I Worked At “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” For Seven Years. This Is My Truth.

August 2, 2020

The past few days have been surreal. “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” has been all over the news, thanks to reports of a hostile workplace environment and sexual misconduct. It’s upsetting to see the names of people I’ve known for almost two decades attached to such despicable behavior. I’m getting bombarded with texts and messages from friends, asking what’s true and what’s not. “Was it really as bad as they say?”

I worked at “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” for seven years, and Read the rest of this entry »

Freezer Surprise AND My New Challenge

May 8, 2012

I promised at the end of yesterday’s stair climb recap (Did you see the awesome photos? And the awesome video?) that I would announce my next fitness challenge today. And I will. But first…

1) Cinco de Mayo! I had a fun surprise at the end of last week… I was on TV! A year ago, I was working at Warner Bros. when I was captured, on hidden camera, being startled by a mariachi band. It was a prank for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” and they ended up using the footage on the show. This year, for Cinco de Mayo, they used the footage again!

You can watch me getting startled by clicking here. I’m at the 1:10 mark (the link is what they aired last year – it features a few more seconds of me than the version they ran this year).

Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome! Plus a Chart Update and Some Honesty

July 13, 2011

A big hello to anyone that’s discovering my blog for the first time today!  Chances are you’re here because you saw me on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” today.  (If you didn’t see me on the show, and would like to, than just go to Watch Me On Ellen at the top of the page!)

I hope you take a look around, because there’s lots to see!  I update this blog 5-6 times a week, so there’s almost always something new to read.  If you’d like to make sure you don’t miss a thing, you can sign up to receive my posts via email – look for the SIGN ME UP button in the right column (right below the black-and-white, head-to-toe picture of yours truly).  You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter, too!

Other things to check out:  Some great ‘Before’ and ‘Current’ photo comparisons in the Photo Gallery, examples of the types of posts you’ll see here in the My Favorite Posts section, and you can read more about my history with obesity and my relationship with Richard on the The Story So Far page.  Oh, and if you wanna read the behind-the-scenes dirt about what it’s like to be a guest on “Ellen”, then check out these posts: Part 1 (filming footage in my home) and Part 2 (what happened the day of the taping).

OK, seriously, David – that’s enough links!  Move on!

All in all, you’re here on a good day, because it’s time to update my weight loss chart!  I weighed myself yesterday – Tuesdays are my weigh-in days.  And I’m also gonna open up and be honest about a few things, which is something I always try to be on this blog.

But first, my chart.  My chart lives in my closet and has become quite popular since first appearing on national TV six months ago (yep, the show today was a rerun – it first aired on January 11, 2011).  It’s also gotten longer.  I’ve added 2 pages to the chart since January, and the chart has outgrown the wall it lives on, so now it turns the corner and lives on 2 of my closet walls:

On the show, I proudly proclaimed that I had lost 159 pounds.  Here’s the part of my chart that reflects that loss:

I weighed 243 pounds when I went on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”  So, what do I weigh now, six months later?  Let’s check out yesterday’s chart update:

I now weigh 236.  I stayed even this week – didn’t gain, didn’t lose.  I’ve lost 7 more pounds since I taped the show six months ago, and I have mixed feelings about this.  On one hand, it’s 7 pounds.  That’s a good-sized newborn human being, or a full-grown Chihuahua or Pomerianian.  It also means that, in total, I’ve lost 166 pounds, and that’s nothing to sneeze or scuff at!  It’s an amazing accomplishment, and I know that, and I’m proud.

On the other hand (here’s where the honesty comes in), I know it probably could have been more.  I’ve been stuck in ruts over the last six months.  There were times during those six months that I was trying hard, working my ass off, eating well, and the pounds weren’t coming off.  I accept that that sometimes happens.  It’s called a plateau, and everyone on a journey like mine experiences them.

But, looking back, I know there have also been times when I accepted the plateau, and used it as an excuse to just not work as hard.  It was (and is) so easy to say, ‘Well, the weight isn’t coming off when I’m trying my hardest, so why bother trying my hardest anymore?’

I know I’m not trying my hardest right now.  I’m doing great with exercise – the month is almost half over (can you believe it?), and I’ve worked out 10 of the last 12 days.  It’s my eating that sometimes slip-slip-slips away.  I’m not surprised I didn’t lose any weight this week, because I overate a few times.  Once was after the picnic I went to on Sunday.  I ate well during the picnic, but much later on, after I came home, I ended up eating the two leftover pieces of the giant sandwich before going to bed.  One of the things I’ve been working on is not eating after 8pm, and eating 1/4 of a loaf of ciabatta (plus the contents) near midnight is a big fail.  Earlier in the week, I gassed up my car, and ended up buying junk at the mini-mart at the gas station.  It was a messed-up thought process:  I was really craving something sweet, and knew I wouldn’t be home for a few hours to satisfy the craving with some fruit, so I bought candy.  As I wandered the store, I thought, ‘You know what goes really well with something sweet?  Something salty.’  And I bought chips, too.  I bought probably between 600-800 calories of empty calories, and I ate it all, while thinking, ‘Eh, what does it matter, I’m pretty much still on a plateau anyway.’

Look, I know candy and chips and midnight eating isn’t the end of the world.  It’s not the calories from those instances that worry me, it’s my attitude.  I’ve become lazy with my eating; I’ve noticed my portions slowly get bigger; I’ve become accepting of this plateau.  I’d like to think that finally hitting 236 last week, over three months after hitting 237, would’ve been a huge motivator, but it wasn’t, and I’m not sure why, except to say that maybe it’s because this lazier attitude has taken root a little bit.  Eating off program twice in one week can easily lead to eating off program 3 times next week, or 4 times a few weeks down the road.

I can’t let that happen.  Even though I’m not gaining right now (thanks, probably, to all the exercise), if that lazy attitude continues, and grows, it will surely lead to gaining some (or all) of this weight back.

I have every opportunity right now to turn my attitude around.  I’m not working at the moment, so I can’t use long hours and work stress as an excuse.  I still have plenty of money on my Whole Foods gift card, so there’s no excuse to not have a fully stocked kitchen of healthy options.  And I have lots of wonderful family, friends, and readers who stop by this website every day for a little inspiration and to eavesdrop in my life.  Maybe, with my “Ellen” episode airing again, I’ll even have some new fans and readers that will choose to come back again and again looking for a little motivation.

It’s time to step up, David.  You’ve got more to lose – you’re still 16 pounds from your next goal. 

Today was a good day, health-wise.  Right before I wrote this blog, I spent 61 minutes on an exercise bike, and for the first 30, I was doing a series of different arm and shoulder exercises with a 15-pound weight in each hand.

Tomorrow’s gotta be a good day, too.

Keep it up, David.

Big News! Plus, Me on The Jenny Jones Show?!?

July 8, 2011

Hey – didya see me on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”?  I was a guest on the show way back in January, discussing my weight loss with Ellen and Richard Simmons.  If you missed it, you had a second opportunity in March, when they aired a rerun of the episode.  Didya miss that too?

You’re in luck!  I’ve learned that my episode of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is airing for the third time next Wednesday, July 13th, 2011!  Here’s the episode preview from the Ellen website:

Did you read the third paragraph?  See where it says “one of Ellen’s former staff members”?  THAT’S ME!

If you don’t know the time or channel the show airs in your town, go here and plug your zip code into the field in the upper left corner.

Of course, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you don’t have to wait until next Wednesday if you haven’t seen it yet.  You can just click on Watch Me On Ellen at the top of this page, and you’ll find links to watch on YouTube or Ellen’s website.  But if you can’t watch videos on your computer for some reason, or want your not-very-computer-savvy mom/grandparent/sister/friend/uncle to watch, than Wednesday’s your day.

So… shout it from the rooftops, post it on your Facebook wall, send out a tweet, talk about it at the fancy cocktail party you’re going to this weekend:  I’m gonna be on TV next Wednesday, and you and everyone you know should most definitely watch.  Even if you’ve seen it already.

SPEAKING OF ME ON TV…  My appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” wasn’t my first time on national television.  I made my national television debut way back in 1999, when I was in the audience at “The Jenny Jones Show” and I stood up and made a sassy comment.  And since this post is all about me on TV, I thought I’d share, for the first time on this blog, footage of that show.  You are in for a treat.

Before I get to the clip, here’s a little background.  I was 20 years old and in college when all this went down, and I was a huge Jenny Jones fan.  At the time, the show was so popular that the NBC station in Detroit aired new episodes in the mornings and reruns at 12:30 at night, after Leno (Conan was pushed to 1:30am, airing after Jenny).  That meant that I fell asleep nearly every night watching Jenny preside over all kinds of crazy stuff:  geek-to-chic makeovers, out-of-control teens, girls that were too young (or too old) to be wearing slutty clothing, and so on.  I loved that Jenny took so many questions and comments from the audience, so I planned an entire spring break around going to Chicago to attend a taping, with the goal of standing up, making a comment, and getting myself on TV.

I succeeded.  They must have liked my comment a lot, because not only am I on the show, but they also put me prominently in the commercial for that episode!

You can watch for yourself.  You only need to watch the first 30 seconds (to see the commercial), but if you want to see my comment in context, then skip ahead:  I start talking at the 7:59 mark.  Here it is!

It’s been about 7 or 8 years since I’ve seen that clip (since, until very recently, I only had it on VHS – and thanks to my buddy Austin for helping convert it to DVD), but I will never stop enjoying it.  That shirt was my favorite shirt, and I’m sure I spent 30 minutes (and used 5 different products) on my hair that morning.  What I don’t know is what I weighed at that time:  my college years fell into the vast period in my life where I didn’t own a scale at all.  I’m not quite as heavy there as I was when I started this weight loss journey, but I’m certainly a lot less heavy now!  And for that, I say…

Keep it up, David!

P.S.  Still can’t get enough of me on television?  Click here to see me competing on a game show!

Kale Chips

May 17, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my friend and office-mate Maggie bringing in some homemade kale chips.  Maggie was inspired by watching Gwyneth Paltrow talk about them on The Ellen DeGeneres Show (watch the segment here; she also makes a vegan paella), and I, in turn, was inspired by Maggie.  So I made kale chips a few days ago, and I documented the process with my handy-dandy camera.

The first step?  Buying kale.  I recently bought kale for the very first time.  See?

I was super excited to buy this kale, and I bought these two bunches knowing that they were destined to be turned into chips, and yet they sat in my fridge, untouched, but about a week.  Kale is a hearty green, however, and so when the time came for the kale to meet its destiny, it was still in good shape.

I got out my cutting board, and laid out the two bunches of kale:

Each kale leaf has a thick stem going down the center that you don’t want to eat – so you gotta cut them out, one by one.  It’s easy to do:

After depositing the stems in the trash, rip up the leaves into chip-sized pieces.  No need to be scientific or exact – just rip big pieces in several smaller ones.  Then, you give the kale a good wash.  My kale was kinda gritty – so I piled all my kale pieces into a colander, and rinsed it all under the faucet.  If you have a salad spinner, use it!  I don’t have one (and don’t want one, either – just another kitchen device that I don’t have room to store), so I got out a clean kitchen towel, and rolled the kale up, and gave it a good squeeze, and than seemed to work pretty well.

Here’s the dry kale, in my new orange bowl that I got about a month ago:

I drizzled 1 teaspoon of olive oil into the bowl.  I have this basil-infused oil, and I actually don’t remember exactly where it came from… it was either given to me as a gift, or I may have won it in a foodie-related package at a silent auction a few years back.  Either way, I like it, and thought it’d work well here:

Most kale chips recipes also call for salt, but I try to cut out salt wherever I can, so instead, I tossed in some Mrs. Dash (table blend) and cumin, because I love cumin and thought adding a little smokiness might be fun.

One you have your kale oiled and seasoned how you want them, lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet.  I sprayed my sheet with a light coat of Pam, just to be safe:

Into the oven they go!  350 degrees, for 20-30 minutes.  You want the kale to be crispy all the way through, but they’ll go from crispy to scorched quickly, so you gotta watch them near the end.  I pulled out mine out after 25 minutes, and about half of them were perfect, and half of them were a little too brown.  Not inedible, but not perfect, either.  Those not-perfect ones, interestingly enough, taste really similarly to scorched microwave popcorn; whereas the good chips taste so much like potato chips, you can hardly believe it.  They’re crispy, light, subtle, and delicious.

That’s the finished product in a Tupperware-type container.  I divided the chips between two of those containers, with the idea that I’d eat one over the course of the day, and take the other to share at the office the next day, but guess what happened?  I ate both containers, completely, before bedtime.  All gone.  And they were good.  And so guilt-free it’s ridiculous!  Oh, and I haven’t mentioned that kale is a superfood – a great source in vitamins A & C, copper, manganese, calcium, and a bunch of compounds that may help prevent cancer.  I’m going to keep making kale chips – are you gonna give them a try?

Keep it up, David!

Sneako de Scare-o (and Produce Infusion)

May 5, 2011

First things first: I’m on TV again today!  I’m in a tape piece on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” where Ellen, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, scared people all over the Warner Bros. lot, using a hidden mariachi band.  Yep!  A hidden mariachi band!


Look for me at about the 1:10 mark: I’m walking to my office, carrying my lunch (salad bar).  Yep, I was totally startled, and as soon as it happened, I knew exactly who was behind it.  Enjoy!

Moving on.

Yesterday was another good food and exercise day.  I went to the gym after work, where I did 34 minutes on the elliptical (a lot of it pedaling backwards), and then 16 minutes walking on a 15 degree incline on the treadmill.  I don’t use the treadmill very often at all, as I prefer to walk or run outdoors, but it’s been a long time since I’ve incline walked, and since my neighborhood is flat flat flat, the treadmill was the way to go (and the only option at that time of night).

I also went to Whole Foods last night.  The last couple times I’ve been grocery shopping, it was quick stops where I just picked up a few necessities.  Since my fridge and countertop fruit bowl were pretty barren, so I was excited to completely stock up.  I’d say I did a pretty good job:

Starting at the top left and working clockwise, that’s a tub of spinach, broccoli, bananas, celery, a honeydew, a mini-watermelon, a cucumber, 4 Packham pears (an Australian variety similar to Anjou), yellow squash, 2 green peppers, 2 yellow champagne mangoes (more on these in the next paragraph), strawberries, braeburn apples, and mini-carrots.  This Whole Foods didn’t have any of my beloved yellow or purple carrots.

I didn’t know that there were different varieties of mangoes, did you?  I thought there was one kind of mango, and it was called a mango.  Wrong.  Here’s another picture of a yellow champagne mango:

According to the interwebs, yellow champagne mangoes are also commonly called Ataulfo mangoes (that’s actually what the sticker on my mango says), and they’re very popular in Mexico, and gaining popularity in the United States.  In fact, they’re the second-most-popular mango variety in the U.S., after the Tommy Atkins variety.

Which raises two questions:

  • Did you know that standard mangoes that you see in every supermarket are called Tommy Atkins mangoes?  Who is this Tommy Atkins anyway?
  • If Ataulfo mangoes are the second-most-popular mango variety in the U.S., does that mean that there are still other mango varieties that I haven’t seen yet?  Are mango varieties going to start popping up everywhere, like radish varieties?

I guess that was actually four questions.

After taking the produce group shot, I put all the produce away, and then realized that I forgot to include one of my purchases.  Oops.  I was too tired to re-stage the photo.  So I snapped a pic of this item solo.  Here it is:


I’ve eaten kale plenty of times, at restaurants mostly, but this is the first time that I’ve actually bought it.  And, truthfully, I’m inspired by my own blog.  I recently wrote about my officemate and friend Maggie, who’s been bringing in and sharing kale chips, and now I wanna make kale chips too!

I’ll document it when it happens, and I’ll be sure to tell you about that yellow champagne mango, too!

Keep it up, David!

BIG NEWS! Run! Chart Update!

March 11, 2011

I thought I’d start off today with some BIG NEWS, so big all capital letters are required!

My appearance with Richard Simmons on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is getting rebroadcast next week!  Woo-hoo!  Tune in Wednesday, March 16, 2011 (go to www.ellentv.com to find out when it airs in your town).

Here’s what I want you to do: Tell someone that’s important in your life and is struggling with their weight – family member, friend, co-worker, neighbor, whoever – to tune in on Wednesday, or set their TiVo, or you set yours and invite them over, or met up at Sears and watch on 40 TVs at once (however you want to do it!) and then direct them here, to this blog.  Tell them to just check it out.  I’m not selling videos or supplements or pills –  I’m just proof that anyone with hard work, discipline, and the right attitude can make healthy changes and lose the weight.  I have good days and bad days, and I share it all here.

Tons of you have stepped forward, in emails, comments, Facebook posts, and tweets, and have very kindly shared what an inspiration I am.  I don’t tire of hearing it, even on days when I don’t feel it, mainly because my readers have become a huge source of inspiration for me.  All of you encourage me to keep it up, and I listen, and it helps.  So tell your friends to watch me on Ellen, and tell them how much you enjoy my blog (which hopefully is true, or you wouldn’t be here right now), and give them the URL (www.keepitupdavid.com), and point them towards my Facebook and Twitter pages, both of which are great ways to hear about new posts.  Are you clear about your assignment? Good!

Moving on….

Since Richard Simmons was in New Zealand all last week, I was really looking forward to taking his class last night at Slimmons.  I had every intention of going, too, but life got in the way.  And by ‘life’, I mean ‘my air conditioner was broken and the repairmen needed 10 hours to fix it.’  It’s a big mess that I won’t get into here, but when they showed up at 9am, it never occurred to me that they wouldn’t be finished in time for me to make it to Richard’s 6:30pm class.  They left at 7pm.  And they’re back this morning, to do more tests.  Good times.

After their departure at 7pm, I was already dressed to go exercise, but one thing led to another.  Oh, I should watch the news.  Oh, I’ll just send some tweets first.  Oh, maybe after “The Big Bang Theory.”  I’m sure you know how it is.  It wasn’t until after 9pm, when I caught myself absent-mindedly taking off my gym shoes, that I finally sat up on the couch and forced myself to go workout, and I was grumbling the whole time.

I decided to run.  Since my new running rules dictate heading to different locales other than my dreary neighborhood, I headed 10 minutes away to my old neighborhood on the edge of Burbank.  The streets are wide, empty, and lit, and I’m familiar with all of them.  While driving there, I decided on a route – a big loop that, when I drove it in my car, measured 1.5 miles.  My plan was to run it twice, and hopefully a third time:

I felt good during most of the first loop, but towards the end of it I was noticing my grumpy factor rising, and the fatique already setting in.  I pushed through it, and by the middle of the second loop I was feeling a lot better.  By the time I got to the end of the second loop, though, I was ready to stop, and so I did.  Two laps is 3 miles, and that’s a good run.  Time to update the chart:

  • 9/21/10: Distance: 3.1 miles.  Time: 41 minutes.  MPH: 4.53
  • 9/27/10: Distance: 3.3 miles.  Time: 45 minutes.  MPH: 4.4
  • 10/5/10: Distance: 3.2 miles.  Time: 40 minutes.  MPH: 4.8
  • 10/12/10: Distance: 3.8 miles.  Forgot to note time and MPH
  • 10/16/10: Distance: 2.9 miles.  Forgot to note time and MPH
  • 11/1/10: Distance: 3.1 miles.  Time: 36 minutes.  MPH: 5.16
  • 11/6/10: Distance: 5.1 miles. Time: 60 minutes.  MPH: 5.1
  • 11/14/10: Distance: 3.9 miles. Time: 45 minutes.  MPH: 5.2
  • 11/28/10: Distance: 4.2 miles. Time: 46 minutes.  MPH: 5.47
  • 1/4/11: Distance: 3.0 miles. Time: 34 minutes.  MPH: 5.3
  • 1/24/11: Distance: 4.4 miles.  Time: 45 minutes.  MPH: 5.86
  • 2/1/11: Distance: 1.9 miles.  Time: 20 minutes.  MPH: 5.7
  • 2/9/11: Distance: 3.5 miles.  Time: 38 minutes.  MPH: 5.52
  • 2/16/11: Distance: 2.9 miles.  Time: 33 minutes.  MPH: 5.28
  • 2/27/11: Distance: 5 miles.  Time: 60 minutes.  MPH: 5.0
  • 3/3/11: Distance: 5.4 miles.  Time: 57 minutes.  MPH: 5.13
  • 3/10/11: Distance: 3.0 miles.  Time: 34 minutes.  MPH: 5.29

When I got back home, I jumped on the exercise bike with the intention of pedaling away for 15 minutes to supplement my run, but I ended up pedaling away for 30 minutes.  The bike in the little gym in my building has Tetris on it (well, it has a very-similar-but-different-enough-game that doesn’t infringe on copyright), so I played one game, and did really well, and that led to 30 minutes.  I made it on the leader board, but I’m the only one on the leader board (I guess it’s not very popular amongst my neighbors, or they all suck).

I’ll end with a weight loss chart update:  I weighed myself this morning, and DOWN 1 POUND! Awesome!  That puts my weight at 238 (18 pounds away from my next goal), and my weight loss at 164.  Here’s the chart:

KEEP IT UP, David!

Richard Simmons’ Daily Message

January 24, 2011

I’m working on a blog post for today, don’t you worry, but this just can’t wait.  Every day, Richard Simmons writes a Daily Message on his website.  Sometimes he gives tips on how to keep your diet on track, sometimes he shares what he does to keep motivated, sometimes he shares the stories of other people.  Today’s Daily Message is entitled “David” and it’s all about me.

Reading about Richard’s website and email blowing up after our appearance on Ellen brought tears to my eyes.

Click here to read Richard’s Daily Message. You have until about midnight tonight before it’s gone, and tomorrow’s Daily Message is posted.

Keep it up, David!

The ELLEN Experience – Part 2

January 12, 2011

So this is what it feels like to be positively, completely, ridiculously overwhelmed.  I’ve been overwhelmed by stressful circumstances many times, but I can’t remember the last time, if ever, I was overtaken by so much support, encouragement, and love, coming from so many people ranging from my family and oldest friends to absolute strangers who I’ll probably never ever meet.   It’s simply batshit crazy.  The number of messages that are coming my way, through Facebook, email, phone, text, blog comments, smoke signals, and carrier pigeon is astronomical, and it’s not stopping.  Add in the comments on the posts about me on Ellen’s website and Facebook page, and it might be officially too much for one guy to handle.

What I want to most say about all this is Thank You.  While they may only be two little words, know that there’s a big, full heart behind them.

Moving on.

I promised in my last post a behind-the-scenes look at my afternoon at “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” and I don’t like to disappoint.  If you want to catch up on Part I of The ELLEN Experience before diving into this post, then, please, click here.  And if you want to watch me on the show, then click on the Watch Me On Ellen button at the top of this blog.

All caught up?  Ready to go?  Sweet!

I arrived at Warner Bros. Studios a little before 3pm, about an hour before the show started taping.  The show had offered to send a car to pick me up, but I turned them down and drove myself, for two reasons: 1) I knew exactly where I was going (I had worked at the show for seven years) and 2) I knew I’d be getting a better parking spot today than I ever had when I was worked there!  And I did.

Guests of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” enter through their own special door.  It’s called the Artist Entry.  Guess that means I’m an artist now!

I forgot to take this pic on my way in, so I took it on my way out, when it was dark.

It was fun to see my name outside the dressing room:

I’ve been in that dressing room many many times before, but it’s never been my dressing room.  Last year when I was producing segments for the show, it was the same room where I met and prepared guests like Channing Tatum, Zachary Levi, and Judy Shepard for their interviews.  It’s actually the same room that is sometimes rigged with hidden cameras, so Ellen can scare her guests, like she did to Richard Simmons a year ago this month, on the very day I met him for the first time (watch that moment here – very funny!)

I hadn’t been there long before lots of friends who still work at the show started stopping by.  There were lots of hugs and kisses, and I got tons of compliments – I haven’t seen a lot of them since last May.  I was asked about 14 times (at least) to stay in my dressing room – they wanted Ellen to see me for the first time onstage (since she hadn’t seen me since last May), and if I was roaming the halls backstage, I could have potentially run into her.

I did step down the hall to go to the hair and make-up room.  Elizabeth and Jeannette made me look super-sharp, and Jeannette even helped cover up a new mystery bruise on my arm.  She did a great job – take a look at the ‘Before’ and ‘After’:

In addition to hair and make-up, there was also the issue of wardrobe.  You may remember that I invited blog readers to vote for which outfit I should wear, and, collectively, you said I should wear the brown shirt with dark jeans.  Observant viewers probably noticed that I did indeed wear the brown shirt, but on the day of the taping, the decision making process became much harder.  That’s because that morning, I got a text from Kara (the segment producer and my friend) saying that the Ellen wardrobe department was so excited that I was coming back and asking if  it would be cool if they pulled some clothes for me to wear?  Hell yeah, that’d be cool!  I sent along my sizes, and sure enough, 10 minutes after I arrived, my friends from the wardrobe department, Kellen and Jen, rolled in a rack full of options:

The four shirts on the left are mine, but the rest came from rental houses and the mall.  There was some fancy stuff in there, too (Armani and Prada, for example), but after trying some of the pieces on, I showed Kellen and Jen my brown shirt, and between the four of us (Kara was in there too), we decided that the brown shirt was the way to go.  Thank you, voters, for steering me down the right path!

The jeans I wore on the show, however, were not any of the options from the poll.  Kellen and Jen picked them up earlier in the day at the mall, and they’re fantastic.  I love them.  They’re Buffalo David Bitton (a label I had never heard of before), and the cut is Super Slim.  I’ll say that again: Super Slim.  Super Slim! It’s the sort of pants that I never, ever used to ever think I could ever fit into.  But I do, and they’re awesome.

The shoes I wore (brown boots) were also picked up by Kellen and Jen.  I was planning on wearing a new pair of Converse Chuck Taylor Lo-Top Navy sneakers, but those boots really looked great!

The whole time I was sequestered in my dressing room, I was pretty nervous.  I was really nervous I might trip and fall coming down the three steps when I made my entrance.  I am not a graceful faller – I lack the instinct to brace myself for impact by turning or putting an arm out, and instead tend to land flat on my face (I did this about a year and a half ago, after tripping on a crack in a sidewalk, and nearly bit clear through my lip with my own tooth).  My fear was not helped when Ed, one of the Executive Producers, told me that in the past month, about 4 guests had stumbled on those steps, and one of them was Phil Donahue.  Great.

My nerves went away about 5 minutes before my segment.  Richard had just made his entrance (he was interviewed, by himself, in the segment before mine), and I gave myself a little internal pep talk:  “There’s nothing else that can be done.  You’re prepared.  You already know both Richard and Ellen.  And this is your story.  Nobody can tell it better than you.”  The pep talk worked – no more nerves!  I popped an Altoid in my mouth (Tracy, my friend from the prop department, was thoughtful and brought me a Sugar-Free one) and moved into place for my entrance.

I’ve familiar with every nook and cranny of the Ellen stage, but it was still odd, during the commercial break before my segment, to be standing in a corner just out of sight of the audience, knowing that in just a few minutes, 5 cameras and the attention of more than 300 people would be pointed at me.  DJ Tony plays the music loud, but it felt like my heart was beating louder.  Wanna know the last thing that was said to me before my segment began?  Andy, another Executive Producer, stopped by and told me, “I’ll give you five bucks if you trip.  Ten bucks if you land in one of the potted plants.”  That made me laugh.

There’s a tiny monitor back where I was waiting, so I could see Ellen and Richard as Ellen introduced me.  When it was time, I took two steps, turned the corner so I was onstage, and immediately focused on those three steps.  Two seconds later I was at the bottom of them, and still on my feet – success!  It was then that I looked up, and saw 300 people cheering wildly, giving me a standing ovation.  The applause was deafening, but for a split second, I swear it all went silent.  I could see people in the crowd pumping their fists, my show friends on the floor cheering me on, Ellen standing by her chair, mouth agape.  It was a lot to process, but after I did, the silence in my head cleared away, and was replaced by the joyful noise of the moment.  Did you hear the very first I said, before I even sat down?  It was “Sorry!”  That’s right, I stepped on Ellen’s foot.

Here we are during my segment:

The interview itself was mostly a blur.  By the time I got home last night, I couldn’t remember what we talked about and what we didn’t, or who said what and when.  It seemed like only seconds had passed until Ellen was saying good-bye and ending the show.  That was that – it was all over.  I walked backstage and was soon surrounded by friends congratulating and hugging me.  Ellen’s mom, Betty, had some really sweet things to say to me.  All in all, it was an amazing day.

I thought I’d try to answer a few more questions that have been sent to me today through one form of communication or another:

1) Nope, I didn’t meet Paula Abdul.  I actually didn’t even see her.

2) Yep, I did get a pair of Ellen underwear, like all guests of the show get.  The gift bag also included a mug and a t-shirt:

3) Yep, those are the real gift cards.  I’ve lost gift cards before, so when I got home I put them in places where I was sure to remember them:

I’m kidding.  They aren’t the real gift cards, and I actually haven’t gotten the real ones yet.  I’ll get them soon – within the next week or so.  Don’t you worry, I’ll keep you all up-to-date on how I spend them!

The gift cards weren’t the only gift I got.  There wasn’t enough time for Ellen to give them to us on the air, but the show made matching Ellen tanks and shorts for Richard and I to wear to a class at Slimmons together!  We took a picture with the outfits in the hall backstage – that’s Kara, our segment producer, in the middle:

And that’s about it!  I want to end this post by thanking everyone at “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” for welcoming me back for the afternoon with open, loving arms, and for giving me an opportunity to share my story with the country!  This is truly a day I’ll never forget.

Keep it up, David!

Today’s The Day!

January 10, 2011

Today’s the day that I go and tape my appearance with Richard Simmons on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”!  It airs tomorrow, and if you haven’t yet set your DVR, lied to your boss about having a doctor’s appointment, or arranged childcare for the kids, then what are you waiting for?  Go to www.ellentv.com to find out when it airs in your area, and hop to it!

I’m leaving for the studio in a little while.  So far, this day has been going really well.  I managed to sleep well for about 7 hours last night, despite my raging nerves, and so far I’ve been having a pretty calm, relaxing day.  I’m gotten so many fantastic notes via email, Facebook, Twitter, text message, and in the comments sections on this blog… so I replied to a bunch of those (thank you to everyone that wrote – I read them all even if I don’t respond, and I teared up, like, 14 times).  Oh, and speaking of Facebook, I just created a Facebook Page for Keep It Up, David – click here to check it out.  It’s a great way for you to learn when I put up new posts!  And you can follow me on Twitter – I’m @keepitupdavid.

I also wanted to let off some steam and nervous energy, so I headed to the gym.  I actually headed to the gym twice – I was halfway there the first time when I realized I forgot my iPod and headphones.  Whoops – time to turn around!  When I finally got to the gym, I did 45 minutes on the Arc Trainer, stretched for a while, and called it a day.  It worked, too: I’m more relaxed and centered than I was this morning – I love how exercise can do that!

For breakfast today, I had oatmeal, a banana, a satsuma, and an apple.  Lunch was a veggie burger on a bun (with spinach, tomato, cucumber, radish, mustard, and horseradish), and on the side a big pile of raw broccoli florets, carrot sticks, and tomato slices.  Dessert was a pear.  I also drank 2 glasses of soy milk after the gym to get some immediate protein in me, and I’ve also had 1/2 gallon of water + an additional liter.

Well, that’s pretty much the day so far!  I still gotta shower, shave, and get ready for the show and then I’ll be on my way to Warner Bros. Studios!

I plan on providing a behind-the-scenes run-down of my Ellen experience on the blog tomorrow (if you haven’t read my run-down of what happened with the Ellen camera crew yesterday, click here).  I probably won’t post it until late in the day, after everyone has a chance to watch it on TV, so I don’t spoil anything.  And if you don’t have access to a TV, then 1) what’s wrong with you? and 2) check back here.  I plan on monitoring online viewing options and will share links and such so you can watch on your computer.

The day is nearly half over, and yet it’s just beginning…

…Keep it up, David!