Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My Experience at the Jerry Springer show

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 "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 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.


Josh said...

Well im board sitting in the audience holding area since 12:20 and its now 1:30. I just read your blog on my new iPhone. I feel like Im being picked for jury duty. All I know is I hope I'm out of here by 3:30 because I have a plane to catch. Last night we went to the Steve wickos show and had a great time. We met Steve and he is really nice. I just wished he tried not to help people and had fighting guest because he show felt boring. I guess that why I can't watch it on tv. I will keep you guys posted as for the jerry show experience.

Josh Blancett said...

I wasn't sure it was going to happen but it did, and it went off without a hitch. On Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at 1:50 in the afternoon I sat down in the first seat, back row center, with Jason in the seat beside me of the Jerry Springer show, and had the time of my life.

We arrived at NBC studios early on the first floor and went to the security desk and informed the security guards we were there to see Jerry Springer and that we were on the "Out Of State" Guest List to which we were informed to go wait in the line that was formed outside the doors on Columbus Ave. and that when we were called inside they would get our tickets for us.

About 5 minutes later we were called inside to enter the line and at that time we were given our tickets and asked to make them out with our Names, Signature, and date and time and gave our ID's to the Security Guard. Another Guard verified we were on the list and then we waited in line some more to go thru the Metal Detector. All smokers were forced to put their cigarettes and lighters in baggies and leave them with the guards until after the show.

Once thru the Metal Detector we were led to an Elevator and advised we were being led to the Waiting Room upstairs on the second floor and the "Rules"; Stay in assigned seats, Where the bathrooms are, etc.

Once in the "Waiting room", A white, Bland room with the Televisions on Soap Operas, we were told to stay in the order we came in and led to our seats; Metal Folding chairs lined up in rows of 3. A Sign on the wall proclaimed the rules to be a member of the audience of the "Judge Mathis" show. Apparently "Judge Mathis" is taped at NBC Studios as well. Here we would wait to be led into the Studio and seated for our turn to be a member of the Studio Audience of the self-proclaimed "Worst Show on Television". I was so excited. Jason was getting a little annoyed at the wait. They were running late so we waited in the waiting room longer than usual, about 45 minutes. Then they started bringing the group of people who were last to come into the waiting room into the Studio. These are the people who are seated in the back of the Studio Audience. I knew things were beginning to move along and was getting even more excited. Shortly I would be sitting in the audience of the "Jerry Springer Show", The show I have watched and Loved since it has been on the air.

Finally it was our turn. We stood up and were led to the line to enter the studio. As we were walking into the studio I could hear the "Jerry Springer Show" blaring. As we entered the studio I could see that the "Noise" was Jerry Springer's "Too Hot for TV" playing on two TV's hanging ont he walls of the studio. How cool was this? I was there, standing in the Studio of the "Jerry Springer Show".

As we were led in a woman doing the seating acknowledged us with the words "Two Males" and directed us to the back row. Now I was even more excited. Jason in the second seat right next to me. I was definitely going to be able to shake Jerry's hand. How cool was that? My excitement kept growing. As "Too Hot For TV" continued blaring, people continued filing in and being seated. I began to wonder where all these people were going to fit. Although on Television the Springer studio looks quite large, in person the studio is much smaller. Television really does make everything appear larger.

Finally after being seated approximately 15-20 minutes Todd Came out. He explains to us that he is going to talk to us for a few minutes and then bring Jerry out. I was very surprised to see that he looks Exactly the same in person as on TV. After introducing himself he sat down in the chair and started telling dirty jokes and just joking around with the audience for about 10 minutes. It was very cool. Then he explained to us the procedures we were to follow; We don't call anybody a "Whore" unless he says it first because he says "That person may not be a whore". When he raises his hands we are to clap until he tells us to stop. Same with chanting "Jerry Jerry Jerry". We are only allowed to say "ooh" and "aahh" anytime we want. Anything else is ONLY if he does it first. In order to get Jerry Beads a female must show her breasts for a certain amount of time to qualify. All Coats and Hats must come off and be placed under our chairs. Cell phones must be turned off. They have had so many problems with Cell Phones ringing during taping he explains, that the new policy is if your cell phone goes off during taping they confiscate it and mail it back to you in two weeks. Needless to say, Cell phones going off during taping of the show is a "No-No". Completely understandable. If your going to comment make sure you have something original. Don't just say "You Suck" etc. Been there done that. They only want good put downs and arguments. Nothing but the best. Finally after going over all the rules and joking around with us for a while he finally says "Let's give a big hand for Jerry Springer" and walks to the side of the stage. And then it happens.

Jerry Springer himself walks out to resounding applause and adulation. The audience continues clapping as Jerry Stands there acknowledging the applause. Dressed in a suit and tie, He also looks almost exactly the same in person, although some makeup is apparent. He looks great.

The audience stops clapping after a minute or so and Jerry thanks us all for coming and begins with his own brand of jokes, most rather unfunny but very Jerry-like. The crowd laughs anyway. After all, this is Jerry Springer. This is who we've come to see (along with some Trailer Park Trash fighting), The tickets were free (Which Jerry himself jokingly reminds us), and we are having the time of our lives. Jerry drudges on, making joke after dirty joke. He jokes about the 30,000 people he has had on the show in the last 17 years. He jokes about Todd and of not being very attractive but "filthy rich".

Then he opens up to questions from the audience and surprisingly, NOT ONE of us raises a hand to ask a question. "Anyone?" he says , "Does anyone have a question for yours truly?" he says, looking rather surprised at the lack of questions and curiosity, to which finally someone in the back of the studio raises her hand. After Jerry points up to her and says "Yes", a girl stands up and asks "Will you sign my tittie?" A member of the audience in the front row hands Jerry a sharpie marker and Jerry jokes with the girl for a minute before declining. Todd later tells the crowd that the word "titty" is definitely not allowed to be yelled during the show and also tells the audience to "NOT" ask to kiss Jerry or another member of the staff during the "questions from the audience" segment. They "Don't like that" he advises. Who can blame them. Would you want to be kissed by a complete stranger? I certainly wouldn't. And even if I did I DEFINITELY would not want to be kissed by someone at the Jerry Springer Show.

Jerry then exits the stage and Todd returns to talk some more about what we are and are not to do and advises Jerry will re-enter through the usual right door with the signature "smoke" and will shake hands and the show will begin. The excitement in the crowd is evident. The show is about to begin.

Then it happens. The stage lights get bright. The Jerry Springer Theme begins playing and then Poof, smoke comes through the door and Jerry reappears and walks to the audience and begins shaking hands, as per usual Springer beginnings. After shaking guest hands and saying hello Jerry moves on to the TelePrompTer and begins reading his introduction. It is all so surreal. Jerry introduces his first guest, a guy who loves his fishing buddy. Apparently he was brought out as Jerry was shaking hands and doing his intro because I never saw this guest come out.

This gay guy is 120lbs and he is in love with his fishing buddy who is 350lbs and they have played with each others fishing poles before. The wife comes out of the 350lbs guy and the fighting strarts.

Mixed in with this is the usual fighting. As crazy as it sounds, it's all real. At least it all "seems" real. I guess only they know for sure.
The commercial breaks are approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute long. Jerry walks off stage, and the lights are dimmed. The guests are brought into the doorways and the security and camera men stand around chatting.

There were a few good questions from the audience, including one from a girl in the front row who got into a good fight with one of the guests. Although we wanted to say something, we decided to keep our mouths shut and decided this would be a great time to sneal out to catch our plane back home.

The nice staff let us out and we headed to the airport. I wish we could have stayed longer or visited more with Pete the new Jerry Springer security guy, but we ran out of time.

ems said...

Josh, I love your comments. It sounds like you had as much fun as we did at the show - only you had good guests too. I'm bummed that I didn't get to meet Jerry, though.

I'm surprised that you don't have your own blog - your post was good - I felt like I was there all over again.

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