in which i pretend i am a radio legend, and meet a comedy icon.

In the last two weeks, I have learned that there is an abundance of perks to working in the media. First of all, people send you free stuff. Mostly books. Sometimes CDs. But mostly books. Which is really all you need in life.

But seriously, the “Wait Wait” office gets a lot of books. The table in the middle of our cubicle cluster has started to buckle beneath the weight as they slowly pile up1. We also have subscriptions to lots of magazines, including Glamour and People2, which everyone covertly reads when they think no one is looking. Everyone except Carl, because he’s way too classy for that.

Also, we received a box of free vodka this week. For unknown reasons.

Another perk of the job is that when my bosses get free tickets to see the Scott Adsit (Pete Hornberger in “30 Rock”) improv show, and they can’t use them, I get them. Even though it means taking the train at 10:30 at night to the stop right next to Wrigley Field right when a baseball game lets out so that I am practically trampled trying to swim upstream against a sea of half-crazed, drunk baseball fanatics, it’s worth it.

I’m fairly certain the theatre the show was held in is an over 21 venue, and the whole way I was sweating that I would be revealed as the spring chick that I am. But since I was with someone who conveniently works at the theatre, I was not carded. The guy at the door looked at my ticket, then looked at me, then looked at the girl I was with, who he knew, then back to me. Then said, and I quote, “Eh. I trust you.” First mistake dude3.

The show itself was biazzare and hilarious. It was strange and awesome to see Adsit in real life, with a beard, and not being crazy Hornberger, but instead a totally different type of crazy. The show was awesome…though weirdly dark for an improv comedy show4.

And, in that moment of sitting in a seedy comedy club at midnight surrounded by youthful, energetic, metropolitan people, I felt like I could possibly be a young Tina Fey.

Then today, I thought instead that I could perhaps be a young Terry Gross.

I did my first interviews today5. And, while sitting in a studio, soundproof and so still that the silence seemed to hum, with a huge, legit-looking microphone and giant headphones6 before me, I found myself overcome by a childish, yet irresistible desire.

And so I looked around to be certain I was not overheard7, then leaned in to the microphone and covertly whispered, “From NPR news in Washington, I’m Mackenzi Lee.”

It was  one of those weirdly giddy moments of pretend snuck inside of real life, and it momentarily made me think that perhaps a career in broadcasting was ahead of me.

Of course, the whole experience became infinitely more exciting when Carl Kasell entered the studio to record voicemail messages with me8.    

Another perk of my job is that I work in an office where twenty minute conversations about sexually-depraved penguins are totally okay. and the phrase “Lady Hitler” becomes commonplace.

Seriously. I love this.

  1. Prompting executive producer to say dreamily to no one in particular, “Remember how our last intern was so anal about keeping things clean around here?” *moment of silence.* “….hey Mackenzi…”
  2. Both of which I am pretending to be a lot less excited about than I actually am.
  3. On an unrelated note, tonight after the live show, Carl offered to help sneak me into a bar by telling them I was his mother. It should be noted that Carl is pushing seventy.
  4. Just the way I like it.
  5. The fact that the interview was with a man who spells his name with a question mark, about a paper he published discussing the infectious spread of Beiber fever is irrelevant.
  6. Damn, I love giant headphones.
  7. As though anyone could hear me while I was in a soundproof studio. That is rather the point, is it not?
  8. Not for me, unfortunately.
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One thought on “in which i pretend i am a radio legend, and meet a comedy icon.

  1. Carter says:

    Dude, Carl Kassel tried to sneak you into a bar? By telling people you were his mother?

    That totally beats having his awesome, awesome voice on your home answering machine.

    By a mile!

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