Please note the use of "at" instead of "on."
Yes, yesterday, September 12th, instead of spending 8 hours in the office, my boss and I spent over 15 hours together on a trek up to Chicago to sit in the audience of the Jerry Springer show.
We didn't just go on a whim. As per the excellent level of customer service we offer here at my company, when one of our customers from Barbados was on vacation in Canada, stopped to visit a vendor in Chicago, and mentioned that they've always wanted to visit the Jerry Springer show...well, we just had to oblige.
(I'll admit. My boss was a bit.....hesitant. But my chants of "Jer-ry! Jer-ry!" helped to convince him.)
We had lunch at the ESPNZone first (sweet!!) and then headed over to the NBC Tower in Chicago. Our instructions were to arrive by 1:15pm at the latest. It was raining, so we arrived at about 12:30pm, and walked right to the front of the line. Not 2 minutes later, there were approximately 50 people in line behind us. We spent a good 45 minutes trying to figure out which women were going to show their boobs. Fun for everyone involved.
Once we got through the line, showed our ID to prove we were over 18, went through a metal detector (no joke....they also took away all cigarettes, umbrellas, heavy purses....anything that could be used for a weapon), we sat in a holding room for approximately one hour looking in eager anticipation at anyone in a uniform that came into our room. The guy in front of us made the following observation that wasn't too far off the mark, "Now I know how dogs at the pound feel, looking at people who come in and trying to communicate with their eyes how much they want to be taken someplace else."
During this time, we got to know the people around us (one family was from Boston, and had flown into Chicago that morning, were leaving that night, and came ONLY for the Jerry Springer show) and continued to observe the people filing in. People watching was almost the best part. Money was wagered on women who were "sure things" to show their boobs.
We were finally taken into the studio and we sat in the second row - not 7 feet from the guests, and about 2 feet from the edge of the stage. We were psyched!!! If there was a fight, we were going to be right there!!! A group of 4 girls who were sure things to strip were seated in the front row as expected. They were ready and willing to bare it all. The bouncers had to convince them to keep their clothing on while the cameras weren't rolling.
Steve was actually the host as Jerry is currently busy with "Dancing with the Stars." That was a bit of disappointment, but we were not deterred....until the first guest came out. She was a mom who talked about her daughter and how she was a wonderful little girl, until her father had an accident and lost a leg. She started to cry as she remembered the early days and how "giving" she was....how "thoughtful" and "caring" and how the accident changed her. You could feel the audience anticipation for what was to come.
Then the mom started to cry. She talked about how her daughter was addicted to heroin, and had begun prostituting herself to support her habit. She said that she had come on the Jerry Springer show because she had researched them on the internet and was convinced that they could help.
(there were a few snickers at this)
The daughter came out separately to talk to Steve, and it gradually dawned on the audience that Steve was playing the cop/counselor role. He was actually trying to be Maury...or Oprah... He wanted to help these people!! He actually made the girl look at her high school graduation photo and say, "I want to be that person again" before she broke down in sobs. (!!!)
There would be no fighting. There would be no name calling. There would be no baring of breasts.
We were collectively stunned. When the guests were taken off the stage, the audience began to speculate as to what could happen. The pimp would be brought out? The dad with one leg would come out on stage? Maybe THEY would fight? The dad could beat the pimp with....well.... We absolutely could not believe what we had just seen. After all, who comes to the Jerry Springer show to see counseling?
When the second set of guests were brought out, the audience was rowdy. It turned out to be a love triangle with a lot of potential. The guy who was on stage first described himself as very close to his cousin. He was a gay male, and he had become close to both his cousin and his cousin's girlfriend. However, his cousin didn't treat his girlfriend right, you know? He called her names, he didn't love her....etc. One night, the girlfriend was devastated to find out that her boyfriend had cheated on her. She called the cousin, they went out to a bar together, got drunk, and slept together (scandal!) A month later, she found out she was pregnant. Who was the father???
It had all the good makings of a typical Jerry Springer show. However, when the boyfriend came out, he decided to take the high road, not beat up the gay man, and merely whip him with his quick wit. Luckily, he actually WAS quick witted (and funny) or else the audience may have revolted. Unfortunately, we were still disappointed because, really, who takes the high road on Jerry Springer? The audience chanted for the gay man to tell them how many um....men he had pleasured, chanted for him to strip, chanted for him to start a fight..... The comments from the audience were fabulous. The gay man almost came into the audience to fight.
Unfortunately for my boss, the girls who were a sure thing to show their boobs didn't get the chance. In fact, the only lady who bared anything was about 900 years old - and sitting right next to my boss. It was fabulous.
One of the bouncers (one of the hot bouncers) ended up mooning the audience. That wasn't so bad....
All in all, it was a disappointment, but I could see how the experience had potential. I want to go back. I want to see a good fight. I mean, I hate to perpetuate the Jerry Springer cycle....but these people go on there voluntarily...I'm not twisting their arms....I just want to be there to see the carnage...
I do have beads though. And a fabulous picture of me on the Jerry Springer pole. And of course, the group photo with Steve. Next time, I want one with Jerry.