
·                 Why his former roommate, Jerry Seinfeld chose success – and almost a billion dollars -- through TV, while George found his riches and path to success by staying in stand-up.
·                 How he went from literally selling rags to working with Redd Foxx, Diana Ross, Donna Summer, and some living people like Smokey Robinson.
·                 Parenting tips from someone who never had kids, such as: “Home-proof your child rather than child-proofing your home. Tie the kid up, put socks on his hands so he can’t mess with nothing, and play loud music to drown out crying.”
·                 Why we need “stupid jars” -- like a swear jar, only “you put money in every time you catch yourself doing or saying something stupid.”
·                 Why you should crash funerals – “for the food.”

Wallace makes a great effort to encourage us to embrace humor as a way of life. “If we all had a sense of humor about ourselves and our differences, this world would be so much nicer,” he writes.

When the Baby Boomer reflects on aging he notes: “We don’t stop laughing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop laughing.”

So does Wallace have any plans of slowing down?

“I’ll never stop working,” he writes. “My corpse will be telling jokes at my funeral. You’re gonna hear a muffled “yo mamma” joke as they lower my casket. I won’t ever stop.”

RANDOM BOOK EXCERPT: UNLIMITED POWER

by Tony Robbins


People who have attained excellence follow a consistent path to success.  I call it the Ultimate Success Formula.  The first step to this formula is to know your outcome, that is, to define precisely what you want. 

The second step is to take action – otherwise your desires will always be dreams.  You must take the types of actions you believe will create the greatest probability of producing the result you desire. 

The actions we take do not always produce the result we desire, so the third step is to develop the sensory acuity to recognize the kinds of responses and results you’re getting from your actions and to note as quickly as possible if they are taking you closer to your goals or farther away.   

You must know what you’re getting from your actions, whether it be in a conversation or from your daily habits in life.  If what you’re getting is not what you want, you need to note what results your actions have produced so that you learn from every human experience.  And then you take the fourth step, which is to develop the flexibility to change your behavior until you get what you want. 

If you look at successful people, you’ll find they followed these steps. They started with a target, because you can’t hit one if you don’t have one.  They took action, because just knowing isn’t enough.  They had the ability to read others, to know what response they were getting.  And they kept adapting, kept adjusting, kept changing their behavior until they found what worked.  


Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

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