Peter and Neil are fans of the television show “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” So when the show announced it was casting for a new class and invited eligible children to send in videos of themselves, we went ahead and made an audition tape of Neil and mailed it off. I figured that was the end of it: Neil’s smart and sweet but he’s not Hollywood polished, and there are a lot of eager children out there eager to be on TV.
So I was flabbergasted when I got a call from the show on Friday morning. They’d seen Neil’s tape and wanted him to come down to Universal City on Monday for the open audition. Costuming, especially as a “character” from the show, i.e. Jeff Foxworthy, apple or chalkboard, was encouraged, but we couldn’t do that. It certainly had the air of being for a show about the auditions, as well as an actual audition. And it was an open audition, which, to me, meant that every aspiring 4th-grade thespian in the greater LA basin would be there, complete with stage mother, acting coach, and glossy 8 x 10 pictures. But still, we’d gotten a call, and it seemed like a weird goof to give it a go. If they wanted Neil for the show, well, there’s no one more Neil than Neil. If they wanted another child, they’d find him, and in the meanwhile, we could see what a Hollywood audition was all about.
Peter’s in the middle of slogging out the next version of ComicBase, so I was afraid he couldn’t make it, or if he did, that he’d only be able to make it for a little while. But he had the brilliant idea of making it a vacation, tagging on to it a trip to Legoland, an LA-area science museum, and the science-fiction themed Fry’s Electronics in Burbank. It turned out the be the funnest, wackiest LA and Hollywood experience we could have hoped for.
Well, good luck to Neil with the audition. They must have seen something they liked on the tape.
I must admit I’ve never watched, “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” The premise seems to be a lose/lose proposition. Either you’re not smarter than fifth grader, which would be pretty bad, or you are, which isn’t much to brag about either.