By Ben Fogler
As the writer’s strike rages on, it occurs to me that I haven’t seen a penny of compensation for my Milking Cat articles. Hmmmm.
Hi, I’m Ben Fogler. As a non-union writer, actor, model, and notary public looking to make my lucky break in the big city, I have immense empathy for the members of the entertainment industry. Daily these brave soldiers have been picketing for their unalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Or something.
In all seriousness, we have to realize that most of the people in Hollywood aren’t superstars with hit TV shows and movies like me, Angelina Jolie, Chris Pratt, or Jeffrey Dahmer. They’re just up-and-coming actors and writers who can’t afford to pay their rent because the studios are BANANAS!
It’s also important to consider that they’re not the only ones affected by the strikes: crew members on the sets where production has come to a grinding halt are now losing their healthcare benefits. So to help pay for their needs, the Union Solidarity Coalition has started a makeshift auction, with items ranging from autographs to cool meetups with your favorite celebrities.
I am particularly intrigued by the latter. And while I do think some of the celebrity experiences they’re selling are genius (I have my eye on the “Natasha Lyonne helps you with your crossword,” if anyone reading this needs a birthday gift for me and has several thousand dollars lying around), there’s definitely room for improvement. That’s where I come in. My contribution to the cause will be a gift far more valuable than simply bidding my money. I want to aid the union, and I’m going to do that by offering some helpful ideas for other auctionable items, ones that are sure to rake in the big bucks.
Item #1: The Cast of Jordan Peele’s Us will stand and hold hands outside the home of your ex
We’re starting off strong here. As any therapist will tell you, there’s nothing like a little revenge to heal the wounds of a bad breakup. And best believe, this purchase is sure to cause quite a stir. Red, the leader of The Tethered, can even sit your ex down and give him the monologue in that oh-so soothing voice of hers: “Once… upon a time…there was Jake, and Jake had a girlfriend. Ashleigh. The two were connected…” you get the picture.
Item #2: Oprah Winfrey will do an exclusive tell-all interview with you, Harry and Meghan style
Ever wanted to open up about your trauma to the entire world? Oprah has you covered. She will listen, she will agree, and she will ask all the right questions. If bids go above 10,000 dollars, Oprah will even throw in some iconic quotable moments for TikTok. Just give the signal, and she’ll hit you with the “Were you silent, or were you silenced?” And you’ll be like, “Oprah, let me tell you, I was silenced.”
Item #3: Doctors Terry Dubrow and Paul Nassif of E! television series Botched will reach out to beautiful people you are jealous of asking them if they’d like to be on the show
I think this is hilarious. Gorgeous human beings (myself included) have gotten away with far too much for far too long. Let’s take them down a peg! The letter would obviously be phrased politely, but the real message would be, “Oh, you thought you were Bella Hadid? Actually, you’re serving Donatella Versace.” And okay, it’s a little mean, but think of it as a funny practical joke. Then it’s less mean. Plus, if you explain to them why they actually got scouted, it’s sort of a compliment. And also, if they agree to be on the show, you’ve just gifted them their star turn. So actually, it’s a really sweet gesture of love and admiration. They should be thanking you.
Item #4: Gwyneth Paltrow will send you a candle, custom-scented with your you-know-what
I have so many ideas for Gwyneth that this article could just have been “Things Gwyneth Paltrow Could Do for the Union Solidarity Auction,” but I’ve narrowed it down to my favorite.
Now, Gwyneth has a wildly successful career in Hollywood, but let’s be honest, her legacy on this Earth isn’t going to have anything to do with acting. It’s gonna be the host of genital-themed wares that she peddles online. So, Gwyneth, why not share that legacy a little? Though honestly, it would not surprise me if you can already order a personalized crotch candle on Goop. I guess maybe to make this item special, she could throw in a lovely handwritten note and a jade egg engraved with your initials. Or maybe if she was feeling extra generous, she could put you on the Goop PR list. You would never have to go gift shopping for your extended family again.
Item #5: A date with Leonardo DiCaprio
No strings attached. No rules - just a fun date with Leo. Unfortunately, you can only bid on this if you’re 25 and under.
Item #6: A date with Pete Davidson
If Leo didn’t appeal to you, maybe Pete will. And listen, I’m sure you and Pete would have a great time, but what you’re really doing is upping your social status. You are now among the ranks of women like Ariana Grande, Kim Kardashian, and *this just in* Madelyn Cline (yes, you read that right, Madelyn Cline. I know, I have just as many questions as you). I can’t fathom how he does it, but maybe after your date, you can let us know.
Item #7: The priest from The Princess Bride will officiate your wedding
I wish this was real because I would SO bid on it. I’d get married right now just to have this happen at my wedding. Even if it wasn’t Twoo Wuv. Unfortunately, the guy who played him died twenty years ago, but a boy can dream. And anyway, you should be able to have whatever you want on your special day. Ah, Mawwage. That Bwessed Awwangement. Makes me tear up.
I think that’ll do it for suggestions -- I can’t just be giving these out for free. My writing is valuable, and I’m gonna need fair and livable wages from the Milking Cat editors (Hey Nataly and Maddie) before I type another word. Anyway, thanks for reading, and if you’d like to help the writers and actors, donate to the Entertainment Community Fund. Look at me, using my platform to help others. Not all heroes wear capes, I guess.