My First Acting Job Was Pretending I Had a Gross Fetish on a Radio Show
My dream was to become a famous actress, but I didn’t want to work for it. After getting my completely useless degree in Theater Arts, I moved to Los Angeles and waited for fame and big money to find me.
I could have prepared by taking some additional acting classes or going on auditions, but I don’t enjoy being criticized —in fact, the thinnest part of me is my skin. I talked a lot about acting, all the time, to anyone that would listen.
I was working at one of the few remaining DVD stores — my “just until I get my big break” job (which lasted for forever), when I met Jaime (not his real name,) a booker for the Mancow Morning Madhouse Radio Show in Chicago. I wasn’t familiar with the show, but Jaime said it was extremely popular, and broadcast all the over the country. He then commented about how much he loved my voice. I told him that I had wrong-number-callers asking me out all the time on my voicemail because they liked my voice so much. He said I was perfect for radio, which I tried not to take as an insult.
When I told Jaime I was an actress, he was ecstatic. Finally, not working on my acting career had paid off, just as I knew it would! He thought I'd be ideal for a spot on the show. I pictured performing a radio skit or perhaps doing some celebrity impersonations, even though I suck at celebrity impersonations, but at any rate, something meaty where I could really demonstrate my comedy chops. Jaime confessed that while they did “bits” like that sometimes, I would be needed for a much more specific kind of character; one that would have a conversation with Mankow himself.
He wanted me to play a real person confessing to an unusual fetish. My role would be a woman who had a thing for men with dingleberries. Why he immediately associated me with men with such bad hygiene that they have bits of poop stuck in their butt-hair, we’ll never know. Again, I tried not to take it personally.
Here’s a challenge for you: Try defining dingleberries in a non-disgusting way. It’s impossible, even if you English it up and use the word “bum.” The most scientific definition that I could find referred to an animal: “Dingleberry - a small clot of dung, as clinging to the hindquarters.” Still not sexy. I’m pretty sure no one has “stinky ass” on their list of qualities they’re looking for in a man.
At first I was hesitant; it wasn’t exactly the big break I had been imagining, and that’s when Jaime began his hard sell. He said that everyone had to start somewhere and that I should look at this opportunity as “on-the-job training.” Plus they’d pay me $50! I wouldn’t be able to put it on my reel, my resume, or post it as a podcast, but afterwards I could honestly say that I had some radio experience. After thinking it over, I accepted Jaime’s offer to talk crap on the radio.
“I love men with dingleberries.” It was difficult for me to say and not vomit at the same time.
“Men with dingleberries are hot.” I practiced saying it and at the same time visualizing something that truly was hot, like Brad Pitt. After repeating it over and over again, I stopped feeling sick when I said the word "dingleberry" out loud. Progress.
My call time was 4:45 a.m. That morning, I got out of bed at 4:30, made a cup of tea, grabbed a blanket, and centered myself. I had decided to treat this as I would any professional performance. I did a few vocal warm-ups, and was ready to make radio history.
I was sure that this would just be the first of my many appearances on the Mankow Radio Show -- maybe I’d even be a recurring character. Who wouldn’t want to know what The Dingleberry Lady was up to on a weekly basis?
The night before, I had created a back-story for my character. I thought about what sort of woman would have a dingleberry or “kling-on” fetish. The one thing I knew for sure was that there wasn’t a woman alive who could live with herself if she had this problem. It was definitely an argument for butt-bleaching and waxing.
I felt totally ready when Mankow finally came on the line 1 hour and 15 minutes later.
“So dingle-berries get you hot? I’ve never heard that one before,” he said as he began to quiz me relentlessly on my so-called fetish.
I don’t recall all my answers. I didn’t think to record it, but I remember going off script, and using words like "earthy," "musky" and "fireman." I was so believable that even Mankow was taken aback, and at one point asked, “Don’t you find this disgusting?” Never losing character, I replied, “No, it’s just how I’m wired."
When my 15 minutes of fake fetish fame were over, one of the producers got on the line and congratulated me for my Meryl Streep-like commitment. “You never broke character once!”
I thought that they’d definitely want to hire me again. Perhaps next time, I would play a woman who got excited by sneezing or uncontrollable farting? But sadly, it turned out to be my one and only time on the Mankow Morning Show.
Although they'd promised to send me my $50.00 right away, I never received it. I tried calling Jaime but his number had been changed. I didn’t pursue the payment with the show as I didn’t want to have to identify myself as “Christine, dingleberry lover.”