Sometimes, when I am in the vicinity of a famous – or B-list semi-famous – person, and within arm’s length of a bar, I will walk up to said famous person and start talking. That’s not to say I yap at any Gwneyth Paltrow that walks through the doors for happy hour. I’m just not the type to shy away from telling people how awesome I think they are, and I will only do it if I really am a fan of their work – I mean, you won’t see me pushing through crowds to tell Justin Beiber that clouds parted and rainbows appeared when I first heard “Baby.” That being said, here is a list of how I met four people who are known by many other people, and the weird shit my brain decided my mouth should say.
Aziz Ansari: When he is in town, Aziz is a frequent patron of a bar that I go on the regular (read: It’s the only bar I go to. My mail is forwarded to its address.) I spotted him last summer, when my friends and I were counteracting the claustrophobic heat by sitting on the bar’s patio. We lived for word play and often introduced ourselves to strangers by writing haikus for them based on whatever details we gleaned from their oft-boring introductions. Anyway, I delivered Aziz a haiku I wrote for him. Even though the haiku prompted a wary, albeit friendly, response, Aziz stuck around to talk with us for a while, as one of my buddies happened to be from a similar area of the South as he was. When he was leaving, though, I suddenly blurted: “By the way, congratulations on the success you’ve had with Community. Oh my god, I mean Parks and Recreation – I’m confusing my Indians. Oh my god.” This unplanned word vomit got a far bigger laugh out of him than the haiku.
Jason Sudeikis: My friend organizes a stand up night in Park Slope, and Jason recently participated in it. The set list included Jon Glaser, who I am crazy about and who also happens to star in Adult Swim’s Delocated. At one point, I walked to the bathroom and spotted Mr. Glaser. Bladder relieved, I was prepared to tell him how hysterical I thought he was, and that I particularly enjoyed his cameo in Jon Benjamin Drives a Van. Unfortunately, Jason happened to be chatting him up already. And by unfortunately, I mean unfortunately for Jason. Undeterred by Jason’s celebrity, I nonchalantly wedged myself between the two men and said, “Hey Jason, you were funny,” before immediately turning to Glaser to declare, “AND YOU ARE AWESOME, DUDE.” I then turned back to Jason, and said, “You know, I think my tone was off – you were really funny though.” Thankfully he laughed and gave me space to talk to my current hero. I think that was the first time Jason had been shunned by a woman in favor of a 40-something man with an afro.
Later that night, Jason happened to be standing and smiling next to me, and I turned and spoke to him again. What did I say? “Sooo, do you come here often?” I’m still trying to repress that.
Simon Amstell: Not as famous as the other two – and certainly not as embarrassing either. Simon used to host the British comedy talk show Never Mind the Buzzcocks. He is the most delightful curly haired gay man you may never meet, but he is also known for verbally eviscerating his celebrity guests. I met Simon, like Aziz, at my bar of choice. It was karaoke night. I love karaoke, and, apparently, so does Simon. My friends and I sidled up to the table Simon and his friend were at, and we entered into a friendly drunken chat. At one point, Simon asked what I did, and I laughed and said, “Well I mean I do stuff, but let’s talk about YOU, SIR. What do you do?” He said he was in town hosting UCB. We talked a bit about the improv center, at which point I finally confessed, “Listen, I’m sorry. I know who you are – from the BBC.” Simon replied, “No, no. I’m hosting UCB,” probably thinking, “Americans ARE as dumb as you hear about on TV… and possibly have verbal dyslexia issues as well.” It took a two-minute back-and-forth until he understood what I meant and then became visibly delighted to know people in America sometimes know about things in England.
Ira Glass: Definitely the person most known for his intellect on this list, and therefore the obvious recipient of my most embarrassing remarks. My friend and I went to a taping last winter for the Christmas episode of This American Life. It was fantastic and heart-warming and I may or may not have consumed four whiskey-on-the-rocks during the show – I’m not sure only because it could have been five or six. Afterward, my friend and I wanted a photo with Ira Glass because, hello, he is Ira Goddamn Glass. He obliged and we chatted a bit. Somehow “chatting a bit” turned into me asking about his hoodie, which was from American Apparel. I told him how I used to work for the company, and he mentioned that he supported Dov Charney and his endeavors. I asked, with logic on my side, if that meant he supported blowjobs during interviews with Elle Magazine. And then I excused myself and left the premises.
But you know what? I regret nothing. At best, these are all funny anecdotes that these dudes may remember for a few days. At worst, these are all funny anecdotes that I will remember forever, and unabashedly share with my friends and the internet.