A Merman, a Drunk Pirate, and a Newsroom in Beverly Hills


This could have been Norman, had he gotten the role.

This could have been Norman, had he gotten the role.

Norman had an audition in West Hollywood. He was auditioning to play a “Merman” in a 100-million-dollar feature film to be shot in China. It was a speaking role and when reading the “sides” (a small piece of the script), we couldn’t tell whether or not it was a comedy.

It seems like a good gamble that a film with a “Merman” would be a comedy, especially since his lines involved killing someone with an electric eel. So when I was coaching him through his lines the night before the audition, he put a hilarious spin on the role. We thought it was good. He went to the audition and Norman claims the casting director appeared to love him, but she said he was like a “drunk Johnny Depp pirate”. A compliment, indeed, or at least that’s how Norman took it. She also asked him to tone it down a bit and whether or not he had done stand up comedy.

I always wish I could be a fly on the wall when he auditions; he doesn’t always read people very well and I am his acting coach, his publicist, and agent, so it only seems fair I could see my protégé in action. But this is not allowed; I must wait for him to come out after the audition and interpret what happened based on his recollection of the reactions given. He didn’t get the role, but what happened next was really fun.

We took my daughter and her boyfriend out to a lunch place called “The Newsroom”, which is across the street from the famous “Ivy” on Robertson in Beverly Hills.(The Ivy is way above our price range, but we did eat there once.) We had a nice lunch, then left the restaurant.

Upon exiting, we were bombarded from apparently tipped-off paparazzi. The flashes were clicking, my daughter and her boyfriend were very surprised. My daughter started waving to them, and it looked like she was covering her face, which added to the intrique. When the guy with the video camera started asking Norman questions, he asked,”Are you TMZ?” They said, “Yes.” Norman said, “Well…Harvey Levin’s going to kick your ass because I’m not Jack!” (Harvey is the host of the TMZ celebrity TV show.) They said, “No way!”, and starting saying they were no longer professionals because of this. They said they just demoted themselves. They said it was an uncanny resemblance and told Norman they had a whole list of things they were going to ask him, they were so prepared.

Another set of photographers followed us and jumped ahead to get some shots of Norman. It was crazy. We haven’t seen the footage on TMZ yet, but it was sure a fun experience. We could see how it could get old pretty fast though. Heck, had I known this was going to happen, I would have fixed my hair in the restroom before leaving the restaurant.

UPDATE: A month or so later we saw one of our acting friends and they said they had seen us on TMZ. We never saw it, but we pretty much know how the whole scene must have been presented on TMZ.

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