Spectacular Fire Leads To Unlikely Victim: Me
So who really paid the price for that spectacular fire last night? Who were the fire’s main victims? The fireman who suffered an injury that was described as minor? Yes, of course, and I don’t use the phrase “minor injury.” It’s usually not a minor injury to the person involved. How about the fish in the Willamette River that had to endure the fire-related oil spill? Yes, they are also victims. But it is with a heavy, self-absorbed heart, that I report that I, too, was also a victim last night.
I am in what I call my obit years. These are the years when you do whatever it is that they’ll put in your obituary. If there is an obituary when I die, it will no doubt mention writing over 500 jokes for the Tonight Show. I’ve sent them down to L.A. since 1993, 5 days a week, every week the show has been on, whether I felt like it or not, and frankly, whether they were funny or not. All I ask in return is to use my VCR to record the monologue, keeping the nights when one of mine was on. Years from now I can review the tapes and try and figure out which joke it was. Simple enough, right?
Last night’s spectacular fire was covered by Channel 8 till around 11:50. I remained calm. There have been delays in the beginning of the broadcast before. You wait it out like a man. When the fire coverage was over, I hit record. Did they start the Tonight Show from the beginning? No, they joined it in progress. That would still have been fine if I hadn’t had a joke on, but today, Leno’s assistant told me I had. It was a simple little observational joke about the immigration issue: “You know what I was thinking? You don’t see those Taco Bell ads that much anymore. Remember the ones: Make a run for the border? Kind of fallen out of favor a little.”
All is not lost: I can still get a tape of it by waiting for the repeated broadcast a week later at 2 a.m.
So long after you have all moved on from the fire, and hopefully after the fireman who was injured last night is completely recovered, I will be up next Wednesday night trying to program my VCR. Do you see now who the real victim was?