There’ll be no more diggin’ Kole in Aspen
So, what does it take to be on “The Andrew Kole Show”? Let me tell you. I first met Andrew Kole waiting for a movie at the Isis shortly after his campaign to have the city purchase the theater was shot down by voters. I don’t know why, but something about celebrities – big, small, or even short and bald – makes you want to say something to them. He didn’t look intimidating, so I did.”Too bad about the election.” As an anonymous, vocal opponent of the public purchase of the building, it was about the most disingenuous thing I could have said.”Yeah,” he replied, seemingly indifferent that the vote hadn’t been close. “Hey, would you like to be a guest on my show sometime?” Flattered, I told him that I would love to appear on the show. Somehow he knew about my reputation as a keen political observer with thoughtful insight.”So, what’s your name?” he asked. He ripped a corner off a receipt pulled from his jacket and asked if I had a pen. Deflated, I gave him the pen and information he needed to contact me. “Great,” he said, putting my pen in his pocket. “I’ll give you a call.”I could hardly believe it when he did. Three years after that meeting he called to ask me to come on the show and talk about my book, “Dear Editor.” I was nervous. I was sweating. I arrived at the studio about an hour before he did, which was three minutes before the show began. He talked about the book for about a minute and then went off on a tear about local politics. He talks fast and shifts gears often. I had seen the program on television before making my appearance, but preparing for his show by watching it is like preparing to eat Thanksgiving dinner by playing Pac Man. I was overwhelmed.For an hour I didn’t utter one complete sentence. I said “uh” or “um” at least two dozen times. I answered three rhetorical questions, incorrectly. I described a local politician as “malinformed.” And I cleared my throat more often than Ashley Simpson with an acid reflux attack on “Saturday Night Live.” “Good show!” Andrew told me afterward. “Would you like to come back?”I’d heard that line before. Gee, let me look at my calendar. My firstborn is graduating from middle school in 2008, but the rest of that year looks wide open.I didn’t have to wait that long. A couple of weeks later he called to see if I could fill in for a cancellation. “What are we going to talk about?” I asked.”I’d rather tell you on the air. Your reaction will be better.” In other words, he had no idea.This time I showed up only a half-hour early and, like clockwork, Andrew showed up three minutes before the cameras rolled. Right after the introduction, he announced that the main topic of the show was the employee housing/day-care tax that I had written about the previous Friday. We immediately cut to a break.As the cameras went down, I tried to conjure up the facts and figures I used in my column. I wanted to get it straight. The whole time Andrew kept talking as if there was no break. Suddenly Brad, the producer, announces, “We’re coming back in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.” He points to us, the red light glows, and my mind comes up as empty as Paris Hilton’s underwear drawer.For the next 50 minutes we threw facts and figures around like “60 Minutes” interns. Andrew asked me twice to do math in my head, on the air. I’m good at math. I came up with the wrong answer both times. Andrew pointed out the first error right away. I didn’t discover the second one until I watched the show at home that night.”Great show!” Andrew said afterward. “Would you like to be a semi-regular?” I reluctantly admitted to myself that it was kind of fun, so I kept coming back. On the next show, he proclaimed that we were going to debate the propriety of Astroturf in Wagner Park. When the cameras were off, he asked me which side I wanted to take. He didn’t care. He would argue either way. That’s when I began to understand. He is a man of conviction, but he has the uncommon ability to honestly see both sides of an issue. He pokes and prods until his guests get excited while he keeps his cool. What you might mistake for an emotional reaction in him is really just animation for effect. He takes himself seriously only in front of the microphone. He’s a professional irritant!But the guy has a big heart and a good sense of humor. And he cares about Aspen. Although it wasn’t evident, I became more comfortable on his set as my appearances began to add up like drinks on the prix fixe. It was like having lunch with my brothers. I learned to interrupt him nearly as often as he interrupted me. When he barked, I growled back. We argued a lot and laughed a lot more.So, what does it take to get on “The Andrew Kole Show”? I’d say patience, and lots of it. But not even that will get you on the show anymore. It’s over. He’s finished. Another part of Aspen is history.Andrew Kole arrived in Aspen with all the subtlety of a trash truck on Sunday morning. Many folks were put off by his citywise ways and Range Rover with New York plates. But, he survived, thrived, and became a big part of this community. And, like so many of the other quirky things about this town that went away without our second thought, we’re going to miss him too.Eventually.The opinions expressed on “The Andrew Kole Show” by Roger Marolt were not necessarily his own. Give him yours at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Last week, The Aspen Times ran an article about limiting home size in Aspen and Pitkin County. One might think that climate change is finally poking at the Aspen bubble.