The Pilot

The Pilot

Somewhere around 1999 I was asked to be in a pilot for a show called “The Court Of Common Sense.” The producer was a comedian I had worked with at the Comic Strip. After watching his set, I saw nothing indicating he knew much about funny. But hey, I didn’t have to audition and they were willing to fly me to LA and give me a couple of grand, so I agreed. This court show had comics as judges and court reporter, and I was the bailiff. The first problem ; everything was scripted. They had me saying stuff like “All rise, pass the fries!” The cases they wrote were awful and unfunny. Actors played the parts, and it was completely unwatchable. It may have had a shot if the cases were real, but I guess that would have been too much trouble.

There was a lot of optimism on the flight out, me thinking this was it! The feeling continued at the airport when a Mercedes limo swung by to scoop me up. After stopping at the hotel, I was driven to a restaurant for dinner with the cast. I had worked with the comic judges and thought we might be able to pull this off. I think I was out there for a couple of days shooting, but it was clear on the first day this project would never see the light of day. And it didn’t. As I remember, the funniest thing in the whole show were the closing credit bloopers. I had a VHS tape of it, but it got crushed when I stepped on it.

Thursday evening I got an email from the casting director of the Tom Papa pilot More Time With Family. I was invited to come in and read for the part of Burnsy, a lifelong pal of Tom’s. They wanted to see me Friday or early next week. This is the main reason I go on precious few auditions. They love to ask you to come in the day you hear about the project. I’m not comfortable going in with not enough time to get my presentation they way I want it, which is the best that I can. I told them I would love to come in anytime Monday, so I have an appointment at noon. I will know the material and have figured out the best way to deliver it. That way I can walk in and read with confidence, which is something I usually lack when I go and read last minute calls. Another factor in my favor is that Tom and I have worked together for years, and the material suggests he wrote the part with me in mind. I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that I have done a half dozen or so of his Come To Papa Live shows on Sirius satellite radio. (Matt Damon saw me on an episode and is one of the exec producers of the pilot.)

The dominoes seem to be lined up, but I’ve been around long enough to know that it’s a long way from actually happening. A variety of suits has to sign off on me and yada yada yada.

Come Monday noon, I’ll be there to do what I do, and we’ll see what happens.


William Stephenson

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