I had found a new agent, and one of the first auditions he sent me on was for an HBO series. I would be reading for the part of a father. It was an older, more mature role than I was used to. My agent told me to dress conservatively, maybe wear a suit.
I flew to New York the next day and took a taxi over to HBO’s offices. I checked in at the main desk and rode an elevator up to the 11th floor. The elevator opened and a receptionist greeted me. She walked me into a small waiting area and told me to take a seat.
I was sitting alone in the waiting area when one of the show’s production assistants walked through. She was carrying a stack of scripts. She saw me sitting in a chair and stopped. “Hi, are you here for the audition?”
I stood up. “Yes.”
“Can I get you some coffee?”
I shook my head. “No, thanks. A beer, maybe…”
She laughed. “Right. I hear that.”
I nodded. “Yeah, I’m a little nervous…”
She started to walk away. “I’m sure you’ll be great.”
I smiled. “Okay. Thanks, baby.”
The girl stopped suddenly. She spun around. “What did you say?”
“Did you call me ‘baby?’”
“Oh…yeah. Is that bad?”
“You called me ‘baby?’”
“I call everybody baby.”
“You’re auditioning for GIRLS and you called me ‘baby?’”
“I didn’t know that—”
She dropped her pile of scripts on a coffee table. “Do you know who I am?”
“Are you one of the PA’s?”
“OH-MY-GOD.” She put her hand to her head. “I don’t believe it…”
I tried to get her attention. “Wait, listen—this is TV, right?”
She was rubbing her forehead and looking at the floor. I waved to get her attention. “This is TV, right? We say ‘baby’ all the—”
The girl stepped in front of me. She stuck out her hand to shake mine. “Hi. My name’s Lena. This is my show. You’re auditioning for my show. Do you know why I started this show?”
“Listen, I really thought you were a PA—”
“Let me tell you why. So that women wouldn’t have to be called ‘baby’ and take crap from guys like you.”
“I call everybody ‘baby.’ Men, too.”
“Well, you must be very proud.”
She was standing very close. Suddenly, I recognized her. “WAIT—you’re the girl who always takes her clothes off, right?”
She was rubbing her forehead. “Listen, just forget the audition. Just pack up your stuff and leave. Now.”
She waved her arms. “Please. Just go.”
I picked up my coat. “But you’re the girl who doesn’t wear any clothes, right?”
“I mean, that’s you, right? You do all the nude scenes?”
“Yes, that’s me.”
I smiled. “Wow, I’ve seen you…”
A man came running into the room. “YEAH?”
The girl pointed at me. “GET HIM OUT OF HERE. NOW.”
The guy stepped in front of me. “Sir, I need to ask you to leave.”
I already had my coat in my hand. “Sure thing.”
I started to walk to the elevator. I could hear the girl stomping her foot behind me. I pushed the elevator button and turned to look back. She was pointing her finger at me. “You will never work in New York again. Do you hear me? I can promise you that.”
The elevator opened. I stepped in, pressed ‘Lobby,’ and rode the elevator down to the street.
I was at a party at The House of Blues in honor of the Olsen Twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley. Forbes Magazine had just rated the twins’ combined assets as the 20th largest economy in the world. The sisters had rented out the House of Blues to celebrate.
Whoopi had arranged for me to go as her guest. She put my name on the guest list. When I arrived, I drifted around looking for her. I couldn’t find her. Eventually I gave up and found my way to the bar.
I stepped up the bar. I tried to flag down the bartender, but accidentally bumped into Candace Bergen. I grinned at her. “Hi, baby. How are you?”
Candace looked away. “Uhh, fine.”
I smiled again. “You look great.”
The bartender came over. I nodded at him. “A vodka seven for me, and the lady will have a…”
“A Calistoga, please.”
I looked at her. “Nothing to drink, baby?”
She turned to the bartender. “Just a Calistoga, thanks.”
The bartender disappeared. I turned back to Candace. “Last time I saw you was so awesome, baby.”
“Really? I left you in handcuffs. I just split.”
I nodded. “Don’t I know it. I’ve never been so turned on in my life. Nothing compares to that. Even when Barbra was tying me to her bed one time, and she had these leather spikes on, I wasn’t—“
“Please—” Candace put up her hand to stop me. “I don’t want to hear about it.”
The bartender came back with our drinks. “One vodka seven…and…one Calistoga.” He set the drinks in front of us.
I handed him a $20 bill. The bartender shook his head. “There’s no charge, sir. It’s a free bar.”
Candace explained, “The Olsen’s are paying for it.”
“Oh, cool.” I turned to the bartender and handed him the $20. “Well, take this for yourself then.”
He waved the $20 away nervously. He glanced up and down the bar. “I’m sorry, sir. No gratuities are allowed. The Olsen’s have already seen to it that we’re taken care of.”
The bartender hurried away. I turned to Candace. “I’ll have to go find the sisters and thank them.”
She took a sip of her Calistoga. “I doubt you’ll find them.”
“You wouldn’t get near them. Even Regis couldn’t get back there.”
“What do you mean?”
“Look.” Candace pointed to a private room off to the side of the lounge. Several large men in tuxedos stood in front of the door. I recognized one of them from my gym. “That’s where the twins are hanging out. They’ve only allowed Ashton Kutcher and Keanu Reeves back there so far. Just watch.”
I took a sip of my drink. I could see David Schwimmer step up to the door. He said something to the guy from my gym. The guy looked at him for a moment, then shook his head. Schwimmer said something else. Another man stepped in front of him and shook his head emphatically. Schwimmer’s face sunk. He turned and began to walk slowly away.
I turned to Candace. “Wow. That’s harsh.”
Just at that moment, Jennifer Aniston walked up to the men. They nodded at her and opened the door. Jennifer stepped quickly inside. For a split second, I thought I caught sight of one of the twins sharing a glass of champagne with Bill Gates. But then the door closed.
The bartender noticed us looking at the room and stepped in front of us. “Can I get either of you another drink?”
Candace gestured with her Calistoga. “No, thanks. We still have these.”
I took another sip of my drink. “But baby, I’m almost ready for another.”
She shook her head. “Go easy for once. You always drink too much.”
I nodded. “Fine…”
I took another sip of my drink and turned back to watching the Olsen’s private room. One of the men was turning Courteney Cox away. Courteney walked off glumly. I gestured at the room. “I wonder what their parents think of all this…”
Candace was sipping her Calistoga. “What’s that?”
I gestured toward the Olsen’s room again. Sandra Bullock was being ushered quickly into the room. “The twins. What do their parents think about this kind of thing?”
Candace looked at me for a moment. She paused. “You mean you don’t know?…”
I looked at her. The bartender seemed to be listening too. I leaned in close. “Know what?”
Candace lowered her voice. “Well…no one really knows where their parents are.”
“Yes…” She leaned close. “Their parents disappeared right after the girls turned twelve. No one’s seen them since.”
I shook my head. “Naw, that can’t be. I mean, who takes care of them?”
Candace glanced nervously at the bartender, who was hovering above us, drying a beer mug. She looked at me. “Maybe we shouldn’t talk about this now.”
“No, it’s okay. I don’t mind.”
She looked at the bartender for a moment. “No, I mean it. Not now.”
She finished her Calistoga, set it on the bar, and walked off.
I watched her walk away then ordered another drink.
I flew up to San Francisco to meet with the producer, John Montoya. He was working on a new TV series called ‘I Love Flipper.’ According to my agent, he was considering me for a lead role.
I met up with John at a private party being held at Caffe Proust. It was a birthday party for a singer he’d produced, Joe Powell. When I walked in, I saw John Montoya talking with his brother, Baby Jim. John was wearing a full-length fur coat; two small dogs were barking at the trailing edge of his coat. John ignored the dogs and hurried over to give me a hug. “Hey Man…”
John gave me a look. “Listen, you can’t call me ‘John’ anymore.”
“Oh. Sorry baby.”
“In this town they call me ‘2 Cold.’”
“Right, right. ‘2 Cold.’ Got it.”
He nodded. “It’s just too cold for me here. I can’t roll with it. L.A.’s my town.”
“I hear that.”
2 Cold pointed to his brother. “This is my bro, Baby Jim.”
We shook hands. “Good to see you again.”
2 Cold put his arm on my shoulder. “Come on. I’ll get you a drink.”
He began steering me toward the bar. The dogs trailed after 2 Cold’s fur coat. Suddenly we bumped into Joe Powell. He was talking to Anne Heche and Emilio Estevez. I paused and patted Joe on the back.
“Happy Birthday, Joe.”
He turned and gave me the famous Joe Powell grin. “Thanks, man.”
I smiled. “You know what, Joe, I gotta tell you, your band is so great. ‘Stanley and the Prince James Love Machine’ is the best band in America. I’ve been meaning to catch one of your shows because— ”
Joe squinted at me. “It’s ‘Stymie and the Pimp Jones Luv Orchestra.’”
I nodded. “Oh, right. Yeah, I think I heard that—”
2 Cold leaned over and began pushing me toward the bar. Joe gave me a quick look and turned back to Anne Heche and Emilio Estevez.
We stepped up to the bar. I noticed that Miss P herself was bartending. I smiled my tough-guy-with-love smile and looked into her eyes. “How are you, baby?”
Miss P grinned. “Fine, thanks. What can I get you?”
“A Bud, please.”
2 Cold looked at Miss P. “Make that two Buds.”
2 Cold turned to me. “Let me tell you about the show.”
“Yeah, baby. Lay it on me.”
“I want to do a show that’s totally retro, you know?”
“And I want to take the best stuff from the best shows.”
“Talk it like you walk it.”
Miss P reached across the bar and handed us two bottles of Bud. I smiled at her. “Thanks.” I put a $5 bill in her tip jar.
2 Cold took a sip of his beer. “What I want to do is take part of ‘I Love Lucy’ and mix it with ‘Flipper.’”
I drank my beer. “Yeah, baby.”
“And maybe a little bit of ‘Leave It To Beaver.’”
2 Cold adjusted his coat. Several gold chains jingled around his neck. He looked at me. “So I need to get the good-looking Ricky Ricardo guy who teaches the dolphin, you know? ‘Cause it’s all about their relationship. Each week we gotta learn more about them.”
I nodded. “Yup. That’s it.”
Suddenly, Baby Jim walked up to 2 Cold. “Your lady’s getting hit on by Anne Heche.”
2 Cold looked at Baby Jim. “Anne Heche is digging Warmer Parts.”
“That’s what I said.”
2 Cold looked around the room for a moment. Then he turned back to Baby Jim. “That’s cool.”
Baby Jim nodded. “Just thought you’d want to know.” He took a sip of his drink and walked away.
2 Cold adjusted his fur coat. He took a sip of his beer and stared out across the room. “Yeah, all my ladies, man…But Warmer Parts, you know…She and I are tight, you know?”
“Rick James has got Mary Jane. I got my Warmer Parts.”
He took a sip of his beer. I finished mine and motioned to Miss P for another.
2 Cold looked at me. “Are you and Roseanne still kickin’ it?”
I shook my head. “No. That ended years ago.”
“Oh…” 2 Cold stared off across the room. He took another sip of his beer. Then he turned to me. “Anyway, I’m gonna make this show a big hit. And I’m gonna need that Ricky Ricardo, dark-haired, handsome dude, you know?”
“I mean, you hear me, right?”
I nodded. Miss P handed me another beer. I put another $5 bill in her tip jar. “Thanks.”
I turned back to 2 Cold. He took a sip of his beer. “And I’m gonna need you, too.”
I paused. “Wait—what?”
2 Cold nodded. “Yeah. I need someone to play Big Craig. He feeds flipper. Each week he falls into the tank and they have to pull him out. He makes a big splash and gets all water-logged. They have to pull him out before he drowns. The audience’ll love it.”
“You’ll be perfect. How much do you weigh?”
I put down my beer. “I…I’m not sure.”
“You gotta find out, man. Have your agent call me. We’ll get some clothes fitted for you, okay?”
“Okay, great…Listen, I’m gonna go talk to my lady. But you enjoy the party, okay?”
2 Cold turned in his fur coat and walked off across the room. For a moment I watched the two little dogs jumping at the bottom of his coat. Then I picked up my beer and took a gulp.
I was standing on line at the bank when I ran into Candace Bergen. She was wearing sunglasses and flipping through the latest issue of ‘Variety.’ I walked up behind her and whispered in her ear, “Hi baby.”
Candace spun around. “HUH?”
I smiled at her. “How’ve you been?”
She lowered her sunglasses. “Oh…it’s you.”
She smiled. “What’s going on?”
“I just did the Heston funeral.”
“Really? You went to that?”
“How was it?”
“Great. I rocked it.”
“What do you mean?”
“Best gig I had in a while.”
“It was a funeral.”
The person ahead of Candace stepped up to the next teller. We moved forward in the line. I nodded. “Yeah, I know. But I had a speaking part.”
“A speaking part?”
“Yeah, Lenny asked me to give a short speech. And I nailed it. I had all my lines down and everything. It just flowed. Whoopi said I did a great job. I think it might lead to some other work.”
One of the bank teller’s said, “Next.” Candace turned to me. “See ya.” She stepped up to the teller. I continued to wait in line.
Later that night, Chickie Vaughn, Sandra Bullock, and I were walking out to our cars. Scoops Nolan had left earlier in the evening. Chickie suddenly pointed up at the night sky.
“Look at all those stars.”
I looked up. “Yeah, baby.”
Chickie waved her hand. “Wow. I think I saw a shooting star.”
Sandra and I helped Chickie into her Camaro. I gave Chickie a quick kiss on the cheek. “Okay, baby.”
Chickie smiled. “See, you’re not such a bad guy.”
“You know it.”
“I’ll call you soon. We’ll do lunch.”
“How about sushi?”
She started her car. “Naw, I hate sushi.”
I nodded. “Okay. Whatever you want, baby.”
She drove off.
I said a quick good night to Sandra Bullock and walked over to my car. I found my keys and climbed in. Then I turned the ignition, and switched on my headlights.
I shifted into first gear, and was about to drive off when suddenly I noticed Sandra standing directly in front of my car. My headlights burned a bright yellow against her tan shorts. She was staring at me.
I poked my head out the window. “Is everything okay, baby?”
Sandra continued to stare at me.
I shifted back to neutral and hopped out of the car. “Baby, you startled me. I almost drove right into you.”
Sandra looked at me. “Are you a team player?”
“Are you gonna play ball?”
I looked down at the ground nervously. “I love to play ball. Any kind of ball. My dad thought I should’ve been a quarterback. But then I was a lifeguard and—“
“You know what I’m talking about.”
“No, I don’t, baby.”
Sandra pointed a finger at me. “I can make life very good for you, or very bad. What’s it gonna be?”
I swallowed nervously. I tried to give her my big-guy-with-a-big-heart smile. I could feel my pulse pounding in my neck. “Oh, baby, I know I’ve made some mistakes in the past. But I want to be good. Trust me on that.”
Sandra raised her hand and poked me sharply in the chest. “Then start keeping your big mouth shut.”
“It’s shut, baby. Absolutely shut.”
Sandra grinned. “Good. Just play ball and you’ll be fine. You hear me?”
Sandra nodded. “Okay, great. I’m glad we had this talk.” She patted me on the shoulder. “Have a great night.” She turned and walked away.
I turned and climbed slowly into my Hyundai. I reached for the stick shift but my hand was shaking uncontrollably. I waited a few minutes, then finally drove home.
I was sitting at a booth in the NoHo diner with Sandra Bullock, Chickie Vaughn, and the cartoonist Scoops Nolan. We were eating hamburgers and fries. Sandra ordered a vanilla coke. We were having a great time. Scoops had just told the joke about Ted Danson acting his way out of a paper bag. We all laughed hysterically. Chickie laughed so hard that tears came to her eyes.
Sandra took a sip of her vanilla coke. “You guys are the best. I am having so much fun.”
We all smiled. “Cool…”
I was still chuckling over Scoops’ joke. I looked at Sandra and smiled. “Hey, Sandy, I gotta ask you something.”
Sandra took another sip of her vanilla coke. “What?”
“Well, it’s pretty wacky and you’d probably, uhh—never mind.”
“Well, we’re having such a great time and you seem like such a nice person. I don’t want to offend you or anything…”
Chickie poked me in the arm. “Just ask her. You can’t start a question like that and then not ask.”
Sandra nodded. She slurped down the last of her vanilla coke. “Yeah—what were you gonna ask?”
“Well, you gotta promise not to get mad.”
Chickie looked at me. “She can’t promise that.”
Sandra smiled. “Yeah, just go ahead and ask.”
I paused. “Well, all right. It’s just—it’s the damnedest thing. I’ve heard this wacky rumor a couple of times, and I know it’s just something that someone must have made up somewhere—”
Sandra’s face darkened. “What kind of rumor?”
“Well, it’s so stupid.”
“What is it?”
I shook my head. “It’s so silly. It’s just something ridiculous. Like, you belong to a super-secret organization that controls Hollywood. That’s how you got your start in movies or something. You and Keanu. I mean, I know it’s so obviously false—”
Sandra stared at me. “Who told you that?”
“I don’t know. I mean, it’s just something I’ve heard, here and there…But it’s so ridiculous, right?…”
Sandra pulled a pad and pen out of her purse. She looked at me. “Tell me their names.”
“Anyone who told you.”
“I don’t know. I don’t really remember.”
She squinted at me. “Who-was-it?”
I swallowed nervously. I could feel Chickie and Scoops watching me. “Well, uhh…maybe there was this make-up woman at Paramount…uhh, I think her name was Missy—but that’s all I remember. I swear it.”
“Are you sure?”
“All right. I believe you.” Sandra scribbled something in her notepad then put it back in her purse. She looked at us. “What a silly rumor. Of course it’s not true.” She looked around the table. “Who wants dessert?”
None of us answered.
Sandra looked at us. “Come on—who wants dessert? I’ll buy.”
After a moment, Chickie said, “Umm…I could eat some rice pudding…if someone’ll split it with me.”
Sandra looked at me. “You’ll split that rice pudding with Chickie, won’t you?”
I swallowed. “Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I love rice pudding.”
Sandra motioned to the waiter. The rest of us sat in silence.
I was at the producer 2 Cold Montoya’s wedding reception. It was being held on a cruise ship anchored in Marina del Rey. I stepped up to the bar to order a drink. Sinbad and David Hasselhoff were leaning against the bar, ordering tequila shooters. When I finally caught the bartender’s attention, I ordered a vodka-seven.
As the bartender started pouring my drink, Sinbad turned to me. He looked at me for a moment. “Wassup, man?”
I nodded, “Hey.”
The bartender handed me a drink. I put a $5 bill in his tip jar. Sinbad squinted at me. “Aren’t you that guy who was in those toilet commercials?”
I grinned and took a sip of my drink. “Yup, that was me.”
Sinbad laughed. “Shoot, man. That was so wack. Buncha guys attacking a giant toilet bowl. Me and my buddies used to laugh our asses off whenever that came on.”
I took another sip of my drink. “Thanks.”
Hasselhoff threw back his tequila. He clapped Sinbad on the back. “I remember that one. Jeez.”
I started to say “Thanks,” but Sinbad had already turned back to his drink. I waved my glass at Hasselhoff and set off across the deck.
I strolled casually along the promenade, wandering toward the back of the boat. Suddenly, I bumped into Barbara Walters and Cher. They were laughing and talking. Barbara was wearing a pink dress. Cher was wearing dark pants and a dark blouse, partly unbuttoned. Her cheeks seemed unusually shiny and rigid—as if they were being pulled taut across her cheekbones. I took a sip of my drink and tapped Cher on the shoulder.
“Baby, can I just say that I love your Malibu house. It looks awesome.”
Cher smiled. “Thmph-yun.”
I paused. “What’s that, baby?”
Barbara looked at me. “She said, ‘Thank you.'”
I nodded. “Oh, right.”
Cher nodded. “Umph-lub-in-too.”
I looked at Barbara. “What was that?”
“She said that she loves it too.”
We stood around for a moment. I took a sip of my drink. Barbara pointed at Cher. “She just came back from Dr. Herbert.”
Cher touched my arm. “Wheh-din-yah-say-mah-has?”
I smiled. “What’s that?”
I squinted at her. “Huh?”
Barbara smiled at me. “She wants to know when you saw her house.”
I shook my head. “I don’t know. Fairly recently. But listen, I should probably get going. I wouldn’t want to interrupt you lovely ladies. You were busy talking and all…”
Barbara grabbed my arm. “No, no. Stay while. Tell us something about yourself.”
“Umm, well…I can’t…” I downed the rest of my drink and looked at them apologetically. “I’d love to stay and chat, but I have to get a refill.”
Cher nodded. “Ah-kay.”
Barbara smiled politely. “Well, it was wonderful to see you.”
I hurried back to the bar.