To know me is to know that I have a mean case of hero worship.
Now, in my defense, at least my heroes are pretty damn worshipable. And in recent times, I’ve had the good fortune to meet / talk with / be in the same five-foot-by-five-foot area with a few of them. Because of this site, I got to talk to and interview Mike Nelson, former host and head writer of The Best Damn Show Of All Time (aka Mystery Science Theater 3000), and I’ve been fortunate enough to have many email and at least one phone conversation with Bill “Brain Guy / Latter Day Crow T. Robot” Corbett as I helped out with one of their Rifftrax installments. This alone is enough to give a girl enough giddiness to last a lifetime. I’m a big State/Stella fan and have met Michael Showalter and Michael Ian Black a few times now. And in the time I’ve lived in Chicago, I’ve had several near-miss
literally-had-to-pass-him-on-the-street-and-didn’t-notice-him-for-this-to-happen meetings with John Cusack. And that’s actually good enough for me. But rarely have I had a fangirl photo and autograph op with a celebrity. Why? Because I think it’s uber bizarre.
I could write a whole diatribe on celebrity culture and our obsession with famous people, but I won’t; A) because it’s been talked to death and B) it would be insanely hypocritical as I spend large portions of my workday on various pop culture blogs. My fascination with this stuff is more a combination of schadenfreude and my own interest in other people’s obsession with this stuff, but I won’t try to defend this because whatever color you paint it, it’s still pretty embarrassing that I know more about Lindsay Lohan than I do Gloria Steinem. However when I say the whole autograph photo thing is bizarre, I mean just that. I mean, it’s weird enough that we can get on any website or pick up any magazine and see these somehow special-er than us people grocery shopping or having totally pre-planned for the paparazzi intimate dates, but at least we can do that from the privacy of our own homes. To actually go up to someone and say, “Hey, can I have you write your name on a piece of scrap paper slash stand awkwardly in a picture next to a stranger you’ll never see again?” is strange. And it kind of embarrasses me. For both the asker and the askee.
I’d never done that until last Thursday. Last Thursday was the Kids in the Hall show in Chicago. The Kids are on their latest tour “Live As We’ll Ever Be.” And you, yes you dear reader, should totally go because it’s awesome, it’s mostly new material, it’s hilarious, blah blah, this isn’t a review, so that’s all I’ll say (seriously though, it’s awesome). I’m a huge KITH fan, lifelong. I remember when I was younger, 12 or 13, watching it on Comedy Central on days when I stayed home from school fake-sick and just laughing my ass off. Then a few years later, when I was old enough to really get it, I fell back in love with the show. My love of MST3K is well documented, but KITH is a relatively close second (perhaps only tied with Doctor Who). So I was filled with stokedness on this night.
I was also filled with alcohol. I’d had a business function earlier in the night during which I’d consumed two glasses of wine in about fifteen minutes, followed by dinner wherein I consumed yet another and then I had three beers during the show. I have a pretty decent tolerance for a smallish girl, but the toll was taken. I was slightly non-girl-drink drunk. (That’s one for the KITH fans.)
At the end of the show, my boyfriend and I were heading out and saw the tour bus. There weren’t a lot of people around, so I boldly decided to hang out by the stage door, even though it was starting to rain and it smelled like leather outside and sounded like construction. I would not normally do this, but sometimes I drink.
We waited for about fifteen minutes until a security guard came over and told us that this particular bus was crew only, and the Kids would be coming out on the other side. No sooner had these words hit the air than I was booking ass around the historic Chicago Theater like I was running for MS or something. A pretty decent crowd had formed, but through the powers of my stature, I can pretty easily sneak through people, so I made it up towards the front. Boyfriend is quite a bit taller and bigger than I am, therefore he had a harder time getting through, but it’s every man for himself and I had to ditch him. Eventually he made his way up to me.
I still wasn’t as close as I’d like to be, so I played this card:
“EXCUSE ME, I WRITE FOR A WEBSITE, THIS IS FOR JOURNALISTIC PURPOSES, I NEED TO BE UP FRONT PLEASE.”
Sometimes I drink. Shockingly enough, this kind of almost worked-ish. I started chatting with people around me because I get quite chatty when inebriated. There were some sketch performers, some students, cool people. Hi if you’re reading this. I took some notes and names but I can’t read a fucking bit of it because it’s chicken scratch because sometimes I drink.
The doors opened, the security guard went on alert and tried to keep everyone back. Bruce came out first. I probably yelled an overzealous “BRUCIO!” but can’t be sure. He was sweet and though he’s obviously getting older, he still looks ridiculously young. They all do. They really haven’t aged all that much since Brain Candy. He stayed out for a bit, taking pictures and signing programs and DVDs and copies of his album. Very nice guy. He didn’t stay out too long.
And then Mark came out. Mark is much better around crowds than the rest of them I think. He was out for quite awhile, taking pictures and signing things, but also cracking jokes with everyone and just being casually “on.” Not in a goofy comedian way, but in a genial fun way. I got my picture with him and this was awesome. I asked him a question, in theory for this article, but I don’t remember what I asked or what he answered because sometimes I drink. As I turned off my camera to wait for the next Kid, the blue screen of camera death flashed and my precious camera died. Sure. It survives at party I go to through countless drunken dancing girl pictures, but it dies now. Awesome. And then Kevin McDonald, on whom I’ve always had a bit of a crush, came out into the crowd.
“DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY DOUBLE A BATTERIES?!” I think I ruptured something yelling this. Sometimes I drink. And no, no one did.
“John, I need you to go get me some batteries.”
“Okay, where’s a Walgreens?”
“I don’t know, go find one. I’m sure there’s one around here.” And with that I turned back around and ignored the poor guy while he went on a search for batteries in a city he’s only lived in for eight months now in an area he’s really never been.
Kevin was only out for a tiny bit, less than Bruce. He was nice and willing, but you can tell he doesn’t really care for the mob scene at all. Understandable. I don’t think I would either. I couldn’t have gotten a picture with him anyway, he headed back to the bus before he got around me, but I did yell out, “Kevin, just know I * wanted * a picture with you.” He responded, “That’s just as good as getting one.”
I was getting impatient with the boy who so generously ran around downtown Chicago in the middle of the night looking for batteries for my camera, so I called him and asked for his whereabouts and how the situation was panning out.
“Yeah, I can’t find a Walgreens. I found a CVS but it was closed.”
“KEEP LOOKING. ASK SOMEONE.”
“Okay, there’s a cop, I’ll go ask him.”
“If you bring me batteries, you are so getting laid tonight.”
With that, I threw my phone back in my purse and waited about twelve seconds before asking people around me if they had batteries. One guy said, “No. I kind of told you that before. Jesus.” I asked a couple (maybe), and they were so sweet but didn’t. I told them my boyfriend was trying to find some.
“Yeah, we know, we hope he finds some. We’re really rooting for him to get laid tonight.” Sometimes I drink.
The door opened again, and it was Dave.
I fucking love Dave Foley, you guys. I’ve watched every single episode of News Radio about ten times or more, I own and love his movie The Wrong Guy, I even watched Celebrity Poker Showdown like it was my life. I love him.
As I started to panic and was considering asking anyone to take my picture with him, John burst through the darkness like a rescue ship, waving the 7-11 bag around in the air (turns out there was one like a half a block away). I threw the batteries into the camera, shoved it into his hand and said, “You know what to do.”
Dave was happily obliging everyone and then he looked at me with a “your turn” look on his face.
“Daaaave, I feel so weird asking, but can I have a piictuuurrre?”
Sounds stupid, since everyone else was doing it obviously, but even in my haze what I was doing still felt strange. He said, “Don’t feel weird! Of course you can!” and held me very tight during the shot. He smelled good and his jacket was really soft and the man literally does not age.
We would have waited for Scott, but at this point I was about to throw up (more from nerves than alcohol actually). So we headed home. I spent literally the entire next day staring at (and Photoshopping – I looked like drowned rat shit) those pictures.
Bizarre and uncomfortable or not, I touched Dave Foley and Mark McKinney. Though I’d love to say I’m above these things, I’m so not. Again though, better them than Paris Hilton.
So, a quick promise to anyone I may meet at Comic-Con* next month – I’ll try not to drink before I meet you. But I can’t make any guarantees.
* And yes I *will* be covering it for the site, so keep checking back!
Courtney Enlow is a writer living in Chicago and working as a corporate shill to pay the bills. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.