In middle school if you had told me that one day an extremely famous Latino comedian would give me a makeover on basic cable I would have called you crazy. But I realised my destiny two years ago when I was a writers’ assistant on Lopez Tonight, the short-lived but mildly popular late-night show on TBS hosted by comedy superstar George Lopez. You may have heard of it. No? Well, it was a great place to work. The show was a lot of fun and the people were fantastic. Putting on a late-night show four days a week is extremely taxing, primarily for the writers responsible for coming up with topical original content almost on instinct alone. Due to the changing nature of TV, a growing aspect of late-night programming involves product integrations, and our humble show was tasked with incorporating the skin care line Nivea for Men into our show through a staff makeover. After much consideration and debate, I was chosen as said staffer.
Now if you’ve ever met me in real life, you must be asking, “Jared, why would you need a makeover? You dress well and have the bravado of a young John Stamos.” Thank you, but the reason I was selected was quite simple, really: the first couple of staffers asked to participate turned it down. Now, the only experience I’ve had with makeovers was watching Maury Povich growing up. If George Lopez could do half as good a job as Maury did to Ray Ray, the ex-gangbanger with the "RIP MOOKY" neck tattoo, then I would come out looking aces. The campaign airdate was about two weeks away, so the producers told me not to shave or cut my hair as to appear as schlubby as possible. My first time on national television, and I was going to look like Brian Wilson in 1972. Great.
The taping started promptly at 5:35PM. Right on cue, our house band, Michael Bearden & the Ese Vatos, played our show’s theme, "Low Rider", which signaled George to slide out onto the monologue mark and start the show. This was it. My moment of transformation was about to begin. After the monologue I took my place backstage to get mic’d up as George explained how the makeover would work. The staffer would be “randomly” chosen through the "Wheel of Misfortune" – a game-show-type wheel split into six sections. Each section featured a picture of an unkempt staffer’s face. The wheel was rigged, of course. There's too much paperwork, lawyers and red tape involved in a corporate makeover to pick the person spontaneously, plus you can’t tailor a custom suit in the duration of an hour-long television show. So it all had to be preplanned but appear spontaneous. Pretty cool, huh? Just a little INSIDER INFO into how the sausage gets made.
Among the faces on the Wheel of Misfortune was Bobby, our props guy. Bobby had sort of a Danny Trejo vibe – tough Latino dude with long hair and a brutal mustache. He looked like he may have done some time back in the 90s but that could just be my sheltered Jewish upbringing talking. George poking fun at Bobby’s looks was sort of a running gag on our show. The crowd loved it every time, so they were on board for a potential Bobby makeover. Finally, George spun the wheel, and each time it passed Bobby’s face the crowd cheered louder. It started to slow down, and just as it looked like it was going to land on Bobby, it went one to the right and landed square on my mug. You’ve never heard a more deafening sound of disappointment. If you want to know what true fear is, listen to a studio audience full of 300 Latino people from Whittier audibly boo a likeness of your face just before you’re about to get your looks critiqued on national television.
The next few minutes were sort of a blur, but it culminated in me being thrown out on the stage blindfolded. George ripped off the blindfold and I saw a sea of disappointed faces looking up at me. It was like every sexual experience I had in college rolled into one. George cracked a couple of jokes at my expense and then quickly explained what Nivea had planned for me. I was then escorted backstage by two beautiful spokesmodels to begin my makeover.
George interviewed Chris Colfer, one of the stars of Glee. Simultaneously, I was being prepped for the first part of the makeover – the shave. Cameramen were moved into place around me. After Chris's interview George decided to check in on my shave so far. The camera was two inches from my still-scruffy face when George said, “I thought they were shaving you?” To which I replied, “They are, George.” The camera then zoomed out to reveal I was lying on a massage table getting my back shaved. Not my proudest moment.
After that humiliation, I got a slapdash "haircut" that was nothing more than a trim. Then I had to personally shave my two-week beard in eight minutes. (I’m Jewish, so I can grow a full beard between meals.) I knew it would be messy so I removed my shirt. Just as I was about to dig in with the clippers, Chris Colfer was making his way back to his dressing room from the stage, and I couldn't help but get a little excited that he would be passing by my shirtless body. I’m not gay myself but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t curious just to know what a gay icon like Chris would think about the J-Man’s physique. As he passed by I casually flexed my pecs. Nothing. He walked by me like I was a piece of electrical rigging. Apparently I had overestimated my appeal in the gay community. No matter. In ten minutes, he would be singing a different tune.
Without any time to waste I grabbed the clippers and started shaving. Weeks' worth of hair fell from my face like the florets of a dandelion on a breezy summer morning. Next I requested a razor to finish the job – preferably a Mach 3 Turbo, my weapon of choice. The stylist handed me a blue disposable. “This is it?” I asked. “That’s it. You have four minutes.” I don’t know if it was the low-quality razor or the fact that I was shaving as quickly and as aggressively as possible but pretty soon there was blood – a lot of blood. Dripping from my cheeks and under my nose. I had to be on television for my big reveal in eight minutes and I looked like I just called Suge Knight the "N-word" to his face. The stage manager came back to check my status and from the look of him I could tell he was worried. Not about my own well-being but because there was no way I would be presentable in eight minutes. I applied Vaseline to my open wounds, wiped away the excess bone marrow and quickly made my way into a dressing room where my custom suit was waiting for me.
We were so pressed for time the wardrobe girl actually came into the dressing room with me to help me undress. During my time on the show I had heard rumours of former staffers hooking up in the dressing rooms – maybe I was about to be next. Well, kind readers, I am proud to say that there was indeed an exchange of bodily fluids between the wardrobe girl and myself because right after she helped me take my shirt off she got some of my face blood on her. I apologised profusely. She was too flustered to care. As I put on my shirt, I realised it was snugger than I remember. I checked the tag. Turns out they had accidentally given me a shirt one size too small. Before I could panic, the saint of a wardrobe girl threw a piece of foreign fabric at me. “What is this?” I asked. “Man Spanx.” Spanx? I thought. That doesn’t sound right. “It will help you squeeze into the shirt. Put it on," she said. I reluctantly gave it one last look and slipped on the spongy material. Instantly, I felt different. It was like a literal weight had been lifted off me. I got a glimpse of my posture and physique in the mirror. I couldn’t believe it – no wonder the broad that invented Spanx is a billionaire. It made me feel like a Kennedy. One of the good Kennedys.
As I was taking in how good the Spanx made my midsection look, the stage manager grabbed me and we raced toward the stage entrance as the band played. This was it. This was the first day of the rest of my life. I was a made man. I would have to change my lifestyle drastically to match my newfound persona. Perhaps I would change my name to something exotic like “Maddox” or “Bastian”. Just as I was wondering how late Lululemon was open, I heard George say, “And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Let’s see what Nivea for Men did to our staffer Jared. Ladies, get your phone numbers ready. Come on out here, Jared.”
The stage door opened and all I remember seeing was a bright blinding light. For a split-second I thought I was entering the gates of heaven. Had I lost too much blood from the shave? As I heard the crowd start to cheer I felt like the bumblebee girl from that Blind Melon music video. The audience seemed pleased with the results, as you can see below:
Totally nailed these chicks after, FYI.
I took my spot next to George. “You look like you give a damn! Nivea for Men has made my boy Jared into a new man.” he said. And it was true. I was a new man. I am a new man. Nothing has been the same since my basic cable makeover. I’d love to tell you more, but I have to go. You see, Jeremy Piven and Danny Masterson are waiting for me at our usual table at Spago.
*HOPS INTO COVERTIBLE * TURNS ON STEREO * COYLY RAISES EYEBROWS * PUTS ON SUNGLASSES * DRIVES INTO SUNSET AS "LOW RIDER" PLAYS*
Jared Moskowitz is a Los Angeles based writer/stand-up comedian originally from Philadelphia who has written on shows for MTV, Spike and Comedy Central. He has an extensive collection of shirts and is currently finishing his second season working at the Jeselnik Offensive on Comedy Central.
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