On Friday, November 19th 2009, I was on my way to LA for a wedding when the Doctor Oz show came on.
When I realized it was the show about bedbugs, I prepared myself for my first appearance on television in front of 5 million viewers
The day it happened, this guy in a three piece suit picked me up in a gigantic SUV with tinted windows at my apartment in Queens.
He took me to 30 rock (you know, where they film all the big tv shows). I was greeted by a P.A. who treated me like king baby (the way they always treat the talent). I told him I work in the biz too (I was a former PA myself and now working in props and set dressing), so he doesn’t need to hold my hand.
They put me in a dressing room across from Rosie O’Donnel’s
Craft services left me lots of free snacks (which is also funny because I used to be a crafty in the biz too!)
a packed fridge.
The show started off with Dini, who’s the bedbugs expert. We became BFF’s that day.
At the time, we both thought Dr. Oz was kinda hot for an older dude.
(This was before we realized Dr. Oz is full of shit.)
They started off by interviewing people in the audience about bed bugs. One lady was like “I ain’t worried. Only dirty people get them bugs.” Then they brought out a bunch of experts and had a scary bug backdrop behind them, then proceeded to try to scare the shit out of everyone.
Then after all that, they brought out me. Now, I’m a comedian and storyteller, so I went into how bedbugs made me crazy and told some great details. I even provided the producers with some great photos of just how insane those fucking bugs made me.
When I first got bedbugs, I bagged everything I owned, which wan’t much, and everything the owner of my apartment had, which was a lot. I was subletting and basically living among someone else’s stuff. I took apart everything the bugs might be living in, and put vasoline and poison like the internet told me to. Don’t ever use the internet as a guide for something you should pay an exterminator to do.
My life revolved around bags for the three months. Bags in the living room
Bags in the bedroom
bags in the kitchen.
The only things that weren’t in bags, I kept in the bathtub.
The mountain of bags created the perfect conditions for a great game
I played peek-a-boo with my bags! Doctor Oz used this photo behind me on the show.
Since I threw all my furniture away in a panic, I turned the bags into a new comfy couch.
I also searched for bedbugs with my headlamp because I’m a climber and insane.
I even thought there were bedbugs in the guitar.
So that went in a bag too!
King of the bed bug bag mountain!
I also started a guerilla warfare on my flat because the internet told me to. I tried to move my bed away from the wall so bugs couldn’t crawl up to me, but it kinda fell apart in the process. I found out later bugs are not dumb. They just climb the wall and fall on you from the ceiling. One night I almost fell through the bed because you really shouldn’t take it apart to put vasoline on it.
Again, I obsessively searched for bedbugs with my headlamp.
Getting down from my collapsing bunk bed was the scariest part (I didn’t use the bed ladder any more because I thought my bed should be an island. Again, this was so dumb because for bugs, getting to you is life or death. They aren’t deterred by this “island” theory the internet told me about.
I hardly ever sleep, but I did take a lot of naps throughout the day in my kitchen, thinking bugs won’t go in there. Again, I don’t understand how bugs think.
Look at that… I taped a garbage bag to the damn chair, as if that helps.
The internet also told me to put things in the freezer to kill the bugs. So, that’s where i started to keep my books!
I also bought some useless “bedbug powder” from the hardware store and covered my room and bed in that. I even put in on my body sometimes because why not? It’s just poison, right?
The internet also told me to put double sided tape on my bed along with the vasoline.
Of course, none of that worked, and my landlord’s Cousin Vinny enterminator (I’m not even joking) was worthless. He knew nothing about bedbugs. One day, I found a card on my truck that said this:
I loved this giant mouse on his ad, so I called him. He explained my rights as a tennent in NYC and told me to withold rent and make this asshat pay that way. So I did. When he and the crew came over, he said, “You poor thing. You look like you haven’t slept in months.” I assured him I hadn’t. This dude had the compassion and heroism of a goddamn firefighter. Way more helpful than Cousin Vinny who gave zero fucks. These guys couldn’t believe what I had done to my room
“What the hell? This looks like some kind of voo-doo witchcraft you got going on here!”
“I just did what the internet told me to do.”
He said the internet is full of advice from people who don’t want to pay exterminators.
When he started sprarying my place, I asked if he would literally spray everything. “I mean, if it means you’ll sleep at night, I’ll spray whatever you want.”
This stuff is poison but who cares! I need sleep.
Obviously this was a joke, but that’s what I loved about these dude. They were all about fun photos. They were like the Ghostbusters but even better.
They even let me play with their spray gun and kill these motherfuckers myself.
We took fun family photos on the stairs before they left because that’s the kind of guys they are. They even nicknamed me “vasoline.” For real, every time I called the owner with a problem, he’d answer “Yo, Vasoline! What is it now?” He had me programmed into his phone as Vasoline and we’re friends on facebook now.
I told them I’m narcoleptic and they were fascinated by it, so we even took joke photos about that.
I also have this thing where I pretend to fight with people so they did that too.
So, this was a pretty cool story, no? Well Doctor Oz didn’t think so! During the interview he kept squeezing my hand every time I went into my story to shut me up and he made dumb jokes whenever I was trying to be funny to one up me. He was a real prick.
Before this show aired, i told my family to set their VCR’s (they still had those!). They were expecting this big deal right? But the interview was fast…
He’s talking and then they keep cutting out my answers to him talking more.
Like, even TV Melanie is annoyed by him in the moment
So THEN, after all of maybe 2 minutes, my segment ends. My parents text me “What was that? You didn’t even speak.” I emailed the producers and they were like “Yeah sorry, you were too funny, so we cut most your interview.”
By the way, at the end of the show, they played a trick on that lady in the audience who said bed bugs is only for dirty people. They asked her again how she felt and she was like “I still don’t think this is something I need to worry about.” Dr Oz goes, “Then what is thiiiiiiis?” She saw a bug on her shoulder and screamed. It was fake. The show planted a fake bug on this lady’s shoulder. I no longer hated her for judging bed bug people. I hated this f’n show.
I got a ride home in a hybrid Lexus btw.
And my driver was super hot.
I ended up getting bed bugs THREE more times in NYC. Like, once every couple years a new person would move into the flat downstairs or upstairs and bring these fuckers with them. But Alex saved the day every time and nipped that shit in the bud right away.
If you or someone you know has bedbugs, call these guys. And make sure you tell them Vasoline sent you!