“J&B Get Baked,” the 59th episode of ROX, first aired on Bloomington Community Access Television, Tuesday, April 12, 1994, at 11 pm. The show was the result of almost a year of videotaping, two weeks of intensive editing, and several years of getting stoned on a regular basis.
Prior to the program's airing, I called Matt Watson, a Herald- Times reporter, and fed him some juicy bits about the upcoming program. He ran it past his editor and wrote a story, which ran on page C1 (Region Section), Tuesday, April 12 — the morning that the show was to air.
The Herald-Times story hit the AP wires; at 4 pm on Tuesday, Channel 13 News (Indianpolis NBC affiliate) called. They came and interviewed us at 5:30; the story ran on the 11 pm news (concurrent with the actual airing of the program). The Indianapolis Star ran the AP story on the morning of Wednesday, April 13. ABC Radio News (Hank Weinbloom) called that day and requested a tape of the show. AM-1370 (local ABC radio affiliate) held a 2-hour call-in talk show on Wednesday afternoon, on which I appeared live in the studio. The DJ (Tom Gulley) was very supportive, as were many (though definitely NOT all) of the listeners. Bob & Tom on Q-95 (WFBQ, Indianapolis) mentioned us on their morning broadcast (so we heard from a friend, anyway...). Channel 8 (WISH, Indianapolis CBS affiliate) interviewed us Wednesday afternoon on our back porch for the 5:00 and 6:00 news. We were all completely stoned during the interview.
Channel 6 (Indianapolis ABC affiliate) interviewed us Thursday afternoon for their “Six Before Six” program (to air early the following week).
Also on Thursday, we sent out press kits to: Larry King Live (c/o CNN main office); MTV News; Comedy Central; CNN Chicago.
Kits contained: U-Matic dub of “J&B Get Baked;” VHS dub of Channel 8 & 13 broadcasts; color xerox of our mugs; the Press Release; and press clips. Sent these packages via US Mail Overnight.
(my brother's birthday!)
We faxed a slightly modified press release to four recipients. Apparently we were discussed on WFYI's “Indiana Week In Review” program, hosted by two politicians and two journalists.
Channel 6 called at 3:00 to let us know that the segment would air tonight. We watched it: pretty damn lame. It tried not only to make us look like freaks, but unprofessional hacks as well. Oh, well. Might not be too far off the mark.
Spent the day sending faxes to MTV, stations in Louisville, etc. Mid-afternoon: radio station from Dayton, Ohio, calls, wants to interview us tomorrow. Asks if one of us could please be stoned (!!).
I find out that Dean Lozow, a friend through the Bloomington Voice, knows the Executive Producer of Beavis and Butthead. Gave Dean a tape, asked him to call MTV. Channel 8 called to ask if there was any news; I told him the buzz, he wasn't too interested. Talked with Marc Chusid at Comedy Central. He's interested! He called back and said he couldn't find the tape; we sent another.
I obliged the Dayton station and got monumentally stoned. Good interview; they had Bart call his parents on the air and leave a message on their machine saying that he smokes pot. Very funny.
WLUP Chicago correspondent who does weekly Indiana news show calls; wants interview tomorrow. We call Eileen Rosenschweig in New York City, who's working on a Vogue article about us. She's not home...but her roomie informs us that we were on Howard Stern today!!! He played clips; we never even sent him a tape! I call Stern's office and leave a message that we want to be ON his show.
“Sustaining the Buzz,” episode 60, debuts on BCAT at 11 pm. A pretty fun, though perhaps self-indulgent, document of the excitement that's taken up our lives in the past week.
Interviewed for 1/2 hour on WLUP with Gary Myers. Two people claiming to be Federal Agents called in (seperately) and argued with us about legalization; one was such an asshole that Myers had to come to our defense--“no, sir, I don't think that these guys are saying that children should have free and unlimited access to marijuana.”
Bloomington Voice article comes out: astonishingly negative. Jason Vest is quoted as saying of me, “A print journalist should do his work in print.” He then goes on to state that we're only using this issue to gain attention for ourselves.
Gary Dell'Abate at Howard Stern's office calls. He wants a tape of 3-4 episodes! AND he informs me that 'someone' at MTV called HIM for info about US. He laughingly says, “I hope you don't mind that I gave him your number.”
I call Dean Lozow and inform him that MTV wants us. He calls his friend and follows the chain to a news story developer, Nina Justman. I call and leave a message on her voice mail, acting as if surely she already knows about us and “I'm just calling to establish a direct link.” Then I fax her a press release, cover and J&B info.
Lisa Morrison at WTTS (local FM station) calls; sets up interview for Friday for her public affairs program. I spend part of the afternoon interviewing Dick Cowan, National Director of NORML.
Will it never end? Nina Justman (MTV) calls early; she doesn't know who I am, or what I'm talking about, but she's “intrigued.” I tell her I'll send a new tape. Then, Eric Blazak of MTV calls. He's working on a show about drugs and heard us on Howard Stern (a-HA! So it was HIM!). He wants a copy of the tape...it would be good exposure, says he, and we “might end up getting discovered.” Ah, temptor! Sent stuff overnight to: Nina Justman, MTV; Eric Blazak, MTV; Gary Dell'Abate, Howard Stern Show.
Called Eric Blazak at MTV. “I loved it,” says he; “I laughed a lot.” He says that the producer of the show he's working on has sent an intern to dig up the 3/4" tape we sent to MTV News, and that he would be showing it to Kurt Loder later today--the anchor of MTV News! Can you believe it!?! Eric said they would be getting in touch with us. He made it sound like a certainty. This is our moment! Or maybe I'm just in a stoned daze...
Talked with Stephanie Bartolomeo at Stand Up Stand Up (a Comedy Central program). She seemed interested and asked me to send a 3/4" tape. Sent it overnight, along with promo literature. Held a dinner forum at Collins Living Learning Center, a dorm on the Indiana University campus. They have a great projector TV. Faxed info to NUVO Newsweekly in Indianapolis. Scott Riddle called back, sounds like he wants to get high with us and then write a story.
People keep giving me free buds!
Called and talked to Nina Justman at MTV again. She says it's old news now. Marc Chusid at Comedy Central isn't returning my calls. Called for Gary Dellabate at Howard Stern Show; he has someone call back and tell me that he did, in fact, receive the tapes. Faxed info to Visions Magazine and Independent Film & Video Monthly. Discouraging day. Also faxed to Hard Copy.
Talked to Dean Lozow; he thinks we should try to get the show on cable access in other markets, maybe even simultaneously, and create more buzz that way. He says he could help us get on Bob & Tom when it airs in Indy.
Talked to Eric Blazak at MTV; he said “the decision's being made as we speak;” but that “my feeling is we'll probably use it” because “it's just the kind of thing we're looking for.” He's also very interested in the Dale Myers segment from “Sustaining the Buzz,” so I'm gonna send that overnight.
Called Carol Dorian at Current Affair; she said they'll pass, but she'll return the tape. Stephanie Bartolomeo at Stand Up Stand Up hasn't looked at the tape yet. Couldn't reach Gary Dellabate again; left message re: the fact that we haven't gotten an air check from the program in which Stern talked about us. Left message on Marc Chusid's voice mail. Did I mention we've received six orders for Baked tapes thanks to our appearance on the WLUP Gary Myers Show? Make it seven; we got the seventh today.
Received a copy of a letter from Governor's Commission for a Drug-Free Indiana. Letter has some GREAT quotes: “My concern is not that the program dealt with the legalization issue, but the flaunting of our laws and the teaching of how, when, and where to use illegal drugs...Legal or not, the program moved beyond poor judgment and distortions of fact to the overt promotion of anarchy...I have urged local government officials to re- examine the franchise agreement with the Cable Company, TCI, and take steps to prevent the abuse of the airways by programs like J&B on the Rocks (sic).” The preceding quote has since been chosen as the sole promo blurb for the back of our “J&B Get Baked” tape.
Speaking of... we should have in our hands — tomorrow, hopefully — 100 VHS copies of “J&B Get Baked,” plus our new 9-minute demo reel. Some we plan to sell, some we've already pre-sold, and some are promo giveaways. Anyway, the letter from the Governor's Commission opens up, I think, the possibility of further news coverage.
In pursuit of said coverage, I faxed a news release and cover letter to everyone we've talked to so far, plus a few others (some TV and radio stations in Louisville and Evansville).
Things have slowed down. Only one response to the press release re: Governor's Commission letter: NUVO called, but then never called back. But things still look positive with MTV: Eric Blazak says it “looks like you'll be in the show,” though “nothing's definite;” but he thinks we're “the best thing in the show.” Talked to Stephanie Bartolomeo at HBO Downtown/Stand Up Stand Up today. She like the tape and has refered it to her producer, though she fears that the content is a bit too dangerous for Comedy Central. We'll see. Talked to Marc Chusid at Comedy Central; he was busy (or so he said), but when asked if he had seen the tape, he said “yes, and I've distributed it around, so we can talk.” What that last sentence meant was unclear, but I didn't want to bug him. He said he'd call back.
Today, I sit here at my computer, a year and a half after my final journal entry related to the J&B Get Baked hullabaloo. Typing this journal into my computer, I recall the giddy, drooling glee we sustained at the time. Time has certainly hardened me to the excitment of national media attention. I realize now that it never means anything more than hype — though hype can sometimes lead to getting a job or getting laid or getting some free drugs from like-minded people.
Anyway, I figure there are some gaps left in this log which I should fill.
The MTV thing did pan out, and we can now proudly boast that we've been aired literally hundreds of times on MTV. Of course, we only occupied 14.1 seconds of a one-hour special (titled “The Straight Dope”), but hey, who's counting? MTV has played the program over and over--as recently as four months ago I still had people stopping me on the streets, asking me if I knew that I'd been on MTV.
MTV paid us $200 for the clip. And XY actually worked on the show — a bizarre, twisted coincidence. But that's another story.
People continued to give me copious amounts of free marijuana — oftentimes the super-kind buds. As a matter of fact, I didn't have to buy my own pot for an entire year. If you feel like giving me some pot, go for it. It's a hallowed tradition of which I heartily approve.
The Howard Stern Show eventually sent us a message through one of their minions that they'd lost the original radio broadcast tape, and therefore could not send us a copy of the air check. So we've never found out what Howard Stern said about us. I assume they lied about losing the air check; after all, this is the guy who regularly gets sued by the FCC. Lose an air check? Yeah, right.
Comedy Central and Stand Up Stand Up eventually lost interest; they apparently felt that the controversial nature of the show, combined with the fact that it was becoming old news, made it worthless to them.
Despite many promises to the contrary, nobody (Current Affair, Comedy Central, etc.) ever returned any of our tapes. And those fuckers were EXPENSIVE!
We did, however, sell out of our first run of 100 copies of “J&B Get Baked.” Luckily, we have some more. And us? Well, we continued smoking pot. We made more TV shows. And we carried away some fun memories of those wonderful days during the spring of 1994 when, just for an instant, being stoned seemed like it could be a legitimate way of getting a job and becoming famous.