October 12, 2014
This was originally written in August of 2013, but it is only now being published. It has never been posted, until today.
I few weeks back, I mentioned that Mr. B and myself were in a certain town in New Jersey for a certain appointment that I couldn’t mention.
Well, now the legalities have been observed, I am free to spill the beans: the town was Red Bank, NJ and Mr. B and myself were in town to film an episode of the AMC show, “Comic Book Men”
Yup, THIS Comic Book Men:
My episode may or may not have aired, and I may or may not have sold the item to the fine gents of the Secret Stash. I’m going to be vague on some specifics because: A) I want to keep my identity on the down low, but mainly B) I look god-awful hideous on camera and if I had my way, Mr. B and I would drive all over Bedrock Brooklyn roping down the TV antennas to keep everyone from seeing the shame that is my appearance. It didn’t help that I’ve never seen an episode of the show or that I didn’t really like Kevin Smith movies much either (though he is good when on Opie and Anthony). Or maybe it did help. I dunno.
In the meantime, Mr. B was happy as a pig in slop. He got to play an extra in the background while I made my transaction. While the guys on the show were cutting me and my item down with barb after barb, Mr. B just kept rifling through the used comics in the background. That was always the sort of thing I wanted to do. Remember in Empire Strikes Back, the commander in the AT-AT who radios Vader that the rebel’s generators are in sight and he can start his landing? And there was a snow trooper just standing there silently next to him? THAT’S THE ROLE I ALWAYS SAID I WANTED TO HAVE! And Mr. B got to do it!
Anyway, how I came to be on the show was pretty interesting. I’ve been selling lots of my old junk on eBay lately and a casting producer trawling for potentials shot me an email asking if I wanted to apply. Mr B. was all over this – he was hot for me to do the show. Me, I just wanted to sell my item. But Mr. B was a trooper. The whole casting process took maybe a week. I emailed a form, submitted an unintentionally hilarious casting video (pro tip: if you want to describe the items you’re selling, it helps to show the covers instead of the back boards like I did) and a few phone conversations later, I was booked to come down to Red Bank to shoot. Money line from the producer: “Come dressed decently but not too well – it is a comic shop after all”
I have to say, it may be a show about a comic store, but every single person I dealt with was the height of professionalism as well as being extremely helpful. Thanks to all of them for making our experience even cooler!!!! Dear AMC: GIVE THE COMIC BOOK MEN CREW RAISES. SIGNED, ALLAN KEYES.
I don’t have a lot of behind the scenes scuttlebutt to describe. The production HQ was across the street from the store (and I will let Mr. B describe the store in detail. I really didn’t have time to see it in detail, more’s the pity) Mr. B and I waited for about an hour in the “green room” (really a small curtained off room with some duct taped Superman posters on the wall) while the crew did their thing in another part of the building. I was given some papers to sign, I was mic’ed, my items were taken for “glamour shots”, and my clothing was camera checked. When it was time, we were escorted across the street to the store, Mr. B was given his spot, and I was sent in and given my instructions. Stand here, on my cue, walk up to the counter, give the guy my books and start talking. Unfortunately, there was no little dude with a beret and that old school clapper yelling “action!”
The three guys I dealt with were extremely cool. Kevin Smith wasn’t there to waste his time with a peon such as myself. The guy in the Superman outfit above was incredibly knowledgeable, and the bearded barbarian guy was HILARIOUS and cool as hell to deal with – he got off some of the best lines of the segment. The guy with the Godzilla body struck me as a bit of a prickly guy, but that’s based on extremely limited and interaction and for all I know he was playing a part, so I don’t really have an opinion of him, except he knows his stuff.
Are those segments real? I can say that it’s like wrestling: yes, it’s real-ish.
The guys knew beforehand what I was coming in with, and they knew what they wanted to speak about (and the director was helpful in steering the conversation between takes) but in all honesty, the conversation and haggling was basically ad libbed for the most part, and it went in some weird directions that I’m sure will be edited out (too bad)
Once the initial transaction was done, they shot it again, with the director telling what angles needed to be given more play, but once again, the conversation was organic and just flowed, this time in a different direction.
Once it was done, that was it. Thanks for coming, hope you had fun, we’ll let you know when the episode airs, and on to the next guy. And for Mr. B and myself, it was onto that classic arcade and then lunch, where we went to a pizzeria and I had something called an “Italian hot dog” that really was not satisfying lunch material.
From what I can tell, the cast and crew really love doing that show.
I’m extremely happy I did this – it was one of the cooler things I’ve done. And I’m going to recommend people watch the show now (not my episode though which might or might now have already aired) since the guys are EXTREMELY funny and worth watching.
So that’s my star turn. I’ll try not to let it get to my head!
Mr. B here. See how old this is? Opie and Anthony were still together. In the next blog, I’ll fill in the blanks, tell you about the extras you see in the background, explain why Kevin Smith bold-face lies when he says on the podcast “tell me what came into the store this week,” my disappointment with the Stash, and how we were invited back, one year later, to do the exact same thing all over again.