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
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."
So . . . is he one or isn't he?
|WE CAN'T ALL BE MATT LAUER|
|Written and performed by: Bobby Rivers.|
Directed by: Matt Lenz.
Related links: Official site
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|
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