It feels right to present this as a confession: I listen to the “Here’s the Thing” podcast with Alec Baldwin. It’s embarrassing because in being a listener to a conversation of that kind–between two people known and interesting enough to be in a broadcasted conversation–you naturally want to identify with one or both of those people, right? So, in thinking about it that way, it makes me feel a little pathetic. Because I haven’t accomplished a great deal in my life. But there I am, hand-me-down iPod stuffed in my Target bought jeans listening to fancy NYC public radio deluding myself, feeling that I am the same as Alec Baldwin and his culturally important guests. Walking around like, “Yeah, me too, Michael Douglas. I have also grown to have a closer relationship with my father Kirk Douglas. Me. Too.”
I was about to have a really productive afternoon this afternoon, but then I found out that starting today Comcast Cable subscribers with XFinity OnDemand have access to full seasons of HBO and Showtime shows for one week only. I’m not trying to plug Comcast Cable, I’m just telling you that the household I’m a part of happens to subscribe to their services and they happen to be doing this thing to try to get us to give them more money after we see how great HBO and Showtime programming is. So anyway, instead of going to get a job or something (it’s also raining), I made a bag of popcorn and watched the pilot episode of Girls. Because I follow Lena Dunham on Twitter. And I listened to Alec Baldwin interview her. So I’m basically Lena Dunham. But I’ve never seen my show because I DON’T HAVE HBO.
Another thing. The episode when Alec Baldwin interviewed Brian Williams made me cry. That probably reveals less about the emotional depths of Alec’s conversations and more about my general emotional state at the time I was listening. But, this is the part of the interview that choked me up. Brian’s talking about one of his earliest jobs in television:
Brian Williams: I drove back to Washington where I knew I could find work. Again, I bought a copy of The Washington Post. Again, I circled a classified ad. Chyron Operator, 10 pm newscast, WTTG, the Metromedia-owned (now Fox), Channel 5.
I walked in the door, asked the first woman I found, ‘Is the news director in, and can I see him?’ And she said, ‘You’re meeting with her right now.’ Late, great woman named Betty Endicott. She hired me to type in the letters on the screen. She did this Ed Asner thing with me. I would go into her office as her lowly typer of letters on the screen, and I’d watch the newscast with her every night, and we hit it off. And she said to me, ‘Didn’t you do on-air work in Kansas? Do you have any tapes?’ And I said, ‘Betty, those have been taken to a licensed landfill facility long ago.’
Alec Baldwin: And turned into tires.
Brian Williams: I did find one. She put me on the air in Washington, D.C. on a whim. The last gut call in television.
Alec Baldwin: For Metromedia?
Brian Williams: Yeah. I was on the 10:00 news. Months later, she says, ‘I’m hiring a young woman to be an executive producer. I think you’re going to like her.’ And we’ve been married for 26 years.
Gosh. Isn’t my life romantic? I love being Brian Williams. And yes, my daughter Allison Williams IS on HBO’s wildly popular show, Girls. It’s pretty great. Yeah. I know, Alec. That Lena Dunham. Goll-ee. What a broad.