Welcome to Stew Corner. Every so often podcast celebrity Stew will grace us with his presence and share a story from his complicated, often adventurous, past — Shawn DePasquale, Editor-In-Chief
The Secret Service Hates Me Forever; Here’s Why…
By Stew Miller
The following is a true account as to why Bunny Ears will never get to have President Barack Obama as a guest…
In 2010 I was performing in a show called “The Ride.” The idea of it, new at the time, was that a futuristic bus would ride around midtown Manhattan linked into the minds of all New Yorkers. Because it was so “advanced,” the bus knew what was going to happen with each individual on the street and would converse with the “scientists” (hosts) and the audience, who watched from inside the bus in stadium style seating.
My bit was that as the Ride was introducing itself it pointed me out on the street. I was to ignore it completely, always keeping my left ear out of view, which held the earpiece that communicated my cues. When the Ride told the audience that I was going to take something off, I would nonchalantly remove my hat. The Ride would then say that that wasn’t all and at the appropriate time, I would remove my wig, revealing my bald scalp. The Ride would then inform the audience that I wasn’t done yet and my suit pants, secretly tear away, would be removed revealing a pair of “I heart NY” boxer shorts and a matching pair of “I heart NY” socks, with sock suspenders. The gag seemed to go over with our test audience and, but for my wallet and phone always flying out of my pockets as my pants were removed, it was a complete success.
The night before our opening, the producers approached me with a change in the script. My location needed to change to another part of town. They handed me a phone-turned-walkie-talkie so I could communicate with the performer ahead of me. Before leaving, I stashed my wallet and personal phone in my locker and made my trek East to my new location.
As I came upon 56th and 6th there was a massive amount of people gathered across the street. It didn’t take me long to realize why. There was a UN meeting that would be hosting both President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton and it suddenly occurred to me that I was right across the street from their hotel. Admittedly, I was excited, as this would be the first time I would ever see a president in person. As a motorcade pulled up I waited with anticipation. I waited a little longer. Nothing happened and it was clear that something was wrong.
It was at this moment, waiting with fevered excitement, that I noted at the corner of my eye a police officer standing next to me.
“Funny,” I thought, “You know if anybody looked suspicious here it would have to be me-“
Before that thought could be completed, my front view was blocked by three men in suits that were on me.
“Who are you, what is your purpose here?” the questions flew at me, I couldn’t tell you from whom.
“Uh,” I stammered, “there’s this bus,” my mind all over the place, “-and my pants fly off.”
“Okay, okay, okay,” the one in the middle said, attempting to calm me down a bit. “What is your name?” I told him my name. He asked me my address. I told him my address. He asked to see some ID.
“Agh!” I started, half laughing, half horrified. “I don’t have my wallet, it’s back at our headquarters.”
“Is there anyone you can call to verify your being on this show?” He asked me. My hands went over my face, exasperated.
“My phone is also at headquarters, I didn’t want to lose it when my pants flew off,” I said. “The only thing I have on me is a walkie-talkie phone that can call the performer ahead of me.”
“What is your Social Security number?” the one on my left asked. I told him. “Okay, so you’re originally from Virginia,” he replied.
“No, I’m originally from Ohio,” I said, a little perplexed at his mistake.
“That was the right answer,” he said after a short pause.
“Run it,” said the one in the middle. The guy on the left departed. “Okay, Mr. Miller, my colleague is going to verify the information you gave us. If anything comes up untrue, I’m going to arrest you. At this time, I’m going to search you, is that okay?”
“You’re the Secret Service,” I said, “you do whatever you need to do.” They turned me around and had me place my hands on a wall that was about three feet off the ground, leaving me slightly hunched over. The man searching me hadn’t been too far before his hands found my torso and the earpiece box wrapped around it. He asked me what it was, but was less interested in my answer and more interested in following the apparatus up to my earpiece.
“He’s wired!” he said into his wrist.
“Wait,” I replied, making sure not to take my hands off the wall, “that sounds really bad when you say it.”
As I turned my head towards him, his fingers brushed through my wig, knocking it and my hat off my head and onto the ground. His colleague leaned over to pick up both as he continued his search. When he got to my waist his hands made enough of a thrust in between the buttons of the tear away pants that the top button came undone, and the weight of the walkie-talkie, slowly, pulled down my pants, button by button, until they came to rest at my ankle. So the scene has a cop to my right with a Secret Service man holding my wig and hat, while another Secret Service man has his hands on my waist, with me bent over and a big “I heart NY” on my ass.
They handed me back my stuff. The agent who had been searching me told me that I was to put a two-block radius between him and me or he would have me arrested. He told me that if I were lying at all they would find me and have me arrested. I quipped that it was too bad I didn’t have my phone, as I would love to get a picture with them.
“Sir,” he looked at me stone cold, “we don’t take pictures.”
“Of course,” I replied, “you’re the Secret Service.” I took my clothes and did as I was told. I can only speculate as to the file I must now have with the Secret Service that undoubtedly prevents me from ever meeting the President. Throughout the incident, to the best of my knowledge, he never got out of the motorcade.