Scene 5: Search for the Razzie
by Memoirs of a Seatfiller
“…I want to thank the members of the Academy who were bold enough to give me this award… I am not able to express all my gratitude because now, my body is in tumult because it is a colossal moment of joy… Losing would suck and winning would be really scary. And it’s really, really scary… I just want to thank everybody I’ve ever met in my entire life… You like me. You really like me!… This is for everybody who works on the dream every day… I don’t know what I did in this life to deserve all of this. I’m just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream… Julia Roberts told me the other day that she admired me. How do you think I’m feeling right now?… I won and I get to scream and jump a little. But I got to go back to work tomorrow… I very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award. And the reason for this being is the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry… I accept this very gratefully for keeping my mouth shut for once. I think I’ll do it again… I’m not going to drop the F-bomb like she (Melissa Leo) did. I’ve done that plenty before… And whenever you’ve got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up… I am the king of the world!…”
Ding! You’ve Got Mail… “Nick at Nite is hosting ‘Funniest Moms in America Contest Part 2. We need seatfillers to be audience members for this show. Please dress accordingly because you will be filmed. No bright patterns, no white, no logos.” This is it! My big moment… not just a seatfiller anymore. Today I am…a professional audience member. All right Mr. De Mille, I’m ready for my close-up! My television debut has finally arrived – and my academy award winning performance to follow. Who am I going to take with me this time…? Oh, my brother of course – after all he is an actor.
We arrive at the theater and filter into the main room. I feel like I’ve been getting the rhythm of being a seatfiller, but now I’m in uncharted territory. There are a collection of people just standing around. A man with a headset makes an announcement: “We are going to have you line up and proceed upstairs to the balcony. There will be people to direct you to your seats.” Damn! Once again – nobody puts baby in the balcony. Just as we are instructed we line up, when a woman walks up to George and I and says, “You two – follow me.”
“We like the way you both look. We are going to sit you down here in the camera shot.” Nice!! She brings us to our seats and we sit behind an elevated table. She explains, “This is where the judges will be sitting. You will be directly behind them. And remember you will be in a lot of the camera shots… so make sure to smile, laugh, and don’t make any distracting gestures.” Oh man! What does that mean? Ok I think I can handle that… I hope. But the real question is… how do I look? I put a lot of thought into my outfit. I wore black because it’s slimming – deciding on a classic turtleneck. My hair is pulled back in a neat ponytail to highlight my cheekbones. I wonder if I’m wearing enough makeup? It’s the middle of winter and I probably look pasty. Damn! Why didn’t I put on bronzer? Oh well, too late…
The audience is in their seats. Now the judges filter in… who will it be?? So exciting! They’ll be sitting mere inches from me! Up first is Alfonso Ribeiro. Carlton Banks from the Fresh Prince of Bel-air! Love him! Next is Mario Cantone from Sex and the City. Oh my gosh, in 1990 some friends and I went on a children’s TV show he hosted… Steampipe Alley. I wonder if I can tell him that… too weird? Last but not least comes Carol Leifer, comedic writer. So the judges sit down in front of us. Alfonso is to my right. I couldn’t help myself… tap tap tap… he turns around and looks at me. “Just wanted to say hi. You’re awesome Carlton. Have a great show!” He smiles disparagingly and says, “Thanks. Have fun.” Mario Cantone then turns around and quips, “You guys have prime seats huh.” Now out comes the host, Katy Segal, famously Peggy Bundy from Married with Children… she warms up. After several minutes the stage manager counts down… “in 5, 4, 3”… Here we go…
Katy Segal begins her monologue and then introduces the judges. Oh yay! The camera is going to pan in our direction! Here it comessss… I glance at the monitor to see my big debut and… Oh. My. God. Is that me?? Can’t be. Why the hell do I look like a floating head?!? It’s the dark background, my black turtleneck and black hair… all you see is a floating fat face! Ahhhhhh! And why do my ears stick out? Stupid ponytail! Oh my god I’m vile!! I slowly turn to George and whisper, “I look like Lyle Lovett in drag! My ears stick out 40 feet. I’m Dumbo!” He then says the three words that are the kiss of death to any girl: “You look fine.” Ugh! I reply, “Fine. Fine? So what you’re saying is I’m a hideous Beast.” He retorts, “Nicole, please. I don’t understand. Take your hair down if you hate it?” Boys. So clueless. “I can’t just take it down. It doesn’t work like that.” It’s not like the movies. A girl just doesn’t take her hair out of a ponytail and toss it from side to side and, bam, Jennifer Aniston. No! This was a choice. I’m committed to it. There’s hairspray and bobby pins in here. Jeez! He mumbles back “Ok… my bad.”
The camera is still on us. Sooo… I have to put on a smile. I try not to look horrified at myself on camera. Not sure if I’m successful, but the show must go on. So George and I listen closely to the performers and try to respond accordingly. We give a laugh where a laugh is due, a head nod, a smile, and the occasional “ohhh.” The audience is also given cues. There is a flashing sign in front of the stage to direct us: “More applause!” or “Laughter” or “Big laughs.” Then… “it” began. Off in the distance I hear cackling and see long arms and legs flailing in my peripheral. Simultaneously, George and I slowly scan left to see what’s going on. There is a girl with big red hair, long pale legs and lots of freckles having a mini seizure. I lean over “What the hell is she doing?” George responds, “That is a case of serious over-acting.” The moms on stage are dropping bombs everywhere. Overall the jokes are pretty lame, so the audience has to ham it up, but Pippy Longstocking is ridiculous. I think she’s gonna fall off her chair. And that laugh… that laugh! It’s a crossbreed between The Nanny and Krusty the Klown. At one point Mario Cantone glances over his shoulder and shoots her a look like “bitch, shut it.” I think I just peed my pants.
At this point George and I are engrossed in our acting roles when… oops. Earlier I smuggled in a Snapple and left the half-empty bottle by my feet. I forgot to mention this little fact to George. He shifts his weight in his chair to attempt a pensive pose… when wack… then a roll. So the formerly half empty bottle is now fully empty… Ohhhh shhhhhitttt. Please stop rolling – please stop rolling. Brace yourself for the huge crashhhhhhh. We are so getting thrown out of here. Dear Lord please don’t let it shatter everywhere. I promise to wake up for church every Sunday, never curse again and… Holy shit – thank God it stopped. But now there is diet raspberry iced tea everywhere and it’s on the move headed directly for Carol Leifer. Without a word or abrupt movement, George and I morph into David Beckham and Mia Hamm, kicking raspberry tea everywhere. Our goal: disperse the tea anywhere but on the celebs while remaining undetected. We look left… we look right… success. There may have been some fouls… but all and all… score… disaster avoided.
So the night goes on. More bombs than Baghdad. The judges occasionally turn around to ask our opinion. Hard to smell a rose in a dumpster… but someone’s gotta win this Stink-fest. So the “funniest mom” is crowned (kind of an oxymoron)… Pippy‘s performance pathetically peaks… and my fat floating face has made its television debut. I guess my Oscar winning speech will have to wait. As the audience gets up to leave, we can’t help but chuckle at the sound of sticky shoes on Snapple, fighting their way out the door. As I walk out, I notice the faint smell of ‘Razzie’ in the air… how ironic.