Forgotten Tales From the Best Greenroom in Late Night

On a hot summer day…in the middle of January…the cohort seemed lost and scattered. With the world closing in around us we searched for relief, for safety… for hope. Suddenly out of nowhere (actually out of an old masonic temple) came the answer to our prayers…Doug DeLuca, Co-Executive Producer of Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He (and his assistant) ushered us into a series of hidden, dimly lit, underground passageways where the walls were lined with pictures of celebrities doing celerity things with other celebrities who are themselves doing celebrity things. After weaving in and out of corridors and back passageways we came to a large curtain. “What could be behind there?”, “What mysteries lie beyond?”, “I wonder if there is a bathroom back there”  we whispered to one another. Doug pulls back the curtain and reveals…the Jimmy Kimmel greenroom.

How does one describe the face of God? That is the level of beauty and brilliance we are dealing with here (or perhaps my eyes just weren’t adjusted properly coming from the dark hallways and I literally could not see…but I like to think it was because of the sheer awesomeness of the room).  This room had it all, a floor, a ceiling, walls, chairs, and couches….also a bar, billiards table, and arcade games.

Doug then presented us with his epic tale of love, heartbreak, football, and late night antics. He described to us how he started in the business as an extra on sets but how he left the glamorous world of 40 bucks a day to go into producing. His first major gig was being the Co-executive producer of The Man Show with Jimmy Kimmel and how once that show ended and Jimmy shifted to late night he stayed on at the exact same position. It may not be obvious the way it is described here, but it was made very clear that Jimmy takes care of his friends, which is what both he and Doug consider each other. The lesson drawn from this is not just to take care of your friends, but also to make friends and to want to work hard.

Doug, as well as many other people we met on the trip, have described the entertainment industry as an industry of relationships and hard work. Hard work usually leads to having good relationships with not just your bosses, but also with your fellow workers. Nobody wants to work with the jerk who slacks off or cuts corners; they want the very best. Both Doug and Patrick Friend (a field producer at Jimmy Kimmel and Villanova grad) told stories about working in late night TV and their experiences there, and they are great stories, but they never directly told us the true meaning behind what they were saying (which I have mentioned above). Every story they told, whether it was about quickly switching a filming location after a miscommunication, or fighting for a certain joke/bit to stay on the air, the under lying theme was that it was the trust and love that the crew and Jimmy have with each other, as well as the relationships outside of the crew let them solve these seemingly insurmountable problems.

Another member of the executive staff we met there, Jill Leidermen said much of the same thing. Though she regaled us with tales of her past, hip young guys who are now hip old guys who just want to work with people who know how to be cool, and pants she was ultimately telling the same stories as Doug and Patrick; it was her relationship with her superiors, and her extreme work ethic that got her through the day and from job to job.

At the end of the day we took away one major thing: to make it in the entertainment industry we must be willing to pound the pavement (as they are fond of saying out there) and be happy doing it, while not loosing sight of your end goals, no matter how fluid those destinations may seem.