There are worst things than being named "Guy" and now that I'm grown, I appreciate the name, but when I was a kid it was a pain. People usually didn't hear it right ("Scott?" "Todd?" "Sky?" "God?") and when they did, their response was often "Hi Guy!"
The inspiration for this catchphrase was a series of commercials for Right Guard deodorant starring one of the funniest men in the world, Chuck McCann. McCann has worked with everyone from Steve Allen to Tim Conway to Peter Falk to Bob Newhart. He sailed on the "Love Boat" and went for a spin in "Knight Rider," pounded a gavel in "Boston Legal" and voiced countless Saturday morning cartoon characters and TV commercials. One of my favorite Chuck McCann bits is where he does dead-on imitations of Laurel and Hardy.
In the Seventies though, he was the Guy on the Other Side of the Mirror. A poor schnook named Guy would open his medicine cabinet, and there, from the apartment next door, would be Chuck McCann saying: "Hi Guy!" Chuck would invariably steal Guy's Right Guard, and the hang-dog Guy would turn to his off-screen wife and nasally yell, "Mona!"
I heard "Hi Guy" all through high school and college. I still hear it occasionally when I'm introduced to someone of the right age.
It was the last thing I was thinking of when I went into a diner on Ventura Boulevard for a cup of coffee. As I stood at the register, I turned and saw Chuck McCann sitting in a booth typing on a laptop.
"Chuck McCann!" I blurted. I walked over and shook his hand and introduced myself, "I'm Guy Nicolucci, I'm a comedy writer and a big fan of yours."
"Hi Guy," Chuck said, then paused, beaming. "Hey, I used to say that a lot."
"I know. It tormented me as a kid. I heard it all the time."
"I'm sorry about that." Chuck said. Then he looked at me and smiled wall to wall. "Do you have a phone on you?"
"Turn on the video and I'll say it for you."
I did. And he did.
It was one of the happiest moments of my life.