Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Guy Walks Into A News Studio...

My recent experience on public access cable, as traumatic as it was, cannot compare to this. Guy Goma showed up at the BBC for a job interview with the I.T. department and was mistaken in the reception area for Guy Kewney, a technology pundit. At that point he was briskly escorted to a studio, lit and went live on the air for the News.

Assuming this was an unorthodox interview method, Goma went along with it. An anchor asked him, via satellite, questions about the recent Apple Records vs. Apple Computers dispute. Goma is a business school graduate and gamely answered three questions before he was thanked and the interview ended. He is said to have been disappointed that no one asked him about his specialty, "data cleansing."Kewney, on the other hand, is said to have watched the interview as it happened, his mouth hanging open in disbelief.

The misunderstanding hinged on two things - the producer who fetched Goma asked, "Are you Guy Kewney?" at the time they met, but Goma said yes. And even though the producer had a picture of Kewney which clearly did not look like the man he put on the air, he went ahead anyway. Kewney is white, thin, bald and bearded, Kewney is stocky, black and clean-shaven. I'm guessing Guy was too nervous to listen to the whole question and the producer was in too much of a hurry to double-check.

Goma says he'd happily do the whole thing again, but he'd insist on preparing himself first. The BBC says it will review its guest booking procedures. Probably not. There hasn't exactly been an epidemic of mistaken pundits on the air. Well, they're often mistaken; just not for each other.

This whole situation is a variation on the Actor's Nightmare, a common bad dream in which you find yourself making a speech or appearing in a play but you don't know what you're supposed to say. At least Guy Goma was wearing pants when it happened to him.

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