I See Famous People

In both New York and Los Angeles, you can’t swing a cat without hitting a celeb. The difference is, in LA they’re actually aiming.

LA is more than a celebrity-oriented culture. Celebrity is the culture.

(And this is not leading to a dig on the lack of culture here. Yes, I know there’s the Getty. Blah blah blah. Tell me one more time, LA, how you have the Getty so I can do the happy culture dance for you.)

Come to think of it, celebrity here is more than culture, it’s currency. You can’t just golf, you have to golf at Jay Leno’s Club. You shop at Gwen Stefani’s Trader Joes, work out at Peter Gallagher’s gym, make reservations at DeNiro’s new restaurant and probably have your aura cleansed by Suzanne Somer’s freaking aura cleanser. Your kids go to Annie Lennox’s kids’ school, play soccer around the corner from Debi Mazar’s house, and if you call early enough in the week, you can probably get Cameron Crowe’s nanny to sit on Saturday night.

When I first let on that I was planning on moving here, I got an OB-GYN reco from a friend that was supported not by the doctor’s hospital affiliation or thriving practice, but the fact that her patients include Juliana Margulise and Barbra Streisand.


If she’s good enough for Babs’ vagina, certainly my own D-list hoo-hah will be satisfied at my next pap smear.

Is it possible that even the doctor’s offices in LA display rows of faded, autographed headshots?

To be fair, it’s not like New Yorkers are entirely above the guess who I know/saw/split a cab with in a snowstorm game. There isn’t a downtown mom who doesn’t have her Uma at the Bleecker Street playground story, or her I peed next to Liv Tyler in the bathroom at Bliss story (that would be me). We’re certainly not shy about relating our celebrity sightings, or participating in the occasional shameless cocktail party name dropping one-upmanship; I’m plenty guilty myself. However I do think that we have enough confidence in our choice of supermarkets, thankyouverymuch, without having to add that Paul Giamatti buys his arugula there too.

One of my favorite LA-celeb-meets-NY-nonchalance stories took place at Balthazar, an A-lister dining mecca in Soho (and Nate’s former employer, fabulous table-waiting god that he was) where I was once cool enough to actually be allowed to eat. Or at least push a goat cheese salad around on my plate while fondling a glass of Riesling. One night I was there with a friend when I spotted an acquaintance across the room. I ran over to the other side of the restaurant to say hi. When I got back to our table, my friend was practically choking on her steak frites with laughter.

“What’s going on?” I asked her. “What happened?”

“Well right there,” she said, pointing in the direction I had just come from, “is Sylvester Stallone.”

Sure enough, there he was at a six-top. Little guy. Lots of hair product.

“He saw you walking towards him, all excited, and gave his entire entourage the biiiiig eye roll. As if to say, oh no, here comes a fan. He straightened up, turned to face you, assumed the fan-greeting position…and then you walked right on past him without so much as a nod.”

That’s me in New York for ya.

Me in LA? Different story entirely.

For some reason I become far more of a overt gawker/brazen fan/annoying sycophant when I’m on the West Coast. I don’t know if the constant sunshine somehow melts my cynicism, or whether I’m just fitting in.

It’s not as if I would run up to Jerry Seinfeld while he’s trying to eat his lobster bisque and and attempt to pitch a comic remake of Sophie’s Choice, or yell, “HEY, YOU’RE JERRY SEINFELD! SAY MULVA FOR ME!” But still, when I’m in LA, I want to see some damn famous people.

Last week I went to Lunafest’s very cool short film festival accompanied by world-renown hipster parent, Rebecca Woolf (who, by the way, might be too cool for preschool, but evidently not to hang out with the likes of me). In New York my vibe would have definitely been “don’t look now, but there’s Amy Brenneman behind you…” while examining my shoes. But here? I found myself digging frantically into my bag for my camera and snapping photos of her while she posed for the paparazzi. Rebecca was kind enough to ignore my indiscretion, even after I made fun of her for getting seconds on the tofu on a stick that passes for hors d’oevres ’round these parts.

(Where’s the pigs in blankets? Where’s the cheese puffs? Come on LA, get with it!)

Faaaaaaamous blogger Rebecca, aka Girl’s Gone Child, aka Babble pinup girl, who can get a table at the Ivy on a Saturday night simply by flashing her son.
Amy Brenneman working the green carpet as faaaaaamous bloggers avoid the limelight by sneaking around the back behind the posters.

I even mentally calculated the celeb-to-mere-mortal ratio to determine exactly how place to be the Paramount screening room was at that particular moment. The math turned out to be relatively easy considering “co-hosts” Brooke Shields and Laura Dern were no-shows. The answer was about 300:1. Possibly 300:2–there was one guy there who definitely looked like the kind of guy who could be someone.

So of course I was lured into a primo PR opportunity this week by CBS and Warner Brothers, with the promise of one-on-one celebrity encounters dangled in front of me like loaner Harry Winston diamonds before the Oscars. Shiny! Pretty!

And what diamonds they were – Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Wanda Sykes, Clark Gregg, and indeed the whole cast of The New Adventures of Old Christine.

Which I of coursed called the Old Adventures of New Christine pretty much every time I said it.

Sanctimommies hit prime time television.

It was pretty cool that big old CBS decided to reach out to little old bloggers to spread the word about a prime time sitcom. I was honored to be invited among women I was actually excited to meet – the hilarious Yvonne who had me laughing through the whole event, and not just because she confessed to the cast that she passes gas when she’s nervous; Amy and Dawn from Mommytrack’d who are great friends of Cool Mom Picks and we, great admirers of theirs; the Manic Mommies podcasters who really aren’t all that manic, in a good way; the wonderful bloggers behind Everyday Goddess, Self-Made Mom, The Soccer Mom Vote, House of Prince (one more pregnant chick in the bunch!), the Mommyblog; and finally Tim from LA Daddy who introduced himself to the group as Susan, of Mommy Has a Secret. I don’t know if anyone else got it, but from that alone, he should have been on that set writing, not visiting.

Yvonne, flashing the universal symbol for,
“yes I was able to control my nervous flatulence.”

We all had one thing in common: We were basically the only ones in the room who knew what a blog was.

Oh, the very special joys of interviewing a panel of actors you adore who have no idea who you are or what you’re doing there. Me, celebrity. You, some kind of internet person with bad hair.

The truth is, I knew some of the performers about as well as they knew me, which did even the playing field a tad. Before CBS contacted me, I had seen a single episode of the show. After they sent me a few DVDs, I’d seen a couple more.

You know what? It’s funny. And I’m not just saying that because I got the opportunity to pee on Stage 5 of the Warner Brothers lot in the very toilet where Julia Louis-Dreyfus might also pee between takes.

The exceptionally appointed bathroom of Stage 5.
“Celebrities: They expel bodily fluids just like us!”

I love that the show was created by Kari Linzer, an phenomenally smart and accomplished working mother, even more impressive considering the Tailhook-like gauntlet she must have walked to get there. And I like that the main character of Old Christine is a career mom herself, and an imperfect one at that. (Know any of those?) In fact, when one of the bloggers mentioned the increase of working mothers portrayed on TV, Kari challenged us to name one.


“Medium,” Wanda Sykes finally offered. “But she’s crazy.”

Which leads me to the embarrassing moment of celebrity adoration you’ve all been waiting for.


After telling Wanda in front of everyone–oh, and on camera, to boot–that I thought she was one of the funniest women in [sic] the face of the planet (I’m sure Julia loved that) I chatted with her for a brief moment after the panel and told her that her boobs looked fabulous.

They did. There were all hoisted up and bolstered together and just bouncy and full and totally cleavalicious. Fabulous.

Then I told her I wanted to write for her one day. Actually, worse, I think the words I used were, “I will write for you one day.”

No sooner did the words escape my lips then I planned a direct route back to the bathroom, where I would put my head in the toilet bowl and keep it planted there until everyone cleared the stage for the evening 6 or 7 hours later so I could sneak out the back unnoticed by all but the security guard who would take pity on the sobbing pregnant woman and give me a golf cart ride back to my car and a bag of peanut m&ms.

Fortunately, Wanda was gracious. I think her actual answer was, “well okay.”

Then she added, “What’s your blog called again?”

And she smiled.

So that’s not all bad.

Plus, she said blog. Maybe for the first time ever.

I had a much more normal conversation with Tricia O’Kelley and Alex Kapp Horner, who play the scene-stealing Mean Mommies on the show. They just reminds me of friends of mine, actresses who are totally cool normal people who finally get a big break then keep pinching themselves that they get to go to work every day and get paid to do what they love. Also? Hilarious. If Alex blogged she’d put us all to shame. I’ve decided right then we should be best friends when I move out here. I will braid her hair and give her pedicures and she will ply me with Groundlings gossip.

The funny thing is, after all the anxiety, all the nervous anticipation, the fumbling for interview questions, the sweaty-palmed handshakes, the trembling in the presence of comedic legends and bona fide network stars, the highlight of the whole day was pretty clear.

It was spending time with the writers I love.

I suppose that doesn’t bode well for my future as a celebrity stalker.


42 thoughts on “I See Famous People”

  1. You and your glittering bi-coastal lifestyle! I almost never meet anyone famous, at least, not pop-culture famous, just poets that most people have never heard of and don’t care if I was a bumbling, fawning fool at the reception.Is it true celebrities are very short people with enormous heads?This is a great post. I am not envious of the celebs and travel so much as you know three dimensional people who know what a blog is. My “real life” friends all look at me like I’m Big Bird and my blog is Snuffalufagus whenever I mention it.

  2. That really sounds like too much fun. Wonder what fantastic thing Bossy Blogger was doing that she had to miss such an event. Oh yeah — pinching her toe cheese.

  3. Growing up in NYC, I “met” (read: bumped into, or, in one case, saw across an olive oil rack at Balducci’s) Carol Channing, Rick Moranis, Alan Alda, Meryl Streep, Woody Allen, Betty Buckley, and the guy who played Mr. Howell on Gilligan’s Island. Oh, and my brother ran right into Jackie O. in 1970. With his ice cream cone. She was very nice about it. Is this going anywhere? I think that the celebrities who live in NYC are just more NORMAL than those who live in LA. Or, maybe just more my kind of peeps than LA celebrities. (Well, except for Woody Allen.) But that may just be NYC bias rearing its ugly head.And about Meryl Streep? She was standing in front of the poster advertising her movie (Sophie’s Choice, it was) dressed in sweats, no makeup. NO ONE recognized her. It made my day. Try doing THAT in LA.

  4. Let me know if you DO start hanging out with those crazy Groundlings. First, I will die a thousand deaths of jealousy. And, second, I will make you tackle one of my great friends from college who’s in the cast. Tackle and then kiss all over. And then laugh your ass off. Because, DUH, he’s HILARIOUS.

  5. Well! That sure beats my day when the only celebrity I saw was on the display in the grocery store. Hope Wanda starts reading your blog! She’d love it.

  6. If Wanda only knew that you are one of the funniest women on the planet, she might take you a little more seriously. I am the worst celeb sighter in the world. I just don’t pay attention enough. Someone had to point out Diane Keaton at the swap meet…

  7. Wanda, if you are reading this: “Fuck Fox, Lady. Fuck Fox!”Oh. and you definitely want this girl writing for you. For sure.

  8. My embarassing moment of celebrity adoration? When you asked for a bite of my chocolate chip twist and I made you eat from the other end because I didn’t want you to get my quasi-cold. You must have thought I was really selfish. Next time, I’ll buy you your own. Pinky swear.

  9. I hope your didn’t mess up your hairstyle with tidybowl or anything, because I predict you will be writing for Wanda.

  10. OMG!! That is so awesome! I love that show so much! (exclamation mark!) I don’t think I would have even been able to have a conversation with any of them. We don’t have too many celeb siting in NC.

  11. Holy Crap. You are one of the Cool Kids.Wanda Sykes! So jealous!But Tofu? So not happening.You’ll be writing for Wanda in no time. Maybe you’ll even inspire her to start her own blog: A Blog Called Wanda.

  12. I’m so bummed I live out in the sticks.The only celebrity sighting I can lay claim to is the local weather man who once pinched my ass in a movie theatre. He is legally blind and a notorious drunk.I’ll just live vicariously through you, Liz.

  13. Great story, Liz. Really. Have a great Valentine’s Day filled with lots of celebrity sightings. Around here you sometimes see Englebert Humperdinck. Yes, it’s true.

  14. Hhhhmmm, celebrity sightings? Not so much here in Wisconsin. Oh wait…I did have breakfast with Mayberry mom and Opie today…does that count?I keep thinking that I missed a post somewhere that said you had moved already. New York or LA you are a celebrity!Do you know that even in a word verification the U still followed the Q !

  15. Movin’ Mom – Haven’t quite relocated yet. Just out here working for the month. I promise to let you know when I’ll be a movin’ mom too.TIM – mea culpa. That’s what happens when you write at 11 pm. Pregnant. On a half a glass of whine and two cinnamon pop tarts for dinner.

  16. Wowee!! How cool to spend time with all those bloggers and writers!! Celebs…not so much.My celebrity nonchalance is more like celebrity ignorance. “Huh? You’re famous? I didn’t realize…what’s your name again anyway?” And I’m not even faking the stupidity – it’s all natural.

  17. I love that show! It’s soooo funny. And I am growing my hair out like Old christine’s too. When you meet her for drinks be sure to tell her that, okay?

  18. Well, I seem to remember someone doing a reverse exit back into a restaurant because Jude Law was in there…Might ignore Sly…..his best movie was ‘Over The Top’….but will get girl giddy with ‘Alfie’ at a table….Heh Heh

  19. A gazillion years ago I was in L.A. covering the taping of “Battle of The Network Stars”. Remember those?? The news director at the SF TV station I worked for thought we needed to put more celebrities on our newscasts. It was the days of Dynasty,Dallas and Knots Landing so that’s who was at the BOTNS. So that night, good producer I am, we take the crew out to dinner at Chinois on Main, and seated at the next table were Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Michael Caine and wives. I’ve never seen grown men (my reporter and crew) blubber like that.

  20. In defense of those of us who live on “this coast” – we are not all concerned with celebrities or where they shop! Honestly. I’ve lived in So Cal my whole life and have never even BEEN to Grumman’s Chinese Theater! Though I confess to buying a Hollywood map and driving around Beverly Hills when my cousin was visiting from Germany!(If I saw Jerry I’d pee. I just love him!)

  21. Wanda’s hot. And I’m sure her boobs looked smashing. Kudos to you for pointing them out. (I live in a suburb outside of Philly, so I really have no sightings to report. Once when I was visiting Syracuse, NY, I did spy Stephen Baldwin (the one who’s gone all crazy evangelist) sitting on a fountain in the Carousel Mall surrounded by a small posse.) That’s about it, though.

  22. Good for you! Sounds like a terrific experience. I really like Wanda as well. I don’t watch Old Christine as often as I would like, but it’s pretty funny.I’ve very rarely seen celebrities in real life (did obtain Benicio’s autograph while he was filming that godawful movie filmed in Portland) – but I did see a famous person in Vegas last week…Newt Gingrich! HA HA HA!!! I think I was the only one who recognized him or maybe the only one who did a double-take, every one else walked on by.

  23. I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy….I’d be so bad at the celebrity sighting thing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in person (other than concerts, you know), so I’d probably make a fool of myself.Totally write for Wanda!

  24. Well, you my dear are my brush with greatness. Once in November of 2006, you left a comment on my blog. thank you thank you thank you!

  25. I once crashed a wedding with a group of girlfriends, in a podunk town of like 300, to see Sarah Evans. I followed her into the bathroom and peed in the stall next to her. I even lied about not having toilet paper so that she would have to pass me some. I’m such a loser!!!!!Glad to see that you have a little more restraint when it comes to meeting celebs!!!

  26. dude, dude, DUDE!Some of us still hold dearly to our Giamatti sightings, thank you very much.You’ve clearly graduated to a different level of celebrity now (somewhere above Andy Dick, but then aren’t we all?) and I’m jealous you got to meet Susan from Mommy Has a Secret…she’s my favorite. I’ll just have to be content peeing in the stall that Robert Loggia might have barfed in…

  27. Thats a great post LOL I MISS NYC!!! I’ve seen so many famous people in NY and you get used to it. I got to read more BABBLE.com !

  28. I ate this up. Does that make me a celeberity stalker stalker?Most jealous that you hung out with Rebecca though!

  29. Don’t slag tofu. WonderBaby derives many of her powers from tofu, which she eats by the pound.And? How could anyone be remotely interested in Amy Brennema-whatserface if REBECCA was nearby? Please.

  30. Rebecca is the only person I recognized in your photos! Ok, and Julia Dreyfuss what’s-her-face. Archer is cuter than ever! If I’d been there (right), there’s no question who I would want to hang out with. And I even have been known to eat tofu…I love your NY self. Your Stallone story filled me with satisfied glee. That’s the way life should always be.

  31. Hey, get your head out of the toilet bowl. You have a great idea in the works! Studio Execs take note: How about a TV show written by mom bloggers about, what over then, the life of a mom. I would tune into that. May need to be on a cable channel so juicy words can be used.

  32. That picture of me. Oh.My.God.Someone really needs to work with me on controlling my “thumbs up” move while out in public.

  33. Also?I’m so glad you were there. You have no idea how much your presence calmed me.Hurry up and move here already.

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