Scott D. Pierce: Yes, I interview stars but it's a real job
I love my job.
What's not to love? I get to watch and review TV shows. I get to interview stars and producers and writers and network executives.
It's (usually) a fun job. But as my friend Francine Brokaw wrote in her book Beyond the Red Carpet: The World of Entertainment Journalists, it is "just a job for us. And though we do have some interesting experiences, the job requires a lot of work."
Brokaw's book is a great read. It's a collection of experiences from those of us who cover TV and movies. Maybe I like it because many of those who share stories are my friends. And, yes, one of the people who shares stories is yours truly. Stories like:
Are there any questions you wish you could take back? • Yes, when I was trying to toss Adam Corolla a softball question about how he juggles all his jobs and got confused, thinking he had been in a sitcom that he wasn't in. When I attempted to mock myself for my own confusion, he took offense and started yelling and swearing at me. I completely didn't catch that he was actually angry I genuinely thought it was a lighthearted exchange until he went nuts.
Did you have any memorable personal exchanges with stars? Back in the early 1990s, I had occasion to interview Valerie Bertinelli several times. I am six days older than her; her son is 14 days older than my boy-girl twins. We were at a TCA party in 1992 when she said, "Edward! Edward! Look at these babies! They're the same age as Wolfie!" So Eddie Van Halen takes my wallet and looks at pictures of all three of my kids.
Have you had funny encounters with stars? • I don't know that it's the funniest, but I was once interviewing Jimmy Smits and, during the course of the conversation, I told him how my teenage son was a huge fan of him on "The West Wing." I told him how we had kept the sixth-season finale on the DVR all summer long and watched it at least once a week until the show returned that fall. I was sort of shocked when Jimmy gave me a hug.
What's your most interesting anecdote? • Before she starred in "Sex and the City," Sarah Jessica Parker whom I had interviewed several times was being pestered by a critic about comments she had made in the press about wanting to have a baby with boyfriend Robert Downey Jr. She tried to deflect the questions having rather publicly broken up with Downey some months earlier but this guy was persistent. Parker eventually pointed to me, said to the persistent critic, 'Ask him. He'll explain it to you," and walked swiftly away.
There are lots of other stories from lots of other people in Beyond the Red Carpet. A lot of them better than mine.
And, no, I'm not getting a cut from Francine's book. I was just happy to help.
Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.