Here Since the Beginning
WWHL's Supervising Producer talks about the early days of WWHL.
Hey, my name’s Caissie and I’m a Supervising Producer on Watch What Happens Live! I think my job is pretty cool, but I won’t bore you with too many of the day-to-day details. Suffice it to say that every single person on the #WWHL team, from the young production assistants to the executive producers to Andy, pitches in all kinds of banoodles ideas every single day, and it’s my extreme privilege to hear them all and laugh my head off so hard I could pass out. As much as I enjoy all the games and remixes and bedazzled whatnots that make it on the show, I think I love many of the ideas that never make it just as much. Of course, many of those ideas don’t make it because, frankly, they are unfit for television and are therefore probably unfit to write about here, but it doesn’t mean they’re not hilarious. I can tell you that, personally, when I’m weighing whether or not I think we should go forward with an idea on the show, I often ask myself #WWECS? (What would Evelyn Cohen say?)
One of the parts of my day (night, actually) that I like best is being in the Clubhouse for both the show rehearsal and then the live broadcast of the show. I’ve been with #WWHL for three years since day one, when we were on only once a week. Back then it was just Andy, a guest, three camera guys, and me in there. Honestly it was kind of weird. We never knew whether to laugh or keep quiet or what. I remember early on we’d had a meeting before the show where Andy had inadvertently touched the back of my hand and commented that my skin was very soft. It was no surprise to me, of course. I am legendary among my social circle for having the hand skin of an aristocratic baby! (I hope I don’t sound too vain about my hands. They are my only point of pride. Don’t take that away from me!) Anyway, cut to a couple of hours later, three camera men and I are in the Clubhouse watching Andy interview his friend, Sarah Jessica Parker, when suddenly he touches the back of her hand and starts telling her about how someone on the staff has the softest hands he’s ever felt. I didn’t know what to do, so I think I just stood there and probably turned fifty shades of red. Later I got a text from a friend saying, “I heard your boss talking to SJP about your hands!”
Fun fact for comedy nerds – our first ever Clubhouse audience was made of just two people, comedian Paul Scheer and his hilarious writer/actor/genius wife, June Raphael. Paul is a pal of mine, and when he and June were visiting New York from LA, he let it slip that June was obsessed with all things Housewives and Bravo, so I asked Andy if my friends could sneak into the studio and sit by me. He sweetly agreed, and it was so much fun having two enthusiastic, smiling faces watching, that from then on we always included an audience for every live show. Now, of course, it’s not just two people, it’s seventeen or eighteen! If you ever get the opportunity to come to the show and sit in the Clubhouse trying to clap without spilling your cocktail, now you know who to thank for paving the way!
One reason I love being in the Clubhouse so much is that I get to see everything that happens during the show, but also everything that happens in the moments before and during the commercial breaks, which is often just as entertaining as anything you see at home on TV. BLIND ITEM ALERT! One particular instance that I am obsessed with was when a particular guest was about to come onto the Clubhouse set for their show appearance, but then at the last minute, one of the celebrity’s “people” came in and started scanning all the fun and colorful tchotchkes lining the Clubhouse shelves. Then he goes up and starts taking some things down, gathering them in his arms, which struck me as unusual. “Hey, what’s goin’ on?” I asked. The reply was shocking. “Owls,” he replied. “We got to get rid of all these owls before [redacted] can come out here.” Sure enough, he was holding two wooden, one ceramic, and one plush owl he’d spotted among all the things sitting on the Clubhouse shelves. Apparently the person he worked for is terrified of owls and owl-related décor, and he’d been trained to seek them out and swoop in. Like an owl spotting a rodent from the sky. Ironic. To this day, every time I look at any of the owls on the set (which have since been put back in their places of honor) I start cracking up. I’ll never forget it. Don’t bother asking which guest it was though, I’m sworn to secrecy and can never tell you HOO!
Caissie St.Onge is a long-time TV worker bee and she’s also published a Young Adult Novel (Jane Jones: Worst. Vampire. Ever.) and has another one coming out…soon-ish! Follow her on Twitter, @Caissie.