It’s always a trip when you turn on the TV and see someone you know. Always. It never gets old. At least, not for me. So imagine my surprise when I turned on American Idol (the auditions, of course) and saw Larry Platt performing an original song, “Pants on the Ground.” Larry motherf*ckin’ Platt. That’s what I thought to myself. That’s right, I know that dude.
Okay, so I don’t really know him, but I met him. A few years ago, I was working with this awesome company, StoryCorps, which set out to capture the oral history of America by recording 40 minute interviews of regular folk. They also had a few special initiatives, the first being the “Griot” initiative, which focused specifically on the stories of African- Americans during the Civil Rights movement.
Insert, Larry Platt.
While stationed in Atlanta, Mr. Platt would come to be interviewed EVERY SINGLE DAY. We weren’t supposed to interview people more than once, but Larry insisted. See, he felt like he had been robbed of his credit by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He would rant on and on about the contributions he made during the movement and fighting in the war, and how thh figurehead of Dr. King, overshadowed all of the hard work the brave “foot soldiers” were doing. He then tried to coerce us to play his interviews on the radio (NPR would play clips of the most unique interviews.)
Did I believe Mr. Platt? Sure. Not hard to believe that there were hundreds of overlooked cogs in the King machine. Did I think Mr. Platt was in search of a giant (enormous) pat on the back…and maybe some fame? Absolutely.
And now he has it. Fame. “Pants on the Ground” is a national phenomena. He even performed it on The View. And I smile with joy, and discomfort, only because I know as much as the country loves him, they are laughing at him (…lookin’ like a fool...) and that in a week he’ll be catapulted into William Hung world, and forgotten again.
But for now, eat it up Larry. You’re a star.