I didn't have an agent before I got that national show and I didn't have one during its run. I got an agent after my 3-year contract with VH1 was completed in 1990. My first agent was with the New York City office of a top East Coast/West Coast agency. Even though my talk show host work got me excellent reviews and coverage in The New York Times, People magazine and TV Guide, my agent submitted me to audition to play a low-level black crook in the sequel to Weekend at Bernie's. Rather than explain the role, I'll show you a clip. I was submitted to play the shorter of the two crooks -- the one in the red jacket rolling dice and trying to perform voodoo on Bernie's corpse in the men's room of a Times Square porno theater.
My 1990 occupational life imitated art -- the art of Robert Townsend's 1987 film, Hollywood Shuffle. Just like the funny audition sequence in the movie, that one from which Dorothy pulled the audio clip, my audition was for a Caucasian trio. I've had great luck in my career. One such great piece of luck was that I did not get that part in Weekend at Bernie's 2.
Here's another short clip from Hollywood Shuffle. It's now out on Blu-ray thanks to Olive Films. You can find it on OliveFilms.com.
To hear the Terry Gross Fresh Air broadcast from today, April 5th, look for *Programs* at the bottom of the home page, click on to it and look for "Fresh Air" after to go to NPR.org.