Sunday, January 2, 2011

This Week On Bill's Own Network

Pimp My Parents' Basement - The design show for the new economy.
Silicone Theater - No pretentious Oscar hopefuls here folks, just boobs. Like Cinemax at midnight but I'm scheduling this at 8:00 - right after The Manson Family Hour.
Psycho Hollywood Squares - Christopher Walken, Eric Roberts, Sean Young, David Arquette, Lindsay Lohan, Nicolas Cage and a contestant who's afraid to play with them.
Ask Dr. No - The Bond villain gives medical advice.
Lawyers Guns and Money - lucky contestant gets whatever is necessary to solve their problems.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

If I Were A Rich Man

I didn't win Mega Millions last night so I guess I'll have to go back to work on Monday...oh, I forgot. But if I did win it would prove my contention that it's easier for a middle-aged guy to win the lottery than to get a full-time job. Anyway, way back when I was in 9th grade I was plucked out of music theory class and cast as Tevye in the school production of "Fiddler on the Roof." Mind you, this was years before Alfred Molina became the other person with an Italian last name to be cast as Tevye. My big solo was "If I Were a Rich Man" and to this day I have all the lyrics memorized. These days I look at them in a different light than I did in 9th grade.

"I'd build a great big house with rooms by the dozen..." Nah, if I had millions I'd steer clear of real estate. What I'd love to do is sue my former employer for age discrimination. Unfortunately doing so would take all the millions I had. The Bush administration made it almost impossible for a litigant to prove age discrimination, certainly not without blowing lots of money on legal costs...and even then it would be difficult.

"I'd see my wife my Goldie, looking like a rich man's wife with a proper double chin..." I stopped trying to date when I lost my job on the advice of my female friends. They said their gender is leery of men who are "unemployed" or "under employed" for that matter. But if I had millions of lottery bucks I'd bet I'd make it beyond the second date.

"I'd fill my yard with chicks and turkeys and geese..." In Queens? are you kidding? They'd be stolen and fried within minutes.

"If I were rich I'd have the time that I lack to sit in the synagogue and pray..." I'll be honest, when I failed to get a new job after 4 months or so I panicked a bit. So I started going to mass for the first time in years. I gave it a really good try. But after I heard what the priests had to say about the matters of the day, and then watching the news...well, let's just say I gave up organized religion for Lent.

"Would it spoil some vast eternal plan, if I were a wealthy man?" I don't know about an eternal plan but it would certainly tick some people off. I wouldn't mind though.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Smells Like Love!

It was a wonderful way to begin a relationship. I was wooed outright. The compliments flowed. I was "Mr. Right." "We must talk." So I called and I wrote. But my calls weren't answered and my e-mails ignored. I realized I had once again been led on. A quick end to a promising romance? Nah, just another job I didn't get.

But love and job-searching are so similar. Ever been dumped for someone younger? It happens all the time when you're looking for work. Someone younger and cheaper, who can only afford the job because they still live with their parents, often gets the gig.

Once I had an ex complain that her current boyfriend (the one she dumped me for) couldn't do certain, um, things as well as I could. The same thing happens with jobs. I'm told "well she hasn't got the people skills or contacts you have." That's all well and good but she's the one who's working while I'm dipping into my retirement account to stay in my apartment.

And like potential lovers, employers have certain reputations. There was one exec who is known among my peers to talk up all sorts of projects that never come to pass. So I didn't get my hopes up all that high. But just like when you know the cheerleader is going to say no, it still hurts when you get turned down.

When you don't find love you can always turn to porn if you're a guy, and women have these wonderful battery-powered appliances or they get one of those little dogs. If you can't find work all you have is unemployment insurance and let me tell you, it's even less rewarding than porn.

People often ask how your love life is going and they always ask how the job search is going too. And just like they always make the most inane suggestions about who you should ask out ("that girl with the tattoos seems to like you") they have strange ideas about what you should be doing for a living ("you're tall, you'd be great at stacking shelves in a store).

People who know me know that I haven't done well at the whole looking for love thing and I fear that looking for work isn't going to be much better. At least the girl at the Stop and Shop register wished me a happy Valentine's Day.

Friday, January 15, 2010

What Haitians Will Miss at the Golden Globes

Host Ricky Gervais suddenly sobers up. Then the HFPA members stop looking down Penelope Cruz's dress as a somber but tanned George Clooney takes the stage. "Ladies and Gentlemen of the Entertainment Industry," he intones. "As your personal assistants have no doubt made you aware by text, a catastrophe bigger than my movie 'Leatherheads' has struck the small country of Haiti. I'm sure you're all familiar with Haiti. We've all flown over it on our way to Mick Jagger's private island. Imagine if this fancy hall we're all in was suddenly struck by an earthquake bigger than one of James Cameron's special effects. Imagine being crushed by tons of concrete and being unable to tweet your many fans and lawyers. Then you'll begin to understand what the people of Haiti are going through.

These people face severe shortages of the most basic necessities we take for granted: food, water, lattes and late-night sushi. Mind you, things were already difficult in Haiti before the quake - the country's on movie theater was still showing "All About Steve." But now things are much, much worse.

As you know, I've just returned from my most recent humanitarian trip to Africa. But Darfur is so 2009. I'm sure you're all wondering, 'what can I have my assistant do for the people of Haiti?' I'm afraid we can't rely on others to help. Brad and Angelina have already adopted most of the third world. Instead, I want to to take that gift bag you just received, dig down deep inside and take out that diamond encrusted Tiffany's pen. As you may have heard, I'm hosting a telethon on January 22nd on all the major networks. It started at MTV, which took the unprecedented and amazing step of pre-empting 'Jersey Shore.' I want you to take that pen and write out a check to the telethon and call our number. Operators will be standing by and I'll personally make sure that each and every one of you gets a tote bag. I want you to urge each and every one of your fans not to see one of your movies next weekend but to contribute instead. I know that's a lot to ask.

I know I've taken up a lot of valuable time tonight - we still have to give the lifetime achievement award to Blake Lively. But I appreciate your help and consideration."

He leaves to rapturous applause as Keifer Sutherland takes the stage to announce the winner of "Best Musical Made for TV with an All-Straight Cast."

Monday, December 28, 2009

Bill's Rules for Radio

A dear colleague asked if I had anything I could say to a young woman who wanted to get into radio - "other than 'DON'T.'" So I came up with the following and realized it may apply to to other areas as well. Here goes:
1. Breaking In: Do anything you can, and this means offering to work for nothing (for a while). I wrote jokes for a DJ for free for three months. Then a producer quit and since I seemed to know what I was doing (I went to Emerson College) I was hired to take his place.
2. Start Local: It may be tempting and even possible to start at a network but I suggest you start at a local station. Networks exist to service local stations and once you know what a local station needs you'll have a leg up on lots of people.
3. Learn Everything: Be a jack of all trades. Technical stuff, writing, news gathering, commercial production even (gasp) sales. They're all intertwined, especially at the local level, and once you know where your talents lie you'll be able to move on. And since you'll know a bit of everyone's job people will like working with you.
4. Be Nice: You're going to work with all sorts of personalities, some of them kind of strange. I think there are more egos in local radio (it's the big fish in a small pond syndrome) than in networks...but that's not always the case. Jerks do seem to rise to the top now and then but there's always a target on their backs. Nonetheless, a good rule is to treat celebrities like real people and treat real people like celebrities. I got more scoops from security guards (be extra-nice to them) than any publicist.
4. Don't Panic: Equipment will break. Computers will go down. Guests will not show up. A good producer says "okay" and moves on. There is nothing cooler than that. Screaming does nothing positive. Crying is not productive either but it's OK in private after the crisis is over. It might even help.
5. Ask Questions: If you don't know about technical stuff or procedures it's perfectly acceptable to ask someone else. You might even make a friend or two. And if anyone asks you something you don't know the answer to it's OK to answer "I don't know." Don't make stuff up. It's bound to bite you in the butt.
6. Always Have A Back-Up: This is the first thing I was taught by a veteran NBC tech on my very first internship. Need a microphone? Bring two. Got batteries? Bring extras. Know how to get to the location? Have an alternate route.
7. Be On Time: When you're supposed to go on the air you go on the air or you're fired. No one is going to wait for you. Leave early. Wear a watch. Radio is run by the clock.
8. Get A Life: Know some things besides radio. My hobbies (fencing and cooking) have actually made it easier to interview people. I've been able to make some interesting connections during interviews. Oh, and if you do interview anyone - listen to what they're saying. Don't just move on to your next prepared question. Even if there are no radio-related uses for your hobbies they'll make you a more interesting person and will help you keep sane when things start to suck. And they will.
9. Help Someone Else: Even the competition. Chances are you'll need help some day and you'll be grateful when someone returns the favor. Do watch out for those who always ask for help - they're being unprofessional and leaning on you, and they'll never return the favor. Those people you don't need but they're the exception rather than the rule.
10. It's A Business: And business in America is screwed up. Management decisions will make no sense. You'll want to mouth off but be careful who you spout off to. You often have to grin and bear it. Then you go home and have a drink. If craziness continues you may have to move on. But just know that it's a screwed up business these days and the inmates are running the asylum.

I hope some of this makes sense. Good Luck!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Lovely Laid-Off Christmas

"Lovely Laid-Off Christmas" is my very own and very timely song parody. Listen to it on my friend Jeff Young's site, which is

Lovely Laid-Off Christmas

"Lovely Laid-Off Christmas" is my very own and very timely song parody. You can listen to it on my friend Jeff Young's site which is
Give it a listen and let me know what you think!