I just finished an hourlong chat on my couch with two of my favorite guys, Drew Carey and Jay Leno. It was a special edition of "The Price Is Right." In general, I adore these two because they seem happy and grateful for their success. It is amazing how many people who won the fame lottery act like mean-spirited losers. Not these two. They get it.
Here is why they get my vote for the best folks in the business, starting with Leno:
He and his wife, Mavis, were vocal about the abuses the Taliban heaped on women. That was before anyone knew who this group was, even before they toppled the Buddhist statuary. One year, NBC was going to cut the salary of several behind-the-scenes "Tonight Show" workers. Leno took his own money and gave it to the staff. Years ago, before TV fame, Leno appeared at a local venue. I saw this wannabe groupie offering him everything and more. He passed, saying his girlfriend would kill him, but thanks anyway. He's very quiet about what he gives to various charities (it's a lot and often).
Now on to Carey. First off, we are both from Cleveland — and proud to be. I must admit, in my early years, all I wanted to do was get out of town. But when I moved to New York, I could not wait to get back to Cleveland. Carey loves the Cleveland Public Library. Whenever he was on a game show, his charity was the library. If he lost, he dipped into his pocket and gave the cash to the library. Anyone who has ever worked with him declares in one way or another that he is the nicest guy in the world. Just watch an episode of his show — the way he interacts with the guests, makes fun of some of the prizes, jokes about the sometimes convoluted game rules. He has a giggle fit when they do the game where a yodeler goes mountain climbing.
Here is my up-close and personal experience with him. He was in Cleveland for the opening of the new baseball stadium. His "Drew Carey Show" was one of the top sitcoms on TV. He decided he wanted a hamburger. One of the workers was about to scurry off to get the burger. But Carey said: "No, I will get it. The day that I cannot get my own hamburger is the day I need to get out of the business."
WOW. How refreshing!
So many entertainers act like they've cured cancer. There was the late-night host who kept the studio the temperature of a meat locker. There was the one who would throw things at the stage manager. The first time she threw something, he said, "Check, please," and walked out. One will not allow a certain color to be worn.
For the most part, everyone is in the middle of the spectrum. Few will get to be like Carey or Leno. But trying would be a great start.
To find out more about Lynda Hirsch and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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