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The Night Michael Showalter Fell in Love With Me

By Courtney Enlow | Miscellaneous | July 19, 2013 | Comments ()


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Sometimes, on the rarest of occasions, we happen upon a celebrity or pseudo-celebrity in the wild. Removed from the pedestal of the screen, big or small, or stage, these larger than life living stories almost become human. Quite possibly for long enough to weird you right the fuck out.

As an adorer of “The State” and its members, I love Michael Showalter. But, for the purpose of backstory and stage-setting, I must admit that, seven or eight years ago, I really loved Michael Showalter. It was a strange period of time where I had broken up with my boyfriend, now husband, yet again and was fully in the throes of a kind of co-dependent near-psychosis that meant I was ready to move to New York and become a stand-up. It was, like, an official decision, and I had even applied to and was *certain* I was about to be hired by Best Week Ever. So, this combination of 22-year-old confidence and total delusion, which are not wholly dissimilar things, coupled with that equally strange period in social media, known as The MySpace Years, when we all truly, for the first time, felt a connection with celebrities, that by regularly commenting on their pages and blogs, we played some role in their lives, I not only loved Michael Showalter, but was pretty certain he dug me, too. Not *in that way* mind you, I wasn’t completely gone. But I could imagine a world where he had smiled once or twice at my comments and would totally know who I was if I ran into him at a Park Slope Starbucks or something.

The mid-aughts was a weird time like that. If you think Twitter is bad, then you did not spend nearly enough time attempting to befriend celebrities on MySpace.

Thus, the stage has been set for The Night. Michaels Showalter and Ian Black were doing a show at The Lakeshore in Chicago, and a friend and I attended, laughed riotously and then lined up to get our “Stella” DVDs signed and such. I had consumed exactly enough beer to start knocking bitches down and get to the front of the line, but I’m very short, so I wasn’t great at doing it, and made it to the frontal middlish instead.

We were only in line for maybe ten, fifteen minutes max. But it felt like so much longer. So very much longer.

For, you see, it was The Night Michael Showalter Fell in Love With Me.

The setup of the meet ‘n greet line was snakelike, pre-hipstery 20-somethings wrapping around a fairly small space. Which meant the Michaels were visible the entirety of our time in the line. Which meant, also, that we were visible to them. And that, evidently, is when I caught Showalter’s gaze.

And he did not break that gaze for the full fifteen minutes/eighteen hours, depending on real time vs. perceived time. Because when someone is staring at you, ceaselessly, time slows considerably.

At first, I smiled. Oh neat, I thought. He’s friendly. Eye contact with the common people. Swell.

Then it kept going.

Hmm. Perhaps I’m not completely insane. Maybe he actually does recognize me from MySpace. And why not? Is it my sexy gauchos? My twelve-pound earrings? My pre-Snooki hair pouf? Probably that last one, as I had mastered it to an enviable degree.

Then it kept going. I would frequently look up, down, around, at the wall, at my phone, at anything, and, yet, when I looked back, his stare was unbroken. As though my hair pouf had actually hypnotized him, which is a fairly logical theory as to why that “Jersey Shore” show had such good ratings.

What is happening right now? Does he think he knows me? Does he think I’m Andrea Rosen or something? I can’t pull off bangs like that.

Then it kept going. I cannot emphasize how kept going it kept going.

Okay, seriously, what is going on? Do I have something on my face? Has someone stuck a swastika on me without my knowledge? Do I have a boob hanging out? Is that it? I’m I smiling like an idiot while dangling tit for all of Broadway Street?

I don’t want to shock you. But, at this point, he is still looking at me. I’m now convinced it is a social experiment designed to make a random fan as uncomfortable as humanly possible. The tiny, brief moments where he looks down to sign something or greet someone come and go so swiftly, then more staring. I’m slowly losing my mind, swirling in a vortex of self-consciousness and social anxiety, the kind that can only come from a comedian you admire staring at you like a Magic Eye picture for the length of a “Children’s Hospital” episode.

By the time we make it up there, I am so flustered and freaked out, I turn into Molly Midwest and thank them for coming like it’s a church picnic and not a popular comedy venue in a major city. I look only at Black. Never at Showalter.

Our MySpace BFF-ship, which was admittedly one-sided, was never the same after that. I drifted away from him, then all of MySpace died, the encounter so awkward that it brought down a social media empire. To this day, I can’t even follow him on Twitter. THAT IS HOW UNCOMFORTABLE I REMAIN.

And, so, my friends and I came to refer to this as The Night Michael Showalter Fell in Love With Me, perhaps ironically, perhaps because it is catchier than The Night Michael Showalter Was So Repulsed or Befuddled or Distrusting of Me, My Hair or General Demeanor/2006 Style Choices That He Broke My Brain for Years to Come.

If you ever find yourselves in a position where you have proper fangirls, I urge you to consider Care Bear stare-ing them into submission to the point where they crumple like human gift wrap and leave you alone for the rest of your life. As effective strategies go, I’ve never found one better.







Are you following Pajiba on Facebook or Twitter? Every time you do, Bill Murray crashes a wedding.


Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • I realise I may have told this 'story' before, and I also realise that I'm stretching the definition of the word 'celebrity', but I once met the drummer from Razorlight. They're a shitty indie band from London and I don't know if they're even still around. At the time they had just exploded though and everyone couldn't get enough of them. Except me. I hated them. So I should clarify that when I say I 'met' the drummer from Razorlight what I actually mean is: I saw him walking on the opposite side of the road and decided to notify the friends ambling along with me by shouting, 'Hey, look it's that FUCKING WANKER!', and pointing directly at him. He heard my scream and saw my deranged face; and he pulled the collar of his stupid skinny coat up and quickly rushed off in the opposite direction.
    I'm not saying I'm proud of such dickhead-ish behaviour. But I'm not saying I'm ashamed either.

  • I met the Kaiser once....

    My story begins in nineteen-dickety-two. We had to say dickety because the Kaiser stole our word for twenty. I chased that rascal to get it back, but gave up after dickety-six miles.

    To take the question more seriously, I met Larry Flynt once at a Southern Baptist university. He asked me if I was familiar with his 'fine publications' and then gave me a three-pack of Hustler magazines.

  • Gimme five bees for a quarter you'd say...

  • AlexaCastro

    4 or so years ago in Playa del Rey, CA just south of Venice Beach. I was getting hammered as fuck at a tiny bar called the Harbor Room and who else but Grace god damn Jones shows up. I then proceeded to call her gorgeous, draw her in my sketchbook, and she gave me her number all before I stumbled outside and snapped my ankle. I was a 25 year old struggling female artist at the time.

    I still have her number as a budge of honor/shame. Oh... blackouts... what would I do without you.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    Picture it: Sicily, 192-

    rather...

    It was the Friday before Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving coincides with American Columbus Day) and I had a bit of extra time on my hands. I was living in Toronto (already counting the days until I go back...next year...*sigh*) and wouldn't be able to visit my family over the long weekend because I had broken my baby toe on the day previous. Let this be a message to anyone who lives in a furnished apartment, make sure that you're not freakishly tiny, as you may find that you're too short to see into your bathroom mirror, meaning you'll have to stand on a chair whenever you seek to utilize it, not knowing that the shoddy chair cushion was not properly attached to the crummy wooden frame, meaning the cushion will fly away from under your feet, sending you crashing into wooden chair limbs, breaking a toe and making your boobs Barney purple for a time.

    Having gone to the doctor, I was prescribed a Dr. House cane--that could only be obtained across town. Being in no mood to cook, I obtained some pizza during my travels and had unwittingly started the countdown. Hours later, I found myself in Eaton Centre wondering whether it was the painkillers that were making me feel, well, not so swell, but I wasn't having philosophically deep thoughts about it. And then, I am become puke, destroyer of bowels, for you see, gravol takes a really long time to kick in. I didn't have the fancy liquid hospital kind that I am told diffuses the situation with almost heroic speed, just the knockoff version I had just purchased at the always woefully overpriced Shopper's Drug Mart. Really, why are their drugs so pricey? Do they think I'm paying for 20 per cent more 'healing', or something? I digress.

    Now, I find myself crumpled on a mall bench, feeling clammier than is appropriate when trapped in a public space with so many minors and I sat dazedly wondering about my future. How will I make it back to my erstwhile apartment, which is an hour and twenty minutes away on a good day in the most peaceable manner possible and completely intact? I ran through some options, if you can call them that. These are the questions that a person caught in an impossible situation kids himself into thinking that he has when faced with sudden and unrelenting gastrointestinal distress in a public setting. Pure gumption cannot tame a foregone conclusion, my body was rejecting and it was time for strategy.

    How can I describe the layout of Eaton Centre that doesn't include the word 'stupid'? Can't. Because option one bathroom is on one side of the mall and option two is on the other. This isn't a small mall. Tranq'ed and dizzy, nauseous and limping, I hailed all of the Marys hoping that the profoundly small distance between my tummy and mouth (freakishly tiny, again) would show some clemency by giving me a few nanoseconds more time than usual between the definitive realization that this was not a drill and the heaving. Dark circles reducing my field of vision into pinpoints, I stumbled while it finally dawned on me that this was a pizza revolt and brushed into a bag filled with newly-purchased alcohol, a very tailored and shiny grey suit and a wash of Mystic Tan that unintentionally obscured my path to the ladies'.

    Looking up and squinting, pawing my way up and groaning, I wouldn't be surprised if I was interpreted as having put on the groupie disposition, but that wasn't the nature of this collision. I lunged, I pushed out of the way, I MADE IT to the toilet, I lost half of my body weight in vomit, I collapsed, I briefly lost consciousness. I stood up, I washed up, I felt better (not good, but better), I went on my way.

    I was keenly, keenly aware that God smiled upon me and prevented me from voiding my food poisoning all over Shia LaBeouf and I was grateful.

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