Tonight features the return of the only two surviving scripted reality television shows in AMC‘s lineup. AMC canceled all the rest and only The Talking Dead and Comic Book Men survived the brutal slashing. It probably helps that both shows follow the incredibly popular The Walking Dead which generally shatters viewing number records every year. Tonight’s episode of Comic Book Men takes on even more Nerd Bastards significance with the appearance of Nerd Bastards’ Head-NB-In-Charge Luke Gallagher. How and what the hell is he doing on Comic Book Men tonight?
Here’s the scoop in Luke’s own words:
Being on Comic Book Men was a trip! A fun and unique experience – a good story to tell.
Buyer/seller shows like Pawn Stars and CBM make it look like customers come right off the street. Welcome to the secret of “reality television”. Anyone you see featured selling or buying an item is screened months in advance.
In my case, I had to email the AMC casting group with basic letter of interest – something along the lines of “Hi, I’m so and so, I got this unique item to sell and believe I have a good personality for TV.” Casting was interested and had me fill out formal application. Then I was to shoot a 5-10 audition tape detailing who I was, what item I was selling, how much I wanted to get for it and why I was selling it. Casting loved the audition (That really stoked my ego!) and had me move forward in the process. Which, required me to speak to multiple reps/producers from AMC Network explaining and re-explaining everything cited in my application and audition video, and to confirm my interest and availability to shoot without conflict. Each person telling me to “be big, very excited and genuine” with each new person you speak with. Redundant would be an understatement. But, when you think of all the fakes, and those who must flake on them last minute, it’s understandable that they want to secure genuine, excitable and reliable talent. After 3 weeks with a dozen emails and about 12 phone calls later, I got the final confirmation that I was to be cast on the show.
Here’s Luke’s audition video:
Here’s a closer look at those marvelous dolls… I MEAN ACTION FIGURES!
Did Luke end up making a deal? Which did he sell? You’ve gotta tune in tonight to find out, he won’t even tell me! Here are some interesting facts Luke learned from his experience on Comic Book Men that you may find surprising:
No, they do not pay you to be on this show. Being on TV is the reward. This is a transaction based experience. You negotiate price and sell or don’t sell your item.
Where Ming, Walt, Bryan and Mike sit/hang is not where the store does its daily transactions. The stores actual register is upfront next to the entrance. What you see is a back drop specifically set up for TV.
Prior to going into shop to sell your item, the production holds you in an off site warehouse (a block or so down from the shop) and have you sit in private cast holding area. They give you an unlimited supply of drinks and snacks while they make you wait 2-3 hours before filming.
That podcast recording studio where you see Walt, Mike, Bryan, Ming and Kevin talk about customers and topics, doesn’t actually exist. In the same warehouse where they hold casting, the recording studio is a set they build and take down every season. They don’t actually record a podcast, which explains why you don’t see it on Smith’s Smodcast website. I didn’t actually see it, they were in early stages of building it when I recorded my episode. What they do is fly Kevin out to record several tapped faux podcasts in span of a few days.
When they’re ready to film, the PAs whisk you down to the shop and make you wait outside the entrance. They record the shop guys talking about some topic of discussion before off camera crew signals customer (me) to open door and make way to their counter and initiate introduction.
The Comic Boom Men are really cool guys and are just like they are as you see them on TV. Between takes, they talk, discuss, debate and generally shoot the shit. Complete nerd talk all the way.
Yes, Walt, Ming, Mike and Bryan actually work at the shop. We’ll maybe not Bryan, but he definitely hangs out there. The shop is open to the public before and after filming TV scenes.
Was that detailed peek behind the Comic Book Men big curtain above a surprise to any of you? What can you expect this season? Here’s the official AMC Comic Book Men Season Four blurb:
Join Kevin, Walt, Bryan, Michael and Ming as they geek-out over rare pop culture memorabilia and welcome new friends to the Red Bank, NJ comic store including fanboy icons Billy Dee Williams (Star Wars), Adam West (“Batman”), Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters), Butch Patrick (Eddie Munster), Kevin Eastman (co-creator of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), and Walt’s personal hero, Gene Simmons of KISS.
Tune in tonight at midnight on AMC for the fourth season premiere.