Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mark lives in IKEA; I just help out

When I read about comedian Mark Malkoff's plan to live in IKEA in Paramus last week, I decided that I had to go see this spectacle for myself. So on Wednesday, I drove up to the store with no real plans to shop; I was just going to wander the displays until I came across his "apartment."

I didn't get far. At the top of the escalator I noticed a small film crew and figured another news team was there for a lighthearted feature. But before I barely had a foot on the tiled floor, I was stopped.

"Hey! Can you help me out?" a voice behind me said. "Go grab that chair over there -- My name's Mark, by the way. I'm living here for a week. I can't move from this spot, so I need you to grab that chair over there and push me back to my home."

I didn't really think twice about it. I walked over to the desk setup, grabbed the rolling office chair and went back to the escalator. Mark sat down and directed me through the store.

"So what brings you to IKEA today?" he asked.

Had I told him the truth -- that I was there to see him, curious about this weird endeavor -- I might've ruined the moment for him. He thought he'd stopped a regular customer at the top of the escalator and convinced him to push him through the store. So I took a truth out of context.

"We just bought a house in the area, so I'm looking for a few things," I answered, noticing that the cameraman was focusing on me, rather than a wide shot of both of us. That I had no intention of actually buying anything wasn't something I felt he needed to know.

After a few minutes, I got Mark back "home" -- we re-shot the ending so that the cameraman could get the angle from inside the bedroom -- and jumped on the bed, then toasted with sparkling apple juice. As I signed the release form to be in the video, Mark and the crew thanked me several times for helping them out, and Mark added, "I feel bad about that one couple. I think they were offended."

"They'll get over it," I said. "This is New Jersey."

"Anyway, thanks again," he said. "If there's any way I can help you out, you know, just let me know."

"I will," I said, "if I ever find myself living in a department store."

So you'll see me in the following video short. I'm at the end, bringing him "home."

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