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When Losing a Job Turns Personal

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When Losing a Job Turns Personal


When Losing a Job Turns Personal

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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ED GORDON, host:

Commentator Kevin R. Free smells something fishy in Tinseltown. He says jobs are drying up and employers are even more heartless than usual. In times like these, he says he's only looking out for number one.

Mr. KEVIN R. FREE (Actor, New York City): I'm feeling dizzy, ya'll. People are losing jobs all over the entertainment world, and speculation is running rampant as to why.

Let's start with me. Recently, I was offered a Broadway national tour that would have changed my career: or at least my tax bracket, okay? I told everyone in my life about my awesome new job. I think I even told some strangers who looked like they wanted to know. Then, like a cruel joke, four days later the company rescinded their offer, saying it had all been a terrible mistake.

My manager received an apology, but I didn't, and no one has told either of us why it had to happen that way. I've made up so many reasons for it that my head is spinning.

In the same week, Star Jones Reynolds was ousted from The View because she announced her departure from the show two days before she was supposed to. There was a lot of public truth-telling about this situation. Star, plastering a smile on her face, cast herself as victim on Larry King Live. Known for telling it like it T-I-S on The View, she said that she would never dog Ms. Walters because she is not that kind of woman.

What? Since when?

And don't get me started with Barbara WaWa(ph). Seriously now. She fired Star in November, didn't tell Star she'd been fired until April, told her when she could announce that she was leaving and then blasted her, live, for telling the truth about being fired. Rosie O'Donnell, beware. You are not allowed to tell the truth on The View.

And Comedy Central has decided now to air the final episodes of Chappelle's Show, which don't include Dave Chappell. They're calling them the Lost Episodes. A perplexing title, considering that they were never lost, and therefore, never found.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I'll bet Chappelle Show fans have not been looking for any episodes without Dave. Dave needs to tell the folks at Comedy Central that he is definitely not coming back. And his so-called friends need to stop speculating publicly about his mental state.

I had to break all of this down for myself. I didn't get that national tour because they didn't want to work with me. Star got fired because ABC didn't want to work with her anymore. And I can't really say that I blame them. Dave Chappelle left his show because he didn't want to do it anymore. These things happen all the time. We're all in show business - it's a fair bet that we all understand disappointment.

But I should never have received that offer. Star Jones Reynolds should have been fired as soon as ABC knew that they weren't going to renew her contract. And it seems to me that Comedy Central should be airing repeats - like they do during all their other hours - and not the Lost Episodes. And maybe Dave should be more forthcoming about why he left the show.

Now this is not a discussion about the nature of truth. This is a discussion of how everyone tries to spin the truth so that they seem sympathetic and everyone else looks unjust. If there's any moral or lesson that I want you, dear listener, to learn - it's that the only innocent victim in any of these situations is me.

GORDON: Kevin R. Free is an actor and career coach living in New York City.

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