Your Best Brush with Greatness Stories
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Your Best Brush with Greatness Stories

By Dustin Rowles | Comment Diversions | June 15, 2012 | Comments ()


Several years ago, I was at a New Year's Eve party in New York City with some friends. One of those friend-of-friends had some sort of on-again-off-again relationships with Josh Saviano, who played Paul Pfeiffer in "The Wonder Years." Now, "The Wonder Years" was one of my absolute favorite shows growing up, but Saviano was no longer an actor. In fact, he was a law student at the time, I believe at Fordham. Anyway, I was drunk, and I wanted to talk to Saviano, but I didn't want to be that guy who chatted his ear off about "The Wonder Years" and Danica McKellar and were those rumors about Fred Savage true and what did he think of all the Marilyn Manson comparison? So, I ended up spending a good half hour drunkenly talking to Saviano about law school (I'd just graduated myself), and never once did I betray the fact that I knew him as Paul Pfeiffer. He was just a guy who went to law school, who had dated a friend of a friend, and nothing more. He introduced himself as Josh, and that was all he ever was. He was totally dorky, amiable, and charming, basically exactly how you'd expect Paul Ffeifer to grow up, but because I never broached the subject, I never got any insight, and my brush with "greatness" ended up becoming a lousy, banal story.

Surely, you can do better. We did this many years ago, but Bierce suggested we do it again, and there's been plenty of turnover among out commenters, and lots more brushes with greatness to explore. It's Friday. We're in time-killing mode before the reviews start appearing, so let's have him. What's your best brush with greatness story?

Upvotes for your favorites.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Jennifer Hofstetter

    I've been out of town, so I just saw this, and even though I doubt anyone will read it, I'ma tell my stories.

    Once upon a time, I went to DragonCon. Late in the night, I was hanging with my friends in the Marriott hotel bar. We're drinking, having a grand ol' time, and turn around to see one of our other friends chatting with Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis). Mr. Longbottom was trying to discuss American history vs. British history. He got on the subject of the War of the Roses, and we sat their dissecting Yorkshire vs. Lancashire for a good 10 minutes. It was awesome. I also saw Aaron Douglas at that Con and we talked about hockey for like 10 seconds. He didn't have a lot of respect for me as a Thrashers(RIP) fan.

    Also, last year I was having brunch with my mom and grandma, when I see this very well dressed, hip, attractive dude in aviators walk in. He has two little girls with him, and he's being sweet and affectionate. I'm sitting at the table thinking to myself "Wow. I hope my future husband acts that way to our future babies." The little family sits down two tables over from us and I pay no attention to them for the rest of the meal. Before we leave, I get up to go to the restroom and on my way back I steal one more look at Mr. Handsome. Mr. Handsome is Ben Affleck. Straight up. I was floored.

  • john j

    Not my stories, but here they go.

    I lived in Wyoming back in the 80's (this was around the time celebrities starting buying up real estate around there). Around that time, one of my neighbors went to Jackson Hole for an EMT course. One evening after class was over, he decided to drop by this little dive bar to have a couple of beers and grab a bite to eat. Well, the place was pretty much empty, except for this one other fellow seated at the bar by himself. My neighbor (Dan) sat a couple of stools away, and eventually started having a conversation with the guy. No big deal really, just a couple of guys shooting the bull and tossing back some beers. Eventually Dan got up to leave, but realized he'd never introduced himself. He extends his hand and gives his name, and the other guy replies, "Nice to meet you. Harrison Ford."

    The other was a friend that went to LA to become a movie star (which never really happened). He and some friends were in a little Mexican food joint one day. The place was packed. No other seats available except the spare seat at their table. Well, in walks a solo Matthew McConaughey. He grabs his burrito and looks around for a place to sit. Spies my friend's open chair and walks over. Nonchalantly, he asks if he can sit down. "Sure," they say. My friend said he was a really cool, down to earth guy. Didn't act like a big shot or really even anybody important. The rest of the guys at the table had enough tact to just treat him that way, too.

  • Smeezy

    I interned with a big film producer, and one of my occasional duties was answering phones for his production company's office. Random people would always call in looking for said producer / Tarantino - the two have done many movies together. When something like this would happen I would have to explain to these crazies that this isn't how the industry works, you have to go through an agent, who then contacts us, blah blah blah. So one day this guy calls up and says, "Hey this is Sam Jackson, is Quentin around?" Not thinking anything of the name, I begin my schpeel about who he should be contacting instead of calling us. As we talk, it slowly begins to dawn on me that this could be Samuel L. Jackson, so I ask, " Wait, Is this THE Samuel L..." Before I can finish he replies, "This is Samuel mothafuckin' Jackson" and sure enough it was. I put him through after that.

  • Xvi

    So, by some miracle my (now ex-)wife was able to get two tickets for us to see Book of Mormon while it was still in previews. There was a lot of buzz so these few nights were all jammed with NY culturati and celebrity. In the front rows I was able to see Jon Stewart shmoozing it up with NPH and I'm pretty sure I saw Yoko Ono and Julian Schnabel sitting next to each other.

    Either way, the bar was swamped during intermission, so I decided to hold off on getting a drink until it died down a bit. About two minutes before the curtains were set to go up, things looked reasonable and I dashed to the bar to get in under the wire. There at the bar, alone, seemingly pulling the same tactic as I had, was Louis CK. I made eye-contact and stammered a bit which is something I do when I see famous people (whether I care for them or not) and probably told him I love him and his stand-up and his show, etc... he basically shrugged it off, but after i ordered he paid for my drink. Somehow i took this as an opportunity to continue assaulting him with praise.

    I cannot express enough how adorably uncomfortable the man is with praise (or even recognition). He was so embarrassingly humble and was just shoegazing the entire time I was gushing at him. He finally just mumbled a thank you and politely walked away.

    I still have the cup (and the shame of making a great man feel awkward).

  • sjfromsj

    I was at a conference in DC where Hillary Clinton was the keynote speaker. After she spoke at lunch, while everyone was breaking to go to sessions, my friend and I left our other friend to go to the bathroom. On the way there, we noticed a hullabaloo going on on the floor above us. We just knew it was her and immediately rushed upstairs. I whipped out my camera phone, made a plan with my friend, and once we got close to her, I asked, "Can I get a picture with you for my family calendar?" (My family is mostly conservative. I knew it would drive them crazy, which would make my mother and I delighted.) She, of course, obliged. Our other friend was super pissed that we were "going to the bathroom" and met Hillary instead.

  • Celery

    In high school, one of my friends was Neil Young's second cousin. Knowing that I was a huge fan, she got us all-access passes for his concert at Maple Leaf Gardens. After the show, we hung out with Neil's dad and grandmother for an hour while waiting for him at his hotel.
    When Neil finally arrived, he sat beside me on the couch (!), talked to me and signed the back of my jean jacket. Nothing unusual happened, but I was able to look him in the eye and tell him how much his music meant (and continues to mean) to me.

  • SaBrina

    In decreasing order of "how excited would I have been," I have failed to meet:

    Leonardo DiCaprio
    Michael Jackson
    Dick Van Dyke
    A BeeGees
    Zachary Quinto (this is where the list becomes vastly less impressive...)
    Matt Bomer

    These are are all people I could have met, if only my parents/friends had brought me to certain parties with them. I've still got an outside shot at the last two, but... eh. I could have met LEO!

  • SaBrina

    Forgot Cher. She lived on my block, and I even tried to sneak into what I later found out was her backyard, but I never knew she had been there until she moved away.

  • SaBrina

    I forgot to include Seal, Heidi Klum, and Shaun White. Would've been through my snowboarding instructor and his son, who I spent a day with in CO right before the X-Games.

  • Dev

    I was lucky enough to be invited to an academic conference at Brown at which Mary "Madame Airlock" McDonnell was giving a talk. Afterwards there was a dinner with her and she was the nicest, most gracious woman you ever met. Intelligent and charming, too. She took the time to talk to everyone and sign every boxset that was shoved in her face and at the end her sister literally had to wrap a scarf around her neck and drag her out of the place. The only sad part was that she seemed really thin in person and I was like goddamn, can't Mary McDonnell just have a grilled cheese and not be 15 pounds underweight?

  • linny

    Was in Rome with my little brother. I went to dinner without him because he was tired, and on the way back I noticed a nicely dressed woman and a man in a nice suit jacket shaking hands with the maitre d of a nice restaurant, and on closer examination, the man looked like David Krumholtz -- Mr Universe from Serenity. I told my brother when I got back. The next day, we took a day-trip down to Naples, and there, in the gift shop of the archaeological museum, was the same dude and the same lady. My brother concurred that he indeed looked a great deal like David Krumholtz. We agreed that we ought to let him have his vacation and not bug him, besides which, we left our cameras at the coat-check.

    After a long day wandering around Naples, we went to the train station.

    Guess who was standing next to me on the platform?

    So, yeah, I turned to him and said, "Hey, you're that actor guy, aren't you?" Smooth, I know. We ended up having a really nice conversation about our respective trips to Italy for about ten minutes, and then I shuffled away to bask a bit.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    I was an extra on Walker Texas Ranger. I am not sure that counts.

    But, I did walk right past Joey Ramone before a concert at Fair Park, my friend said hey to him and he said hey back. That was pretty cool. So Chuck Norris and Joey Ramone... I am sure there is a joke there somewhere.

  • Kate

    My friend was wandering around a Target in Virginia in 2004 or 2005 when this dude started trying to pick her up -- he introduced himself, told her she was cute and said his album was dropping next month. She just laughed a little and kept shopping (she's super gorgeous and gets hit on a LOT). The dude turned out to be none other than Chris Brown. She really dodged a bullet there.

    I had my own brush with greatness in 2008, when I was walking around Greenwich Village and I saw Jeffrey Tambor across the street. I yelled out "George Senior!" and waved. He turned without breaking stride, shouted "I'm OSCAR" and kept walking. It was fantastic.

  • SaBrina


  • Heatseeker

    I've had many a celebrity encounter due to growing up in LA with TV producer parents. But a couple of the funnier ones are:

    I once reached for the same copy of a sci-fi magazine as Quentin Tarantino, at a newsstand in West Hollywood (this was back when I was 10, in 1995, and there were still newsstands in LA). He said, "You take that one, I'll get the next one," like it was an elevator. We then started talking about the cover story--I think it was about Star Trek. Then my dad came looking for me and we left. My dad tells the story of when his 10-year-old daughter chatted up Quentin Tarantino with great mirth.

    When I was 20 and backpacking through Europe (I know, eyeroll), I was in Pamplona for the running of the bulls. There's a huge, disgustingly hedonistic party all throughout town each night of the festival. I was there the night before the last run, so it was especially huge and disgusting. In the middle of our revelry, a pretty blonde wandered drunkenly up to my group and asked one of the big Australian guys I'd come with for a piggyback ride. He obliged. I suddenly realized we were being filmed, and that the blonde was Tara Reid, shooting that travel show she she did for... I think E? This was back in 2005. She then partied with us for a while longer. Really nice, fun girl.

    I once nearly ran over Josh Lyman in DC. The West Wing was shooting in town and I was visiting my future college there. I was driving down... I think 6th or 7th, right by the gold dome Starbucks. Suddenly Bradley Whitford, in full Josh gear, stepped out in front of me without looking. I slammed on the brakes and watched in shock as he put his hand on the hood of my car and said, "Sorry, my fault!" I was around 16 or 17 and beyond obsessed with the show, and almost killing Josh was basically the worst thing that had happened in my life up until that point.

  • competitivenonfiction

    First, you should know that I love Steve Irwin. I studied biology and conservation and he is a personal hero. When he died, I cried and tried to watch the funeral on TV, but got too emotional when his daughter started her speech and had to turn it off. So this story isn't impressive to any of you, but it was an awesome moment in my life. I was at his zoo in Australia, which is more like a conservation centre than the zoos here in Canada. Anyways, I was watching one of the big crocs, and no one else was nearby because they were doing a croc show not too far away. And suddenly this guy comes through on a moped and waves at me. I'm 98% sure it was Steve Irwin. It was awesome and I am so happy I didn't figure it out it was him until he was gone for a few seconds, because I might have embarrassed myself.

  • ponyofponies

    My Australian husband ran into Alan Tudyk as he was leaving a restaurant bathroom in NYC.

    The story went something like this; husband stopped and stuck out his hand. "Alan Tudyk. " Then he realized he'd just left the bathroom. He pulled back his hand. "I just came from the bathroom." Pause. Then "Why'd they kill you?" Alan Tudyk replied "I don't know." Husband: "I hope they make a prequel so I can watch you more." Then Husband fled.

    (For the record, husband had washed his hands.)

  • I was tickled by John Rhys-Davies at a party in Hollywood. I asked him if he would take a picture with me, and I think he was kind of buzzed. He put his arm around my waist and as my friend hit the button he tickled me, so in the picture I look like a deranged monkey. It was AWESOME. I remember he was very tall and had a loud, booming voice. I love him.

    At that same party I held (and almost dropped) an Oscar. I think it belonged to one of the sound guys on "The Return of the King". It was really, really heavy.

  • Sara B.

    I went to high school with the boy who played the blind kid in Dumb and Dumber and sat next to him at a rally once.

    Years later Chaka Khan and her band were on my flight from DC to LA. Wasn't positive it was her until someone told her they loved her music.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I apprenticed for NJSF in 1993. One of my tasks was to be the ladies' dresser for "Arms and the Man". Dana Morisini was in the play - aka the wife of Christopher Reeve. One day - it so happened to be the day when my mother and one of my brothers came to see the show - she asked me to run upstairs and find her husband. She started to explain who he was and I shouted - "I'll recognize him!" But I actually didn't, not at first. His hair was a sandy gray color. But when I did find him, he shook my hand. I don't remember looking him in the eye, but he was handsome in person, beautifully crinkly-eyed, and his hand seemed so giant. My brother at the show was often told that he looked like Superman - but not when you put him against the real thing. Reeve was sitting in front of him.

    Dana herself was a lovely person - she and the other two women (Laila Robbins & Delphi Harrington) sang 3 part harmony on "Au Clair De La Lune" just for kicks in the dressing room. Dana & Chris' subsequent deaths were so heart-breaking.

    Oh, and Peter Dinklage was in the non-equity company that season. One of these days I'll scan the photos I have of him at some after-parties...

  • Pajamas

    I have three brushes. None of them involve me actually talking to the celeb.

    The first occurred in the Hamptons, around Christmas time. My boyfriend and I were waiting for a parking space on the street, but the guy who owned the BMW currently occupying the spot was taking his sweet ass time loading packages into the truck. My boyfriend is getting angrier and angrier, his hand hovering over the horn. Right as he is about to lay on the horn, I realize it is Matt Lauer. At which point I grab his arm and shout "Don't you beep at Matt Lauer!"

    The second brush occurred when I basically steamrolled Jason Schwartzman. He was sitting on the stairs on my local liquor store in Brooklyn, taking up all the space while he texted away. So I kinda pushed past him, I did say excuse me. But don't get between me and my brown liquor, Schwartzman!

    Third happened when I was having dinner in the Village. Next to Pete Hornburger (30 Rock). I whispered "Hornburger! YES!" and he totally heard me. He was nice about it.

    I have also literally run into Jon Stewart (I blurted "You're Jon Stewart! You're awesome!" and hustled away) and Paul Rudd. I rode in an elevator with Mekhi Pfieffer too.

  • Other Brian

    I live in Dublin. I was getting the Luas into town, and about half way in this kid gets on and stands in front of where I'm sitting. I was either playing DS or reading a book, and peered up just enough to see this kid was wearing super-skinny lime green trousers, with these shoes. The shoes were like old-fashioned leather golf shoes, but tall, like wooden clogs. they were bright red and green and yellow, and had big yellow leather tongues like doilies sticking out of them. They were big too, so there was a serious q-tip effect with the skinny trousers. The shoes hit a nerve. They really bugged me. I was like, "I could fucking punch this kid." My eyes scrolled up, and when I saw this kid's face I realised it was Jack Gleeson, who plays Joffrey on Game Of Thrones. This happened just a couple of days after I'd watched Sean Bean get decapitated. My mind broke. My brain was like "Kill him! He had Ned Stark killed.", then, "Shut the fuck up, brain. It's a TV show.", then, "But look at the shoes, brain! He's clearly just as bad in real life." I stuck my head back into my book/DS and didn't look up for the rest of the trip because it was too confusing.

  • Crazierhobbes

    I ran into Ted Danson at a Chili's once. He was...unpleasant.

  • I bummed a smoke off Hugo Weaving once. And told Jack Davenport I loved a short I'd seen him in. The movie they were shooting later got a terrible review on this site.

  • I was in Boston this past fall for the weekend just to get away from the "grind of college" and to see a concert. We were going to see Noel Gallagher (of Oasis fame) on his first North American tour since going solo. Well it's about 2 pm and the show starts in like 5-6 hours and we're walking down the street and I called my friend by the wrong name and he pretends to get offended by it and walk into Jacob Wirth's, an awesome bar. We go in there and start to drink for several hours. Well suddenly I hear somewhat of a stir and I thought I heard somebody say Noel's name. I turn around to see a British looking guy standing at the bar, it wasn't Noel. Then I turn around 3 seconds later to see Noel Gallagher walking past me in the bar that we wouldn't have even been in had I not called my friend by the wrong name. Since I'm several beers and cocktail's in at this point, I turn to Noel, and extend my hand and scream, "NOEL!!!" as if he was and old friend of mine I hadn't seen in years. He stops dead in his tracks, startled and looks me up and down for a moment. Gives me a reluctant, "hey" and keeps walking. I called all my friends who were huge Oasis fans to rub it in. By the time we left everyone in the bar around us was so sick of me telling that damn story. It was well worth the $450-500 spent over 36 hours.

  • Rebecca Hachmyer

    Back in the mid-nineties I was visiting the public library in my tiny Northern California town when I saw a kid that looked SUPER familiar sitting at one of the study tables. Problem was that I couldn't place him AT ALL. So I'm lurking in the stacks, wracking my brain and pretending to peruse field guides when, suddenly, I HAVE IT!

    So I turn to my mom and whisper-shout "that guy played the boy that shows up at the Taylor's house with Jennifer when Brad throws a Halloween party and Jennifer is supposed to dress up as Raggedy Ann but instead she dresses like a biker chick and makes Brad look like a total DB." And my mom is like "WTF?" And I say "Wait here."
    And I go up to the study table where this kid and a friend are surrounded by math papers and ask "Um, did I see you on Home Improvement?" and he's like "Yes." And I'm like "No way." And he's like "Yes way," and I'm like "I don't believe you," and he's like "Here's my SAG card," and I'm like "Then can I have your autograph?"
    So that was the day I got Ryder Strong's autograph, and started one of the all-time biggest crushes of my life. And to this day my mom avers that when I was standing there at that table I kept pushing my hair back out of my face, and whenever Shawn Hunter did that on Boy Meets World he totally got it from me.

    (It turns out that I was pretty much the last person on the planet to know that Ryder Strong grew up in my town. And when I later learned that he played Gavroche in Les Miserables I listened to his songs so often that I broke the cassette tape.)

  • Chrispeare

    I saw Carrie Underwood perform in Kuwait a few years ago. I didn't know who she was at the time, but I wanted to meet her because she's hotter than Satan on vacation. She was mobbed by a bunch of other people, so I only got to shake her hand. But it was a glorious hand. A hand that I would like to get to know.
    And I met Bret Hart last Tuesday. That was pretty cool.

  • ,

    "hotter than Satan on vacation"

    Really? I mean, I grant that she's pretty and all, but I attribute much of her success to being pretty enough to attract male fans but not so gorgeous as to seem a threat to female fans. From the magazine covers, she just looks ... wholesome, I guess. Sweet, maybe. Can't think of her as smokin' hot at all.

    Couldn't care less about her music or whatever tripe the former Idols are peddling, of course.

  • ,

    I once had a reporting beat covering a major-league baseball team, so ... most of the National League, 1982. Tommy Lasorda gave me a cold, that motherfucker, Chuck Tanner bitched me out and Dave Parker asked me why he never saw me out chasing any pussy. But possibly the coolest part was having a lunch interview in the Astrodome with David Lander ("Squiggy" from "Laverne and Shirley,") who was a huge baseball fan (Pittsburgh Pirates) with a prodigious memory for games and specific plays. I think I still have a copy ...

    Let's see, who else ... I went to the same college at the same time as Dennis Miller. I didn't know him but we had some mutual friends I was in an air hockey league with, and one day he showed up and cracked wise during our games.

    Bob Mould has played clubs in my town a couple times. After one (Sugar), he hung out on the sidewalk after, then went up the street where a guy I knew was having a party, Mould and David Barbe in my friend's living room. The other time he was on a solo tour and sold his own merch after the show.

    Before practically anybody had ever heard of them, I had a front row seat for a Cheap Trick gig and got a high five from Rick Nielson.

    Mrs. , and I believe we were in a restaurant on a fall Sunday afternoon where Dan Marino was sitting at the bar, drinking Stella and watching football. If it wasn't him, it was his twin. I didn't bother him to ask, he seemed to be minding his own business so I minded mine.

    I think that's most of them.

  • ,

    Knew I was forgetting one.

    I played five games of "Jeopardy!" (and won four), so I've shaken hands with Alex Trebek that many times. And between tapings we did some blow off a hooker's ... oh, wait, that was somebody else (nervous tee-hee).

    Seriously, people who know I've been on the show usually ask what Trebek is like, and I have to tell them, "Beats me." (No, he didn't beat me, that's just an expression.) Since Trebek knows all the clues and answers before the game starts, they keep the contestants walled off so there's no mistaken "reveal" that could be perceived as helping any contestant get an answer. So when you watch the show, all the interaction with Trebek the contestants ever have is what you see on air. Shows are taped like five in a day, so as soon as one taping ends, everybody races backstage to change clothes and get a makeup touchup and rushes back out to get the next game started. It's a whirlwind, with no time for chit-chat anyway.

    I DO have a nice photo of the two of us, him standing to my right with his hand on my left shoulder. I'd like to think I'm special (and I am), but every contestant gets one of those, or used to, anyway.

    Nope, sorry, the money's long gone. You'll have to pay for it yourself.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I didn't get one. But I was College Jeopardy. My impression was that he wore A LOT of makeup. And that he made a pretentious crack about wanting his water from a samovar. My family was impressed that he came over to talk to me during the credits instead of the winner, though.

  • Forward Observer

    I was in Amarillo, Texas for a teacher workshop a few years ago. When the session was over I went to Gander Mountain to get reloading supplies or something. As I'm walking through the parking lot this dude comes out of the store and walks right by me. Like, close enough to touch. Fuckin' David Duchovny.

    I froze up hard. I started to say something about the X-files and how Mulder is the coolest motherfucker in the world, but then I decided I didn't want to be that guy. So I just stood there, goggle-eyed mouthbreather style. Then two little kids and Tea Leoni come out.

    I think I stayed in the parking lot for a year or two after they drove off trying to process. When I finally went in the store a bunch of employees were huddled up and giggling by the front door, so I asked "was that David Duchovny?" and they confirmed it and said he was just passing through with the fam. I was all dicked up mentally the rest of the day. So random and strange.

  • I met him in Aus on a promo, grabbed his arse in the group photo and had chit chat. He is a huge flirt and loves the attention, but otherwise fairly funny.

  • Ender

    Are you sure you're a real person? Your comment history makes you look like you've got Jezzer's hand up your arse. Is it a coincidence you turned up to this old thread that no-one but me and him are using, or are you his sock/meatpuppet.

    Yeah. Thought as much.

  • DominaNefret

    I've had a few, but I'm going to go with the one that was by far the strangest.

    Back in 2007 I was working for my local Starbucks. The opening shift, so I had to be there at the crack of dawn every fucking morning. One morning, we get a call from one of the other local branches, saying that one of their openers was a no show and they REALLY need someone. Since we have three people opening that morning, I head on over there.
    I'm working the register, while the other guy is manning the bar. At about 6:30am an old man comes in. The guy I'm working with me gives me this look and nudges me a few times, but I have no idea what he is trying to get across. The man comes up to the bar and I take his order. After he pays, he stands there for a moment, and I realize he expects me to recognize him, but I have no clue who the hell he is. He reaches into his inner coat pocket, pulls out a pamphlet, hands it to me, and walks away to get his drink. A line has formed, so I place it aside and continue working. When I get my 15 minute break, I remember the pamphlet the old man handed me, and decide to see what the hell it was.
    It went something like this:
    "Hi, I'm Joe Gibbs! I lead the Redskins to 8 bajillion Super Bowls, and I did this because I love Jesus, the Redskins, and NASCAR, and Jesus, The Redskins, and NASCAR love Joe Gibbs! If you love Joe Gibbs, The Redskins, NASCAR, and Jesus, you will also be able to achieve all the great things you desire! Joe Gibbs was once sad, but Jesus, The Redskins, and NASCAR have made him happy and powerful, and they can do the same for you!"
    It was one of the weirdest fucking things I have ever read. I also think it is so strange that he carries around introductory pamphlets and hands them out to people.
    I did end up feeling kind of silly for not recognizing him, since he is a local hero around these parts, but I'm not a huge sports person. Apparently he comes into that Starbucks every morning. I wonder how many pamphlets he hands out.

  • The Upsetter

    I've worked on and off in both the music industry and the movie business for quite a while and have a few stories, but let's face it: most of these stories are nothing but petty celebrity gossip. Which I could not give less of a shit about.

    But I do have a tale, and it's not a tawdry one of a B movie starlet's sexual peccadillos or a one-hit wonder band member's infantile drug abuse.

    It's a horror story..

    In the late '80's I moved to a small town called Mercer Island just outside of Seattle to live with my aunt and her three daughters. I had just gotten out of one of those "troubled kids" institutions that I still blithely refer to as a reform school, and needed to enough credits to graduate.

    I was totally cool with it. My aunt is a lovely woman and I did not want to go back to England where my dysfunctional immediate family  lived. Fuck Margaret Thatcher, you feel me? I'd gotten used to living in the states after spending my entire life as an ex-pat.

    When I first moved in with my aunt she'd been living in Winthrop, Washington, a small town in a county the size of Rhode Island but with only one stop light. But my aunt was getting her PHD at the University of Washington, and Mercer Island has one of the best high schools in the state and she wanted to make sure her kids had a better chance of getting into the colleges of their choice, so we moved there soon after I moved in with her.

    Mercer Island was, and is to this day, a very insular, wealthy, and tony community. And the people who lived there(not all of them, but most), were very pleased with themselves that they lived in a little John Hughes movie-type neighborhood. Which meant that there was fuck all for the local kids to do.

    There had been bowling alleys and video arcades and an all-ages venue, but the parents had complained that these places were not in the Mercer Island spirit of making sure their kids were staying at home and hitting the books and making them proud. So pressure was placed, letters were written, complaints were filed, and one by one all these places went out of business. Then the parents would loudly bitch and moan and wonder why all their kids were dying in drunk driving accidents on the floating bridge coming back from keg parties held in Seattle eight miles away. It's amazing how adults' cogent thoughts and logic reasoning tend to disappear once they can afford a BMW...

    What this meant was that there were two places for teenagers to congregate on Mercer Island. One was the parking lot at McDonalds, and the other was the local Denny's. Years later, after I'd moved to Seattle, the local Parental Fun Police decided to take on this particular den of iniquity as well, with the end result that Mercer Island wound up as being one of only two places in the US where the Denny's wasn't open 24 hours, closing at 11 on weekdays and midnight on weekends.

    So I'm now a senior at a real American high school after spending my entire life overseas. Sure, it's in the middle of a overprivileged white ghetto, but the school is top notch and I'm making friends. And my friends and I would go and hang out at the local Denny's, drink endless amounts of cheap coffee and smoke Camels and bullshit. We were the Smoking Section Crowd. Not the Jocks On Coke Crowd, or the Bulimic Cheerleader Crowd, or the Professionally Popular Crowd, but the marginalized, the outsiders, the thinkers. We all knew we were going to do something with our lives , while the Biffs Chads and Muffys and Heathers would go on to be used car dealers or bored housewives with pill habits or shifty real estate salespeople. And we were right...

    So one night my friends and I go down to Denny's and I wind up meeting George Russell, who is hanging out there as well, and we sit at his table with him.

    George Russell is charming. George Russell is loquacious. George Russell is well read. George Russell makes eye contact when talking to you, his handshake is firm. George Russell is also one of the very few black people who live on the Island, and all my friends who are quite sheltered are glad to have their One Black Friend to prove they aren't that quite sheltered.

    I could care less about his ethnicity or my friends' attempts to gain street cred. I'd just spent eighteen months in a reform school after being kicked out of a British Military Academy I hadn't wanted to go to in the first place, I have nothing to prove.

    And like I said, George Russell is quite a fellow. We talk about comic books, and the publishing houses of Dark Horse and Fantagraphics, literature, movies, politics, foreign policy. George Russell's a smart chap, and quietly self-effacing. Purposefully harmless.

    But George Russell is also in his late twenties, and while I understand the allure of associating with an older individual, especially if that older individual can buy your underage ass beer, that older individual is still hanging out with your underage ass.

    And George Russell also has a police scanner on the table in front of him. Every now and then he would cock his head to the side to hear what was coming over the airwaves, pausing the conversation to hit the squelch button and fine-tune the frequency. Later that night, two cops wandered into the joint for some comped coffee and they give George Russell The Nod. George Russell gives The Nod right back. I ask him about it. Quite pleased with himself, he informs me that he does "some side work" for the local PD. My friends assure me that George Russell is cool. Don't worry, he's not a narc. He just helps them around the office. Also, he gets all the chicks. George Russell is the man.

    But this sets my spidey sense tingling. I'm only eighteen, but I've already been around the block a few times in quite a few different neighborhoods in several different countries. And I've just gotten out of a reform institution. I can judge body language and vocal inflection and eye movement, and there's something about George Russell that doesn't add up. Maybe it's the fact that he's so self-effacing and purposefully harmless. Maybe it's the fact that he screams Cop Groupie. And trust me, citizens who are Cop Groupies should set your antenna twitching. But no matter. As a minor acquaintance, he's a good conversationalist. 

    So George Russell would buy my friends beer, hook them up with whatever shitty brick weed they were desperate enough to smoke, sometimes hang out with us at parties. We would chat a little bit, the two of us. But in the back of my mind I thought him an unctuous creep with a bad case of the smarm so we didn't associate.

    After I graduated High school I would still spend time on the Island, and I would run into George Russell here and there. By this point I was using my Swiss passport as a "fake ID" and my gift of the gab to get it past the liquor store clerks limited understanding of French and German so George knew he couldn't sidle up to me and be all like "Hey bro, you need a half rack of Rainier? I can totally get it for you ." So we'd just give each other The Nod, and that was it.

    One night I was hanging out at the Bellevue bus station waiting for the #220 to arrive. I looked over to the side and saw this girl nearby. Poor thing. She was probably barely seventeen and covered in makeup and her slumped posture and guarded body language just screamed "Get me out of here. Please. Take me away from this godforsaken dump and knock me up with two brats to beat in the double-wide while you're working triple shifts at the brewery to pay off your Camaro lease, I don't care. Just get me out of here." My heart went out to the poor girl. Even though I was barely out of my teens myself I remembered how awful they could be.

    Just then a voice said "Hey Dude. What's up?"

    I look over and there's George Russell, all smiling and harmless. He bums a smoke from me and we take in the night. He notices my pitying look at the sad case off to the side and apropos of nothing busts out with "Yeah, I noticed her too. Wanted to go over and say something and cheer her up, you know? But you know how it is. A black man in a town like this talking to a white girl? I've got to watch myself.."

    The bus arrives. We stub out our Marlboros and get on board, he in the front with a magazine, me inthe back with my walkman and my thoughts. And my thoughts were this:

    What. The. Fuck...

    First of all, while Bellevue was another well-to-do white neighborhood on the Eastside, it sure as shit wasn't Alabama. And yes, by this point I'd been living in the States for a few years and had realized that outside some cities it was kind of a racist shithole populated with  really spiteful ignorant cunts who didn't know jack and hated anyone that did. But it didn't mean that if you needed to pull that Ralph Ellison Invisible Man shit, that Bellevue was the place to do it.

    Second, every single other brother I knew would not for a moment have said something like that, much less to a white boy like me. Public Enemy was king, Malcolm X was years away from hitting the movie theaters but Africa medallions were omnipresent, NWA was pissing off both the cops and Tipper Gore in equal measure, no way somebody with any kind of self respect would up and announce that statement. Unless it was something they thought it was what you wanted to hear.

    I remember looking at George Russell in the front of the bus and thinking to myself that yes, he was an unctuous creep with a bad case of the smarm. But there was something else. Something I didn't like. I scanned my thoughts for racist overtones, but honestly could not find any. 

    I remembered a time when I was nine years old in Kenya, in a bad part of town in Mombasa, taken there by one of my Dad's old college roommates to a dingy local cafe where they served little cubes of raw beef and small bowls of salt to dip them in and beer to wash everything down and that was it. The beef tendons were chewy and flies settled on the corners of your eyes and would take little nips of your ocular liquid so often eventually you just gave up on brushing them away, just hoped you wouldn't blink too fast and trap one under your eyelids. Having an African Bluebottle buzzing away behind there sucks, take it from me. We'd been the only white people there. My Dad had been nervous, but I wasn't even though it seemed most everyone there had either a cheap Belgian rifle or a rusty pistol by their table. 

    I remembered going into Brixton in London to buy hashish barely out of puberty and only a few years after the riots. It could be dodgy, but I wasn't nervous then. 

    And at the time I was living in an unheated warehouse in a crappy part of Seattle where I'd seen three people get shot in six months outside my window, but I wasn't nervous now, just cautious.

    Look, I understand if you're a diplomat or a spook(Note to readers: Spook as in the pejorative of a member of the Clandestine Services, not that other pejorative. Please take a short fall off your high horse) or a diplomat who's a spook or you're an undercover cop and you want to blend into the background and not attract attention. I get it. But if you're a normal citizen, a civilian, and you're going out of your way to be unseen? There's something going on.

    And there was something going on with George Russell. And it made me nervous. Because he told me what he thought I wanted to hear. Moral of the story here, if you're one of the lucky ones born with spidey sense, listen to it when it tingles. It's there for a reason.

    A few months later one of my friends had a party at his apartment. He was one of the few of us who had one and because it was on the quiet white Eastside instead of Heavily Armed Hobo Junkie Alley where my warehouse was, all my friends would go there instead.

    George Russell was there, doing hot knife hits off the stove and flashing that famous smile of his. Making small talk and minor physical contact, little pats on the back or touching your forearm when talking to you, like a waiter angling for a bigger tip or Bill Clinton hitting you up for a campaign contribution.

    I remembered that night at the bus station and kept my distance. Just gave him The Nod, got it back in return. So far, so good.

    George Russell soon left to go on a date, leaving behind the better part of a case of Henry Weinhardt's for my friends to toast his early absence with. That was the last time I ever saw him. I don't think I even touched a drop of his beer bribe, I just concentrated on the Afghani Blonde I had smuggled back from overseas the year before, so cut with henna it was like smoking designer shampoo.

    Once again I voiced my personal opinion of his character to my friends, but they were white boys barely out of high school and so stoked to have a homeboy to high-five with, that they assured me I was just paranoid and definitely not as def and down with it as they were. My manners dictate that I don't mention that they live in a fucking Disneyfied suburb where the most dangerous thing they have to deal with is drunken frat boys at TGIFriday's.

    The next morning a man walking his dog spotted what looked like a body by a dumster near a nightclub noted for it's blond and brainless clientelle. The local homicide arrive in their unmarkeds and discover a twenty three year old female vic, naked and strangled and raped and most unsettling of all, posed. Laid out on the sidewalk like Jeebus on the cross, legs folded over each other, arms akimbo and outstretched with a pine cone carefully placed in each open palm. She'd been kicked so hard her liver had split open against her spinal column.

    This is one is not a crime of passion. This one has had time spent on her. This one has been used like an object to send a message. This is not good. 

    Even though it's a singular instance in a small town with a small police force, to give them credit they wise up quick. They swallow their pride and send an assistance request to Behavioral Science at Quantico. 

    But the Feds have a backlog a mile long and two miles wide. Everyone knows Washington State has the highest number of serial murders and serial murderers in the nation, but the hard-ons in wingtips have been burned before out here. They're still smarting from the fact that the Green River Killer has evaded capture for decades, burned up countless man-hours with nothing to show but the occasional awkward press conference. We'll look into it. We promise.

    About a month later a man broke into a woman's apartment that she shared with her two young children. He raped and beat and strangled her to death, then placed her corpse on the bed posed so that when her kids came into the room the next morning to find out why she hadn't made them breakfast before taking them to kindergarten, that the first thing they saw was the shotgun he'd  inserted into her vagina and left there.

    The suspect was a secretor, and the semen samples matched those of the woman found in the parking lot the month previously. The press dubbed him The Eastside Killer, and noted the two victims were habitués of local nightclubs where popped-collared douchebags flashed cell phones the size of bricks to impress the type of women easily impressed by a fucking cell phone.

    Less than two weeks later, The Eastside Killer struck again. This one  also was caught napping. Beaten with a baseball bat so badly her brains splattered all over the bedstead, he had then taken a knife and stabbed her almost three hundred times from her head to the soles of her feet, left her corpse with a dildo in the mouth and a copy of The Joy Of Sex tucked under what was left of her right arm.

    By this point the Boys From Virginia With No Sense Of Humor had come on the case post haste. They sent out John Douglas, the famous Fed who was played by Scott Glenn in The Silence Of The Lambs. Overworked and seriously underpaid, he wound up with brain fever caused by exhaustion and almost died in a cheap hotel room in Seattle. But he recovered and continued to work the case. Posited that all three murders were the work of one man. Possibly caucasian. Possibly not. Definitely a Cop Groupie. Maybe an African American, skilled at blending in white society, maybe brought up in white society.

    This was big news. Serial killers go on the hunt inside their own ethnic backgrounds, at least, that was the given up until this happened. Douglas discussed how white American monoculture had become so entrenched in media that it had become easy to imitate for outsiders. He was proven right when forensics found the pubic hairs found on all three vics were negroid.

    Meanwhile, good old George Russell was still being good old George Russell. Cheerful and good-natured and pleasant. But chinks were appearing in the armor. Ex-girlfriends now found him hostile towards them, whereas before he had always been Mr. Smooth. Whereas before he had always been modest, now he was cocky and arrogant.

    One of the reasons George Russell had been doing "some side work" for the PD on Mercer Island was because he had been arrested a lot as a kid for petty crimes, and the local police had taken him under their wing to try and straighten him out, give him errands to run and a vision of a possible future that didn't involve a vision from behind bars.

    But it hadn't taken hold, and they knew it. When the word was being spread around cop shops from Bothell to Bellingham that the suspect was an African American perhaps brought up in white society, they just knew. After all, Mercer Island was pretty much white society. 

    When they arrested him they found personal belongings of all three victims on his person. And although DNA testing was still considered science fiction, and expensive science fiction at that, they put up the scratch to have it done and it came back positive. He smiled and joked with them as they put on the cuffs. This is all a big misunderstanding fellas. Don't worry, we'll all have a good laugh about this later at Denny's. Ha ha, you guys....

    Good old spidey sense. It saved me from being subpoenaed. Because we didn't associate, because I didn't trust him, I never had to stand up on the witness stand and point him out to twelve tried and true. Friends, acquaintances, they weren't so lucky. Summons servers slapped the paper on them and they had to go to King County courthouse and see the glossy technicolor close-ups placed on an easel for evidence, kodachrome enlargements showing bags of battered meat that had once been mothers and daughters. Human beings turned into bloody mush out of rage and anger and hatred hidden behind a smile they'd all fallen for.

    And there, in front of them in a snazzy sport coat and tie, seated grinning  by his grimly aware public defender, was George Russell. Giving them little waves of encouragement. Hey fellas. Sheesh, can you believe this? What a world, eh?

    In  Washington State they still hang you, you can decide between the noose or the needle if you get the death penalty. Fucking barbaric either way, I suppose. George Russell lucked out with three consecutive life sentences. No possibility of parole. 

    Walla Walla state pen isn't the worst place to do time, but prison is prison and inside your word is bond. Some chancer who fancies himself a smooth mover with a fancy line of patter isn't going to get much credibility no matter how brutal the crime. Last I heard he'd been attacked while in the yard, had his throat sliced from ear to ear with a piece of broken light bulb. Whatever genius for a day trying to make his rep wound up missing both carotids, so George Russell survived. Probably still trying to weasel his way into the upper incareration echelon. Hey Dude, remember when you tried to kill me? Ha ha, good times, Bro. Good times.. 

    My friends were astounded and creeped beyond belief. None of them had known any of the victims, but George Russell had been their buddy, man, their bro, and their bro had turned out to be a fucking great white shark in their very  small pond. They were lucky they were minnows, they just didn't realize it yet. I'm not a cynic, I'm a realist. very few cynics get to say I told you so as often as I do, but in this case I kept my mouth shut and didn't remind them of the times I had warned them about him.

    At this point I'm working two jobs while taking night courses at the UW in filmmaking. Evenings I'm bouncing at the Moore Theater to feed my concert habit, evicting violently obnoxious assholes trying to be Punker Than Thou because Rolling Stone Magazine has told them this is the town to do it in.

    But by day I'm back at Mercer Island working at a video store, pretty much getting paid to get a filmmaking education of another sort. And the housewives would come in and chatter about the local boy turned serial killer, getting a slight frisson as they discussed the case over little cups of overpriced frozen yogurt.

    I'll never forget a comment made by one of these people that sort of made me see it from George Russell's perspective, which was really creepy in and of itself. These two women were talking, and one of them said: "Well, you know he was never REALLY from Mercer Island. He just moved here as a child."

    I almost wanted to scream at them what fucking idiots they were. They were so soft and suburbanized and stuck up that one of their own had started hunting them for sport and taking their vaginas and lives as trophies but hey, at least he wasn't really from the neighborhood. Their property values weren't compromised. Hooray for them. Jesus fat fucking Christ on a stick can people be stupid.

    Years later I moved to LA to work in the movie business, both of which are full of soft-bellied con artists who think they're something slick with a license to get cute and just don't realize or just don't care, that they're just greasy little oil spills of deceit in an ocean of desperate people worried about their jobs. And they all want to hang out and be my buddy because I've got style and I've been around and in case you hadn't noticed by now, I'm also not self-effacing or purposefully harmless unlike some people I used to know.  I would just roll my eyes and go home to where the Wild Turkey awaited. I wouldn't schmooze with this rat race no matter how many options were dangled in front of me. 

    But also because after the business with George Russell I was more picky about whom I would associate with. I had learned to trust my instincts and it didn't matter if I was working with Marilyn Manson or Claudia Schiffer, I would still look at them from the side sometimes and see if my spidey sense was tingling.

    Anyways, the coffee is starting to wear off, so I should split and head for warmer climes. 

    But the point of this story is, is that Bundy was arrested in Florida, Bianchi was tried in California, at the time this all went down Green River was still considered a bad place to turn tricks, this means that I used to hang out and get high with the first convicted serial killer in Washington State. This is my "brush with greatness".(shudder)

     If you don't believe me google George Waterfield Russell(Because remember all serial killers have three names, natch), but be prepared to see blurry cop polaroids of a dead and naked woman with a shotgun inside her.
    And while I understand this all comes off as a bad Stephen King imitation, there's just one thing I want you all to know. Spidey sense, a hinky feeling, the itch you can't scratch at the back of your soul. Sure, I've felt it around some people down here, it's a given.

    George Russell used to make me nervous. But there's one person I've never met, yet every time I see him on television or the internet or even just a photograph, there's one person that creeps me the fuck out:

    Mitt Romney. Swear to fucking science...

    Seriously gives me the heebie-jeebies and in case you hadn't figured it out, I don't scare easily.

    Like I said, sounds like a bad Stephen King imitation. But it is a sincere one. Just cross your fingers in November, folks.

  • TheShitWizard

    Skip to the end...

  • thisone

    Sure, this was interesting. But you do realise you're the George Russell of this comment thread, right?

  • eugh

    This story would have been so much more enthralling if it wasn't laced with such arrogance.

  • Rebecca Hachmyer

    Right?? But it would be neat if the author is actually a badass who is just really good at writing DB narrators, no?

  • Tortillapete


  • The Upsetter

    No lie, GI. Like I said, Google that shit. But don't say i didn't warn you....

  • My dad came in second to Ellen Degeneres at a comedy content in New Orleans in the early 80s. He also sold a magic trick to Dick Van Dyke and met Patrick Swayze (and did magic for him) when he was an extra on one if his movies. Me, though, I only ever met the singer of Letters to Cleo when I gave her a light before she went on stage. I got a thank you from the mic, which was nice.

  • thatgirl

    When I was studying abroad in London, I had to walk through Regents Park to get from the flat I was living in to the academy I was studying in. One day, I was running late and didn't have time to make tea, so I bought some from the little cafe in the park. I was speedwalking down the part with the chestnut trees, without a lid on the tea so it would cool off, and I collided with a man and spilled my boiling hot tea all over both of us (fortunately it was late fall so we were both in warm coats and only my hand got hit with the heat).

    He apologized and started walking away, and was about three meters behind me when it hit me.

    I had just spilled tea all over the Ninth Doctor.

  • RobinMD

    I'm leaving a ballgame at Baltimore's "Oriole Park at Camden Yards" walking along with the crowd and I notice a short, curly read-headed woman walking alongside. I do a double take, and realize it Sgt. Kay Howard from the TV show "Homicide Life on the Streets". I didn't even know her real name (since then Oscar Winner Melissa Leo), but I mumbled something along the lines of "Hey, are you on that Homicide show?". She was really nice and smiled and said "yes". I said how great the show was and what a great job she did with her character...she thanked me and said they were working hard. I thanked her again for "doing such great work" And that was that. What was cool is it looked like she was just walking alone in the big crowd and no one else noticed...she seemed surprised when I recognized her.

  • Ender

    Well I don't want to blow all your stories out of the water, but I met the star of My Hero. What's that you say? You don't know him? Well you might know him better as the costar of... Father Ted! .... still nothing? Well he came into the Butcher's shop where I worked and I... did nothing because I was on a break. Pretty impressive story no?


    When I was a kid I went to a Laker event in the restaurant below the Great Western Forum back when they still played there. My mom had gotten tickets for the event from her job. So here we are four little black kids and our size 0, tiny mom and we couldnt get anywhere near our table. So players start walking in and we cant see them because we are so far back in the and everyones standing. My brother puts me on his shoulders and Magic Johnson sees me. He wades through the mass of people and everyone is wondering what he is doing, security is trying to point him in the right direction, to his table, but he just keeps coming towards us way in the back. He walks to me, picks me up from my brothers shoulders. Says hi to my family, and demands a table be set up for us. We sat right next to him and he talked to us the entire evening, laughing and telling stories. It was amazing. Years later I met him again while working on the set of a commercial and when I told him my name he remembered me. He even remembered my brothers names. He said that he could tell we were there because we were real laker fans, and that he could see how excited I was on my brothers shoulders. Just a real cool guy.

  • Danar the Barbarian

    My husband and our two friends went to see Peter Hook play Joy Division's album "Unknown Pleasures" at a small venue in Hollywood. Perry Farrell was a special guest and sang "Transmission", really rocking it. Afterwards, as we waited in the parking lot for most of the other cars to clear out, we saw Perry walking towards us across the parking lot. My husband said, "Hey Perry!" and he came over, shook all of our hands, and was very charming and sweet. Before we could geek out too hard on him, his wife yelled, "PEERRRRYYYYY, get in the car!!!" He sheepishly ran to his little woman.

    A few minutes later, we saw some middle-aged goths gathering around the back gate. There was Peter himself, signing stuff and taking photos. So we got to meet and shake hands with two of our musical heroes in one night, and both were really cool to their fans. Hooray!

  • funtime42

    I've done fundraising in DC, so I've met presidents, and I've actually sung on Oprah, but my favorite celebrity encounter was getting stuck for 45 minutes in an elevator with Gene Roddenberry in the mid-70's. He had a beard, and I didn't recognize him from Adam. We had a long involved discussion about the political system that would allow Captain Kirk to have the autonomy he seemed to enjoy - I was pushing the British Empire/Captain Cook kind of thing, and Mr. Roddenberry was advocating for Utopia best as I could figure. He said that no one would be made captain of a starship who was capable of abusing the privilege. I pretty much told him he didn't know anything about politics or Star Trek and pointed out Captains Merrick, Tracy, etc.

    We sat on the floor of the elevator and hashed out the future of humanity. I shared my theory that the sooner we experience first contact, the more likely the aliens will be like the Klingons (he agreed with that one). When we got out, there was a large group waiting in the lobby, frantically waving watches, talking over each other about convention schedules, panel discussions, and what was he thinking. Finally someone called him by name and he turned around, winked at me and said "Told you I was right!"

    I still think he was wrong.

  • Kiddo

    I was in college in New Hampshire in 2003. It was the night of the Academy Awards and my friend and I decided to head to a local restaurant/bar to watch them. We sat at the bar and quickly realized that it was just the two of us and almost the entire cast of "The Brotherhood of Poland, NH'. Anyone remember that show? Nope? Not surprised. They were filming the pilot at the time.
    I struck up a conversation with the guy in front of me who looked really familiar. We ended up heading outside for a cigarette and I finally had to ask, "What have you been in? You look familiar?" It turned out it was Brian Haley and I remembered him from the movie "Little Giants" and from "Wings". He was really nice and chatty and was being cool. John Carroll Lynch on the other hand, was being kind of a douche to everyone. I also stared at Mare Winningham eat her salad for a full 5 minutes before my friend informed me that I was "being creepy".

    I guess Haley was replaced on the show after filming the pilot.

  • Hiro_the_Eighth_Samurai

    I remember once, going to a popular shopping mall back around the mid-1990s, and I had just entered with a friend, and the place was packed. While standing there, looking to see which was the best way to go, I saw a couple familiar faces less than 10 feet away. It took a couple seconds for their faces to register, and then it hit me. It was pop singer and Prince protege Vanity and her then husband, former Oakland Raider Anthony Smith. She was short and tiny looking... especially when standing next to Smith, holding his hand. I didn't say anything to them, maybe because I was intimidated by Smith. (Many years later, long after they divorced, Smith was arrested in the murder of a man, so maybe it was smart of me not to make any moves toward the lovely looking Vanity.)
    Also, I had another encounter with a celebrity, but I wouldn't consider him greatness, because I'm not all awed by him, but I was in Las Vegas, walking from the back of the Luxor and around to the other side with a couple friends in order to get some photos of the sphinx and other decor, and right there, in the parking garage was Criss Angel, just about to be interviewed by a woman, who was standing there with a cameraman. At the entrance to the parking garage was what looked like a hotel doorman type/security guy who motioned with his hand to keep me moving. I had stopped right there because I tend to walk fast, and my friends had fallen behind. It was only then that I noticed it was Criss Angel, whom -- again -- I don't care for in the least. So, it bothered me a little bit that the security guy thought I had stopped to gawk. I had thought about saying, "You're mighty presumptuous to think that I was stopping because of him, I don't even care for the guy and think that he's a fraud," but I kept it to myself...

  • annie

    I was on the events programming board at my college, so I've met a few of the musicians and comedians we've had to make up for all the near-injuries caused by striking down concert stages. Margaret Cho was pleasant and surprisingly quiet, Bob Saget was super sweet and generous with his time when it came to autographs, and Michael Ian Black was a sarcastic dick to me who didn't even bother to hide the fact that he didn't want to be there. In fairness, some of the audience were dickish to him first.

    And once, Claire Danes and I exchanged dirty looks, and her husband Hugh Dancy gave me a hug.

  • Siege Johnson

    I usually manage to "just miss" celebrities. It happened all the time in college--I'd get back from someplace lame only to find that Denis Leary had spent half an hour being hilarious in my dorm lobby or Henry Winkler had been Fonzing around there mere moments before I arrived. I did see the back of Natalie Portman as she walked away down the street once.

    My one minor brush with celebrity is that I sold John Kerry a jock strap. I was working in a sporting goods store in Boston during 2003/04 and he stopped in with his daughers (and security and a film crew--he was doing the "I'm just a regular guy who buys things" bit) to buy sporting goods. They talked about the dart board he got for his daughter, but no one mentioned the jock strap. I rang it up, and he shook my hand. I'm told the episode was mentioned on the Daily Show, but I missed it.

  • Clocker

    Sometime round 1982 or so my second wife and I were invited to her parents for Thanksgiving- a small, family affair.
    They had a friend who was in town and at loose ends who attended, so I ended up drinking bourbon (lots!) and eating turkey with Rex Harrison.
    He was quite charming.

  • Justin

    I'm on vacation in Asheville, NC with some friends and our host takes us to all the local brewery-restaurants for our first night out. Towards the middle of our drinking tour we start playing corn-hole that's set up outside the bar. After a few games a large group of really attractive girls rolls up dressed for something fancy. A few soon came up and asked to play so we shared the boards.

    I'm chatting up the girl that's on the other team and helping her/making-fun-of-her-for-throwing-like-a-girl. She's a great sport the whole time and after winning a few games we lose and cede the boards to the rest of their group.

    As we walk inside a guy stops us and asks "do you know those girls?" We said no and asked him why he was curious. He said "You know that's Brooklyn Decker right!?" We call bullshit until he pulls out his phone and shows us some pictures. The U.S. Open was going on and Roddick played that day - in the stands was Brooklyn... wearing the same dress she had on standing right next to me. I was next to a SI Swimsuit cover model and all I could do was make fun of her cornhole form...

  • L.O.V.E.

    Making fun of a woman's cornhole is bad form.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Beside passing a German MTV presenter at a TV/Computer/Appliances trade fair about 10 years ago, I got nothing. But a friend of mine has had several "brushes". Not only does her boyfriend work at the "Supernatural" set and she knows Padalecki and Ackles, she along with a friend got invited by Jon Favreau (out of a whim, apparently) to see the "Cowboys and Aliens" premiere.

  • ashipper

    River Phoenix. Friends of mine owned a place called the OK Hotel in Seattle where they filmed part of the movie, "Dog Fight." They held the cast party there and my friend asked if I wanted to work it. I was behind the counter and River managed to ask me to hold onto a six pack of beer and give him beers throughout the night without ever actually speaking to or looking at me. I thought he was rather rude. It's not like I was a fan girl jumping up and down to meet him. He just seemed very stuck up.

    I also interacted with all of the Village People when my dad's girlfriend worked for the company that produced "Can't Stop the Music!" The policeman was especially nice.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    random note: musical being made of "Dog Fight"

  • lumierette

    I live in New Zealand and my first job was working in the office for the company who produced Hercules & Xena so I got to meet all the stars plus the guests they had on the shows. I have lots of funny stories about the women who threw themselves at Kevin Sorbo and the crazy fanmail Lucy Lawless would get from middle-aged lesbians. Plus the wrap parties are legendary. For awhile I did actually date Ted Raimi (Sam Raimi's brother) who played Joxer. I was 19 and he was 31 but he was a really nice guy and we had lots of fun.

  • The Upsetter

    This story needs more Bruce Campbell anecdotes, please...

  • lumierette

    Mr Campbell absolutely is (as you can probably imagine) the nicest, friendliest guy. He autographed my ex-boyfriend's copy of Evil Dead, its only a shame back then it was a VHS copy.

  • I used to work at the front desk of a hotel. One time James Earl Jones was a guest and he called down for a wake-up call. I answered the phone in the midst of a raging case of the hiccups. As I repeated his request I hiccuped loudly at a very high pitch. He responded "What?" in the deepest, most oppositve sounding voice of the one I just used.

  • BiblioGlow

    I am now imagining James Earl Jones on the other telephone looking puzzled and saying "What?" like you were speaking in a different frequency that he can't even receive, and I cannot stop laughing.

  • It was pretty fantastic, and now I get to tell people that I hiccuped on the phone to Darth Vader.

  • I haven't really had too many brushes with celebrities, beyond my time working at the Magic Kingdom. Most of the celebrities I saw, but didn't interact with - Miley Cyrus, Vincent D'Onofrio, Steven Tyler, Uma Thurman. I remember Joey Fatone was there, in full pirate costume, on a "Princess and Pirate Party" night with his kids. I thought that was pretty cool.

    I guess the closest brush I had was in high school. I went to a Live concert with my friends - this was right around the time they had released their second album. Anyway, Ed, the lead singer, was encouraging the ladies in the crowd to throw their bras on stage. So, feeling a bit wild, my friend and I launched ours onto the stage. And then, after a large pile had amassed, Ed invited all the ladies to come up on stage and reclaim theirs. So my friend and I got to hop on stage with the band. Ed was also getting hugs from all of the ladies, but I was too shy so I just fished my bra out of the pile and hopped off the stage. In retrospect, I'm glad I didn't hug him, because he was probably just doing it to get to feel all the unbound boobies.

  • ZombieMrsSmith

    I was on the student music committee for the Student Union at my University back in the 80s and we convinced the Ramones to come and play. I was part of the group that escorted them around and helped sort things out backstage. I was a huge fan and they were super cool, very nice and surprisingly well-spoken. We talked about bad horror movies, favorite science fiction books and I watched Joey take this massive handful of multi-color pills before dinner, which Marky quickly told everyone were his vitamins.

    I actually recounted this story to my 14 y.o. son just yesterday when the Ramones came on the radio. He was impressed. I neglected to tell him about the insanely bad outfit I was wearing at the time.

  • Cimorene

    I used to live in Buffalo, and one day after being out and about running errands I stopped at my local co-op (I was indeed a member-owner) to get a drink. I'm standing there, staring at the cooler case and trying to decide what drinks to get, doing that thing where you're all dehydrated and tired and therefore having trouble making a decision. Someone comes up the aisle and I turn and see a really adorable kid with pigtails in a stroller, and since I love kids I smiled and was looking at the kid doing that thing you do when you're in your late-twenties where every kid you see who's even remotely cute incites a tiny crisis in your subconscious over whether or not you want to have a baby, so you're looking and contemplating and smiling a little too long but it's not creepy because it's clear that you're like, "Do I even WANT to use my uterus like that? But pigtails!" And so I look up to smile at the mom, who has clearly seen me doing this contemplative moment (of like 2 seconds long) and I see the tattoo on the mom's collarbone and realize it's Ani DiFranco. Now, since I grew up a little proto-feminist in Buffalo, Ani DiFranco has had an inordinate impact on my life, and I suspect that she is one of the very few famous people that could get me flummoxed. I must have looked terrified when I realized it was her, turned and grabbed a coconut water, and hightailed it out of there before I made a fool of myself.

    And once I waited by the stage door to meet Ian McKellen after he was in a play, to have him sign my playbook, and I told him that I was at party/rally to celebrate the first gay marriages that happened in Massachusetts (this was a while ago, before gay marriage was actually a huge thing, and MA was the only state that had even begun to legalize gay marriage a few months before). He was like, "That's fanTAStic!" and I was like "squee!"

  • Jezzer

    There was one time I got featured on EE and enjoyed my moment in the sun as a high-powered celebrity. I stayed true to myself and never forgot you guys, though.

  • Ender

    Was it for "you're a credit to your terrorist religion" or "you're a credit to your kidfucking religion"? I can't remember what type of bigot you are.

  • Nice to see you're so hooked on jezzer that you are stalking him thread to thread. I'm not sure where they covered harassment in the bible, can you point me to the place?

  • Ender

    Look Skadi I know I pissed you off by daring to disagree with you on the other thread, but if you want to follow me around to bitch about me following Jezzer while Jez follows me around you should really find something more interesting to do.

  • Jezzer

    Ohaithar, Ender. We haven't spoken in a while! How's your intermittent explosive disorder? Have you whitewashed any child sexual abuse scandals lately?

  • Ender

    Ohai Jezzer. Still pansy-ing about like a hypocrite pretending rude words offend you while still using them?

    Of course anyone who wasn't a lying piece of shit could quote me whitewashing child sexual abuse scandals.... can you?

    I however quoted you directly above. Being honest and all.

    So remind me, which type of bigot are you? Just tick the correct sentence from the line below:

    Jezzer said: you're a credit to your terrorist religion
    Jezzer said: you're a credit to your Christ-killer religion
    Jezzer said: you're a credit to your faggy religion
    Jezzer said: you're a credit to your kidfucking religion
    Jezzer said: you're a credit to your Hellbound atheism

  • Jezzer

    Oopsie. I accidentally poked The Crazy again. Couldn't have seen that coming.

  • Ender

    Yes, people who object to bigotry are crazy. You go Jezzer! When did you find yourself on the wrong side of this conflict?

  • Jezzer
  • Ender

    ... is this a confession? Is that article about you?

  • Jezzer

    And here I thought you would be pleased that the church was branching out to victimize adults too. :(

  • Ender

    ...? Your bigotry and your idiocy knows no bounds. Do you follow Muslims around posting links to articles about suicide bombers? "I see your hnaw hnaw hnaw is mwa burble, bigotry"

  • Judge Holdenmynuts

    As a starving musician playing clubs in SF in the mid 90's I had a few brushes with Black Greatness.
    One night, as I was heading to the club I was gigging at, I saw a rather large black man with a bald head walking in in front of me. He happened to glance behind him and I saw that it was the Great Charles Barkley.He went inside, sat down at a table with about 8 other people and stayed there for most of the night. My band played for he and his crew while they ate dinner and drank. I never talked to him, but it's still a cool thing I get to brag about.
    Also, one night I was playing at a charity-cocktail party type thing and Forrest Whitaker was there. I went up and talked to him. He was kind of weird, it looked like he was maybe talking to one of the plants that were along the wall of the club. I came up and tapped him on the shoulder, told him I was a big fan.I told him I saw "Bird" like 6 times and he said "did you like it?". I guess I just gawked at him and he said "that was a joke". We had a little more awkward conversation until he finally said "Well Nice To Meet You" which clearly meant "You Can Go Away Now, Short Dorky White Dude". He did have this bodyguard/security type person with him who asked me how I was doing and seemed pretty down earth though, so that was cool. I guess I learned from that not to be starstruck when you see famous people that you admire, and if you find yourself to be that way, don't approach them. Especially if they're talking to the plants ...

  • Bert_McGurt

    Well, since it WAS Forrest Whittaker, who really knows what he was looking at?

  • Judge Holdenmynuts

    that might've been the problem when we were talking.... "is he looking at me or what???"

  • BobbFrapples

    I worked at Muji in NYC's Soho. One day as I worked the register I realized that the customer in front of me was Brooke Shields. She saw the light of realization in my eyes and she slipped her sunglasses on and ducked her head. I managed to keep my mouth shut, but I'm sure my eyes were slightly crazed with the knowledge that the girl from the Blue Lagoon had visited my store. Lame, but true.

  • Slash

    My stories are someone else's. I've had no brushes with celebrity greatness.

    I used to work with a guy named Dan (man, I wish I knew where he was now, he was awesome). He moved around a lot in his teens and twenties and in one of those places, he was at a club dancing and Debbie Allen (who was also there) said, "You go, white boy!"
    Other one: Dan was driving around Chicago, looking for something (house? can't remember). It was dark and when you're looking for shit, you're not paying as much attention as you should when you're driving, so he nearly ran over a guy and had to screech to a halt to keep from running him over. The guy did not take it well. He started screaming at Dan and pounding on the car's hood with both fists. The guy Dan almost ran over was Jim Belushi.

    Maybe one day, I will get the opportunity to tell Dan's story about the time he was on vacation and embarrassed himself in front of an RV full of strangers. It's hilarious.

    Also, for a second there, I thought Bert_the_Pajibian's brush with greatness was going to be with Davey Crockett or somebody else from the 19th century.

  • BierceAmbrose

    I don't think I've told about the time Marilyn Manson cock-blocked me on some much needed drinking without any Rose McGowan in that chain mail pseudo-dress as compensation. It's not as good a story as it sounds.

    So, while working on not melting down the world's finances for Y2K, we're living in company apartments near the financial district - Manhattan, 48th between 6th Ave and Broadway. (Your transaction fees at work. I couldn't afford such a thing myself, nor would I.)

    Around the corner is this Italian-Italian (vs. American pseudo-Italian) restaurant trying to make a name. Weekdays their downstairs cigar bar is deserted, so they tolerated us non-Gothamites. It became our hang. I traded my compatriots "Scotch 101" for intros to Port and Cigars.

    One night I f***ing *need* a drink or six because computer people, finance weenies, and outsourcing company vampires make a kind of shyster triple play. And it's blocked off. Doing business, but, you know closed to us proles. And they're trying to keep the sidewalks clear as I was told, while I paused to formulate a new attitude recovery plan.

    Turns out it was the night of the VMAs and Marilyn Manson was taking Rose and the chain mail dress to dinner.

  • KatSings

    Am I allowed to include stories of people I've worked with on movie sets, or is that cheating since I'm an actress?

  • L.O.V.E.

    As my Dad used to say when I was little, "nevermind the bullshit. You got something to say and I dont have all day." So spill dem beans.

  • Green Lantern


    I have multiple roles in what may be the worst movie of all time. Yes, even worse than "Manos - The Hands of Fate".

    Don't believe me? Do a search on "Zombie vs. Mardi Gras" then get back to me.

  • buell

    When I was 5 Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels came to our town. My 22 year old hot mama and her 16 year old sister got tickets. Mom couldn't get a baby sitter so I got to go. She put a blue dress on me, cheesy yes, since their hit song was Devil With A Blue Dress, and I danced in the aisles when it played. Someone from their entourage saw me and invited us backstage to meet them. Once we got backstage, I met Mitch Ryder and he gave me a stuffed bee signed by the band and an autograph that says, "To the girl I want to marry". Uh-huh... found out real quick that the only thing he and the band wanted to marry was their dicks to mom and aunties vajayjays. They grabbed me and hightailed it out the back of the civic center. A few minutes later they came out and got into their limos and still had the balls to roll down the window and proposition them again. Mom was holding me in her arms, so I kicked a big dent in the side of that limo. And no, I'm not now married to Mitch Ryder.

  • Miss Kate

    I used to work with an Off-off Broadway theater group, mostly backstage.

    One time I was stage managing a show in a little black box theater downtown. It was almost showtime and the guy who was taking tickets at the door was running late, so the director asked me to step in. I'd been crawling around backstage, and I was covered in dust and a bit flustered. There was a crowd. A man came to the door and told me he was on the comp list. My director had terrible handwriting, and I couldn't make out any of the names. It was crowded! I was sweating!"What's your name?" "Chris." "Hmm.. I don't see it." I was still looking when the director came running up and told me to already. As I was about to let "Chris" in, he asked how much the tickets were. I told him $15, but that's ok, he was comped. OH NO, he said, I WANT PAY. So he paid and I let him in. I sheepishly took his money, feeling bad for the guy. Shortly afterward, the regular door guy took over and I went backstage.
    A few weeks later, I was at a cookout with some friends from the group. The subject came up about the upcoming Sex and the City show. I mentioned that I'd had a crush on Chris Noth, Mr. Big, for years and stopped watching Law & Order when he left, blah blah. That was when my friends decided to tell me that Chris Noth was the man I'd made pay for his ticket. Apparently the director and one of the actors were stumbling out of a bar one night, ran into him, and gave him a flyer for the show. (They were yelling to him on the street and he actually stopped to talk to them!) So he'd shown up, and the cranky girl at the door gave him a hard time. (After the show he'd approached the director to tell him how much he'd liked it. He was very gracious.) "He probably thought you were cute until you made him PAY!" Everyone at the party thought it was hilarious.
    To this day, I don't know which is weirder - that I didn't recognize Chris Noth or that my friends took WEEKS to tell me about it.

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    Probably to coolest thing I have done was work with Danica McKellar on science and math education for girls as part of Pi Day.

  • Melody Be

    I have 10 people to meet before I die, I've already checked off 3. Howard Dean (who got me involved in politics, back when I worked in politics), Eddie Izzard, and Tom Waits. Meeting Tom Waits was the greatest/worst thing ever. What do you say to the coolest man alive? A bunch of jibberish, apparently. We live in Oxford, MS and I bum-rushed his lunch. Thing is, if you know who Tom Waits is, he doesn't really want to talk to you. He's completely friendly and expresses his gratitude but he would so much rather converse with people who don't know who he is. It's one of the many reasons I'm sure that he records in MS. Oxford is another story, he got swarmed here a few times. ALL the local hipsters were on red alert. He spent the majority of our 10 minutes talking to my 8 year old son and when he went out with some friends of mine he gave the most attention to their autistic daughter. His wife Kathleen is super sweet. She's involved, kind, and asks you lots of questions about yourself. I told him that I did a terrible job of impressing him and that I would some day get it right in a nice letter.

  • Sara S.

    About two years ago, I went to a wedding of my dad's friend. The wedding was of someone influential in the EEG business or whatever, and he was friends with Dick Van Dyke and some famous comedian, Gary something-or-other. Anyway, I met Dick Van Dyke and chatted with him for all of 5 minutes, being the scared 11 year old I was. (Yes, I might be Pajiba's youngest reader.) He was really nice.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Gary Shandling?

  • himonoonna

    Back in 1991, when I was entirely too young to be doing so, I was hanging out on Santa Monica Blvd. at a club called Sin-a-Matic trying to see how many people I could get to buy me drinks (an old contest my friend and I had - we were snots). I was just about falling-down trashed and somehow found myself hanging out at the smaller bar in the back room of the club doing tequila shots and bragging about how I can drink anyone under the table (yes, refer to parenthetical note above).

    I look to my right to see a vaguely familiar looking guy giving me the eye. Once he has my attention, he points to me and then to my drink, points to himself and to his drink, nods, picks up his glass, and we both chug. Then he looks at me appraisingly, nods his approval, stands up, and walks away.

    The moment he left, it dawned on me - the guy was Ice-T.

    (Don't even get me started on Val Kilmer and the Hawaiian strip joint!)

  • tracey

    I attended the premiere of Holy Smoke starring Kate Winslet back in 1999. At the after-party I hopped in the line of reporters to interview her. After doing several 3 minute interviews with a bunch of guys, it was my turn. She grabbed my arm and said, let's do this outside. She pulled me to this private back patio where it was literally just Kate and me sitting at a table. She proceeded to give me a 45-minute interview while chain smoking. Every so often she'd ask me something, most notably, "Are your tits real?" "Yes," I replied. "Well I say, if you've got it, flaunt it!" This story is told every year at Christmas by my extended family.

    She was so nice, real, funny, and interesting. By far the best celebrity I interviewed.

  • Charlie Sheen- Beverly Hills Elevator-CVS Drugstore -candy. And here is the story/Shameless plug of my own blog:

  • Captain_Tuttle

    When we lived in the East Village, the hub and I were convinced that Gilbert Gottfried was stalking us. We'd go to a bodega for cheap wine, there he was. Pop in to a place to get Chinese takeout, he's there having dinner with a lady who was probably his mom. Take a stroll through Tompkins Square, he's on a bench watching the Krishna drum circle. It got so bad we had to move further downtown.

    Also when I lived in NYC, I was an usherette at the Public Theater. Lots of encounters, of all sizes. Some of my favorites:
    - fetching Eric Bogosian's jacket from under the bleachers
    - seating (and briefly chatting with) Bobby Cannavale and Peter Dinklage and their respective dates
    - seating and chatting with (for a fairly long time) Frank Langella (very tall, great voice, and a super friendly guy). Interestingly, Chris Sarandon was in the audience that night too, for a fun convergence of movie vampires (it was "Normal Heart" and Joanna Gleason was the doctor, not sure if she was still married to Sarandon at the time)
    - talking to Jimmy Smits in the hallway when he was in rehearsals for Shakespeare in the Park. I have never seen more beautiful skin on a man in my life. Also very friendly. I had to call my mom the second he was out of earshot.
    - watching Carla from "Scrubs" get fake-raped by a cop once a night (twice on the weekends)

  • tracey

    When i was a little kid, i was absolutely OBSESSED with the show Fifteen on Nickelodeon. Right out of college, I got a job covering celebrity news and at one of the first events I covered, I was introduced to Ryan Reynolds. He wasn't a big deal at the time AT ALL (this was pre-Van Wilder even) but I instantly knew him from Fifteen. He was chatting with my roommate when he took a breather and looked over at me. And this is what I did: I put my hand on my hip, snarled, and said, "um, were you on that show Fifteen?" using the most haughty, judge-y voice I'd ever heard come out of my mouth. He sorta shrugged and said, "yeah" all embarrassed. I just did a bitchy sigh, flipped my hair at him, and turned around. We ended up standing there for another 10 minutes -- me cursing myself for being such a bitch to quite possibly my biggest celebrity crush ever and him probably wondering who the high-and-mighty 21-year old was.

    It was awful. I blew my chance with Ryan Reynolds!

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