My wife and I have mostly differing tastes in entertainment. She likes the 3 Irish Tenors and I like counter-tenors (i.e. Martyn Jacques of The Tigerlillies). I love "Kenny vs. Spenny", she loves "Designed to Sell". The list goes on. What makes our marriage work are a small number of convergences in our preferences. We watch "The Office" and SNL together. We've even seen the Kids in the Hall live. Public Radio also unifies us. "Wait, Wait" and "Car Talk" we can both agree on. The hands down favorite, though, is any spoken essay by David Sedaris on "This American Life". I can't recall the first time I heard him speak. I started reading his books a few years ago, and now I'm hooked. My wife, who does not enjoy reading books, loves his written work. We even went so far as to interpret his work on stage (I directed "Santaland Diaries" and she delivered his piece on the "turd").
Last night, while vacationing in Florida, we finally had the opportunity to see Mr. Sedaris live. We were comped in at the performing arts center we both worked and met at several years ago. For those of you who have never seen him live, he essentially reads four to five selections from his published and soon to be published essays. Sedaris also read from a Princteton commencement address he has been working on, as well as snippets from some of his diary entries. It was a treat for the both of us, since all of the material he read was new to us.
As part of the complimentary package, we parked in the staff lot behind the theatre and had to walk past David Sedaris as he was smoking a cigarette before a round of book signing. I wanted badly to heap praise and thanks upon him for his body of work, but he's probably heard it all before. We stopped for a split second to address him. My wife said, "Good job!" and we both thanked him for the show. Then we left.
I guess it is nearly impossible to say something memorable to a celebrity under such circumstances, unless you say, "I want to wear your skin as a suit." or something provacative like that. When I've met entertainers that I've truly admired, I've usully found myself saying little more than a "thank you". What follows is my top ten list of celebrities I have seen:
1. Carol Burnett - While working at the arts center mentioned above, I volunteered to hold microphones in her show during a Q and A. Met her after the show.
2. Lee Majors - Waiting to see Ms. Burnett after her show.
3. Mikhail Baryshnikov - Got to hand him a fax backstage before his show. Small fella.
4. Ozzy Osbourne - Sold him and his entourage popcorn and soda at a cinema in 1989.
5. Richard Simmons - I was Technical Director for his appearance at Lucy Fest in Jamestown, New York a couple of years ago. The guy is exactly as he is on television.
6. Ben Stiller - Our paths crossed in an office bathroom when I worked as an extra on "There's Something About Mary". Another little fella. I was coming, he was going.
7. Matt Dillon - Another "Mary" bathroom encounter. I was changing, he was primping - in character.
8. Shirley Maclaine, Peter Boyle and the guy who played Mr. Bentley on "The Jeffersons" (I put them together because I saw them all in one afternoon in NYC. My Trifecta.
9. David Sedaris
10. Peter Cetera of "Chicago" - This is my personal favorite. I was in the Dallas airport, waiting for a connection, when I spotted him. I followed him for several minutes, because I wasn't sure it was him. Finally, I approached him in a store.
- Mr. Cetera?
- I'm a big fan of your work. Thank you for the music.
- You're welcome.
And that was it. Thing is, I'm not a big fan of his music. I just had to say something to justify my curiousity. My memoir will be titled, "The Day I Lied To Peter Cetera."