Welcome to the trauma vetting step of your reality show audition! If you’ve made it this far, it’s been determined that you’re either talented, hot, or the designated shit-sturrer of the season. Now, the next step of your “journey” is to indulge us producers in the most terrible moments of your life unprovoked so we can use it as dramatic material to boost ratings and make money off of you. Don’t worry, you’ll be making money, too! In the form of podcast appearances and off-brand facial cream sponsorships, but nevertheless!
What show are you auditioning for again? The singing one, the dancing one, or the dating one? Actually it doesn’t even matter, so let’s just jump into it, okay? First we’re gonna start off with an exercise where when I count to three, you think of the most intimate, private and traumatizing moment of your life and then tell it to me, a perfect stranger. Here, I’ll go first so you can get a good example of what it’s supposed to feel like. 1…2…3. “Hi, my name is Robbie and when I was only five years old, I witnessed my neighbor being murdered and I’ve never been the same since! It keeps me up at night!” See? Easy-peasy! For yours, I’ll be taking extensive notes, filming you, all while keeping unblinking eye contact with you to show you I’m listening, but don’t think too much of it! So whenever you’re ready, spill your guts.
Okay, cut. I’m gonna be real with you, the dead grandma thing is a bit tired, and you look a little uncomfy here. Don’t worry, everyone feels that way their first season. If it makes you feel any better, let me say that there’s no sob story I haven’t heard before. Alcoholic mother? Check. Bullied? I’ve only heard that one about a thousand times. Cancer? Yawn. See? Doesn’t that make you feel more relaxed? By the time you do your first spin-off, you’ll be talking about your father’s abandonment of your family like I just asked you what you had for breakfast this morning. It’ll be awesome!
You’re going to have to trust me here. We’re going to give you all the emotional manipulation tools you need to be successful on this show and beyond, but first we’re going to need a lot more out of you, bud. That’s why you really need to ramp up the depressing shit. Here’s some options if you’re still bouncing ideas: You can talk about a dead parent, a childhood disease, or even a weird uncle. Just say something! Remember this when we’re filming your confessional: the more we pry, the more you cry. Winning a reality show isn’t about being the prettiest, strongest, or most talented, it’s about which contestant pulls America’s heartstrings the most. And if you have to lie a little bit to elevate the sob, go for it. We have dozens of dead grandmas. Pick something original! Tell us, how bad do you want to win?
Still not willing to give us the sad stuff here, huh? I can make you a star if you let me. And I’m not talking Brad Pitt, that’s absolutely ridiculous. I’m talking Snooki-level famous! Baby, in three years, you’re going to be selling a Cameo for $25 a piece. Why do you think we had you say “Happy 22nd Birthday Sarah!” as your audition tape? Plus, I hope you’re a good dancer, because in five years, you’re going to cha-cha-slide your way onto Dancing with the Stars! So remember, even if you don’t find the love of your life or whatever on this show, don’t worry, you will find yourself in a place you never even imagined – the C-List.
Alright, well, you seem pale and upset now. You’re an ugly crier, too, so you’ll definitely end up a meme! I think we’ve got all the information we need. And, I assure you we’ll be using all of this out of context when this airs. Thank you so much for signing away your life to us!
Daniel Stillman & Emily Kapp are Chicago-based comedy writers. Their work has appeared in The Onion, McSweeney’s, Robot Butt, Little Old Lady and more. You can read more of Daniel’s work here and Emily’s work here. Follow Daniel on Twitter @stillmania and Emily @emilykapp_.