Thursday, August 11, 2005

People I have met or known

The lovely and talented Christa and I have answered several questions after being tagged. We both have met several “famous” people. I think it’s safe to say, we both agree that these people are just normal people, but have jobs more people know about.

So we wanted to see who has met whom. Both of us have traveled extensively, a back ground where well know people participate, and I am at the point, where if I don’t write these things down, I am sure I’ll forget them soon.

There is one thing I need to get off my chest before you read this list. I have never wanted to be a groupie, talking about the old days, and drop lots of names. That is not the motivation here. But when she asked me how many “famous” people I had met, I had no idea.

So I have stuck to the people who you may recognize, people who have been in movies, people who have been in television, and band names (because I didn’t want to write every person in the band down.) I have hyper-linked when possible to IMDB or to their website in case you need to see the face.

Bob Dole
Elizabeth Dole
Chris Farley
Steve Carell
John Cusack
Amy Sedaris
Jeff Garlin
S Epathan Mekerson

Jeff Daniels
Stephen Colbert
David Cross
Bob Odenkirk
Tina Fey
Tim Allen

Daniel Stern
Jack Lemon
Helen Hunt
The Barenaked Ladies
Ben Folds Five
Gegge Tau
Matchbox 20
Paula Poundstone
Tim Medows
Rose Abdoo
Mitch Rouse
Colin Mochrie
Laura Hall

Paul Bates
Ron West
French Stewart
Katherine Harris
Ana Gasteyer
George Wendt
Kevin Nealon
Michael Hagerty
Anne Jackson
Eli Wallch
Alec Baldwin
Kim Basinger
Meg Ryan
Macaulay Culkin

Kieran Culkin
David Pasquesi
Ken Campbell
Sam Raimi
Gary Busey
Ben Stein
Vince Vieluf
Danny Glover

Bonny Dore
Donna Douglas
Max Weinberg
They Might Be Giants
The Fugees
A Tribe Called Quest
Bill Cosby
Brad Garrett
Brian Griese
Charlie Batch

Story #1

In March of 2000 I was three months in to my busiest year of the tradeshow business to date, participating in fifty-two conferences, tradeshows, and internal events. While making my way through the Orlando airport, packed with Mickey eared children and tired parents, I stopped for my usual bottle of water at the gift store.

With a long line at the register I had to hurry to the gate. Picking up the pace with my large bottle of water in a plastic bag in one hand, luggage in the other, plus my laptop backpack I turned a blind corner. My freight train momentum then plowed into this tiny woman who bounced off my chest and barely stayed on her feet, leaving a small smudge of make-up on my crisply pressed white shirt. When our eyes met my guilt worsened.

"Ms. Harris – I am so sorry. I didn't see you" I said with humility.

"Oh, that's all right honey, takes more then that to get me down."

Katherine Harris is now running for the US Senate in the State of Florida.

Story #2

My friend Lynne and I went upstairs to the Four Seasons for drinks after work one night in the fall. We knew a few people who worked there that could score us a few freebies from the appetizer menu. The music store wasn’t paying all that well for two artists in Chicago.

When we were done, she went to the ladies room off the lobby and I waited in one of the big comfortable chairs by the front desk. It had a perfect view for what happened.

The elevator door opened and a teenage boy clicked out on the marble floor with crutches and a cast on his leg. What I’ll assume were siblings and a mom stepped out after. There was a ding as the doors started to close and a single hand popped out to catch it, and it opened again. Small luggage bags were thrown from the open doors one at a time – then Bill Murray stepped out. He went to the pile of bags and slid each one of them to the desk across the smooth floor like a curling stone on ice, where they landed at the front desk.

He finished checking in. Everyone got back in the elevator and the doors closed. Lynne came out of the ladies room asking me why I had such a big smile on my face.

I never actually met him – only watched as he checked in. That's why I didn't include him on the list. Reports from the staff, he tips very well, is nice to work for, and kind.

Story #3

As the manager of a video store at the corner of North and Wells I had the pleasure of meeting many people who worked at the Second City Improvisational Theater. The store is no longer there, probably a good thing. So many of them had huge late fees and never returned a thing.

There was one avid viewer however, named Chris Farley, who everyone talked about. He was “the next Belushi”, “on his way to Saturday Night Live” people said. They were more correct then you could imagine.

Right before he went on to greatness, he was still watching lots of movies; but his schedule was a little different then others. The Second City show started in the evening, and ended late. So when he was done at 11:30 – Midnight, everyone would head across the street for drinks. Then down Wells to another bar that closed later. Bed time for an actor could be as late as nine o’clock maybe ten in the morning.

So after a long night, before going to bed, while the morning manager opened, Chris might stop by to rent a video before the store opened. “Paul - I need a video – open the door” he would say in the low deep voice, using the drop slot as a mechanical mouth. “Chris needs to rent a movie – let him in” he might say. It was Chris; of course you bent the rules and let him in.


  1. Just stopped by via Christa's site. You both have very impressive lists. A little bit of jealousy is setting in.

  2. John Cusack?! I am so jealous!

    And of everyone else too...

  3. John ran in to the video store during Christmas rush the weekend before the holida and walked right up to me.

    He said "Do you have the Civil War Video series for sale?"

    I led him to the video for sale rack, looked for it in several places, checked the computer, and sadly informed him we didn't. I picked up the phone and called three stores finding one that did have it on hand.

    I put my hand over the phone and asked "Should I have them hold it for John? Or Mr. Cusack?"

    He looked at me with a bit of surprise - as if he was thinking "you knew who I was but didn't make a deal about it." Then he said, "John is fine."

    I told him where the store was and he was gone.

    No big tale to tell. Just a guy buying a video for as a gift. Yes - he is tall.

  4. Your list is soooooooooooo much longer than mine! Wow, and you have met some really cool people too! I like your Chris Farley story. Does French Stewart always squint? What was Meg Ryan like in person? She is so cool! I like Brad Garrett too, he reminds me a lot of my ex-husband. You've met so many SNL castmembers.

  5. French Stewart - I spent an afternoon with French – I think it was right before or after he was in the movie Stargate (he is one of the soldiers.) My first questions was “Can we call you Frenchy?” And he said in his very distinctive voice “Ah, no. I prefer you didn’t.” I was so obnoxious and arrogant in those days.

    He had some fun things and ideas – but no he did not squint the whole time.

    Meg Ryan - She was walking away from the set of Prelude to a Kiss, they were filming down the street. She had on sun glasses and dark clothes, not looking like her self, and she walked right in to me. I excused myself and she ‘that’s all right.” I recognized her voice. She went on her way and so did I.

    It’s not a great story, but I think the contact and dialogue counts as a meet.

    Brad Garrett – his voice is not like it is on TV in real life. But he is super tall and very jovial, life of the party kind of a guy. Met him at the bar of one of the comedy clubs in Chicago (I think it was the Improv) he had been doing stand up since he came out of the womb. Seemed really nice, knew lots of dirty jokes.

    Those SNL people were just normal people attempting to become working actors back then, this is before any of them were on the air. But I will say, I don’t think Tina Fey liked me much – but I get that vibe from most women. She worked at the YMCA down the street from my third Blockbuster experience and she was starting classes at the Second City. It was only a few months later that I left Chicago.