I have many reasons to resent Justin Gray. I could resent the WAGA reporter for his youth. I could resent his advanced Ivy League education, or his metrosexual fashion sense. I could resent his apparent absence of body fat. But those aren’t the reasons I resent Justin Gray.
I resent Justin Gray because in the last year, the WAGA reporter has made two cameo appearances on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. As regular viewers of The Daily Show, Mrs. LAF and I had the startling experience of seeing them both unexpectedly.
I’ve made appearances on Fox News, CNN, the Weather Channel and the long-defunct NBC News Overnight, anchored by Linda Ellerbee. With the possible exception of Ellerbee’s show, I’ve never craved the attention of those national entities. I do crave an appearance on the Daily Show. It didn’t help that, when Gray popped up, the missus piped up: “Wow, look. Justin’s on the Daily Show. Why aren’t you ever on the Daily Show?”
My ongoing failure was highlighted last week, as I came tantalizingly close to Daily Show infamy. Once again, the Missus and I were languidly seated on the couch, when Stewart launched into a piece about the Civil War. We saw Stewart introduce Larry Wilmore, who used two clips from an interview I’d done with the spokesman for the Georgia chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. (Mrs. LAF has recently figured out that the consistently-hilarious Wilmore was the EP for Bernie Mac’s sitcom. Twelve weeks of maternity leave, coupled with countless hours of daytime television, lead to such revelations).
In my interview, SCV spokesman Dan Coleman derided as “politically correct” the well-documented notion that the Civil War started largely because of a volatile national rift over slavery. I appeared on-camera in the piece, but The Daily Show apparently concluded it lacked comic qualities. Wilmore got his laughs. My long-sought Daily Show cameo continued to elude me.
The WXIA interview segments appear at 2:20 in the video below.
In fact, WXIA got no props either. Early in my career, it was a given that any video lifted from another TV entity was fair game, but a “courtesy” graphic was expected. Early in my career, networks like NBC and CNN would also pay individual local reporters if the network used a piece they’d produced. Reporters ensconced in low-paying small markets were highly motivated to produce pieces that might entice the network. Those days, and the “courtesy” graphics, are apparently long-gone.
So why crave an appearance on The Daily Show? I can’t explain it, really. But it explains my resentment of Justin Gray.
In the clip below, Gray appears at about 4:20.