You’d have to be living under a large soundproof rock–or out of reach of a television, radio, or computer–to not know I just did a book tour in New York for my new book, “Mayim’s Vegan Table.”
Well, just in case, here are the highlights of my publicist Heather and my whirlwind tour of New York for my book. Heather (VP of Much & House Public Relations) and the good people at De Capo Press worked very hard to put together an incredibly (impossibly?) packed itinerary and I am sharing with you the major appearances, hilarious and awkward highlights, and LOL moments of each appearance.
As a general rule, as you read this, please know that it’s very hard to insult me or make me feel small or insignificant, because I sort of feel that way all the time as a modest default. So any time I am slighted or potentially humiliated, I take it as a sign from God that I’m not God.
1. The Today Show.
Big hit. National TV show. Huge audience. Big time big deal.
LOL Moment: Al Roker butchered my name worse than anyone ever which made me LOL. My segment was also incredibly short and kind of vague since the Today Show had their resident chef Giada de Laurentis on directly after me cooking a pot roast. Yes. A pot roast. Hard to sell my vegan cookbook before that much? LOL.
2. The Rachael Ray Show.
Another huge hit. She’s larger than life in the culinary world. And I actually know who she is. And she is very friendly and into empowering women and I love cooking so much that I can’t believe she let me bake cupcakes with her on her TV show. It was so exciting!
LOL Moment: My mom’s cousin and her daughter came to the taping from Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn to sit in the audience as VIPs which I was so excited for. They are very Orthodox. Like really hardcore good times Orthodox. Of course, the audience participation activity that day was frosting cakes which were definitely not kosher, nor was the frosting. I was terrified Rachael was going to ask the VIP guests (Mayim’s family, no less!) to take a big bite of frosting on camera…And they can’t because the cake and frosting isn’t kosher and it could be so incredibly awkward, right?? Fortunately, they were left alone and didn’t have to eat any gelatin-laced non kosher frosting because of cousin Mayim’s appearance! LOL.
3. The Moms Event.
The Moms are Denise Albert and Melissa Gerstein. They blog, they have a radio show, they hosted an event for my first book, and we did a charity event together at Cafe Blossom to benefit a really nice charity called 1Face. Cafe Blossom makes incredibly tasty and unusual gourmet vegan food and it was such a lovely event.
LOL Moment: I have no clue how this happened, but do you remember that show Head of The Class? Remember the pretty long-haired red-haired actress Khrystyne Haje? Well, she was there. Here we are. She looks so pretty with shorter hair and she has barely aged! Random, right? But also fun! LOL.
4. STAR Talk with Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
So Neil DeGrasse Tyson is a really famous important astrophysicist and purveyor of pop culture. He’s been on “The Big Bang Theory.” He’s hilarious. He’s charming and fun and playful. He’s awesome. He hosts these Vodcast things from Brooklyn and I was on a panel for 2500 people with three comedians and two scientists. I’m kind of both so that was neat. The comedians were Michael Ian Black, Eugene Mirman, and Paul Rudd. “What?” you say. “Paul Rudd? Wow. That’s seriously awesome!” Um..yeah. I KNOW. These three men provided comedy relief and interjections throughout our two and a half hour panel which focused on popular questions about neuroscience, the brain, cognition, talent, genetics, consciousness and so much more. The scientists were none other than Bill Nye The Science Guy and this dynamic and charismatic cognitive neuroscientist and professor named Heather Berlin. And me. It was insane. This event came at the end of a 14 hour day and I could not believe how incredible it was to talk science with Dr. Berlin and to laugh with the comedians. I felt so torn between and so thrilled to be me at the same time: both a comedian and a scientist in this incredible space. It was profoundly emotional and challenging and exhilarating.
LOL Moment: There were so many. But at one point we were discussing intelligence measures among certain groups of people and one of the comedians joked “Ashkenazi Jews” at which point five of us got off of our chairs and all started high-fiving each other. That’s right. Five out of seven of us on this panel were Ashkenazi Jews. Oh, the Tribe. LOL.
5. The Wendy Williams Show.
Confession: I did not know who Wendy Williams was before this book tour. She does a lot of celebrity gossip stuff which is really not my thing, but she’s actually kind of quirky and cool and I see why people love her. She is smart and sassy and has a really edgy sense of humor. This was also a great hit for me and the book. It was also live which is a really special kind of energy and preparation.
LOL Moment: She asked about Judaism! I think she asked about “Modernly Orthodox Jews” or some phrase that struck me as unusual, but there it was. She wanted to hear about tznius (modesty). Go figure! LOL.
6. The Howard Stern Show.
This is the topic of another post, but for now, let’s just say that I am a huge admirer of unusual public people who are not afraid to put it all out there so this meant a lot to me.
LOL Moment: Too many to count. But he kept calling the mikveh (ritual bathhouse) the “milk mikveh” or the “milk bath” which I finally had to ask him to stop saying because that makes no sense. LOL.
7. Unnamed TV Station in New York.
The reason this appearance is unnamed is because it didn’t happen. After The Howard Stern appearance, publicist Heather and I were flying high. We felt like we had just possibly experienced the most important publicity interview ever, especially on a book tour for a vegan cookbook. It felt so good, we were just giggling our way into the building in midtown Manhattan. We practically glided to this unnamed TV station and announced ourselves at security.
LOL Moment: We were not on the security list. The overseeing security guard couldn’t reach our contact person but told the security guy who was telling us we aren’t on the list, “She’s REALLY famous. I’ll take her upstairs.” So we go upstairs and it’s like a ghost town. The contact who was supposed to greet us was sitting at her computer possibly checking her Facebook feed or catching up on emails. She literally let her jaw drop when she saw us standing there and had no clue why we were there. I guess there was a mix-up and she didn’t confirm that I’d be appearing. She was so apologetic and sweet and felt so awful, but Heather and I just laughed so hard and decided that God was trying to remind us not to be so full of ourselves like we were when we sauntered in there like the Queens of England. LOL.
Fortunately, I have a publicist who is so grounded and so able to laugh with me at these moments. It cannot be overemphasized that she makes my career and life what it is. We were so exhausted after working hard and playing hard on this trip, too. But it’s a series of appearances. It’s our job. And it’s okay if it doesn’t always go perfectly.
Sometimes in life, your name gets butchered, you have to describe an entire philosophy of Judaism in 15 seconds on live TV, and your kosher family is possibly made to eat treyf (non-Kosher) frosting on national television. And sometimes you are reminded of how incredible it is to have so many experiences and to process them all with a brain that can think and decipher and calculate and love and it can be so powerful and so overwhelming. And it can make you feel so important and so much like a rock star.
But what we really are is names on a list, right? Sometimes our names make it on a list and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes we show up places and people are glad to see us. And sometimes we show up places and it’s so clear we shouldn’t be there. And those times are all equivalent because they simply are.
I’m grateful to have the support and ability to see this book tour into a perfectly imperfect trip filled not only with professional possibility, but also with LOL moments and a ton of firsts.
Thank you, chilly New York. Thank you, Much & House PR, for lending me Heather for the week. And thank you to all of the enlightening and humbling firsts on this trip. I needed them all. They are equivalent. Because they simply are.