Sunday, September 16, 2018

"You Gonna Need a Box?"

“You Gonna Need a Box?”
by Marianne Curan

In my profession, which I’ll loosely call “Show Biz,” performers often describe themselves as a “working” actor/writer/host, etc —which even the least hip to that phrase assume that means you’re an “unemployed” actor/writer/host, etc—

If you do claim to be a “working” anything you better be ready to answer the inevitable, “Oh, great! Where can I see you?” 

To prevent stammering into an inelegant babble of bullshit I keep these quick shut-em-up answers handy:

1) “You can’t actually see me because I'm doing a lot of voice-overs… dubbing movies into English. I had no idea Farsi was such a musical language!”

2) “You can see me on “Law & Order.””  Here’s why this works:  Anyone who’s ever held a spear in a high school play has worked on “Law & Order.” No matter what scene or character you describe there’s an episode of it in re-runs that they’ll buy is you. You were undercover, right? I know this because not only have I seen EVERY episode but I also did an episode of “Law & Order.”  (Bet you just made the “dun-dun” noise, right?)

3) “I’m a strict Method Actor and I’m rehearsing a new project about being an unemployed radio host…the hardest role I’ve ever had. But it’s coming along.”   

Okay, I added that last one because I just became an unemployed radio host.

I can honestly say I’ve never been personally fired from a job…any job.  Yes, shows I’ve been on were canceled, pilots for new shows weren’t picked up and I’ve been replaced by younger, cheaper talent.  But, the news always came from my agent, someone on MY side, so it never had the same sting.

That was until recently. My husband and I were co-hosts of a popular morning radio show nearing its 6th full year on the air.  But, one day on our way home from the studio, the phone rang.

A few hours later we found ourselves seated across from our boss, let’s call him Mr. Boss, and the head of HR, Ms. Helfinger. Mr. Boss, shifting in apparent discomfort at the unpleasant task ahead, leaned in to tell us that they were “going in a different direction.” 

“Going in a different direction.” Ha! Why is that the only thing management can come up with instead of saying what is actually happening… you’re being fired?  

Are they really going in a different direction? Did the radio show suddenly decide to manufacture hubcaps? Are they now grooming dogs?  Running a Mathnasium franchise?  That would be “going in a different direction.”

Nope. They’re still a radio station. They still play music on the radio, only now with new hosts.  And we just got fired.

Ms. Helfinger handed us the requisite “Don’t-Sue-Us-Cuz-We-Didn’t-Mean-It-Paperwork” and asked for our keycards (i.e. so we can’t go postal and pin Xeroxed copies of our asses on the break room bulletin board).

We all stood up in awkward silence. I was wavering between giggles and grim when Ms. Helfinger asked, “Are you gonna need a box?”

I almost laughed out loud at the sudden revelation. When you get fired they give you a box! That’s when I knew I’d really never been fired before. I never got a box.

That’s when I spotted two empty file boxes behind Ms. Helfinger’s chair. They were our boxes.

Bob and I looked at each other. “Do you need a box, sweetie?” I asked.  
“I don’t know. Do you?” he replied. 

“Well, I do have my stuffed Minion doll...
 and my Daffy Duck pen holder.” 

“Yeah, I only have a couple of baseball bobbleheads but something tells me I’m not taking them home.” offered Bob.

“No. No, you’re not.” I said with a grin. 

As we gathered our sparse belongings it appeared we would need only one of those boxes. Just one. Our entire 6 years on this show fit into one box.

Mr. Boss and Ms. Helfinger made their heartfelt goodbyes to us and we headed to the elevator for our last trip home from “work.”  Before the doors opened I grabbed Bob by the arm and led him to the stairs.

“No one in radio takes the stairs!” I said. “There’s much less of a chance we’ll be spotted making the “Box of Shame” walk!”  We laughed and quietly sneaked out, my 1st Place Chili Cookoff trophy poking out of “the Box.”

It’s a few weeks later and I’m settling into unemployment. I’m certainly not missing my 7 p.m. bedtime and my 3 a.m. wake-up calls. But, there’s much I do miss… entertaining people. It’s always the first thing you miss if you do what I do.

I found out that the hardest part of my new life is remembering what day of the week it is. Although I solved that by checking my Pill Minder box each morning when I pop my anti-depressants and blood pressure pills. “Oh, look! It’s Tuesday!”

Tomorrow will be Wednesday and so on, and so on. I’ll figure it out. I always do.

By the way, did you see me on “Law & Order?”  

Dun. Dun. 


  1. You and Bob brightened my way to work for years. I miss it and hope you both soon find something that brings you joy and allows us to again here your humor and uplifting messages. I will keep watching Law and Order to watch for you!

    1. Thanks so much for this thoughtful & kind message! Hilarious reference to "Law & Order" -dun.dun.! I hope to keep putting a smile on people's faces with my silly Facebook posts & blogs. You're awesome...

  2. My mornings just arent the same.. I changed the channel. I miss hearing you both on the show..I pray you both find something you really enjoy doing.. I also will be watching for you on Law and Order.. God bless you both..

    1. THanks, Patty. Bob & I so appreciate your thoughts & well wishes. If you can find 'Law & Order: Los Angeles" I on there somewhere! Ha! Dun. Dun.

  3. Been there and it sucks. I got a box and escort to my car, suddenly you feel like a criminal all because company merged and no longer needed me. Good luck to you and Bob and honestly I don’t listen to that station any more because I don’t like their “new direction “.

    1. Yeah, it's a surreal experience. Connie, thanks for your thoughts & support. I hope you got a chuckle out of the blog...

  4. I don't understand the 'direction' they took. It doesn't seem much different from you and Bob except it isn't entertaining. Like so many others, I have changed the dial. I will continue to follow your blog and be entertained that way.

    1. I agree. They have kept just about everything from Bob & Marianne's show, except with different people hosting. That is why I initially thought they were just subbing at first. Nothing has been changed at all.

    2. Oh, it hasn't been fun since you were given your box. I keep hoping I will wake and hear you both on the air again. Still waiting.....

    3. Yes, that's why I find the term "Going in a different direction" so funny & put in the piece. We miss our show but I'm so happy you're following my Facebook & blogs. Best fans ever!!

  5. Miss listening to you guys!!! Ceryse is pissed and does *not* approve... Especially in reference to the (in her words) "not a pop culture expert cause it isn't Bob." LOL - although I've never seen an episode of Law & Order, I believe I caught a glimpse of your episode flipping through channels once ���� You guys are great and something worthy of your time & talent is just around the corner. ������ - Erica Rooks

    1. Tell Ceryse she's absolutely right...which is better than telling a kid that she's "Fucking right!!" MISS you and love seeing your response here. My FAVE blog is one I wrote called, "BLOOBS." I think your clients would find it hilarious! Please read it and if you think they'd like it please share on your page. Here's the link:

  6. Still trying to figure out which direction they are going. We think it's the wrong direction since you and Bob aren't there. I don't listen to that station anymore and my daughter tried listening to them and her comment was "They just aren't funny like Bob and Marianne. Miss you both.

    1. Joyce, appreciate any and all feedback. We miss you guys. I hope you read my blog & got one my signature chuckle inducing comedy riffs!! Please stay in touch with me through these posts on my blog and on my new FB page.

  7. It is true Marianne, it is not the same without you and Bob. I am in Dayton but came across your radio station few years ago. Like most of your listeners, I enjoyed your station when you were both hosting in the morning. I don't like to ruin my morning by listening to so much non-entertaining news. You both were great to listen to and truly entertaining.
    I wish you both best wishes, good health and happiness always for making a difference in the listeners morning and day, and for making others laugh, and for having the morning to be a pleasant day to start.
    -Love, Laxmi

  8. We loved listening to you and Bob in tbe mornings. My 5 year old was obsessed. All day she'd ask what you were doing and where you were when you weren't on the radio. The show is awful now, I only listen to the chrichriChris music and the minute their voices come on we switch! I can't believe they changed such a wonfwonde posoposi family friendly morning show. One of the only ones on. You are sorely missed and I hope you and Bob are back on the air somewhere soon!