While we were hanging out, I started asking Greg (of daddytypes) about a recent post he'd written discussing his conversations and e-mails with various celebrities with whom he'd exchanged parenting tips. Naturally, I thought I'd be able to bribe Greg with Diet Coke until he told me who those celebrities were.
Needless to say, Greg is a much better man than I am and he totally refused to reveal his sources or give me any good gossip.
Anyway...the whole conversation got me thinking about MY random encounters with celebrities. Having lived in NYC for most of my life, I've had my fair share of celebrity sightings over the years. You see them everywhere in New York...at the market, at the playground, or at restaurants around town. However, I'm fairly jaded and non-plussed about meeting "famous" people. Who really gives a shit? For the most part, the celebrities I've met have been fairly boring and didn't really have much to say. I also abhor this growing trend of putting celebrities up on a pedestal. Drives me nuts.
However, there are a few celebrities I've met over the years where there was a good story involved. So naturally, I thought I'd post my favorites here on the blog. Please note that the following stories are all true and, for better or worse, most likely reflect more poorly on me than on any of the celebrities mentioned.
That being said, here are my Top 10 favorite celebrity encounters...
#10. Kevin Costner
It was 1991 and I was in Sun Valley, Idaho, skiing with some friends from college. It was late at night and we were drinking at Whiskey Jacques (one of the all-time grungiest and funnest ski bars anywhere.) I'm standing at a urinal pissing out about 20 gallons of beer when the guy next to me says, "Really tapping that valve, aren't you, buddy?" I turn around and who do I see? Kevin Costner! Without missing a beat, I let go of my penis, put both my hands on top of my head, and yelled, "Tatonka!" My buddy Will started laughing so hard that I think he may have peed all over the floor. However, I'd like to report that Costner was totally cool. Not only die he laugh with us but he also ended up buying us a few pitchers of beer. Very down-to-earth guy and extremely likable in person.
#9. Leonardo DiCaprio
For me and my friends, the party of the year in New York was always the MTV Video Awards show. For the after-party, MTV would take over Bryant Park and turn it into the greatest one-night scene you've ever witnessed. Every year, a friend of mine in the music industry would get a single ticket to the party. And every year, my buddies and I would go down to Kinko's and pay off an employee to make exact duplicates of that ticket. Man, some of those guys at Kinko's are geniuses! Anyway, in 1997, we were at the bar hanging out when Leonardo Caprio came over. One thing led to another and, before we knew it, we were all drinking tequila shots together. Let me tell you something. For a tiny, little guy, Leo DiCaprio can drink tequila like a Mexican donkey. For a solid hour, he drank all of us under the table. In fact, the next day, my buddy Andy had to call all of us to ask how he got home.
#8. Howard Stern
When Howard Stern was on the radio, BossLady and I used to wake up to him every morning. Many times, Howard would say something so outrageous that we'd both wake up laughing hysterically. Back then, Howard lived in our neighborhood so we'd always see him walking to the park. In person, he was the nicest, sweetest guy. Every time he saw us, he'd come over and start playing with MetroDog and tell us how he was going to get a French Bulldog just like him. One morning, we're listening to his show and suddenly he starts talking about MetroDog! How fucking cool is that? (FYI...MetroDog is sort of a celebrity himself. If any of you are on AOL, surf around the portal and you'll see him. He's the official AOL dog in all the online promos.)
#7. Mayor Ed Koch
Another urinal story. Happened right after Ed Koch lost his re-election bid to be NYC's mayor. I was at some random off-Broadway play and, during intermission, I went to the Men's room. There must have been 10 urinals lined up in a row. It was more like a trough than a toilet. Anyway, as I was taking a leak, I looked to my side and I saw that the guy peeing next to me was Ed Koch. Holy shit! Ed Koch! Everyone else in the bathroom notices him too and a few guys start pleading with the ex-Mayor, "C'mon, Mr. Mayor. Say it! Say it!" Koch just continues peeing and doesn't even say a word. He just smiles coyly and goes to wash his hands. However, right as he's leaving the bathroom, he turns around to all of us, gives us a big thumbs up, and, with a giant shit-eating grin on his face, yells, "How'm I doing?" (the famous catch-phrase of his mayoral term.) Needless to say, the entire bathroom erupted in laughter and applause. It was awesome.
#6. Ray Manzarek
When I was in college at Berkeley, a friend dragged me to Cody's Bookstore on Telegraph Ave. to hear Ray Manzarek, the famous keyboardist for The Doors, give a lecture and poetry reading. My buddy was a huge Doors fan. Me? I was more into The Cure, Morrissey, and The Smiths. I never really listened to The Doors. However, for some reason, I decided to tag along with him and I'm glad I did. Ray Manzarek turned out to be a fascinating man with some amazing stories to tell. After the reading, he invited a bunch of students to Zachary's for some beers and pizza together. For the next few hours, we listened raptly as he regaled us with stories about Jim Morrison, John Coltrane, poetry and his love of opera. Possibly one of the most fascinating people I've ever met.
#5. Liev Schreiber
Back in the late 90's, one of my friends was dating Liev Schreiber. One night, a bunch of us decided to meet up at a bar down in the East Village. However, I had just gone to a cocktail party and showed up at the bar completely wasted. When my friend introduced me to Liev, we shook hands and I said, "Hey, good to see you again. We met last week." He was totally polite but said that he didn't remember ever meeting me. Of course, I got totally annoyed and kept insisting that we had met before. By the end of the night, I was totally pissed off and thought that he was an arrogant a-hole. Sure, he may have seemed like a nice guy but I knew the truth. Or at least I thought I did. Turns out that the week before, I had seen him. At my home. On my TV. While watching "The Daytrippers" on DVD. I'm a complete and total fucking idiot.
#4. Phoebe Cates
Back in 1994, I was living in a tiny apartment. The place was too small to swing a cat but I absolutely loved
living in the building. One of the main reasons? Because Phoebe Cates lived there! Dude...Phoebe Cates! For a young man in his 20's who spent many long hours during his youth
replaying the pool scene in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," life doesn't get much better than that. All of you men out there know what I'm talking about, right? Anyway, I'd like to say that Phoebe Cates is even more beautiful in person and would probably even look great wearing a trash bag. One time, she turned to me in the elevator to say hello and I totally spazzed out. I don't know exactly what I said but it came out like, "boogahasdjoaooga." I think she thought I was retarded. After I got out of the elevator, I wiped the spittle off my chin and banged my head against a wall for half an hour. Smooth, MD. Smooth.
My friend, Henry, spent some time as a struggling NYC actor and was once represented by an agency owned by Ian Copeland, the brother of Stewart Copeland (drummer for the Police.) One night, back in 1987, we were hanging out at Henry's apartment when the doorbell rang. We opened the door and Ian walks in with Sting and a few other people. Everyone starts milling about and socializing except for Sting, who becomes engrossed in some of the art books that Henry owns. Honestly, I forget the guy is even there until I feel a light tap on my shoulder. I look up and Sting is passing me a joint. I didn't really smoke pot then. However, the one thing I did know is that when Sting passes you a fucking joint, you better smoke that shit up!
#2. Bruce Springsteen
Recently, our friends took their daughter, Laura, to Sesame Place theme park. During the parade, Elmo came by and brushed his hand against Laura's cheek. Apparently, Laura was in such awe that not only was she rendered speechless, she also couldn't stop touching her cheek to make sure it really happened. Well, that's sort of how I felt when I met Bruce Springsteen backstage at one of his concerts. He shook my hand and said, "Good to meet you." That's it. The whole encounter took less than a second but I almost fainted like the pathetic little schoolgirl that I am. Truly sad. However, for a die-hard Springsteen fan like myself, this was as good as it was ever going to get. I can now die a happy man.
#1. Carson Daly
Every year, I have to go to Vegas for the fashion industry's bi-annual trade show. I hate being there and I usually try to get back home as soon as possible. A few years ago, all my clients pushed up our meetings and I found myself with a free night. So, after dinner, I decided to hit the blackjack table by myself. The last two times I had been in Vegas, I hadn't done any gambling. Well, you know when you've been dieting and you reach for that one potato chip and, next thing you know, you've eaten the entire bag? That's me at a blackjack table. Once I get started, I can't stop. I started out with $50 and, after a few hours, I was dead even but had a pretty nice buzz from all the scotch.
Two guys end up sitting next to me at the table. Suddenly, the three of us start going on a fantastic run. We can't lose. I'm not really betting that much so I'm still only up about $300. But we're partying, laughing and having a fun time. That's when I realize one of the guys was Carson Daly. As it turns out, he's a pretty cool guy. Did you know he was a theology major who went to college on a full golf scholarship and briefly considered entered the priesthood?
Anyway...as Carson and his buddy are getting up to leave, he asks me if I want to join them at a small party in a private part of the casino. Sure, I say. After walking around a bit, I don't even know where we are anymore. Suddenly, we enter this room and...BAM! Music is pumping and they've set up private casino tables for the guests. I grab a few more drinks, cruise around the party myself, and then sit down at one of the private blackjack tables.
From there, the details get a little fuzzy. At 6:00 am, I remember stumbling around the casino to find my hotel room. Three hours later, my alarm clock goes off. I wake up, look over at my bedside table, and what do I see? About $4,000 in hundred-dollar bills!
Since BossLady and I used that money to pay for a much-needed new fridge and toilet, that's my favorite celebrity encounter.
Anyone else got any good stories? Let's hear them.