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Thursday, September 8, 2011

132

The Best Time I Made a Celebrity Think I Was a Moron

My first — and, as of now, only — top-shelf New York party was on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in late 2009, when AOL threw a bash to celebrate its spin-off from Time Warner. I worked for the company's hyper-local news darling, Patch, and our ranks were small enough for everyone to be invited. A couple co-workers and I, excited for an excuse to leave suburban Connecticut, hurried off the Metro-North to join the carpeted entry line.

While we waited, I overheard a couple security guards chatting. One of them pointed to a man toward the front of the line. "That guy was on Dancing With the Stars!" he said.

Inside was a hungry journalist's mecca, with delicacies on all the trading desks, including a lavish sushi bar. My friends and I waited in line for a photo on the stock exchange balcony with P. Diddy and his entourage. Harry Connick, Jr. was there. And at the bar were mini bottles of fancy champagne with twirly straws — two of my favorite things in the world. I had a few, and was soon suffused with that wonderful bubbly lightness, like in the in the old Willy Wonka before they float too high and need to make themselves burp.

Anyway, while cradling my third-ish champagne, I noticed the guy the security guards had gossiped about mingling a few yards away. I decided I had to know who he was. Friends in tow, I walked over to him. I tapped his forearm, and he turned toward me. Here's exactly what happened next:

"Excuse me, why are you famous?" I asked.

"I cofounded Apple," the-man-Googling-later-revealed-to-be Steve Wozniak said.

"Oh," I replied. "I thought it was because you were on Dancing With the Stars."

He lowered his eyebrows at me and turned away. I was tipsy enough to wonder what his problem was.

Kira Goldenberg's writing has appeared in places like Down East Magazine, The Hartford Courant, The New York Observer, and on Patch.com.

Photo by Nikola Bilic, via Shutterstock



132 Comments / Post A Comment

Bebe

1) That is actually kind of awesome. I support regular people knocking famous people down a peg or two.

2) I read the headline as "The best time I made a celebrity think I was a MORMON," and kept waiting for some odd conversation about why you weren't drinking coffee or something.

HelloTitty

@Bebe I misread it as "Mormon" too, so then I had to wonder if it's a Mormon stereotype to not know anything about the computer world. And it kind of made sense. My own small-mindedness revealed! Gasp!

likethestore

@Bebe I read it as Mormon too, but the story was still pretty great.

Nick Douglas

@Bebe The only thing is that Steve Wozniak is a pretty chill guy. He's annoyingly silly — he likes to buy and spend booklets of perforated-edge $2 bills, which are legal tender, for yuks, and he plays Segway polo on an actual Segway polo team — but not stuck up. I bet he thought she was intentionally insulting him. So hey, more for poor Kira to feel bad about!

steve

@Nick Douglas
Yeah, the Woz has always been more or less on the right peg.

Bebe

@Nick Douglas Oh, ok. Now I feel bad. I really only support regular people knocking celebrities down a peg when they are the "don't you know who I AM??" kind of celebrities. But to make Kira feel better:

I was once on my phone about to get on the subway, leaving a VM for the friend I was meeting. Walking down the street was a familiar-looking man and 2 teenagers. I said, into my friend's vm, "Oh, there's that guy here- the one who was in Tootsie? And Rainman? I'm blanking on his name what is it? Oh - DUSTIN HOFFMAN!" And of course, that was the point Dustin Hoffman and his children passed me, and he gave me total stink eye and put a protective arm around the kid closest to me.

backstagebethy

I once met Pete Yorn, my all time favorite musician...have I told this story here before? We were at Lollapalooza and my friend was in front of me in the meet and greet line. When I got up to him he shook my hand in both his hands and said "Hi Beth Ann." I was too dumbfounded to say anything more than "You know my name?" before we posed for our photo. I've seen him dozens of times since and not once gone back to introduce myself because how could I top that? It's like "I carried a watermelon."

Clare

@backstagebethy How DID he know your name?

backstagebethy

@Clare My friend told him. Even now I get too flustered to tell this story right. I was really excited to see the picture because our outfits were coordinated--black pants, blue shirt under gray jacket (him)/dress (me). I thought it meant we were fated to be together, till he got married last year.

TheFang

@backstagebethy I once met Pete Yorn, oh gotta be almost 10 years ago, at a small rock club in central jersey that he was preforming at and he was nothing if not super sweet and nice.
My friend and I left the club early because we were mainly there to see the opening act (Remy Zero) and we wanted to go and hang out by the bus and meet them, and we got to, and then Pete Yorn came out and after finding out we wouldn't be allowed back into the club (no re-entries) had us walk back in back stage with him. We got to walk on stage with him to climb back into the crowd to watch his great set. He's super awesome.

katesmash

@backstagebethy I pop infinite boners for Pete Yorn. Sigh.

heb
heb

My first night in San Francisco I spotted Steve Wozniak talking on an iPhone while dicking around with another. And then there was a (minor) earthquake! Everything I had read on Wikipedia about the Bay Area was true!

And ummm one time two time national mens figure skating champion Scott Davis watched me fall on my ass during our year end skating exhibition and that's that!

nonvolleyball

ohhh, I have a good one for this! I used to be a cashier at Kohl's in suburban St. Louis. this was in 2000, shortly after the Rams won the Superbowl. Kurt Warner's wife Brenda shopped at our store frequently, & I'd recognized her a few times--back when it was still football season & Kurt Warner, Public Figure was at the forefront of my mind.

later that summer, a guy came through my checkout line. he looked vaguely familiar, but I just figured I'd seen him in the store before. his credit card was unsigned, so I asked to see his ID. but I wasn't really in the habit of, you know, actually CHECKING people's IDs unless they got cagey when I asked to see them. he gave me a look, whipped out his wallet, & I rang him up. I think I even asked if he wanted to put this on/open his Kohl's card. I also didn't think anything of the crowd of preteen boys who were clustered a respectful distance away from the register.

...you know where this is going: the guy was Kurt Warner. & as soon as he left everyone was like, "you were so calm! you treated him like any other customer!" &/or "how can you not recognize St. Louis's most famous athlete?" & then I freaked out all, "AAAH I AM AN IDIOT I ACTUALLY KNOW WHO HE IS & EVERYTHING TOO!"

of course, Kurt Warner's probably way too nice a person to think "what a moron," despite being fully within his rights to do so.

Bebe

@nonvolleyball Ha! That's actually kind of funny. And better than saying something stupid.

My dad grew up in Pittsburgh and is a HUGE Steelers fan (as am I) and is also pretty difficult to impress. He travels a lot and has seen more famous people in airports than I can count, and is usually just all, "Meh. Whatever." about it. (Well, except that he is in his 60s and would never actually put it that way, but you get the idea).

Then one day, he and my mom were headed somewhere and they saw his hero, Mean Joe Green. Just standing there, with his wife, waiting to board a flight. And my dad, the man who shrugged off meeting Mohamed Ali, Mike Ditka, and Michael Jordan, got all tongue tied and blurted out, "Hey, Mean Joe! I'm from Pittsburgh. Thanks for the winning."

angelinha

@nonvolleyball One time in college I was on campus early for the semester and eating alone in the dining hall. This guy came over and asked if he could sit with me, and I asked his name and everything and STILL didn't realize he was the star of the basketball team until I asked why he was on campus early. Nice guy. Everyone knew who he was.

Ladies Who Punch

I kinda wished you mentioned his engagement to Kathy Griffin. I think that would have been icing on the champagne red-headed cake.

Eliza Wharton

I was walking down the street in midtown and passed a familiar looking older guy who I was sure was somebody's dad, but I couldn't figure exactly who. I smiled and did a sort of wave so that I wouldn't seem rude. A few steps later, I realized that it was not actually the father of someone I knew but rather the actor who played Reverend Camden on 7th Heaven.

Nicole Cliffe

I did that to the guy who ran the Milford Academy. Then I wished that I was neither seen, nor heard.

backstagebethy

@Eliza Wharton That's really cute actually.

ktdiddidit

@Eliza Wharton I did that to John Locke at the grocery store!

fondue with cheddar

@ktdiddidit Really? I thought he died in 1704?!

schadenfraulein

The guy I was dating at the time worked on the movie "Laurel Canyon" and took me to the cast and crew screening when it was finished. After the movie ended, everyone was milling around the lobby and talking to each other. My boyfriend was in the bathroom or something and I was standing at the bar alone waiting for a drink. There was a guy standing next to me and I looked at him. He smiled and asked if I liked the movie. I said "Yeah, it was good. My boyfriend was the sound mixer, did you work on it too?" He said "Uh, yeah, I was Sam" (his character's name) and walked away. Sorry, Christian Bale! You're kind of a chameleon!

schadenfraulein

@schadenfraulein Oh man, I actually have several stories like this. I'm SO bad with faces, for real!

Megasus

@schadenfraulein TELL THEM ALL

filo

@schadenfraulein I did this but without speaking it out loud and without the actor being famous, but when they film a movie and when it finally comes out a lot of time passes, and they look different all big on the screen!

filo

@schadenfraulein also really freaking jealous you talked to Christian Bale..

i kant even

my favorite celebrity encounter was seeing kim deal in the crowd at a imperial teen concert. after the show i went up to her and told her that she and her band kicked ass on buffy the vampire slayer (they had been the band playing at the bronze in an episode earlier that year). she thanked me enthusiastically and then proceeded to tell me about how she had gone to thanksgiving dinner at the home of the lead singer from jesus and mary chain and they couldn't watch buffy because they had really young kids and wasn't that annoying? hahaha. so great.

gimlet

@shivster aagwfe;o2fns,vdafsfl jealous beyond words

fondue with cheddar

@shivster Great story. I can so picture her saying that. :)

BoozinSusan

It was Kimono Day in Kyoto, 2006, where if you wear a kimono you can ride all public transit for free. My study-abroad program picked out kimonos for all of us, had little old Japanese women arrange them on us, and sent us off to explore Kyoto. I was at an old Japanese garden on a bridge with all my kimono'd friends, when a dashing-looking man walked up. I squinted at him, trying to think who it was, and then JUST as he passed I had a Eureka moment: "You're Paul Walker."
"Yes, I am," he replied and continued on.
At that point I was 21, but in deference to my Paul-Walker-crazy 16-year-old self (Have you SEEN "The Skulls?" The boxing scene?) I consulted with a girlfriend and we decided to get a picture with him. By that time he was halfway around the little pond so we had to run in our wooden geta shoes to get to him and by the time we got there we were out of breath.
"We decided we needed a picture with you," we said.
"I know," he sighed and rolled his eyes. "I could hear your little wooden shoes a mile away."

thebestjasmine

@BoozinSusan This made me laugh out loud. "your little wooden shoes" Heee.

Megasus

@thebestjasmine But still, kind of jerky of him NOT TO STOP when he could hear them coming!

thebestjasmine

@Megan Patterson@facebook Exactly. Which makes it even funnier/more horrible.

BoozinSusan

@thebestjasmine Haha, yes. And then he was all douchey and I was like, "So what are you doing in Japan?" And he was like, "Um, promoting...Eight Below."
[THE DISNEY MOVIE ABOUT DOGSLEDDING]

tiny dancer

My parents were in town visiting and we were entering the subway when they told me that Jon Stewart was right over there, tiny dancer, you have to talk to him. I've always wished to be better on the spot. So he said hi and in my mind I said, "I love your work, Jon." But what came out was, "I love you, Jon." He laughed a little and paused and said, "Thank you. I love you too" while my parents were laughing in the background.

tiny dancer

@tiny dancer I could also tell the story about The Best Time Will Smith Slowly Walked By Me With Absolute Disregard, but it's pretty short.

katesmash

@tiny dancer His dad was one of my professors in college. He is this really smart, really adorable tiny older guy and on the first day of class he was giving us his whole background shpiel. He was like "I have 3 sons, the oldest blah blah was at the Berlin Wall when it fell, the middle on is a comedian, you may have heard of him, he goes by Jon Stewart, and my youngest is a student here as well." I guess he figured everyone already knew he was Jon Stewart's dad and so he just wanted to get it out of the way. He also holds like a billion patents and has like 500 post grad engineering degrees. Incredibly smart guy.

fondue with cheddar

@katesmash I WANT TO HANG OUT WITH THIS FAMILY.

BoozinSusan

Erm, also: Dr. J (Julius Erving) at the Tokyo airport. He was coming back from a golfing trip in China and I had no idea who he was, just that he was friendly. "You have giant hands," I said. "Were you a professional athlete at some point? A golfer?"
His friend took me aside and hissed, "This is Dr. J."
"I don't know what that means," I said.

Then Dr. J gave me his email address and told me to email him if I needed any words of wisdom about figuring out my career. And I did. He was nice.
The End.

hairspin

@BoozinSusan
Ok this AND little wooden shoes! I laughed out loud at both. "I don't know what that means." HAHAHAHAHA

Probs

@BoozinSusan Awesome! I cracked up at this.

Lady Pennyface

@BoozinSusan HEE, this made me laugh til my eyes watered. Dr. J sounds really nice. Also, is big hands A Thing in golf? I had no idea!

BoozinSusan

@Lady Pennyface The better to grip the golf club with, my dear.

Real answer: I have no idea. I just know he looked like an athlete and said he was coming home from a golf trip, so I thought, "Golfer?" His friend was really pissed that I didn't know him, though.
But when Dr. J showed me a slideshow of his photos on his Macbook, I was like, This guy has pics with Michael Jordan! He must be a bigshot!

Lady Pennyface

@BoozinSusan Oh, you said in your first comment he was coming back from a golfing trip. Reading comprehension fail. AWW, Dr. J's photo slideshow! For some reason, this is beyond adorable to me.

fondue with cheddar

@BoozinSusan I've heard that about him (that he's a really nice guy). I never met him, but I did sign my name on a giant billboard that they* gave him when he retired. I can't imagine where he put it, but it was awesome.

*I don't know who "they" were.

BoozinSusan

@jen325 Haha they gave him a billboard?? Who does that? Was it a picture of his face with "Congratulations" written in Comic Sans, size 40,000 font?

fondue with cheddar

@BoozinSusan This was in the mid-80's, WAY before Comic Sans was designed (the good old days!). I honestly don't remember what was on the billboard besides a bazillion signatures. I don't think his picture was on there, but it had some kind of congratulatory message and maybe his jersey number. I think they parked it on his front lawn for awhile.

(I had to look it up: 40,000 point type would be about 46' high. Bigger than the billboard!)

BoozinSusan

@jen325 Haha, I love that you looked up how big that would be. And that he parked the billboard on his front lawn. "Citizens of the Neighborhood: I am loved!"

fondue with cheddar

@BoozinSusan He WAS loved! :)

Saiko

I brusquely cut off Louis C.K. and his kids on the sidewalk this morning because you know, people with kids walk too slow. When I realized it was him I almost killed myself.

kayjay

@Saiko Louis CK was probably cool with it. I think "people with kids walk too slow" is part of a bit.

fondue with cheddar

@Saiko Yeah, he probably wished he could have walked faster like you.

locationlocationlocation

I met Tony Kushner at my college (actually, a few times,) and he did a meet & greet/signing after the reading, and I was really excited to have a little joke prepared for my turn to meet him and have him sign my copy of the Angels in America script. When I met him I asked him to sign it "congratulations ebay bidder, buyer pays shipping costs" expecting to share a hearty chuckle with my favorite writer. He just looked at me blankly. So I told him my first name and he signed it to me, and we totally didn't go out for drinks & witty banter as I had hoped we would.

sweetleah

I am crying reading all these posts! Too funny! My best celebrity encounter (IDK if she's really a celebrity technically) was last month when I went to a friend's bachelorette party and said to one of the friends, Ashley, that "you look so familiar, have we ever hung out in Philly? (where she lives)" only to find out several hours and 20 drinks later that she was, actually, Ashley Biden as in the VP's daughter and we had been followed and monitored by secret service the whole nite. Nice.

MCakes

I met Ryan Gosling at a movie premiere and was too scared to go up to him and confess my love, and my sister was getting really frustrated with me so finally she went up to him and said "this is my sister she thinks you were great in the movie" and i couldn't stop giggling. when i marry him that will be our ADORABLE first meeting story. :)

Kira

I have encountered very few K-I-R-A Kiras in my life, so that was pretty exciting. That being said, this was great-- I love the "The Best Time I..." series so much.

Kira Goldenberg

@Kira Same here! Everyone thinks there's an E in my name someplace.

cuminafterall

I was in line with my boyfriend's family at Hampton Chutney this summer and Liev Schreiber was in front of us with his and Naomi Watts's adorable offspring. I was too shy to tell him how much I loved him in Walking and Talking.

RocketSurgeon

I think Bob Balaban and I are on the same grocery shopping schedule at Fairway. It took me like 4 times to realize who he was, and a Google to get his name correct. It's always weird when people look a little too familiar to be randoms.

Saiko

@RocketSurgeon I would have the best-stocked house (and the best marriage) in Christendom if I regularly rain into Bob Balaban at the grocery store. "Dude--I LOVED you in Altered States!!!"

fondue with cheddar

@RocketSurgeon I have no idea who Bob Balaban is, but he reminds me of Bob Loblaw.

redheaded&crazy

I ... have never seen or met a famous person or slightly famous person or not really famous but we're really grasping at straws here person ever..

Woooo who's with me!

ranran

@redheadedandcrazy Me! My roommate and I have a halfhearted contest about who's met a more famous person, and it's just pathetic because, really, neither of us. Conversations involve a lot of "Look, she's one of the 20 most famous people in the field of artificial intelligence!" or "His band gets a lot of attention from blogs!" It is terrible and our other roommates hate it, with good reason I guess.

Marzipan

@ranran Haha, that's great! We do that in my family, too. "I know a women who once won an olympic gold medal." "My father's bible study group included Cathy Guisewite." "She's, um, super famous in soil biology circles?" "We once saw Jon Stewart do stand-up." "We live sort of near where Paul Newman grew up." It is pretty bad.

The Widow Muspratt

@redheadedandcrazy I ate grilled cheese sandwiches with Todd Glass.
That's all I got.

frigwiggin

@Marzipan Cathy Guisewite Bible Study--I can't even. Just.

schadenfraulein

You guys should come spend a few days hanging out in certain parts of LA. A few years ago my friend from Pittsburgh flew out to find an apartment before moving here, and we had an inordinate number of really bizarre celebrity encounters on his first night in town. He was like "Is it always like this here!?" It's not really, but I still feel like I have a ton of dumb "I had an awkward conversation with Chris Kattan at the ATM!" stories. They're everywhere!

ranran

@ranran Forgot to mention that I also lived about three blocks away from Obama for four years (including during the election) and never even saw the guy. I feel like I was the only one in the whole neighborhood who didn't!

fondue with cheddar

@redheadedandcrazy Other than CD signings, I've only met one famous person. Dana Hill, the girl who played the daughter in European Vacation. She came to our school for an assembly about drugs, and then during lunch she sat at my table and chatted with us. Most of the girls were fawning over some soap opera guy, but I was cool with Dana.

Marzipan

@figwiggin Yep! Actually, she was the president of his church youth group. He was the vice-president. He's an atheist now. Not that that is necessarily related to Cathy. I'm just...sayin'.

lunacydress

My sister's boyfriend stinkpalmed Bruce Willis.

He was a student at Interlochen (a prestigious arts school in Michigan) at the same time Rumer Willis was there. Bruce, Demi and Ashton came to see her perform in a play (which she was terrible in, apparently) and Bruce was shaking hands with people after the show. My sister's boyfriend wanted to make the moment extra special, so he stinkpalmed him.

Yep. So proud he's in the family now.

pkle

I met Benoit Mandelbrot, mathematician extraordinaire, about 6 years ago. Star-struck, I tried to ask him what kind of research I should go into! But phrased it so awkwardly, I sort of ended up both implying that he's really old and about to die, and making it sound like an inappropriately personal question. He politely declined to answer O_o omg I was mortified.

Also apparently I am vaguely related to Peter from the Monkees? and his son was a grad student at the same time and same school where I was an undergrad. We (me and the son) facebook messaged a few times being like, "oh man we should totally hang out sometime," but nothing ever came of it. So I never got a chance to spiral that into a sequence of bizarre events that led to me accidentally making an ass of myself in front of a Monkee.

liznieve

My sister and I were disembarking a ski lift at the top of the mountain at Sundance (the resort, not the film festival in Park City), talking to one another and BLAMMO. Right into Robert Redford, who was I think helping a grandson get into his skis. We all (minus grandson) fall over, a tangle of polycarbonate, wax, arms and legs when I look up, look at him and ask: "Are you really wearing a corduroy onesie?" (he was.) (Thankfully he is a Very Nice Man and chuckled at me, saying something about old dogs, etc.)

Claire Zulkey

I once hit on a guy from "The Real World" by saying "I don't even watch 'The Real World.'" And you know what--it worked.

Leanne

I was in Rite Aid in the west village a few years ago and I saw an old lady bump into a magazine rack. A few seconds later I heard a few magazines fall to the ground, so I turned around to go pick them up. There was a man already bending over to reach for them. I got closer, bent down, and realized it was willem dafoe. Then I thought, wait, will he think I'm only helping him pick them up because he's willem dafoe and not because I just generally try to pick things up when they fall over? So I stood up and abruptly walked away. Then I realized what I had done was even weirder. Sigh. Sorry, Willem. I loved you in Platoon.

naughtysneaky

My boyfriend was working for Armani fragrances, and Megan Fox was there because she was the new face of something or other. Anyway, as he was walking past a huge conference room, he tripped over a box, stumbled, cursed, and looked into the conference room to see Megan Fox and a bunch of suits all staring at him.

But my best celebrity-encounter story was the time the aforementioned boyfriend and I met Morrissey on the street in London. He was walking out of Kensington High Street station with a single LP under his arm. The boyfriend used to be a huge nerdy Morrissey fan, and was absolutely beside himself. He finally managed to say, dumbly, "Are...you...*Morrissey*?" And Morrissey just looked at him and said, "Every day."

laurel

@naughtysneaky You have killed me.

Dancercise

I met David Cook (yes, the American Idol winner) when his season's tour was in my town. Long story short, he signed and gave me one of his Livestrong-esque rubber-y bracelets. I almost fainted.

adminslave

I went to a Josh Ritter concert on my birthday in.... 2005. I had just graduated college, was working in a dead end temp job and a second job at a hotel, starving to death slowly (but really thin? I kind of miss that) and swiftly depleting what little savings I had made out of graduation gift money from my relatives. I was smoking outside during the opening act (The Frames, pre-'Once'). I walked back into the lobby, and there was Josh Ritter (who I kind of dug?). My friends found me and physically forced me to talk to him, by yelling, "It's her birthday!"

He was ridiculously nice, we took a photo, and then he asked the dreaded, "What do you do?" I mumbled something about writing and being an english major and temping in finance and he looked up at me and said something like, "Keep going, I temped for 6 years." And what he said really helped. Even if I haven't liked his later albums (post-Animal Years) as much as his earlier efforts, I still kind of love him. Oh and he signed a free CD they were giving out ("Girl in the war" single).

On the making a celebrity think your a moron front (in my case, more of an ass) I did once sit like an aisle away from Jamie Lee Curtis. We were waiting for a movie to start, and in my defense I really didn't think it was her, just a look-a-like. I made a few Activia jokes to my companions, not overly loud. But once the movie ended and we filed out, I realized it was in fact Jamie Lee, and I really really hope she didn't hear me make terrible constipation jokes!

apples and oranges

@adminslave I LOVE JOSH RITTER!!
I met him this year at a book signing and he was adorable and super nice and signed my book super sweetly and hugged me a bunch of times. Sadly we are not engaged to be married. (womp womp)
Adorable that he was all encourage-y to you though.

He was also really into the fact that I was an English major and asked me what I was reading.

adminslave

@kayarr I kind of think he's dreamy. LOL. He has a really big following in Ireland. I lived there for my year abroad and his shows often sold out. I think this is how he got into touring with the Frames.

Polina

Harry Connick Jr. I was watching HIM in Independence Day, NOT Jeff Goldblum...and I'm not sorry.

adminslave

Also, in 2004 I was trying to hail a cab drunk with some friends in NYC. I was watching the cars in sitting at the light when I realized one of them was Tracy Morgan, who at the time I knew as one of the only funny people on SNL. I waved and told him, "You're really funny!" (I couldn't remember his name).

My friend next to me, who is ridiculously hot, had no idea who he was. She told him he had a beatiful car (a large SUV), and he said, "so are YOU!" Worst pick up line ever? But kind of charming. The light changed, he sped off.

Megasus

@adminslave Well, I don't think it would have been an authentic Tracey Morgan experience if the pickup line had been good.

shelleycerata

I was at a Lyle Lovett concert in, ummm, 1996? and went to the bathroom. The girl next to me washing her hands was wearing the cutest glasses, and I told her so.

Before I realized it was Lisa Loeb and ran away in complete embarrassment.

Bambi

I was walking with coworkers to Mrs Winstons (organic deli near Santa Monica airport)and the conversation was about how they'd all seen so and so at the deli. I just finished saying that I've never seen anyone famous in there, went in, got a sandwich, and then stood in line behind this tall skinny guy, who turned out to be Harrison Ford. He looks good for his age. Really tall too. D'oh.

Donovan Gentry@twitter

There was the time a lady was in our hat store buying all kinds of shit and while chatting to her at the register she mentioned she was playing at the Long Center (big venue in Austin), and I asked, oh, what's your name?
Her: "I'm Tori Amos."
Me: "Hi... I'm Donovan Gentry" [holds out hand]
My female friends won't forgive me for not knowing what Tori Amos looks like. That's what I get for not being a teen-aged girl in the 90's.

one cow.

I worked as a background actor for the "Public Enemies" press junket, where all the main actors come in & get interviewed by all the E! News-type shows for like 60 seconds apiece. I didn't know which actor I'd be in the background for, & as I'm waiting, one of the girls running the show goes, "You haven't started yet? Oh, you must be in Johnny's shot." I tried to act super casual as I realized I'd be working with Johnny Depp. He strolled in, walked up to his interview chair, then turned to the 6 of us & said, "Hey, guys! Sorry I took so long to get here," then looked right at me, & asked, "have you been waiting long?" to which I replied, "Yeah, we've been waiting." Because I am a dipshit.

Does Axl have a jack?

I really haven't embarrassed myself properly in front of any famous people besides emitting the requisite pathetic squeaking sounds instead of speech at various guys in bands, but I did only partially succeed at not fangirling out over Mary Daly and bell hooks when I worked in the Women's Studies office in undergrad; we were trying to arrange for them to come to campus, and they both called while I was covering the phone for our real secretary during her lunch breaks. I'm pretty sure "Oh wow, omg hi" is not a professional reaction to them identifying themselves after I answered.

fleurdelivre

I've done a lot of stupid things in front of celebrities (usually musicians) but the best time was when I told John Vanderslice as he was going on stage in a club that "It's nice to meet you, but I really have to pee." To my defense, I'd been stuck in traffic for 45 mins on the way there, but my friends were still appalled. Vanderslice said, "Ok. We'll wait for you to get back before we go on." LIES!

Peanut

@fleurdelivre I LOVE Vanderslice. His tweets are gems.

fleurdelivre

Oh! The other best time was when I started asking Hanson a question by referencing a news item Rolling Stone had intentionally misleadingly distorted and I got BOOED by a room ful of late teens, early 20s hanson fans. Then, when Taylor Hanson was shaking people's hands on my row in the audience, he skipped me.

nocomment

One time Jami Gertz embarrassed me. I met her at a taping of Still Standing and was talking to her with my cousin's wife, who said I was visiting from Ohio.

Jami Gertz: "Oh, where in Ohio?"

Me: "Cleveland."

Jami Gertz: "Where in Cleveland?"

Me: "[names obscure suburb]"

Jami Gertz: "Oh! My sister-in-law is from there!"

She starts pointing at my head and yelling at her sister-in-law across the room.

Jami Gertz: "MICHELLE! MICHELLE! WE'VE GOT ANOTHER [SUBURB NAME]-ER OVER HERE!!!"

She was super nice but I was mortified by the attention.

atipofthehat

You can also make a fool out of yourself with a celebrity you KNOW. A woman I knew worked on the Nightmare on Elm Street films. They were shooting late one night in a junkyard, and she had some paperwork to do, so she went off to find a quiet spot to sit out of the way, where it was fairly dark. She was so intent on finishing her work that, when she sensed someone sitting down next to her, she didn't even look up. When she did look up, she saw Robert Englund in full Freddy Krueger makeup, waiting to be called for the next shot.

She screamed and leaped up in mortal terror.

He laughed.

Roaring Girl

I went to an Andrew Bird show with a friend, and it was a very small venue so pretty much everyone who wanted to could talk to him. We told him the show was awesome and then we went back to our seats to wait for the crowd to clear out. When he was done talking to everyone, he came and sat RIGHT BEHIND US. Like, in the middle of the rows and rows of chairs, so obviously on purpose. AND WE DIDN'T TALK TO HIM. We kept glancing at him and each other, waiting for someone else to start talking, and no one ever did, and eventually he got up and wandered off. So, kids: ALWAYS open your mouth and risk putting your foot in it. You might say something stupid, or you might end up having a freaky threesome with Andrew Bird. JUST SAYING.

mayonegg

@Roaring Girl I've met him, too! And I said "Huge fan. You're a great whistler," right before we had a photo taken together, in which we both look incredibly uncomfortable, perhaps due to the aforementioned whistler comment? But maybe also because it's Andrew Bird, and he always seems uncomfortable.

Bebe

My husband was at a work event and My One True Love, LL Cool J was there (don't mock!). Anyway, my husband who never, ever approaches famous people because you know, he's way too cool, decided to break his rule so he could get a picture for me. He walked up to LL and said, "My wife loves you." And LL smiled knowingly, nodded and said, "I know."

MollyculeTheory

An ex lived in the same building as Fat Albert? She asked him if she could borrow his fatsuit once in the elevator as I stood mute. Another time I saw part of the cast from Gossip Girl at Nevada Smith's. "Are you using this stool?" "Uh, no?" I am the worst at interacting with celebrities. Or the best? The best!

Megasus

Nikita has apparently been filming on my street this week, but sadly I haven't seen anyone from it around. And maybe they went somewhere else because I haven't seen their trailers and junk clogging the street either. I haven't really met anyone famous before though.

Anne Jackson@facebook

When I (finally) met Elvis Costello on the street in NYC, I was brilliant enough to say, "May I please you!" (Rather than, 'pleased to meet you!' - as I'd meant.)I got the raised eyebrow from him and my friend nearly doubled over laughing at me. Yeah; brilliant.

crango

While my celebrity interactions have been sadly mundane (giving Ralph Nader directions to a sandwich shop only to realize who he was hours later), my friend worked at a perfume shop that was frequented by a number of famous folk. The best was when Tim Curry came in one day. She saw him looking at some cologne and went "Oh, you have to be careful with that one, it will give you BEES!!" To which he seemed very concerned and promptly left.

Inkling

@crango http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=That'll%20give%20you%20bees
I am going to make "That'll give you bees" happen.

frigwiggin

I've never met any celebrities (except Neil Gaiman at a book signing), just musicians I'm a big fan of, and generally make a fool of myself in front of (ex: Jason Webley), but some friends and I were waiting in front of the Great American Music Hall to see a Dresden Dolls show and Amanda Palmer got out of her vehicle without any makeup (including eyebrows) on and then her pants kind of fell down so she semi-mooned all five of us. I, of course, was looking somewhere else, because I am a moron.

Of course, I'm sure people see her butt all the time, so NBD.

Gnatalby

God.

So my friend and I drove from Detroit to Toronto to see Tori and on the way incurred a $355 speeding ticket. So at the little meet and greet I wanted Tori to sign my ticket, so I was all "Tori, um, my friend and I got this speeding ticket on the way to see you and--"

And she goes "I'm sorry, do you expect me to PAY that?"

And I basically crumpled up into a big ball of shame and was like "N-no just sign it?" And all the other fans laughed at me, and I felt like the worst.

Now I'm like Troy and I don't want to meet any celebrities I love.

angelinha

@Gnatalby I was similarly disillusioned when I met David Sedaris. My dad's response: "And that's why you should never meet your heroes."

frigwiggin

@klibberfish What? What did David do???

schadenfraulein

@klibberfish Yeah what did David do!? I met him at a book signing and he was super charming and nice. I asked him to draw a dirty picture in my book and he drew a side view of a man with a hard-on wearing boots.
I can't get enough of these stories, by the way.

angelinha

@schadenfraulein Well, it was also at a signing and as we all waited in line, he asked someone to come up with a joke to tell him. I told him a joke I had made up myself (Where's the best place to get an Apple pancake? iHop!) and not only did he not think it was funny at all, he told me a really dirty joke in response and while I can certainly appreciate a good dirty joke, it's just not what I expected from my favorite author, you know? I just think his humor transcends that need to be overtly sexual/demoralizing to be funny, and I was disappointed that he stooped to that instead of calling upon the genuine humor-through-carefully-crafted-text that I love so much in his books.

adminslave

My brother is a big comic book nerd. Growing up, I would often steal his comics and tag along with him to different conventions. The fun thing about comic book authors is that they are not at all famous and really accessible by email. I used to love this one small press comic, "Dork" by Evan Dorkin (who now does a lot of TV writing) and I had seen him at the conventions and had a bit of a crush on him. And his most recent comic had been really depressing and morbid and I started to worry about his mental health. So naive thirteen-year-old that I was, I emailed him asking if he was okay, making sure that he wasn't actually suicidal. I didn't think he would ever reply back, but within a week he told me he was just fine, and I asked him about writing, and he gave me some very nice tips on publishing and writing. I really wish I had a copy of that email.

I also once told the author of a majority of X-Men comics from the 80-90s that I hated Jean Grey and Cyclops (he asked my favorite and least favorite characters), not realizing that he had crafted the Phoenix-Saga plotlines and he didn't kill me. I think he thought I was nine? I found out later he is a notorious hot head, and I was lucky he was so kind.

These are the kind of 'celebrity sightings' that impress no one!

BossyBottom

@adminslave I'm impressed! Evan Dorkin is dreamy - I also had a big crush on him after meeting him at comic con.

nocomment

No discussion of this is complete without Tig Notaro's Taylor Dayne story. It's hysterical.

http://soundcloud.com/dgadino/tig-notaro-taylor-dayne

Millipenny

I met Dave Grohl at some party years ago.
Good part: He was extremely friendly and funny.
Bad part: I was so excited about meeting DG that I didn't realize I that was standing on his wife's foot for at least a full minute.

I apologized profusely and hid in a corner for about a half hour. When I told my friend about it later, he was like "Oh, stuff like that happens to her all the time!" which made me feel like an even bigger ass. Sorry, Mrs. Grohl!

.abbey

My friend was at a fancy hotel wearing a long green formal dress and on her way to the bathroom Chris de Burgh was behind her singing LAAADY IN GREEEEEEN

DanielleH

I walked 55,000 blocks to get to Magnolia just in time to see the last chocolate cupcake on the tray. The guy next to me reached for it at the same time I did, and without even looking at him I said, "NO. COME ON, IT'S MINE" like a legit psychopath. Then I turned and looked Mo Rocca in the face and said, "Seriously, I'm really hungry." It got awkward when he followed me down the street...and got on the same subway...where we stood next to each other for 4 stops while I hugged my cupcake box and looked at the floor the entire way.

I have a million of these. Franz Ferdinand? Luke Wilson? Jarvis Cocker? Kevin Kline? I've embarrassed myself in front of them ALL.

laurel

@DanielleH: GO ON...

DanielleH

@laurel Well...I dated a well-known musician for a bit. He was playing a big festival and I was dancing off to the side of the stage with a dude in a striped sweater. He stopped dancing and started to leave; I was like, "Whaaaa, we're having fun, don't leave!" He said, "Oh I have to play next." I said, "Oh, play what?" Sorry, Alex from Franz Ferdinand, I have no idea what anyone in your band looks like, but I do know that one song.

Once I got a cab on 21st near 5th during rush hour (cabs were scarce). The guy getting out of the cab was WICKED SLOW; I stood near the door and said "Come ON" under-my-breath-but-actually-really-loud. Luke Wilson crawls out of the back seat, smiles, and starts to apologize. I looked him in the eyes, cut him off and said "LUKE WILSON," like he somehow doesn't know who he is? turned bright red, and launched myself into the cab face first.

I was standing behind Jarvis Cocker in line on a plane from Birmingham, England to Paris. He was digging through his luggage and told me to go around him. I stammered, "Uh..uh...are you...Jarvis Cocker?" while he rearranged his chonies. He didn't even look up, just said, "Sometimes," like I’d asked him if I could take a shit in his bare hands, and kept digging in his bag. It was capital A Awkward, and continued to be when he sat in the row across from me. Like, hello, I've acknowledged that I know who you are, you DEFINITELY do not *care* that I know who you are, and now we're stuck in a tube together for a couple of hours. I just stared straight ahead and didn't say a word for the entire flight.

wcooper

My boyfriend at the time and I walked out of a film festival in NYC and saw Salman Rushdie with a friend walk out. A little surprised, my ex and I politely said, "Hi! Would you mind if we take our picture with you?". Mr. Rushdie rolled his eyes and said, "Well, actually I DO mind but you can if you must." Ahhh the moments after that were so awkward and horrible. Do we take the picture with unhappy Salman Rushdie or do we walk away, what do we do!?!?! Anyway, we just took a picture with him, I don't remember if we smiled or not. The flash didn't go off on the camera so the picture didn't even turn out!

Also, this isn't my celebrity encounter but my friend's encounter. It is awesome, so I thought I would share on her behalf. We live in New Zealand and she works in a bookshop here. Karl Urban (Bones in Star Trek and more importantly EOMER IN LOTR!!!) came into her bookshop and asked her, no joke, where he could find the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. She didn't even know who he was at the time and also struggled to find the Trilogy for him. Oh Eomer...your flowing blonde hair and your mad horse Rohan riding skillz. I was so jealous she met him (even though she didn't give a hoot).

Creature Cheeseman

YALL I met Zac Efron this past weekend and he TAUGHT ME HOW TO DOUGIE!

parkerb

I once saw Cynthia Nixon on the street; I fantasized about running up to her and enthusiastically saying I loved her in Amadeus.

BoozinSusan

@parkerb I saw her and told her I loved her in "The Women." Because SatC was big at the time and I was sure she was sick of hearing about that. She was sweaty and pregnant and unhappy, though.

cosmia

I am SO LATE, but I just wanted to say since it was just two weeks ago, the closest I have ever come to meeting a celebrity was when Tom Felton walked by me on the way to get coffee or something at a convention!

Anna_anna

This won't make much sense outside the UK, because this person isn't famous worldwide, but what the hell.

I was once at a party and a man I assumed, by his conversation, to be a radio producer was being very rude and talking all over everyone else. I also recognised him, but couldn't place him. Finally it arrived through the wine fog: "Oh, I know who you remind me of!" I bellowed at him. "You look just like that Simon Amstell off Popworld."

TV presenter Simon Amstell looked at me in horror.

katesmash

I went to go see Bob Mould play a few years ago (I am a little more than obsessed with his music) and after he was finished, he was walking through the crowd, I think on his way to find some of his friends. The show was in DC, and he lives here, so that's just my assumption. Anyway, he was walking RIGHT PAST me, clearly like on his way to do something/find people, but without thinking, I stopped him and creepily grabbed his upper arm and looked him straight in the eye and said "You're my all-time favorite dude." He awkwardly thanked me and continued on his way.

Back in like 2000 I was in De Gaulle airport on a layover, and who should I see waiting at the gate with me but Dick Clark and his wife. I asked him if I could get a picture with him and his wife was like "do you want me to take it?" They were both SUPER nice and sweet and really really tan. When I boarded, I passed them IN COACH on my way to my seat.

nogreeneggs

I'm mad I'm late to all these posts! I met Kevin Connnolly at an Islanders game and while getting my picture taken with him I blurted out "you're really short in real life!" He just laughed.

But seriously you guys, he's really short. Like, I am almost taller than him and I'm 5'4.

fondue with cheddar

I met Jonatha Brooke at the Appel Farm Arts & Music Festival a few years back. It was raining, and there were few people left by the time she came to the tent for signing. There were only 5 of us in line, so she just hung out and bulshitted with us for awhile. She was a really cool chick, and HOT.

Avey

I got a book signed by David Sedaris right before he went on stage and he asked me about my name, which is unusual. When I told him it was Dutch and that my mom is Dutch, he asked about the date of Sinterklaas (Dutch Christmas) for a new story he was debuting that night. I told him Dec. 6th, which is why David Sedaris went on stage and told 500+ people the wrong date for Sinterklaas. I've never told my mother this story.

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