Just a thought... My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot. [Ashleigh Brilliant]
The past 24 hours or so have been filled with post-Oscar talk including, of course, the moment none of us watching (or who saw it later in clips or on the PVR) will ever forget. Faye Dunaway reading what was on that card: La La Land. The folks who hold on to the envelopes with the fervor of the Colonel and his secret recipe are investigating. But it made me think back to my worst onstage moment.
I've always been a big fan of overpreparing. That way, when something goes wrong, as it invariably does, you're prepared to skip to Plan B or at least tap dance until things are made right again. One example where feeling confident helped me out, before I tell you about the time I was caught with my proverbial pants down.
A few years ago, I was hosting an awards gala and the highest profile guest was the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario: the one and only David Onley. I'd known David since we worked together in radio back in the 80s and looked forward to catching up with him and his lovely wife during the event. Before he arrived at this downtown Toronto ballroom, we were briefed by his detail about protocol: what music would be played and so on. We were ready.
When I got the signal that His Honour had arrived and was about to enter the ballroom, I said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, please stand as we welcome the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, the Honourable David Onley..." (or words to that effect - it's a bit blurry now). With that, the Vice Regal Salute, a medley of "God Save the Queen" and "O Canada", began to play and everyone rose, looking expectantly at the doors.
And...nothing. No doors opened, no one entered and there was no David Onley. As the event's organizers looked at me onstage at the podium to see what the heck had gone wrong, I waited until the music ended (without a dramatic needle-scratch sound effect, I might add). Noting that obviously His Honour wasn't coming in yet, I smiled and said, "And...that's exactly how we'll do it when he comes in! Well done!"
Everyone laughed and sat down, while I continued to fill a few minutes at the podium. It was one of those moments when I was so grateful for the live radio background I'd come from; unlike those whose jobs are dependent upon reading and memorizing and then saying - or acting out - the words of others, I was able to call upon years of seat-of-your-pants improv to make light of the moment.
A few minutes later, we pulled off the exact same order of events and the wonderfully witty and warm Lieutenant-Governor was worth the wait. Turns out, he'd wanted to make a pit stop in the men's room first. Just somewhere in the chain of communication, that wasn't conveyed and we were given a signal before he was actually ready to enter the room.
My worst moment on stage? I'll tell you tomorrow. In the meantime, I hope you join me in wishing Darren B. Lamb a happy one year anniversary at CHFI. He and I did our first show together on the 29th of February last year (there isn't one this year, of course) but I'll be thinking of him tomorrow and wishing the whole crew lots of love!
Talk to you then.
(@erindavis on Twitter)