Naked In Hollywood

I was 78 years old when I got the call from my agent. I had been a writer in Hollywood for 40 odd years, had parts in movies and TV, and did a slew of commercials. I had two pensions, Social Security, and residuals. I had it made, and I didn’t need what he was proposing. But I listened anyway…

AGENT
Hey buddy I got an audition for you that’s right up your alley.

ME
Tell me about it.

AGENT
It’s a commercial for Hertz. It’s a national. Maybe worldwide.

ME
Keep going…

AGENT
But you gotta go naked.

A LONG PAUSE…

AGENT (continued)
You gotta problem with that?

ANOTHER PAUSE:

ME
Kind of…

AGENT
Kind of what?

ME
I Kind of have a problem because I’m pushing 80.

AGENT
That’s exactly what they’re looking for—old guys.

I was ready to interrupt but the agent was on a roll…as usual.

AGENT (continued)
You still go to the gym dontcha?”

ME
….yeah.

AGENT
Then you’re lookin good…

ME
It’s not about looking good or bad I just don’t wanta.

AGENT (mimicking me)
Ya just don’t wanta? This is a national, maybe worldwide commercial. Besides, you told me you were a nudist.

ME
That was 50 years ago and I only went to a nudist colony, once.

AGENT
You told me twice.

ME
O.K., twice.

AGENT
That’s enough. Your time is 4:30 at Commercials Etc.. Don’t be late—and oh, there’s something else…

ME
What’s that?

AGENT
Don’t dress for the part.

At one time my agent had aspirations of being a comedy writer. The would-be comedy writer, now commercial agent, hung up the phone laughing. I wasn’t, and thought about not going on the audition. And then I was thinking, what the hell, this could be a gas. After all, I went to the gym and had gone to a nudist colony, twice.

The audition was in a huge office where I had been many times before. The office was filled with old men in all shapes, colors, and sizes. A lot of them were in slippers and bathrobes. I knew they were naked under those robes. When my time to audition came I was ushered into a smaller room with five other old guys. The room was freezing.

Facing us in that room was a slip of a girl. She couldn’t have been over 18. She reminded me of my granddaughter. She was the casting director.

CASTING GIRL
Welcome guys….

Mumbles of “Hi” from us guys.

CASTING GIRL
You’re all here cause it doesn’t bother you to go naked. Right?

The remark is met with grumblings.

CASTING GIRL
I need more enthusiasm. But the time has come. C’mon guys. Take it off! Slowly five old men began to strip.

CASTING GIRL
Naked means without boxers or jockeys.

More mumblings were heard, but after a while, all of us were naked. It was after all, a national commercial. We stood as far apart as we could from one another. Everybody looked straight ahead. The room was freezing, but I’ve said that before.

The casting girl took up a position behind her camera. She squinted into the lens.

CASTING GIRL
You guys are standing too far apart. Clump together.

ALL OF US
Clump together?

CASTING GIRL
Yeah, lemme tell ya what this commercial is all about—You. Guys are in the gondola of a balloon. The balloon’s just crashed.

ME
And we’re all naked in the gondola?

CASTING GIRL
Yeah. Your nudists. That’s the tag to the commercial.

Nobody laughed.

CASTING GIRL.
C’mon closer together.

We shuffled about, but not looking at each other. Perhaps we were a centimeter closer.

CASTING GIRL
C’mon tighter than that!

I felt somebody’s cold rump against my back. Then somebody stepped on my foot.

CASTING GIRL
C’mon guys don’t look so serious. And all of you keep your eyes open!

We did what we were told with frozen grins on our faces. I looked down at my dick. It was half way up my stomach. It was freezing in there…

CASTING GIRL
Now bend down so no one will see ya in the gondola.

ME
Oh my God…

But I followed instructions. My nose was half an inch from somebody’s withered, old hairy rump. I disregarded the prior instructions and closed my eyes.

CASTING DIRECTOR
Now jump up together. A Honda station wagon is coming. It’s here. Now yell “It’s a Honda! Can we get a ride?”

We did as we were told. But the casting director was dissatisfied that we were not jumping in unison, or not yelling loud enough, or smiling to her satisfaction. She made us repeat the process five times!

When I got home I took the longest shower of my life. And then I got a call back!

I went through the entire process again, this time in front of a roomful of advertising executives. They seemed to like my jumping and yelling “It’s a Honda!”

But I never got the commercial and I called my agent to ask why.

AGENT
They went in a different direction.

ME
What kind of direction?

AGENT
You were in too good of shape. They went with really fat guys. Makes it funnier, right?

ME
I’m not laughing.

AGENT
Not to worry, I got something else that’s right up you’re alley.

ME—being very cautious.
O.K., I’ll bite.

AGENT
Ya know how to jump around on a pogo stick while ya gyrate with a hula hoop?

ME
Do I have to repeat myself? I’m 80 years old!

AGENT
That’s exactly the age they’re lookin for. I’ll call you next week with the time. Start practicing…it’s a national.

He hung up before I could, but I actually practiced a bit. Ater all, it was a national commercial. But I didn’t get that one either and I called my agent to find out why again.

AGENT
They went in a different direction.

ME
Like what?

AGENT
They got a trained chimp, funnier right? Again I didn’t laugh.

AGENT
But I got something else. you’re not afraid of heights or wild animals? Are ya?

I hung up before he could tell me it was for a national.

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