Guess Who(‘s Back)

What a mug

Guess who? It’s me, Joe! You know, Joe. Bottom row, third from the right. With my snazzy red glasses I’m the Sally Jessie Raphael to Susan’s Joan Rivers. You might be wondering what I’ve been up to all these years. Well let me tell you. I will always be grateful for my time in the bottom row at Guess Who. It opened up a lot of doors for me and put me in a lot of rec rooms. But it had its drawbacks as well. I never fully adjusted to the shock of being clicked down on my face when I wasn’t the one they were looking for. It also bothered me that sometimes even when I was the one they were looking for, they seemed disappointed to find old Joe, like I was being judged for not being Maria or Bernard. What would Maria have gotten you, smart guy? Huh? A pretty face and another wrong guess, that’s what! I’m Joe! I deserve respect too, damn it.

Like I said, I was lucky to get the gig. It did pigeonhole me a bit. I a callback for Don’t Wake Daddy, which was nice, and I made it into an early version of Mystery Date. As the dweeb, I should add, but a gig’s a gig. The land of matching and guessing based games was my golden handcuffs. I couldn’t break out. My agent pitched me as a trainer character in Hungry Hungry Hippos but that got shot down quickly. I look rather rakish in houndstooth so I made a run at Clue, but I didn’t get past my initial read. Nobody bought me as a soldier, so GI Joe was out.

Eventually the gigs dried up. Kids grew up, got e-learning pads, and didn’t need us as memory tools anymore. I always say that I didn’t leave the industry, the industry left me. I tried to get into commercial work but it just wasn’t to be. I lost out to Sonic to be the face of the Genesis. I was told I didn’t have enough ‘tude, You know Ben Stiller stole my look for Zoolander, right? Take a gander at those pursed lips up there and tell me that isn’t Blue Steel. But anyway. I moved away from acting eventually, got my computer science certification from ITT Tech, and currently I’m doing IT work for an accounting firm in San Bernadino. It’s not a bad life. I miss some of my fellow Guess Whovians on occasion. Bill and David are married now. They run a cafe in Provincetown, MA. Claire overdosed. You wouldn’t think it to look at her, but she got very into cocaine when the Guess Who money was flowing in, and after an injury on the set it became prescription drugs. I miss her. Robert is a Senator now. Ted Cruz, believe it or not! Apparently Robert was a stage name. We’ve scattered like the four winds, but man were those some good times.

I’d give anything to have them back. Speaking of, have you heard anything about a potential movie? A re-issue? I’ve still got the chops, I swear it. I can prove it to you. Who do you know? Here, take my headshot, just in case. Yeah of course I still have the red glasses, they’re my trademark. You gotta get me out of San Bernadino! I belong on-stage. Please! Wait, don’t leave!

John Bilancini is a stand up comedian and comedy writer based in Brooklyn, NY. You can follow him on Twitter here. Also check out his weekly TV pilot podcast, Small Screen Casualties, here.