That Time I Hung Out With MC Hammer's Crew
Back to Hollywood we go! One of my earliest gigs before Supermarket Sweep even I got called to work on a game show pilot. It was a one day gig, one of the first ones I’d gotten and I was ready to shine. Here we go, I think, let’s get in there and make the most of this opportunity! I get to the soundstage ready to rock and I am assigned my task. I am to stand at the gate in the side alley between two sound stages with a clip board and check off the volunteer audience members for the game show. Oh, I thought with disappointment. That sucks. Hold a clip board? But I’m here in Hollywood to do great things! I don’t want to hold a clipboard. Ugh, this day is gonna suck! Lucky for me I was raised with a killer work ethic and had a complete and total understanding of what it meant to “pay your dues”. So I take the clip board, get in position and start checking people in. Once the audience arrived things slowed way down and got really boring and I remember sitting in a folding chair wondering what was going on in the soundstage across from us. There seemed to be an awful lot of hubbub. At one point, someone came along and said “They’re shooting an MC Hammer music video over there.” Cool I thought! Now keep in mind this was 1990. It was the height of MC Hammer’s popularity and the closest I had come to a real celebrity sighting since I’d arrived. Oooh, maybe I’ll get a glimpse I thought.
So the day moves along and at one point people start coming off the other stage and hanging out in the alley. “Awesome!”, I think to myself. I’m bored out of my mind and here are people to talk to. So, we started talking. I told them I was the PA for the game show pilot and they told me that they worked for MC Hammer. As I was in full networking mode and eager to learn the ins and outs of Hollywood, I asked what they did and how they got these jobs. They started rattling off their responsibilities. One was Hammer’s personal assistant, one was his driver, another handled wardrobe. Cool! These guys were Hammer’s crew! It turns out that they were all good friends from Oakland and had known each other and MC Hammer forever. Once he started getting famous, he took his good friends along with him. They were all enjoying the ride together. Now that’s a good friend I remember thinking! We continued to hang and ended up having a really great conversation simply about life. They were older than me, had already been around the block while I was just rounding my first one and they shared advice and insight about making a living in the entertainment business. It felt like my first real lesson in how to navigate and quite frankly survive the rough and tumble world of “The Biz”. Eventually their break ended, we said our good-byes and they wished me luck. It’s an afternoon that I’ve never forgotten. And so much more than just holding a clipboard.