For those of you that haven’t had the opportunity to work with or around "Stars" of the magnitude of a Leno or a Conan, there's an interesting aspect to their squabble that's worth mentioning. You see, Stars don't really live in the same world we do; they tend to live in something I like to call - the Egosphere. It's like a cross between an aura and a force field, but this is a very real, tangible barrier between these VIPs and the little people. It begins to grow with the first applause; it feeds on praise, and reviews, and money of course, and by the time the owner gets their SAG card it can barely be contained in a car. The Egosphere continues to grow with their career, feeding, expanding, pushing away family and friends, and generating agents, managers, and personal assistants, and by the time the star gets his first network show, or major film it's about the size of a small house. Imagine the size of the Egospheres of major television Stars like Leno and Conan; they're about the size of Macy's Balloons, requiring dozens of sycophants and handlers, pulling the ropes and scrambling desperately as they guide and maneuver their charges through the fan and paparazzi clogged streets and halls of day to day life.
It’s almost impossible to imagine the size of a truly major Star’s Egosphere, someone like an Eastwood, a Redford, or a Streep; ZZ Top may of said it best, “I’m Bad… I’m Nationwide.” And World wide, too. The real Moguls of the industry, the directors like Cameron, Scorsese, Spielberg, and Tarentino are in a class by themselves, they have their own Egogalaxies; the “Stars’ revolve around them, no matter what they think. Of course the big Producers can hire and fire directors anytime they like; they have Egouniverses and infinite powers.
The logistics of Star handling really gets complicated when you have more than one in the same place at the same time; the most challenging occasions are the major award shows every spring, the Emmys, the Golden Globes, the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards, and the big dog, the Valhalla of the Stars – the Oscars. Bringing peace to the Middle East would be easier than the pre-show wrangling before the Oscars; it’s all about the Nominees, the seating chart, the Red Carpet arrival schedule, and who’s Egosphere is bigger than whom’s. You might think that all of this is not that important in the great scheme of things, but believe me – it’s Life and Death for the pared down skeleton crew of handlers, the PA’s and the managers whose jobs depend on the maintenance of their Star’s Egosphere. The least little slight or faux pas can cause an Egosphere collapse that will infuriate even the most mild mannered Star. The Japanese call this phenomenon “loss of face” and would typically respond by drawing their Samurai sword and cutting the head off the offending party, or the nearest available serf; it’s much the same in Hollywood – “You’ll never work in this town again!” is the preferred cut.
The real fun starts when a couple of Stars collide, in outer space it often results in what’s known as “a Blue Straggler”; consider the following…
"Describing a simulation in which one star crashes into another about twice its size at a speed of about half a million miles per hour, ''the small one actually plows through the larger one and tears a furrow,'' said Dr. Joshua E. Barnes, an associate professor of astronomy at the University of Hawaii. 'After that initial violence dies down, you've got an object that in many respects is not a proper star,' Dr. Barnes said. 'It's all swelled up, and internally, its temperature structure is not what you expect for a star. Getting through this intermediate stage where this new formed blob is sorting itself out and trying to turn back into a star, that's a long process taking anywhere from 10,000 to 10 million years".
It doesn’t take anywhere near that long in Hollywood, when Stars collide, the Star typically goes white hot, instantly lashing out with tongue and Blackberry at anyone deemed responsible, threatening and often firing their Egosphere handlers before retreating to luxurious seclusion to heal and scheme... and plot their revenge.
It's very different, and much more entertaining when the colliding Stars are both comedians, like Jay and Conan, and especially interesting when they both have talk shows to launch attacks at each other and the "Black Hole" network - NBC. The recent barbs between Jay and Conan, and the ones they've both hurled at NBC and others have been some of the most memorable in the history of television; here are a few of the best...
Conan - "Hosting 'The Tonight Show' has been the fulfillment of a life-long dream for me. And I just want to say to the kids out their watching, you can do anything you want in life. Unless Jay Leno wants to do it, too."
Leno - "Conan O'Brien, understandably, is very upset. He had a statement in the paper yesterday. And Conan said, NBC had only given him seven months to make his show work. When I heard that, seven months, how'd he get that deal? We only got four."
Conan - "There's a rumor that NBC is so upset with me that want to keep me off the air for three years. My response to that is if NBC doesn't want people to see me, just leave me on NBC."
Leno -"NBC said the show performed exactly as they expected it would and then canceled us. Don't confuse this when we were on at late night and performed better than expected and they canceled us. That was totally different."
Of course, a Mega - Egosphere like Letterman could scarcely be expected to let others get more attention than him...
Letterman - "Things are crazy. I don't know what is going on on NBC. I don't know what is going on in the 'Tonight Show.' Earlier today I get a call from the executives at CBS and they wanted to know if I would consider a jaw enhancement. What? Are you kidding?"
Leno - "Remember the more innocent days of late night TV, when the only thing people cared about was which intern the host was nailing? What happened there?"
Letterman - "Conan says he wants to work for a network that's more trustworthy than NBC. How about Al Jazeera?"
Conan - "Some other stories in the press are saying that in the future, I may not be able to retain what is known as my show's intellectual property. I may not be able to retain it. Yeah. No, look at the bright side. Isn't it great to live in a country where a cigar smoking dog puppet and a bear that masturbates are considered intellectual property?"
And so on... On those occasions when an Egosphere is damaged severely, as apparently Conan's was recently, the preferred and fastest first aid is money; nothing works better or faster and it's clear to see Conan's Egosphere is well on the road to recovery, both from the 34 Million dollar injection and the pure Egodrenalin that comes from spending NBC's money. Wednesday night Conan introduced the new "Tonight Show Bugatti Veyron Mouse" to the tune of "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones, estimated cost - 1.5 MILLION DOLLAR$ !! Last night the bit was the 2009 Kentucky Derby winner, Mine that Bird wearing a real Mink Snuggie and watching unauthorized NFL game footage; estimated cost - 4.8 MILLION DOLLAR$ !!!! Those kind of band-aids can get a flacid Egosphere up and throbbing faster than Enzyte gives Bob a new dose of confidence and some hard earned respect from the ladies. And Conan's not done yet, tonight's Tonight Show will be his last, if he continues his bugetary blasts to NBC exponentially, we can expect something in the 14 - 15 MILLION DOLLAR range tonight. I can't wait - can you? What do you think it will be?