THE EMMYS — A DOCTOR’S POINT OF VIEW
I was surprised to be nominated for an Emmy. It’s not really something a doctor ever thinks they would or should be nominated for, and I was initially reluctant to go to the awards ceremony in Los Angeles. I tend to find ceremonies like these — in the entertainment industry — rather self-congratulatory. The people who deserve awards and recognition are practicing nurses, doctors, social workers, soldiers, firemen, policemen, paramedics, teachers and so on; not people who put themselves in front of a screen. But my parents encouraged me to go, saying something equivalent of YOLO, so off I went.
Saturday April 30th 2015. NYC →Los Angeles
After a fairly painless journey from NYC to LA with the wonderful and pregnant Dr. Oz Show producer, Jessica, I shed my responsibility as her bag carrier and chief bottle washer and head to Hertz. Being in LA I had obviously booked an American muscle car — a convertible Ford Mustang.
I have brought my triathlon bicycle from NYC, and after looking like a total buffoon trying to jam my massive bike bag into the tiny sports car boot for close to half an hour, I drive to the Goldman’s apartment in Brentwood. I met Dr. Josh Goldman when I was in medical school. I came out to LA to do a Family Medicine rotation at UCLA, and he was one of the residents (junior doctors for the English folks reading this). At 33, he’s now an Assistant Professor of Sports Medicine at UCLA, and married to the most wonderful (and beautiful) radiation oncologist, Dr. Kelly Goldman. He also has an MBA, and runs his own company, Electric Flight Crew, a fitness club that has taken LA by storm. Kelly, even younger than Josh, is an attending (consultant) physician at Kaiser’s radiation oncology department in LA — one of the most difficult specialties to get into, and one of the most sought after organizations to work for. To top it all off, they look like celebrities. I mean could this couple be any more perfect? Just look at them:
They live in a superb two bedroom apartment which is within walking distance of a Whole Foods Supermarket and a bunch of other shops — a rarity in LA where most people have to drive for miles in traffic just to buy mundane things like loo roll and tooth paste.
Josh and Kelly are away at a country music festival so I spend the evening with the co-founder of Electric Flight Crew, Jono Patterson, a great guy who knows Josh from university, and a slick and successful operator. We go to various trendy places in Santa Monica like Bungalow, an open-air bar near the water, and Boa for dinner, where I meet Jono’s lovely girlfriend Taryn. After one too many tequilas, I call it a night.
Sunday May 1st 2016 — Los Angeles. Day of The Emmys.
In the morning I drive to the Westin Bonaventure Hotel to pick up my Emmy ticket. Parking anywhere in downtown Los Angeles is either a nightmare, expensive, or both. The hotel is enormous and preparations are well under way, including setting up of the all important red carpet.
All of the other producers: Jessica, Ali, Nicole and Lisa, are staying in a hotel near the Emmys, and they have been having hair and makeup done since 10 a.m. The girls assure me 5 hours is a perfectly acceptable amount of time to have one’s hair and makeup done. I decide to go to the Santa Monica Swim Center for some laps instead. At 2 p.m. I get out of the pool and head home to shower and think about brushing my hair for the event.
I arrive at the Emmys and it’s abuzz with beautiful people: soap stars, daytime TV hosts, the producers I work with who all look stunning, and of course, Dr. Oz himself. Several shots are taken of me on the red carpet standing by myself which all look horrendous. Then Dr. Oz casually shows up, takes me to the center of the red carpet with all of the other celebrities, one photo is taken, and it comes out pretty well. It’s the Dr. Oz effect:
After meeting several people who everyone says I should know because they’re famous soap stars (a bit of an oxymoron if you ask me), we all head inside for the award ceremony. The hall is enormous. There must be over 100 tables each seating about 20 people. I’m sat with the other producers from The Dr. Oz Show, as well as some people from UniVision, the Spanish speaking broadcast channel.
The ceremony starts with a couple of characters from Sesame Street hosting — much better than regular human hosts — and multiple Emmys are given out before it comes to our category. We have been nominated for Outstanding Talk Show/Informative. We are up against other shows like Larry King Now, The Chew, The Doctors, and The Kitchen. The producers I work with think we are going to win, but being a Brit and slightly pessimistic, I’m not as confident. We wait for the announcement: “And the Emmy goes to…The….Chew”. It’s sad for me to see the faces of disappointment of the other producers who have worked so hard, and for many years longer than I have at The Dr. Oz Show.
The silver lining is that Dr. Oz wins the category for Best Host. He was up against people like Larry King and Steve Harvey. I’m very happy for him, and for us as a consolation. He and the executive producers ask us to come up on stage to receive the award with him, which was a nice gesture.
Lots of photos are taken, followed by the post ceremony banquet, which is excellent. The other producers — all of them straight — for some reason want to go to a gay bar. I’m pretty exhausted and still a bit hung over from the night before, so I stay for a couple of more drinks at the Emmys, and then call it a night.
Monday May 2nd 2016 — Los Angeles
I do a 12 or so mile run from Brentwood, to Santa Monica Pier, and along the promenade where I used to run every evening when I lived in Santa Monica for a month in medical school. The weather always seems to be lovely in Los Angeles. I snap a few shots of familiar places, and then run back to Brentwood.
In the afternoon, Cheryl Crowly, Dr. Oz’s PR person has kindly arranged for us to go back stage for Jimmy Kimmel Live, a satirical night time TV Show on which Dr. Oz is a guest today. I pick up the lady producers proudly in the Mustang and drive them to the studio. Dr. Oz does a great job in his interview — very funny and informative — and Jimmy Kimmel is clearly a seasoned professional at hosting. Dr. Oz greets us afterwards backstage, and insists that the Jimmy Kimmel team provides us with more Jimmy Kimmel “swag” — t-shirts etc. with the show name on them. The girls take all of the t-shirts, and I’m left with a coffee cup — the price you pay for chivalry.
After the show, Flo Rida (a famous American rapper) is doing a concert outside with Florida Georgia Line, described as “an American bro-country duo”. It’s a total bonus that we are allowed backstage for this too, and then I get to meet the man himself:
I call him Mr. Rida, which I think might be a first for him, we exchange a few words, and then the ladies and I walk to the Chinese Theater to be massive tourists and look at all of the hand a feet imprints in the concrete. I had to snap one with my man Michael Caine:
I drive the ladies to their dinner spot, which they have kindly invited me to, but I already have dinner plans with Josh and Jono.
I have dinner with Josh and Jono at a great spot they have chosen called Bandera. They started a fitness group called Electric Flight Crew a couple of years ago in Los Angeles as a way of getting young likeminded people together to exercise, and then have a beer afterwards to meet and socialize. They coined the term “no-shower-happy-hour” which is, as the name suggests, a happy hour immediately after the run or circuit workout that they put on for the group. It’s unlike any other fitness group that I’ve ever heard of in the world, in that it properly incorporates a social aspect into fitness. If you look at any gym, or Soul Cycle, or Barry’s Boot Camp: you go there, work out, and then go home. With this, you actually get to know the people you are working out with, and people have met some of their best friends doing it. It’s a fantastic concept, and has gained a lot of traction on the west coast, with several hundred members. After helping Jono with the first two pop-up Electric Flight Crew events in NYC, they have asked me to be New York’s site leader, which involves running the organization in New York. Burgers, beer, then bed.
Tuesday May 3rd 2016 — Los Angeles
I drive to my favorite lunch spot in LA, Urth Café in Santa Monica for lunch and then back to the Santa Monica Swim Center to do a 2.4 mile practice swim for the IronMan I’m doing in about a month. I get chatting to another (female) triathlete who is a social worker at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles. She is lovely and I think that I’ve met the woman of my dreams — triathlete, social worker, beautiful, funny — the works — only to find out that she is engaged.
I head to West Hollywood, or WeHo as they call it in LA, for my first taste of an Electric Flight Crew (EFC) meet up on the West Coast. We meet at a restaurant/bar called Barney’s Beanery. About 40 people are there with their EFC hats, tops, bags, etc. They are all young professionals, in their 20s and 30s, all in great shape, all chipper, and generally just a great bunch of people. Josh arranges it so that there is one site leader, and several captains who run the workouts. We huddle in a circle at the beginning, and everyone introduces themselves, says how they heard about EFC, and says what they are looking forward to in the month of May before one captain, named Hart, gives a great motivational Speech about Socrates three sieves: (in summary), a man once ran up to Socrates, wanting to tell him something, but before he did, Socrates asked him first if what he was going to tell him were true (first sieve), second if it were good (second sieve), and third if it were useful (third sieve). If it’s none of those things, then he didn’t want to hear about it. It’s quite a good way to avoid gossip, irrelevant information, and misinformation today. This is the group:
Josh gives a medical/sports tip about the benefits of stretching before we jog to a local park a short distance away. Josh has arranged several stations for circuit workouts and we are split into three groups. It’s extremely well run and fun. The no-shower-happy-hour is superb as well. I meet many interesting people, including another English girl who is a medical student doing a rotation in LA in her last year of med school, in exactly the same way I had done three years earlier.
Wednesday May 4th 2016 — Los a Angeles
Having slogged my bike all the way from NYC, I decided I had better use it. Hart, one of the team captains from the night before and fellow IronMan, had kindly given me the low down on the best routes in LA. I throw my bike in the back of the Mustang, and drive north along the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) to Pepperdine University. The PCH is generally too busy and dangerous to cycle along before you get into Malibu. I cycle 40 miles north in the direction of a town called Oxnard. This is what most of the views look like:
After 40 miles and a quick stop at a random store that sold nothing but nuts, I cycle back. My journey back is uneventful, until about 3 miles from the finish when I hear and feel my tires go over something on the road. Then my back wheel starts making a strange sound and it’s more difficult to cycle — I’ve got a puncture. I take the back wheel off and go through the annoying process of replacing the flat. I start pumping air with the portable pump into the new tube that I was carrying with me. All is going well until that tire suddenly burst as I was pumping it up. Now I’m really stuck. I’m 3 miles away from the finish, in cycling shoes that you can’t walk or run in, on the Pacific Coast Highway, with nothing but cars whizzing by me. I ask a local who was waiting in his car if there was any way I could get to Pepperdine University from where I was and he informs me that I’ve managed to stop right in front of a bus stop which could drop me right there. Brilliant. A bus comes in about two minutes. I only have a credit card, but the jovial bus driver kindly lets me ride for free. He also gets out of the bus and shows me how to use the bike rack. I can’t imagine this happening in NYC.
I get back without any time to shower before my second introduction to an Electric Flight Crew event in LA. This time it’s in Santa Monica. We meet at a bar called The Otheroom. This time there are close to 70 people, with about six captains who lead the different pace running groups. Same deal as the last EFC meet up: introductions, motivational speech, sports/running tip.
Then we split up pace groups for either at 3.5 mile or 5 mile run. I reluctantly do the 7 minute mile pace group for 5 miles with Josh. I had just eaten an entire teriyaki chicken bowl, so it wasn’t the most comfortable run of my life.
I meet more interesting young professionals at the no shower happy hour afterwards. There are about six other doctors, lawyers, TV hosts and presenters, and myriad other professions.
Thursday May 5th 2016 — Los Angeles -> NYC
Bittersweet goodbye to the Goldmans. What wonderful hosts. I give them some champagne and craft beers as a thank you, as well as a replacement to-go coffee cup that I had mistakenly destroyed when I ran the dishwasher and the lid fell onto the heating element and completely melted.
I’m sad to leave Brentwood and the Goldmans, but as I drive to LAX, I’m also happy to be returning to NYC, and looking forward to not having to drive everywhere, every day.