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    2008-2009 reviews:
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  •  REVIEW: WE CAN'T ALL BE MATT LAUER

    We Can't All Be Matt Lauer

    Almost famous

    Original VH-1 veejay Bobby Rivers tells how he came to New York to be a star and wound up a regular guy in "We Can't All Be Matt Lauer."

    By JOSHUA TANZER
    Offoffoff.com

    Aspiring little show-biz kid Bobby Rivers' mom used to tell her friends, "I know Bobby thinks he wants to be famous, but he's just not meant to be a star."

      
    WE CAN'T ALL BE MATT LAUER
    Written and performed by: Bobby Rivers.
    Directed by: Matt Lenz.

    Related links: Official site
    So . . . is he one or isn't he?

    To me, until a week ago, Bobby Rivers had no name — he was just "that VH-1 guy." Besides being one of that channel's original veejays, he's found a kind of niche on New York news and now on Lifetime as either an entertainment reporter or as the feelgood man-on-the-street reporter who searches out the oddball story and puts it on TV. Not a bad gig, especially if you have Rivers' gift for celebrating the fun and faintly ridiculous. So he's, well, kind of famous. If there's one sure sign of that, maybe it's that when he comes out on stage to perform his monologue "We Can't All Be Matt Lauer," he gets a warm round of applause instead of the uncertain hush he'd get if he were a struggling unknown.

    On the other hand, if VH-1 brought him fame, that only made him New York's most famous office temp and video-store clerk when his luck ran out. That's what he did while being sent out on fruitless auditions to play black pimps and rapists, which still baffles him. He holds up his grinning headshot and says, "I didn't look like a convict, I looked like a fucking choreographer!"

    "We Can't All Be Matt Lauer" is quite funny but, underneath, it's also an interesting story about landing in the suburbs of stardom, where truly famous people might recognize you and greet you with phony enthusiasm but nobody actually returns your phone calls. Rivers seems to have made his peace with living in this strange middle ground by reconnecting with real people — his first true love, his small band of fans, and the sometimes-quirky people on the street he's met as a reporter. And sharing his story with a couple dozen people downtown isn't the same as having a Broadway smash, but it's something special in all the ways that matter.

    NOVEMBER 28, 2000
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on We Can't All Be Matt Lauer:

  • Bobby Rivers is a treasure!   from Christopher Vance, Jan 7, 2002
  • Bobby Rivers before New York   from Steve Weinstein, Jan 7, 2005

  • Post a comment on "We Can't All Be Matt Lauer"