The Queen of Puns
WWHL's Segment Producer relives this week's maddness.
Dear Internet, it’s me, Zara. I’m new around here. I joined the WWHL team back in January once America demanded more Housewivery in late night and the show was bumped up to five nights a week. More shows means more hands needed to crank the great TV machine, and I joined the show as a Segment Producer, along with my colleague, Melissa.
Now, what is a Segment Producer, you might ask? I am one of the people who pitches and produces ideas for everything you see in the show –- Here’s What’s, Plead the Fifths, games, reasons to involve a live baby animal on the show... you get the idea. Once a guest is booked, I’ll read through the research lovingly crafted by Christie and Megan to try and shape the nuggets they find into delicious television morsels. Or, I bang my head against my computer keyboard until puns come out.
Which brings me to one of the best parts of my job: THE PUNS. I come up with the puns. Massive amounts of puns. It is Mad Max: Beyond Punderdome around here. Yes, that is a pun about how many puns there are. (You’re welcome.) When I arrived at the show, I quickly learned that the key to any successful game was in its title. I heard the legend of Caissie’s genius title for a game with Hoda Kotb -– “Hodalee Hee Hoo” -– and dreamed of reaching such heights of pun-ditry myself. So, I threw in with the best of them: Our Gayvorite Things, Getting Quizzy With It, Pup Quiz, and my magnum opus, Coco-T or Coco-A. See, mom, it’s almost like grad school!This usually happens a day or two before the show tapes, but this week we were in for a treat. Not one, but TWO guests cancelled last minute. TWO! There’s nothing like showing up to work, as I did on Wednesday, all tra-la-la, to an email that says, “Whoopi cancelled – she’s sick!!” For the record, she did send over a box of cookies as an apology, but what can we do with a box of apology cookies?
Now, if our show was a game of Oregon Trail, this is one of those “Calamity has struck! Do you wish to continue?” situations. Yes, we wish to continue! (Rapidly pressing ENTER.) Our talent producer, Robyn, booked Madison Hildbrand and Josh Flagg from Million Dollar Listing LA in record time and the rest of us dove headfirst into coming up with ideas for that night's show.
What I've loved about working at WWHL is how collaborative it is. There are eight of us that sit in a tiny, airless office and yell things at each other all day and whatever makes us laugh goes straight into the show. Last week on Million Dollar Listing, Heather threw a glass of champagne on Madison. So, I said, "We should do something with drink tossing...maybe something with past Bravo drink throws -- Tamra vs. Jeana, Sheree vs. her ex-husband... " when Robyn brilliantly suggested, "Let's have them just throw drinks at each other, and they can identify them." YES. John Hill, our Contributing Producer, chimed in with, "Let's call it Name That Booze."
YES and YES. "Oh, wait, Michael Lorber's coming to the show and Andy wants to involve him in the game." "He can throw the drinks!" said our Supervising Producer, John. YESYESYES. "And Sonja Morgan's coming, too!" "She can ALSO throw drinks!" YESYESYES. And that is how games are made.
I ran over to our Graphics Producer, Paul, our resident game expert and true power behind the game throne (#winteriscoming), to let him know what graphics we'd need. Paul designed a gorgeous animated lower third and we were almost there. Laura, Tori and Ryan tackled the props and soon we had a tray of throwable cocktails, a set of ponchos and, of course, some Ramona Goggles. Because, you know.
Since this game required a little finesse, we blocked it out with our director and crew, to ensure you guys saw every drop of booze land smack dab in their faces. Major hat-tips to our crew for transforming the Clubhouse into the set of Double Dare, all in a four minute commercial break.
And then it was finally... GAME TIME! Phew.
PS. In case you missed Wednesday's After Show, Chef Kerry almost killed Josh Flagg with a spicy pepper. Please enjoy.
Follow Zara on Twitter @zarafs.