When Hiko Met Oprah
Much like Kathy Griffin, I have a daydream in which I get booked to be a guest on Oprah in order to promote and talk about my book, The First Echo: Memoirs of a Pop Culture Junkie.
And after reading the foreword in Ms. Griffin's current book, I was slightly disappointed to find out that she opens her memoirs the same way I would begin mine. Hers is a more desperate plea of a love letter to visit those Harpo Studios, sit on that Chicago stage, and shoot the shit with Gayle. My opening would be a more detailed envisioning, from the outfit Oprah would wear (something purple) to the spontaneously combusting housewives in the audience who just can't hold it together because it's Oprah. Muthaf**king. Winfrey. Oh, and then there's the introduction O would give me, announcing my name in her trademark vowel stretching: "Please welcome Hikoooooooo!" We sit, she gushes, and then she tells me to stick around for the surprise celebrity guest who's a fan of my book - and waiting backstage to come out as a segueway for the next portion of the show. After all, it's Live Fridays on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and we got to keep it moving along. And as for that celeb guest, I still haven't gotten that far. I'm thinking it's Drew Barrymore, Kathy Griffin (in an ironic twist) or Jennifer Aniston.
And it wouldn't stop there. Naturally, my book tour would take me to my native New York where I'd sit on the couch with the ladies of The View. Unfortunately it would have to be on a day when Elisabeth was on maternity leave after giving birth to her eleventh child. Whoopi would be awesome as expected and call me "boy" after flubbing up my last name. Barbara would be grandmotherly and look more frail in person (I think to myself: Someone give this poor woman a can of Ensure). Joy would be a blast as we'd share an inside joke from backstage (pertaining to the book, because she'd be the only one who had read it). And Sherri would crack me up as we both proclaim our love for Costco's All-American Chocolate Cake on national TV. The interview would last for a pleasant eight minutes, and before she forgets, Joy reminds the in-studio and at-home audience that I will be signing copies later that day at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square. She then thanks me for coming and tells the studio audience that they'll be getting a copy of my book. Cheers. Applause. Commercial break.
Once I get back to L.A. I'd have to rush over to the westside to fulfill my stint on Chelsea Lately. Sandwiched in between comedians Josh Wolfe and Sarah Colonna on the roundtable, we'd trade quips and jabs at Amy Winehouse, Kate Gosselin and why Renee Zellwegger insists on looking like she just ate a dozen lemons every time she walks a red carpet. Chelsea would say she's impressed by my ability to keep up with the Kardashians and sees a future for me on upcoming roundtables (that is, if my book doesn't take off and outshine Are You There Vodka? It's Me Chelsea). A few koslopus references later, I'm taking pictures with Chuy backstage and later posting them to a Facebook album entitled "Booktourapalooza 2011."
I would be living out one of my dreams as a writer who has managed to turn his bloggage into a bestselling book (See? I knew those headshots would come in handy). And I'd still be blogging from the road, complaining about how exhausting the tour is, how non-stop the schedules are - you know, the usual woe-is-me-but-look-how-fun-it-is routine. Besides, I've always wanted to see the rest of America, even if it's from the third-story window of a hotel suite. And it would be during all of this traveling when I learn the different ways to tell people, "Talk to my publicist."
It would only be a matter of time before cable comes knocking on my door with the option to adapt my memories into a one-hour dramedy. Network execs would throw names at me, stars who never really broke out in film but could translate well on TV. Naturally, I tell them, I would need executive producing credit. Done they say. Show me my parking space I say. What do you think of setting the series in Seattle? they ask. But I grew up in New York I say. But Seattle is hot right now they insist. What is this, Grey's Anatomy? I retort. And then we proceed to go our separate ways, each side quoting the obligatory "creative differences" until an indie shingle over at a major studio wants to develop my story as a feature film. Do I get to write the screenplay? I ask. Sure they respond. Cool I say. We get a director attached, along with a kickass cinematographer, land a few up-and-coming actors whose resumes are sprinkled with guest stints on a couple of Law & Orders and short-lived CW dramas and a lead actor who rocks the industry with his "brave and raw" performance...and suddenly, wham-bam, we got ourselves a movie which makes waves at Sundance, collects an Independent Spirit Award the following year and gets slotted on Entertainment Weekly's Must List.
I picture one of those network execs stuffing his foot in his mouth after seeing my name prominently mentioned in Variety. Perhaps he sends me a congratulatory gift basket filled with processed cheese and dried fruit I'll never eat (or pass along to Martha, the security guard who greets me every morning as I drive to my office on the studio lot).
No bridges are completely burned though, especially when I bump into said network exec two years later while reaching for the same piece of tuna sashimi at an Emmy afterparty on Sunset. We laugh, we congratulate each other on our respective projects and we then bump each other's contacts into our iPhones with the promise to keep in touch...or grab a chai tea on Robertson the following week.
And that, as they say, is just the beginning...
*This message of positive visualization has been brought to you by: a workout at 24-Hour Fitness, scrambled egg whites and two shots of espresso. What do YOU see for yourself?