Michael Writes Comedy

Official Website of Comedy Writer and Television Producer Michael James Nelson

That One Time J. Lo Saved My Life A story about the time Jennifer Lopez walked up to me in a moment of need, gave me hope, and how I returned the favor.

How Jennifer Lopez saved comedy writer and producer Michael James Nelson's life (Warning: looking at this image for too long will make you feel high)
How Jennifer Lopez saved comedy writer and producer Michael James Nelson's life (Warning: looking at this image for too long will make you feel high)

Should’ve Never

“Never be unkind to strangers for it may come back to bite you in the ass,” said someone probably of stature who I’m not going to look up right now because it’s just too much, you guys. Seriously. And yes, it would be very easy for me to just drag my mouse over to open the web browser and start typing but come on, you guys. It’s been a rough one. Kay? Theeenks.

Many years ago, I was a kid who graduated college, left Florida, and found myself standing in the middle of Hollywood, California. Look, I can toss out fancy words to describe how scared I was at the time or maybe I should peruse a thesaurus for some random synonyms to make you think I’m some sort of scholar. But, to keep it plain and simple, the fact of the matter is that I was just plain… SCARED SHITLESS.

I grew up as an extremely shy kid in Maitland, Florida with a fanny pack full of learning disabilities and an absolute terror for interacting with strangers. But all of a sudden, I’m in fight-or-flight mode, clawing my way through the entertainment capital of the world, trying to figure out who the hell I am and what I’m capable of doing. Nothing in life prepared me for that situation. It’s being dropped in a metropolis full of millions of the most creative and motivated people in the world when the most thrilling thing you’ve ever done was arrive ten minutes late to your shift at the Maitland Public Library. Shout out to the Dewey Decimal system.

From small library in Maitland, Florida...
To the second most populous city in the United States! - Photo by Cedric Letsch on Unsplash

A Very J. Lo Moment In My Life

After a month of scrambling to find a place to live, I landed a job as an office assistant at a major production company. It was a huge place that produced television shows and feature films. Yes, it’s exactly what you’re imagining. A sea of inflated egos bouncing off each other, speaking in showbusiness shorthand, spouting off pitches like, “So, it’s Fight Club meets Animal Planet. It’d be called, Fight Cub.”

Fight Cub - In theaters never.
Fight Cub - In theaters never.

The job description was simple: do what you’re told. That covered everything from making sure an executive had their precious wheatgrass shot every morning to assisting the accountants with paperwork. After months of hitching rides, my mom helped me ship the old car I drove in high school and college out to California. I’ll never forget the night that old hunk of metal rolled off a flatbed truck with downtown Los Angeles glistening in the distance. It was a wonderful juxtaposition.

Thousands of incandescent office lights encased by pristine glass skyscrapers, a modern marvel of mankind, serving as the backdrop to my 1997 Green Dodge Neon rolling onto the pavement. Her chasey creaked and flakes of rust fell to the pavement as she rolled onto the pavement. The company employee brought her to a stop, but not before the brakes screeched their discontent. The sound was reminiscent of a dragon’s screech before the Khaleesi ordered it to bake the army below.

The Queen herself, my 1997 Dodge Neon.

Always Dodge A Neon

My 1997 Dodge Neon had some serious mileage on her. One day I’ll write about my misadventures in that green bubble on wheels, but what you need to know right now is that the ol’ gal was on her last wheel. She sputtered at acceleration, backfired, and any speed over 60 was accompanied by violent vibration and the failure of certain electronics. Lots of fun. The ladies loved it. At one point I came to a complete stop at a red light but watched one of her hubcaps continue through the intersection. That hubcap had a smoother ride than my nightmare Neon ever had.

One time I had to go to a major studio to pick up two executives and bring them back to the office. Oh, the look on their faces when I pulled up in that green hunk of glory to ferry them across Tensiletown is something I’ll never forget. As they squeezed into my tiny John Deer-looking mode of transportation, I could tell they were desperately trying to pinpoint the moment in their lives they took a big wrong turn that led them to my car. They were high-profile television executives climbing into an Uber Shit.

Looking for the cheapest Uber option? Then you should try Uber Shit! A sketch by GG & Mike
Watch the Uber Shit sketch in the Video section of Michael Writes Comedy!

My J. Lo-est Moment

Life continued with me driving around Hollywood in my Green Dodge Neon which started to backfire more often. It was pretty depressing and I have to admit, it started weighing on me. I was driving around glitzy Hollywood in a car whose blue book value was probably listed as, “Ha, good luck!” Plus, I was so broke I could only afford gas station hotdogs for lunch and dinner. That’s no joke. Negative thoughts were swirling around in my head like sharks around wounded prey. 

I started to constantly question my move out to Hollywood, and each backfire was like a countdown to my final exit. Mentally, I was preparing for the move back home and possible employment at the Maitland Public Library. Maybe they would overlook the ten-minute tardiness? Man, I was so low. I was so depressed. I was so ready to head back to Florida. But then I met her…

Photo by Sanju Pandita on Unsplash
"No, you guys. Just stop. I want the man in the 1997 Dodge Neon," said not this woman or any woman in the history of the universe (including all alternate realities). - Photo by Sanju Pandita on Unsplash

All I Wanted Was A Stop-And-Chat

It was a Friday and the weighted blanket that is depression was draped over my shoulders. I was headed down the highway, commanding the USS Piece of Shit through LA traffic, on my way to drop off episode cuts to a major studio. My car’s structural integrity was tested as the security guard raised the gate and I drove over an unforgiving speed bump. The crunching noise the car made was music to a junkyard’s ears. I feel like the guard watched me with sympathetic eyes as he anticipated opening the gate within the hour for a summoned tow truck.

Dressed in one of my best outfits at the time, which I believe was a pair of crisp jeans and a collared shirt from Walmart, I walked the halls of the office building, passing out DVDs to the appropriate executive assistants. It’s something I had done a hundred times before, but on that particular day, I was really feeling it. I was so sad. So checked-out. So going through the motions. I was retracting. But then I spotted them. It was the two executives I mentioned earlier who took the ride of their lives in my green bubble of regret. They were walking down the hallway, coming right toward me. Beyond shuttling them around in my shit sled that one time, I had run personal errands for the both of them. I was integrated into their daily lives at that point. I was thinking that they would know who I was and most definitely perform a “stop and chat.”  That was not the case.

When they approached, I stopped to say hello and those two looked at me like I was the vagrant I once feared becoming. They immediately picked up their pace and streaked right past me. I was devastated. I stood there and watched as they continued down the long hallway, disappearing around the corner. At that point, I had had it with Hollywood. I was done. What did I need from them? I don’t know! Maybe just a hello! How are you? Thank you for all your hard work. Thanks for helping my spouse move houses the other day. Something. Anything. Not nothing! I was a wounded animal that needed help. And yes, maybe they were traumatized from my car nightmare but come on, you live in the Hollywood Hills and drive luxury cars! You can live on the edge sometimes! Right?

A couple celebrates being in a financial position where they don’t have to drive a 1997 Green Dodge Neon. - Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash
A couple celebrates being in a financial position where they don’t have to drive a 1997 Green Dodge Neon. - Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

After that, I shuffled down the hall, chin to chest, deep in a Charlie Brown impersonation. I was so deep in my head. I shuffled deep into the elevator and a couple of guys in suits stepped in after me. Usually, I’d see who it was, hoping it was some big-shot network executive I could introduce myself to, but at that point, I didn’t care. None of it mattered anymore. The doors shut and the elevator started its journey down and I just stood in the corner, eyes on the floor. I was kind of like the guy you see in the last shot of the Blair Witch Project standing in the corner of the old shed. Except he was in a better place.

J. Lo Show Me Your Halo

A couple of floors down, the elevator stopped and the Men’s Warehouse guys got out and other people entered the elevator but I didn’t care. I tucked into the corner but kept my gaze downward. That’s when a gentle hand rested on my shoulder and the sweetest voice asked, “Are you okay?” I looked up and there she was… Jennifer Lopez.

I was speechless. I had forgotten language. I was dead silent but Jennifer Lopez could hear the hurt in my eyes. She smiled and said, “It’s going to be okay. You’re going to be okay.” Jenny From the Block then turned and walked out of the elevator with her entourage in tow. I just couldn’t find the words. I searched my brain for them but it would just return zero results. I couldn’t even find the thoughts. I was frozen as the doors closed to the floor I was also supposed to get off on and the elevator lowered into the building’s basement. What had just happened??? Seconds later, the doors opened to a group of people who were kind of taken aback to be suddenly staring at a guy in shellshock, standing in the middle of the elevator, dressed by Walmart.

An AI generated image of Jennifer Lopez being depicted as the angel she is. This is not up for debate.
An AI generated image of Jennifer Lopez being the angel she is. If you dissagree, you can go to hell. This is not up for debate.

I left that elevator in much better spirits. And the further I got away from the building, the more it set in that I had just shared a real moment with the Queen of Dance! Everything was going to be okay! I was going to be okay because Jennifer Lopez, one of the biggest stars in the world, stopped her life to look me in the eyes and tell me it’s going to be okay! I was in such a great mood that even as I plopped down into my Dodge Neon, I completely forgot that I was plopping down into a Dodge Neon. The backfires now sounded like fireworks celebrating my fantastic life. 

As I pulled out of the lot and the security guard lifted the gate, I looked at him with sympathetic eyes, anticipating his sad past, present, and future without sharing a wonderful moment with an angel known as Jennifer Lopez. Sucker! Beep! Beep!

The Reward

J. Lo was so amazing. No idea if she remembers that moment, but I certainly do and I appreciate it. After that day, I would continue driving around Hollywood, eventually buying a brand-new car, moving into my own place, living a life, and building a career in television. Oh yeah, and I did sell that Neon for 500 bucks on Craigslist. To the man who bought it, I salute you, kind sir, and wish you, “Ha, good luck!”

I’ve always wanted to pay J. Lo back for that wonderful moment and I actually got the chance in 2013 when I was a writer on the VMAs in Brooklyn, New York. As a staff writer, one of my jobs was to meet with the celebrities and go over their lines and do any rewrites before they went on stage. I didn’t get to work with her, but Jennifer Lopez was there. At one point, I think I was either working with The Rock or Jimmy Kimmel when J. Lo entered the backstage area unbeknownst to me and took a seat behind me. That is when I, Michael James Nelson, paid Jennifer Lopez back for the kindness she showed me all those years ago. How did I pay her back?

As Jennifer Lopez sat there, waiting to go onstage, she looked forward, spotted me, and got a long look at my ass. YES. Jennifer Lopez, one of the most beautiful women in the world, known for a rump so glorious it has its own insurance policy, found muy pleasure gazing at my backside. A backside that never lacks coverage. Don’t believe me? Here’s an image a backstage camera caught of that very moment…

Jennifer Lopez (far left) takes a nice long look at Michael James Nelson's assets (bottom... right corner) backstage at the 2013 MTV VMAs in Brooklyn, New York.
Jennifer Lopez (far left) takes a nice long look at Michael James Nelson's assets (bottom... right corner) backstage at the 2013 MTV VMAs in Brooklyn, New York.

“Never be unkind to strangers for it may come back to bite you in the ass.” Well, on that day, Jennifer Lopez’s kindness to a stranger came back to reward her with the sight of my ass.

You’re welcome, Jennifer Lopez. You are welcome.

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