How a Fool Tried to Play It Cool With Paul McCartney

In July 1957, Paul McCartney met John Lennon, changing the course of music history. Fifty-six years later, in June 2013, Paul McCartney met another man (me) and agreed to do his podcast. Not quite as historical for the world but it was for me.


I've been called Paul a million times in my life but when Paul McCartney said it at the beginning of the interview for my podcast, The Paul Mecurio Show -- "Hello Paul," were his exact words -- I suddenly started looking over my shoulder thinking he was talking to someone else ... odd thing was, we were on the phone.

That's right. I spoke with Sir Paul, about everything from music to comedy to raising kids to ... well, you'll have to listen to what the man said.

How did this happen? On a day that just seemed like another day, Paul McCartney was standing by himself in the hallway of The Colbert Report, where he was taping a one-hour special and I was working.

As I approached him, my entire world went into slow motion, "It's Paul McCartney! Should I say hello, nah, leave him alone. But I'll never have this chance again. Besides, he's out in the hall all alone, like an unprotected gazelle on the Serengeti Plain, he's fair game."

I reached out my hand telling him I didn't want to bother him (the best way to bother someone is telling him to you don't want to). He shook my hand -- the same hand that wrote "Let It Be," played his trademark Hofner bass and waved to billions of fans. I vowed never to masturbate with that hand again. (OK, I broke that vow two hours later but I meant it at the time.)

Paul spoke to me in his famous accent and told me what a great first name I have. He asked me what I do for a living and told me how much he admires stand-ups for their ability to turn whatever is happening in the world into jokes. I'd like to tell you exactly what he said but what was going through my head was, "I'm talking to Paul McCartney -- ahhhhhhhhh!" I found myself becoming a 15-year-old girl, just waiting to breathlessly tell my friends that I got to talk to "the cute one." What was Paul like? Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, maybe I'm amazed. He was unassuming, affable, and funny. And he looks fantastic. He's 71 but looks in his 40s. While talking to him I found myself staring at his face up close, really close! Like a baboon inspecting his mate for insects.

I didn't want to overstay my welcome, so I did what any nervous, scared, delusional person would do in that situation. I asked if we could continue the conversation on my podcast. Like asking the hot girl out and expecting a no, I was already starting to say, "Well, maybe another time" when he said "yes."

I said I would arrange the interview with his assistant, but he said, "No, let's you and I arrange it directly, it'll be easier." I was in shock - he asked for my phone number - a little forward if you ask me!

He said he would call, but when he did, we'd have to do it right away, because he was on a tight shhhedule.

We part company. About an hour later my phone rings. I don't recognize the number so I don't pick up. Of course, it's Paul, who leaves a message saying he's ready to do the interview. I go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. "I just screened a call from Paul McCartney! Dammit! I'll never get him back on the phone." I call him back, he picks up to say he's ready to do it!

I call my producers at the Sideshow Network -- who are top-notch -- and tell them I need a recording line for a McCartney interview. They say they're all booked. I won't say what I said to them, but let's just say that Paul's screams in the middle of "Helter Skelter" are no match for what I said to my producers.

So I'm walking the streets of Manhattan to my next gig, furiously scribbling questions into my notebook of what I want to ask the former Beatle and then, with a little luck, the phone rang again. "Hello, Paul." And we were off and running.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go play my "Hello, Paul" backwards. I believe it will say "And in the end, the podcast you make, is equal to the friendly meeting you had in a hallway with Paul McCartney."