Living in Chicago has its advantages and many chances to be on television. I have been lucky enough to experience a few talk shows in my life. I flew to New York to be in the audience of Wendy Williams and in LA sat in the front row of Jimmy Kimmel.
In my own hometown I asked a question on Jenny Jones "Why are those whores laughing onstage, Jenny?" and on Jerry Springer I watched him take an attractive audience member's phone number, what a dirty old man! He also planted actors in his audience to stir things up. People still love to scream "Jerry! Jerry! " to me all the time in his honor.
Oprah Winfrey has filmed her show in the windy city since it's beginnings as A.M. Chicago. I always felt connected with by us both moving from the south to make it in the big city.
To kick off her last season she shut down Michigan Avenue to throw a huge concert and I landed a few tickets to the show. Arriving at 12 pm luckily I was moved towards the front. Little did I know that was where the best dancers for the flash mob would be. The crowd surprised Oprah and the Black Eyed Peas with a huge dance routine that is on YouTube if you want to check it out. She was very friendly with the crowd and not the diva that I worried about but genuinely nice to people.
I wanted the studio show experience and after tracking down the right person wound up on a show about porn stars. After the show taped Oprah took questions from the audience and the mic went to me. It happened in slow motion. Oprah said, "Let's get a man's opinion. So are you married?" I screamed "No, I'm gay!" Then I did this raise the roof move straight from Kathy Griffin (who I later told about the incident). I exclaimed, "Where my peeps at?" and it was all straight women around me in bright colored clothing. I told Oprah that I just wanted to state that I write a gay porn column and gays use condoms more that straight porn does. O said, "Well, isn't that interesting. Are there any straight men in the audience?" I quickly sat down.
Rosie O'Donnell took over Harpo Studios recently. I interviewed her to promote the show and invited her to Showtunes Sunday at Sidetrack. I didn't think she would come with her moving into a new house and the new show starting. To my surprise she did and I got there right after she left! I felt horrible and brought her flowers to the studio.
I attended a taping the week after because I love Sharon and Kelly Osbourne who were there for an interview. They both stood up at LA's Pride against protesters. Rosie's interview was so much fun and made everyone feel at home. The experience was similar to Oprah except while you wait with O there was a karaoke challenge and with Ro you are fed cupcakes and bottled water. The studio is kept cold that Rosie mentions for menopausal reasons so hold your water! Boys2Men performed and we took home gift bags and CDs. No cars but what do you expect on the first year? I hope Rosie finds her legs with this show. The stand-up is getting funnier and the game show segment is a hoot. She has enlisted some big named friends to help out. Hopefully The Rosie Show will last even more than 25 years of O!