Friday, January 13, 2006

Feelin' Lucky

January 12th, 2006

I was in the middle of chatting with my pal tyranist about my lack of work today when my phone rang. It was a guy from my booking agency, telling me there was a gig for me if I was still available. I told him I was and he said that they needed me as soon as possible to do a promotional gig at a pre-Golden Globes party in Beverly Hills. "Okay," I said. "You don't have to take it," the semi-agent said. That had never been said to me before, so I said, "Wait, what is it?" He told me it involved wearing a costume and some people might not be comfortable with that. I told him I would wear a James Brown costume at a KKK rally, so he said, "Okay, you've got it, then," but by his tone, I knew something odd was up. But ah well.

I drove across town, missing my turn and circling for ten minutes, but eventually making it to Chevy Chase Drive, where there was a Golden Globes Hollywood Buffet (or that's what it was called, anyway. There were no golden globing or buffets going on). As I walked toward the entrance, I saw Chris Kattan yapping into a cellphone--a portent of things to come?--and went inside. I still can't explain what was going on in there. Apparently, people were registering for the Golden Globes dinner and awards show that happens on Monday afternoon (so it can air live on the East Coast that night), and there were several booths set up by different companies with free products to give the attendees. I never really understand why the mega-rich are the ones people always want to give free stuff to, but I digress.

Anyhow, one of these booths was for the greatest cereal the world has ever known, General Mills's Lucky Charms. Standing around it were two young women in tight blue Lucky Charms t-shirts, a man in a black one, a photographer, and a pregnant woman. I guess they have a new flavour, Berry (as in "Berry Lucky Charms"), and wanted to give boxes of it away to people who go without food by choice. And here was the costume . . . a giant Lucky the Leprechaun outfit, including mega-sized head.

You see, they originally had a woman in the suit that morning, but she complained almost immediately about neck pain and claustrophobia (and I'm sure there were kids always trying to get her Lucky . . . well, you know), so they called for a replacement. I saw the woman before she hobbled screaming to her car, and wondered why they'd have an eighty pound middle aged woman in the costume to begin with. Little did I know that she had shown up that morning as a morbidly obese twenty-two year old. Before the dark times. Before . . . the costume.

I was told what to do, then told to put on the costume. It was as follows: baggy styrofoam pants, tiny zip-up vest, suspenders, big green jacket, scarf, four-fingered flesh-coloured gloves, and giant head, complete with hat and shamrock. The head was difficult to get on, even more difficult to see out of, somewhat difficult to breathe in, and almost impossible to wear in a comfortable way.

But I am the type to give it my all, whether it was shattering one of my mother's wedding glasses for a comedy video (to be honest, it wasn't supposed to break), eating peanut butter and mung for a fellow film student's entrance film, or baring my naked arse for my own, and I vowed not to complain, give up, or pass away while there was a job to do.

My job, pretty much, was to stand there, at the Lucky Charms booth, and look adorable, something I'll admit I've no experience doing. The others were giving out samples, as well as gift boxes, of the new cereal. I stood in our corner, waving at people, peering out of the costume's mouth, and posing for pictures with whoever wanted one (I'll try and post some of those today and tomorrow).

What I couldn't predict was that a) there would be so many attractive women there, and b) that they would all want to take a picture with Lucky the Leprechaun. I've had fantasies where I saw less action than today.

First, it was fairly predictable. Both women and men put their arms around me, I got a few hugs, and a Germanic model babe gave me a kiss (two great things: she actually asked if she could kiss me--like that's ever happened before--and second, she said, "He is a leprechaun for cereal?" in the exact same accent as Frau Farbissina on AUSTIN POWERS). Comedienne Kathy Buckley molested me a little, but I'm sure the picture was good.

I really tried to give it my all, waving and posing and dancing around (anything to keep the air circulating through the mouthhole), and I guess I was quite impressive, because they complimented me a lot and asked if I could come back tomorrow. They told me they'd pay me double my normal rate, and I didn't argue with that.

The booths spread both inside and out, with jungle decorations (including trees, fake animals, and a mix tape of various songs, from "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," "Welcome To The Jungle" and "Lime in the Coconut" to "The Circle of Life," "The Bear Necessities" and the theme to RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK). I was unable to see well enough to walk around (even assisted, I tripped once and hit my head on doorways and a chandelier) and wasn't allowed to walk around without my gargantuan head on, so I didn't know what was happening outside our room (which had booths for lingerie, European Designs clothing, and Wonderbra) until it was all over.

It was a very casual environment, and a great many of the people there had brought their dogs, whether on leashes or carried around like a certain celebrity who shall remain nameless. All in all, I saw only three children, and two of those were afraid of me. Mostly it was young women, some gay men, and a few couples.

I didn't recognise many of the people there (a lot of them were assistants, or musicians, or in daytime soaps). Kevin Sorbo was the biggest star we saw for the longest time, and he was quite friendly. Before that, the only person I recognised was Mario Van Peebles, and when the girls asked me what he'd been in, I could only think of JAWS: THE REVENGE.

Next came Nicole Eggert, who just this week I referred to as a Former Celebrity in a new HFC review of a flick she was in, DECOYS. I have to admit to having something of a crush on her way back in her "Charles In Charge" days, but I can't say I'd been attracted to her in a dozen years or so. Until today (she looked pretty good).

A guy, flanked by a cute blonde, walked past and I peered at him through my small viewport. It was Neil Patrick Harris, television's Doogie Howser. He was wearing an Ozzy Osborne t-shirt, and though the rumour has been that he's gay, he was holding hands with the blonde girl. When I pointed out I'd heard the gay rumours before myself, but he sure didn't look gay to me.

All this time, I was in varying degrees of discomfort inside the suit. It wasn't terribly hot, but the whole damn thing was damp with sweat by the end of the day. The oversized shoes made me clumsy, and the gargantuan head made me even more awkward. The head just didn't want to balance on my somewhat-scrawny neck, and the skullcap which I had tightened as well as I could kept shifting and wobbling on my scalp and forehead (it's past midnight as I type this and I still have a scuffed pink patch below my hairline). I have renewed respect for the poor souls at Disneyland who must parade around in the hot sun in costumes such as mine, with thoughts of sweet death or possible sex from Furries their only solace.

Luckily, no pun intended, the girls at my booth were kind to me, often asking if I was alright, and the attention from the various female attendees kept me going.

One of the hottest was a chick who was apparently on "America's Top Model" and exuded sexuality like I must exude . . . antisexuality. She had reddish-brown hair and bit my ear when we posed for our picture. Since I couldn't see that, it was only when she wiped my ear off and explained that I knew. Later, she went to the exotic underwear booth across the room and actually tried on one of their bra and panties sets. It was all I could do not to walk--er, stagger--over and demand another photograph.

The way I rate celebrities goes like this: the men are judged on how talented they are (and that includes acting talent, comedic talent, athletics, or just plain likability), and the women are judged on how attractive they are (and that's pretty self-explanatory). I tell you that because, after the sun started going down and the day was coming to a close, a buzz started up that zillionaire heiress and sometime actress Paris Hilton had arrived. You woulda thunk that the orphanage had been told that Santa Claus was on his way, the crazed reaction that spread through the building. My team was almost giddy with anticipation of giving Paris Lucky Charms and hopefully, of getting a photo of her with Lucky.

Irritatingly, we were told beforehand of the rules of conduct Princess Paris required of those around her: people could not approach Paris, she had to approach them, no one was to hug, kiss, or unprofessionally touch her, no one could ask her to come over or ask her to pose for a picture, and no one could videotape her having sex with night vision lensed (okay, that one I made up myself, but it seems logical). The people around me were so intimidated and excited about Ms. Hilton and there was much discussion about what could be done and how they could get her to come over if they couldn't approach her. I leaned over, gigantic head suffocating me, and said, "I'll just wave at her and signal her over." They seemed to think this was genius, but I guess they were just too starstruck to not have considered it.

The countdown commenced, and by this time, my head hurt, my neck was sore, I could barely breathe, I was sweating, and even my legs ached. Finally, Paris showed herself, dressed in her usual revealing sundress and indoor sunglasses. She went from booth to booth, just like a normal person, picking up free stuff, and was no different than the other attendees, except that she had an entourage around her and nobody was taking her picture. As she walked by me, I waved and held out a bag (with cereal and a t-shirt in it), and she came right over. Being inside a seven foot costume is incredibly freeing, and as she took the bag, I just put my arm around her like she was a normal person. As soon as I did, the photographer popped up and snapped a picture. She was looking in the other direction (there was a guy with a video camera in the corner), so he took a couple more.

As far as Paris Hilton goes, I guess she's attractive, but I'd say around sixty percent of the women I saw today were more attractive than her (though none were more famous and none could possibly have been more rich). She didn't grab me, hug me, or do anything you'd think someone of her reputation might do. Instead, she seemed a little bored, which I guess I understand, considering her lifestyle.

Well, the photographer, pardon my French**, was absolutely jizzing in his jockeys about the Paris Hilton picture, predicting that it would appear in newspapers and magazines across the country, showering the man with so much cash he'll be able to buy a shower that runs on water and not just paper currency.

As soon as she was gone, the climate relaxed, and it was only a few minutes more before I was told I could go change out of the deathsuit--er, wonderful costume. I seemed to have survived my ordeal and really ought to get to bed, as they say tomorrow will be much busier and a longer day.

Wish me luck,

Rish Berry Berry Outfield

*I've hated crap like this since 1995, when local nobody musician Kurt Bestor had handlers briefing people on his Cher-like rules of conduct.
**French . . . Paris . . . pun not intended.

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