Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ellen? For Reals?

April 10, 2010

I’ve never been one that had ANY desire to be in front of a camera...of ANY kind.  I don’t want to be on the big screen, the small screen or any screen in between.  I’m really not comfortable with still shots either because they are most often less than flattering. 

I like the safety of my comfort zone (which is fairly big) but have a good amount of anxiety when being pushed out of that zone.  So, of course, that’s exactly where God placed me a couple of days ago...WAY out of my zone.

Wednesday night Jodie called and kept asking “How are you doing today? How are you doing today?” I knew right away there was a “Because I’ve got something to tell you” behind that.  And sure enough...there was.  No big deal, “Ellen Degeneres’ people” had just been on the phone with Jodie.  They 100% wanted her on the show, 80% chance she would need to be at Thursday’s taping but we wouldn’t know until, yeah, Thursday morning. Did I want to go? I wouldn’t be picture would be shown, that’s all...but I could just come and hang and enjoy the craziness.  Sure.  Why not?  Sounds fun.

Thursday morning came and sure enough, “Ellen’s people” wanted Jodie at the 6:00 taping.  And...they knew I was coming.  No big deal.  I didn’t think twice about my hair or outfit.  MmmmHmmm.  Entirely believable I’m sure especially since you’ve likely read my “Vanity” blog.

So, we headed to Burbank.  Me, Jodie, Jenny, and Jodie’s photographer Duncan.  It was exciting and fun.

After making it through the madness that is LA’s rush hour traffic, we arrived at Warner Brothers Studio, Gate 2...our names were on “the list”.  Weird.  Actually, not just weird, really weird.

We were met at the car by sweet Kelly, a producer I think.  She led us into the studio and into Jodie’s green room.  Nuts.  Because there are two tapings on Thursdays, an enormous spread of food is provided for “Ellen’s crew”.  We were invited to make ourselves at home so that’s exactly what we did!!  I was so thankful for food because my stomach was a ball of knots.  I’m not one to be phased by celebrity status but the fact that around the corner were a bunch of cameras, a control room and a big stage was all a bit overwhelming...and I used to work for CBS news.

Now enter Kelly and some other guy (producers?).  I haven’t a clue but they had come to prep Jodie for the show.  After the prepping was all done Jenny innocently asks “Do we get to sit in the audience?”  That’s when and how I find out that actually no, they don’t get to sit in the audience, only I do. Ugh. I pretty much panicked. Or something close to a panic anyway.

This is me (and Jenny and Jodie) before I found out I was sitting completely by myself in Ellen’s live audience just “in case” they wanted a shot of me while Jodie was being interviewed.

This is me after I’d been taken past the control room, behind the “Ellen” stage, into a side entrance to the stage area, across the lower part of the stage in front of the live audience and up to my seat (the “Drew Brees” seat) where sometime earlier that day they booted someone else out of their long awaited and coveted spot.
Ummmm...I was mortified.  Not only was I totally being stared at because of the way I was being led in, but the entire audience was in the midst of being hyped up for the show. 

As soon I as I was at my seat, at least two cameras immediately focused on me.  AAAUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!  Notice how tense my hands are.  I could not believe what I had literally just walked into.  It was SO loud, SO bright, and SO dancey.  I love to dance and I love music.  I had never heard most of the music being played and for whatever reason I couldn’t even clap to the rhythm.  All I could do was to try and pretend that I wasn’t freaked out and that there weren’t cameras constantly in my face.

Things only got worse right before Jodie’s interview.  Three steps down from my seat (I was on the aisle), one of the camera guys planted himself with the camera focused solely on me.  AND, two step down sat a girl with a boom mike just waiting in case I was supposed to speak.  Seriously, I don’t know that I could have felt more awkward. 

Jodie came out and KILLED it but you’ll have to watch the show to see that part.  I was so proud of her.  I totally became emotional and teared up at several points.  It made the entire awkwardness ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY worth it.  And evidently, I caused so much laughter in the green room at my awkwardness that I felt like I inadvertently prepared Jodie for her interview. 

It was all good...Jodie was done with her interview and was wrapping up some final stage things...I hadn’t been pointed out or spoken to...I was actually calming down and preparing to watch the last segment...and that’s when it happened.  All of the sudden I was literally being pointed out to Ellen by a small handful of the stage crew.  Next thing I know, she’s making eye contact with me and heading up the stairs to meet me.  Again, I’m not one taken by celebrity but there is something incredibly surreal about being pointed out to a celebrity in a room full of people who are there specifically to see her and she’s walking towards you.  I found out after the show that this is not something she normally does.  I’ve probably seen a total of 15 minutes of the “Ellen” show so I hadn’t a clue if this was normal or not.  It was not  - she couldn’t have been more sincere in how she greeted me.  All I can say is surreal.

Now, I am one of those Christians that sees God in all aspects of my everyday life.  Part of the God story behind this little event was that Thursday was the only day all week that I could have gone to the taping of the show. Monday I had treatment, Tuesday I was feeling awful and Wednesday I was feeling worse.  I couldn’t even get out of my pajamas on Wednesday.  And on Friday, the show isn’t taped.  It was obvious to me that I was supposed to be a part of this day.  

I don’t know what’s going on with this story all I know is that God is writing it and continues to spread it to the world.  Some people want to poo-poo the fact that God gave us Larry to help Jodie get the word out.  Only God could have guided the whale to be at that point at that time and have him follow Jodie for so long.  A whale that’s not at all common on the west coast.  A whale that God created.

Stay tuned.  I’m quite certain the story is not finished.  I’m not healed yet!!

PS...The show airs this Monday, April 12th.


  1. You just hit my top fave peeps. Your awkward looks clinched it. You are amazing lady!!

  2. Wow! Wow! WOW!!!

    I love the tensely clasped hands. So sweet and funny.

  3. wow Angela, talk about writing a story, God is amazing, his story line is so much better than any we could write!!! So proud of you and so thankful that he is giving you energy and a fab smile!!! Suzan

  4. Now who is it that doesn't stay home? And meets celebrities?

  5. Don't know why I still get blown away when I see God working, but I do! I am so thankful for this story that He is writing and in awe of the faith and courage that is so evident in your life.

  6. I had the entire Post here at Ft. Jackson watching this amazing story! Not to mention Ft. Bragg, Ft. Polk and Ft. Belvoir! Keep it up Angela...the Lord is telling a story through you! Love you...Dawn...aka Will :O)

  7. Jodi was amazing. She was so casual and cool with Ellen. I loved how she kept bringing up God in so many ways and Ellen just kept going. What a testimony. Besides that hype you looked so very beautiful when they showed you on camera. Your smile lit (sp?) up my whole T.V. screen. What a blessing to see that. Love you!