Now I’m not the sort of dude that frequents book readings, but if Danny Wallace’s reading from his new book, Yes Man, is any indication of what to expect, I’ll start to.
Danny has that Robbie Williams celebrity status factor thing going for him: he can walk the streets of Anytown USA in comfortable anonymity, but as soon as his plane touches back down in London, it is immediately mobbed by a throng of screaming teenage girls. Luckily we were in New York. In a book store.
Danny read for about half an hour from Yes Man, the true story of what happened to him when he decided to say yes to everything, for like a year or something. I could review Yes Man, but I'll save you the trouble: Just go out and buy it. The reading was cool, more improv stand up routine than masterpiece theatre.
The real treat came when Danny opened up to questions from the 75 person strong audience.
One of the stand-out moments was when a cell phone rang, belonging to a slightly bedraggled skinny middle aged woman half-hiding behind a pole who had just asked a series of questions, each more ridiculous than the last. Upon completion of the call, Danny asked “Who was that?--your travel agent?”
“No, that was just some guy who called me about some black paint. I need to paint something black, but don’t ask me about it.”
“You can’t say something like that and expect me not to ask about it. So here goes, why do you need black paint?”
“Well, I’m not going to tell you. That’s that. Hey, is this How to Start Your Own Country TV show you’re making going to be like that show with those two gay guys down in the Village?”
Danny attempted to hold back a chuckle, unlike the audience, and answered with an uncharacteristic, “No”
The lady looked up with all seriousness and said, “Good, cause I hate that show.”
Next up was a stocky fellow in the second row with an ample blond mane on his head and a superman t-shirt on his back. He innocently asked, “Danny, will we be able to see your new TV show here in the states?”
“Well, it will be broadcast in the U.K. first and then hopefully—are you a wrestler?”
It pretty much caught everybody off guard, but not the “wrestler”, who shrugged a blasé “Yeah.” as if it was nothing and continued his question, “But will we have to wait a long time before we see it?”
I’d contacted Danny a few days before, and we’d agreed to make a trade. For one red paperclip, he traded me a pack of 50 safety pins. And not just any old safety pins. Oh no, we’re talking top of the line Silver Lynx brand nickel and brass finished safety pins, sizes 00, 1, 2 and 3. They are fully satisfaction guaranteed-which is good, because when it comes to safety pins, I’m a very hard guy to satisfy.
Our business transaction complete, I asked Danny a question I’d never asked anyone before, “Fancy a pint?”
A short while later we sat in a local pub with pints in our hands among a group of ten or so. Perched at the end of the table was a room-dominating big-screen TV showing the Yankees game. I looked down the table and asked, “Hey Danny, did you see which network is carrying the game?” In the bottom right hand corner of the screen was the logo for the YES network. A simple bold YES.
Danny looked at the screen, paused for a moment, then turned towards me with a large grin and said with authority, “As it should.”