I am a fan of show business as much as I am a content provider for said show business. I can’t keep up with reality stars though. I stay clear of oxymorons not in the food category.
So I’m transformed into a typical fan when I encounter a famous person. It doesn’t even occur to me that I am sort of in the same business and to approach the matter as a peer to peer encounter. I’ve had guys come up to me who once said the general announcements one Sunday in church and think that qualifies them to talk shop with me about comedy. As amused as I am by these types, the fact that they once spoke in front of more than 10 people isn’t good reason for us to share stories from the “trenches.” So when I see famous entertainers I don’t want to cast myself in the role of “guy who has no business comparing himself to them.”
The problem is that I have an uncanny eye for noticing famous people. All their attempts to blend in are lost on me. In the past month alone I’ve spied: John C. Reily in a boba tea shop, Vincent D’Onofrio in a Starbucks, Magaret Cho walking down the street , Pitbull in an airport in South Africa, Tony Yayo in a diner in Chelsea (nyc), Hassan Johnson (Wee-Bey from the Wire) in the same diner and Leon (Five Heartbeats, Above the Rim, Little Richard story) on the F train in nyc. That’s just in the last month! I could basically be paparazzi without even trying. TMC should install a camera in my goatee.
The problem would be getting sound bites. Not only because my goatee might scratch against the mic but also because I rarely say two words to these people. I try to respect the sanctimony of anonymity.
Cut to me on the F train sitting directly across from Leon. I’m a big fan. He’s an amazing actor and also somehow hasn’t aged a day in 20 years. I wanted to say hi, not only to compliment his work but also to ask him the secret to his youth (I’m thinking Cocoa Butter must play some kind of role in his daily regimen)
As the F train chugs along, I’m trying to figure out how, when and if I should say something to Leon. I’m also wondering if there’s a portrait of him hidden in an attic that maybe has done his aging for him. Just as my brain was approaching meltdown, a guy sat next to Leon and said, “Hey aren’t you Dwayne Perkins?” Huh?
Why yes I am. The guy told me he used to see me perform in LA and was a big fan. I think I spied Leon look the other way with slight indignation as if to say, “What am I chopped liver?” A guy with two names should never upstage a guy with one name. To have only one name, and get away with it, necessarily means you’re dope. I felt good but also like a heel. Here is one of the finest actors of our time and I’m getting praised and he’s just a guy on the train? No! He’s Leon damnit! I was this close to telling the guy who Leon was and trying to transfer the admiration to a more worthy person (If you think I’m cute, you should see my sister).
I never did speak to Leon. As he exited another passenger said, “I think that was Leon?” I was happy that someone on the train said hi to me, maybe Leon would’ve been happy if I had said hi to him.