Okay, it has taken me thirty years to become aware that I may in fact be qualified to realize my lifelong dream of being a talk show host. I have been watching these shows for years. When I was in college, my roommate and I used to stage, entirely for our own enjoyment, our own versions of Johnny Carson and the David Susskind show. Usually, my roommate would be the host and I would the only guest, movie star Jordan Brooks, who was famous mostly just for being a big name-dropper, and I’d talk about how I dumped some unfamous person (most likely, some cute jerk who wasn’t currently recognizing my existence). We also used to fill out library cards (which I still have) with topics like “Women Who Were Formerly Men Married to Men Married to Women Who Were Formerly Men Who Were Formerly Women,” or topics that were more specific to people we knew. If I knew their exact location other than “attic” I’d give you some of the real ones.
Reasons I have come to this conclusion at this late date:
This list could be a whole lot longer, of course, and could include ALMOST ANYONE WHO’S EVER BEEN A TALK SHOW HOST. I do not mean to take any credit away from the list of people who have journalistic qualifications, and that includes Oprah.
But it seems to me that the list of qualifications is so broad it includes:
reality show contestants
comics, of course
rock stars wives
many more I can’t think of
and the category I best fall into:
people you have never heard of in any context
It does not seem to exclude people on the basis of age or race, as far as I can tell, and actually sometimes the more qualified people don’t have the most interesting shows. I’ll take Tyra Banks over Larry King any day, because from what I saw yesterday on her show, Tyra’s planning to keep it real. She took off her makeup and showed photos of her unretouched normal-size thighs next to her retouched skinny-model thighs to prove it, and she has a runway on her stage so that women of all shapes and sizes can work it on the catwalk and feel better about themselves. That’s undeniably awesome. You wouldn't see that on Larry King.
So in thinking about my “concept,” on my talk show I would like to have the following: I’d like to have a mix of celebrities and friends as guests and just come on and talk about me. It would be like the “opposite” of an ordinary talk show. That’s fresh, right? Do you feel me?
Me: Today on our premiere show I’d like to welcome, my husband Ben.
Ben: Hi honey!
Me: Hi baby! What do you have to say about me today?
Ben: That you’re totally awesome and great.
Me: Aw, thanks honey! We have a call from my Dad in Iowa right now. Hi Dad!
Dad: Hi daughter!
Me: Dad, my husband says I’m totally awesome and great. What do you say about that?
Dad: Oh, that’s true.
Me: Thanks, Dad! Oh, have to go, we have a call from my best friend Nina in New York.
Nina: Hi Bets!
Me: Nina, Ben and Dad are in agreement that I’m totally awesome and great. Would you also agree with that opinion of me?
Nina: Yes, I would. And you’re so funny.
Me: Thanks, Nina! Okay, when we come back, Angelina Jolie will be here to talk about me!
Me: Welcome, Tom.
Tom Cruise: You don’t know what I know about you.
Tom Cruise: I know. I know more about you than you do.
Tom Cruise: You’re being glib, Betsy.
Me: Listen, this show is about me, if you know stuff about me I think you should tell me.
Tom Cruise: I know that you take vitamins.
Me: Yes, you did your research, that’s true, Tom. I do take vitamins.
Tom Cruise: But you take the wrong vitamins. And you don’t exercise.
Me: I don’t exercise, that’s also true. But how do you know I take the wrong vitamins?
Tom Cruise: Because I know, Betsy, I just know what you yourself don’t even know.
Me: I’m getting that, Tom Cruise, but so okay, what vitamins should I be taking?
Tom Cruise: I’ve saved hundreds of lives.
Me: That’s what I’ve heard, and yet, I need to draw the focus back to me.
Tom Cruise: Okay well YOU should try saving lives.
Me: Are you saying my talk show isn’t saving lives? Because I think it could.
Tom Cruise: I think your talk show could save lives if you knew what I know. But you don’t.
Me: Okay, let’s try shifting gears here. Have you read my books?
Tom Cruise: Were they written by L. Ron Hubbard?
Me: Um, no, my books were written by me.
Tom Cruise: Are they about aliens?
Me: No, not so much.
Tom Cruise: L. Ron Hubbard is a fantastic author.
Me: Do you have anything else you’d like to say about me before we go to break?
Tom Cruise: I already told you you don’t know what I know.
Me: I’m clear on that point.
Where do I apply? No? You're not feeling it?