E (Extra) True Hollywood Story

Now years ago, I worked for the county, which I believed was the only job in the world where you did indeed receive pay for napping on the job.  For years, I’ve searched the world and elsewhere to find its equal.  Elusive as it was, much like finding socks to match my dirty white t-shirt, I found it.  It is in Hollywood.  And, this is your Extra True Hollywood Story.

I know two professional actors.  Both are my dear friends.  One, an accomplished actor, working in over a dozen movies, appearing in countless T.V. episodes and having a lead role in a Soap Opera for six years as well as directing, writing and starring in an award winning independent film.  He shall remain anonymous.  His father shall not.  Marshall, some eighty years of age, give or take a few decades depending on his attitude, is also an accomplished thespian and former broadcaster, having worked the commercial junction, as well as many plays and a pivotal role in his son’s independent film.  Both have credentials, but you decide which one has mastered the art of making money the easy way.

Marshall’s son belongs to S.A.G..  (Screen Actor’s Guild).  This is a common union for actors who must pay their dues while scraping for money in between jobs and when that acting job arrives, they must memorize lines I can’t even read.  It is definitely work mixed with some formidable humility.  Marshall belongs to another cult referred to as E.S.A.G. (Extra Sophisticated Actors’ Gag)…..No fees, paid naps and no contracts.  Brilliant.  I’d apply but no one in their right mind would accept a person less than eighty years of ageless beauty……or were diagnosed with narcolepsy.  I may be an actor at home, but I can’t play one on T.V..  My friend, Marshall, now referred to as “Method Man Mark”, has the ability to nap whenever he chooses.  This is legitimate acting.

Auditioning as a comatose patient on “Grey’s Anatomy”, Mark nailed it.  Falling asleep during the audition landed him an undisclosed amount of money fooling those in Hollywood.  Bravo.

But, could he bring his craft to the set on this gurney, while one hundred or so people were expecting him to be in a coma?  Yes.  In fact, this is THEE God’s honest true story.  He literally, for thirty minutes, fell asleep in the gurney as the best extra ever to nap on a prime time show.  Being in such a deep sleep, the directors were wondering if he was flat lining, but the only prop available was an old Atari monitor.  Shaking him, they urged him to get out of character, and as usual, he awakened with an eighty year old cantankerous attitude solidifying an additional spot on the show.

And then, that’s when his creative art of napping on cue came to a definitive halt.  He began negotiating with Hollywood executives as to when and where he should fall asleep. They threw out times such as “noon”, but Marshall refused because that was cottage cheese and jello time.  They mentioned five o’clock P.M. and he tore up the studio, and also  threatened them to whip them with the belt he left behind at the airport during a routine security check earlier at L.A.Xtra.  It was all falling to pieces of nap rage.

His last moment of sanity was to make a legitimate deal keeping all extras and executives happy.  Under no circumstances, should he be held under contract by MGM to be forced hostage in a gurney while there was an Early Bird Special at Denny’s featuring “Moons Over My Hammy.”

OK, I added some salt and pepper to the story.  I couldn’t help it.  Proudly, I can say with complete honesty and with Marshall’s consent, he did fall asleep during the filming.  The best cash he ever made.  There’s nothing like method napping.

Blazing Saddles – Napping on the Job


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