The hour opens with shots of a family in the morning. A child asleep in a room that looks like a warm, fun room for a kid. Then two parents asleep in their bed -- Alec and his husband. Then, time to get up. The little boy gets ready for the day. One dad reads the newspaper, the other tries to make waffles on the waffle marker that just broke. Alec is soon onstage in L.A. telling us about what was practically a "coming out" moment for him. He watched the Tony Awards with his parents. Dorothy Loudon was performing a big number from Annie. As Alec said, "Jesus, take the wheel!" His bit about being a parent while trying to keep the sexy spark alive with his partner of over 10 years is so funny that it'll make you want to visit the Bank of America in L.A.'s Silver Lake section. Watch Baby Daddy and you 'll know what I mean. His tales about sports and parenting tips from Maria Von Trapp, Auntie Mame and Mama Rose in Gypsy are fabulous. He also talks about being introduced to the world of foster care while working on Rosie O'Donnell family-theme cruise.
If you've read my posts regularly, you know that The Great Recession went upside my head with a skillet. I've been lucky enough to work on national TV and radio. However, I could've made a bigger annual income as a dental hygienist. That's the reality of the business. I got as much work as I could, I paid off a lot of my mother's bills (including her mortgage) and I lived modestly in a once-affordable studio apartment. Until 2011. I was on a show that got cancelled in 2008 and then could not find any other work. Not in TV, radio, retail or clerical. And -- despite having over 10 years of network TV credits on my resumé, I did not have a broadcast agent to help me get new work. Agents told me what legendary entertainer Lena Horne said Hollywood execs told her in the 1940s when she wanted to act in films: "I wouldn't know what to do with you." That was a "liberal" way of saying "Whoa. Black isn't marketable. You're talented but you're black. I couldn't get work for you." I got my own A-list celebrity talk show on VH1, appearances on CBS Late Night, a syndicated game show host gig, a weekly film reviewer spot for ABC News on Lifetime TV, a Food Network host job and was a film reviewer/entertainment correspondent on Whoopi Goldberg's national weekday morning radio show -- all jobs I got on my own while broadcast agents said they wouldn't know what to do with me. This is why the embrace of racial diversity is so important an issue to me.
I lost my apartment and most of my belongings in it. I was that broke. I wound up living with a married relative in Northern California for a couple of years. Who called me to give me words of encouragement? Alec Mapa. And he made me laugh. That call made me feel so significant at I time when I felt as welcomed as junk mail. He made a little boy named Zion feel significant. A little boy...from Compton.