July 23 – July 29 (2012)


Hair club for men? No, it’s me with my nephew Taylor in South Dakota during my recent trip there. Is it possible for “hair” to run in the family???

Not sure why this song popped in my head, but it reminded me of a time I was working for a radio comedy network. I wanted to write and sing a parody of this called “I’m driving a Yugo.” But here’s the original “Never Let You Go” by Third Eye Blind.

Monday the 23rd – THE MONDAY-GO-ROUND! – I got up early and headed to Santa Monica to do another Old Navy commercial. The traffic was bad on the way home so it took forever to get back. “The Tonight Show” had a bit for me to do, but time was running out. So instead of heading home, which would have taken longer, I just headed straight to NBC to record it there. I called my assistant Sara to walk Roxy in my absence. I made it to the studio, recorded the bit and waited around to tape the show. When the show was wrapped I picked up my mail on the way home and got some chili cheese dogs (with sauerkraut!). I got home at last, walked Roxy, chatted with my neighbors for awhile, took some calls, checked e-mails, and grabbed a nap. I got up later that night to do auditions and work around the house.

Tuesday the 24th – PANIC! – I got up for a gig at Voice Trax West for a Midwestern hospital. It was a beautiful day so I took Roxy for a long walk. Then I headed to the gig. When I finished I came home to get ready for “TTS.” On the way to NBC I stopped at Paty’s to have lunch on the patio with my friend Edi. We finished eating and I sped over to NBC and taped the show. When I got home I did some work around the house, answered e-mails, faxed a contract from the gig earlier in the day to my agents, and settled down for a short nap. When I woke up I looked at the clock and saw that the time was 9:42. I PANICKED! I had to be in Santa Monica at 10am for another Old Navy gig! I jumped out of bed figuring out how I was going to apologize to my agent and the Old Navy folks for being late. But when I got to my window I saw that it was dark outside. That’s when I realized it was 9:42 PM, not AM the next morning. Yes, in my groggy state I immediately assumed that I was late for my Wednesday morning gig. But it was still Tuesday night. That’s a HORRIBLE feeling! I spent the rest of the evening doing work on the computer, taking Roxy for a walk and having a quick dinner. Then I hit the hay for my early morning session.

Wednesday the 25th – I FEEL THE EARTH MOVE! – Just as I was getting to sleep at 3:21am, I was awakened by a 3.8 earthquake! At first I thought Roxy had jumped on the bed, but then I realized it was something else. I looked down on the floor and Roxy was still laying there looking up at me. It was a little shake and then a BAM! I got up and checked the internet and found out it was a small earthquake centered just east of Marina Del Rey. I got a few hours of sleep and then got up for Old Navy. I was in an hour’s worth of traffic heading to Lime studios. The Old Navy recording session was a good time. We wrapped up and I got back on the freeway for another hour in traffic to get home. I got a call to be into NBC at 1:30 for a bit. I’m glad I did some prep work the night before, because now time was going to be very tight. “TTS” was going to use my Gran Torino for a “Starsky & Hutch” bit they’d be shooting that evening, and I was also going to supply some clothes for the shoot. Luckily the night before I laid out all my Starsky & Hutch clothes, so all I had to do was throw them in the Torino and head to NBC. I pulled my Mustang into my auxiliary parking spot, started up the Torino, threw in all the clothes, and hit the road. When I got to the studio, they told me to go to wardrobe. Wardrobe? I’m a voice actor? Apparently, one of the bits I’d be doing involved a cut-in shot of some guys in the U.K. looking at some archaeological artifacts. As they were narrating what they found, you saw a close-up of their hands holding the artifact. My friend Chris Edgerly was there playing the other guy. So we went to wardrobe, got suited up in jeans, boots and t-shirts. Then we squatted down and held the items. Even though it was just my hands, it was my first “on-camera” bit for “TTS.” Chris and I were relieved to get back into our shorts and sandals after the shoot was over. I did a few more bits for another writer, then enjoyed lunch at the commissary. I pulled the Torino into the NBC car wash to have it polished up for the shoot. We taped the show but at the end I was getting tired. No time for rest! I grabbed my Torino, followed the crew to the Oakwood Apartments in Burbank, and sat in my car for a few hours waiting for my turn. My friend Chris lives over there, so I had a chance to talk to him and his wife Daniela for a bit. Then I just sat in the car relaxing, and talking to the occasional on-looker about the car. It was a GORGEOUS night! The bit they were shooting, was a Jaywalk bit that involved recreating famous TV show openings using regular people on the street. “Starsky & Hutch” was one of the shows, and that’s why they needed my car and clothes. Just before the sun went down, the crew came outside to shoot the bit with the guy and gal they had chosen for “S&H.” They were nice folks! The guy (Hutch) was from Washington State, and was in town visiting his girlfriend (Starsky) who is a Chiropractor. He said he was on the computer and heard a knock at the door. He opened it up and it was Jay Leno! Jay asked him what TV show he’d like to see remade. He said his mind went blank, but he remembered seeing my Torino in the parking lot as he pulled in. So he said, “Starsky & Hutch!” Right answer! He was wearing my black turtleneck and brown leather Hutch coat. Make-up had applied a blonde wig and sideburns to him. His girlfriend was using one of my Starsky Levis chambray shirts. She was so petite, that my Starsky sweater would have been WAY too big on her. So they used one they got from wardrobe that fit her better. Since it was my car I got to do the driving. They wanted to get a shot of the car speeding down the driveway, but there are speed bumps about every 20 yards or so. So I put the back tires just over the speed bump and waited patiently. They put “Hutch” in the passenger seat next to me. I had my Starsky sweater on as “stunt driver” so the shot would match when they revealed the gal as Starsky in close-up. I sped down the driveway right past the camera. They asked for a second take so I u-turned and went back to my original position. I got set and they gave me the signal to do it again. But just as they gave me the signal, a guy started running into the middle of the driveway! OH NO! Should I stop and ruin the shot, or just speed up and hope he gets out of the way. I went with the latter. The shot was great, and the guy DID run out of the way in time! I got on my PA system in my car and said, “Hey! That guy almost ruined my paint!” The crew laughed. They moved the camera to another perspective and wanted me to run into some big empty boxes in the next shot. I needed to hit the boxes with my bumper so they wouldn’t scratch my paint. As I was sitting there waiting for the signal, I told “Hutch” that this was a bit of a childhood dream for me. I mean after all, I was sitting there in Los Angeles, wearing my Starsky sweater, in my very own Gran Torino, with a full camera and audio crew waiting for me to do this “stunt!” It was the closest I would EVER get to actually being in a real “S&H” episode! I got the signal and gunned it! But I missed the boxes! Back to my original position to try it again. This time I hit the boxes square on and they went flying. I screeched the car to a halt! The shot was perfect! Now it was time to put the little gal in the driver’s seat for the close-up. She and “Hutch” would spring from the car with guns drawn! I changed my license plates from the “show plates” back to the real plates. I got my costumes back and headed to McDonald’s to get some food. I walked Roxy then got a little nap. What a great day! By the way, the bit is scheduled to run on the Friday August 17th show. Be sure to catch it!

Thursday the 26th – HOWDY NEIGHBOR! – I was still driving the Torino around, so I took it into NBC early to meet my pal Bodie Stroud for lunch at the commissary. I hadn’t seen him in awhile, so it was a good chance to visit and catch up. But just before lunch, one of the writers grabbed me and had me record a quick comedy voice bit. When Bodie and I got to the commissary, Tonight Show band lead guitarist Paul Jackson Jr. was there. I introduced him to Bodie and Paul was taken aback. He kept saying, “You’re BODIE STROUD!” Apparently Paul was a huge fan of Bodie’s. Who knew?! Paul was restoring a car of his own and had seen Bodie’s work on TV. The two exchanged cards and Bodie promised he’d teach Paul how to weld. Then I took Bodie inside and he met Ray the trumpet player in the band. Ray is rebuilding an engine and Bodie agreed to help on that too! I bid Bodie farewell and went to find my friends in line for the taping. My neighbors had some friends in town so I got them tickets to see the show. After the show I gave them a quick backstage tour, then drove them to their car in the Torino. As I dropped them off, the strangest thing happened! “Don’t Give Up On Us, Baby” by David “Hutch” Soul came on the 70’s channel on my satellite radio! Of all the songs from the 10 years of the 70’s decade, THAT ONE played right then and there? Too cool! We had a good laugh at the irony! I was still laughing on the way home. I walked Roxy and fed Spook, then went to Jerry’s Famous Deli to meet my pal Brittney Powell for dinner. Then I came home to do some work and watch an episode of “Wonder Woman” before bed.

Friday the 27th – HOW SWEET IT IS! – I got to sleep late, and when I woke up there were two bits for “TTS” waiting for me in my inbox. I recorded them and e-mailed them to NBC. This would be our last tape day for two weeks. We’re off on hiatus while the Olympics dominate the NBC schedule. I showered up and hit the road in the Torino. We taped early , as we normally do on the day before a hiatus. When we wrapped I headed to Taco Bell to get lunch, then headed off to the bank to make a deposit. I went home and started packing for a quick trip down the road to Invadercon 2. It’s an “Invader Zim” convention in Torrance that will play host to Zim fans from all over the world. The first Zim convention was held last year in Atlanta and was a huge hit! Though I wasn’t one of the scheduled guests, the promoters thought it would be fun if I showed up unannounced as a surprise guest. Sara came over to begin housesitting for the night, and I hit the road. I got to Torrance and checked into my hotel around 11pm. I ordered some Pizza Hut pizza and relaxed in my room with my dinner. The rest of the night I relaxed, listened to some music and pondered life and the world. Saturday would be a long day!

Saturday the 28th – NOW I KNOW HOW ELVIS MUST’VE FELT! – I got up around 1pm (the nice gal at the front desk gave me late checkout at 2pm!) and cleaned up. I packed up my stuff and hit the street. The convention hotel was only a few miles away, so I had time to stop at Subway for a sandwich before the appearance. I met up with Tom and the crew from the convention outside the hotel. The majority of the Zim conventioneers were inside listening to Emmy nominee Rodger Bumpass talk about his career and working on “Zim” as Professor Membrane. They snuck me in the side door and had me wait backstage. Soon, in walks my pal Richard Horvitz, Rikki Simons, Melissa Fahn and others who worked on the show. And in walks Zim creator Jhonen Vasquez. This was going to be an awesome panel! It was great to see all the gang again. Zim hasn’t been in production for 11 years, but the fanbase was still alive and kicking, and Zim merchandise is still available at Hot Topic! The gang took the stage and were seated. But there was one empty seat left next to Richard. Tom the emcee said that, since Richard was the shortest member of the panel. The chair next to him must be reserved for…the TALLEST! (My character’s name on Zim was Tallest Red). Tom introduced me to the crowd and I ran in to almost 1000 people all on their feet cheering wildly. It was surreal! I’ve never felt so welcome! It was crazy. I took the mic and said in Tallest Red’s voice, “Welcome brave Irken soldiers!” Again the crowd went nuts. It was awesome! The panel was hilarious and I learned a lot of things! I didn’t know that 3 years ago there were talks about bringing Zim back to TV! But the negotiations fell through and it wasn’t meant to be. I’ve done a ton of conventions and this was one of the best run cons I’ve ever attended. Every detail was taken care of. There were a ton of people in costumes. Many of the fans showed me their artwork, and a lot of them were VERY talented. I was blown away! After the cast panel ended, the next panel was a live reading of an unproduced Zim script. I not only got to read the part of Tallest Red, but Tallest Purple as well! Eric Trueheart, who wrote the episode, moderated the panel and moved things along very well. When the panel was over I went to find my friend Panda, who had driven up from San Diego to hang out with me. I mingled with the fans, signed autographs and posed for photos. Then I went upstairs to see Richard, Rikki and Jhonen signing at their tables. At first I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to kill 3 hours from the end of the script reading at 5pm to the start of the cast dinner at 8. But luckily I was asked to help judge the costume contest at 6pm. There were almost 50 costume entries, and they were all very good! It was a tough choice! Though he didn’t place in the regular competition, a guy named Dylan was dressed as Tallest Red! His costume appealed to me so much that I gave him a personal prize. I’m going to sign and send him my Zim slippers as an honorable mention! Then I signed some more autographs and got ready for dinner. Each actor sat at one of 9 tables in the dining room. Then fans could sit at the table of their favorite actor. We had a table full of fun folks, including Dylan who wowed me with his impression of me as Tallest Red! He knew all the lines! Since Jhonen wasn’t present at the dinner (he doesn’t like social situations like this) we decided to make an effigy of him. I asked the waitress for a piece of cardboard and a pair of scissors. When she returned I drew a lame rendition of Jhonen’s head and shoulders and cut him out. Cardboard Jhonen was born! We passed him around from table to table so all the fans could get a picture with Cardboard Jhonen. Everyone loved it! In fact, the cardboard version had a better personality than the REAL Jhonen! (Just kidding!) Richard Horvitz and I started singing selections from “Jesus Christ Superstar” and the audience was laughing hysterically. It was a GREAT time, and I think everyone had a great experience. When dinner was finished I went to somebody’s room to sign their tote bag. By then we had assembled a small, enthusiastic group of fans and we walked around the hotel seeking adventure. There were more photos taken, more hugs given, and more autographs written, as we sat in the lobby just chatting for awhile. We went to the fire pit and visited with Richard and Rikki and some other folks. But it was getting close to midnight, and even though I was having a ton of fun, it was time to get back home and see Roxy and Spook. I had been going strong without a break since 3pm and I was starting to wear out. I got my car out of valet, said goodbye to everyone and hit the freeway. WOW! What an experience! A FANTASTIC day! I got home and unpacked, and stayed up waaaay too late watching “Wonder Woman.” Though my body was tired, my head and spirit were still high from a fabulous day!

Sunday the 29th – SPRING CLEANING…LATE! – I got up to attend a memorial service for a friend at church whose wife of 51 years died recently of stomach cancer. But when I got up at 1pm, I walked Roxy and realized I was still really exhausted from the previous day’s activities. So I sent my apologies up to her, and went back to bed. I did get up in time for evening church, and when I walked Roxy over to the church I saw my widowed friend just coming out of the church carrying the flowers. He was surrounded by his family. I gave him a hug and told him he was in my thoughts and prayers. He was taken by Roxy and we started talking about her lineage. His grandson loved petting Roxy and trying to get her to give a high-five. He seemed in pretty good spirits, and I apologized for not making the service. He thanked me for my thoughts and prayers. After the church service Roxy likes to get pets and hugs from everybody leaving the service. Tonight was no exception. I was joined by Amanda, Edi and her daughter Ems for dinner at The Counter. Those hamburgers were great! Then I headed home to grab a nap. I had lots of work to do. I stayed up all night cleaning my living room from top to bottom! I had major dusting and repair to do to several of my displays. I put the freshly cleaned Fembot costume back on my mannequin. I stitched up Spider-Man’s webbing on his costume. (The rubber webbing breaks over time) I got out the tall ladder and dusted the figures near the ceiling. I also dusted the action figure cabinet, my monster shelf, the Vader shelf, and cleaned my light sabre display. By the time I got to bed it was 6am! It was a long night, but VERY productive!

And how was YOUR week??!!

Pics from the Week

At dinner, we help Amanda celebrate her 20th birthday with a birthday cake shake!

Dylan from Anchorage, AK in his Tallest Red costume (minus the headpiece) poses for a picture with me and a young Zim fan dressed as Gir!

My friend Panda, whose help I found invaluable, poses with Zim creator Jhonen Vasquez!

They look like they’re up to no good! Spook and Roxy are caught scheming.

After signing a Zim fan’s t-shirt, I draw out a Tallest Red for another Zim fan.

The ever-adorable Panda poses with Cardboard Jhonen

Cardboard Jhonen enjoys a meal in solitude

Richard and I break out into a song from “Jesus Christ Superstar!”

Here’s the entire group of guests from Invadercon 2012!