Last week, a dozen dads from our NYC Dads Group community sat in the audience of the Martha Stewart Show. The themed “Man Show” was their annual pre-superbowl show in which the entire audience is all men – firemen, rugby teams, corporate execs, and active dads like us. Patrick Spillman describes the “play by play” in our behind the scenes experience in his latest guest blog entry…
Going to see Martha !!
For the second year in a row the NYC DADS GROUP has been invited to sit in the audience for the filming of Martha’s annual Superbowl themed “Game Day” Man Show. Again we had a fantastic time and could potentially have a future appearance on Martha!
This was the experience… for a couple weeks now our dads MeetUp event has been full for the reason the Martha Show only gave out 12 tickets to our group of over 350 members. All Dads participating had previously coordinated with their babysitters and/or counted on the school-day to take care of our “little“ responsibility for many hours while we are behaving in our seats at a multi-million dollar production. While we had to closely monitor our valuable RSVP, limited seating, commitment to this special event, I heard the hell that would have been inserted with an NYC school snow day (the forecast was for heavy snow). This would have forced many of the Dads to back out.
So we meet at 11:30ish at a nearby local favorite – BuRGeR – for lunch before we commit to the show. It was great to see revisit with many of the Dads I have not seen in a while and to meet some newer ones. A good BuRGeR and beverage was had by all.
Once in line outside the Martha Studio, we were herded in and sat down in a “holding pen” of sorts where we could begin to “learn Martha”. We waited and waited and waited, filled out three forms and waited a bit more. Then, a really loud and passionate individual named “warm up guy” Joe, whose title should be “director of audience excitement” got us pumped, excited, and trained in a variety of hand signals… specifically designed for the Martha Show. After 25 minutes with Joe, we now know how to cheer, clap, express delicious goodness and verbally imply something is soft and cuddly. I was especially good at cheering and clapping. Thanks Joe, you are a fantastic man!
In this “holding pen” we are told the guests on the show: NYC restaurateur, Chris Santos, of The Stanton Social + Beauty & Essex ; music legend, Clive Davis; and four NY Jets cheerleaders (after all it is a superbowl show). Woot, Woot!
Warm Up Guy, Joe Kola, stands us up and we are herded into a plywood hallway to suddenly pop out into the Martha show set. Surreal. We are guided to our seats towards the side halfway back. At this point we wait and wait and wait trying hard to remember everything Joe had told us, especially the part about not standing up while in your seats. But then I forgot as I wanted to take some pictures and check out the studio more closely…and immediately got the friendly, yet forceful forearm of my buddy & seat neighbor Josh across my gut. Check – remember that.
During our wait and before my gut smash, the audience was transfixed on a 6 person crew of Martha trying to adhere a sponsorship logo of about 1 square inch to a frosty beer mug. It was entertaining and worthy of many comments from our “peanut gallery” section of audience because the crew just could not do it. Do we relish the failure because it happened in the land of “It’s a beautiful thing”?
So the show starts and we do our cheers, claps and all the stuff “director of audience excitement” taught us for the next hour plus. Although I had quickly earned the individual attention of a Martha security guard, I did not get tossed and Joe was proud.
We ate a delicious marinated pork rib with hicama slaw (apparently only 1 in 30 shows get to sample food) and received some FREE schwag – a number of nice gifts for just coming to the show. Most notably: a sleek universal remote from Logitech, wireless TV headphones from Brookstone, and a Shaving Kit. Beggars cannot be choosers, either can audience members. Thanks Martha!
Of the four show segments, we found one to be particularly funny. Two “regular Joe” audience members had a chance to cook with Martha. The banter back and forth was authentic and funny. Comments on horrible and good culinary techniques, beer consumption and presentation were good for many laughs.
So the taping of the show ends and now it’s 3:40pm. You are amazed and begin to realize all the time, staff, and resources that goes on for the production of an hour-long show, but it will be a perfect show for the television viewing audience. Here, there may be some surprising parallels to raising a child.
We began to get out of our seats to leave and my friend Joe “director of audience excitement” announces to the audience Martha will take some questions.
THE CHANCE !!
After 3 or 4 questions, which included a guy expressing his doubts about a sisal rug he owns, also an impressive chef who wants a chance to display his cooking skills on a future show followed by a gentlemen who did not know a thing about cooking or knives, Joe said that was the last question.
With my hand raised, I said, “Come on Joe”. I get the opportunity. Joe hands me the microphone and I let Martha know I’m from the NYC DADS GROUP – a community of active and involved Dads before asking about replacing tarragon in mustard vinaigrette. Following her thorough answer, I say “thank you”, and go to hand the microphone back to Joe…but Martha was genuinely interested and wants to know more about the NYCDADSGROUP. I summarize the group for her and she understands us to be “house-husbands”. Nice.
So I ask Martha if she could help us cook better for our children. Martha says YES! Now, we hope the producers follow through to see if what Martha said becomes reality. That would be so much fun, especially with children, to have a wonderful memory of what you did one day with your Dad…as well as highlighting the commitment, competence, and nurturing aspects of the guys in our dads group.
We all had a great time and a great memory of doing this event together. Real Men. Real Dads. Real Fun. We hit the sidewalk and went for a beer at a nearby pub…it was nearly 4:30pm. Reality hits. We must pick up our kids from school or from the babysitter. We miss our kids. Go put in that important “production time” into your “show” and you will someday be proud of the “perfect show” our children put on for our worldly audience and us.