BY MICHAEL IAN BLACK
- - - -
A scenario: you are gamboling along the promenade when you spot your favorite celebrity enjoying a gelato. You stop in your tracks, jaw agape. You have often felt that you and this celebrity would become fast friends were you ever to meet; now, finally, is your opportunity.
What to do? How best to approach? Casually? With vigor? Should you "accidentally" spill your Big Gulp on his sweater? Discreetly cup his buttocks? Sweat begins to pool in your unmentionables. You are as frozen as that gelato your favorite celebrity passionately licks, as you yourself would like to be licked. What the hell are you supposed to do?
Don't worry. I am going to help you.
As a celebrity myself (very famous), I have often heard other celebrities talk about "giving back to the community," and that's great for them. I'm told volunteering for stuff is a terrific way to get laid. And while I have no interest in donating time or money to "causes," I would like to give something back to the little people who have made me so very popular on basic cable.
It is in that spirit that I offer these simple tips for approaching stars like myself:
First of all, relax. Famous people are just like you. Yes, we have more money. Yes, we are invited to parties so fabulous your head would explode were you ever to get past the velvet ropes. But after the flashbulbs have stopped popping and we roll out of bed around noon, we have people who put our pants on us one leg at a time.
Approach a celebrity the way you would an old friend. An old friend who doesn't remember you. Just walk up, extend your hand, and give a hearty, "Ahoy!" Everybody enjoys a familiar naval greeting, especially stars. If you have the time to doff Naval dress whites, all the better.
Next, have a plan in mind. Many people are so happy just to be in the presence of the famous that they become tongue-tied and flummoxed once they've achieved this goal. Not you. You will know what you want to say and you will say it. For example, when approaching John Travolta, you might say, "Ahoy, John. I'm a big fan. Is it true you're gay?" Then, the two of you can have a long and meaningful discussion about his sexuality. The next thing you know, he's jetting you off to meet Kelly and the kids in his private 747 while whispering the secrets to getting past the infamous Xemu's Wall of Fire level in your Scientology training. All because you had a plan.
Maybe you want an autograph. Most stars are happy to oblige. A word to the wise, however: have your pen at the ready. Nothing is more awkward than spending long minutes fishing through your purse trying to find something to write with, only to emerge with a melty lipstick. It's awkward and it makes you look cheap. If you don't have a pen, remember that God gave you natural ink — your own blood.
Pay that person a compliment, but don't kiss their ass. For example, one time I saw Cameron Diaz at a party and told her I thought she was pretty funny for a girl. She was very flattered because she understood that I respected her enough to not insult her intelligence by saying she was as funny as a man. Long story short: I banged her.
Also, don't be afraid to offer money. Think about all the enjoyment that person has given you over the years. Would it kill you to approach with a twenty dollar bill in hand? Some celebs will take checks. Personally, I walk around with one of those slidy doo-dads for imprinting credit cards. Sure it's heavy, but I do it. Why? Because I care about the fans.
Finally, know how to make a graceful exit. You've met that big star, gotten an autograph. Maybe the two of you made out a little. Great. Now it's time to go. Yes, there will be tears. Some hurtful words might be exchanged, but that's just because love can be so painful. Causing a scene will only make it harder for both of you to let go. A quick hug, and then it's back to your separate lives. You, to your humdrum workaday world; the star back to his gated community, opulent lifestyle, and prescription narcotics.
It doesn't seem fair, does it? Of course not. And yet, that's just the natural order of things. Some people are famous and some are not. It doesn't mean one person is better than the other.
I'm just kidding. That's exactly what it means.