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September 22, 2009

Hollywood Explained Part II

In which I discuss the importance of liquid refreshment in the Hollywood kabuki theater known as "The General Meeting." 

When you arrive at your meeting, the first thing that happens is you tell the receptionist that you have arrived. The receptionist places a call to the assistant who tells you the person you are there to meet is either “tied up on a call,” “stuck in a meeting,” or “running behind.” It does not matter when you arrive – nobody is ever ready to meet you when you show up. This is understood.

Then the receptionist asks if they can get you “something to drink.” They always ask it in exactly the same way. “Can I get you something to drink?” Always. No matter where you go in Hollywood, the first thing somebody does is offer you something to drink. Even if you get a haircut, as I did while I was in town, the stylist asked me if I wanted something to drink before she asked me what I wanted done with my hair.

Whether or not you accept their offer of a drink is up to you. But if you decline, the receptionist responds by saying, “Are you sure? No water… soda… coffee?”

“No thank you,” you might say. “I’m fine.”

Then the receptionist says, “Okay, take a seat. They’ll be ready for you shortly.” Then the receptionist goes back to their computer monitor, where they are looking at either Perez Hilton or the website of an obscure LA jewelry designer. These are the only two websites they are allowed to look at. So you sit down and look at the same old copy of Architectural Digest. It’s possible Architectural Digest only published one issue because that same issue is on the coffee table in every office in Los Angeles. Once in a while, they have Us Weekly, which is of course always the current issue.

About five minutes later, the assistant comes to fetch you. I don’t know why the person you are meeting cannot come to meet you, but they can’t. It is not permitted, just as you couldn’t expect the Pope to meet you at the Vatican gift shop. The assistant comes down and says, “Hi, I’m Ryan. Sorry to keep you waiting.” The assistant’s name is always Ryan. I don’t know why, but it seems to be true.

Then Ryan asks if he can get you something to drink.

At that point, even if you are thirsty you cannot accept something to drink because you’ve already refused liquid twice before and it would seem weird to suddenly say yes. So you say, for a third time, “No thank you.” and they respond with, “No water, no soda, coffee?” And you say, “No thank you. I’m fine.”

Then Ryan leads you through a maze of hallways and cubicles to see whoever it is you are there to see. You and Ryan will probably exchange small talk about how much he loves you. You don’t have to tell Ryan you love him because he is just an assistant and nobody loves assistants. But you have to be nice to Ryan because in three weeks he will be running a movie studio.

In Part III, I will reveral the most important thing in Hollywood.


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I smell another book coming....

Keep 'em coming! (I bet no one says "em" in LA unless it's a sketch with straw hats and a donkey).


OMG, that is so true about asking you if you want a drink! It's not just in Hollywood either. I've gotten that question in doctor's waiting rooms. And yes, my hair stylists place asks and I've actually said "Yes, could I have a cup of tea?" And I gotten it!

Oh and the magazines...they never have anything I want to read. I want the good stuff....the Enquirer, The Star, you know the ones where the headline reads "Alien having George Clooney's baby" or something like that.


Spot on with the beverage bit. But from now on I'm going to accept the liquids the third time JUST because I love awkward shit.


I work for an audio book studio in NYC, and our magazine selection is truly strange. A random sampling: Log Cabin Home, American Cheerleader, 2 copies of the same issue of Maxim, Entertainment Weekly (it always has the address label ripped off), AudioFile, Mix, and random sections of the NYTimes and Post.

The Naked Redhead

Ha. I had a (very) brief brush with Hollywood (Joe Piscopo was involved, if that tells you anything), and it really WAS like you had to be nice to everyone because everyone pretends like they are on the verge of something very big. All the time. Many of these same people are very lucky that their pants are zipped and they have on matching socks, but they are going to run the world someday, fo sho.


"Many of these same people are very lucky that their pants are zipped and they have on matching socks, but they are going to run the world someday, fo sho." - The Naked Redhead



Very nice. Part 2 has arrived. I stand corrected - and kind of pigeon-toed.

What I don't understand is this. Even rich people like freebies, yes? *Especially* rich people like freebies. So why don't they (or in this case: you) go for the free drink? It's free! You could take one sip and waste the rest as if you're too busy and important to finish it. That's what I would do. And I'd make a disapproving expression too, all squished-up, like I was drinking dragon spit.

I wonder what Ryan looks like. Is he short and highlighted like the only real Ryan that matters? (Seacrest.) Does he flirt with you? That would be hot. Yep. Just waiting for this story to heat the fuck up.


haha, this is great. Also, is Ryan usually a douche? I find that most Ryans kind of suck.

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Remote receptionist

Hi Michael!

The content of your posts are indeed funny but are all humorous. Haha! Can't help but laugh...By the way, is there any way that I can contact you via email? Hope you'll find a minute of your time to email me (janh@receptionist.org). This is some sort of a business idea.

Looking forward for your response. More power Mike!

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