I once ran into Richard Lewis in an airport because I wasn’t looking where I was going. He was actually quite nice about it, and I probably should have felt embarrassed, but I was 12, so I didn’t really care. Also, I didn’t even know who Richard Lewis was. I only figured it out later after I heard my mom tell the story and thought, “Damn, I want to know who this Richard Lewis guy is.”
By the way, I was taller than Lewis when I was 12. So there’s that.
Think that was awkward? Just wait until you read these 17 stories from people who did more than just bump into their fellow famous human beings.
Away we go!
16. His Scrub With Fame
I was staying with a friend, who herself happened to be staying at the apartment of some family friends by union square. It was one of those fancy buildings where each apartment is a floor and the elevator literally opens up into your living room, so you need a specific key to access each floor.
Anyway, my girlfriend (at the time) and I were arguing kind of intensely when we got into the elevator, intending to head down, and were so involved that we apparently forgot to press the button for the ground floor. The elevator starts to go up instead, and a few seconds later the door opens and we walk into a partially remodeled apartment on one of the upper floors.
Standing there is Zach Braff, giving a disapproving/confused look. We backed away into the elevator, explaining that we must have forgotten to press down, and he told us he had called the elevator up to let in some friends. It was known that he lived in the building, and the look on his face implied he didn’t believe our excuse, so we didn’t push it by asking for autographs or anything.
I kinda actually felt like he was being a little bit rude when he said ” yea…. So I’m just gonna close this and press down…”
And that was the only time I ever said anything to anyone famous.
15. Bow Wow Wow
About 2 years ago I was interning at a high-profile recording studio in Los Angeles. Another intern and I were once repairing a towel dispenser in a private bathroom for the main studio…when we emerged, we–quite literally–ran in to Snoop Dogg.
He gave us a “why are you two using my bathroom together?” kind of look.
Me: “Oh. Uhh…we were…fixing the paper towel…thing.”
Snoop: “I ain’t judgin’…just gotta be more discreet, my man.”
…he thought we were bangin’
14. Face To Face With Fillion
I was once at a convention when I came around a corner, and came up short as I almost ran over Nathan Fillion. The words out of my mouth were, I think ‘Whoa, Nathan Fillion!’
To which he replied ‘Whoa, you’re right!’ in a surprised tone. I told him I was a fan of all his work, he smiled and said ‘Thanks, want an autograph?’ I thanked him but said I’d already gotten him to sign my Firefly box set a few years earlier, to which he replied ‘So THATS how you knew who I was…’
Very funny delivery. Shook my hand, went on his way.
As he left I said ‘I loved you in 2 Guys & a Girl!’ and whoever he was with burst out laughing.
13. Falling For Tobey
My friend was running late for a class through Columbia University’s campus while they were filming Spider Man. Being a short girl, she was wearing high-heels, tripped on the cobble-stones and face-planted with her books and sent papers flying everywhere.
As she went to get up, she noticed two male feet in front of her. Tobey Maguire was standing there asking if she was okay. Mortified, she grabbed everything up and bolted.
Fast forward a month and he’s on a late night talk show where the host asks how the Columbia students treated him. He said that ‘in general the students were really nice except there was this one girl who fell at his feet and wouldn’t let him help her up.’
12. Just Busey Being Busey
I used to live in LA, so I had a number of celebrity encounters, but by far the weirdest was when I had a conversation with Gary Busey while we were both stuck in traffic on Wilshire Boulevard.
My window was down. I pulled up behind a stopped car and noticed the car to my left had cigar smoke wafting out of it. I hear someone say “Don’t you just want to grab a shotgun and clear all these people out?” I turn and there, teeth gleaming, sitting in the passenger seat of a giant black sedan, is Gary Busey.
I’d been up since 4am that day so I was already really tired — on the verge of asleep — so to have Gary Busey start a conversation with me about LA traffic was surreal. I was not sure it was actually happening.
We chatted for a couple of minutes. I told him I’d just gotten my pilots license 3 hours earlier and he got really excited for me. “Congrats, man! That’s’ great!” It turned out his son had trained at the same flight school I had. When the light turned green his car pulled away and he stuck his arm out the window, pumping his fist with a giant thumbs up — “Don’t fly your car, man! WHOOOOOooooo!”
That was one weird day.
11. Bathroom Flutist
I worked as a washroom attendant at an extremely upscale lounge in downtown Vancouver. I’ve met most of the cast of Stargate Universe, almost every Canuck, Seth Green, Adam Carolla and a whole bunch more.
My personal favorite would have to be Colin Cunningham. The washroom is downstairs so the music is barely heard. I had just finished tidying up during an empty lull and I hear what sounds like someone playing a recorder while getting closer to the washroom. I had a puzzled look on my face when he walked, went to the urinal and put a piece of wood down his pants, not his pocket. He finishes pissing, washes his hands and I say, “Hey, you’re Colin Cunningham.”
He says, “Yep. That’s me. Major Davis, SG1. That’s probably where you know me from. Major Davis, SG1.”
Then he pulls out the wood and tells me how he bought some thick diameter dowel from Home Depot and made himself a pan flute earlier that day for fun, tells me about his new show Falling Skies that I would like and starts playing his flute again as he walks out.
By far the weirdest encounter I’ve ever had.
10. *Imagine There’s No Rollerblades…*
So I’m from San Francisco and went to NYC for the first time back in 1998.
I was wandering around Greenwich and stopped into a skate store. About 5 minutes of browsing the store, I was tapped on the shoulder and asked “Excuse me do you work here?” As I turned I said “No but I can give you some advice.”
It was Sean Lennon.
Flabbergasted, I asked for a pic and then recommended some rollerblades to him.
Fast forward to 2 hours later: I am having coffee at Cafe Borgia on MacDougal and Bowery when guess who eats pavement on his new rollerblades across the street.
9. Well, That Was Awkward
Not me, but my friend was in New Orleans, and this guy was trying to go down a one-way street the wrong way, so she and her friends kept yelling, screaming and cursing at him.
He rolls down his window, and it’s Jesse Eisenberg, and he quietly says, “I just need to get into that parking lot right there, can you please let me in?”
They were mortified and silent as they let him through.
8. It Was A Good Day
While waiting for our flight at LAX, my brother dropped his ticket somewhere.
We doubled back to the gift shop we were wasting time at, and none other than NWAs own Ice Cube handed my brother his boarding pass back saying only “you dropped this.”
Me, trying to be funny, asked, “Hey, weren’t you in that movie Ghost of Mars?”
He was amused.
7. Darkly Dreaming Dexter
This story still makes me cringe/get embarrassed.
December 23rd at my favorite local bar, and I end up staying so late that the bartender closes up and only lets regulars stay. There’s like 10 of us. At this point it’s about 4 am, so it’s really December 24th. I am drunk, and say to the bartender “That guy looks like Dexter!” I didn’t have enough volume control so everyone hears, and sort of chuckles. I realize–why would Michael C. Hall be in a bar in NYC on Christmas Eve? So I get embarrassed that I thought that, and drop it.
Later, when this guy leaves, he passes again and I go “Jeez, I swear he’s a dead ringer for Michael C. Hall.” He stops, looks at me, and goes “It’s me.” and walks out. Everyone laughs AGAIN so I have officially convinced myself that I’m the dumb drunk girl that really thinks this regular is a celebrity, and if I act excited it’ll be worse.
So I keep seeing him, maybe four times or so since that night, and I think of him as “that regular that looks like Dexter.” Then about a month ago I’m staring at him and we make eye contact. We hold it for a while, and I’m thinking to myself…oh, shit. It is him. I’m furrowing my brow and he starts to glare like “are you fucking kidding me with this over-the-top staring.” I cocked my head to one side, and he does it to sort of sarcastically mimic me, and I quickly look away. He walks over to stand next to me, says to the bartender “can I close my tab? Michael Hall.” And leaves.
I still feel bad that I basically made him feel awkward at his regular bar, while everyone else can hold it together and not stare or make him feel weird.
I know if I had the chance to tell him that I really thought he was just a guy that looked like Michael C. Hall and not really him, he would never believe me. Also, half the time I was staring at him, I just thought he was hot. I kind of wanted to hook up with the Dexter Doppleganger.
6. Awkward Hugs Are The Best Hugs
In ninth grade, my technology class went to Ford Field for a science fair, where Bill Nye was the guest speaker.
After he spoke, he walked along a partition shaking hands. I stuck my right hand through the crowd and he grabbed it, and then I stuck my left hand around a girl in front of me and he also grabbed it. I was part of an awkward threesome hand-holding hug with Bill Nye the Science Guy.
He gave me a signed picture after!
5. For The Dogs
I was an intern at the StarTrek.com offices, on the Paramount lot a while back. I used to sit at one of the wooden tables that are scattered around the lot, and eat my lunch, and study.
One day, Famke Janssen walks up with her dog on its leash (little Boston Terrier); she’s chatting away on her phone. The dog walks over and begins sniffing my backpack that is sitting on the ground, and starts to lift his leg.
I glare at Famke; she backs away, yanking on the dog’s leash, and glares at me in return.
4. Good Guy Troy Aikman
We used to share an alley with the then Offensive Coordinator of the Cowboys and I became good friends with his son. As a result, our families became friends and we got to meet many of the Cowboy players at holiday parties, spring training, games, etc.
I was hanging out at my buddies house and his parents told me my dad called and I had to go home. The way my dad tells the story is that I went home and was acting like a little brat pouting and whatnot which he chalked up to me being young. 5 minutes later there’s a knock on the door and my dad answers. I hear him yelling for me to come down and figure I’m about to get yelled at when I see none other than Troy Aikman at the door asking if I can come out and play catch with him and my buddy.
But wait, there’s more. As if playing catch with one of the best QB’s at the time wasn’t enough, my young, naive self figured it would be a great idea to ask him for an autograph… a Warren Moon autograph since he was playing the Houston Oilers next week… My dad was mortified and apologized profusely to Troy – he was a real sport about it and told me he could see what he could do.
A few weeks later I get a package in the mail addressed to me from the Cowboys training center in Valley Ranch. Opened it up and it was a signed and framed picture of Warren Moon chilling in a golf cart.
3. Clive Never Saw It Coming
A guy who owed me a few grand was ducking me. I paid him cash for some LCD monitors and he didn’t deliver them.
After a few weeks of him not calling me, I got pissed and drove out to L.A. Walked into his warehouse and stood quietly behind him with my arms crossed until he turned around and noticed me. I’ve never seen anyone so scared in my life. I thought he was going to have a heart attack. We had a conversation and he decided that since I’d had to drive all the way out he’d put me up for the night.
Well, this was near Hollywood and one of my favorite hotels in the world is there, a really cool place called The Renaissance. It’s right next to the Kodak Theater and by the walk of fame. I concluded my business with the douchebag and drove over to my hotel. I pulled up, tossed the valet my keys and was about to walk inside when I noticed this guy by the front door. He was obviously some sort of director, because he was wearing really ostentatious glasses and a silk scarf in 90 degree weather.
Next to him was someone I recognized. It was Clive Owen!
If you ever wondered how someone could be a movie star and why they’d make it over someone else, well, let me tell you, this guy was impressive. I swear, just standing there, he looked cool as hell. Nice suit, no tie, open collar, looking off into the distance. I have never been that cool in my life.
But I like to mess with people, so I walked up and said, “Holy cow! Can I get a picture with you?” I made sure I was looking roughly between them and was wearing sun glasses so my eyes weren’t visible. He said, “Sure.”
I pulled out my iPhone, set it to the camera, handed it to him and said, “You know how to work it?”
He looked like a safe had dropped on him.
I moved over, put my arm around the director (or whoever he was) and smiled.
Poor Clive. Completely shocked, he held up the camera and took a picture. I took my phone back, said thanks, and walked inside. I heard the director guy laughing so hard I thought he was going to throw up.
Hey, everyone can use a bit of humility, right?
2. Here’s Johnny!
I had a dog (Walter) who hated Jack Nicholson.
I found this out when I showed the movie The Shining to my then girlfriend. The whole move Walter growled until that scene where Jack comes busting through the door. My dog lost his composure, flipped off the couch and hid under the bed growling for the remainder of the movie.
Months and many more Jack Nicholson movies later I am walking Walter down the sidewalk when he starts twitch and growl. He is well trained and never does this in public.
I scan around to see what he is freaking out about: coming at us is Jack.
I can’t think of anything else to say so I blurt out “I am sorry Jack. My dog just hates you.”
He smiles at me then delivers the best creepy face he can on short notice to my dog which sends Walter in to a full blown rage.
Off goes Jack down the road.
1. Thanks Obama
- Interned for the Senate
- (then senator) Obama sees me eating alone
- Sits with me
- I spill orange juice on him