I have a terrible record with “celebrities” as my shortlived foray into journalism at the BBC demonstrated, to the horror of my colleagues and delight of my friends. In the space of a year I unintentionally insulted a British actor’s teeth resulting in him leaving a BBC shindig rather abruptly, was yelled at by Doctor Who star John Barrowman for accidentally lending his CD to a boyband in a neighbouring dressing room (why he was listening to himself on CD remains a mystery), tried unsuccessfully to get into a press conference by claiming I was Adele – it was my name first, girlfriend – but ended up having a nice conversation with the cast of Heroes (remember that show?) about how great The X-Files was, and oh yes,Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies answered my innocent question at a press conference of 300 famous people by announcing that he would have liked to have Hitler as a cast member.
Last week, my habit of horrible celebrity encounters was unfortunately combined with one of my most dangerous vices: drinking + tweeting, and a deep-seated fear of standup comedy. Recently while home in Australia I became shamefully addicted to a show about advertising called The Gruen Transfer. Apart from being a brilliant show, it’s hosted by a comedian called Wil Anderson who happens to possess three of the qualities I find essential in a man: wit, political conviction, and intelligence. Oh and high cheekbones. People with high cheekbones can sell me anything. Feeling a bit homesick, when by serendipity or a cruel twist of fate I found out he was playing in New York, I managed to coerce my trusty fellow Australian and long-time witness to these unfortunate incidents to come with me. (She refers to these incidents as Dell-o-dramas, and is usually much happier than I am when they occur).
So we trekked to the deepest heart of Brooklyn. However, travelling from uptown Manhattan to deep Brooklyn in the snow on a post-holiday weekend, we failed to calculate the 150% increase in travel time, which meant we got to the show just as Wil was finishing his set. Unlike most of the other comedians who were content to discuss the length of the line at Whole Foods or the foibles of their poor children, I was delighted to note that Wil had gone for a routine about the death penalty and a joke about his last meal request being “unpopped corn”. (Although, he later told me he will most likely never tell that joke again. Maybe America’s just not ready for this).
Disappointed, I headed to the bar where I was given an unhealthy portion of whiskey. As we listened to the next (very well-known) comedian launch into a verbatim retelling of a conversation she’d heard on the plane to New York (which made me wonder scornfully exactly how much preparation she’d given this show), I managed to spill said whiskey on myself with the result that I smelt like a rich, peaty Laphroaig. No amount of bathroom rinsing could get it out.
“Managed to catch one whole minute of Wil Anderson’s show. #unpoppedcorn”
I tweeted forlornly. Then, as my stinking self and accomplice Kat went to leave, I spotted Wil standing in the corner.
“Wil!” I said, “I travelled for an hour and a half and only caught one minute of your show!” To my surprise, he replied “Oh that was you? I saw your tweet!” He came closer. “Where did you travel from?” He was probably thinking I was going to say California, or Pennsylvania, or maybe Sydney, but I couldn’t lie. “Um… the upper west side,” I mumbled. He laughed out loud. “I’m from Australia though!” I protested. “I DO understand distance…” “Well, tell everyone I was up there for a LONG time and that I was REALLY good,” he said, moving closer to shout in my ear. As he moved closer, I realised that maybe he was starting to suspect I was some kind of alcoholic, with the distinct smell of whiskey emanating from me. He moved closer again to repeat himself, maybe to turn the sentence into a bit of an entendre or maybe suspecting I was slightly deaf, but I kept edging away, trying to hide the fact that I was beginning to feel like a complete fan girl idiot. And that smell. The whiskey (the bit that I’d managed to drink) was muddling my thoughts, and unable to think of a witty response I made a hasty exit.
In the taxi on the way back, feeling bad, I obediently tweeted “He was on for a REALLY long time and SO good. Right, Wil Anderson?” No response. I started getting slightly paranoid (let this be a lesson kids – never drink and tweet). Had that sounded inappropriate? Getting back to the upper west side bar my Australian girlfriends were most disappointed we hadn’t brought Wil back with us to party into the wee hours. Little did they know he thought I was an alcoholic, distance-challenged fangirl. Then, I got a tweet.
“Thanks for making it though x”
It was from Wil.
The next morning, and now I can’t really blame the whiskey but I will anyway, I tweeted back something self-deprecating about how next time I wouldn’t smell like a distillery. I should have just shut up. Damn compulsive twitter. A few hours later I checked my twitter feed. It was all gone. Wil had deleted everything from the last day. Paranoia set in – I was officially a psycho. My roommate tried to convince me it was just because public figures can’t have tweets with ‘x’s in them on their feed. I told myself he’d deleted other tweets and probably was just cleaning up his feed. My sister said “But possibly, he thinks you’re a psycho.”
Feeling utterly ashamed and embarrassed about the whole thing, I declared a CTM – celebrity twitter moratorium. To my horror I remembered I was booked in to see my other favourite comedian, Eddie Izzard, later that week. I resolved not to tweet about it, or to him. Getting to the show (stone cold sober may I add) I settled in a safe seven rows back from the front – I really am terrified of standup comedy. Turned out Eddie had had shoulder surgery that day and couldn’t move one arm. The poor guy was obviously dead tired and slightly disappointed in the reticence of the audience.
As I walked home, I compulsively tweeted to him that I hoped his arm was better the next day. Twitter will be the end of me, I swear.