I’m not one to freak out when seeing celebrities. I’ve tagged along with friends, absorbing their excitement, and I’ll admit it’s pretty cool to be in the midst of someone you’ve seen on stage or the big screen, but I don’t typically seek out celebrity encounters.
Don’t get me wrong. I love to drive through fancy neighborhoods and check out the stars’ homes. It’s a curiosity thing, probably bordering on nosiness. Whatever. I like to know details. Otherwise, unless it’s a specific meet and greet style event, I wouldn’t bother a famous person. Time with family is time with family.
The girl got to meet Ben Platt, Tony award winner for Best Actor. She thought that was pretty neat, and he couldn’t have been more gracious. When she and her friend spotted him, the security guard was ushering him away. It was the end of the day. Cue two cute little girls with wide eyes and big smiles, and he said “I’ve got time for one more.” There’s a picture to prove it.
This summer, while on a trip to visit family in LA, both kids were on high celebrity alert. David Hasselhoff lives on the street where we stayed. It’s LA. Famous people are everywhere. They always had their eyes peeled, just to catch a glimpse of someone. Anyone.
They got luckier than they thought. We were in a parking deck, waiting on the valet guy to come back. He was taking forever. So much so, in fact, that my aunt was leaning over the counter, through the window, yelling, “HELLO,” to no avail. Around the corner walked a man with his two boys. Holy crap. It’s Jack Black. I really hope my kids don’t freak out. He started talking to us about the missing valet guy. “Why is it taking so long.” “Has anyone tried yelling?” I don’t know, and yes.
The Boy walked over to me and got very close to my face, saying, “That guy looks a lot like Jack Black.” I told him there was a very good reason for that. He played it cool. The Girl almost did not. She loudly whispered, “That guy we are talking to looks kinda like Jack Black.”
Once I confirmed her suspicion, she gasped, and I told her to calm down. We chatted with him for a few more minutes about a whole lot of nothing. Just as the valet returned, Jack Black’s kids walked around the corner, so I told mine they could ask for a photo. Had he been standing with his kids or having dinner, or if there’d been a crowd of people, I would not have drawn any attention to him. I never would’ve let them ask.
Long story already too long, he happily took a picture with my people. He said he doesn’t normally do it, but he would. I wish I’d said, “Well, we will make an exception, too.” I didn’t want to push my luck. I’m kinda surprised he wasn’t giving us the middle finger in the picture.
Fun fact: I met Tupac when he was filming the last movie he did before he died, “Gang Related.” He was incredibly kind and soft spoken, which surprised me. On the same set, we met Jim Belushi, who, though as nice as can be, was not as soft spoken. He warned my brother, who mentioned wanting to be on television one day, to stay away from the screen because of drugs. He was quick to point out that there’s no shortage of women when you’re in the biz.
There you have it. I guess part of the fun in meeting celebrities is being able to talk about it, right? Having photo evidence only sweetens the pot. In Publix one day, the sweetest woman approached my daughter and me, telling us how much she loves reading my column each week. I loved that she stopped and spoke to me, even though it was 8 a.m. on a Saturday, and I was with my child. I guess things might be a little different if I was doing blockbuster movies or starring on Broadway. I’m not, and will never be, so don’t be afraid. Say hello! Besides, we all know I’ll fake a phone call if I don’t wanna chat. Cheers!