By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
As soon as we were done, I called Glenn and arranged to meet him up the street at another hotel lounge. From there we hopped in a cab and I was secreted off to an office building where a camera crew was waiting to do an interview. Had I known I was going to be on camera I might have showered or maybe combed my hair. Nonetheless, we taped the interview and, before I knew it, I was back in a cab and on my way back to the hotel without a kiss goodbye or a Handi Wipe to clean off with.
The next day, as I got ready for the show, Glenn’s assistant called and asked if I could take some pictures. I had a camera with me and agreed. We were picked up with the casts of all the other segments for that day’s episode in three vans waiting in front of the hotel. Once in the studio we were separated into groups, segregated from any other person in our own segments. I was sharing a dressing room with three other guys from different segments, all of which they readily admitted were contrived. We were outfitted by the wardrobe people and given contracts to sign. I asked for a copy of mine but was denied.
Shortly after, Norm came crashing in like a drill sergeant, shrieking at the top of his crack-soaked lungs. “ALL RIGHT! I WILL NOT HAVE ANY PUSSIES ON MY FUCKING SHOW! I DON’T WANT ANY BULLSHIT! I WANT FUCKING ENERGY OUT THERE!” It was hard not to laugh but I’m sure with some of the dunce caps they get on this show it’s sometimes necessary to focus them.
He went through each person’s dialogue again and then brought them out one at a time as each new segment began taping, mine being the last. Once onstage, everything went as planned. The horrible secret revealed, me spouting my disdain for the field of tittie dancer–dom, the lesbian lover, the nudity, and my going apeshit. “How would you like it if I came on national TV and said I was gay and took off my clothes?,” I said, jumping up and dropping my pants. “Hey, Jerry, I’m half a fag! Ya, c’mon, dance with me, Jerry, I’m a homo!” I walked off the stage and they went to commercial. We all went back out for the final segment, answering questions from the audience. No one had any questions for me so I just sat there until it was over.
At that point a half-dozen of us (neither of my girls) were taken directly to the airport, where we were all on the same flight back to L.A. I ran ahead of everyone to the gate, where I’d arranged to meet Glenn’s assistant to hand over the film. I’d managed to get a picture of me and Jerry, some of the people in the limo, and me with Suzanne and Danielle back in the hotel room. I gave up the film to the assistant just before the rest of the cast got there. I would have preferred to leave it in a rolled-up newspaper next to her on a park bench, saying, “The monkey flies at dawn,” but this would have to do.
I talked with a few of the other guests on the plane and we went out for sushi and drinks with them back in Los Angeles. Most of them had done it for the “exposure,” as though Tarantino would be sitting on his couch with his hand down his shorts watching Springer for the next Johnny Depp. We exchanged numbers and called it a night.
The next morning, I woke to the sound of shit hitting the fan. It was Norm Lubow on the phone. “What the fuck is going on, Doug?” I was caught completely off guard. “Whaddya talking about?” “Why did you tell 20/20 that your story wasn’t true?” he asked. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I can’t lie for shit straight outta bed. “So you’re saying 20/20 is full of shit?” I paused for a second, then said, “I can neither confirm nor deny and have no further comment,” and hung up the phone.
The next call was from Penelope at 20/20 wanting to know the names of the people in the limo pictures and how to get in touch with them. She needed someone to corroborate my story. I gave her the little information that I had. Meanwhile, Norm was busy calling everybody from the show, reminding them of their contracts and threatening lawsuits should they talk. Suzanne retained an attorney and stopped answering her phone. 20/20 went so far as to send someone to her house. She wouldn’t say a word. The Springer people got a sworn affidavit from Danielle saying that our story was completely accurate, that I’d never known Suzanne until she came out on the stage. I faxed phone bills to 20/20 showing calls to Suzanne from a month before to prove otherwise. The Springer people got more affidavits from other guests, guests I hadn’t even met, who said that I’d been upset with the show and swore to do anything to prevent it from airing. 20/20 couldn’t air my interview without someone else coming forward. It was scheduled to run on Monday, now three days away. Without corroboration, they would have to run their original piece on Springer, about him degrading unsuspecting people on his show. Either way, they were going to cash in on his popularity.