Afternoon Inquisition


The new year has brought my husband a new BFF. You may have heard of him (I honestly had not) – Dan Cortese. They’ve been Tweeting back and forth about something or another, I don’t really know. The important thing is that Brian is super excited about this. Last night he even read the Tweet exchange to his brother over the phone. I found it both adorable and embarrassing at the same time.

I’ve met enough famous people to learn that they’re all pretty much just people. They’re rarely as exciting as their famous persona. And when people tell stories about meeting celebrities, the stories are always embellished… not intentionally, mind you, but still embellished. How many times have you heard someone tell you what a “nice guy” so and so was when they ran into him at a restaurant or on the street? Imagine that same meeting, but with some guy who works in Safeway’s accounting department. Just the fact that the guy wasn’t a huge dick to you when you asked if he knew what time it is doesn’t make him a “nice guy”… and you wouldn’t go around bragging about how you MET and TALKED TO James from Safeway accounts receivable and that he is SOOOOOO nice in person. I’m not saying that it isn’t hugely exciting to meet someone famous, but is it rational to go fangirl/fanboy on them? (I won’t name names, but I even know a few Skepchicks who went completely fangirl when they got to meet a certain skeptical podcaster.)

Do you get fangirlly/fanboy-y when you meet famous people? Are you easily star struck? Do you think celeb-love is unreasonable? Should skeptics know better? Did you know I was in a wedding with Adam Savage from the Mythbusters and I talked to him for like 3 minutes and he was AWESOME?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.


Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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  1. No, not really anymore. I met quite a few in the airline business. Some were great, some were jerks. About the same proportion as in the general population, more or less.

  2. As a native of Los Angeles, I’m naturally immune to “the industry” as it’s called; they are, in general, just people, though some of them *are* really nice people (more than a few famous folk go out of their way to be nice, often doing so in such a way as to get zero recognition). Some are assholes, and most are just people doing a job like any other. Hell, I’ve had conversations with a few minor celebs for 15-20 minutes without even knowing it (invariably, someone comes along later with the “OMG you were talking to xxx!”).

    Maybe we should try to develop a broad-spectrum vaccine that prevents people from becoming excited about celebrities.

    Then again, it’d probably cause autism or something.

  3. I don’t really get star-struck, per se, though I always find it interesting to see what people look like in real life.

    When it comes to actually talking to celebrities, even if they’re just famous within the skeptical community, I’m not really good at doing that.

    But I attribute that more to the fact that I’m not really good at talking to people I don’t know, in general, whether they’re famous or not :-P

  4. I enjoy meeting very interesting people, and some of those are SO interesting they became celebrities, and therefore I enjoy talking to them. However, some people achieve celebrity via a completely different, less interesting path. I do not enjoy talking to or about them.

  5. I’m usually pretty good about it, not really one for hero worship. At D*C 2009, I met lots of celebs and, for the most part, chatted politely (as opposed to my friend who freaked the frak out over John Schneider). I do confess, though, to grinning like an idiot upon meeting Terry Gilliam!!!1111oneoneone

  6. I hope the podcaster the Skepchicks went all fangirl on wasn’t Brian Dunning. His ego is large enough already…

    I’ve never understood our fascination with celebrity. I don’t find it at all thrilling to meet anyone of notoriety, perhaps because they’re usually shorter in person than they look on screen. Like Winona Ryder – do you realize how tiny that woman is? Her bio lists her as 5’4″ but she can’t be more than 5’2″ tops. Oh and she’s sooooo nice in person.

  7. Ya know, it’s funny because I knew who Rebecca was before I met her, and I was only moderately shy to go up and talk to her two or so years ago.

    But we got along well and it was really pretty easy to forget that she was at all famous… except for when she’d randomly jet off places and give talks, or interview/name drop Very Interesting Persons she knew.

    So I guess what I’m saying is that star-struckness only applies, in a way, to people who hold themselves somewhat aloof. Otherwise, I’m with ‘Becks in saying that sometimes celebrities are just Very Interesting Persons who happen to be famous, so why be intimidated?

  8. Same situation as Austin, I’m a native as well as being part of an improv theatre in Hollywood where we have celebs of various fame levels show up so I’m generally not too star struck, but I did get a bit star struck when I met James Horner (composer) but there’s a big difference between an actor and someone that creates music I think.

  9. I don’t get into the fanboy vibe because I don’t have a connection to these people. I wouldn’t have anything to talk to them about. If I were a writer meeting a successful and famous author might be cool. Ditto for acting/actors. But I’m a programmer. What famous, successful person could I have a meaningful conversation with? Clifford Stoll? Dennis Ritchie?

  10. I sat behind Adam at TAM London. I’d have liked to meet him over a coffee or a pint. But, I wasn’t about to queue up for a 30 second grip and grin that would have no meaning for either one of us.

    I think the truth is we see soundbites from our favorite celebrities and then think we have more in common with them than we really do. Then in real life, there isn’t much to do.

    I imagine from the perspective of the celebrity how the faces just blend together. Yay. I want to be one of those.

  11. I used to get much more worked up than I do nowadays over seeing celebs.
    Right now, I am literally sitting one floor above Chanel in SoHo, NYC and there are always Famous People ® in there. Now it mostly elicits a “Hey, how ’bout that” reaction from me.
    When I met Rebecca the night before NECSS, I thought I was gonna be a bit nervous talking to her, but my wife and I just walked up, said Hi and proceeded to hang out with her for a half-hour of so. So easy to talk to. Must be a Jersey thing :)
    Okay, I may have peed my pants a little, but still…

  12. I met my favorite comedian Gabriel Iglesias. I was WAY WAY WAY excited, but I kept my cool. He was surrounded by other fans, so it’s not like it was a one-on-one. But he did take time out to say hi to everyone and give out free fluffy hugs! He is squishy and adorable. That still makes me smile.

    I got to meet Maroon 5 before they blew up. They are a very tiny and excitable bunch of guys.

    I’m normally able to keep my cool on the outside, no matter how I feel on the inside. For the most part, I think if I were to meet someone truly famous, it wouldn’t be a big deal. I’ve handled much more stressful and odd situations without batting an eyelash.

    …Unless, maybe, it was Eddie Izzard, Ben Folds, or the White Stripes (Jack and Meg).

    I mean, Ben Folds ANSWERED MY QUESTION DIRECTLY during an online fan chat, and I was running around my apartment like I’d won the lotto.

    I would try so very hard to keep my cool, but I’d probably become a gooey mess. It doesn’t help that he adores his fans. He’s just an all-around nice guy.

    Same with Eddie Izzard – he is so gracious and awesome to his fans, but if I got to meet him, I’m sure I’d diiiiie.

    I’d probably just bow before Jack and Meg or something embarrassing like that.

  13. I’d always be up for a chat with someone I respect intellectually, and that’s the only category of “celebrity” I care about. That being said, I’m not one for being gushy just because someone is well known.

    One thing about this subject that I really don’t understand is why autographs are such a big deal for some people? I’m probably over thinking it, but it seems like a slightly odd behaviour to me. Actually, I’m definitely over thinking it…

  14. My father was a reporter for 30-plus years, and as a kid I got dragged around to all sorts of events where famous people were. I’ve met Neil Armstrong (shook his hand and everything. I was 8 I think and believe me there was a great deal of hero worship going on in that encounter. He took it in stride, and indulged the kid with the grin). I’ve met and spoken with a great number of artists, musicians, and actors throughout the years as well, and they’re just normal people.

    In college I did ambush Richard Leaky though, and that was fun. He came to my university to give a talk, and afterwards there was a black tie reception. I barged in with my satchel, wild hair, and torn jeans and strode right up to him and shook his hand and told him how much I admired him. Then I turned around and left before they could throw me out. That was fun. Left him blinking and mildly astonished.

    Hanging out with The Cure was fun too, and I did that on my own merits (fixed their lighting director’s Mac right before the show – got VIP passes and everything – what a blast!). Got drunk with the band and had a good old time. I did get a bit fannish though, because I had to get my copy of Disintegration signed. I waited hours to do it, when they were thoroughly hammered.

  15. Also, to be honest, I’m kind of an excitable person to begin with. Sometimes I treat my actual friends like celebs: “Squee! Mindy! Yay! *jump jump* HUG HUGH HUGH!!!”

    I’d probably hut all the fellow SGUers, including Rebecca, in glee, because they are so freakin’ awesome, not ‘cuz they are “celebs”. But they make my ears and brain happy, and I tend to be overly affectionate when excited.

    So if we ever meet, expect hugs!

  16. My facebook-picture is still of Adam Savage and me from TAM London, even though the only thing I said to him was “can I have my picture taken with you now?”.

    And I don’t think I get all fanboy-y when I meet famous people in general. (Not that this happens often.) I may tend to mention my encounters with the famous more than absolutely necessary, but I’m not extreme. I can even restrain myself from name-dropping any more in this post, although I have to mention I once gave Rebecca a giant pink, spiky, inflatable … No, maybe I shouldn’t.

  17. I have NO idea what you mean by fangirl squeeing. Especially not over a certain skeptical podcaster. Or multiple skeptical podcasters. Or certain astronomers. Or certain magicians. Or certain feminist bloggers.

    Yeah, I squee all. the. time. over people that I admire and respect. Random celebrities that mean nothing to me? No squeeing.

  18. @Alisha: @Alisha: I have an autograph from Gabriel Iglesias, which makes me happy. He is squishy and awesome, and it’s nice to have a piece of memorabilia from his own fingers, which I got after one of two live shows of his I’ve seen.

    I think for some, it’s something to collect – and people collect some weird things, so I don’t find autographs all that weird – for others, it’s a status thing (“Look who I met!”), and for others, like me, it’s a keepsake – and a keepsake of luck, since I don’t get the opportunity to get autographs very often.

    I also have a signed DVD from The Kinsey Sicks, whom I met when they did a charity function for the LGBQT organization I volunteered for last year (I helped them set up and take down for the show, etc). Apparently, they are quite famous within certain circles. I had no idea. However, I’m super glad I got them to sign my DVD, because they signed them in-character, which tickles me pink.

    Also, they are hilarious and a great bunch of guys.

  19. I like to pretend I’m all cool and no-big-deal-y, but I then proceed to drop names FOR THE REST OF THE LIFE OF THE UNIVERSE. I will spare you my ever-growing list.

  20. @marilove:

    I guess the thing that got me thinking it was observing people excitedly thronging around a celebrity and waiting for an autograph, most recently at TAM London.

    Walking up to a celebrity and asking for a autograph seems to channel the interaction in a different way than if you just went up to say ‘hi’ and talk to them briefly.

    I don’t think autographs are ridiculous or anything, I’ve just mused about it too long, and it now seems slightly odd to me.

  21. I worked for over 30 years in film, TV, and live theatre so I met and worked with a lot of the rich and famous, well, and the poor and famous. I even achieved a bit of notability myself. I have long since gotten over being star-struck but I still get a little rush meeting someone really famous. BTW it has been my experience that the truly successful famous types are easy to get along with. The not really successful want-a-bes can be a pain.

  22. I’ve got my share of autographs from tv and music celebs, but unfortunately not had the chance to spend any more time than that instance of getting the autograph.

    the 2nd time I met Fish it was easier, but I did go paparazzi on him after and kept shooting pix of him doing autographs for other ppl.

  23. @Rebecca: Agreed. Interisting or why bother.

    There are no musicians I’m particularly interested in meeting just because I like their music. Except when I read that Brian May the lead guitarist for Queen had completed his PhD in astrophysics, and he’s now the Chancellor at a University in the UK. That just sounds way to fascinating and interesting not to want to hear a few stories and have some conversation. I’ve had the opportunity to cook for and have dinner with a famous chef and on another occasion to again cook and have dinner with one of my favorite authors from my childhood. I held it together pretty well, and my recollection is that I didn’t gush or embarrass myself, and the conversation and stories were great. The cooking for a well known celebrity chef was fairly intimidating though.

  24. Despite the stereotype, skeptics aren’t emotionalless robots. We still have emotions, goals, fears, and giddyness. I still get giddy when one of the skepchicks choose one of my links for a quickie, or even better, a full-blown blog entry. It’s like “I said something important”. Honestly, around you guys, I almost feel like the small child. I know its my own personal insecurity, and the skeptic in me just can’t break that. That’s one of my faults, never feeling like I measure up.

  25. I froze up around the few celebs I’ve met. At Dragon*Con, I made eye-contact with Phil Plait and had to run away.

    I actually got to hang some with the Skepchicks that weekend on account of knowing Jen, but I had a hard time summoning the courage to introduce myself. I managed to give my name to Masala Skeptic as we were walking from one hotel to the next, but that was it.

    Somehow, I managed to get a kiss from A and a hug from Rebecca despite not saying a word to either. It makes me wonder if Silent Bob was onto something.

  26. I don’t normally do the whole autograph thing, but I was thrilled to have Randi sign my Skepdude callender and my copy of Flim-Flam.

    I enjoy meeting the big names at TAM, but I like listening to their talks even more.

    Funny thing, at TAM 5 I went to Rebecca’s party, and asked a few people which one was Rebecca? I kept getting funny looks, and interogations as to why I wanted to know, and often they just changed the subject without answering. It was like trying to get through a celebrity’s screeners.

    I found out later she’d already left to find someplace quiet to sleep. I also found out the police raided the party minutes after I left.

  27. I have met an assload of famous people. They are just people like you and me. Some are good, some are bad. The ones who are famous for acting don’t really thrill me much at all anymore ( a by product of living in Hollywood I’m sure) but the ones who are famous for their creative contributions and smarts get me super happy and when I’m around those people I do tend to gush a bit. :)

  28. Thinking about what @infinitemonkey said, I guess I DO still get excited when someone famous replies to something I say to them on Twitter or what have you.

    I guess on some level we’re all after validation and acknowledgement, and being spoken to by a Very Interesting Person because you’ve amused them or made them think or laugh makes you FEEL validated. Why their approval should mean more than that of people who actually know and care about you, well, that’s another issue.

  29. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone famous. I’m not sure I would recognize them if I did. I have the worst time when I run into someone in an environment different from the one I normally deal with them in. I ran into a lawyer at the movies one day. She recognized me and talked to me for 10 minutes or so. She left and my family asked who she was. I had no idea. Ran into her at a hearing a week later and she brought up the movie. “Oh, was that you?” This was a person that I had known for years and had face to face dealings with several times a month. But change the setting and I couldn’t figure out who she was. So I might not even realize I was talking to Adam Savage unless someone told me.

  30. I really only get excited when I really admire the person. I’ve met several Broadway stars and didn’t care much. On the other hand, meeting Opeth (my favorite band!) and Amber Benson from Buffy had me wide-eyed and shaking. Both Amber and the members of Opeth are, in fact, very nice people.

    I think we like to mention how nice celebrities are because we see so many that act like meeting them is a privilege. Lots of people let fame go to their head and become assholes about it, but having (at least somewhat) famous people act grateful and glad to see fans breaks that perception.

  31. Terrified. But then I’m like that when I meet all new people. What comes of as “wow what an icy bitch” is actually me being excruciatingly polite while I repress sheer panic. (So hey if you meet me don’t feel bad, I probably like you you just can’t tell.) The really famous people I have met I don’t even recall…obviously I wasn’t to fangirled.

    When I used to work in circles that required me to talk to mildly important people I was always pleased when they responded, definitely a little confidence booster. (Vs oh she’s just a blogger we’ll ignore that.)

  32. I’ve never been much of a fangirl when it comes to celebrities. It might sound like not even close to the same thing, but when I was working retail there were so many customers (not regulars, those I remembered) who would come up to me and ask questions about the store. Unless they stood out in some way, everyone just blended together. I was thinking about the star-struck thing people tend to get and related my own experience to people who tend to be in the spotlight.

    That said, I can get nervous around people who I consider to be ultra talented, regardless of whether they are “famous” or not. This happens to me every day.

  33. I think the Internet has ruined a lot of the mystique of celebrity. If you’ve already seen a crotch-shot, a mugshot, tat-shots or an angry taking-shots-at-the-papz shot, then it’s not so exciting to meet a celebrity in person.

    I’m very rarely nervous meeting anyone. I’ll make an exception for any big name world leader and any person who is famous for ripping people’s heads off diva-style.I’d also probably be a bit nervous if it were a live-TV interview.

    That’s not to say I don’t have fangirl potential. The setting would have to be the deciding factor. Meeting Leonard Cohen for a grip and grin? No. Spending a day in the life with him? No doubt I’d squee inside.

  34. The whole celebrity thing is very strange, but I’m not immune to it. I was at a conference a couple of years ago and Richard Dawkins stepped in front of me while being filmed, and I started blushing furiously. I wanted to get out of the shot, but I was backed into a corner.

    And this summer, I was an extra in a Flaming Lips video. Wayne Coyne was directing, and I didn’t even really know who he was, so I was totally immune to feelings of fandom. My friends were envious that I was mere feet away from his naked self, but he was just another naked person out of dozens that were hanging around there all day. And he really _was_ a nice guy! Long days of filming often make people into monsters, but he maintained a good attitude and made things fun for everyone.

  35. I should have fanboy squeed the first time I met/hung out with Moby, but instead he and I just bickered for a good while about which song he had a microphone glitch. However, I did become buddies with his guitarist and for a year or so was in constant contact with him.

    I’ve met Neil Gaiman many times, David Sedaris once, chatted up with Bill Corbett (from MST3K & Riffrax fame), Unintentionally made fun of Kevin Garnet to his face, and have met many many musicians due to my connections over the years. However…

    The one person I should have squeed for (and simply due to the fact i didn’t squee, Carr2d2 gets jealous as hell about) was Buzz Aldrin when I met him as a child and he gave me Space Ice Cream after taking pictures with me.

    I did squee though when I was given a signed picture of Finola Hughes from Aspen Extreme, and perhaps the biggest squee (like a super squee) when Dr. Pamela Gay (aka Starstryder, aka the kick-ass host of AstronomyCast) gave me her official NASA jumpsuit.

  36. Also I haven’t met many famous people. I met some famous DJs in the rave scene, back in the day when I was a dork (I even drove Tech Itch in my car, which was possibly the highlight of 2005). Really the only famous people I’ve met were musicians: Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys, Bouncing Souls (I squeed a little when I met them). Really I don’t feel all that starstruck over celebrities. They’re people who do cool things and are well known for it, but they’re still people. I’m a people, too!

    That being said, when I found out I was pregnant and got a congratulatory tweet by Phil Plait, I glowed for a week.

  37. I handled myself well with Buzz Aldrin and James Lovell. Katee Sackhoff, however, did cause some substantial tongue swallowing. Cuz she’s pretty cute. But I got her back later in front of a much bigger crowd, so I think we’re square. :-)

  38. I don’t really get all squee-ish, I’m afraid. I’m far too cool (well, okay; Uptight and self conscious) for that kind of thing.

    I’ve met most of the cast of Farscape, and have gotten to hang out with one of them (even helping them with travel arrangements and accomodations for an appearance out here on the East Coast). I also am in semi-regular e-contact with another cast member.

    They were certainly more fun to hang with than the time I got to meet Patrick Stewart. Cos standing in line for two hours for a quick “HellohowareyouIappreciateyourwork!” and a signature on the flyleaf of “Man and Mask” just doesn’t cut it.

    Heck, when I was a kid, I got to hang out all afternoon with the one and only Red Norvo and his band.

    But I have always thought that rational people should “know better,” and so my strategy has usually been to try and engage celebs in conversation to see if I could be friendly acquaintences with them. I mean, when I meet them.

    (Confession: I sort of lost my voice a little bit, for a brief moment the first time I met Zacherley.)

  39. Usually I’m star struck for about 2 minutes, I have to allow myself to adjust to the fact that the celeb is now in 3-d, which takes a second, and I have to get used to the fact that they are taller or shorter than I imagined. It’s not so much star struck as it is getting used to the real them as compared to the one I’m used to seeing on tv or in movies.

    Usually when I meet a celeb I have a couple of questions or am interested in having a conversation about some of their work. The last celeb I met was Tommy and Dicky Smothers, I talked to Dick for several minutes about the Aristicrats and who our favorite comedians are, and I talked to Tommy about John Lennon. For those of you who don’t know, Tommy played on Give Peace a Chance (his name is also mentioned in the song) and I got him to sign my copy, here’s a link to a picture of it[email protected]/3991608933/

    Both were very cool guys and alot of fun to talk to, most celebs are

  40. I’ve never really had a sqee moment. There have been some nervousness, but once we said “hello” it was normal folks talking.

    That was before an incident about 30 years ago. I was felt up by a very drunk actor from a very popular movie while helping his manager get him to his room at a hotel. That’s when all the shine went off celebrity status for me. I’m rarely impressed by them now.

    Of course, put me in a room with Dawkins, Myers, Harris, Scott, and there shall be much squeeing in high octave ranges.

  41. From 2002 to about 2003, I briefly a celebrity in the RPG world because I was one of the writers on Demon: The Fallen. It was kind of weird having people come up to me with they’re jaws open. Plus it was fun to be able to autograph something, and have people actually want to bid on it.

    I don’t think it changed me that much, but it was fun to be famous for a little while. Even if it was among gamers.

  42. When I see famous people I recognised I am very reluctant to actually go talk to them for fear of coming across as a complete idiot, besides I can never think of anything I would say to them that wouldn’t have been said a hundred times already to them by fans that they are probably sick of hearing.
    Also, if I do see someone famous out shopping or something, I don’t want to annoy them and intrude on their personal time.
    Obviously I make a very bad fangirl.

  43. I grew up around “famous” people; I don’t think I’ve ever had a “squeee” moment. I did have an “Wow!” moment tho’, when I met B.B. King, one of my longtime musician heroes, at a party in Newport. I shook the hand that played that music! Yay!

    OTOH, I had a really pissed-off moment when I got back to the place I was staying at [two-year-old in arms] to discover a friend of the owner of the house had grabbed my quilt off my bed so that she could screw [Actor X] in the too cool living room in comfort. [Actor X] got to hear me swear a blue streak. Which I would have done even if I’d recognised him off the bat – I had a squalling baby on my hip and no way to warm him up. Whether that taught [Actor X] to take his bar pick-ups to a hotel, I don’t know. Of course, he’s truly famous now; back then, he was merely up-and-coming.

  44. I have a couple of amusing stories about meeting famous people I didn’t know were famous. One quick one:

    I was in Las Vegas for a beach volleyball tournament a few years ago, and I walked into the sundry store at the Hard Rock to get a soda. Guy online in front of me turns and says, “Hey, how you doin?” I comment on his east coast accent, and he tells me he doesn’t live there, he’s just been working in New York/New Jersey and the accent comes on without him thinking about it. Anyway we chatted about Vegas and the Hard Rock as we paid for our items and then walked through the casino chatting and cutting up. He says he’s gotta split, and we say adios. About an hour later, I head out to the Hard Rock pool where I see the Little Steven Van Zandt, James Gandolfini, and the guy I had been talking to, Michael Imperioli, doing an interview for E-TV. It was at the height of The Sopranos popularity, but I had never watched the show, so didn’t know Imperioli was. After the shoot, he comes over to me and goes, “You don’t watch my show, do you?”. I say, “No. Sorry, man. But can you introduce me to Little Steven.”

  45. @Sam Ogden: And there was that time we met Neil Tyson and Genie Scott. I seem to recall you had nice long chats with both of them.

    Seriously, I’ve shot lots of interviews with famous actors and, for some reason, rappers, but I was never very star struck until I filmed those two Skepchick interviews. When I saw Dr. Tyson coming down the hall I was mostly thinking, “Don’t say something stupid, don’t say something stupid”. I can confirm that they were both Very Nice People(tm).

    Also, Lil Jon once grabbed my camera and shook it while yelling.

  46. If they’re somewhere where I also am, they can’t be that famous, therefore no.

    It does depend who it is. I have friends who are considered celebrities in some circles, and have met people who the general public have never heard of but whose work I respect so greatly, I’ve been a tiny bit awestruck (but not awestruck enough not to talk to them).

    Mostly, though, I tend to think that I’m sooooo interesting and witty, anyone would want to talk to me, including celebrities! So I just go ahead and natter on. Sometimes I make a new friend, sometimes the celeb in question sidles away carefully. That’s also true of non-celebs though, demonstrating that people are people are people.

  47. Last year, my school’s academic team went to a national quizbowl tournament hosted by an organization called NAQT. Ken Jennings, of Jeopardy! fame, is on their board or something. Anyway, he was at the tournament, and we saw him about four or five times. In fact, he sat at the table next to mine at dinner in the hotel restaurant.

    I went completely fangirl, and guys on the team started to get tired of it. Unfortunately, I didn’t get an autograph or a picture, but I’m holding out for this year!

  48. Short answer to the questions, no. They’re people just like you and me. I might be tongue-tied if I met anyone famous, but that’s more likely from not having anything to say to them than anything else. About the closest I’ve come to celebrities is meeting some comic book writers and artists and having them sign their work. Never got to go drinking with them, though. I did have to look up who that Dan guy is – I’ve never seen anything he’s been in so I had to wonder who he was.

    Of course, I can’t get into that whole twitter thing anyway. If I didn’t think it would threaten my job, I’d tweet when I was in the bathroom. Every time. In detail. Probably not the best idea for a high school teacher, but it is tempting.

  49. I am pretty reserved and shy in general, so when Helo from BSG was shopping in my shop that time… well. I said nothing whilst freaking out like a ridiculous fangirl on the inside. And then had to explain who he was, what was so great about Battlestar Galactica and etc to all my decidely non-geeky co-workers. Sigh. He was so pretty. But I justify my lack of courage by the idea that maybe he just wanted to buy insulating foam and not be SQUEEE’d all over by random geeks?

  50. @Expatria:

    Thinking about what @infinitemonkey said, I guess I DO still get excited when someone famous replies to something I say to them on Twitter or what have you.

    Same here. I think for me that it’s not just that they’re famous but that someone who doesn’t know me personally thinks something I say is worthy of response.

  51. I book shows and play in several touring bands, so I’ve met plenty (and in a very, very select few cases become friends with) relatively well-known musicians. Most of the legitimate celebrities I’ve met have been super nice. It seems like it’s the up-and-coming / on-the-cusp-of-famous people that are the real asses (and their managers..). And regardless of niceness, celebrities are not necessarily all that interesting – many times you’ll have a better conversation with that random guy at the bar.

    I only get squee-d out around people that really influenced me in my youth (again, usually musicians), but they’re rarely celebrities. Example: I went to breakfast with Erik Sanko and just about pissed myself, but most people wouldn’t even know who he is if they were trapped in an elevator with him (he’s a bassist from Brooklyn that plays with John Cale / The Lounge Lizards / Skeleton Key /Etc… see? Doesn’t mean much to most people).

  52. @Expatria:
    Ya know, it’s funny because I knew who Rebecca was before I met her, and I was only moderately shy to go up and talk to her two or so years ago.

    I know exactly what you mean re: Rebecca.
    I also ran into Phil Plait in the paltalk room long before I found out he’s practically being idolized by some people.
    And at TAM2 I also had a great time with Jamy Ian Swiss one night, along with about half a dozen other attendees still awake at that late hour. I wasn’t aware just how famous he is.

    Now it mostly just annoys me when they get better seats just because people are all “it’s somebody famous”.
    So you’re being a dick to me ’cause I’m NOT famous? Good to know …

  53. Over the years Ive met a few ‘Celebs’ but about x3weeks ago – I met Sir David Attenborough- did the whole sign my ‘Living Planet’ book – seriously gaga Fangirrrl! the only autograph Ive ever wanted!

  54. @exarch:
    I know exactly what you mean re: Rebecca.

    I just realized I completely misunderstood Expatria’s comment. It was in fact the exact opposite. I knew Rebecca before she became “the skepchick”, and I don’t think I could ever see her any other way than “just that girl from the JREF forum”. And likewise with some of the other people I didn’t know when meeting them at a TAM.

    And living in Europe, lots of TV shows don’t get aired here until sometimes several years after they did in the US (this has started to change a bit in recent years though), so many celebrities wouldn’t even ring a bell as I hadn’t even been acquainted yet with the material that made them famous in the first place (like, for example, the Mythbusters, whom I met at TAM3).

  55. Both my parents work in the casino business, so every once in a while they’ll have some story about this or that celebrity who happened to play at one of their tables. and then there’s my stepmom who has a ton of stories about all the celebrities she ran with when she was younger. She and her sister are still friends with the guys from REO Speedwagon and get free tickets and hang out with them whenever they’re in town, which I guess is supposed to be a big deal but I’d never even heard of them before she mentioned she knew them. and she also went on that date with Sean Connery, and she said he was kind of a jerk.
    As for people I’VE met, there was one blogger from this other website I follow that I kind of went gaga over, but I think that had more to do with the fact that she’s really hot because she introduced me to a few other people from the same blog and I didn’t get quite as fan-girly with them. and then later that day I passed Michelle Paradise from Exes & Ohs in the hotel lobby and I was dumbstruck. I kind of feel bad about that now though, it must suck having people stare at you randomly in a hotel lobby. (Did I mention I was at the Dinah Shore Weekend? Yeah, this wasn’t just some magical place where random celebrities gather.)
    So, I think the only reason I went all crazy over meeting them (or just passing them in the hall) is because they were incredibly attractive and in Michelle Paradise’s case intimidating due to being really tall in person.
    And yeah, I should know better.

  56. @jblumenfeld:


    I’ve been to so many Dragon*Cons and there’s a huge difference between handshake/autograph meets and hanging out with celebs. I’ve hung out with quite a few really nice Firefly/Serenity actors and podcasting authors and I’ve had a distasteful encounter with a drunken currently-on-TV actor I could tell you about if you really want to know.

    I partied with Phil Plait and A and George Hrab as friends of friends before I had a clue who they were with the skeptic community and through them found this place.

  57. @Rav Winston:
    Farscape??? You’ve met…talked with…Claudia Black? *swoon*

    Oh, how I love Farscape.

    I’ve met few celebrities, and fewer still that I’ve really admired for whatever reason. I think I have serious fangirl potential, though. I tend to be very enthusiastic in everyday life. I would fear embarrassing myself, so if I encountered someone I really admired/lusted after/adored, I’d probably just lurk from a distance. Sort of what I did when I first saw Loreena McKennitt in 1994. My friend and I got to the venue really, really early, and we saw Her tour bus pull up around the back. We sneaked around back and hid behind another bus to watch Her and Her band go into the venue. I’m pretty sure She saw us, but She did a good job of ignoring us. :)

    I did meet Paul Farmer, a kickass medical anthropologist/physician who is totally the bees’ knees. I even sat next to him at dinner once! He’s a hoot! And brilliant!

  58. At the Comic Con this year, Adam West was there. I’m usually really immune to the fangirl thing (though meeting David Tennant would probably make me do the girl equivalent of holding a binder over your groin) but something about meeting freakin’ BATMAN made me act like a total moron in front of him. Guess I was also a little out of sorts, being in a Tank Girl costume. He sang the Adam West song he sings on Family Guy. It made me squee.

  59. @Gabrielbrawley: I can sort of relate to this, since I am certain I’ve stood (or sat) next to celebrities, both major and minor, on occasion, but it just hasn’t registered until someone near me says something later. It’s like, oh…really? I didn’t notice.

    That being said, there are a few people who I would go a little batshit for if I met them in person, including Jimmy Page (my inspiration for picking up the guitar), George Lucas (who I’d at once congratulate for the awesomeness of Star Wars IV, V and VI – but admonish for the other three) and Michael Chabon (my all-time favorite writer).

    Actors don’t really do it for me, tho there a few actresses that make me weak in the knees. The obvious ones (to me) are Zooey Dechanel and Amy Adams, but maybe less obvious are Laura Linney and Meryl Streep.

    I think I just squeed in my pants. Oh wait…no, I did.

  60. @spellwight:

    Probably the best one for me (skeptically speaking) was being introduced to a really interesting astrophysics student who want to talk about racism and science and all kinds of things. 17 years later he turned into Neal Degrasse Tyson.

    I’m still resisting listing more… resisting… resisting……….!!!!

  61. @CatFurniture: Yes, a little bit. I didn’t really have much to say. But, at the time, she noticed my injury (I had a second degree burn on my hand at the time), and told me to try an herb called “Arnica.” In fact, later on at the handshake/signature line, she asked if I remembered what she’d told me, and wrote down the term “Arnica” in my autograph book.

    I’ve actually hung out all day with Virginia Hey. She’s a very sweet person, but disappointingly deep into Woo.

  62. I’m a babbling, bouncy, brain-dead idiot when meeting celebrities.

    I’m actually pretty nervous just meeting people down the block, though, so it’s not that far off my normal.

  63. Namedropping.

    Герман Степанович Титов.

    The second man in space. I asked him what he thought of the North American great plains. He said it compared to the steppe. He told me one of the first things he did in space was throw up. Everything felt upside down all the time for him.

  64. I was a movie theater in Harvard Square back in the early 90’s for a late flick when my boyfriend grabbed my arm and said “Look! It’s Christopher Lloyd!” I looked and sure it resembled him but I was about a two feet away and too loudly said “That’s not him, he’d be taller.” To which Mr. Lloyd replied “No, Michael J. Fox is really short.” and he took his daughter to go see Regarding Henry.

    I have a few of these foot in mouth moments with celebs. Mostly C-listers who would come to Edinburgh for the Fringe. But on the whole I’m not a flappy fangirl. Unless I see Weird Al Yankovic. He’ll get the beaming love dart of my deepest devotions. Anyone else is just another person.

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