Monday, September 28, 2009

15 Minutes

I've had some pretty shitty jobs in my day. We all have, I'm sure. But, I doubt anybody can top being a shoe shine boy (literally, a boy. I was like 16) in the lobby of one of those snob hob-knob hotels near LAX. Imagine my dismay the first time some rich, White douche nozzle kicked his loafers up on my foot rest & asked me to "hook him up". Indeed, I hooked him up [||], & dude even gave me a generous tip [||], but that wasn't the point. I felt like it was a scene in some 1934 Shirley Temple movie, & I should have been wearing a white tuxedo with my eyeballs bulging from my shiny, negro head. One customer asked me a retarded question one afternoon, & out of youthful rebellion, I answered, "yessum". He didn't find it amusing, & actually his tip was one of the biggest I'd received ([||] x 2). Ugh, the memories. One thing I'll say in regards to undermining, menial labor for White folks; they pay extra. It's like some form of reparations; they must feel sorry for all the times Chicken George got slashed across his back as a fringe benefit to slavery. Chicken Tony, on the other hand, exercised his right to freedom, & bid the shoe shine industry a farewell after one long summer.

For the most part, I've always done some asshole manual labor that I was over qualified for, but underwhelmingly desperate to make some loot from, so, the ends justified the means I guess. I'll tell you what; I stress the importance of education to my son like there's no tomorrow. The way things seem to be going, there isn't one unless you have a college diploma.

Possibly the best job I ever had was working for The Adam Carolla Show radio show, in L.A., a few years back in 2006-07. I was an avid listener at the time, & they had a "Black guy" named Jarron. He wasn't what the quintessential Black dude would personify, especially on a lower-upper class yuppie talk radio program. In short, they didn't want a well educated, correct english speaking Black guy who sounded & acted more White at times, than the hosts themselves. They wanted a "nigga"; someone who could take them places, in the hood, that they wouldn't otherwise have had access to. So, the show held a contest for the new Black guy. I called, & became one of 3 finalists. The deciding factor was to be an in-studio Black-Off, judged by none other than the great (psychotic) David Allen Grier. I think he has some sexual issues, but that's a blog of another color.

Basically, Adam Carolla & co-hosts Theresa Strausser & Dave Damasheck asked me & 2 other Black guys a few random questions that only Blacks would know the answer to. Obviously, I was faster than the other two dudes. All the while, David Allen Grier kept finding reasons to touch my shoulder or lean on me as if I were a prop for his comedy routine. I was waiting for dude to "accidentally" graze my ass, but in a bad way. The finale was a bagging contest, which I passed with flying colors. Come on, who has more jokes than a nervous alcoholic surrounded by White people & a mentally unstable Black Z-list celebrity? Nobody, thats who! Thus began my stint on the show as "Tony the Black Guy".

It sounded corny & extremely racist, especially when Adam said it, but it was cool to be a Black man on the radio who wasn't rapping or being Steve Harvey. I met some cool ass celebrities though; Michael Irvin (the "cocaine" Cowboy), Tony Hawk, 3 Playboy bunnies who apparently REALLY liked Black guys & their "pimp", Danny Bonaduce (he's a nice guy, don't let the fiery hair fool you), David Allen Grier (I seriously think he wanted to sodomize me, seriously), I went to a premier of that year's Harry Potter movie & made some White people very uncomfortable & even interviewed my neighborhood homies about Obama. To add authenticity to my 'hood interview, the big homie Bird was cursing & didn't know who a pre-presidency Obama was. Sweet! I even pulled my son into the action, & he recorded a few intros for the show. It was easily one of the few times in life I felt important; even had my own electronic key to get into the building.

I often found myself walking the thin line between being "the Black guy" & embarrassing my race. It's not so much that I fancy myself a spokesperson for Americans of African descent, but never was it my intention to shuck & jive my way into the Coon's Hall of Fame. Arsenio Hall would've probably have me assasinated before he let that happen anyway. Whenever I recognized myself in the precarious situation of being "too Black", I'd drop some knowledge on whatever dumb topic we were discussing on air. Multi-syllabic words & what have you. & to think, I didn't want to shine shoes anymore, yet look where I ended up...

Alas, as in all good things, my time ended, the show got cancelled, but I'll always have my 15 minutes. Recently, I googled "The Adam Carolla Show Tony the Black Guy" & found a few blogs that mentioned me by name. I went to images even, & saw the picture I took the day I won. How cool is that? If nothing else, it'll make a cool story to tell my grandkids one day. Or my blog readers today.

10 comments:

Kiana@propertalks.com said...

oh hell naw Grands! Tony the black guy? tsk tsk...I demand you get another 15 mins, lol...get to working on it damnit!!!

JCITYHUSTLA617 said...

WHATS GOOD TONY BEEN A WHILE SINCE I STARTED LURKIN AROUND THESE HERE INTERNETS AGAIN LOL DAMN MY DUDE U WAS FAMOUS I WOULD HAVE SAID THE TONT THE BLACKGUY AND TRIED 2 CAPITALIZE ON THAT MOVEMENT MAYBE MAKE SOME VIRAL VIDZ OR SOMETHING BUT I APPRECIATE THE FACT THAT INSTEED OF DUMBING IT DOWN U DECIEDED 2 SHOW US THAT SUFFISTICATED BROTHERS WITH A STABLE MIND AND SOME EDUCATION CAN BECOME ANYTHING OBAMA SHOULD ENDORSE THE GRAN$ SPOT LOL REALLY THOUGH KEEP DROPPIN GEMZ ON EM

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