by AK - September 4, 2013
Wednesday Afternoon Bedtime Story: Brooke Daniels stars as Sam Break-your-stones.
I was not Brooke’s producer. I did not work directly with her. But I was there, and had some interaction with her. But mostly, I saw the carnage left behind as she chewed her way through producer after producer…. You’ll have to talk to one of them for more specifics or for confirmation of this stuff… But here’s what I remember..
In January 1997, Brooke Daniels came to what was left of WIOD. Paxson had already purchased, we were already in the new digs in Hollywood. We’re told she’d been taken lured away from North Carolina where she’d been wildly successful. She was jewish, bawdy, and outspoken.
“Great,” I though.. “Randi 2, BrookeDaniels BoogaLoo”
So she starts her shows off at night I think, then gets moved around to different slots and different times and her show is lengthened, and shortened, and finally it’s down to 2 hours noon to two. More of that Harry Valentine and Walter Sabo brain trust ideas of tweaking things every 4 minutes based on what some douchebag filled out on a card.
Brooke was… how should I say this delicately? Ok ok.. I know..it’s a joke… When have I been delicate before on these stories?
Brooke was a ball buster of cosmic proportions. She mowed through producers faster than she could laugh that dolphin-esque cackle of hers. AH-ah-ah-ah-ah-Ahhhhh. “The Piercer”, “Fajita”, and several others all pulled out their hair and curled up in the fetal position at the end of each day. No phone calls? Producer’s fault. Topic didn’t work? Producer’s fault. CD didn’t play? Producer’s fault. Ratings suck? Producer’s fault. Diet isn’t working? Producer’s fault. Can’t find a man? Producer’s fault. It got to the point, and I know this because I was the executive producer responsible for scheduling.. That nobody… I mean NO-BODY wanted that shift. Even the part timers who worked 29 hours per week for 5 bucks an hour didn’t want that full time job. I offered the gig to someone once and their response was “I think I’ll wait until the next time a full time gig comes around…skip me this time”.
Every producer felt like Tom Arnold must have for 5 hours a day.. Forced to work for an overweight nagging, demanding, screaming banshee for just a little bit of money.
See, Brooke, unfortunately (and I say that with the most sincere look on my puss) was no Randi.
Randi took me in. And when things were good, I got some credit where it was due. And when things were bad, she had me share some of the blame if it was warranted. If she wanted me to try something differently, she asked. And if she wanted me to change something, she asked. She may have very well “M-F”-ed me behind my back thinking I wasn’t doing enough, but she NEVER EVER laid into me like I was one of her employees. We were BOTH employed by the same company, working together for the same goal.. But Brooke? Brooke made sure you felt as though you worked for Sam Breakstone in those old cottage cheese commercials… barking orders and yelling at people like they belonged to her.
Here’s another way she wasn’t, despite the billing as, Randi. Sure, she was a Jew-ess, and had a New Yorker accent.. But that was about it. Randi came from humble beginnings, spent time in the Army, lived in some shady situations and was, sorry for saying it Randi.. Kinda low rent back then. Her crass trailerparkish attitude combined with the jew-ess loud mouth neurotic New Yorker is what made her amusing.. And Brooke was no Randi. Brooke was just another loudmouth bossy middle aged jewish lady. She was just like every single resident of Del Boca Vista. Randi was off the wall, bat shit crazy at times, but always fun…and sometimes funny. Brooke was like every lady my mom had over to play mahjong. 2 crack, 3 bam. Oy vey. I’d have nightmares of being in my footy pajamas banished to the den while a bunch of jewey yentas guzzled diet side and ate chips and dip while I listened through the door at the sounds of tiles sliding around, silly mundane whispered gossip about who’s “getting’ a pool next summah” or who’s kid “is going to the community college if the fawl” between fits of yelling out “MAHJONG!” and cackling laughter… but I digress, with a shiver….
One day Brooke has someone fill in for her ‘cuz she had to go to the hospital or something the night before… she’d received massive burns from a home accident. If I remember correctly, I think she’d burned the snot out of her hand on super hot wax during some kind of home waxing accident or someth….o god.. I just vomited a little in my mouth as my brain started thinking ahead of itself while I wrote that… I’ll stop there about what happened.. But needless to say for a week or so after she returned, her had was bandaged in gauze like she had a mummy hand. She had to have help with EVERYTHING. And for a day or 3, everyone was so nice.. But after a few days or so, without any really great treatment back, people starting thinkin’ “ok, WTF am I being nice for?” and the niceness started ceasing. And Brooke whined and biatches every day for help carrying crap to her car, or loading up the computer or hell, probably wiping her ass.
She met a man (who I though was a little light in the loafers if you ask me..) who seemed really really nice.. And kind.. And seemed to like her? I think? She referred to him as Pookie on the air (hurrrrrl) and he allegedly got her pregnant. ? Yeah..it’s still really hard to imagine.
Thankfully, I wasn’t there a ton.. I was with Rick and Suds and we were either on in Mornings way earlier than she was there, or in afternoons hours after her.. So we didn’t see each other regularly.. But I did have to see the carnage daily, talking with the producers. And for their sake, and the audience’s, I was not disappointed when she left. I don’t know where she went.. I’d heard she’d dropped out of radio and was a realtor or something, but never heard of or from her again.
About a decade later, I’m working in DownTown Fort Lauderdale… and I step outside for a smoke.. And out of nowhere… from high above in a skyscraper I hear that “ah-ah-ah-ah-AH-AH-ah-Ah-AH-ah” laugh rain down on me… I look up, trying to see where it was coming from… consider yelling out “BROOKE!” to see who looks over the balcony… and think better of it, and go to the other side of the building to smoke.
← Radio Stories