When I was in middle school in the early aughts, we didn't have that many television channels and the internet still required a 20-minute dial-up with AOL. What I did have during those prime after-school-but-pre-homework hours were reruns of Happy Days. And in the seventh grade, Joanie wasn't the only one who loved Chachi — I did too. Celebrity crushes, particularly embarrassing ones, are meant to be forever entombed in a certain place and time. Scott Baio was supposed to stay 16 and in Al's Diner forever. So you can imagine my surprise when I learned that not only is Baio over 50, but he is going to be at the Republican National Convention this week. All I could think was: Why is Scott Baio at the RNC?
I'd hoped that digging into Baio's RNC speech would bring me a sense of nostalgia and warm feelings. Instead, it turns out that while I was cryogenically freezing Baio in my brain, he had gone on to do lots of cringeworthy things. Let's set aside his reality television show Scott Baio is 45 ... and Single and his insane Twitter wars with teenagers, and focus for now on how exactly he got a spot on stage at the convention Monday.
It turns out that Baio loves Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Baio publicly endorsed Trump on Fox News in March, and has since gone on to throw his support around in the most Trump way possible — via Twitter. A look through Baio's account will show a lot of action when it comes to Trump — mainly as he responds to anti-Trump tweets.
The story of how Baio actually got asked to speak at the RNC sounds more like what happens when you need one more player for a pickup basketball game and some kid you almost know walks by wearing tennis shoes. As Baio told Jeannie Pirro on Fox News:
He had given a speech and he was walking out,” he said. “I looked at him and said, ‘Mr. Trump, Scott Baio,’ and he goes, ‘Oh my God,’ and he said to me, ‘Did you want to speak?’ and I went, ‘Here?’ and he goes, ‘No, no, no, at the convention.'
Although it is unclear at this point what Baio will say, we do know that he is listed as a prime-time speaker on Monday, which has the theme of "Make America Safe Again." Baio is listed as speaking after Duck Dynasty's Willie Robertson, Governor Rick Perry, and U.S. Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell. There are also reports that Baio is "a little nervous" and "excited" about speaking for Trump.
More details on the once-feather-haired heartthrob's speech have yet to be released. As I wait for them to roll in with baited breath, I will now take greater pains to keep Emilio Esteves in my mind as the athlete who taped Larry Lester's buns together.