On the Nature of Celebrity: or... OMG!!!
Wow, it sure has been a while. I apologize. Actually, it is sort of fitting that my last post was about Comic Con because this one is sort of similar.
So the other day I hung out with Leonardo DiCaprio. Yep, we are total BFFs now. If by BFFs you mean I followed him around the California Science Center trying to take covert pictures of him without him noticing and stood next to him looking at fish for 10 minutes. But now we are just arguing semantics. So I could get into more detail about the encounter: he was with his girlfriend Bar Rafaeli and some older bald gentlemen who I think might have been her father and some weird guy with longish salt and pepper hair and oversized glasses. They took pictures of moray eels with their cellphones and posed for pictures together in front of the fish tank. Then they went to the gift shop and Leo bought something. Oh... and when we thought he couldn't hear us, my friends and I were talking loudly about Inception and he turned and looked at us. Later on when we were walking outside we were giggling about how random it had all been only to discover he was walking right behind us to get to the Natural History Museum.
<===== If I actually got a picture from the front it might have looked liked this
So the interesting thing about this whole incident was that A) it was totally something that could only happen in LA, B) it was the first time that I've ever just chanced upon a celebrity in a non celebrity-meeting-type-place environment (ie, Comic Con, book signing, etc), C) I completely wouldn't expect Leonardo DiCaprio to go to something so touristy, but now thinking about it maybe he was entertaining Bar's dad or something because all the gossip sites say they might get married but her dad wants Leo to convert to Judaism... not that showing this dude a bunch of fish will make him give the go ahead, and D) I realized just how completely and totally lame I am around famous people.
My husband used to work for private jet companies refueling planes. He has met TONS of celebrities. He refueled Harrison Ford's plane for goodness sake. He is completely unfazed by celebrity. Me, on the other hand.... Actually, what is really funny about this whole day was that none of us: not my friends, not me, not anybody else at the museum who totally knew it was Leonardo DiCaprio, said anything to him. Sure, we looked at each other with knowing glances, we kind of followed him around a bit at a discrete length, we giggled about being in the precence of somebody "other," but nobody said anything to him, asked to shake his hand, took obvious pictures of him, or anything. All of us tried the best we could to respect his privacy. After all, he's just a normal person, we said to each other. How much does it suck that he has to wear a baseball cap and sunglasses inside just to avoid being noticed, we asked. But he isn't a normal person, and that's the honest truth. If he was a normal person, I would have pushed him aside to get a closer look at the tank. If he was a normal person, when I saw him struggling to take a picture of himself and his girlfriend doing one of those backwards hand things, I would have offered to take it for him; conversely I would have asked him to take a picture of me and my friends. Instead I kept my distance from him, not even so much as brushing against him to get by.
I like to think of celebrities as ordinary people because, after all, they are. They simply do a job that gets seen by a lot of people and thus attain a level of popularity that causes people to become interested in what they are doing. What's strange is that I follow a lot of celebrities on Twitter, mainly sort of B-listers like Chris Hardwick, Felicia Day, Nathan Fillion, Joel McHale, Neil Gaiman, and the cast of Mythbusters, and I honestly believe that my interaction with them online (as limited as it may be) has made me less star struck when I see them is person, which I did at Comic Con. Somehow reading what they are doing every day, laughing at jokes they make or clicking the links to hilarious videos they want me to see, has humanized them. I would not feel at all uncomfortable going up to Chris Hardwick and telling him how much I like his Nerdist podcast. I might get a little tongue tied around Nathan Fillion because... COME ON the dude's awesome, but I think I'd say something at least. Perhaps what was so unusual about seeing Leonardo DiCaprio, what was so... i dunno... awe-inspiring is the wrong word... is that he is notoriously private. You dont' see Leonardo DiCaprio at Comic Con, you don't see him on Twitter or on a reality show or making fun of himself on SNL. So maybe my shyness around him wasn't so much to do with the fact that he was a celebrity, but rather that he was a certain type of celebrity that doesn't exactly invite attention. In fact, recently he filed a restraining order against some woman who was stalking him, so that might have something to do with his attitude.
Anyway, with all that being said, I've started to think about those celebrities who I would completely feel comfortable saying something to, and those celebrities that I would be... yeah I guess in awe of is the only phrase I can think of at the moment. Since I've seen a bunch of people at comic con, I'll limit this to only people I've never been in relatively close proximity to before (RDJ and Angelina were all the way across Hall H when I saw them). I'll divide them into Cool (say hi) and Too Cool (hide behind a post just to watch them chew gum). Looking at the list it seems like a lot of the "Too Cool" people have a reputation of being complete assholes in real life, so maybe its a good thing that I wouldn't say hi to them. Also a bunch of them are crazy good looking and I might get all twitterpated. Another thing is that my list of cool people is completely dominated by comedians. Is there something about comedians that makes them seem more like regular people? Also a lot of them are known for nerdy/ genre TV shows/ movies. Am I under the impression that nerdy people are nicer? Actually.. you know what? Nerdy people ARE nicer. Except for those like uber-nerds that dont' think you are nerdy enough.
Neil Patrick Harris
Robert Downey Jr
Samuel L Jackson