my own fame, i mean.
for instance, i remember walking out the back door of the whitefish bay high school auditorium after a production of into the woods. the fact that it was community theater made it no different than being in the national tour of a broadway show; the audience outside was excited to see someone they'd watched onstage. usually cinderella, or the witch, or little red ridinghood -- not so much the baker.
similarly, not so much sam carmichael, the dad who gets married at the end of mamma mia. donna - the mom? sophie - the young girl? yup and yup. not sam.
except in philadelphia. somehow, philadelphia was different. people were lined up outside the stage door at the forrest theater to get autographs. and sometimes they even wanted sam carmichael's john hancock. and i gladly signed.
okay, most times gladly.
the best night (or the worst, depending on your perspective) was when three women with playbills in their hands followed me down the street for five blocks. i could hear them chattering behind me, "that's him," one of them said, "i know it's him."
finally, they started yelling. at me. not shouting. not talking loudly. yelling. they were about a half a block away and they were yelling at the top of their lungs, "heeeeey!! hey you!!! hey actor-man!!!"
actor-man, i thought? no. not turning around for that. these women have playbills in their hands. playbills with my name in them. actor-man? nope.
tonight, walking home from times square, i happened past the ziegfeld theater where the new tina fey/amy poehler film "baby mama" was having it's world premier, opening the tribeca film festival. there was the red carpet, stretching all the way down 54th street. and the limo's, and the herds of paparazzi. camera flashes going off like mad, photographers shouting "tina, over here!" and "steve, a smile!" and "hey chevy, look this way!!"
on the opposite side of the street were the fans. or the gawkers. or the goons, as a friend of mine used to call them ("i just got gooned!" he'd say when someone had followed him down the street yelling "hey actor man!")
i couldn't help but laugh at the spectacle of it all. i stood there with everyone else, watching. but what they didn't know was, i was watching them. how silly it all is, i thought! i get it, of course. but that doesn't make it any less silly. i mean, they're people! they're just people. okay they're famous people, but still...people!
"did you see..." a woman was tapping me on the shoulder. "did you see faye dunaway!" i had. i thought she looked old and kind of tired, bless her heart. "didn't she look fantastic!!??" the woman said.
a woman with a thick midwestern accent walked behind us, "th'r ahl soh byootiful, arrrn't theey?"
another couple sidled up next to me. hubby had a small digital camera. wifey's head was bobbing back and forth for a better look. "at least you got a good shot of what's-er-name," the chunky, unfortunately hairdoo'd woman said.
"who?" asked hubby.
"you know, what's-er-name. and she looked great, didn't you think?" said wifey.
"ohhh yeah. what's-er-name did look great," hubby answered.
good old what's-er-name.
alright, so there was sigourney weaver. chevy chase. and, oh...amy poehler. and nbc news anchor brian williams, who stopped and talked to an entertainment reporter and looked like he was doing a one man show at don't tell mamma's. steve martin, that was exciting. i like him. some of the guys from 30 rock.
and the crowd was absolutely a-buzz with every new celebrity spotted. and i kept thinking, so silly. oh my god! they're just people!! they're...just...
there, directly across the street from me, was robert deniro.
i felt the hairs on my arms stand up. and my breath stop short. and my heart crawl slowly out of my chest and shimmy and squeeze it's way into my throat.
this was different. this was deniro.
this was different. this was deniro.
that's when it happened. i couldn't help it. it just came out of me.
"hey!!!!!" i screamed as loud as i could, "hey actor-man!!!"