JER-RY! JER-RY! JER-RY!
Last year when I moved to Chicago, I did a lot to experience the city and see all that it has to offer. One of those things was this:
After waiting for two hours outside of the NBC building in Chicago and after going through metal detectors, getting my purse checked, and standing for an extended period of time in the waiting area outside the studio, I entered the set of the Jerry Springer Show.
My two friends and I were sat near the back in the center, kind of to the left. Nineties music played as a dirty puppet show took place on one side of the stage, and then the security guys came out and stood by as one of the tech guys explained "the rules": He tells us he'll be standing off of the right of the stage and we have to look at him to get prompts for when to applaud, cheer, boo, yell, go "OHH!", and yell "JER-RY! JER-RY!" Of course, some of these reactions happen naturally, but we also had to stand and cheer for a good 30 seconds at the end and beginning of each commerical break.
After this, the tech guy tells us to stand and cheer for the host of the show, the one and only Jerry Springer. We all stand and yell and clap...and if you couldn't see it coming from a mile away: "JER-RY! JER-RY! JER-RY!"
Jerry thanked us all and we sat down. He gave a little monologue, cracked a few jokes...all of this was unfilmed, I guess it's just something he does specifically for the studio audience. He seemed like a really cool, down-to-earth person. And he fully acknowledged the fact that the show is stupid and ridiculous, laughing to himself and saying after a slight pause, "...I need to get a real job."
He invited the audience to ask questions, either about the show or about himself. Someone asked what he did before the show, and he explained how he was the mayor of Cincinnati, and how, oddly enough, his entire career background is in politics.
After that, the show started and surprisingly, a good chunk of it was fairly boring. I mean, you watch this shit on tv and think, "Man, this stuff has GOT to be fake." Well, it really is. We were watching some really bad acting. Obviously, all the boring stuff is edited out before the show aired, but fights would break out and the crowd would cheer, and then when it went to a commercial break the people would stop fighting and the crew people would take them backstage, probably to tell them what to do next. I'm sure the peoples' stories are somewhat real and that they're true to an extent...but a lot of it has to be fake, because when the people got mad at each other it just seemed like terrible acting rather than actual anger.
During the commercial breaks, Jerry would wander around the audience, asking, "How are you? You doing good?" My friends and I decided we should make huge, ridiculous, over-the-top facial expressions so we can get air time.
The episode's them was about "Secrets":
The first story was about this huge love triangle...that wasn't even a "triangle" because there were five of them: It was a white guy who loved this black chick, but she didn't love him because she loved some other white guy. This other white guy came on and the first white guy got pissed at him. But then the second white guy told the black chick that he didn't love her and that he loves some white chick who he got pregnant. Oh, and she's married, too. So then the pregnant white chick comes onstage. The second white guy tells her he loves her and that he wants to help her raise the baby, then she tells him she doesn't know if it's his baby or her husband's baby. And her husband happens to be...the black chick's brother. SO, by this time, the two white guys, the black chick, the white chick, and the black guy are all onstage together. Chaos ensues.
The second story was the most entertaining: it was this black gay guy who hadn't come out to his family yet. He said he has a girlfriend who he is using in order to appear straight. She doesn't know he's gay. He works at the KFC. And his gay lover is his boss. Oh, and his girlfriend works at KFC too. He talks about how he only has sex with her when he has to, which makes the crowd go "Ooooooo!" in a "Dude, that was low," kind of way. So, Jerry tells him that his girlfriend has been listening backstage, and right on cue, this morbidly obese black woman stomps out onstage and starts bitching out the dude. Then, of course, they bring out his lover, who comes strolling onstage in a tight pink shirt, gay as a rainbow, and the two of them start making out. The crowd goes wild for this and the black chick is all, "AW HEEELLLLL NAWW!" Fighting breaks out..yadda yadda.
The third story was about this guy who needed money really bad, so he took his stripper girlfriend to Little Mexico, which is a trailer park. He tells her to strip for the Mexicans and they'll get a lot of money for it. But he points out that they could get even MORE money if she had sex with the Mexicans. She's not cool with that. So she breaks up with him, but now he feels bad and wants to take her back. She comes out onstage and is thin as a rail. She is pissed and keeps saying how he "tried to pimp me out to fucking Mexicans!" Neither of them were very entertaining.
The last part of the show was where audience members could ask questions or make comments to the people on the show. They tell us during the commercial break that we can't cuss, which I think is bullshit because the people on the show are allowed to cuss like there's no tomorrow. They say that we can't just say one thing and sit down; we have to argue with the people that we're talking to and insult them and stuff. I wanted to say something just to get some air time, but I'm not good with comebacks, and I can't properly insult someone without using a curse word. At least not on the Jerry Springer Show.
One of my friends raises her hand, and Jerry comes over to her. She says, "I have a question for the stripper! There's a stripper pole over there...so why don't you give us a taste of what you do?!" The crowd cheers and the stripper (with the body of a 12-year-old) goes over to the pole and climbs up it, and the security people tell her to get down, so she just swings and dances around the pole. She's not very good at all.
There was one guy who made a lame, sappy comment to one of the white guys from the first segment, saying how he's going to find a woman who truly loves him one day and he deserves so much better. So we were then prompted to yell, "OPRAH'S DOWN THE STREET! OPRAH'S DOWN THE STREET!!"
At the end of the show, Jerry sat in front of the teleprompter and did his infamous final thought. We stood up and cheered for 45 seconds. The show was over, Jerry waved goodbye and walked backstage. We left -- but not before my friend could sign a release form in order to give permission to use her footage from when she asked her question. Unfortunately, they never aired it in the episode, anyway.
All in all, it was a fun experience.
Final thought: "Take care of yourself, and each other."
More by this Author
Among my many passions and obsessions, musical theatre is one of the most deep-rooted. I was sent a request to make a list of ten must-see musicals, and it wasn't easy; there are a lot of other amazing musicals I wish I...