Thursday, December 9, 2010

Politics? No clue.

From time to time over the past several years, I've  participated in a variety of focus groups here in Las Vegas.  This market research company sends me an email with a qualifying survey, and if I fit the profile they're looking for, they tell me when and where the group will be held.  I show up, give my opinion on stuff, and at the end of a couple of hours, they hand me anywhere from $75 to $200, sometimes more.  It's quick money and you know me, I value my own opinion so I'm especially happy to get paid to impart it.

So last week I got the query email and answered a bunch of questions about my political affiliations and how often I watch the news.  They said this was going to be a televised focus group and I'd get a hundred bucks if I'm selected to be one of the 25 participants. 

Well, I must have answered the questions right because they chose me.  As soon as I arrived last night in the ballroom in Mandalay Bay (where they were filming) and one of the guys running the thing asked me how I felt about Obama's recent tax blah-blah-blah, I knew I was in over my head. 

You know why I never address politics in this blog?  Because I don't know what the eff is going on.  But the other 24 people in the group are right on top of things.  And they're passionate about political stuff.  I started to panic a little; they warned us in the acceptance email that we wouldn't get paid if we don't participate in the discussion.  What intelligent contribution could I possibly make in a conversation about politics?  Years ago I had a line in my comedy that went, "I like Tony Blair, but he was a lot funnier when he was in Monty Python."  Let's just say I haven't progressed much since then.

After they sat us in three rows on the stage (thank God they put me in the back), they told us we were going to be televised live at 9:10 EST on some Hannity program on Fox News, and we'd be taping segments for future shows, one of which will air tonight.  Wait.  Live?  On Fox News?  I turned to the man sitting next to me and confided, "When I said I watch  CNN Headline News five times a week, I should have specified it's because of Joy Behar and Showbiz Tonight." 

Seriously.

As it turns out, I did come up with some inane shit to spout off whenever they put the mic in front of me, thus earning the promised hundred dollars. At one point, I lifted a line right from my book:  "You can't tell anybody anything; we're all talking just to hear the sound of our own voices."  I have a feeling that one won't be aired on national TV.

All in all, it was a fun experience.  And in a mere three hours I earned enough money to buy my entire Spring 2011 wardrobe at Ross.

14 comments:

Mimi said...

Good for you,Linda.
You know what, your words were probably the most sensible!
There are far too many "heads" and "experts" around, that's what has us in so much trouble. If countries were run like a well-run household, we'd be a lot better off!
As you can see, I value my own opinion too!

R. Jacob said...

Sigh...Fox News? Oh well, anything for a hundred dollars I always say!

Sue Larson said...

It's rumored FOX News is in need of a humor transplant, you actualy provided a public service. It reality ut sounds if you were their "token" levity and perhaps other POV contingent.

Julie said...

Ahahahaahha, OMG I can just see you there! How much cleavage was exposed?????????? Way to distract them from your political unawareness!

BobVDL said...

I will break my personal rule and watch some Fox news... for the cleavage and humor of course!

I Hate to Weight said...

i laughed too loud at work while reading this. i think Fox should do a follow-up, interviewing you exclusively.

MAFW said...

Were you having a good hair day?

Teresa said...

Well how cool is that! I'm with you Linda - I do not like to talk about Politics at all. But when you're friends are all Democrats and married to a devout Republican, I hear it all. Hannity is on the TV every night the hub is home. If I'm here - I hear cuz he has the volume on the highest decibel. So tonight I will actually wonder out of my office and watch the show. Just so I can point out to him "That is my friend Linda, the one who wrote Bastard Husband!" HA

Anonymous said...

Gee,Mandalay Bay has some of the best catering on the Vegas strip! Did you at least get to try some of their coffee & cookies? Or were they cheapskates & give each person the water bottle + pretzels/chips/popcorn?

Although I've participated in many paid surveys/focus groups over the years, I HAVE YET TO ACTUALLY TELL THE TRUTH! Heck, pretending to like country music wasn't too difficult at all to fake! Just familiarized myself with the top 10 songs on the country charts.

The way I see it is: 1)I need the money 2)Advertising has lied to me for years!

It's simple, really...all you gotta do is whatever they ask you, say "YES!" - whatever it is! Say YES & you do it often. Always say you are married & you own your own home, make at least $50,000 combined income. ('Cause unemployed or poor single people who rent are NOT their target demographics!)Always say you have cable tv, internet, cell phone, home phone,video games, etc. You can always fill in the blanks with the most popular brands & models when questioned. One thing you can't fake is the children because they always will want you to bring them in if it a child related study. If you are not married, but pretending to be (they will always ask his phone number for their data base questions for future studies.) always say he doesn't like to participate in surveys, but I do! Or maybe you can just bring in a male friend along for the fun! You can't fake your sex or your age as they always ask for photo id (but never a social security #) Sometimes the recruiters are under a lot of pressure to get participants in the door, they will help you answer the questions, so try to listen to what they want & be "receptive" to that. "Oh, now that I think about it, I do watch this show more than 6 times a week."

Just do a small amount of research for a 1/2 hr or so on the internet the night before,so you can anticipate the questions. If you aren't sure & don't know what to say, say,"I agree with what so & so just said." (Make sure you are not sitting at the very "start" or "end" of the conference table or aisle ...that way it gives you time to form an "opinion." They always want opinions that are good or bad...never in-between.

Whatever you do, don't arrive late! You may not get in! Sometimes they give a bonus prize of doubling your payment as an incentive to arrive early. Of course always be super polite & friendly to the staff. You always want to make a good impression or they won't ask you back for more studies. You will also be astounded at the complaining & grumbling that goes on from the other participants around you. What's the big deal? Be nice & easy-breezy because they are giving you easy money $$$! Once I even got an extra $25 because the research team was late & had equipment difficulties.

Sound like too much effort? Then kiss that $50 or $100 bill goodbye! But if you are up for the challenge & having a interesting evening, then paid focus groups are the ticket for you! Congratulations!

Mike Dennis said...

Linda--
I'm watching you on Fox News right this minute, and your hair looks perfect.

dle said...

I caught part of the FOX show last night purely by chance ...and you looked too cute, I never got to hear your comments but you did nod at the right time, and the hair and outfit were just right. But the girl in the front I would have smacked!

Anonymous said...

Nice job, LL. And don't worry about being educated on the issues before providing comment...most of those on the left have no problems with that ;-)

Eric

Learn, Laugh, Cook said...

That's why I adore you Linda.... I have no effing idea about Politics as well! The only thing I can tell you about the news is that Leslie Neilsen died recently. I'm so upset. And Shirley I am serious!

--Mandy

www.mandylifeafter30.com
www.learn-laugh-cook.blogspot.com

TaraDharma said...

is this guy kidding? He works and BREATHES for this kind of exciting television!

I also think political speak has always been like this -- remember Ben Franklin's comment after the constitutional convention? When asked if we had a monarchy or republic he replied, "A republic, if you can keep it." We've been debating and arguing ever since.

Though I disagree with your opinion on the flat tax, you are very photogenic and have great hair!! :-D Great job!