What do you call someone who spends their day reading every bit of pop culture news, watching every Bravo show, and hanging on the words of every tweeting Housewife? A gal with a pretty awesome job.
Welcome to the world of a Watch What Happens Live researcher. As one of two Research Associate Producers on WWHL, my job is to find out everything and anything about our guests -- their careers, hobbies, habits, childhood, embarrassing moments, hidden talents, not so hidden break-ups, awkward photos, and fanatic tributes. If it's on the internet, I'll find it.
The result of spending so much time on the guests is how highly invested I get in each guest’s experience and reaction to all the crazy we throw at them during the show. For example, my thoughts, pre-show, Sunday night: "What if Mike Tyson doesn't have pigeons anymore? We're giving him a Mazel onesie for his pigeon, what if he hates them? What if despite all sources confirming otherwise, he only has a passing interest in the The Real Housewives of New Jersey?"
Of course, my neurosis was completely uncalled for because did the man EVER know RHONJ. Not only was Mike Tyson game for everything (including some pigeon clothes), he also had one of the most insightful Housewives observations I’d ever heard: "Joe and Teresa, even though they’re doing so bad, they look so good doing so bad. You can’t be bankrupt and live in a mansion, nowhere else in the world, only in this country.
God Bless America. And Mike Tyson.While I love to see how our research plays out in the shows, it’s often the unplanned moments that really give us a leg up (pun intended). Take Monday night’s show with Sonja in the City and the Scissor Sisters. In discussing some Ramotional reactions to Aviva’s prosthetic leg from that evening’s Real Housewives of New York City, Ana Matronic reveals her love of prosthetic legs (Really? Really!). During the After Show we noticed (from the control room) that Andy is trying to get someone’s attention when he wasn’t on camera. We catch a shot of Andy mouthing a word and emphatically gesturing to someone off camera...he wants something...something large...one word... looks like he's saying... Before I can even process, my fellow Research AP Christie is making a mad dash out of the control room and comes sprinting back into the studio with something tan and glittery tucked under her arm. Within seconds, Andy is presenting Ana with a one-of-a-kind, bedazzled WWHL prosthetic leg! Yes, we had an extra bedazzeled leg just lying around the studio. No, I’m not kidding.
To me, those spontaneous, unscripted, perfectly weird moments are really what make the show. It just so happened that we had the leg lying (well standing actually) around, and it just so happened, that we had a guest who revealed her love of prosthetic legs on our show. Now why we had a one-of-a-kind, bedazzled WWHL prosthetic leg, that's for you to figure out. Side note: we also have a bedazzled whip with Andy’s face on it, a bedazzled hookah, a slew of spare Ramona eyes, a pile of faux fur, and more wigs than you’d need in a lifetime.It would be simply wrong to wrap this up without mentioning the woman who took the collective breath away from the WWHL staff: Cher. Since Thursday’s show featured Clueless alums Donald Faison and Jeremy Sisto, we knew there was no better bartender than Cher herself! Cue the internal confusion -- at points throughout the day we had booked: a classic Cher impersonator, a woman dressed as Cher from Clueless, both the Cher impersonator and the woman dressed as Cher from Clueless side-by-side, and even the Cher impersonator dressed as Cher from Clueless...what? But once straightened out, we were greeted by the most beautiful, larger-than-life, dreamlike Cher you could ever imagine. With three epic costume changes, none-the-less. At WWHL, we see a lot of celebrities. But with this one, our team just could not resist:
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