Friday, July 27, 2007

Michael and Me

Orny Adams
July 27, 2007

I would like to publicly say THANK YOU to Michael Moore who could not have been more emotionally generous to me yesterday at the taping for The Tonight Show. I was completely astonished by his gentle, unguarded, human nature. I am lucky to have met him. And I think many of you would feel the same if you had a five minute discussion with him.

There was a burning desire within me to tell Michael how important I feel his work and mission are to the world-- and I got that opportunity. Michael is an everyday man. An everyday man with incredible passion, which I have the utmost respect for. Whether or not you agree with his politics or his views, you have to admit that he is making the world a better place-- he has us talking. I don’t have the energy or the specific type of brain to attack social issues and bring them to the forefront like Moore does. I write jokes. I attack issues with punch lines. I went to Home Depot and bought those energy saving light bulbs and just doing that exhausted me.

I told Michael that after seeing “Sicko” in Boston a few weeks ago with my parents I felt incensed and confounded. I wanted to YELL. I felt powerless by the corrupt and insurmountable system. I felt disgusted that I live in a country with an abundance of resources that frequently turns away gravely sick and injured people at it’s emergency rooms. The movie made me mad. I posted on my webpage the day after I saw the film, “I saw “Sicko” last night and I feel hopeless and powerless about health care. Our system and government seems so corrupt.”

Now, I work almost every night. In fact, I would say I am working almost every minute of the day-- I even work in my sleep. I make regular TV appearances and I have deals for this and for that-- and I told Michael I don’t have health insurance. I’m not ashamed of that. It’s true. I pay a monthly premium and gawd knows what it covers. Who has the energy or time to read 30 pages of very, very small print (Is the print getting smaller?). Well NOBODY does- in fact, I would be shocked if you’ve even read this far!

After the taping, Michael came into my green room and earnestly felt bad for bumping me from the show. Now, in all fairness to Michael, I had been warned that there was a high possibility that I would be bumped. And I was given the option to not accept the booking. I did and I was prepared. He should not feel bad at all. Although, as he exited the stage, I told him, “I was one TV appearance away from qualifying for AFTRA health benefits.” And in a really Michael Moore way he laughingly said, “NOOOOOOOOOOO!” (AFTRA is the television union we all pay dues to but very few of us qualify for health benefits from. You have to earn a certain amount of money yearly. So, often you will qualify for a year and then lose benefits the next. And right now, I am in one of those gaps of non-coverage.)

Michael almost missed his plane back to Michigan as he spent a great amount of time talking to me about “Comedian”. It was amazing to get his perspective as a documentarian. He had wanted to talk to me for three years about it. He could not have been more supportive. I was blown away by how opinionated he was and how freely he discussed it. To have the respect of someone you respect is a feeling which I can only describe as indescribable. He had to dash out to the airport, but said we should get a beer sometime and talk. And then this morning, I was shocked to get an email from Moore apologizing again for bumping me and expressing further support. You get it-- he’s a special person? He cares.

I realize he is controversial and polarizing. So many forward thinking people are-- didn’t they jail Galileo for rightly declaring the that the earth circled the sun? Well maybe Galileo had it coming! Maybe people hated Galileo because they stood to lose a lot of money or their jobs if he was right.

Now, you should respect Michael Moore. Be thankful people are out there raising questions. We need and should have greater tolerance for people like Michael Moore on this planet. You can disagree with him, and here’s the good news-- in this country full of shitty health care and guns that kill people (you can’t argue with that), you are more than welcome to go out and make your own documentary countering his views. In fact, this type of discourse is good for all of us. I would like to see it. I don’t have the energy to do the work that Michael does. I barely have the energy to finish this piece. So I am thankful to have Michael Moore fighting the fight for me… and you.

© Copyright Orny Adams, Icrushed Productions 2007


Kimbo The Bimbo said...

I was a little bummed that you were bumped last night but I guess it was for the greater good huh?
You rock Orny!

KLJ said...

Moore came to Sacramento for an early screening of Sicko for an audience of California Nurses. He was amazing and I'm really glad I got the chance to see him speak and to watch the movie with a thousand enthusiastic medical professionals.

Thanks for this blog, which I obviously found quite late, but at the rate you're updating I guess that's alright eh? Ah the busy life of a comic. Hope its all going well.

kiloj757 said...

Hey, thanks for the blog writing. I admire anybody who is willing to actually go out and figure out how to get on stage! You are right, technology has surpassed us, but be confident in knowing that without us, there would be nobody here! It would be an empty shell like one of the comedy houses you describe. We are the ones filling the incandescent holes that weren't there before the internets came about!
Thanks for kicking ass and living a life that rocks.