If you’re lunching at The Palm today in northwest Washington, you’re in a for a real treat — or a real fiasco, however you want to look at it. Today is the infamous Bill Press lunch in which Current TV’s liberal TV/radio personality shows up to dine with his employees.
“Every year I demand that we go to The Palm and sit under his picture because it’s just so weird and awkward and I love it,” said Peter Ogburn, longtime producer for Press and now a co-host on “Full Court Press.” (Ogburn also contributes to FBDC, so it wasn’t hard to pry details out of him.)
Ogburn recalls with, um, fondness, seven years ago when they first began doing annual Bill Press lunches at The Palm beneath his caricature. This is the year that Ogburn’s underling, Associate Producer Dan Henning, got hammered to the point of lockup.
Ogburn recalls, “Dan is just being a total prick, demanding that he get back behind the bar to make drinks. I was just like, I’m leaving. So embarrassed. He gets a glass bottle of water to bring with him. We get to the Dupont Circle Metro. Dan trips head over heels the whole way down the escalator. I mean, Head. Over. Heels.”
Pausing for a brief interruption: For anyone who knows either Dupont Metro escalator, this is one long-ass ride.
Continuing on, Ogburn says…
“Glass bottle shatters. He hits the bottom and he doesn’t move. I’m watching him the whole way down. I got down and was like, he’s dead. I left him. A couple of hours later I get a phone call from a police officer calling [for] Henning. I said, ‘No ma’am I have no idea who he is. She says, ‘We’re holding him here intoxicated.’ I said, ‘I’ve never heard that name before in my life. You’ve got the wrong number.’ Next morning, he comes in still wearing the same clothes, no laces in shoes because of lockup, blood on pants. He was just like, ‘Man, what happened last night?’ I didn’t tell him the truth until a year ago. What a headache that I would have to deal with that, do you know what I mean?”
Moral of the story: We’re not sure, exactly, but do not black out around Peter Ogburn because he will leave you for death. (He says he has cared for plenty of drunken people in his time. Yeah, er, we believe him.)
Last year was also fruitful. One of their other employees, Stevie Lee Webb, who handles their “Best of” Friday feature, got really blitzed and wound up putting a hole in one of the walls of their studio.
For the record, Ogburn says, Press consumes two glasses of wine at most and calls it an afternoon.
Happy dining, gentleman! And please, if anything weird happens, send video.