What It's Like To Meet Ben Folds
...with a little digression on celebrity worship
Living in NYC, you bump into freaks, maniacs, strangers and frenemies that you really wish you hadn't. The plus is that you also literally bump into people on the street who you've dreamed about meeting. This happened to me with Mike Myers, Dave Attell, Colin Quinn and a few others.
It didn't happen to me last night but it sorta did - a "genius" friend of mine sent me a text thatBen Folds was playing at the Apple Store. I live about a five minute bike ride away from there, so I hopped on my bike and whizzed over. I got there just in time to miss Ben's performance, but after he finished his set, he came out to sign autographs and have his photo taken with the small posse of fans who waited patiently, a nice move. He could've snuck out the back door, but he didn't. He came out and collected his fanfare.
I have always been a fan of giving celebrities the celebration that is part of their lives. Without fans, a celebrity is just another wanna be (and probably not a celebrity). I have met celebrities and people who really aren't that famous at all -- including peers of mine -- who act like, "You're all welcome for my presence, it's a good thing I came along and am here right now" and I think it's pretty troubling. There's nothing more disingenuous than a person who thinks they rose to the top all alone. The fans, the agency support, their contacts, their parents, timing and luck have a lot to do with it. Talent is actually a small part of success, I have noticed! Humility is hot. I have a lot of people to thank for the small amount of success I've attained, and some of them are even my enemies! See how humble I am? Don't you think I'm hot now?
I don't gush over many celebs, but there are a few I'd still love to meet, including Joni Mitchell and Cher. There are other celebs I wanted to meet for a long time but after hearing what turds they are to fans and strangers over and over, (and seeing video proof!) I decided, ehh, I'll just listen to their CD's and be good with that. When I hear a celebrity is a creep to their fans, that's a permanent turn off. Sure, they get stalkers and stuff, I know, I have one, and it sucks. But not everyone is an asshole, only the assholes are assholes. What a disappointment though, when someone you really admire turns out to be just a normal shitty human.
Once on Celebrity Apprentice, I saw Cyndi Lauper and one of her apprentices have it out. The girl said she'd been so looking forward to meeting Cyndi Lauper but that Cyndi was really mean. And Cyndi said, "Don't meet your idols, because you'll be disappointed."
It's so true! I'm just going to hide under a rock and never try to meet anyone I admire ever again. :)
Part of me feels guilty for asking a celebrity for a photo sometimes. I shared this sentiment with a friend of mine who's had his photo taken with every single celebrity you can think of(who also happens to be quite a celebrity himself). He said, "Naw, go get your picture with them! Just be polite, don't ask them when their eating with their kids, etc."
There's a good time to pester a celebrity and a bad time.
A good time, might be, say, after a small in-store performance. There I stood, waiting for Ben Folds to come out. I happened to have a copy of my CD in my purse. That's something I've just come to do out of habit - because I never know who I'll meet in this city. I gave a copy of my CD to a famous comedian once and she looked at me like I was the biggest asshole who ever lived. Maybe I deserved that look. Who gives their CDs to celebrities they meet? Only this jerk right here. Maybe it's a cheesy move. But there's a unicorn with a bumper sticker on the front. And it has "My Pu$$y Is Magic" on it. Who doesn't want that put into their hand? (If you're dying to know, ask me sometime in person and I'll tell you who it was.)
But I really wanted to give one to Ben Folds. Unlike the above unmentioned person, who I thought just might get a kick out of hearing another female comedian's work (wrong - I'm an idiot, I accept that), Ben Folds actually really inspired my music. I listened to him hard when I was rockin' the suburbs in college in Philadelphia. It was actually an old comedian friend Stu Kamens who turned me on to him. I fell in love with Whatever And Ever Amen and listened to the shit out of it. "Song For The Dumped" probably inspired half my style.
I also cite Liz Phair, Joni Mitchell and 2 Live Crew as early inspirations, and maybeLaura Kightlinger and Sarah Silverman.
Anyway, back to Ben! He was so gracious and friendly. He took my CD, complimented the artwork and look of it (I believe his exact words were something like, 'Hey, this looks pretty neat') and then said, 'Look at this' and handed it to noted artist Opie Otterstad who was also there, as he designed Ben's new CD artwork, which was pretty freakin' cool.
I had my photo taken with him by my friend David Moye who also has his own photo of himself and Ben, and took a photo of Opie holding my CD, then I went home.
Call me a fan girl, go ahead! I have celebrities I admire, fine, I admit it! I have inspirations in my life. I don't think I'm the greatest creative mind in the world who does everything on my own and doesn't need anyone. I'm not an egotistical maniacal narcissist. But sometimes I wish I were...
If I were, I'd probably be a lot more successful.