I’d spoken earlier to the class of would-be hosts that my friend Marki teaches, and as the guest speaker, I told them about our programming initiatives, what we look for in on-camera talent, and how they can stand out from the herd of people who come in to audition.
While I tried to make eye contact with all thirty of them as I was talking, there was an enormously muscular and heavily tattooed black guy sitting in the front row, arms folded, drilling holes in me and I couldn’t look away. I’d later recognize him as Bobby from last season’s Survivor, the one who took a dump in the tribe’s sparkling new outhouse.
In pairs, the class improvised an audition for me, and I dutifully wrote notes on each performer. Many of them did the Hands, that timeworn hosty combo plate of motion of hands outstretched in a gesture of surprise or authority, then a forceful clap of hands, then finger guns shooting right at the audience. The move doesn’t have the poetry of Jazz Hands. They’re just Hands.
Hands is almost as annoying as Prom Smile, that toothy swath that is always there There THERE, and if you close your eyes for a moment, rest assured it will be there when you open them. While both traits may be perfect for infomercials, the hard sell act makes for tiresome TV, and I wanted to accost some of them, tie their hands to their sides, and physically pinch their lips to hide their orthodonture.
But they tried their best, and out of the entire class, I saw two, maybe three, people I’d bring in to audition. I did it for Marki, a big sexy girl with the mouth of her grandfather, Lou Costello, who wears tight dresses that show beautiful massive cleavage and ample booty. I did it to get out of the house for some solicited adulation. I did it because I knew I’d feel good afterwards, and it worked.