I was in Manhattan for some comedy meetings and goings-on.
Karen called. Her friend had bailed and she wanted me to go with her to a Dr. Oz show taping they had planned together.
As a comedian, people always think my day is wide open. It was.
We arrived at the studio at NBC in Midtown at 30 Rock. I’m not a big Dr. Oz follower, but the one thing that annoys me about the show is they create these elaborate stage props to explain everything.
Today’s taping was themed “Am I Normal or Nuts??!!” with an emphasis on belly problems. People had called the Dr. Oz Belly Hotline to ask about horrifying problems with their belly, and now the live show was showing how to treat these maladies.
One lady said her belly button smelled. What?
He should have said, “No, problem, ma’am, just step right up and pick up a can of my Dr. Oz Belly Button Deodorant.“
Instead, he asked her to show her smelly belly button so he could take a whiff. He made a face, and then had her neighbor smell it as well.
That’s a bit much to ask a stranger, even a New Yorker.
Next, he had her don a poncho and protective glasses so she could sit in a giant replica of a belly button. Dr. Oz then threw stuff on her, explaining this is the stuff that gets in your belly button and causes it to stink like 100 passengers stuck in a subway car stalled in the middle of July in the Bronx.
Why all the mess? Couldn’t he have just explained that as she sat at her seat?
Like this: “Stuff gets in your belly button and then it smells. Clean your belly button.”
Next, they talked about extended bellies from eating or drinking too much. I started to laugh, and then noticed Dr. Oz was standing next to me.
“Hello, sir! What’s your name?”
“James,” I lied.
“James, we noticed you had a little bit of a belly. Do you mind if we show it to our audience?”
“Oh, I’m just here for my friend.”
“Give him a hand, folks, he’s a little shy!” The audience cheered and clapped.
“Yeah, well, I’d rather not show you my…” Dr. Oz grabbed my shirt and lifted it up.
“See how his belly has distended over the belt, folks!” They all nodded in agreement.
“Let’s see how that happens. James, we took the liberty of scanning your body while you waited in line, and we’ve used a large 3-D printer to create this model of your belly. Come on down!”
He beckoned like those kids that lead you into a haunted house at Halloween, the kind where every year two people are never seen again.
We stood next to a model of my torso, about 20 feet high, sitting on a base about 4 feet tall.
Dr. Oz took a long pole and started poking the rolls of fat on the belly. “You drink beer, right, James!”
“Well, not usually. Sometimes. Maybe once in while, say every day.”
“James, I’m going to lift your giant belly here, and I want you to stand underneath. Good. Now, James, here is why you have all this fat. See, James, women get fat in their thighs and butts, but men in their bellies. When you drink all those beers, your body has to put the calories somewhere. In the belly!”
I couldn’t hear a word. I was sweating beneath the rolls of my own giant belly. I prayed I didn’t die from suffocation from my own flab.
Two assistants lifted the roll and Dr. Oz led me out.
“Thanks for helping us out, James. How do you feel?”
Great, Dr. Oz, but while we are explaining the obvious with giant props, let’s talk about my foot odor.