All I knew about the gig I would be auditioning for were a few scraps of information that my agent Barbara had told me over the phone. It was a commercial for a beer company. Dos Equis, a Mexican brand that ironically needed a boost in the Latino market, was looking for a new spokesman. What specifically were they looking for?

    “They want a Hemingway kind of guy,” Barbara said. “That’s you!”

    Was there any script to read?

    “They want improv,” she said. “You can do any kind of monologue you want, but you have to end with the line, ‘And that’s how I arm-wrested Fidel Castro,’” she said.

    I couldn’t believe the size of the crowd that was milling outside. The line of actors backed up around the block, perhaps 400 or 500 of them. Too much competition. I turned back to the truck and heard Barbara’s voice in my head: “You left without trying? You never know if you don’t try.”

    So I turned around. All the actors around me were far younger, and Latino. Naturally, the advertising agency and production company would want a Latino to play the lead. This isn’t worth the time, I thought. All these guys look like they are going to play Juan Valdez. I’m a Jewish guy from the Bronx.


    There are many lessons in my fantastic journey. As I approach my eighth decade, with more fans and adulation than I could ever deserve, I can say with certainty that to be interesting you have to be interested. You can watch the parade that is life—and live vicariously through others, as many do—or you can get in and participate in your own journey. And the best time to go for broke is when you’re already there.

posted by wasoxygen: 170 days ago