Other side of the tracks

Nobody survives MTV. Sure, the double-edged butter knife of palatable hipness has tempted many a 20-something almost-there New Yorker into careerist dreams of celebrity ascension via the title of "veejay." But the fine print on the contract must read something like:

1) We'll fire you when your representative trait trend fades. 2) You'll never go anywhere after this, because nobody likes a puppet.

It's a cruel syndrome destined to be painstakingly documented in some overwrought sociological tome, probably written by me.

But Bill Bellamy may just be chewing up that contract right now. His latest vehicle, "The Hardy Boys"-meets-"Baywatch" brow-lowerer "Fastlane" is enjoying odd success, while his obviously niche-marketed film catalog continues to grow in a Martin Lawrence direction. Downtown Julie Brown he is not.

Wubba, wubba, wubba.

So why is Bellamy ("of The Bellamy Brothers?" crowed my editor. How's that for demographics?) slumming around on the comedy-improv circuit? Because that's where he comes from, yo.

"I was doing comedy in New York when MTV had a casting call for fresh faces," he fresh faces. "And this was before the whole 'You can be a veejay' thing. Next thing you know, I'm in it."

In what? A swirling haze of scripted futility? A veritable lost and found of unwanted toys? A chipped glass of steaming hot failure?

"I'm interviewing Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey," he goes on.


"And Michael Jackson ... "

True, dear reader. During Bellamy's stint as host of "MTV Jams," and Jackson's stint at pretending to be black, the two met up for a televised love fest that nobody really watched. This was, after all, before the days of baby swinging and cancer patients in bed. Who cared?

Bellamy did.

"When we look at your videos, they are very innovative, they are always on the cutting edge," his nose turned brown(er). "How much are you involved in the creative process of the videos?"

"Very much," Jacko's face turned white(er).

" 'Cause, I pretty much come up with the concepts that I like to collaborate on -- this one `"Scream"`, I didn't come up with the concept, it was done by the director -- but I pretty much like to conceptualize and choreograph, but it's always a collaborative effort on everything."

Of course it is, dear. Crucial, crucial journalism for the head-up-your-ass set. Well done.

"So you're the only veejay who ever made it ... ." I pretend I'm Bill Bellamy.

"Damn, you did your research."

Ooooh, stumped him. Anyway, Bellamy's comedy rap sheet is still headed by his term-coining early '90s Showtime comedy special, "Booty Call," wherein he explored "urban" perspectives on Jerry Seinfeld humor. You may close your eyes, press them really hard, and imagine the brilliance of what it is he's talking about now.

"Oh, man. I cover everything from war, to life. Everything, man."

Ouch. That hurts.

"It's great. People who are just discovering me from "Fastlane," are like, 'Damn, he's funny. He should have his own HBO special,'" he begs for a second chance on a different network. "And people who already know me already know I'm funny."

To be sure, but let's talk about Bellamy's fame just so we can all be sure. His notable appearances in minor hits like "Love Jones," "Any Given Sunday," and, ahem, "How to Be a Player,"' have ensured some level of recognition, anyway. Little in the way of humility, though.

"I always thought, maybe someday I'll be famous, and then everyone will know me," he gushes. "Then, all of a sudden, everybody knew who I was."

So more movies then?

"My feature career?" he ponders the dollar-theater circuit. Brew and View? "I'm only going to do good stuff."

Meanwhile, "Fastlane," although popular (which is a fact I'm not really sure of, but seem to hear from a lot of really reliable sources -- crucial, crucial journalism), is teetering on the "to be or not to be" scale as we speak. Tiffani Amber Thiessen? I mean, for godsakes, she used to do drugs! I love her! Or used to.

"We may be getting picked up for a second season," he wishfully thinks, "which would be hot."

The real catch, though, is dreamy Peter Facinelli, Bellamy's Luke Duke. He's married to Jennie Garth, mind you, which means he's certainly NOT GAY.

"Man, we got chemistry," Bellamy disagrees. "When we were doing auditions, we were both like, 'This is the person I want to be working with.'"

"Didn't I see you guys locked in a cage together on 'E! News Daily?'" I cruise, realizing it's the closest I've ever been to his show.

"You must be talking about the candy store," he Twizzlers, "where we keep all the drugs and weapons."

And, therefore, Tiffani, I presume. Clearly, "Saved by the Bell."

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