As Andy Warhol once said…"In the future…everybody will get their 15 minutes of fame." And he was right. YouTube has afforded everybody that opportunity. But not for me or some dozen or so of my cab-driving colleagues. Ours came from a different source.

I was a night shift type of guy. I couldn't stand daytime traffic in the city! So my shift was 5 PM – 5 AM. Ripping through the streets of the Big Apple looking for a fare after 1 AM on a weeknight was mostly an exercise in futility. Idling in front of a club or bar was better—and easier on the nerves. The science to this pursuit was to find a bar that most cabbies didn't know about—and whose patrons took long rides. Like when that big tranny suckhole Edelweiss broke at 4 AM…there were lots of she male whores going to Queens or Brooklyn. Or Flashdancers in front of the Ed Sullivan Theater. Those skanks took long rides as well.

But I didn't normally work Edelweiss or Flashdancers, because I knew a place right on my block that offered a steady stream of Upper East Siders who would come downtown to be hip, but in actuality end up in an East Village bar filled with their neighbors from uptown. I mean…what's the point? But I didn't give a crap about that. All I knew was virtually every ride out of the 10th Street Lounge was heading 80 blocks north. And that definitely worked for me!

Well anyway…one night I got a guy from that very spot…who sure enough…was going to 89th and York. His name was Mark…and he worked at MTV, which also owned Nick At Nite, a station poised to embark on a publicity campaign to launch the premier of the old "Taxi" reruns on the network. And he wanted to know if there was a taxi publication in which the corporation could run a big, splashy ad. Given that I sold ads and wrote for the premier taxi rag in the city, he had clearly approached the right guy. So we exchanged numbers and thus began the mini saga.

Nick At Nite decided that the ad would offer free car washes for any cab driver who reported to the Houston Street Car Wash on a certain date, which I believe they called New York City Taxi Driver Appreciation Day. They would also run open auditions for a Nick at Nite Taxi Chorus, and have said taxi choir perform at the event.

Pretty ingenious if you ask me. Whatever…the open call was also advertised in the paper to any driver who wanted to join. If you could carry a tune…and produce a current hack license, you were in! And the "singers" would be paid to rehearse and perform. Back at the office, Crawford was tone deaf…so he didn't even audition. But Mikey and I weren't…and we made the cut. The audition tune? "New York, New York!"…with the sheet music to sight read from. A total snap!

The funny thing was…Nick At Nite hired an excellent Broadway piano player and choreographer to whip us into shape. Those guys were no pikers. They were pros. I felt sorry for the frustrated duo – what with having the job of making a rag-tag bunch of hacks sound like ANYTHING. But to everybody's amazement, within a few rehearsals, we weren't half bad.

Taxi Driver Appreciation Day rolled around and go figure…hundreds of cabs lined up at the Houston Street Car Wash for their freebe! The Nick people were so scared before the event, they almost went out to find and pay 50 cabbies to show up—just in case. But their apprehension was not well-founded. Offer a New York City cab driver some kind of freebie—and he'll be there!

Well anyway…we donned these ridiculous yellow robes with checkered scarves or whatever, and sang our hearts out for the appreciative crowd. End of story—or so I thought! That night Crawford called to say "Hey! I was pounding a few brews down at the Blarney when the Channel 4 News came on and you and Mikey were singing for the crowd!"

And then the next day, Nick At Nite called the office to say they were negotiating for the entire chorus to sing on the Letterman Show. But right there was when the 15 minutes ended. Mikey hit the guy up for AFTRA scales on behalf of everybody in the chorus. And that would mean a hefty payment from CBS. I admonished my starstruck diva of an employer that maybe his overture would be the deal breaker that would kill the opportunity…and I was dead right! We never heard from the Nick people again, though we DID get our checks for $325 a week or two later. Not bad! Paid AND paraded on the 6 o'clock news? If that doesn't qualify as my 15 minutes of fame, I don't know what does.

But that wasn't quite the end of the story. A couple of months later, the Editor of SCREW MAGAZINE called me up. "Hey, Billy! I was waiting for Welcome Back Kotter to come on the television tonight and I saw you and that asshole you work for singing some stupid song! What the fuck was that?!?!" Ah! Residuals! They're the best! Pardon me while I bask in the glow!