Wednesday, April 11, 2012

On The Tonight Show

Me and the denim clad legend of late night himself, Jay Leno.

Jerry Seinfeld and Robin Williams both received their start on The Tonight Show. I'm no comedian however, so when I was asked to perform the mayonnaise eating bit from my youtube channel on the show, I knew that the appearance wouldn't be a big deal or provide a real platform for me to advance from. Still, the offer to come on the show and be rewarded for something I did for free on the internet sounded like fun. I've also been a fan of Leno since I was a kid.

The production team from The Tonight Show tentatively scheduled me for an early April appearance on the Meal or No Meal segment for the show. A couple weeks before the taping, I worked out the logistics with the producers of how to take the jar of mayonnaise eating video and condense it to a short, 15 second format that was appropriate for a live audience. They wanted the demonstration to have the same disgusting impact as my youtube video and didn't really want to emphasize the amount of mayonnaise I would eat or how fast I would be doing it. This resulted in going with a squeezable 22 oz bottle and spraying the mayonnaise into my mouth for show.

The idea worked well during rehearsal. We used vanilla pudding to practice with and it took about 20 seconds or so to spray the majority of the bottle's contents into my mouth. During the taping however, I instinctively resorted to consuming the mayonnaise as I would in competition. I brought the bottle very close to me and consistently swallowed as I crushed the bottle to effectively push the contents into my mouth. This resulted in a much faster time than during the rehearsal and despite defying the plan I had with the producer, I believe that it still had the impact of generating looks of disgust among the audience members and probably to anyone else who decided to tune into NBC at 11:40 PM.

Ironically, the only part I didn't enjoy of the experience was the mayonnaise eating since it wasn't really in the mood to eat plain mayo at the time. It was interesting to walk around back stage and see how the show is filmed live in person. Also the production team was generously accommodating to me and Jay Leno was a very nice guy in person. Maybe I'll return one day as a legitimately famous person and not just as a novelty from youtube.