Then, at 2:30. . . .

by 

Author : Theric Jepson

A couple of chairs, a couch–sometimes a studio audience, sometimes not–the business hasn’t really changed in the last thirty years. The main thing is smile, ask a bunch of dumb questions,a bunch of easy questions, laugh readily, let them promote what they’re here to promote–and if it’s all gone well, end with a question that will let their eyes well up with tears. And, if you’re really lucky, the polish will slough and the audience will glimpse a human being. The stars keep coming because they’re sure they’ll win. The ratings keep coming because those watching know sometimes they don’t.

Today it’s an old popstar waging a doomed comeback. She had a string of hits in the mid2020s, but I didn’t remember any of them until I was researching the interview. The only tolerable tune is “Ain’t Nuthin’ but the Other Girl” so she’ll enter to that; she’ll wave, blow kisses, do a 45-year-old’s hip wiggle, shake my hand, kiss my cheek, sit down, and cross her legs. I’ll say, Wow! Great to see you! and we’ll be off to the races.

We’ll talk about the good old days, the hits, the tours, the tabloid romance with Terry Flowers. I’ll be sure to get her to laughingly recall the brief trend in stage stripping, how the fans would fly their pocketdrones to the stage after the act left and steal everything from set lists to beer-bottle shards to used tissue to scraped-up sweat smears. Then we’ll be off to what’s she been up to these past–gee whiz, has it really been 17 years since “Maiden Romance”? And then we’ll discuss the impetus to tour again and how the kids are gonna miss mom so much. How many kids do you have again?

That’s an important one. I’ll wax sappy about my own kids, talk about how for our third kid we cloned my wife. Then we’ll swing back to the old days. See this water bottle? They don’t make them like this anymore! No cobalt-60 strip to tear apart viruses; hard to believe we used to live in such a DNA-coated world. You left this particular bottle onstage after a show in Toronto, July 13, 2026. During the stage strip, it was recovered by a bright pink drone owned by 18-year-old fan Dianna Puhr. I wonder if you would like to meet Dianna’s daughter?

Enter 18-year-old Suzan Puhr, dressed in a modern version of the get-up this once-star wore during her infamous command performance for President Martinez and Kim Jong-un (1,790,183,767 views and counting). The audience will gasp. Even the aging popstar will connect the dots.

And, dammit, she will cry.

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