Happy Valentine’s Day. It’s also my birthday (so good luck getting a restaurant reservation).
When you’re on staff of a show you generally are working on your birthday, sometimes many hours.
I remember turning 40 in the WINGS rewrite room. As the hour approached I said to my fellow merry men, this is it, after 40 I am officially too old to get work. Use me now because in a couple of hours I will no longer be funny, no longer be in touch with the youth of America, and no longer able to eat take-out from Taco Bell.
When you’re on staff (and people in the office like you) they will often get you a cake. Their intentions are wonderful and I love them for the gesture…
Twice it has resulted in co-workers wanting to kill me.
The first was on CHEERS. We had just had a disastrous runthrough. The room was David Isaacs and me and the Charles Brothers. We had to re-break the story. We were looking at a 3:00 AM rewrite session. And just when we started getting the germ of an idea for how to fix the story the assistants burst in with a cake for me. We then had to stand around for twenty minutes while everyone ate the cake. I could see that Glen Charles was seething. That was awkward.
And then there was the year David and I were showrunning the MARY show starring Mary Tyler Moore. Normally we shot the show in front of a studio audience but this particular episode required lots of pre-shooting so we all decided to just block and shoot the entire show without an audience. That meant a long day of filming that began at 9:00 AM and ended about 11:00 PM. Plus, there was a horrendous storm that day. Flash floods, the whole deal. As luck would have it the stage sprung a couple of leaks. One was right over where Mary sat in the office set. It was the Chinese Water Test, dripping right onto her head. Needless to say, she was not pleased.
We finally wrap at around 11:00. It’s still pouring. Everyone is exhausted and knows they have long drives ahead of them. And guess what? Out comes the cake. Since I was the showrunner everyone felt obligated to stay and eat cake for a half-hour, the LAST thing anyone wanted to do. And to her credit I will say this, Mary stayed. And she was diabetic. She couldn’t even eat the cake. I spent the entire party sheepishly apologizing to our star.
When I hear MacArthur Park and "someone left the cake out in the rain" that's what I think of.
This year, no show so no cake. But many well-wishers, which is way better and I’m most appreciative. I do feel bad about Facebook though. Lots of friends are wishing me a Happy Birthday and I don’t check Facebook every day so I rarely wish other people Happy Birthday. So I feel a little guilty. Just know that I wish all of you the Happiest of Birthdays. Except that porn star.