Skipping Sharon Stone

by John Ring

I’ve been called a lot of things but never disruptive.

But then again, maybe I am.

While in New York City, I went once again to the Late Show (with David Letterman). The last time I was there, two years ago, I had my 15-seconds of fame when they did a split screen of Letterman and myself. We have a resemblance to one another that’s been mentioned at least a thousand times to me; I can’t say how many times it’s been mentioned to Letterman.

But this time, they didn’t want me in the audience.

"You were disruptive the last time you were here," laughed a Letterman staffer, who ushered me into what’s called The Green Room (actually it’s yellow) where I could watch the show on a television.

It really didn’t matter to me but I met some very interesting characters while I was in there for 90 minutes.

First was a guy that was a struggling young Broadway actor. He had been called to do a simple thing— wave to the audience from a crate in a skit mocking the guy who shipped himself in a crate from New York to Texas. But the staff had found someone else and had to send this guy home. I expected him to be upset but it didn’t matter to him— he gorged himself on the free food in the Green/Yellow Room.

The next guy to come in was an opera singer on Broadway. He had long hair, was dressed in a tuxedo and asked where I was from. When I replied, ‘Galesburg, Illinois’, he responded "G-A-L-E-S-B-U-R-G?" spelling it out for me. Turns out he was born here and still has an aunt that lives on Burgland Avenue. We had a nice conversation although it was a distraction as he practiced his musical scales while I talked.

Then there were Sharon Stone’s grandparents. She was the main star that night and the Opera Guy went on and on about her although to me, Sharon Stone has one famous scene from a movie years ago and I couldn’t really name more than one or two other movies she had been in.

It turned out that these were Sharon’s "adopted" grandparents. They met at an Aids charity function. I had to admit it was tempting to have the opportunity to meet Sharon Stone. I told her "grandparents" that while I didn’t want an autograph of her, it would be nice to meet her and maybe get a photo of the two of us together. I shaved especially close that afternoon in preparation for such an opportunity. She likes to do that, I was told, and that she still has a fondness for us ordinary folk. I knew then I’d never see her.

The show started and I heard Sharon Stone’s arrival from outside. Fans were yelling her name. I didn’t look outside. By this time, I was by myself but I stayed on the couch, figuring she would bust in at any moment.

Instead, the bus driver for The Raveonettes came in. He was from San Antonio and he drove for Bruce Springsteen in Boston the week before. He was a good guy. "Man, I had to do a double take when I came in here," he said. "I wondered how Letterman could be in two places at once."

We watched the show together but when Sharon Stone went on, a lady burst into the room and sat on the couch across from us, right next to the television set. "Volume!" she yelled, "I need volume in here!" The bus driver and I looked at each other. Like an idiot, I said, "You know the volume control is right there by you on the television." She stared icily at me as a Letterman staffer ran into the room to turn it up for her. But apparently , it wasn’t loud enough. Stone’s friend— I’m not sure if she was agent, attorney or gopher— turned it up even louder, to the point of no return.

"At least you know where the volume control is now," I yelled over the din. Another dagger-like stare. But to my relief, Letterman’s interview with Sharon Stone started and I was quickly forgotten.

"That’s telling him," the femme fatale said to the television when Stone talked to her host. Her other comments included, "That’s a home run!" "You go!"

When Letterman’s puff-piece interview concluded, she thankfully left. I imagined her giving Sharon a high-five or something even more poignant.

The show ended, the Letterman staffer escorted me out— they were all very polite and friendly— and I left the Ed Sullivan Theater for probably the last time, doing my best not to be disruptive.