Friday, March 20, 2009

Meeting Craig Ferguson

"Let's do a quick recon mission, there's time," I say to Jim, walking up to the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan.

"Grumble, grumble, blah blah," he replies.

Really.

My friend Wesley - who holds the distinction of being my third favorite Scotsman behind Craig Ferguson and Sean Connery - told me how he stayed after one of Craig's shows in Milwaukee a while back and scored an autograph. He also talked with Craig about some odd Scottish breakfast thing called Chinese eggs which sound delicious even though I don't get the Chinese part of it since it's eggs and toast and a bit of milk all jumbled up in a cup. Anyhoo.

"This must be the Back Stage Door," I say, brilliantly pointing to the door with the hand-lettered sign that reads 'Back Stage Door.'
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Our seats are nothing short of spectacular. Second row. Center.

However, because these lovely, lovely tickets are a birthday gift from Jim, I decide it will be inappropriate to throw myself and/or various undergarments on the stage.
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The show is just great; my face hurts from laughing.

Craig is brilliant and funny and larger than life on stage. Everything I imagined and more.

When it's over, we dart around back and wait near a black stretch limo at the Back Stage Door. We're first. There are nearly 20 of us by the time Craig appears - looking rather tired and small and shut-down for the evening.

Yes. Tired and small and shut-down. And I immediately feel awful for keeping him beyond the show.

Here's the deal. I'm not a nervous person typically. Especially meeting new people. I can be shy, but can usually manage a friendly smile and good eye contact with a firm handshake in social situations. But I also pick up on the energy of other people quickly and tend to mirror it - it's something I can't control.

So I approach him with my head down, no smile.

"Will you have time for signing?" I ask, holding out my sweat-soaked copy of his book Between the Bridge and the River.

He doesn't smile either. He sort of scans the crowd, then nods and moves toward the limo to drop off his backpack. When he returns I say something more gruff/stupid as he signs my book, and barely manage a thank you. Then we leave.

It was one of the more disheartening moments of my life. I felt like crying.

It's silly, I know.

But he worked really hard to make us laugh that night and there were so many things that I could've said like "What a great show!" or "Thank you for making me laugh every night; the only other person to accomplish that so consistently is my husband" or "I really loved your book."

I said none of these things.

It was like letting down a really great friend. And I'm sorry.
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Another thing. I like Craig more when he's smiling at me from my TV set than in person.

Not because he isn't wonderful to see in person.

But because it just seems safer and more real. Does that make sense?

With some folks it's best if they're left up there on that pedestal looking fresh and happy and funny, rather than tired and quiet and spent after a really great show.
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I am listening to: Four Weddings and a Funeral
I am reading: The Shack by William P. Young
And I am: Still kinda bummed about the whole thing

4 comments:

Susan's Snippets said...

Hedy -

I can relate on some level...

After seeing Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Chicago Theatre starring Donny Osmond (I know, but he was great!) – I waited in the alley for his autograph....as I handed him the show program to sign...I froze and the only thing I could think to say was....“I am the same age as you!”

whoop de f***ing do

Anonymous said...

Don't be to hard on yourself Hedy! We celebrities understand the dynamics of these things and we hold no animosity towards the people who pay to see us... oh there are some shitheads who cross the line but by and large we are grateful for the appreciation.
Heck, you should have seen Jim at the Alice Cooper concert in '77... you'd think Miley Cyrus was playing!
By the way, have you seen my sunglasses anywhere?
Gromit

CRUSTYBEEF said...

You had Ferguson fright!
That really sucks, but look at it this way, you're probably not the first person, and you won't be the last.

I wonder if that's how people feel when they meet their favorite blogger in person--doesn't seem real unless you're reading them versus actually seeing them.

buck up Ferguson Fan, you will have another birthday next year..
2nd chance for 1st impression

Posol'stvo the Medved said...

Odd that you cut him such a break for being subdued and not give yourself one.

You were being polite and trying to respect his boundaries.

If I were Craig Ferguson, I think I might have appreciated that. When I become Craig Ferguson (I've heard about a portal in a file office in NYC...), I'll have a better idea and I'll let you know.