(This post is accidentally belated. Dylan appeared on Pawn Stars in 2010, not 2012. My confusion stems from the fact that the YouTube clip was dated 2012. Sorry to break the rules but I figured that this was worth posting anyway)
Last week I noted the poor coverage that Dylan’s trip to China received – he was accused of censoring himself when it appears that no such thing actually took place. My interest in the poor coverage of Dylan continued while reading about his appearance on Pawn Stars in 2010. Let’s set that up first.
Pawn Stars is a “reality” show set in Las Vegas in which people come into a high end pawn shop and the shop owner, Rick, haggles with them about the price of their goods. Generally external experts are brought in to verify authenticity (or not). The show is clearly scripted, particularly all of the parts in which Rick interacts with his employees and with his father.
So. In one episode Rick pays $50 for a copy of Self Portrait, which is a ludicrous sum for that album considering that he’d need to sell it at a profit. Rick dispatches Chumlee, one of his hapless employees who is used for comedic effect, to track down Dylan, who is playing in town that night (he played Caesar’s Palace on August 18, 2010 – the set included an encore performance of “Happy Birthday” for bassist Tony Garnier). So this is when that was filmed. He was in Utah on the 17th and California on the 19th, so the sequence is definitely from the afternoon of August 18. Okay. Not sure why that matters to me, but there you go.
So. Chumlee wanders around Vegas looking for Dylan. Then he miraculously finds him walking by himself towards his tour van. He approaches Dylan, Dylan signs the album, and that is that. The show ends with Chumlee back in the shop, presenting his trophy to his boss, and his boss noting that it is signed to him, which makes it valueless. Cue horns. Whaaa whaaaaa.
Here’s the video:
The scene is entirely typical of Pawn Stars, a show that, for whatever reason, I often found myself watching in hotel rooms around this time. I even saw this episode! It is not really funny, more like “funny”, and it is clearly scripted. The real question would probably be: Does Bob Dylan like Pawn Stars enough that he agreed to be on that show? And, is that a stranger guest spot than Dharma and Greg?
However, multiple entertainment news sites seem to want to run with the show’s story that the whole thing wasn’t staged. Rolling Stone has Chumlee swearing that it wasn’t a set up, a story that is impossible to believe based on the fact that Dylan doesn’t ask a basic question: “How the hell do you spell Chumlee?” Similarly, Ultimate Classic Rock just reiterates the press release. Are there people out there who believe that this might have in any way been a spontaneous event?
Anyway, there you have it. An atypical Dylan/fan interaction in 2010. You can imagine yourself as Chumlee if you want, tracking down a solitary Dylan and finding that he is nice to you. Seems pretty implausible though, based on all other accounts of trying to get a Dylan autograph in this day and age.