I know we had a thread for meeting MST3K creators, but I’m curious if anyone here has any great stories about meeting celebrities apart from that.
I’ve got a few, but I think I’ll start off with just one lest I hog the thread.
I know we had a thread for meeting MST3K creators, but I’m curious if anyone here has any great stories about meeting celebrities apart from that.
I’ve got a few, but I think I’ll start off with just one lest I hog the thread.
I don’t know if Dave Barry counts as a celebrity, but I got to go to a book signing, and was so star struck I forgot my name. He wrote “Stay out of trouble.” in my book.
I was in Houston for Space City Comic Con and one of the guests I was anxious to meet was Arthur Darvil - aka Rory Pond /Rory Williams from Doctor Who. This was just after it had been announced that he would be playing Rip Hunter in Legends of Tomorrow but before the show had actually aired.
Karen Gillan (Amy Pond from Doctor Who) was also a guest at the same show and the two of them were sharing a table. Which made sense as most everyone there to see one would want to see the other. The thing was, I had already gotten Karen’s autograph at an earlier show that year and my funds were limited, so I was only there for Arthur’s signature.
The problem is I had to walk right past Karen to get to get to Arthur!
So I do this, talk with him , say I am looking forward to Legends of Tomorrow and he’s nodding politely. And Karen is just sitting there next to him looking expectant.
And I just suddenly turn to her and say “And I’m terribly sorry I’m not getting your autograph today, but I already got it when you were in Dallas last month.”
Karen looks a bit surprised but she says that’s okay.
Without looking up, Arthur says. “He’s lying, you know. Nobody loves you.”
“No, I do love her. I love both of you.” I say. I then turn to the line behind them and shout, “We all love Arthur and Karen, right?” I managed to get a decent cheer out of that.
Alas, I ddn’t get a picture with them. But I did maange to get a picture with Karen and Billie Piper (my other favorite New Who companion) years later and it’s a good thing I did. Because having the two of them step in far closer to me than I expected, the blood rushed through me and I have no recollection of that minute.
Mind you, I managed to maintain my smug Third Doctor face.
Not an exciting story, but before the plague descended on us, my best friend and I went to see Gilbert Gottfried at Zanie’s Comedy Club in Nashville. Like me, he’s a serious introvert (go figure, right?), but unlike his stage persona, he’s an absolute sweetheart.
Years ago working in radio Lenny Kravitz was in the studio. I had a concert pic of him I had got from a CD store years before that, brought it in for him to sign. As I approached him standing there looking as cool as he always is, he took the picture and goes “Where did you get this?”. I don’t recall my exact response, but I do believe it was along the lines of “blepfluhtheethleeh”.
My mom, dad, and I were sitting at a table in the very busy Sydney airport after our vacation when we saw a rather tired looking traveler looking for a seat. We motioned her over to take the fourth chair at our table when…wait a minute…is that Shari Lewis? It was frickin’ Shari Lewis! We had a nice chat for a few minutes - she’d been in Australia for some kid’s TV special and was headed back to LA on our flight. It was a very cool encounter, despite Lambchop having fingered Davey and Goliath for un-American activities.*
*See episode 5, season 2, “Rocket Attack USA,” for the sad history lesson.
Robert Anton Wilson at the dedication of a Lilly tank at ACE in Cleveland in… oh, must’ve been 1984 or 1985. And he was just so innocent-looking, you can’t believe he’s the mind behind the Illuminatus! trilogy.
And then getting to talk about Wilson a couple years later with Steve Jackson… while playing the original small-card Illuminati! game with him.
I have met a few music celebrities in my time including Noel Paul Stookey (Peter, Paul, and Mary), Geddy Lee and ALex Lifeson (Rush), and Lars Ulrich (Metallica), all after they became famous. Even had a beer at a bar in Sun Valley with Noel, which was very cool. The one that really sticks out was meeting Limp Bizkit before they were famous.
It was the early '90s, and I was at a hotel party in Orlando. The front desk received noise complaints from nearby rooms, so the front desk called a couple of times and were on the verge of kicking us out, when someone asked if we could move the party to the lobby bar, even though it was after hours, and closed. They allowed us to do so, and not long after a group of young guys who looked like they enjoyed a party came into the lobby. Of course, they turned out to be the band Limp Bizkit, who we had never heard of, as their first album was not even out yet. They had played a concert in Orlando that night opening up for House of Pain. Fred Durst did not stay long, but most of the band hung around until we wound things down. Wes Borland (guitar) and I got along very well, from what I remember. He did say at one point that they were just about to film a video for their first single, and that they would be famous in 9 months when it came out, and I am pretty sure I laughed about it. It was only a year or two later that I went to see them perform in front of a huge audience at Ozzfest. Turns out Wes was right.
I almost literally bumped into Quentin Tarantino at a crosswalk in Hollywood years ago. I said hello, he said hello. No autographs or photos involved, but I was pretty tickled about it.
I lived in L.A. and worked in the industry, so I got to meet a good number of famous people, but I think my favorite encounter was not work-related. I was in a park with my dog and another dog started playing with it and they were having a great time. I started chatting with the owner and I suddenly realized it was Eric Idle! We had a nice chat, I never got fanboyish, and then we both went on our way. But it was cool that my dog and Eric Idle’s dog had a fun playtime.
Shari Lewis came to my mom’s school in the 50s before she was a TV personality, but she already had Lambchop and entertained the kids with it.
Been going to conventions / concerts forever and a day, so I’ve got so many celebrity stories. Thumbnails of my favorites:
*Talking to Bruce Boxleitner while I was dressed as Strawberry Shortcake with Peter Jurasik heckling.
*Almost getting George and Brad Takei run over because they stopped to watch my Wayne’s World cosplay group cross the street.
*Helping David Carradine make his green tea.
*Making an unintentional Weeping Angel joke with Matt Smith.
*Arguing with Hal Clement about the best WWII planes.
*Talking with Dean Stockwell while watching a squad of Stargate folks stuff a huge inflatable T-Rex into an elevator.
*Running into Ted Raimi at the Orlando Airport and gushing over SeaQuest.
*Swapping hats with Joe Sumner (frontman of Fiction Plane, son of Sting) at a show at the Agora Ballroom.
*Critiquing horses with William Shatner at a horse show.
*Doing oyster shots with Tony Bourdain and Eric Ripert at an aftershow.
(Okay. Will stop now. )
I used to go to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN, every year. One year, Pete Seeger was one of the featured tellers, and proved to be quite a draw. The festival has always had a merch tent with short autograph sessions for all of its featured tellers, but that year they shifted it to one of the downtown buildings. I got in line to get an autograph from Pete, but he was running late, so the line just got longer and longer down the street. After a bit, Pete and his wife, Toshi, came ambling down the street, and he remarked, “That’s a long line.” Someone in the crowd said, “Yeah, we’re all here to see you!” He seemed momentarily taken aback, and someone else shouted out, “That’s what you get for being popular!” Then his wife turned to him and said, “That’s what you get for being LATE!”
I have been to far more concerts, but I have been to my share of conventions as well. Oddly enough, for the most part I only met less well known authors and artists, and avoided the big autograph lines. So it is no surprise that the only film celebrity who I met at a convention was Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) while I was outside having a smoke and I provided him with a lighter. It would have been around 2014-15, and he did not look well, even then.
The convention circuit is great for meeting F&SF writers, actors and other creators, but can’t say I’ve really sat down with any of them. The only writer who might recognize me in return is Seanan McGuire, but that’s because we both regularly go to Ohio Valley Filk Fest and have for… jeez, decades now. I haven’t missed one since 1990 or thereabouts.
As far as concerts… I went to see They Might Be Giants in October 2001 and about a third of the way into the show, there was a power outage – well, there was a storm going on that Flans had described from the stage as: “They took down the Hs and Ls from the weather map and replaced them with the Four Horsemen.”
Of course, the instant the lights went out the audience immediately started up singing ‘Whistling in the Dark’… gotta love fans who are on the ball.
Anyway, the Johns tried to carry on by flashlight with an acoustic ‘Istanbul’ and a really poignant ‘New York City’ (this being barely a month after 9/11), and then adjourned the show until the power came back on or the truck with the diesel generator showed up, whichever came first.
I decided to just slouch about the hall until either eventuality came about. Most people cleared out, so it was pretty relaxed in there, maybe only a couple dozen stuck it out, everyone else either headed for a diner or a bar or a dorm room until later.
After a little while, someone wandered by my and quite casually pointed out that John F. was out in the lobby – and so he was. And no one else was around. So we chatted very briefly, he signed my ticket stub (and drew a face with a hat on it), and agreed this was one very weird way to have a concert.
Come to think of it, it was another TMBG concert where I got to briefly meet OK GO before they were widely known – they were opening for They.
I’ve had pretty good luck at concerts – few years back Tommy Emmanuel and David Grisman were touring together, and that took two items off my concert bucket list as I’ve wanted to see either one of them and hadn’t expected to get to see both at the same time. Got my picture with them after the show, but alas it didn’t come out very well.
Oh yes, and I had the rather surreal experience of going to the restroom during a break between segments at a live broadcast of the Al Franken Show on Air America… and finding myself shoulder to shoulder with Al himself at the wall of urinals. XD
I have a story involving Christmas time and Jhonen Vasquez. Perhaps another time.
Many years before that, though, my better half at the time and I went to see Moby in concert (this was after Animal Rights and just before Play, so there was an actual stage performance happening). There was a ~10min lull in the show and he asked the audience if they had any requests. People started shouting out their favorite early-90s staples and he had to keep deflecting (probably because he didn’t have the DATs or sequences handy; he’d reply that he’d “just press play on something and that isn’t exciting”). So I yell out, “Play us some Skynyrd!”. Moby gets this look on his face like someone just farted but then grabbed a guitar, told this amazing story about when he was taught how to play Stairway to Heaven, and then played a song from his old Vatican Commando days.
Later, I’m up at the autograph table and he’s eyes down, pen scribble, go through the assembly line motions. I tell him the show was great and then made a Skynyrd crack. He stops, looks up, smiles, and says, “That was you.”. We chatted briefly, just long enough to not hold up the line too bad.
It was neat.
I have a lot of these stories, but I think one of my favorite ones was this. I am a HUGE Twin Peaks fan and had attended about 8 of the Twin Peaks Fan Festivals when they were still going strong. One of the last years I went, 2016, Bonnie Aarons was attending. She and I had been corresponding on Instagram quite a bit over the previous few years, so she was excited to meet me at the fest (which was hilarious to me…) The night we got in she was at the Roadhouse with the other attendees mingling and she asked to take a photo with me and wanted to give me a kiss. So I said, why not? So she snapped a pic of us kissing (which is really odd, but again, hilarious) and overall it was a great weekend and we got to hang out several times during the fest. We sort of fell out of touch the last few years, but she is a great person and I was happy to have that experience! Sorry for the blurry pics, but we had all been drinking, LOL!
I met Wendy & Richard Pini (creators of ElfQuest) and Art Bellman (golden age artist for Captain America), do they count? Jeffery Scott as well (photography artist-- he uses a combination of photography, digital painting, and editing to create elaborate sci-fi and fantasy pieces), I met them all at the Great American Comic Convention in Las Vegas in 2018. I’ve also met Coco Montrese and Tammie Brown (famous US drag queens). I also met Nokie Edwards (famous guitarist, was a member of The Ventures as well as a solo artist).
I met Nokie Edwards after a concert at our state fair, my photos aren’t too good though, very blurry. Ah well. I got to see him again at a local venue which has since burned down. Glad to have seen him— twice, even!!
For Wendy and Richard Pini, I was too shy to talk to Wendy much because I didn’t want to interrupt her while she was drawing since she was doing character portraits, so I just asked one question when it looked like it was okay to interrupt for a moment. I spoke to Richard much more, I came back each day of the conference and bought several of the hand-painted pages from the Donning editions of ElfQuest and got more books signed (they had a daily limit outlined on their conference info pages, which I wanted to respect). I think that freaked him out a bit: someone coming from Alaska, carting a bunch of thirty-ish year old hardback books with them, spending more than a month’s rent on pages… probably really weird when you’re just doing your thing and realise someone travelled several thousand miles to buy something you made (or in his case, edited) and get their stuff signed by the two of you since you’d both made it clear you weren’t sure if you’d keep going to conferences in the future. He also witnessed something suuuuper unusual which I still don’t quite know how I feel about: as he put it, “I don’t think we’ve ever had a ‘laying on of hands’ at the booth before…!” While some people have resting b- face, I have resting sad/distressed face. I have oddly large eyes and look a bit like I’m about to cry as my default, so it seems. As consequence, I tend to attract a lot of unusual attention and/or people constantly think there’s something wrong, often terribly wrong-- nope. Just my face. A woman who was working one of the booths-- I think maybe an artist for Rick & Morty, or for the comic adaptation?-- came up to me and did… I don’t know quite what? I don’t remember what she called it, some kind of “stress pulling” focused on my chest/solar plexus because she had “seen me walking around” and “I do a lot of energy work, and I just couldn’t let you walk around with that anymore.” I… I don’t know either. Whatever it was about, it seemed to make her feel better, which is okay by me. It was kind of a “Well… this is… odd. But I’m not frightened or offended, and she’s not groping me, and lord knows it’s not like I’ve been touched by a woman since the Carter administration anyway, and sometimes the best course of action is to let folks just do their thing and move on, so whatever. I’ll just keep looking through the pages for sale, because whaaaaat is even happening,” moment. You know the kind, I’m sure. But that lead to some entertaining discussion between Richard and I, so I don’t mind. Probably helps that she was polite about it and sweet and asked permission beforehand and whatnot, it was just a bit startling to say the least.
I bought two prints from Art Bellman (both of Captain America punching Hitler, as one does), and spoke with him briefly about his & my grandfather’s service in WWII. And we briefly touched on how distressing it is in general but especially must be for him-- as a Veteran, an American, and a Jew-- to see such a resurgence/influx of white supremacy, anti-semitism, and pro-nazi sentiments in the US & political/public discourse in general. I wrote down what he said to me immediately afterwards so I wouldn’t forget it. He said:
“I did all this stuff, I worked on the WWII stuff. We had some wonderful young people, amazing young people killed in the 30s and 40s. There was a friend of mine, he was the most amazing cover artist, and they made him a bombardier. He was shot down three times, twice he still made it out. The third time they ripped the plane apart‚ the side sheared, and they killed him. All these wonderful young people and they’re still dying. I’m going to cry. It’s such a shame what’s happening today. I can’t take it, I’m going to start crying. You seem like an empathetic young woman. I love this country, please don’t let them take it from us.”
Jeffery Scott I spoke to a couple of times too, I don’t have a photo though. I bought a print from him the first day of the conference but he didn’t have enough copies of it with him to get me the one I wanted that day, so I paid for it in advance and picked it up the next day. He asked me to leave me my contact info in case something happened and he had to mail it to me instead, so I pretended like I was signing a piece for him, and asked him what character he wanted me to draw along with it and “Whom should I make this out to?”, and he laughed and said batman, so I wrote down all of my contact info and drew a grumpy-faced batman for him. We talked a lot about Alaska and his desire to visit and his curiosity about Alaska in general and possibly taking a hunting trip (he makes a lot of his leatherwork himself) but his trepidation due to certain things, and his difficulties with crowds and change and his experience with trying to do a conference in-between service dogs, and how the first day was great and the second was really hard. It seemed like that second day was really stressing him to put it mildly, I hope he’s feeling better these days though I’m sure it comes and goes. I’m sure it’s easier since his service dog is all trained and able to travel with him now though. Braver man than I for facing the crowds so often, to be sure! We’ve interacted a little on facebook since but only a little bit, he’s still doing his thing and producing great work. His poor beloved dog Charlie Chaplin passed not long after I met him though, that must’ve been a terribly hard time for him.
Oh yeah, I briefly met Jae Lee as well, but he was busy with his phone and I was too shy to say much, which is too bad, I should’ve tried to ask him some things about Hellshock, which just about saved my life in High School. But I bought a print from him; maybe some other time for the other things, right…? I must get braver about speaking to people. I was dealing with some bad bouts of agoraphobia at the time, nearly kept me from attending the conference at all, so I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on myself about it.
I met Coco Montrese and Tammie Brown almost inadvertently— Latrice Royale was scheduled to perform in my tiny town, and then she got cast on a season of All Stars and couldn’t finish her tour schedule, so they graciously stepped in extremely last minute. I’d purchased tickets that allowed to get a photo with them, and had some time to talk to them as well. Tammie seemed tired-- not rude or anything, just like it’d probably been a long day, and with their flight schedule I’d believe it. I wish they’d had some time to enjoy themselves, I think they probably had to basically take a flight all the way to interior Alaska after who knows how many connecting flights, do the show, briefly crash (if they’re lucky), then get right back on a plane again. She seems a little shy or reserved sometimes anyway, I think that’s just how it was for her that night. Coco was amazing-- super kind, enthusiastic, grateful, very sweet and just seemed like she was having such a blast on stage. They were both so great, and I was especially impressed with Ms. Montrese. She was just so good at keeping her energy up, which must be SO UNBELIEVABLY HARD TO DO with that sort of schedule! She even went to the afterparty nearby to hang out with people–and still in full drag, too!–and so folks who couldn’t afford a more formal photo could still get a selfie with her. Ms. Brown’s wigs were gorgeous and I liked that she sang live while she lipsynced her songs too, and Ms. Montrese was just so wonderful about the whole thing. Her makeup is SO AMAZING in person too, especially how she contures her nose and emphasises her eyes, and she’s SO petite!! She’s an itty bitty lady even in heels, she puts my femininity to shame for sure! I’m a big fan now, you couldn’t not be after seeing and meeting her. If you ever have the chance to see her in person, take it! I gave them both signed cards from the university GSA thanking them for coming to middle-of-nowhere-Alaska and personal notes from just me, and Ms. Montrese posted the personal one I wrote her on her facebook (!), it seems like it was really moving to her. I’m glad, she’s been treated so terribly by so many folks for having the audacity to be a talented black drag queen who appeared on a heavily edited TV show, it’s appalling how vicious people can be for something like stage makeup and TV makeup filming differently, just terrible how she’s been treated. I’m glad somebody basically saying “thanks for being here and keep it up, sorry folks can be jerks” helped her feel happy and appreciated. People can be so mean for no good reason, makes it all the worse that it seems to have happened so continually to someone who treats her audience just lovely. You’re terrific, Ms. Montrese!
It was the fall of 2014. Arrow had just started its 3rd season, The Flash had just started its first and I was eagerly awaiting the first episode of Constantine. In anticipation of the show’s success, I put together a John Constantine cosplay for that fall’s big local ComicCon, wanting to do the character before everyone else.
The day was something of an ordeal. I kept getting stopped by irate Supernatural fans demanding to know why my Castiel was blonde with a red tie. My British accent prompted several people to ask which number Doctor I was, as they thought they knew them all.
To add insult to injury, there was one bloke who outright asked who I was, and when I replied “John Constantine, Master Exorcist” in my best Matt Ryan imitation, he said “Dude, you don’t look anything like Keanu.”
As a result, I was in a foul mood when I finally made my way to the autograph floor to get the one celebrity signature I wanted that show. Caity Lotz. The Canary herself. Who was added to the guest roster at the last minute, only one week after her character on Arrow had been unceremoniously killed off.
There wasn’t a huge line for her, so she was checking her phone when I walked up to her table. She looked up. And then she smiled. And you hear the phrase “smile that lights up a room” but never really think about it until you see one that does. hers did.
“You’re John Constantine, aren’t you?”
The first person who got my costume all day and it was one of my favorite actresses. Somehow, I maintained my composure and my accent, even as my already hyperactive heart kicked into overdrive, and replied “Well, yeah, but for you I can be whoever you like.”
She laughed and asked if I had met Matt Ryan. I said I had not had the pleasure. (I would years later.) She said she met him at San Diego Comic Con and he was the nicest man in the world - not like John in the comics at all. I asked if she had read the comics. She said she’d read a bit of Hellblazer after hearing about the new show and read Birds of Prey to prepare for the Canary. We talked about comics a bit more before she asked me for a selfie.
The best part? After that, I told her it sucked what happened to Sara but that I hoped they’d find a way to bring her back. She said she didn’t think that was going to happen. I said something to the effect of “Hey, they’re bringing in Ra’s Al Ghul. That means Lazarus Pit which means resurrections. Heck, maybe they could being John in for an episode. Either way, I think you’ll be fine.”
Pretty much everything I said trying to comfort an actress who had just lost her dream gig came to pass within a year. The fan outcry over Sara’s death soured Season 3, as did the studio’s treatment of Lotz, brining her back for a guest spot only to destroy her character. She was brought back to life in Season 4 and, sure enough, John Constantine and a Lazarus Pit were involved. Sara was shifted into the cast of another Arrow spin-off, Legends of Tomorrow, and pretty much became the breakout character of the ensemble.
The second best part? Seeing it on her Facebook page later and seeing someone comment “Look at this smug mofo, Caity Lotz leaning on him and acting like it is nothing.”
Gary Lucy (even the Brits here might not know who he is ) was in Full Monty at a local theatre. We went to the stage door to meet the cast. It was his birthday and they were all going to the Indian across the road. We were talking to some of the other cast when I realised someone was stroking my glove (I had pink, furry wrist warmer types on). It was Gary, he asked if they were rabbit fur as they were so soft. They weren’t but I was giddy for days.
Also in that show was Andrew Dunn, a man we’d been to see at the stage door from other shows. Including one where my aunt told him my name was Toni because my mom named me after his character in Dinnerladies.
I also went to school with someone who went on to be in a pretty big boyband. There is something surreal about finding pictures of your school prom online as a “look at this Celeb when younger” type post