We queued up on Fairfax Avenue, perhaps a mile south of Cantor’s, the worst delicatessen in the western United States, and one whose walls are covered with Guns N’ Roses memorabilia because the place has been one of Los Angeles rock and roll’s favorite hangouts since the 1960s because it’s open very late and persons under the influence of the sorts of drugs popular among rock and rollers aren’t exactly discriminating. We were ushered onto the CBS Television lot proper, where we queued to be relieved of our smartphones, stupidphones, and comparable electronic devices, and to be treated as though about to enter an airport’s boarding lounge, except slightly less brutishly. We had to pass through an electronic scanner. I had to lift my arms though it is painful for me to lift my right one because of my shoulder problem, about which I will indeed bore you, but not here, not now.
Once having been pronounced non-threats to the show’s star, his special guests, or ourselves, we were guided onto two very long benches, there to wait at great length, and to view a video about how Bill and his vast writing staff come up with such wonderful shows week after week. Grievous reverberation problems rendered the audio unintelligible, but I enjoyed seeing Bill attending meetings of his writing staff in casual attire, and even in a baseball cap in one instance. He is a very small person.
At least we were ushered into the very studio in which several million episodes of The Price Is Right had been (pardon the expression:) shot over the decades, and, way back when, The Carol Burnett Show, by which I never allowed myself to be amused because it wasn’t something a hipster would find amusing. Spousie and I had to seat ourselves way over on the left, the good seats, in the middle, having apparently been reserved for attractive young persons with whom Bill and his guests might wish to have sex. We smoldered with resentment.
Bill’s Head Writer came out to warm us up with very much the same standup routine he’d performed in mid-2013, when we’d attended another taping. He claimed to be Billy Martin, but my impression was that he wasn’t the borderline psychopath who’d played second base for the New York Yankees, and then managed them. This one was much too young, and had sideburns.
Bill came dapperly on stage. He appeared to be around five feet tall, with a very large nose. We gave him a standing ovation, as Mr. Martin had urged. He lobbed conversational softballs to Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky via video hookup. The two women to my left oohed and aahed as Sen. Paul, an admitted member of the Tea Party, made a succession of surprisingly reasonable statements, such as that he’d immediately stop the War on Drugs, and looked pretty handsome and charismatic in his casual attire and soft Southern accent. Bill, that old softie, pronounced himself prepared to campaign for him in the 2016, should he decide to run for president. One can picture Bill’s doing so making Sen. Paul ever so popular with other teabaggers!
Bill introduced the week’s three panelists, who didn’t include the noted atheist Richard Dawkins. It did include a blonde conservative woman with lavish eye makeup from CNN and Andrew Sullivan, the gay conservative political blogger who’s lost his British accent while living in the USA. The problem with this segment of the show for us in the live audience was that every time Bill said something hilarious, we would howl with laughter, as Billy Martin had instructed, and in so doing drown out the next couple of sentences. There was nothing nearly as exciting as Ben Affleck calling Bill’s Islamophobia racist. Martin Short of SCTV and SNL came out and communed with his host in a way that made one contemplate shouting, “Get a room, you two!”
“New Rules” wasn’t as side-splitting as it is commonly, and in his editorial Bill repudiated Russell Brand and scolded those who don’t vote because they hold the view that if your vote really counted for anything, “they” wouldn’t let you cast it.