Betty White Pens 'If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won't)'

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THE RED CARPET

Several times throughout this opus, I mention how much I love this business I'm in. And I mean every word of it.

But for all the things I enjoy about it, if ever I'm asked if there's something I don't like, the answer is a resounding Yes.

Red-carpet events.

Don't get me wrong. When I'm at home watching television, I love seeing who's there and what they're wearing. But when you're the walkee, it can be an absolute nightmare.

In real life, you step out of the car and immediately you're struck blind and deaf as you're greeted by a line of photographers armed with flash cameras and microphone- wielding television reporters, three deep, all shouting at you.

Betty!

Betty!

Over here!

Betty, look here!

Look up, Betty!

Mrs. Ludden! (They know that will get my attention!)

With all the flashing lights and the noise, you tend to lose your balance. All of a sudden, you're staggering and you're sure people are thinking, Oh, she's had a few! The lights are glaring and the noise is horrendous, but you try to be as polite as possible, because these aren't villains, they're just people trying to do their jobs.

Sometimes the function has somebody who takes you down the carpet. For instance, TV Land will send someone if the four of us are doing the event. But always, I also have Jeff walking behind me, at the edge of the media zone, off the red carpet. Riding shotgun, which I need.

Historically, premieres have always had these redcarpet events. But the process has taken on new proportions of late. Every event has a system of protocol, and the number of stars and reporters and photographers and media outlets just seems to grow and grow.

TYPECASTING

After more than thirty hours a week on live television for four years, there were those who thought of me as sickeningly sweet. They'd say, "She'll make your teeth fall out!" But if we met at a party, they would tell me, "Oh, you're not as bad as I thought you were!"

I was certainly typecast as icky sweet on Life with Elizabeth and even Hollywood on Television. But then Sue Ann Nivens came along and changed the whole picture.

It feels like everyone's there with a microphone. And I know a lot of them—we do interviews all through the year. So as you're stumbling around, you're trying to talk to all sorts of different people. Usually a representative from the project (whatever project it may be) guides you to various reporters along the way—likely, they mix and match us along the way, to be fair to all the outlets. But you can't really hear what they're saying, given all the noise, so you just keep talking and hope you're making some kind of sense. It's all seat-of-the-pants.

You can't resent it—it's a necessary evil to promote a project. It's a hazard one just has to get over. It's not my favorite part of my job. Have you noticed?

I would rather go to the dentist for a root canal.

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