15 Apr The day Jim Button replaced the Mayor
We do a fun segment on DKL called Show and Tell – and it’s exactly what you think it would be if you can remember elementary school.
We bring out a table on stage with something on it that is covered with a cloth. Music plays. I introduce a surprise guest, then the guest walks out, pulls off the cloth to reveal something they have decided to show and tell us about – and they talk about it. It’s been a great way to find out about people you thought you knew, or a way to get introduced to people you’ve never met.
And the plan for DKL6 was for Mayor Nenshi to do Show and Tell. We’d talked about it, planned it, figured out a great thing for him to talk about, and I was pumped that it had come together.
He was going to be out east the week before, but he would be back for the show. Perfect.
It’s not like there were any storms in February out east, right?
He was snowed in on Sunday. No problem. The show is Wednesday.
He was snowed in on Monday. Still no problem. The show is Wednesday. How much snow could there be, right?
Tuesday afternoon I get a call. Now it’s serious. He is trying to get here, he is even looking at driving to another city and another airport.
Tuesday evening I get a call. He can’t make it. There is no way out. He is not going to be here for the show.
It’s 10pm and we have lost the Mayor. And the show is tomorrow.
So we go on full alert, all hands on deck, everyone is on Replace-The-Mayor detail.
It’s me, Mike McKeown, the exec producer of the show, Jason Filiatrault, the head writer and Jim Button, the guy who is on stage with me and who knows everyone. We are all calling, texting, DMing, faxing, everything – trying to get someone awesome and interesting, and most importantly, available for the next day. But it’s late and no one is responding.
Jim finally says, “Let’s wait until tomorrow and see if anyone answers.”
I say, “Jim, the show is tomorrow.”
“Don’t worry. Don’t worry.”
I call Mike and tell him I’m a bit panicked. He’s cracked open the scotch.
But there’s nothing we can do. So we wait. Try to sleep.
I woke up the next day and still nothing. Ok, not just nothing. Lots of, “I’d love to but I just can’t do it this time…”
I call Jim. He’s still calm. “Something will turn up. Oh, and by the way, I’m at the brewery and won’t get there till just before the show.”
By this time, we’re at the theatre and setting up for the show. Me, Mike and Jason stand on the stage with technicians running around doing technician things. Then Amy, our Production Manager, comes up and asks, “Hey, is it true the Mayor’s not coming?”
“Who is doing Show and Tell?”
We don’t know yet.
“Wow. Ok. Hey, is Jim around? I have a question for him.”
And then we look at each other. Jim. He’d be perfect. He’s got great stories. He’s on stage during the show – so we know he’s available. Yes. I call him.
“Jim. We solved it.”
“Perfect. Who did you find?”
“No, I haven’t found anyone. I thought you did.”
There was a pause.
“Are you nuts? I’m at work! I don’t have anything to show! And I don’t even know what I’d show if I had something! No! Not a chance!!”
“Sorry Jim. It’s decided. You’re doing it. So come up with something.”
“You can’t make me.”
“I know I can’t. But this is what I can do. I’m the host. So when it comes time to introduce the segment, I’m going to make a big deal out of how awesome our special guest is this time.. And then I’m going to introduce you. At that point, you do whatever you want.”
“You’re a jerk.”
“You’ll be awesome. I can’t wait.”
And I hung up. And I was confident. Because even though it was a last minute deal, this is what I know about Jim. Jim is solid. Jim has a heart the size of Calgary. Jim Button knows everyone and everyone knows Jim Button – and the reason they know him isn’t because he has massive wealth or incredible looks (certainly not that, I mean, look at the guy). They know him because he is a good guy, he loves to make connections, and he makes everyone feel better about themselves when they are around him.
And I know Jim. He’s not going to do a Show and Tell about how awesome he is, or about his accomplishments or achievements. If I know Jim, it would be about the people he cares about. I had faith in Jim Button.
And two hours later – that’s exactly what happened. And he was truly awesome.
But don’t take my word for it – watch his Show and Tell.