Thanks to all of you who have been watching
The Real Wedding Crashers
[Mondays at 10 pm/ET, on NBC]. People keep asking me for insight into the next episode, so I may as well give it all away. This is actually one of my favorite episodes. There are pranks involving a mishap at a tanning salon and an audition for wedding singers. I got to play three different characters: a horrible wedding singer with neck tattoos, an animal rights protestor, and, of course, an annoying wedding guest. I really had fun doing all three, but my favorite had to be the animal rights protestor. I am conducting a protest because a store sells fur, and the bride enters with one of her bridesmaids. When they exit the store, I give them a hard time for shopping there, and let's just say, the mark does not like me very much at all. The bit also includes live farm animals. It's always been a dream of mine to work with farm animals. Now, I'm proud to say it's a reality.
I guess all kinds of weird things start to happen when you work on a TV show. It's been wwo weeks now as a "celebrity," and for most of the time, I was still going about my normal life, not noticing any change at all. And then, on Thursday night, I got an e-mail that changed that up quite a bit. (At least for the next two days.) One of the publicists working on
The Real Wedding Crashers
e-mailed me to ask if I play golf. Sensing this might be a cool opportunity, I immediately said yes. She replied saying that
just dropped out, and that I was being invited to play in the
Michael Douglas & Friends celebrity golf tournament
that Saturday! (Clearly they were very hard up to find someone.) She also said it was going to be televised on NBC. I was very excited, but also a bit nervous. You see, it's worth noting that in actual fact, I am a horrible, horrible golfer.
I've been trying to golf, sporadically, since I was 13, but I've almost never played a professional 18-hole course, and I have never learned to drive the ball more than 50 yards. The tournament was to be played at Trump National, one of the most beautiful courses in the world, with holes up to 500 yards long! Nevertheless, I was about to play with some of the biggest celebrities in the world. In just two days! Luckily, my best friend and roommate Scot was a college golfer, and offered to give me a crash course. Unluckily, it turns out you can't really learn golf in two days.
We hit the range, and like a miracle my first 10 drives I somehow drove the ball perfectly, beautifully, over 150 yards, soaring through the air. Well, that was beginner's luck. I spent the next three hours trying to get that back. And failing. I hit over 300 balls, and was left with nothing but extreme frustration and blisters on my hands. I don't think I hit one more than 30 yards the whole rest of the day.
Then came Saturday, and I drove early morning to the oceanfront course, where I pretended to look like I fit in, both as a golfer, and as a celebrity. There was a buffet breakfast. The only available seat was at a table where
Samuel L. Jackson
was sitting by himself. I asked if I could join him, and sat down to start at my bacon and eggs, visions of the diner scene from
running through my head. I told Sam Jackson that I was new to the game but that my friend was trying to teach me. He replied, "He's just trying to win money off you!" But he said it in Sam Jackson's voice, which somehow sounded like he was yelling at me, or was about to shoot me in the head. It was awesome.
I walked into the pro shop, and at the counter, some older guy to my right commented to the employees about the ocean view. This sensitive older man was, you guessed it,
. Then, to my left, a very pretty woman in a pink golf skirt and matching pink shirt asked the employees if she could steal a little tube of sunscreen. They did not hear her, so I told her it was probably OK. It was
. Officially, this had now become the most surreal morning of my life. I paid for her sunscreen, and walked out near the course.
The next thing that happened was one of the silliest, weirdest, most surreal things I've ever experienced. They had the golf carts labeled with the celebrities' names on them. And the golf carts were labeled in exactly the following order (this is no exaggeration, I promise you):
, Alice Cooper,
, Samuel L. Jackson,
, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. I don't wanna say I felt out of place, but let's just say none of these people were at my last birthday party. Then they assigned me my own security guard. I guess they didn't realize that before a celebrity can be attacked, somebody has to be able to recognize him. I approached Michael Douglas and thanked him for having me. I also told him I was one of his celebrity friends, in case he didn't know. (He did not.) But he was one of the coolest guys I've ever met. He has the most chill, pimp, accomplished vibe about him. Let's just say his he came off more gangster than Kenny G (despite the hardcore sound of Mr. G's last name). I then practiced putting next to Mr. Douglas' wife, Ms. Zeta-Jones. I told her that just to make sure she didn't get arrested, I paid for her sunscreen. She was grateful, and to reciprocate, she tipped in one of my putts that fell short of the hole. At this point I wasn't sure if this day was actually happening or not. But I decided to go with it.
As I drove out to the course I heard a bit of both good news and bad. The bad news was that apparently the next morning was the televised part, and that Mark Wahlberg was gonna be there for that. I was now only playing in the warm up round, where each celebrity plays with a group of corporate sponsors, and I was not gonna be on TV at all. The good news was that much fewer people would find out how truly awful at golf I really am. I also found out were were playing as a team against the other celebrities' teams, and that everyone else on my team were fantastic golfers. I got real lucky on one ball and hit it well. The rest of the day I seriously embarrassed myself. On the 17th hole I hit it from the men's tees
all the way
to the woman's tees, a grand total of about 25 feet. Believe it or not, that was my second-best shot of the day.
That night I went to the awards banquet at Universal Studios. There was an open bar, and I began to take advantage of it. Michael Douglas was the emcee, and it was now time to announce the winner of the whole tournament. "And in first place," said Michael Douglas, "Ben Gleib's team!"
I won. The guy who was out of place both in golf skills and celebrity status, somehow won the whole damn thing. And now I have a large glass trophy to prove it all really happened.