Initially, I turned it down. The reason? Several years ago I made an appearance on a reality show called The Tankards: Thicker Than Water. After hours of filming and signing confidentiality papers, the scenes I participated in never made it to television. I wasn't eager to give my hopes up and go through a similar experience again, so I declined.
The producer emailed me again, quite insistent that I change my mind. She was impressed with my resume -my books, celebrity interviews, etc. At the time I was living in Murfreesboro, and the crimes in this episode's story took place in nearby Smyrna, TN.
But my previous television experience haunted me, and I was burned out on journalism anyway, focusing on my social work jobs. My wife, however, encouraged me to take this opportunity. Being the hopeless romantic I am, I couldn't say no to her, and I decided to give it a shot. The producer told me where filming would be, and also that I would be paid. YEEEEEEEEAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!
Actually, I'm exaggerating a little bit. There were no ladies laying around in bikinis. (I had you going though, didn't I?) Everyone in the room seemed tired (they had been filming all day) but they were upbeat and we exchanged a lot of laughs.
My job was to provide commentary on the events in the story. I told the entire story from my point of view using the information I had, and later my comments were edited in with the other analysts. I was the only journalist for this episode; the other people interviewed included police detectives, a psychologist and a lawyer. Together we all brought different information and perspectives to the story's narrative; the who, what, when, where and why.
I had a good time. I've always had a natural charm and they told me I was a natural in front of the camera. I wasn't nervous; I was just being myself. I really think I combined a nice blend of being a stand-up comedian and a professional. When you hear me impersonate one of the character's voices early on in the episode, you know you're going to be in for quite a new experience with me on commentary. Journalists typically don't tell jokes, do crazy voices, or even wear dreadlocks. But that's what you're seeing here, and I think my presence and humor elevated the episode a bit, especially considering the story was so tragic. Take a look at the episode below.
Fast forward to August of this year and I was mailed a DVD of the episode. I was reluctant to watch it, but of course my wife wasn't. We eventually watched it and I was really impressed with how it turned out. I was one of the first commentators featured, and my commentary was featured prominently. Say it with me again. YYEEEEEEEEAAHHH!!!
But unfortunately on the July date my episode was supposed to air, it did not. I kinda shrugged and forgot about it. Then three days ago my Facebook page blew up. "OMG AJ I saw you on TV!!" "#bossmoves AJ. I saw you on For My Man!" My sister posted a status update congratulating me, then my mother did the same, and people have shared the link so much that by now it's close to going viral. The support has almost been unreal and the love feels real and earned. I worked my buns off during my 13 years in journalism and this might just be the pinnacle. But when you're a public figure you're also a target for trolls and nastiness.
My wife found this post about me on Twitter and showed it to me.
Thanks for reading, and have a Dugger Day.