You almost watched me as a cast member on “The Real World: Denver.”
About a dozen years ago, MTV’s producers held an open casting call here in Boulder at a now-extinct bar where I worked as a bouncer.
The bar’s other employees and I expected bad behavior from the thousands of people who auditioned to be on a show about nutcases, whiners and jerks. But everybody who wanted to be watched by the reality-show-loving globe behaved better than our staff could have dreamed. I do recall a few doofs wearing stupid outfits, juggling, painting their feelings and goofy crap like that, but as a bouncer, I’d take cheesy busker acts over aggro tough guys any day.
During this weekday afternoon, the bouncing shift got boring, so I talked to a producer or judge or whatever. As anybody who’s ever had a 10-minute conversation with me can attest, a judge found me charming and told me to try out for a spot.
After filling out a form, a group of about a dozen people and I were ushered into my bar’s smoking room. This was way back in the olden days when you could puff tobacco in designated areas — my other bouncer’s responsibilities were keeping velociraptors and wooly mammoths from getting inside the bar without proper IDs.
During the primary audition, the producer asked us to introduce ourselves. I think I said something about how I didn’t watch “The Real World” but also talked about my adoration for sci-fi, jiu-jitsu and high-fructose corn syrup.
After a few minutes, the lady gave a few of us a ticket and told us to wait in the room while they excused everybody else. The unselected others thought they’d be called back but never were.
Another quick interview touched on why I’m more interesting than those other people. I mentioned I’d moved from a small place like North Dakota to a big place like NYC to a medium place like Boulder. I worked at a newspaper and a bar — which meant I knew twice as many relatively interesting stories as most people.
MTV informed me that they’d call me for an interview. I didn’t expect anything. However, somebody buzzed me. I have absolutely no recollection about what we talked about except that she said they’d get back to me if I passed the next round.
I didn’t reach another round. Sad.
Although I never watched the show, I’ve always wondered which guy the producers would have made me. At the time, I was broken up over a girl, so would I be the guy on the rebound or the depressed drunk? I made my rent as a bouncer, so would I be the lovable lunkhead or the testosterone-fueled maniac? I was in grad school, so would I be the shy nerd or the pompous know-it-all? Would they make me a redneck from North Dakota, a city slicker from NYC or hippie/yuppie from Boulder?
What would have happened if the show’s producers, MTV and the world saw the real me?
They probably made the right decision.