John Butugley is the latest winner on American Idol. Afflicted with a rare skin disease which causes warts all over his face, John has been shunned all his life. He was once referred to as 'The ugliest man on earth'. However, he has a fantastic singing voice.
Ken: "So, John, if I may ask, what was it like growing being so, er, unattractive.
John: Please, after you. Didn't I see you in a furniture commercial - 'no way, no how'(laughs).
Ken: Well, uh, I didn't mean to offend you or anything.
John: Surprisingly, looking repulsive has its advantages. It's like the parting of the Red Sea when I walk down the street - no one gets in my way. I never wait in line anywhere - just go to the front. People always shy away and let me in.
Ken: Since you won American Idol, your success has been amazing - your CD is already a huge success, maybe the best seller ever. You have book deals. You were on the Jay Leno show, it just goes on and on. What, in your opinion, is the secret to success in life?
John: Talent, plain and simple. Beauty is skin-deep, talent is the real deal. Find out what you are good at, obsess over it, work, work, work at it until you are one of the best. The world is your oyster. One caveat though.
Ken: What's that?
John: You want to focus on something that has no social value. Entertainment, sports, that kind of thing. You can be the best teacher in the world, nobody cares. But that's old news.
Ken. Yeah, that's kind of stating the obvious. What about things like being nice, doing things for other people, you know. Stuff like that.
John: Not really relevant, sorry to say. I tried being nice. Once tried to help an old lady across the street. She freaked out, screamed, ran in front of a car and got hit. Sued me.
Save somebody's life, you get 15 minutes of fame, and it's back to the unemployment line.
Ken: Wait just a minute. Unselfishness, charity, goodness: These are the core teachings of all the great religions. They are the talking points at people's funerals. How can you say they have no value?
John: I thought we were talking about how to be a success in THIS life. What you do in the after life is your business. I'm just saying that, here in the U.S of A., goodness is a check that is very hard to cash until you're dead. And then, of course, you don't need the money.
Talent, on the other hand, is negotiable almost everywhere. If you got talent it actually HELPS to be ugly, different, old or something. You stand out from the crowd.
Ken: Sounds a little cynical. Anyway, I saw the you-tube video of your Idol performance. Lots of tears were shed. People were very moved.
John: Actually a handful of people were vomiting, but they didn't show that on the cameras. Mostly it was tears, though. People get all choked up when an ugly person has talent. They could care less about you if you don't. I haven't done much good in my life, but I can hit the high notes. That's what counts.
Ken: Wow, I see what you mean.
John: Remember what I told you about going to the front of the line at the supermarket? I sing. People cry. I check out. Simple as that.
Ken: So, looks really don't matter, talent does. As you pointed out, being a nice person isn't too important either.
John: Actually, having talent kind of liberates you from having to be 'nice'. Mohammed Ali, great example. Wrote insipid verse about how great he was, insulted his opponents, never said anything 'nice'. People loved him though, because he had talent. He knew how to hurt people, and could avoid being hurt himself. See what I mean? A talent with no social value, that's the key. He's worshipped all over the world now. Great example for the kids to follow!!
Or John McEnroe. One of the rudest, most obnoxious people I ever saw on a tennis court. Still making hay with those rent-a-car commercials. One of my favorites.
Mel Gibson, Serena Williams, I could go on and on. You don't even have to be polite or civil. You can just totally disrespect people. It's liberating.
Ken: Wow, you got me going now. I'd love to hear you sing 'My Way' - that's my favorite song!
So tell me about life in the fast lane. What's it like?
John: You have something magic going for you - entitlement. Since you have risen above the crowd, you are not like everyone else, so you can make demands, have anything you want. For female stars, it can be something like taking over a whole hotel when you are in town - whining about the thread count in your sheets. Whatever you want.
Jay Leno has lots of expensive cars, for example. The 'cribs' people have - oh my god! Bowling alleys in the basement, 30 TVS, entire floors of video games, the sky's the limit.
Ken: Isn't all that stuff wasteful and bad for the environment?
John: Obviously not their problem. Hello! They are entitled.
Ken: Wait a second. We all put our pants on the same way, don't we?
John: Let me put it to you this way. I pull my pants down to take a crap, I have a whole entourage to wipe my ass. What about you?
Ken: Ok, Ok, I get the point.
John: But there are limits to what you can do.
Ken: How so?
John: Well, you can't molest 13 year old girls - whoops, my bad. Forgot about Roman Polansky. In general, with sex, you have to be a little discreet. The masses are prone to be jealous. They can turn on you in a heartbeat, as Tiger found out.
Ken: So, how is your love life, by the way?
John: Never been better, I gotta tell you. For the first time in my life, women are seeing beneath the surface and appreciating the 'real me'. They love me for who I really am. That's what talent does for you - turns you a 'real' person.
Ken: That's heartwarming. It kind of reinforces your faith in humanity - it does mine anyway. Well, I just received word from you aid that your private jet is waiting … Thanks so much for your valuable time!!