I’ll always feel a little indebted to actor Wilmer Valderrama ("That 70s Show"). Thanks to Wilmer’s no-show, I was a guest on "The Sharon Osbourne Show."
Let me correct that. My dog Cooper and I were guests on the talk show which aired in 2003-2004.
Here's the set-up: In the winter of 2004, I received a call from someone claiming to be a producer from the show. This was at the time when my organization, the Peninsula Humane Society, was in the news for outfitting all our local fire departments with special oxygen masks that would allow firefighters to treat animals suffering from smoke inhalation. Naturally, I figured this was a friend pulling a fast one on me and almost hung up.
He kept at it, I realized he was who he said he was and we booked an appearance. The show offered to put me and Cooper up in a pet-friendly hotel and come show time, we’d be among the people in the audience. The plan was for Sharon to walk up to me and Coop in the audience and ask us about the oxygen mask project. Pretty simple gig for me and great exposure for our organization.
Then, the twist.
When I pulled up to the lot and flashed my ID, a producer’s assistant said there had been a change in plans. Uh oh, I thought. I drove all the way down here to get dumped by Ozzie’s wife, last minute. But, it was good news. One of Sharon’s guests couldn’t make it, so I’d be slotted in to his spot. Thank you, Wilmer. I would be following actor Michael Clark Duncan (The Green Mile) as a guest on the main stage.
Speaking of green, Cooper and I had our own green room, the room in Hollywood speak where guests chill out waiting for their spot, grab a bite to eat, and watch the guest before them. And, of course, there was a water bowl and snacks for Coop, too.
Finally, it was our turn. A type-A with a head-set and clipboard escorted us to Sharon’s couch (where she interviewed guests). A stage director was counting down ("10, 9, 8…") when Sharon finally turned to me to say hello ("3, 2, 1… live"). No time to rehearse or make polite chit chat. It was on!
She opened the segment. “We’re here with Scott Delucchi of the Peninsula Humane Society in San Mateo, California, his dog Cooper and something that looks like a breast pump. Tell us what this is and what your organization is doing.”
I had my few minutes, we bantered and I demonstrated how the oxygen mask worked on Cooper, my demo dog. Sharon closed the segment by handing me a $1,000 check to support the program.
A few weeks later, the Sharon Osbourne Show was cancelled. All parties have done OK since, thought I can’t say I’ve seen a lot of Valderrama.