My Life as a StarPosted: May 2, 2007
I suppose it started in the third grade.
I was a bluebird in the class ‘play.’ And, I’ll have you know, I was the best damn bluebird you’ve ever seen.
Afterall, it catapulted me to much bigger things — the gullible father figure in the seventh grade play for one. But, add those two performances together and you get what I thought would always be my pinnacle moment in acting.
Eighth grade. Dr. Jeckyll. And, get this. Mr. Hyde. A dual role.
Could life get any better?
Well, turns out it could.
Now, when I say ‘star,’ I’m not necessarily talking the Hollywood Walk of Fame level. But, hey, I was a radio personality for more than five years in two different states. And, better than that, I’m in a movie. Yup, a real, honest to goodness (but incredibly boring) movie.
Let’s start there.
My first job out of school landed me at the CIA — not that one. I’m talking about The Culinary Institute of America. I was working in PR.
We got a call from a small film company. They were filming an independent film in upstate New York and could they come and film a scene at our place. To make a long story short, the answer was yes. They could come.
It was incredible work. My boss at the time was eight months pregnant. She got through it. I got through it. It was a scheduling nightmare — particularly the change of plans at the last minute. But, they came. They filmed. And, more importantly, they filmed me in the movie!
The movie is called Heavy. And, yes, it’s a real movie. The direct is a guy named James Mangold. Heavy was his first movie. You may not have seen it, but you’ve seen his others — Cop Land, Identity, Kate and Leopold, Girl, Interrupted and Walk the Line.
Imagine, he went from directing me to directing Stallone! I love that.
So…I’m losing focus.
The movie was filmed at the CIA. The premise was, the lead character, played by Emmy winner Pruit Taylor Vince, was a short order cook at the family restaurant. Well, mom dies. So he decides, maybe I should go to cooking school.
So, while driving home from the hospital, he pops in the CIA for a tour. That’s where I come in. I’m the tour guide.
You see me on screen for a few brief moments. And you hear my voice for a solid two minutes or so. It’s pretty cool.
I’m not in the credits — but if you know me, you’ll know it’s me without question. So, there I was. On the big screen. Or, you go into the local video store, and rent me off the shelf. I mean, how crazy is that.
It was a neat experience. Got to meet Liv Tyler when she was like 19 (and I was only a few years older). Got to meet Deborah Harry, who was also in the movie.
So, if your NetFlix list is drying up, add Heavy and give it a shot!
I know this is getting to be a long post, but you didn’t expect a quick read from a star. Or did you?
The next element involves my radio career. And you may find it funny that it actually relates to my faithful addiction to what was my favorite show — Melrose Place.
I was living in Vermont and, at the time, my favorite station was 95 Triple X. The male/female morning show was talking one day about Melrose. The female, Chantal, said that men watched it, but won’t admit it. The male, Mike, denied that claim.
I couldn’t resist. I had to call. The on-air call was so funny, they asked me to call back the next week to talk about the show. I don’t think either of us new that one call would turn into a four-year gig of me being part of their show.
Originally, I was Melrose Man, calling in once a week to chronicle that fabulous show. When it went off the air, I became ‘Ally Boy’ — talking about all things McBeal. Then I was ‘Titan Man’, because you can’t get enough of smut TV. Then I became ‘Temptation Island Man’ — for the same reason, smut. After that, there was a brief stint as ‘Survivor Man’ before my career ended with them after a year of being ‘Movie Man’ — when I would see the newest release and review it on Monday.
Mike and Chantal were fabulously fun to work with and little did they know what they started.
After moving to Connecticut, I was back listening to Q105 — the station I literally grew up listening to. In fact, I even interned there during high school.
Well, part of my real job was doing radio interviews to promote my employer. One day, while in the Q105 studio, the host of the show, Franco in the Morning, said something like, ‘hey, you’re not bad on the air. I’m thinking about adding a third voice. I can’t pay you, but are you interested?’
Was I interested? Of course I was! Radio has always been a love. From my days of being a college DJ to my stint as Melrose Man and more, I’ve always loved radio and jumped at the chance.
So, I became Spencer. What started out as a character that was mostly the butt of many jokes, turned into a regular role on the morning show. Even though I was on just two days a week, people knew Spencer. When I would say something, it would be like, “you’re Spencer?” It was pretty funny — especially since my wife is a high school teacher. Her kids would get a kick out of it, particularly when I would refer to her on the air as Lady Spencer.
I didn’t get paid — but I had a lot of fun and made some nice connections along the way. Had some really funny moments working with Franco and Nancy. Franco left the station to take on another radio gig — talk radio host. So I was with Nancy and Shawn, the current morning show hosts.
I thought everything was going well. They thought so, too.
Then one day, I got a call and was basically told that Spencer’s services weren’t needed any more. Could it be? Was I actually being fired from a job that I didn’t get paid for?!
Yup, I was.
But here’s where the story takes an intriguing turn — well, intriguing to me. Spencer was relieved of his duties less than one week after the real Mike made a business decision in my real job that didn’t work out favorably from the radio station’s perspective.
While I was always 100 percent professional about what was fun and what was business, they weren’t. And that was unfortunate.
But, no worries at all. As I said, I didn’t lose sleep over it. I actually gained sleep over it, not having to get up so early on the mornings I was on the show.
Besides, it was a great run. Spencer was on the air for just about three years.
So there you have it. My life as a star. Well, I don’t know if star is the right word. But it was fun. And who knew that it would all start from my being a bluebird in the third grade.
What else? I got nothin’.