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7:23 a.m. - 2004-03-05


So I was the Emcee at a Junior High Talent Show last night.

What a fucking nightmare.

When I agreed to do this, I was told that I would just need to bring my sound system and introduce each contestant and then after they got up on stage and whacked off or whatever junior high kids do today that could even be remotely considered "talent", I would encourage the crowd on hand to give them a big round of applause for having the gonads to get on stage and act like a complete imbecile in order to win a $50 savings bond.

Yesterday morning the lady in charge called me.

"Here's a list of songs we need," she says. "Do you have a pen handy?"

"Huh?" I asked in my usual debonaire fashion.

"The songs," she said. "The kids will be lip-syncing and dancing to music."

"Yeah," I said, figuring I'd commit the songs to memory since I was too tired to get out of bed and track down a pen.

"Okay," she says. "We need 'Milkshake', 'Hey Ya'...."

At this point, I had to gulp in order to keep from barking out "What the FUCK?!?"

We're going to have junior high kids dancing to "Milkshake"??

Forgive me ... maybe I'm reading too much into the lyrics ... but isn't that song about shaking your boobsters?

"My Milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, damned right it's better than yours"


It could be about an ass.

Regardless, I don't think it's an ode to Dairy Queen.

So she starts rattling off all these song titles and I finally stop her and explain that I have to get a pen.

"I thought you said you had a pen handy," she said.

"I lied," I growled.

(Don't fucking wake me up at 7:30 a.m. after I worked until 2 a.m. to start babbling about music. Fair warning.)

So I write down all the song titles and there were only a few I didn't have.

And I went back to sleep.

Last night I show up at the school.

I set up my equipment on the side of the stage.

I find the teacher who I've been speaking to on the phone for the last few weeks.

She wants me to "jazz it up" a bit.

Make the talent show "fun".

I can do this. I'm battling the head cold of the century ... but I can do this.

The kids are all backstage and they're nervous.

Giddy nervous.

Giggly "Ohmigod!" nervous.

Squealing giving-me-a-fucking-headache-and-getting-on-my-last-nerve nervous.

The lights go down and the stage lights come on.

I welcome everyone out to the school's 2004 Talent Show and inform them that we have a ton of great entertainment in store for them.

The first group of kids were all dressed like Outkast and they did "Hey Ya", playing cardboard guitars and air drums.

Basically, it was five kids jumping around on a stage with headbands and fringe vests who would occasionally remember that they were supposed to be lip-syncing.

They spent more time fixing their wigs and laughing at each other than they did pretending to sing.

About three minutes into the song, the kids were obviously bored. So I faded the song out and told the audience to give them a big hand.

The audience reciprocated with a mediocre hand.

"Come on people, you can do better than that!" I said, you know ... prompting them to give the kids louder applause.


Even the crickets shut up.

One nerdy little kid got up there and actually had the balls to sing rather than lip sync.

The song was "Hero" by Enrique Igloosiocis or whatever.

Christ on a corndog.

This kid made William Hung look like Ricky Martin.

If he had managed to hit one single note on key, it would have been a miracle and he would have received a standing ovation.

Instead, he went the easy route and just recited the lyrics in a dull monotone that threatened civilization as we know it.

He sounded like a robot, except not as energetic.

The entire time he was "performing", the only thing that I could think of to say after his performance was "Hey, he tried, folks."

But, being the trooper I am and realizing that someday my own son may get up on a stage and mangle some pop tune to the sheer horror of a hundred parents, I took it easy on the kid.

"How about a big hand for the next American Idol?" I shrieked into the microphone.

He got the absolute minimal applause you can give a kid with no apparent musical skills trying to prove he has musical skills.

After an hour of this horseshit, the judges convened while I played a few songs.

They came back with their decision.

I think I can speak for everyone in the building when I say that nobody was even near the edge of their seat as I revealed the winner.

The Britney Spears-wannabe who lip-synced to "Toxic" won the grand prize ... a $100 savings bond.

Second place went to a kid who played a bugle or some shit. I don't know my horns. Sue me. All I know is he did it without my accompaniment which I was thankful for.

Third place went to the Outkast group, which left me in a state of shock. I'm guessing two out of the three judges were legally blind.

And honorable mention went to the William Hung Jr. "Hero" singer.

The kid showed the same enthusiasm receiving his plaque as he did singing the song. Zero.

I thanked the audience for coming out, encouraged one more big hand for all the contestants, shut my shit off, grabbed my cash and got the hell out of there.

Driving home, I started to question whether this is how I want to make a living.

Then I remembered I had $150 in my pocket for two hours work.


I could get used to doing this.

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