A couple of weeks ago I told you that I had given my $10 to celebrity…well today is the day that you find out who I ran into.
An unscientific statistic that I came up with tells me that somewhere between 16-17 million people wake up and tune in to morning show programs. I occasionally turn them on while I am getting ready, but most the time I listen to NPR. Anyway, I watch them enough that I know a little bit about each program. Well, I was surprised when I stopped in my local book store and found one of the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe there.
It was the likeable and funny Willie Geist who also hosts Way Too Early with Willie Geist which is on immediately before Morning Joe for all those early birds who are up at 5:30am. I haven’t seen that program yet…I rarely am up at 5:30 and if I am I doubt I am checking what is on TV. Anyway, he was making an appearance at the Borders Bookstore at 18th and L Streets in DC.
“Hmmm….would he take my $10,” I thought. What the hell, let’s give it a try.
He was talking to a large crowd about his newly released book American Freak Show. A long line formed to meet him and have him sign books. I decided to wait around. Then I noticed that his wife Christina was there. I checked with her to see if she thought Willie would be game for my ten bucks! She was lovely and told me that he probably would be thrilled to be a part of the Year of Giving. Interestingly enough, I think I remember a comment in the bio section in his book that says that he and Christina met in the sixth grade or something like that…she was helping him with his homework. Willie’s a pretty smart guy so I’m guessing he just wanted to find a reason to spend some time with a smart attractive girl like Christina! Anyway, they’ve been married for seven years, have two children and live in New York.
So I finally get to meet Willie. I asked him to sign a copy of his book for my father, which he graciously did. The book is pure satire and a fun read. It kind of reminds me of the concept of the Onion. It takes real people and creates completely fictional occurrences, like Sarah Palin winning the 2012 election and delivering her inaugural address from the WWE’s Monday Night Raw at the Ice Palace in Tampa. He also has a fantastic chapter on former governor Rob Blagojevich.
I asked Willie if there were any individuals that he felt got left out of the book. There were two that got their 15 minutes of fame after he had already sent the book for publication. “It’s too bad that I didn’t get to include Christine O’Donnell or Jimmy McMillan – ‘The Rent is 2 Damn High’ guy,” Willie explained unable to hold back a chuckle as he envisioned the stories that he could create about those two.
I explained the Year of Giving to Willie and asked him to accept my $10. “Oh, I couldn’t accept your ten dollars,” Willie said. “I would just give it to someone else who needs it or donate it.” I assured him that he could do that and he accepted it.
Willie had been there now for a couple of hours and it was after 9:00pm. “I’ve got to get up in about four or five hours to do the show,” he explained. He looked as if it had been a long day. I imagine it was too…he probably got up around 3:00am, did his shows, took the train down to DC, made some appearances and now was focused on getting to his hotel. Accompanied by his wife, three-year-old daughter Lucie who had been so well-behaved all evening, and a few personal friends, Willie slowly made his way to the front of the store. I wished him luck with the book and said goodbye to him and Christina.
By the way, I did a little research online about Willie and thought I would share the following with you. Now 35, he was born in Evanston, IL and graduated high school in Ridgewood, NJ where he was the captain of the football and basketball teams. He went on to graduate college from Vanderbilt University in Nashville. His little sister is an accomplished documentary film producer (Crazy Love, Black Magic, Ring of Fire) and they are the great-grandchildren of Herbie Lewis who led the Detroit Red Wings to two Stanley Cup victories. Check out Willie’s satirical video blog on msnbc.com called Zeitgeist! Oh and I love this. On MSNBC’s website it reports that he is proficient in Microsoft Word. Well done, my friend!
Note: If you live in Miami and want to meet Willie this weekend, he is scheduled to be at the Miami Book Fair this Saturday.