Tuesday, August 31, 2010

on not stalking celebrities (Steve Martin or others)..for the sake of their soul.. and mine

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Yesterday, our family sat next to a local television celebrity at a restaurant.
She was very gracious to put up with the fans wanting to hug and touch her, saying "See you tomorrow."

But she was just trying to eat dinner with a friend.

I sometimes see another local television personality in the grocery store, equally gracious to well-wishers when he is outed,but pushing his cart with tunnel vision, and pulling his hat over his eyes when he's not.

He is just trying to grab some groceries.

I am sure some have no compassion on celebrities and the problems they have in the public
("What do they have to complain about, they are rich and famous!")
But I never approach celebrities in public unless they approach me.

I want them to keep their soul, and a bit of sanity.

I heard one celebrity confess that every autograph he signed seemed to give away part of his soul.

The stories you hear about stars being chased into bathrooms..
 There's a great scene in "Notting Hill" where a gal follows Julia Roberts character..a movie star playing a movie star..of course... into the loo. Will try to find and link it:

"I don't believe it.  I walked into the
  loo with her.  I was still talking when
  she started unbuttoning her jeans...
  She had to ask me to leave."  -Notting Hill script

Maybe it's

but as one of my favorite video clips reminds me, no one knows exactly what anyone else is going through.

They say Janis Joplin used to talk about making love to 25,000 of people on the stage, and then going home alone.

Loneliness isn't any easier because you're rich..

And what happened to Janis?

All that to say, I love Steve Martin.  And If I am ever alone with him in an elevator, I would like to think I would simply smile (if he caught my eye), and resist the temptation to say something like, "Man, it must be a nightmare being recognized in public all the time."  How self-defeating an encouragement that would be.

I hope I would just pray.

I pray I would just hope.

Heck, I might even leave Bono and wife alone at Disneyland...like Matt wonderfully did.

All that to say that here below is a moving section of Steve Martin's  "Born Standing Up," an autobiographical account of what it felt like to be the biggest stand-up comic on earth, and why he walked away from it.
The implications for pastors, especially megachurch sorts, are profound:

 "The hour and a half I spent performing was still fun...(but) after the show, I took a solitary ride back to the hotel, where I was speedily escorted by security across the lobby.  A key went ina  door, and boom: the blunt interior of a hotel room.  Nowhere to look but inward.

..I was caught and I could not quit...I saw that the only way I could go, was sidways..

..One summer night...I abruptyly walked off stage and went to a hospital, where I was given a well-attended celebrity EKG....confident I was dying, a nurse asked me to autograph the printout of my erratic heartbeat..

...Being the good Baptist-raised boy I was, I honored all my contracts, and did the shows, though with mounting frustration...

..Today I realize that I misunderstood what my last year of stand-up was about.  I had become a party host, presiding not over timing and ideas but over a celebratory bash of my own making.  If I had understood what was happening, I might have been happier, but I didn't.  I still thought I was doing comedy.

..I was now famous, and the normal rules of social interaction no longer applied....There was a dark side.  A regular conversation, except with established friends, became difficult, fraught with ulterior motives, and often degenerated into deadening nephew autograph requests.  Almost every

 ordinary action that took place in public had a freakish celebrity aura around it....My room-service meal could be delivered by four people waring arrows through their heads--funny, yes, but not when you're tired of your own jokes...
 Time has helped me achieve peace with celebrity, At first I was not famous enough, then I was too famous and now I am famous just right.  Oh, yes, I have heard the arguments that celebrities want fame  when it's useful  and don't when it's not.  That argument is absolutely true." -Steve Martin, "Born Standing Up," pp. 183-187

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