Lisa Ling makes OWN commercial in Penn Yan

Gwen Chamberlain
Fred Hamm, Donna Neil, RIch Beattie and David Hey. Dick Davis, who is also in the commercial, isn’t pictured here.

They don’t look like the kind of fellows who would watch anything Oprah, but if you ask the guys who meet for coffee at Angel’s Restaurant on Main Street what their favorite TV show is, don’t be surprised if they say “Our America with Lisa Ling.”

A couple of weeks ago, Fred Hamm,  David Hey, Rich Beattie and Dick Davis  were doing just what they normally do most afternoons — swapping tales at the counter at Angels. A group of out-of-towners stopped in for a bite to eat, and soon, after one of the waitressses identified one of the customers as TV journalist Lisa Ling, the eatery was abuzz with chatter.

Ling and her crew explained they had been in Canadaigua filming at the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center, and stopped in Penn Yan for lunch. What drew them to Angel’s is still a mystery, but inside they found “Our America” Penn Yan style.

Restaurant owner Donna Neal says, “They just popped in. They didn’t really plan on filming. They just kept saying how much they loved it. I told them if they loved it here now, they should see Penn Yan in the summer.”

One of the crew members may take her up on that suggestion. He said he’d like to return with his family.

Neal says Ling really took to the gang of regulars right away, but when one of them asked if she was “a college girl,” Ling said she loved them.

Over the next few moments, the locals swapped stories with Ling and her crew. Hamm used two quarters to demonstrate the process for flipping a gigantic pancake after someone asked about the mammouth griddle at nearby Birkett Mills.

Soon, Hamm headed home for the afternoon, but before he had a chance to settle into his recliner, his phone rang and he was being summoned back to the restaurant.

Ling had decided she wanted to film a promotional video with the four men. After about 25 takes, the crew had it — a 33 second spot now called “What’s So Funny.”

The video starts with an exterior shot of Angel’s and Main Street as a woman’s voice asks, “So what’s your favorite show?”

“Our America,” replies Beattie.

 “With Lisa Ling,” adds Davis.

“I love that show!” exclaims Hey.

“Who’s Lisa Ling?” asks Hamm.

Ling, seated at the counter with the four men, grimaces before the entire bunch bursts into laughter and someone begins to yodel as the screen goes black. See the video at the following URL:

Our America with Lisa Ling airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on OWN.

Lisa Ling and her newest fans at Angel's Restaurant.