July 3, 2002
About three weeks ago my agency calls and says, "There's this show on Fox called 30 Seconds To Fame
. They're looking for people who do weird stuff. Wanna audition?"
So I go downtown to this fancy hotel for the open call.
It's a Felliniesque circus scene -- an 800-pound woman in a tutu, a guy lighting his foot on fire, a 90-year-old tap dancer in nothing but boxer shorts and socks, etc. I'm in my crisp Banana Republic and French Connection, feeling either over- or under-dressed. At least I'm the only beatboxer.
But not for long. Behind me I hear two guys goin' at it with skillz. It's Carlos and Tommy from Felonious
. They turn out to be really nice guys. They do a little of their routine. They're good. They're more hip-hop than I am -- musically, sartorially, etc. Obviously the producers are going to opt for the genuine hip-hop act.
My name is called. I enter the audition room -- a large hotel ballroom -- and look for the microphone. There is none. This is bad news. Unmiked beatboxing can sound good in a small, resonant space, but in a carpeted ballroom it's like hitting a taiko drum with a Q-Tip.
I do a 30-second drum solo for the producers at the other end of the room. They are nonplussed. They ask if I have another piece. I don't have anything prepared, so I do 30 seconds of lame techno. They say thanks, I say thanks, and I go about my morning.
While I'm at Jazz Camp, my agent calls. I'm on!
So here's what I know so far. 25 acts each do a 30-second piece; the audience picks their three favorites. Those three acts do another 30 seconds; the audience votes again. The winner gets $25,000.
They're flying me down to LA later this month for the taping. The show will air about a month after that.
I hear the Guy Who Lights His Foot On Fire got on too. This should be interesting.