The Greatest Weekend of All Time Part Three

October 13th
7pm
We spend the day touring New York, but it’s hard to pay attention to anything because we’re going to go live in a few hours doing something neither PA John nor I have ever really done before. What the hell made us think we could actually do this? I was a stupid pie-in-the-sky idiot who had a dumb idea and now I had to actually go through with it or look like an ass, but I was sure if I did go through with it I’d look like an ass anyway. O&A and R&F had been doing radio shows for almost 20 years, and I knew the fact that they made it look easy was a complete illusion. Most people who do radio only get to the big game after years of practice and trying new stuff and doing it over and over and over again. Ha, it took me weeks to get PA John to even show up for “practice”. Although we weren’t in prime time and it was “just” the Saturday Night Virus, imagining myself being the focal point of the same show that Patrice O’Neal, Bob Kelley, and Bill Burr had done before me stressed me out so much I couldn’t think.

It was 7pm, and time to meet Danny Ross at the studio on West 57th for a pre-show rundown. I had dutifully typed up a format for the show…TOPIC/TOPIC take a couple of phone calls/TOPIC/TOPIC BREAK. Repeat x 2. I had been maniacal about collecting weird medical topics to talk about on the show…we had over 25 and I still wasn’t sure we had enough. I really had no idea how to run a show…Danny was so good at giving us total freedom that I just had to guess at how it was done. Fortunately, when I handed him the rundown it made sense to him so I felt a little better about my show prep. We found the bumper music on the main system (it was all death metal with crazy medically-related names like “testicular manslaughter” and “hammer smashed face”) and I learned that XM is basically a huge repository of .wav files. They had EVERYTHING. Amazing.

Before we left to eat, Danny showed me how to take phone calls. Using Anthony’s mouse was a surreal experience…I am such a sad fanboy. “I’m using Ant’s mouse! I’m sitting in Ant’s chair! I’m right next to Opie’s sound machine! There’s where Ron and Fez sit!” Ugh. Pathetic. Anyway, the phone machine is very cool; a line producer enters the name, location, and subject onto each line on the computer monitor. To talk to someone, click the arrow. To hang up, click another icon. That’s it. That’s it? Crap, I’m going to have to do this in 3 1/2 hours. Everything is left handed and it’s all new and I know I’m going to s#!* the bed.

8PM
When we were at K-Rock, I noticed the restaurant “Nobu” was right next door. I picked a bad time to try out this amazing restaurant. Sure, it may be passe’ now for NYC regulars, but for us it was something we’d never encountered before. Japanese restaurants in our area are either all-sushi (“More CALIFORNIA ROLLS PLEASE!”) or “crazy-guy-cooks-your-meal-in-front-of-you-while-flipping-shrimp-onto-your-plate” kind of places. Nobu is really something so different that it’s difficult to describe. Thankfully, our waiter walked us through the whole menu, then decided to toss it out and just bring us stuff he liked. It would have been incredible if it weren’t for the crushing chest pain and panic attacks I was experiencing.

Around 9:45 we left the restaurant…I couldn’t eat and I knew I’d be hypoglycemic by 11pm. With a 4 year old and a 2 year old at home, the show was starting after my regular bedtime. Adrenaline + low blood sugar was a recipe for disaster. My big hope was that Big Kev’s show would be a mess and we’d look good going on after him. I liked Big Kev but at that very moment I was selfishly praying that his show stunk.

We walked to the studio and we were surprized to see Anthony and Mellinda standing outside the place. “What are you doing here,” I asked. “Big Kev’s show,” Ant replied, “and we may hang out to hear some of yours too.” Inside, I was dismayed to hear Big Kev and his cohorts broadcasting like they’d been doing it forever. I’m a huge geek myself, and his show was very professional. He even had sponsors and was giving away Ipods for chrissakes. “Crap,” I thought to myself, “Big Kev’s show sounds really good. We are going to blow in comparison.” I hadn’t actually been nervous before. I thought I was, but it was nothing compared to the buzzing in my head and the void in my stomach. All I could imagine was the disappointment on Ron Bennington’s face and how my lovely wife would say “you did good, honey” and pat me on the back, meaning it because she loved me, but knowing she was just being nice. Everyone would be very nice, but I’d just be a stupid turd.

Big Kev wrapped up and quickly started packing up. Mellinda said something like “I’m not sure if we’re staying for your show or not,” and I replied “good, because I will be too nervous if Ant’s here anyway.” She got this gleeful look in her eye and ran into the studio where he was and I could hear her say “he’ll be nervous if you’re in here…SO WE’RE STAYING!” Ha, I could only laugh. At that moment I understood that any rules I ever knew had just been tossed out. The universe wasn’t going to make anything easy for us. And besides, it was just a radio show. It wasn’t like taking my medical boards or doing an oral exam or addressing the United Nations…this was a bizarrely insane opportunity to do something very few get to do and I should just have fun with it.

As we sat in our chairs and put on our headphones, we looked back at our wives and gave a little sheepish wave to them. I could see PA John was way more nervous than even I was (think you could have shown up for a few more practice sessions, John?). Danny was in the producer’s chair, Pat Duffy and Erock were in the booth, Ant and Mellinda were in the comfy chairs, and Tacie and Jill were on the couch. I could see the lights glinting off the stripper pole in the middle of the studio. “Thirty Seconds to air!” came blaring through my headphones…”crap, that’s not going to be too distracting…”
It was showtime.

continued in Part Four

Weird Medicine Addendum with Doctor Steve

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