Growing up as a kid, I loved watching Regis Philbin on television. He was witty, engaging, could tell a one hell of a story and had these zingers and catch-phrases that were just infectious.
Well as life would have it, I got to meet one of my TV heroes. It was March 2015, just a few years after I had decided to close the chapter on my entertainment writing career, as well as my run on the “Tom Joyner Morning Show.” I was in a new chapter of my life focusing on building my career as a TV host and commentator.
I was taping an episode of “The Meredith Vieira Show” in what was an ongoing showcase for NBC and was on the show with now “Today” anchor Craig Melvin and US Weekly’s Jennifer Peros. I wasn’t a fan of the topics for the show that day and the producer assigned to me was really getting on my nerves.
I remember calling Sherri Shepherd from my dressing room because I couldn’t find any inspiration with topics and she gave me some suggestions of what to say. I then called TV nutritionist Dr. Ro because I recalled during one of her appearances on the show, she had challenges with the same producer.
So I went on the set, tried to make the best of the day and still wasn’t feeling the greatest after the 14-minute segment was completed.
As Kyle Ramdeen the stage manager walked me back to my dressing room, I told him that I hadn’t enjoyed my work on the show that day and the only thing I wanted to do was to meet Regis. I said it would redeem the entire experience for me.
We’re walking down the hall in the famed 30 Rock building, just across from where Jimmy Fallon tapes “The Tonight Show,” and while members of The Roots are talking amongst themselves in chairs along the wall, I look forward and see Regis headed straight towards me.
He walks up to me and said, “Kid, I came looking for you. I wanted to meet you.”
I responded: “You wanted to meet me?”
He said, “Yes, you did exceptional work on the show today. I really enjoyed you. You’re funny!”
My mouth dropped and my eyes bulged out. I literally couldn’t believe this was happening.
I offered: “Well, you know Regis, I wasn’t feeling my best today. Something about it all just didn’t come together for me.”
Regis countered: “If that wasn’t you at your best, I’m afraid to see you be any better! You’re going to go far in this business kid, keep it up!”
We took a photo and he went back to his dressing room for a quick touchup before his interview.
I was stunned! Literally speechless! And Kyle then said to me, “You had just said you wanted to meet him and was talking about how you didn’t like the show today. And instead he wanted to meet you. I hope that assures you that you did a good job.”
It did! That moment with Regis gave me fuel to continue going. It was motivation in that season of adjustment and a time of starting all over again to keep going despite the obstacles.
I’m sad to hear that Regis has passed. But he made an impact on me and I’m grateful for it.
Thanks Regis Philbin, what a life well-lived!
WATCH: See my appearance on “The Meredith Vieira Show” that Regis Philbin responded so well to.