Honolulu Lite

by Charles Memminger

Friday, July 9, 1999

Talent pool overflows
for ‘Stardom’

I can think of few things as terrifying as standing before a panel of judges in broad daylight and trying to show them in only 60 seconds that you have talent.

Well, doing five minutes of standup comedy in front of a liquored up nightclub audience, which I've done a few times, is fairly terrifying. They say landing a jet on an aircraft carrier is like having sex during a car crash. Trying standup comedy is like being beaten up during a car crash. And then getting run over by the ambulance.

But taking part in a one-minute audition, as hundreds of Hawaii residents did this week for the new television show "From Hawaii ... Destination Stardom" has to be just as horrifying.

I admire everyone who gave it a shot, even though many of them may feel their experience was "From Hawaii ... Destination Loserville."

The problem is it seems like one minute isn't long enough to prove that you're worthy of national television exposure, but it's more than enough time to prove you're a complete moron.

I didn't take part in the auditions, which I'm pretty sure is a violation of some sort of columnist's federal law. Any time there is a public forum in which a humor columnist can make a fool of himself, embarrass his newspaper AND get a column out of it, well, he's supposed to be there.

But I'm still suffering from Post Dramatic Stress Syndrome from my nights on the comedy club circuit and the thought of climbing onto Ala Moana's Centerstage for anything other than taking a shortcut to the parking lot was frightening.

Hundreds of people did take the stage and store clerks told me a few days later that they were amazed at how good they were.

I'M not surprised. Hawaii has an incredible depth of talent, especially singers and musicians. You can't walk 10 feet through a public park around here without tripping over four guitar players, three ukulele strummers, a falsetto singer and a guy playing the spoons.

The good thing is "Destination Stardom" will need plenty of contestants for the 25 episodes being filmed here and so, hopefully, more than a few of them will come from Hawaii.

The show is being produced by Al and April Masini. There must be a lot of local entertainment hopefuls who feel like all roads to stardom currently lead to April. It was just a few months ago that April headed the panel that picked three Hawaii residents to become regular cast members on "Baywatch Hawaii."

Hundreds of people also took part in those mini-auditions. I suspect some of those same people tried out for "Destination Stardom," facing April again and a panel of judges that included one "Baywatch" winner, Kalai Miller.

(In the interest of disclosure, I should say I am trying to get the "Baywatch" people to let me write an episode or two. It's another federal columnist law that local columnists have to pester any television productions that roll into town.)

The odds are better for local folks trying out for "Destination Stardom" than for "Baywatch." But the sheer number of residents showing up for these cattle calls demonstrates there is a huge, largely untapped source of talent in Hawaii.

Someone more clever (and mercenary) than I probably could figure out a way to cut a few dozen of the most talented individuals from the herd and become their agent. There are a lot of dreamers out there. And dreams cost money.

Charles Memminger, winner of
National Society of Newspaper Columnists
awards in 1994 and 1992, writes "Honolulu Lite"
Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Write to him at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, 96802

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