Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Famous faces

I haven’t met any celebrities, but I have bothered a few of them in public.

And by bothered, I mean quasi-stalked.
And by quasi-stalked I mean I followed actor Giovanni Ribisi in the airport for 20 gates just so I could tell him that I thought he did a really good job playing Phoebe’s brother on Friends.

I was the year 2003, and I was at the Atlanta airport flying from South Carolina to my hometown New Orleans during a college break.
I was mindlessly walking around the terminal waiting for my flight with my neighbor from New Orleans (he was flying back from his college as well, and we had the same connecting flight) and suddenly he pointed to a man and said, “Isn’t that Giovanni Ribisi?”
“Who??” I asked.
“That actor. Giovanni Ribisi. He was in the movie Gone in 60 Seconds.”

“You mean that guy from Friends?” I asked. “Phoebe’s brother?"
(Yes, I watch syndicated television.)
“Yea, I think so.”
My eyes widened.
“Are you sure?"

I took off after him, with my neighbor grudgingly in tow as I bobbed and weaved through passengers and rolling luggage. A celebrity! How exciting!
I finally approached him and noticed he was wearing headphones. (Translation: don’t bother me). I was not deterred.

I tapped him on the shoulder.
“Excuse me, do you have the time?” I asked.
I’m pretty sure he rolled his eyes, because, really, there are hundreds of other people in the airport without headphones on that I could have asked, not to mention TV monitors every ten feet I could have glanced at.

“Um, yea, it’s one o’clock,” he said, annoyed, and walked away.
OMG It was totally him.

OH MY GOD THAT’S HIM! I tuned around and mouthed to my neighbor, who was about 20 feet back. He nodded. “Great, let’s go to our gate now.”

“No! I’m following him!” I announced.
What? Why?”
“Because I want to tell him that I think he’s a good actor!”

I actually hadn’t seen any of his work aside from Friends except for a movie called “The Other Sister” where he played a mentally retarded person. So, I wasn’t going to bring that up.

I thought about what I’d say to him as we passed gate after gate, keeping his backpack in my line of vision (I believe this is the stalker mindset…never lose focus of the target, ha).

It turns out his gate was at the complete other side of the airport. I followed him for 20 or so gates — more I think — and then hesitated when he finally sat down in a seat, for a flight to Boca Raton, Florida. (Giovanni Ribisi goes to Boca, y’all!)

“OK, OK, tell me his name again,” I asked my neighbor, who had stopped being amused 10 gates back. He huffed.
“Giovanni Ribisi.”
“Ok. Got it.”

I walked right up to Giovanni and sat down in the empty seat next to him.

Yes, hello, I’m the crazy girl who just asked you for the time a half-hour ago and look here I am again! How about that!

I would have been scared if I were him.

He took off his headphones.
“Are you Giovanni Ruh-bee-zee?” I asked.
“Ruh-bit-zee,” he corrected me, curtly.
I cursed my neighbor for his poor pronunciation lesson.

We then looked at each other and I had nothing to say. I was flustered by him correcting me, and then I couldn’t remember the prepared speech I had.
“Aren’t….you….Phoebe’s brother from Friends?” I finally mustered.
Another long pause.
And another.
“Um…you do good work,” is all I could manage to say, and then I quickly got up and pulled my neighbor with me as I walked red-face the mile back to our gate.
“I’m an idiot,” I said. “Hey, what do you think he was doing in Boca?

My second brush with celebrity came last year when I saw the MAC GUY at a bar in Los Angeles.
His name is Justin Long and my sources had told me that he was currently dating Drew Barrymore, which made him a B-plus list celebrity.

My brother, who edits movies in Hollywood, and who is not fazed by even B-plus list celebrities, quietly pointed him out to me as we grabbed drinks at the bar near his house.

OH MY GOD,” I mouthed. “That’s Justin Long!”
I had a nice view of him from the L-shaped bar, and noticed, clearly, that the woman he was sitting with was not Drew. Draaaaaama.
“That’s not Drew Barrymore,” I told my brother, who laughed and told me to quit staring.

Justin Long looked just like he did in the commercials, long shiny brown hair falling around his face. Kind of a “dopey, but lovable” look. I then saw him get up from his seat and walk outside, leaving his drink and jacket at his seat.

“I’m following him!” I told my brother. “I bet he’s outside smoking or something! I’m going to introduce myself!”
My brother laughed.

I took my cell phone outside with me and made a fake call as I scanned the small, smoking crowd for The Mac Guy. I quickly saw him (The Mac Guy smokes cigarettes!) and walked closer, pretending to have gotten someone’s voicemail on the phone.

Right as I was about to sidle right up to him, I overheard what he was saying to his friends.

“So, the bouncer is so annoying he’s all, ‘Justin Long! Justin Long! Justin Long!’” I heard him say aloud.
I paused. That was going to be my line.
I smiled at his (not Drew Barrymore) date and backed away slowly, then walked back inside to tell my brother what happened.

“Oh, sorry you got recognized in public Justin Long!" I said, as I took a sip of my vodka. "Look at the Mac Guy over here with a big head!”

It’s fair to say that my two celebrity “encounters” didn’t go as planned. I was scolded by one, and I’m pretty sure the diatribe about the bouncer was directed at me before I could come up and ask him to recite lines and sign my shirt.

I thought about this when I spent the greater part of Sunday watching the “fashion police” pre-Academy awards show, the Academy Awards Show and then the follow-up “fashion police” post-show on Monday night.

You can tell that some celebrities are just so annoyed that they have to be bothered on the red carpet and in turn, they give these curt, almost rude answers to the questions being asked.

“God, celebrities can be such a-holes,” I said. I believe it was clothing designer Tom Ford who prompted that comment. (Oh, and what was he doing at the Oscars anyway?)

I mean, it wasn’t like the interviewer was bringing up long-lost TV spots from shows that are now way into syndication.

It wasn’t like he was followed through the Atlanta airport by a crazy person who wanted to know the time.
Maybe he should have brought Drew Barrymore as his date.



  1. Uh... Jenny... Tom Ford directed "A Single Man." You might remember that Colin Firth was nominated for his role.

  2. well he still shoulda played nice!


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