I am an unabashed Regis Philbin fangirl. I’ve watched Live since before Kelly was the cohost and cried while watching his last morning there. Since then, Regis hasn’t been on TV much, and my TV is pretty sad without him a daily part of it, isn’t yours? Thankfully Rachael Ray heard the wishes of thousands, no, millions of TV viewers and brought Regis on as a regular guest. Of course I always wanted to meet Regis. But knowing my fear of travel along with the less than glamorous process of being in a live studio audience (trying to get tickets, early hours, standing in line, being crammed into the crowd) seeing him on a talk show probably isn’t going to happen.
Lucky for me, Regis has a touring stage act. It’s a fun show, where Regis sings, tells stories and jokes, and interacts quite a bit with the crowd. There’s a full orchestra and on some stops Joy or Susan Lucci joins him. Here in Michigan, the Andiamo Celebrity Showroom is where Regis makes his appearances, always solo. In 2009, I saw tickets go on sale and snapped them up. My parents and our friend Linda joined me for a super fun evening. I went again last year, sprained ankle and all, still rocking heels, with Mom and another friend, Kelly, and just a couple months after that show bought more tickets for this year’s appearance.
Each and every time I see the show, I love it. A total break from the outside world, it is two hours of pure fun. This year in particular, somehow all the aches and pains I typically feel and the worries that constantly fill my brain vanished. I sat there with a smile on my face, laughing louder than I have in a long time, and had one of the best nights of my life. This isn’t to say I don’t have fun all the time, I do, but I loved this night, never wanted it to end, and hope I remember it forever. It was the perfect night.
There’s another reason I love these nights. At the end of his show, Regis allows a few women from the audience to come up on stage with him to do a mini host chat like on Live and sing Calendar Girls. You probably know that I am kind of dying for fame and popularity and sometimes forget in my twisted reality I haven’t already achieved it. The first time we saw the show, I didn’t know when this part would be. I sat on the edge of my chair the entire night waiting for my moment in the spotlight, my heart pounding. Then it came. At a table right in the front each time (buying tickets on Ticketmaster is one of my few skills), I meekly raised my hand half way, the conductor, Stanley Yerlow, who is incredibly nice and talented, standing right in front of me. That sorry hand raise wasn’t going to get me on stage. My hand shot up and rocked back and forth like the annoying kids in school waiting to be called on, and he pointed at me. Up to the stage I went. Regis and I talked a little about my career as an aspiring novelist. Then my moment was over, but it was a great moment. After each of the six women had our chance, we stood in line, clustered around microphones to sing Calendar Girls. I may have heard the song a couple times before, but didn’t know what to sing when, and neither did anyone else. If Regis had to stop the song once, he had to stop it ten times. It was hilarious and left me wondering if this happens at every stop. I was nervous the whole time but got a few compliments from complete strangers and only had one question: When can I do it again?
The answer? Two years. I actually wasn’t sure if I was going with my injury but decided I had the tickets and needed a break. I was even less sure if I wanted on stage, but after awhile figured why not. I urgently waved my hand. I’m pretty sure Yerlow recognized me, but after people weren’t rushing to the stage, he acquiesced and up I went. The talk was once again about my novelist dreams, then turned quickly to my lack of a boyfriend. Regis even gave me a kiss on the cheek and pretty much made my life complete. This time I was still nervous, but apparently seemed cool as a cucumber, as I was asked if I was a plant.
Back for a third time this year, Mom, Katie, and I had the perfect table with a straight shot to the stage. I really wanted back up there. Yerlow kept walking back and forth between the stage and backstage preshow, and we finally caught his attention. I’m not sure whether he recognized me or not, but he said I could just come up on stage when the time came. Just stroll up on stage like I belonged there. I was in! This time I wasn’t nervous. My heart didn’t pound during the show or on stage. I wanted to be there, and I was going to try my hardest to impress. I was actualy the calmest I’ve been in a very long time. Mom took a video this time, but the sound didn’t record. Needless to say, my camera and I aren’t speaking, not that we were BFFs in the first place. I’m pretty crushed the video didn’t work out, but I’ve tried to remember everything. Maybe Regis had a feeling I’d been up there before, as he didn’t even ask my name.
He first noted that I looked like Taylor Swift. Taylor freakin’ Swift! I’ll try desperately not to get a big head, but come on, that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me. But my pathetic singledom was the topic once again. Regis asked if I had a boyfriend. No. When’s the last time I had one? Okay this needs a little explaining. I’ve never really had a true boyfriend. In high school this guy named Fred (yes, his name was seriously Fred, which Regis seemed to find hilarious) and I met a couple times and went to my freshmen Homecoming dance together, going to dinner with my parents before. It wasn’t exactly the best night of my life, let’s just say. I didn’t want to tell Regis I’d never had a boyfriend, or maybe I just don’t want to admit it to myself, and Fred kind of counts, but as far as a serious boyfriend, yeah, I’m still waiting and on the lookout. Because in reality, I’ve never had a boyfriend, date, or kiss. It’s harder to meet guys than it sounds. I wish Regis could set me up with one of those young good looking actor guys. Regis was shocked that said boyfriend was in high school when I asked him how old he thought I was. Then I said I’d take one of Taylor Swift’s reject boyfriends, before we contemplated if there were any prospects in the audience or band. Not so much. I was up there the longest, tried to be on my game and interesting, and think I did a pretty good job.
Of course the others had trouble with Calendar Girls, but not me. Now I’m a pro at that song.
In the end one of the women is chosen to be Miss America. The first time there was a woman who’d had a brain tumor and had a fabulous personality. The second time I think the “winner” was some kind of sex therapist or something. And this time there was a nurse who heckled Reege the entire night and may or may not have been a little tipsy. So perhaps the fourth time will be the charm for me. If not for that nurse it totally would have been my night.
I can’t even describe what a wonderful time I had or how kind Regis is. He is really an amazing guy and deserves all the success he has had and more. So Reege, I’ve got my calendar marked for next October, I hope you do too and will be back at Andiamo. I’m determined to be a Calendar Girl again, and this time I’m going to be Miss America.
Huge thanks to Patrick Gloria from Gloriouso Photography for the photographs as credited in the captions!