EDGEWATER, N.J. — The CBS reality special I Get That A Lot showcased drycleaning last week, with celebrity chef and talk-show host Rachael Ray working the counter of a small New Jersey plant.
The show puts famous people in everyday jobs, where they are inevitably recognized by patrons. The celebrities attempt to trick customers into believing that they are not famous — often doing a poor job on purpose — until they reveal the truth for the hidden cameras.
Visiting a drycleaning plant “was an idea we had for a long time, and Rachael seemed like a great fit,” says I Get That A Lot executive producer Ed Horwitz. “We also thought a large portion of her show’s audience use their local drycleaners, and it would be fun to put her into that environment.”
Also appearing in last week’s episode were Kiss frontman Gene Simmons (as a psychic and owner of a new-age bookstore), rapper Snoop Dogg (as a valet-parking attendant), skateboarder Tony Hawk (as a sales clerk at a surf shop), and famous-for-being-famous Paris Hilton (as a gas-pump attendant).
“Hey everybody, I’m Rachael Ray,” she says at the beginning of her segment. “I’m not cooking in my kitchen today — I’m cooking up a little trouble here at the local drycleaner’s.”
Taking the counter at ValuClean Cleaners in Edgewater, N.J., Ray serves a number of customers passably, checking in clothing, asking about stains and so forth. “You know how you look like?” one man asks. “I can’t believe you’ve got Rachael Ray working here. You sound like her, too.”
“I get that a lot,” Ray says, offering him a plate of burned cookies to prove she is not a chef. “We have some cookies,” she tells a pair of suspicious women. “They got a little burned around the edges, but take some if you like them extra-crispy.”
Ray then experiences difficulty operating the conveyor system. “I couldn’t figure out how to spin the stuff around to find the right clothes,” she told the North Bay [Calif.] Nugget. “It was nerve-wracking to try to learn a new job and perform it at the same time.”
She shows another customer a shirt she says got shredded in the machine. “Did anyone ever tell you that you look exactly like Rachael Ray?” the customer asks.
“I know — I get that a lot,” Ray says. “Personally, I think she’s a little chipper. I don’t want to be that chipper — the made-up words and all that. I don’t want to look like her; I didn’t ask to look like her; do you think I’d be in a drycleaner if I looked like her?”
After revealing herself to be the real Rachael Ray, guests had a variety of reactions: “”I knew it was her, with all the gestures and the way she walks,” one woman says. “Thank goodness you are Rachael Ray, because let me tell you, this business is not for you,” the first man says.
Ray agrees. “I’ve been in the service business since I was 12 years old, and I’m literally pouring sweat. To be behind the counter, be a bad employee and not know how the machines work — this is, honestly, the most stressed I’ve been since Iron Chef, which was the most miserable day of my life.”
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