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.