Ed Asner is My New Boyfriend
Written by
Dani Alpert
March 2012
Written by
Dani Alpert
March 2012

A five, six, seven, eight:
“now what you hear is not a test--i'm rappin to the beat
and me, the groove, and my friends are gonna try to move your feet
see i am wonder mike and i like to say hello
to the black, to the white, the red, and the brown, the purple and yellow”

That’s right, The Girlfriend Mom got her rap on with THE Wonder Mike and Master Gee, from the original Sugarhill Gang Saturday night. I was the Production Coordinator for The Garden State Film Festival and da boys were the subject of a documentary that we screened, called, I Want My Name Back. Due to some unsavory characters and unethical practices, the band lost the right to use their own names, as well as the name of the band, The Sugarhill Gang, back in the 70’s. A real tragic story.


When the documentary ended, the band, which now includes Hendogg, DJ T Dynasty and Da Noize, performed. About 50 or so white women, in their 30's and 40's, much like myself, went ape shit when they started singing their smash hit, "Rapper's Delight".

“ya go hotel motel whatcha gonna do today (say what)
ya say im gonna get a fly girl gonna get some spankin
drive off in a def oj
everybody go, hotel motel holiday inn
say if your girl starts actin up, then you take her friend”

I should have asked them what an oj was. No mind. A good time was had by all.

The concert was off the hook, but the real fun was having Mr. Lou Grant himself, Mr. Ed Asner, introduce the documentary. Mr. Asner was at the festival to receive a Lifetime Achievement award. I don’t know who came up with the idea, but Mr. Asner agreed to say a few words before the screening.

I acted as stage manager for the night and got to wear a headset. I’m pretty sure I became an Equity stage manager (one of my many illustrious careers), for the headset. The same could be said for working on movie sets. “Copy that. Coffee is flying in.” That device reeks of importance.

Mr. Asner and his lovely daughter, Liza (with a Z), arrived backstage, and there was the crotchety and loveable newspaper man in the flesh. He is truly adorable. While I waited for my cue to call Mr. Asner out on stage, I took the opportunity to meet the man, the myth, the voice of the old guy from the movie, “Up”.


The following is a verbatim account of my conversation. I don’t know if it was the peanut butter M&M’s that I inhaled an hour earlier, or the excitement of wearing a headset, but I was hopped up and suffered from diarrhea of the mouth. On the upside, at 83 years old, Mr. Asner is funny, gruff, humble and approachable. Just like me.

ME: Hi, Mr. Asner, I’m Dani. I’m coordinating the festival.
He grabs my hand.
ED: Hello there.
ME: It’s such a pleasure to have you here.
Still holding my hand.
ED: It’s a pleasure to be had.
ME: I think it’s great and funny that you’re introducing the Sugarhill Gang’s movie.
ED: Funny? How so?
ME: Well, it’s bringing two different worlds and cultures together and...
He lets go of my hand, smiles and furrows his brow.
ME: It’s a great juxtaposition. You know what I mean.
ED: What’s your last name?
ME: Alpert
ED: Are you Yiddishkeit?
I hoped he was asking because of the sassy, and funny way that I was talking to him, and not my frizzy hair.
ME: Yes I am. And thanks for asking. (No idea what I meant by that)
ED: Ah.
ME: Why?You’re not Jewish. Are you?
ED: What do you think? Argh, come on.
This is when I regretted not doing a full background check. Not only is he Jewish, but he was raised Orthodox. I forgot to be embarrassment because I was on such a sugar and Sugarhill Gang high.
ME: I don’t remember you being in Adam Sandler’s song.
ED: Yeah, I lost money on that.
ME: Are you excited about doing "Home Alone 5"?
He was flying to Canada after the festival to film.
ED: Eh, it's only one day of shooting.
ME: Do you think you'll do any more animation?
ED: If they want me.
ME: I loved "Up"...
And here's where the sugar really kicks in.
ED: Yeah, it was a sweet movie.
ME: No, I mean, it was so touching. And you were so funny. 
Ed's just nodding at this point.
ME: It really tugged at the heart strings.
I place my hands gently over my heart.
ME: It really made me cry. (awkward pause) Okay, well, you get it.
We both took a breath.
ME: Well, I’ll leave you to ‘An Actor Prepares”.
Theater reference to a famous acting book by Stanislavski.
ED: What do I need to prepare?
ME: So true. Just go out there and be yourself.
ED: You mean be humble.
ME: You’re Ed Asner. Just be Ed Asner, that’s enough.
ED: Okay, now get away from me.

And with that, me, my headset and my mouth, walked away.

At the awards dinner the following night, I brought my boyfriend over to Mr. Ed Asner’s table, so he could meet him. I leaned over his shoulder, watching him sign autographs.
ME: Excuse me, Mr. Asner, remember me, from last night, backstage.
He looked up and again furrowed his brow.
ED: You had your hair up last night. It looks much better down. Don’t ever put it up again.
He shook my boyfriend’s hand.
ED: Nice catch but keep her hair down. Now get away from me.

And with that, me, my boyfriend and my long and luxurious hair walked away.

Let's be friends

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