Benny Jay: TV Star

May 11th, 2011

Big day for me. Get a call from a TV producer asking if I want to go on Chicago Tonight and talk Chicago politics….

Oh, hell yeah. I’m a ham from way back….

So I take off the T-shirt and put on a golf shirt and change my jeans from the ripped ones to the not ripped ones.

Check myself out in the mirror and say: Damn, boy, looking good….

My wife walks by and breaks the news: You’re not going on TV looking like that.

Something you should know. My wife’s really stylish and I’m a schlub.

We launch into a new variation of the old routine we have every few months or so, when I’m asked to go on TV.

Me: I look like a young Paul Newman….

She: Change your clothes!

Next time I might go shirtless, like the great Paul Newman….

Then she rummages through my closet and comes up with the same thing I wore the last time I was on TV.

Not that she has a whole lot of choice. I only own three nice shirts, two ties (one soup stained) and one jacket.

Of course, I could wear my wedding suit. But I save that for super special occasions.

“You got to get yourself some more clothes,” she says.

Which is what she always says.

“You’re right,” I say.

Which is what I always say.

Thing is – who has time to shop, when they’re so many Bulls games to watch?

Anyway, I walk into the studio and the cameraman says – “hey, man, wasn’t that the same shit you wore the last time you were on the show?”

He doesn’t really say that.

Probably thinks it, though….

The other guests dressed as smooth as John Gotti….

I take a seat next to Danny “The Main Event” Mihalopoulos, another reporter in town. Compared to me, he’s looking super sharp – like the Dapper Don.

All of a sudden, the microphone guy’s in my face, telling me my tie’s crooked. I’m trying to tell him that it can’t be crooked cause my wife tied it.

Next thing you know, he’s adjusting it.

I don’t mean to be disrespectful or anything, but you know you’re in trouble when the microphone guy’s giving you tips on fashion.

Then Danny steps in. Both of them futzing with my tie. I’m telling you – Princess Kate didn’t get this kind of attention before the royal wedding.

After all that, the show itself is kind of anti-climatic.

One thing you should know about Chicago Tonight. You’re supposed to be real polite. Wait your turn. Let the other guys finish before you start to talk. Act like you’re really listening to what he/she has to say, as opposed to what you’re really doing, which is thinking about what you’re going to say next.

All in all, it’s a lot different than, oh, a typical Jay-family get together, which goes a little something like this….

“Shut the fu….”

You get the idea….

Anyway, Danny’s talking and I’m thinking of brilliant comments I will be making when I get my turn.

And then the host, Carol Marin, asks me a different question.

Ugh oh — habbada, habbada, habbada….

I babble something. Not sure what. Though I’m pretty sure all the words are in English.

Afterward I head to J Dub’s to hang with my bowling buddies and watch the Celtics play the Heat.

When I tell them my tale of tieless woe, J Dub goes to his closet, plucks out a tie, ties a perfect Windsor knot and hands it to me.

“Use this the next time,” he says. “Just slip it over your head….”

What can I say? That’s a bowling brother for you – no man left behind….

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