Nice celebrity allegations
November 12, 2017 4:47 PM   Subscribe

Awesome Twitter Thread Of “Nice Allegations” About Celebrities Gives Us Hope "It’s rough out there emotion-wise, as day after day seems to arrive with fresh allegations that expose many of our famous faves as awful abusive creeps. So this Twitter chain wherein people share happy stories of fun celebrity encounters and anecdotes feels like balm for our wounds."

As it says on the second post of the full thread, "CAVEAT: famous people are people and people are generally shitty and shitty people can be provisionally extremely nice to strangers."
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me (107 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

Brian, I think you're in the wrong thread.

Anyway, I like this one about Danzig.
posted by gwint at 5:09 PM on November 12, 2017 [15 favorites]

I generally fear and avoid celebrities, so the closest thing I have here is that Chris Onstad was super nice to me and made conversation when I was getting a poster signed, although I was in the middle of a huge line of people.

What? Shut up. The dude who invented the Great Outdoor Fight is too famous.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:17 PM on November 12, 2017 [15 favorites]

Morgan Woodward, the Man With No Eyes in Cool Hand Luke, was a genuinely nice and friendly person, even though I was a nobody loser shacking-up with his daughter in Van Nuys...
posted by jim in austin at 5:36 PM on November 12, 2017 [8 favorites]

I met Onstad too, and he WAS super nice. For a little bit, I had a thing going of getting people to sign books they had nothing to do with, so he signed a collection of Spider Robinson essays for me. (And also a Great Outdoor Fight poster because of course I want a GOF poster.)
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 5:36 PM on November 12, 2017 [3 favorites]

I contributed to the thread! I had stories about Colman Domingo and Cote de Pablo.

I'm very, very pleased to say that all of the "I worked with them before they got big" people I can talk about, the people were all awesome. (The person I couldn't talk about in the thread, because I didn't have a standout example of her being unusually nice, was Constance Wu; she WAS nice, just not I-can-point-to-an-example nice. My story about her is more about her being sassy and witty.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:36 PM on November 12, 2017 [3 favorites]

Cory Doctorow talked to me enthusiastically about he Logo programming language once for longer than I've ever talked to a stranger about programming. I was into it and now it makes me feel bad when we dunk on him here.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:38 PM on November 12, 2017 [24 favorites]

I waited on Frances McDormand once and she was not only extremely friendly and gracious, but literal rays of warmth and kindness emanated from her, for like the entire hour. I'm not kidding.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 5:42 PM on November 12, 2017 [34 favorites]

John Lydon, Harlan Ellison and Bruce Campbell are exactly as snarky as you'd think, at least with journalists. So, if you're entertained by their assholery, they live up to your expectations. Emma Caulfield is so delightful and sweet. John Waters is John Waters, witty and bitchy. George Romero was a goddamn prince, as was Richard Hatch. Meeting them was like meeting your uncle. I asked Terry Gilliam to sign my sketchbook and he wanted to talk about my drawings, but I froze up and got weird on him.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:43 PM on November 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

Okay I’m about to cry at the Anthony Head one.
posted by chococat at 5:45 PM on November 12, 2017 [32 favorites]

Sam Elliot and Bradley Whitford are also nice, in my experience.
posted by lauranesson at 5:45 PM on November 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

And Rich Sommer.
posted by lauranesson at 5:46 PM on November 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't know if he was an affable man normally, but the great KC Royals star George Brett went out of his way to spend time joking around and playfully rough-housing with my little brother (who revered him) at an autograph signing when my brother was 10 or so, to my brother's great delight.
posted by maxwelton at 5:46 PM on November 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

I mentioned this in his obit thread two years ago, but in my short but not-so-eventful radio career, the one well-known DJ who was unequivocally nice to me (and everyone else I talked to about him) was Gary Owens (also known as the Laugh-In announcer and original voice of Space Ghost and Powdered Toast Man). At one point he wanted to hire me for the same sidekick/producer job I'd previously done for a lesser radio personality, but when I went in to interview with the station management, they told me they were budgeted for no more than part-time/minimum-wage, and I would've had to quit a real full-time job to do it, sorry about that. The next day, Gary called me very apologetic for my "wild goose chase" and asked what else he could do for me. He ended up getting me started with a "Disc Jockey Joke Service" and even helped promote me on his show and in an article he wrote for a radio biz trade paper. Of course, he kept his tongue firmly in his cheek, but I still consider it the greatest praise that he wrote "Wendell is funnier than Lorne Greene and Jack Lord combined!" (Especially considering I always got a big laugh from JL's 'Book 'em Dan-O" line)
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:03 PM on November 12, 2017 [20 favorites]

Speaking of Spider Robinson. He was quite kind to me at a convention many years ago when I was barely articulate from awe meeting him. I also had a lovely email correspondence with Van Dyke Parks when I contacted him for an article in short-lived local magazine I owned after discovering that he was born in my small southern town of Hattiesburg, MS pretty much just because his parents were driving through. He was gracious with his answers to my questions (though he did not contact me when he was later on the area to pick up a music award--Hattiesburg is, after all, the "Birthplace of Rock and Roll." Call me, Van Dyke!).
posted by thebrokedown at 6:53 PM on November 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

I had the pleasure of meeting Yo-Yo Ma many years ago, and even though it was a five-second interaction along the lines of "This is my 16-year-old daughter [me], she also plays the cello [very badly]," "Hi! Nice to meet you," he gave me a big warm smile and seemed like he actually meant it. Everything I've heard as well suggests that he is a kick-ass nice guy.
posted by huimangm at 7:12 PM on November 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

I was a film critic and reporter before I became a full-time novelist, so I have met and conversed with hundreds of well-known people in the film industry. I can say that in general most of them, to the extent I spent any time with them at all, seemed nice -- enough so that it's the rare unpleasant ones that stick out in memory. Mind you, most of my encounters with them were in professional settings, where everyone is trying to get along, them to promote their latest work and me to get my story. But even in that artificial sort of setting you can get a general sense of folks. Surprise: Most celebs are nice.

These days I am fortunate to know a number of notable writers, many of whom I get to call friend, and I geek out a lot about that, quietly. This includes a number of whom I grew up reading. The idea I can get to have idle banter with people whose works helped shape me as a writer, and that they consider me a friggin' peer, is a mindblower and never ever gets old.

But my real "holy shit I'm about to pee myself due to awesomeness" happened earlier this year when I got to meet Alison Moyet (former lead singer of Yaz, who went on to have a very successful solo career) backstage in Chicago, and who is one of my top five favorite singers of all time. We had gotten friendly via Twitter and she invited me back to say hello. I was pretty sure I would get a handshake and a couple minutes of polite chatter -- which would have been great to be clear -- but as soon as I cleared the door she gave me and my wife huge hugs and asked for pictures, because her daughter and husband were big fans of mine.


And then we chatted for very nice long time and she was absolutely lovely as I could have ever hoped and now we're pals and all, and squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

So, yeah. My awesome celeb meeting.
posted by jscalzi at 7:17 PM on November 12, 2017 [85 favorites]

Adam Savage has been friendly and thoughtful every time I have met him. Todd Barry is also very nice, to the point where I ran into him at SXSW after having met him once years before and said "Hey, Todd!" and he clearly did not remember me but acted like he did. I like that in a person.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:18 PM on November 12, 2017 [4 favorites]

I spent a few years doing bicycle food delivery for a shi-shi meatpacking district restaurant that was frequented by celebs and had a pretty lengthy VIP delivery list, and two things stuck out:

Anna Wintour's account was set up to automatically tip $20, and she always tipped another twenty dollar bill.

One time I got a name that was unfamiliar to me and one of my coworkers just said, "Oh, that guy. He was in that movie." Okay - which one? "Um... the princess something? The something something? Oh! The princess bride." Okay - who'd he play? "I can't remember." So I'm pretty excited to take this delivery and I ring the bell and the door opens and Wallace Shawn is there, dapper and tidy and just beaming at me. I wound up delivering to him several times in a pretty short period, maybe a couple of weeks, and he was always up for some... how do I put this? Very genuine-seeming small talk. Asked my name. Laughed at my jokes. Tipped well but not ostentatiously. Told me it was nice to see me again. That sort of thing. He just had the kind of palpable warmth you don't expect from strangers, and I've adored him for it.
posted by entropone at 7:24 PM on November 12, 2017 [40 favorites]

Okay I’m about to cry at the Anthony Head one.

What Anthony Head one? I don't see it anywhere.
posted by Emily's Fist at 7:49 PM on November 12, 2017

I’ve run into Andrew Lincoln around the neighborhood... I’ve spoken, he always is just lovely... we talk about the store we are in, neighborhood stuff... so genuine and kind.
posted by pearlybob at 7:58 PM on November 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

I talked to Matt Ross (aka Gavin Belson) at a party in a wine bar designed to mix the cast and writers of Silicon Valley with real people who work in startups. This was to collect material for season two and for a while I had the privilege of knowing some of the broad strokes of the show before it came out.

Matt was nice to everyone and talked to me for a long about a lot of stuff including real estate in the outer boroughs of New York. He genuinely listened and made me feel really welcome in a strangely surreal situation. He took a picture with a good chunk of the startup people that I was happy to show my startup friends later.

Also, one of the cast members subscribed to my GitHub, so that was a pretty cool experience.
posted by Alison at 7:58 PM on November 12, 2017 [6 favorites]

My mom is an indie film director. It’s always been a labor of love for her, and she’s always had to keep a day job to pay the bills (and I often provided free labor as a PA on set when she was filming) but because she came up as a talented actor in the Nuyorican drama community she’s always been able to bring in some heavy hitters. I remember Saundra Santiago being extraordinarily kind to me when I was helping out on set in a movie my mom made with her. She treated me like a real person, which given that she was lending her talent to the production on a budget as a friendly favor, and that I was a teenager, the director’s kid (so not necessarily there out of any particular talent), and just doing menial work like taking care of the craft table really wasn’t necessary. She talked to me about my artistic interests and seemed genuinely involved, and was always super polite when she needed me to do something. Ben Barenholtz let me spend a day shadowing engineers in the recording studio that was doing the audio and ADR work for maybe that movie or a different one. Kevin Conway always brought me very nice and considerate presents when he came by our house. My mom says Giancarlo Esposito is a total sweetheart.

I have a pretty narrow and particular perspective on the NYC film scene, but in retrospect the corner I saw seemed like a really supportive community, contra my impression of how things are in LA.
posted by invitapriore at 8:00 PM on November 12, 2017 [4 favorites]

Oh my god, this post is veritably begging for some Milkshake Ducking. But here are a couple of positive stories of mine:

1. I used to work at Rolling Stone magazine, and owner Jann Webber liked to bring celebrities around to meet the staff. Word was that it was mainly so he could show off to these celebrities how many people worked for him. But when he brought Rupert Everett to my desk, despite Jann never having actually spoken to me himself, Rupert greeted me as happily and genuinely as he must have greeted the 40 previous employees. He knew and I knew this was all a dog and pony show, but Rupert Everett wasn’t going to be anything less than sweet to us dogs and ponies.

2. My sister-in-law once engaged with Jason Biggs when he happened to be at the next lane over at the bowling alley, and he was very nice about it, even though she was apparently intruding on his date. He was even kind enough to mistake me for Michael Ian Black.
posted by ejs at 8:05 PM on November 12, 2017 [5 favorites]

Also, I know I know, but my mom met Mike Tyson in a parking lot in New Jersey when I was maybe two years old and there are pictures of him snuggling me and smiling like he’d just found out about babies for the first time, so there’s that.
posted by invitapriore at 8:16 PM on November 12, 2017 [18 favorites]

If you like this idea but it's a touch too saccharine for you, you might prefer Scott Benson's thread of "straight down the middle, completely neutral interactions" with celebrities.
posted by brett at 8:35 PM on November 12, 2017 [8 favorites]

> What Anthony Head one? I don't see it anywhere.
Rev. Syung Myung Me's post "This might be my personal favorite"
posted by anadem at 8:36 PM on November 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

This Eddie Van Halen one kills me
posted by rhizome at 8:47 PM on November 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

So literally last night, after reading yet another allegation, I dispiritedly turned to my husband and said, "That's it; I'm terrified about everyone. If anything bad ever comes out about Anthony Head, I'm just done."

This post's superb Anthony Head content feels like it has specifically chosen to bless me with rainbows and sunshine.

Thank you, Giles (and thank you Rev. for this delightfully coincidental post).
posted by ilana at 8:55 PM on November 12, 2017 [23 favorites]

classic (and tearjerking) gary gygax mefi story
posted by j_curiouser at 9:12 PM on November 12, 2017 [9 favorites]

Angus Scrimm (aka The Tall Man from the Phantasm) films was a lovely, lovely man. Somewhat quiet, he had sort of an Old World grace to him. He was also lovely enough to give me THAT face and THAT finger and call this grown man "boy".

Also, William Shatner was a lot better than I had heard and a gracious host. (Still regret not sneaking off in his house to pocket a toupee.)
posted by Samizdata at 9:14 PM on November 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

EGG was also a really fun DM. I got invited to a private play testing group for his Dangerous Dimensions (later known as Dangerous Journeys, for obvious reasos) gaming system through a Friendly Local Game store in my past. He was patient with all of us being clueless of the system (although not of RPGs in general) and did a lovely job of tactfully cat-herding us during setup, since we were all part of, for lack of a better term, the local gang, and were easily distracted comparing and contrasting the system with others and remembering great past sessions and all. Not a con either, me, some other local dorks, and EGG sitting around the table together, with the game store owner standing behind EGG, keeping a weather eye on us to make sure we weren't going to embarass him, before finally giving up and going off to paint some more miniature commissions (Napoleonics, IIRC).

So, not ONLY did I get to hang with EGG, but in his native habitat!
posted by Samizdata at 9:19 PM on November 12, 2017 [3 favorites]

Aisha Tyler told me I was pretty and that I should watch S1 of Fargo because I reminded her of Alison Tolman and overall she was just the nicest and most genuinely friendly celeb I've ever gotten to meet in person.
posted by augustimagination at 9:47 PM on November 12, 2017 [9 favorites]

I love the neutral interactions! Mine: I ran into Brian Posehn on the street, I asked if the NAMBLA ads from Mr. Show were his idea, and complimented them, and then we went our separate ways.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:48 PM on November 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

I recognized YA author and minor 30 Rock actor Jeffery Self in a bar and congratulated him on his new book.
posted by The Whelk at 9:54 PM on November 12, 2017

Neutral-wise, I talked to Moshe Kasher after one of his shows where he had done a Steven Hawking impression and told him about my speaking-while-breathing-in technique for mimicking the synthesized Mac voice, and he was polite while clearly not giving a fuck and wanting me to go away considering that verisimilitude wasn’t really ever his concern as far as that bit of his goes. I learned a lot very quickly about what comedians deal with on the regular in terms of smart-ass audience members thinking they’ve got some clever response to what they saw while being totally and annoyingly predictable in what they say.
posted by invitapriore at 10:09 PM on November 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Not me, but my friend worked as a PA in the movies a back in the 90s. He worked on One Hour Photo with Robin Williams, and said that Robin was the warmest celebrity he'd ever encountered. My friend was wearing an Akira t-shirt one day and Robin said he was a fan of that movie and they talked for ten minutes about Japanese anime. He said that Robin would talk with everyone, down to the lowest extra on the totem pole, which is apparently pretty rare for such a big star.

Ok, in the context of now that makes me a little sad.
posted by zardoz at 10:17 PM on November 12, 2017 [17 favorites]

In the course of my Day Job I once had occasion to meet author Jane Rule at her home on Galiano Island. When The Wife heard who I would be meeting she went all fan-girl, being a big fan of Rule's work, especially her novel Memory Board, and asked if she could come with me. I asked Jane if that would be alright, and she said "of course". The two of them chatted while I packed her books and papers for transport back to Vancouver. She also made us lunch, which included the first shrimp cocktail I had ever had, and was overall a gracious hostess.
posted by e-man at 10:19 PM on November 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

... the great KC Royals star George Brett went out of his way to spend time joking around and playfully rough-housing with my little brother...

Many years ago in Florida I ran into Brett inside the stadium after I'd been impressed with how much effort he put into playing what essentially was a meaningless spring training game. When I mentioned this to him, he said words to the effect that "If you're not going to enjoy yourself, why even show up?" Seemed like a good guy to me too.

I was a film critic and reporter... so I have met and conversed with hundreds of well-known people in the film industry... But even in that artificial sort of setting you can get a general sense of folks. Surprise: Most celebs are nice.... my real "holy shit" [moment was] when I got to meet Alison Moyet...

I spent years interviewing all sorts of performers, like Alice Cooper or Dr. John or Herbie Hancock or George Carlin, and agree with jscalzi – as he says, even in a professional setting you can tell. The one "holy shit" moment I've had, years after I stopped being a reporter, was: "I can't believe I'm talking to Sonny Rollins!" (Everyone mentioned in this paragraph was super nice.)

He worked... with Robin Williams, and said that Robin was the warmest celebrity he'd ever encountered.

I happened to be visiting the people at the Challenged Athletes Foundation in San Diego about three weeks after Robin died, and they still were in shock. He had been a big supporter of their programs, and they told me they had been amazed when they got to see just how great a guy he was, and how generous he always had been with his time at their events.
posted by LeLiLo at 11:20 PM on November 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

Also recently Michael Cera was waiting at the same food truck as me and when they called his order it was for "Mike"

From the neutral interactions Twitter thread. It is like I never possibly imagined Michael Cera could possibly be a Mike. Mind blown.
posted by Literaryhero at 11:57 PM on November 12, 2017 [10 favorites]

Two reasons Guillermo Del Toro is wonderful:
1) He funded my friend Shane's $666 film project, which was awesome and hilarious
2) The museum where I work was fortunate enough to be one of the hosts of At Home With Monsters, showcasing his phenomenal collection of things that will make a nerd's heart explode with delight. He was there for the opening weekend, and I swear the guy put a spell on the place. He was like Monster Santa Claus. For security he insisted on using guards from the museum, and we obliged with our nicest dude (I have a picture of them walking with their arms around each other that emanates magical good vibes.)He was gracious and sweet to everyone; good about enforcing his boundaries so that he didn't overextend himself. He was funny and charming and smelled good. He seemed genuinely happy when I confirmed that many of the people who came to see the show that weekend were filmmakers, actors, makeup artists, cartoonists, and other creative people; he wanted his "children" to inspire other people's work.

In conclusion, Guillermo Del Toro is a top notch guy and possibly a wizard.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:06 AM on November 13, 2017 [24 favorites]

Also, this is secondhand, but a friend who has done security for a number of celebrities said that Ronnie James Dio was the nicest person he ever met. And he also worked for Mr. Rogers, so that carries some serious weight.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:23 AM on November 13, 2017 [12 favorites]

I worked for a fine arts promoter for a few months in my early 20s. One of the first events I worked door for was a classical music concert by a well-known local quartet, and the show had been booked solid for months. One guy came up to me, apoplectic that his seats were (god forbid) in the balcony. Nothing I could say to him calmed him down, and he finally threw his business card at me and stormed away.

It was Alan Dershowitz.

As soon as he left, a talk, barrel-chested man in a nice suit came over to me and said “are you okay? I’m sorry that happened to you.” He stayed with me for a few minutes until my boss came over to see what happened...only to find me being comforted by Yo-Yo Ma.
posted by pxe2000 at 4:22 AM on November 13, 2017 [48 favorites]

Ellis Marsalis. Complete sweetheart, incredible pianist, wonderful human being. There were just three pianists in our master class with him; it remains one of my favorite memories.

Wynton is pretty great too. Very thoughtful.

Branford........ no comment. sigh. Nothing terrible, just ugh.

We had another star saxophonist whose name I've forgotten (he was "only" a star in the circle of professional jazz musicians, unlike the Marsalis' wider reknown) who really sat and helped me out with a few things that had been difficult. What struck me was that he kept trying to get me to change my embouchure to open it up, and I just was. not. getting. his verbal directions, so at one point he asked if he could show me. I nodded and he asked me to play. He then grabbed my jaw while I was playing and gently put it right, then took away his hand as soon as it was. "Do you hear that?" I did indeed, it was a huge difference. And while having a man I barely knew touch my jaw (I'm a woman) was startling, he did it with such care and normalcy that it remains one of the examples in my life where I finally experienced what respectful touch was.

He also told me not to become a pro. He really, really insisted with me, privately, more than he had with our group. "It's not kind to talented women," he said with genuine sorrow, and added that it had been hellish enough on him. It was his sincerity and worry that really got me.

It also resonated because the year before, I had quit my piano studies due to learning that I'd be put with the top piano prof, who slept with all his students "for artistic purposes." It was an open secret – so much so, it was his wife who informed me of what would be required for the "honor" of studying with him.
posted by fraula at 4:28 AM on November 13, 2017 [15 favorites]

He said that Robin [Williams] would talk with everyone, down to the lowest extra on the totem pole, which is apparently pretty rare for such a big star.

I actually have some insight into this - even in cheap theater, it's actually rare to have the actors really mix with the techies. Not that they're mean - with some very rare exceptions every actor I've worked with has been nice. But there's always a sort of...remove. It's the nature of the beast, though - the actors and director are all working on the acting side of things, and just bond so intensely in that very specific way that someone who hasn't been on the acting side, or mixed in with the acting side, doesn't necessarily feel like someone who gets the same references. Kind of like, your fellow actors are your brothers and sisters, but the crew are like your cousins or something. It's something I've always sensed, but always absolutely understood; they don't dislike the tech crew, they just have a lot of mental headspace stuff going on and it's just hard to really be outgoing to people who aren't in that same headspace, you know? I totally get it.

But that's why it's always so impressed me on the occasions that an actor steps across that divide. The Cote de Pablo story I shared is about her doing that - we did this really cheeseball backers-audition production of a new musical in 2003, where she was the lead and I was an assistant stage manager. She ran into me on the street six months after the show closed, and she not only remembered me, but gave me a delighted bear hug and asked me how I was doing and spent 10 minutes catching up.

The people who bond with the crew still all have that same headspace stuff going on, but they just brought a really open and welcoming heart into it that lets them still bond with the crew. You see an actor who bonds with the crew, they are a good egg. I guarantee it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:40 AM on November 13, 2017 [9 favorites]

I met Grace Jones. She was really nice. Very charming. She signed a file folder I happened to be carrying: "I'll be seeing you, Grace".
posted by james33 at 5:08 AM on November 13, 2017 [7 favorites]

LiteraryHero: I pretty much always use "Michael" when giving my name for something like that, and 9 times out of 10 they return with "Mike".

The tenth time it is "Michelle".
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 6:00 AM on November 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

In the 90s, I worked in the archives at a performing rights organization in New York City. My workstation was right next to the door leading into the room from the hallway. Thus, no way to avoid me, though I knew better to say anything other than "hello" to whoever came in the door (in other words, don't go nuts). The archivist brought in John Sebastian (Lovin' Spoonful) for a chat and John, seemingly a very nice guy (or at least, you want to hope), said hello to me and I also said hello. They went off into the archivist's office to chat for a while. Maybe a half hour or more goes by. They are heading out the door; I don't look away from the computer, being way busy and Too Cool to freak out. I realized, out of the corner of my eye, that someone's standing next to me. It's John, and he's WAITING FOR ME TO NOTICE HIM. I oblige, probably looking shocked. He said he just wanted to say goodbye. He may have shaken my hand as well. I :::cough:::: sorta don't remember anything after that.

My takeaway: super nice guy, easy-going, with impeccable manners. He figured he had said hello; now he was only being polite by taking his leave, and not just sauntering out.

I loooooove John Sebastian.
posted by datawrangler at 6:08 AM on November 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

For the neutral encounters...

We only took a quick five minute break out of our meeting, because some of our colleagues had to get the train back to Scotland. So I dashed into the tiny communal kitchen to make a cup of tea. There was someone already in there, making a drink for an American man I didn't recognise. We did the usual juggle you do when there's several people in a small space all trying to do different things at the same time. The guy was obviously trying his best to keep out of the way, but he hadn't realised he was right in front of the bin, so I had to awkwardly ask him to move, waving around a dripping tea bag on the end of a spoon.

On my way back to the meeting room I glanced at the board with the studio schedule, and saw Bill Bryson was in Studio 1 all day....
posted by Helga-woo at 6:12 AM on November 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

On the neutral end of the spectrum, I saw James Urbaniak leaving the men's room at Film Forum in New York. The Henry Darger documentary was playing in one of the theatres, and Gentleman Caller and I joked about the possibility that the henchmen on The Venture Brothers would have an interesting new design next season. Alas.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:17 AM on November 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Shortly after I was born, my dad met legendary Indian film actors Dilip Kumar and Saira Bano at a party; he asked them for their autographs for his baby daughter and I still have them, 30+ years later! Saira Bano couldn't spell my name right, but Dilip Kumar did, on the first try, without my dad having to spell it for him (my name is long and unusual).
posted by Ziggy500 at 6:20 AM on November 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

I used to be friends with somebody who promoted shows, mostly for local bands, and one year for his birthday he decided to throw a huge show with several local bands, headlined by Voltaire. Obviously I was looking forward to that!

So the day of comes and I get a call from my friend saying to come meet up for lunch, and I get there and chat with a couple of other friends until my friend the promoter shows up with Voltaire in tow. Voltaire was super nice, we all had a good lunch and conversation, and he picked up the check!

Later at the show, the venue (a student union) decided to close before they'd agreed to- right in the middle of Voltaire's set (when he plays solo, it's just him and an acoustic guitar) the campus PD showed up and announced that the building was closed and everybody needed to get out. He spoke directly into the mic: "Is the parking lot open?" Everybody followed him out into the chill of the December night and he hopped up onto a steam tunnel vent and played the rest of his show with all of us huddling around and singing along.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:22 AM on November 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

I looked after a real estate lawyer's kids in Santa Monica in 1991-92, and would pick them up from school and drop them into their dad's office for a hello before going home. When Arnold Schwarzenegger was there he always chatted to the children and brought a wad of photos he'd sign for their friends, sitting down and getting each friend's name spelled correctly. He was super nice to me.
But, yeah. People contain multitudes.
posted by honey-barbara at 6:28 AM on November 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

When I was a docent at a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, my job was to stay at the back of tour groups and make sure nobody wandered off into the house by themselves. David Caruso came through for a tour one day and hung at the back with me, chatting and asking questions about the house; he was engaging and gracious and clearly an enthusiast of Wright and/or architecture in general.

Dee Snider once stuck his head into my office and said, "Hi, I'm Dee. What do you do in here?" (I was doing graphic design in a special effects shop. We were working on his movie at the time.) I got the feeling that he was both genuinely interested and making a point to say 'Hi' to everyone at the shop.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 6:40 AM on November 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

I get this thread, lots of stories, etc.,, but I find the title of TFA weird: 'Awesome Twitter Thread Of “Nice Allegations” About Celebrities Gives Us Hope '.

It's troubling how the author and, assumedly, their audience, invest so much 'hope' in celebrities, so that it can be taken away and given back by anecdotes about their behavior.
posted by signal at 6:53 AM on November 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

My brother and I were ball boys at a celebrity tennis tournament and Mike Wallace hit my brother with a tennis shot. This was not at all Wallace's fault, my brother was very young, didn't know what he was supposed to be doing, and got in the way of play. But Wallace made sure my brother was OK, apologized, and took a photo with my brother.
posted by Jahaza at 7:00 AM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'll second that Angus Scrimm was a delight. We had a ridiculous extended conversation about Singing in the Rain of all things. Very lovely man. Out of the celebrities I've met he was the nicest. Though Guy Maddin was a close second.

My in-laws used to have a rental property in Stratford, Ontario (there's a large theatre festival there) and one of their renters was Colm Feore (before he became a film actor). When my partner was a kid she would go interview him for school projects and the like. To this day, Colm still stops and talks to her every time he sees her. My wife also once met Jason Robards when she was a kid. She was collecting money for her paper route from a neighbour, William Hutt, also a very lovely man, who was hosting a garden party. Mr. Hutt (who always referred to my partner as "Paper Girl" even when she was an adult) graciously introduced her to Jason Robards who took a grandfatherly shine to my partner. He spent some time with her, listened to her at length (she was having a bad day I think), treated her with a great deal of respect and gave her a VHS copy of his then recently released film Max Dugan Returns.
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:11 AM on November 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

This goes back a bit. The late 60s. A small story but it left a big impression.

I was eight, headed back to the cheap NYC hotel my folks had us booked in (so we could enjoy expensive meals—priorities!). It was the week before Christmas, and it was cold. My sister and mother had spent the day in the stores while Dad and I rode the ferry and went to the top of the Empire State Building. We were hungry and ready to meet up for dinner. Dad held my hand tightly as we took a quiet shortcut.

Ahead of us stood a man, alone, bundled in overcoats and lost in thought. As we drew nearer Dad squeezed my hand—this was our signal so I looked up sharply as Dad spoke to the man, saying, “Merry Christmas!”

Ed Sullivan turned to us and without hesitation shook my father’s hand, then made eye contact with me. He was so familiar from Sunday nights on our black and white TV, but live and in color he was different—he had a lovely, charming smile and was much better looking. I was speechless as he bowed and shook my hand. “And a Merry Christmas to you, young lady!” He waited patiently for my shy reply. “Are you visiting New York?” He then chatted with us until his car pulled to the curb, going so far as to suggest restaurants to my father.

We did not speak for blocks, we just walked along and smiled and the snowy city air didn’t feel nearly as cold.
posted by kinnakeet at 7:36 AM on November 13, 2017 [33 favorites]

Not a celebrity in the usual sense, or even one that most people would recognize, but was immensely helpful to me personally: in the early nineties, actually around the time of Eternal September, I'd just moved to Brooklyn with the first computer that I'd owned personally (a Mac LC 475; RIP pizza box), and had subscribed to Panix for internet access. I could get into their bulletin board system, but was having trouble downloading files or unzipping them or something, and after trying to walk me through getting the necessary utilities online, one of their regular users (MeFi's Own) showed up at my front door with a floppy disk with the necessary tools on it. I probably still have the disk.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:17 AM on November 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

My dad always had this thing for Pat Schroeder, like a big thing. He wanted her to be president and was always quoting her and stuff. My mom had a joke that she was the greatest threat to their marriage, but it wasn't like that. He just really admired her.

Anyway, not long after my dad died, I was sitting on the 16th Street Mall in Denver on my lunch break or something, and Pat Schroeder sat next to me and started making small talk. So I told her about that in the course of our conversation just because I wanted her to know. She was just lovely.

Then, some time after that, I was walking down the street with three or four friends, this big group comes walking in the other direction, and Pat Schroeder pops out of the middle of that group, calls me by name and asks me how I'm doing. So we exchanged pleasantries and both went on our way. My friends were pretty confused.

Also, I spent a good half hour talking to Gatemouth Brown once. He had one of those big fat grandpa wallets with the photo accordions, and he showed me pictures of his family and told stories about them, then he asked to see mine, and all I had were one or two pictures of my son. He approved of him, though, said he looked like a fine little man or something.

(I just remembered, Joe King Carrasco once recognized me in public too, thus confusing a different friend, so that was really nice too.)
posted by ernielundquist at 8:26 AM on November 13, 2017 [6 favorites]

one time a friend of mine had J. Law swipe right on him on Tinder. she never followed-up whatsoever. also she did that super racist thing in Hawaii so it's all kind of a wash. I also had a group of friends who lived in this shitty house that was mouldering and leaky but in a nice neighborhood. one day a scouting agent showed up and asked if they could film there. next day Nic Cage showed up in sunglasses, walked around, brushed everyone off, said that he might consider filming my friend's bedroom as the scene for some serial killer's bedroom in the movie he was producing, directing, and starring in, left, and never contacted them again

I also was accidentally caught in a scene in a movie jogging down the side of the road they had blocked off. pretty sure they had to film again because everybody looked at me and waved their hands in exasperation. looked it up later and it was some scene for Ant-Man which I still haven't seen

I guess I haven't been alive long enough to actually experience celebrities being nice to me lol
posted by runt at 8:33 AM on November 13, 2017

> Wallace Shawn is there, dapper and tidy and just beaming at me. I wound up delivering to him several times in a pretty short period, maybe a couple of weeks, and he was always up for some... how do I put this? Very genuine-seeming small talk. Asked my name. Laughed at my jokes. Tipped well but not ostentatiously. Told me it was nice to see me again. That sort of thing. He just had the kind of palpable warmth you don't expect from strangers, and I've adored him for it.

I have coincidentally run into Wallace Shawn several times, once eating dinner in Montreal during Juste Pour Rire many years back, and more recently visiting the same exhibit at the Guggenheim. He's all wonderfully ordinary and unpretentious.
posted by desuetude at 8:38 AM on November 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

I've ridden the elevator with Michael Dukakis a few times (I think he works in my building?) and he's always been super friendly and happy to chat.
posted by bondcliff at 8:42 AM on November 13, 2017

An oooold friend's uncle is finger-picking guitarist par excellence Pat Donohue, who was the head of the band on Prairie Home Companion for years.

I remember going to his shows when I was a little kid, but I never thought he would remember who I was. Yet he was just as warm and friendly when I took my teen-age son to see him play live last October at a tiny show in Massachusetts -- and he sent along one of his CDs and a set of finger picks to the boy a year before that, just because he knew me way back when.

My son, age 13, who is happy to bust his little fingers trying to play "Mister Sand Man" like Chet Atkins, was over the moon to get attention and a gift from someone who Chet himself had praised lavishly. It was awwwwwesome.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:24 AM on November 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

What happens on Willie's bus, stays on Willie's bus!
posted by rudd135 at 10:03 AM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

It's troubling how the author and, assumedly, their audience, invest so much 'hope' in celebrities, so that it can be taken away and given back by anecdotes about their behavior.

I think this is a bit silly. When people do good work, we like to find out that they are good-ish people. This is true of your local butcher, and your child's pre-K recess monitor, and yes, the people who sing good songs and the people who make fun tv shows.

I also think this is inherently a discussion taking place in the midst of "your fave is problematic" and "stanning" discourse, and rather than general celebrity worship culture.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 10:04 AM on November 13, 2017 [11 favorites]

It's troubling how the author and, assumedly, their audience, invest so much 'hope' in celebrities, so that it can be taken away and given back by anecdotes about their behavior.

Regular people can do nice things, but they have the time to spare. Celebrities' time is significantly more in-demand, so it's more touching when they give what is a more scarce commodity.

Regular people don't draw a lot of attention to themselves, so they can hide their worst sides. Celebrities draw more attention, and thus more of a critical eye.

I think there's worth in being able to say, "wow, despite being in the public eye for 40 years, no one seems to be able to say anything bad about Tom Hanks."
posted by explosion at 10:26 AM on November 13, 2017 [11 favorites]

When I was a freshman my high school's yearly spring musical was South Pacific. We had the cast party at some big hotel function room in Worcester, MA. The date was March 15th, 1987 which I can confirm because the next night Ratt was to play at the Worcester Centrum*, along with up-and-coming openers Poison. But yeah, we had this cast party and at some point the members of Poison came down and "partied" with us - and if you can imagine a "party" where a hair metal band (just starting to crest the opening hill of an enormous fame rollercoaster - Talk Dirty to Me was just starting to go nuclear, probably big enough already to flip the headline/opener slots) gets down with 50 or 60 unhinged and unchaperoned highschool girls (and some boys, too, but...) you probably aren't seeing it as it was. They were really quite gracious - spent a patient hour signing stuff, talking to kids about music, and NOT being lecherous (that I saw or ever heard intimated about) and rolled their eyes disarmingly when the DJ played Talk Dirty to Me.

I don't particularly care for Poison but those guys were alright.
posted by dirtdirt at 10:36 AM on November 13, 2017 [5 favorites]

I have two very odd ones.

A number of years ago I was at a SF/F/Horror convention, and as happens, you sit down somewhere when you get tired, and other people sit down, and you strike up conversations. So this bunch of strangers is talking, and this lanky Englishman comes and asks if one of the chairs is taken. We tell him now, he sits, and then a couple minutes later joins in the conversation. Suddenly, one of the men blinks, looks at him, and says, "wait, you're Clive Barker, aren't you?" "I am," is the reply, and the conversation continues after that pause.

It's something like an hour later, we've been having a great conversation, when someone mentions they're hungry. A discussion of food ensues, and we decamp to a nearby Chinese place... with Clive Barker in tow, part of the whole conversation. Chinese food happens, talk happens, we're having a great time, and then suddenly Clive Brker looks at his watch and says, "My God, I have a panel in ten minutes, I must run, lovely meeting you all, thank you so much!" and walks off. Well, that happens. Then we realize that he also didn't leave money, but hey, this is a great story, so we're more than happy to pay the $8 for his Veggie Delight split amongst 10 people, you know?

We call for the check and... he paid it on the way out. All of it. Didn't say anything to us, just paid the check for this bunch of people he was talking to at a con. I'm not a horror fan (although I adore Nightbreed and the book it came from), but he was a genuinely nice person, and a great talker.

The other one was meeting Harlan Ellison at a con. He knew a friend of mine, who introduced us. He looked at (pale, chubby) me and said, "Christ, another fanboy slobbering for my autograph?" I replied, "Why, are you someone important?"

My friend went eggshell white. Harlan gave this huge laugh and we got along fine for the ten minutes after that we were nearby.
posted by mephron at 10:38 AM on November 13, 2017 [21 favorites]

The Day the Karate Kid Gave me a Sandwich:

Way back in my younger teenage years I was an extra in movie that starred Ralph Macchio and Jon Lithgow. The scenes took place at a graduation so their were lots of extras that day. We were told several times not to talk to the main actors unless they initiated and to only eat the food provided in the extras staging area. DO NOT TOUCH anything else. Seriously do not touch or talk.

So my gig was way in the background. I had to walk back and forth past the gym door. This left me for several hours out in the hallway, by myself and standing beside a huge table of actor food. A while into filming between scenes Ralph started running out the door, grabbing a little bit of food, eating quickly and running back in. Course I did what I was told and said nothing except try to act all nonchalant as the Karate Kid stuffed his face. He'd flash a smile after the first time.
Then I guess there was a longer break for them because both him and Jon Lithgow came out. I felt so awkward as well as somewhat starstruck.

"Oh hi again," Ralph said, "Long time to be standing here huh?"
Me "Yes..."
"You should have a sandwich"
Me all awkward because oh no they're talking to me now "Uh...I'm not supposed too."
"No you can have a sandwich' and Ralph started getting plate
"Yes have a sandwich ' said Jon
I'm must have looked confuddled because I remember one of them saying it again "No really it's okay you can have a sandwich'

So they gave me a sandwich which I ate quitely while they ate and chatted. Then they waved and said bye and went back in. They were very nice and kind to awkward teenage me.

It was also a really tasty sandwich.
posted by Jalliah at 10:49 AM on November 13, 2017 [17 favorites]

It's troubling how the author and, assumedly, their audience, invest so much 'hope' in celebrities, so that it can be taken away and given back by anecdotes about their behavior.

You seem to be overlooking that this is coming at a time when there has been a recent news-cycle that has been unusually high in the number of stories of long-beloved celebrities being discovered to have committed heinous acts. Kind of like how it felt like 2016 was the year that everyone died, and everyone was starting to feel like "man, can people please stay alive," this is the month that it feels like everyone is being accused of sexual misconduct, and people are starting to feel like "man, can people please be good."

The point of the Twitter thread was reassuring people that no, it's not every celebrity in the world that's a creepazoid.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:54 AM on November 13, 2017 [10 favorites]

Tim Gunn was in the audience near me and my roommate at the 2012 Daily Show taping with President Obama as the guest. He reacted with exactly the same amount of fannish enthusiasm as the rest of us did.

Also Jon Stewart copped to being extremely, extremely nervous in the break after President Obama left. I went to several tapings during his run and he always seemed very genuine but never more so than in that moment.
posted by mosst at 10:54 AM on November 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Jalliah's tale reminded me of a similar story which may also explain why I'm a John Cusack fan despite some stories about him occasionally just being grumpy: read this somewhere, it was an account by someone who was an extra on the film City Hall. It was an outdoor shot, on the steps of...well, City Hall, and it was a really cold day. They were getting ready to do the shot, and all the extras were in place, but JC had the luxury of being able to wait in his trailer while they set things up. Our narrator was in her costume - a power suit and heels and nylons - but no coat, because the timing of the movie didn't call for it, and "it's only going to take us a couple minutes to set up the shot," so she was standing there in the dead of winter like that. And - "a couple minutes" turned into five, then ten, then 15, while they were adjusting camera angles or something. Finally, after a long time of her standing there and freezing, they were finally ready and summoned John.

And she said that he came out and on to set, took his place nearby her, and gave her a quick glance and a smile as a sort of polite "hello". But then he did a take when he saw that she was shivering and teeth chattering and turning blue. "Wow, are you okay?" he asked, then spoke up and told the director they needed to take a time out, insisting that she be taken inside to warm up before they did the shot.

I no longer remember her name or where I read this, but I have clung to it in the face of Cusack haterz.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:06 AM on November 13, 2017 [5 favorites]

Someone being polite and pleasant in one situation doesn't mean they might not be being a creepazoid to someone else, though. That's one of the things that makes it so difficult for people to come forward. Creepy and abusive people often have a superficial charisma. And a lot of people are very different with different people, usually based on whether they're sexually attracted to them or not.

There are admittedly a few celebrities I just reflexively think of as nice people for some reason, but I try not to get invested in that notion, because for all I know, Patti Smith and Biz Markie are out there destroying lives as I type.

It can be nice to have a pleasant or even neutral interaction with someone whose work you admire, though, and it can be fun to tell stories about those.
posted by ernielundquist at 11:11 AM on November 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

I needed this thread today. I vow to be a nicer person because of it.

You never know what your seemingly insignificant smile or helpful act may mean to another person. Thanks for posting.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 11:32 AM on November 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

Sean Astin is an absolute mensch. I've spoken elsewhere here about my mental illness, newfound sobriety, and how thrilled I was to become a Goonie. That all ties together. See, I'm not in the habit of disclosing my mental health status to strangers, much less famous strangers, but Sean Astin started a foundation to continue to his mother's mental health advocacy work after her death. As he was signing my picture, I blurted out "I've really been struggling with depression and anxiety these past two years, well all my life, but these past two years have been really bad and I've been in and out of the hospital a lot but Goonies never say die so will you make me a Goonie?" And he put his hand over mine and said with such kindness, "You already are." And then we spent the next few minutes talking about me and how I'm doing and he gave me advice and he probably would have kept talking longer had I not ended the conversation because I didn't want to hold the line up any longer.

Plus the way he speaks about his wife and daughters, his longtime support of Corey Feldman (and now the other victims of sexual abuse coming forward) and the fact that the alt-right thinks he's an SJW makes me think that he's sincerely an all around good person.
posted by Ruki at 11:33 AM on November 13, 2017 [31 favorites]

I am a driver on the transportation team for a small media con. Any given year we have dozens of writers, artists, actors, wrestlers, etc, and I rarely know who a quarter of them are. I have had many lovely moments with the ones I did recognize, as I was driving them around. I have also had the wonderful experience of discovering media new to me simply because the people I was driving around were delightful and I wanted to support their careers after having met them.

My current favorite story is about Terry Farrell, who played Jadzia Dax in DS9. I had dropped a group off at their panel when I got a call over the dispatch to report to the celeb entrance of the convention center. I did, and was whisked upstairs to Farrell's table. Apparently, my wife had stopped by and told her how much I had loved the Dax character, and Farrell wrote my name on her hand and contacted my con boss through several intermediaries to get me there.

We chatted for a good fifteen minutes, and I was really touched by the gesture. Especially later, when I was sitting at the ready station at the hotel, and Farrell recognized me as she came back from dinner, introduced me to her companions (including Rene Auberjonois, who was also very gracious) and they all sat down and just hung out with me for a half hour or so until I got sent to drive another group. It was a lively and interesting conversation, which ended with cheerfully offered hugs as I rose to dash off.

The really nice thing is that that is not an unusual experience for volunteers at our con to have. I have quite a few good memories like this by now, and it makes it easier for me to enjoy at least some media. Of course, these artists are just people, and are to some degree performing even behind the scenes at any convention, but many do go out of their way to be kind to fan volunteers.

Thanks for this post. I needed to remember these things today.
posted by Vigilant at 11:42 AM on November 13, 2017 [7 favorites]

My only celebrity stories are about me accidentally making them uncomfortable while I'm eating a meal with a parent.

1. I'm eating lunch with my mom, and we get on to the topic of the Joe Dante film MATINEE. We go on and on about what a great movie it is, then about how good John Goodman is in it. Then we talk for maybe 20 minutes about how awesome John Goodman is in general, and how he'll be the best part of even a bad movie. Then I stand up to go to the bathroom, turn around, and John Goodman is eating lunch with his family the next table over. He glared at me and I kind of froze for a second, but then I decided to say nothing. I mean who in their right mind would believe "We didn't know you were there!" after all that nonsense?

2. I'm with my dad at a local pizzaria, and a guy walks in the front door who looks really familiar. Figuring he's just one of those guys from the neighborhood that you see all the time but don't really know know, I gave him a little wave and the "what's up?" nod. The guy looks at me in confusion, then walks across the restaurant and joins a table of people. I spend the next five minutes racking my brain, trying to figure out where the hell I know this guy from. Suddenly I remember: The Matrix. It was Laurence Fishburne.
posted by brundlefly at 11:45 AM on November 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

Different kind of celebrity, but Dennis Ritchie was one of the nicest people you could ever meet.
posted by rivets at 11:51 AM on November 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Seconding that Sean Astin is great. Driving him and Sean Maher from the main venue to a panel venue -

Maher - "hi, I'm Sean."

Me - "Great to meet you!"

Astin- "he stepped on my line. Hi, I'm Sean."

Me, laughing - "great to meet you, too."

The rest of the ride was consumed with all of us being exasperated about politics and 2017.

As they get out, Astin shakes my hand and declares "There is absolutely nothing to dislike about you" and promptly bursts into giggles as I roll my eyes and complain about being damned with faint praise.
posted by Vigilant at 11:58 AM on November 13, 2017 [11 favorites]

When I was in college in Eugene Oregon in the early 80s, I used to go hear this great rock n roll band, Punishment Farm, and their guitarist, Trey Gunn. I met him after a show and bought a copy of a cassette called Food For Thought that he'd recorded on a 4 track in his bedroom. I listened to that cassette a lot over the years. It had some good songs that were Bowie/Talking Heads influenced. Trey went on to play in a couple different versions of King Crimson, did sessions, and some of his own records. A few years ago, I recorded that old cassette to my computer so I could hear it in the car, and wondered what Trey would think of it. I found him on Facebook, and asked him if he was interested. He hadn't heard or thought about Food for Thought for years, and had no copies. I sent him the .wav files, and he was very gracious. He's still my Facebook friend, and is very open and helpful to people who are interested in his playing. Just a regular guy who toured around the world a few times with Robert Fripp, that's all.
posted by dubwisened at 11:58 AM on November 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

EmpressCallipygos: "You seem to be overlooking that this is coming at a time when there has been a recent news-cycle that has been unusually high in the number of stories of long-beloved celebrities being discovered to have committed heinous acts. … The point of the Twitter thread was reassuring people that no, it's not every celebrity in the world that's a creepazoid.
I got that, it's fairly obvious, but thanks for taking the time to point it out.
My point is it's weird to need 'reassuring' about the inherent goodness of celebrities.
posted by signal at 12:10 PM on November 13, 2017

I just thought of a fun celebrity story that I should have shared earlier.

My great-aunt died in 2015. On the bus ride to the funeral Gentleman Caller silently handed me a pair of headphones. I put them on my head, and he played me "Depreston" by Courtney Barnett. This song completely hit me where I lived, and for the first time in a while I was able to break down and cry. (This is especially significant because the only previous Courtney Barnett song I heard was "Pedestrian at Best", which sounds exactly like "Container Drivers" by The Fall, and since all the dudes I know had crushes on Courtney Barnett I was having fun saying HA HA YOUR DREAM GIRL SOUNDS EXACTLY LIKE THIS GUY.)

I fell so in love with the song, and then the album, that I had to learn it on the ukulele. I posted my cover not long after my aunt's funeral and I tweeted it at Courtney. She responded within the hour to compliment my playing; when I tweeted my thanks she gave her condolences. I completely understood my friends' crushes on her, and in that moment was a little smitten myself!

Two years later, Courtney came to town on tour with Kurt Vile. I went to the venue a few hours early in the hopes that she would sign my ukulele. When she showed up she took a look at me and said "I KNOW YOU!" like we were old pals.

And then we exchanged friendship bracelets she signed Brindle.
posted by pxe2000 at 12:11 PM on November 13, 2017 [7 favorites]

I met Skitch Henderson but had no idea who he was until it I got filled in after the fact (this was before the internet and he was a little before my time). He was Minnesota nice and genuinely funny. He told a story that could have been a Seinfeld plot about a mystery sweater and a thank you card contest between himself and Yo-Yo Ma.
posted by peeedro at 12:19 PM on November 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

Jensen Ackles (co-star of the alleged TV show Supernatural) is, by all accounts, both stunningly gorgeous and unfailingly kind. He smiles at the doorman, he tips well, he never seems to look down on people. When he directs an episode he keeps it on schedule and wraps early so people can go home on time. He even smells good. There's a reddit post somewhere from the doorman of an apartment where he lived, a straight man, who totally 100% had a crush on Jensen Ackles because he's just that sweet.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 12:29 PM on November 13, 2017 [8 favorites]

You've just made me very happy, Rainbo Vagrant.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:30 PM on November 13, 2017

My point is it's weird to need 'reassuring' about the inherent goodness of celebrities.

I think it's more needing reassurance that humans can be good and decent and kind and that's not milkshake ducks all the way down.

Celebrities everyone sort of 'knows' so it's a little more compelling than 'this random dude at Arby's let me in line ahead of him.'
posted by A Terrible Llama at 12:31 PM on November 13, 2017 [5 favorites]

I word vomited all over Dave Foley at a Rilo Kiley show about ten years ago. The polite smile he had when I started got bigger and bigger the longer I rambled at him, until I came to my senses and said something like "..and I think I'll stop talking now okay thanks!" and he giggled and stuck out his hand and said, "Hi, I'm Dave!".
I died.
posted by ApathyGirl at 1:03 PM on November 13, 2017 [10 favorites]

Not a personal story, but this happened a few years ago in Toronto. A fellow who was visiting Toronto from Ohio with his wife tripped and fell and was injured - gruesomely - on some scaffolding. John Malkovich was outside his hotel having a smoke and saw what happened... [some descriptions of blood in the story]:

"Malkovich acted quickly and knew just what to do to stop the flow of blood until paramedics arrived."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:03 PM on November 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

I think it's more needing reassurance that humans can be good and decent and kind and that's not milkshake ducks all the way down.

it's reassuring that people in positions of massive power and privilege such that leading politicians seek them out for endorsements and despots will occasionally deign to forget half a century's worth of rhetoric to hang out with them in person are not sometimes horribly abusing the power that our society has, for some reason, given to them

you know, except for the fact that most of them are but really we can only handle one issue at a time as a unified public so it might as well be rampant and pervasive misogyny
posted by runt at 1:05 PM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

SO glad that Rich Sommer is a sweetheart. I have a little list of people about whom I would be gutted if they turned out to be dicks. I feel relieved on some level that he would still be someone I'd like to hang out and play Machi Koro with if I ever end up in the same game store.

I got a train back from Liverpool to Manchester with Reginald D Hunter in 2001. While we were chatting about comedy and living in the UK, a drunken scally guy in the corner of the seat kept giggling to himself. Then, mid conversation, he reached over and grabbed RDH's crotch, hard. If you've never seen him, the guy is built like The Refrigerator, and a lot of his comedy is about racial politics, so I wasn't sure what his reaction would be to that and hearing 'I always wanted to know if it were true, like, about black men's cocks!" RDH just lifted his eyes to the ceiling, laughed, and we carried on discussing Birmingham.

Melinda Messenger told me I didn't look thirty.

Josie Long sometimes gets the same bus as me, she always smiles and lets people past.

H from Steps did the same Masters course as my best friend, and is apparently lovely.
posted by mippy at 2:51 PM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I word vomited all over Dave Foley...

Ha, in 1994, while waiting to get in line for a taping of Late Night with Conan O'Brien, my friends and I ran into Kevin McDonald in the lobby of 30 Rock. He was kind and gracious and super happy to talk to us, but he word vomited all over us starting with his flight from Toronto and ending in a desperate recommendation for a place to eat.

Years later, we realized we should have offered to take him out to lunch, but at the time, we were young and stupid and didn't fully grasp that celebrities are also people who have shitty flights from Toronto and get frazzled and hungry, too. I'm 95% sure he would have taken us up on it.
posted by Ruki at 2:54 PM on November 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

I read a lot of memoirs and sometimes if they particularly resonate with me I email the authors and tell them. When I get a reply it's really nice, like I have given something in return for them sharing their story with everyone.
posted by mippy at 2:54 PM on November 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

Ring Lardner, Jr. and I once talked at length about film adaptations of novels; he had recently seen Primary Colors, and I had seen James and the Giant Peach. I was 12. I explained to him where I thought the movie fell short of the novel, and he talked about the difficulty of producing a faithful adaptation. He was incredibly kind, an absolute class act.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 3:02 PM on November 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

Tim Kreider personally insulted my partner and I at an event he was speaking at. But we deserved it, and it was funny, and he was super nice afterwards.

Bob Mothersbaugh came up to _me_ after a DEVO show and asked if he could take his picture with me. And, after seeing the Hardcore DEVO Live Documentary, he dragged me inside the theatre from outside just to say hi in private, since he remembered me. Such a nice guy! (And while I wasn't there for it, at the 2009 DEVOtional fan convention, Bob Casale came and cooked lunch for the entire dang convention!)

John Roderick is super nice and gives good hugs. (They cost $5, but he didn't have any merch, so that's why.)

Fred Schneider is also rather nice, but I don't have any specific anecdotes. I just happened to run into him in a used record store in Philly one day when The B-52's were playing in town.
posted by SansPoint at 5:27 PM on November 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

Oh! Placido Domingo once crashed a party for young opera goers at The Met, made the rounds and said hi to people. Unfortunately, I was too busy talking with my date to realize.
posted by SansPoint at 5:30 PM on November 13, 2017

Ben Stiller's mom, Ann Meara, was a wonderful lady. She liked to mother the apprentices, back-stage. I looked her up just now to discover she passed away a couple years ago. I knew her when I was 16.
posted by Goofyy at 6:07 PM on November 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

These are 2nd hand from when Mrs. VTX went on a trip to Washington D.C. with her family before we were dating but I want to share them on her behalf.

1. While on a tour of the senate they rode the senate office train with a very nice older man who enthusiastically tell them about how great the trains are in Delaware. Years later she would finally remember exactly who this man was when then candidate Obama announced that he was his running mate Joe Biden.

2. She ran into Dave Chappelle while he was waiting for the bus. She asked if they could take a picture with him but he very politely refused explaining that he could do things like ride the bus without much trouble but as soon as he took a picture it ruined his ability to get around all day.

Instead she has a picture of her and her sister with a historic house of some kind across the street behind them and some guy in a hoodie waiting for the bus in the background. But we know that that guy is Dave Chappelle.
posted by VTX at 6:09 PM on November 13, 2017

I met Robert Picardo on the set on Star Trek: Voyager when I was an awkward, sweaty teenager. He shook my hand and made friendly small talk with me (he told me a little about his hometown of Philadelphia), even though I was clearly very shy.

I also met the guy who operated the doors on set. He told me he'd been doing it since the original series, and he showed me his setup on the other side of the doorway: in among the unfinished 2x4s holding up the wall, there was a video monitor (from above the door, so he could see when people were in front of it) and some cables to pull on to open/close the doors. Not a celebrity by name, but a big part of TV history! And he couldn't have been friendlier.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 6:33 PM on November 13, 2017 [7 favorites]

My friends and I were having a smoke up from the corner after a Sketch-Fest show at Cobb's Comedy Club a few years ago and a group was walking toward Greater North Beach at the corner. I spotted Laraine Newman before Michael McKean shouted up to us, "Is Stockton St. this way?" I said "Yes, about 5 blocks," which is pretty close to right, and he said "Thanks" and they went on their way.

I'm half-sure he thought we were camping out for autographs or something and was just moving to get whatever it was over with, but we didn't take the bait. I also long had a dream to get a picture with Laraine Newman because I've always loved her and she shares my birthday, but I didn't want to bug her and I've never been comfortable meeting celebrities anyway.
posted by rhizome at 8:54 PM on November 13, 2017

Just about 10 years ago (holy shit) I called my first-ever meetup (I knew I would be too anxious to go to one unless I called it), because mathowie was going to be in town, and he arrived with Adam Savage in tow. asavage was just like he is on TV, but with more swearing, and the evening was hilarious and delightful and is a foundation for why I've kept hanging around here for so long. Sadly, aubilenon's photo links are broken.

More recently, jscalzi was in town for a reading and a bunch of us went, waited in line to get our books signed and say hi, and then collectively were like "hi we're from metafilter can we send ColdChef a flip-off photo?" And then he came out for drinks after.

And way way back in the early 90s, I worked at Lambda Rising in DC, and met Greg Louganis, who was really nice and really overwhelmed by how many people showed up for the signing - we took him up to the office for a short break and he shyly asked if anyone had a beer? and also maybe a cigarette? and just...nice.
posted by rtha at 9:03 PM on November 13, 2017 [5 favorites]

Unbroken link to that meetup (photos were taken using some magical infrared magic). Thanks, aubilenon!
posted by rtha at 9:53 PM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Sarah Jessica Parker makes her own dinner reservations. over the phone. so, so gracious to waitstaff. Beyonce and JayZ are super appreciative of any wine recs. He took a pic of the bottle because he wanted it in his club. Bey said she liked my hair... and I'll never stop telling that story.
posted by [tk] at 12:16 AM on November 14, 2017 [7 favorites]

My family has "they were actually nice to us" about Jerry Lewis AND mickey Mantle, so I figure pretty much every celeb could be on this list
posted by thecjm at 1:12 AM on November 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

My family has "they were actually nice to us" about Jerry Lewis AND mickey Mantle

Conversely, I have a "we went on a date and then he ghosted on me so he's a jerk" story about someone mentioned in this thread....however, he didn't assault me, so it's still safe to keep him on the side of the good (I'll just give him the stink-eye and go hang out with other folks).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:56 AM on November 14, 2017

Eugh, I feel like I inadvertently wee'd in the punch bowl. Lemme clarify.

My point being - I was defending the inclusion of "they were actually nice to us" stories about people who don't have the best reputations, so long as the not-so-great parts of the reputations are about more run-of-the-mill jerkiness - things like turning down a request for an autograph, being grumpy at puppies, etc. Because you'll probably find stories about run-of-the-mill jerkish behavior about nice guys; everyone isn't on their best behavior all the time, and even the nicest guys probably acted like a bit of a jerk in one-off situations now and then, and the other people in those encounters are gonna not be happy.

But those kinds of things are different from anti-Semitism or sexual assault or bigotry or big things like that. Ghosting on a date is somewhat of a different scale from groping someone without consent or something, was all.

To re-direct to a great celebrity story I heard in passing - and I forget where (it may even have been on this site somewhere). There's a great story I heard of Bob Newhart going to a Cubs game back in the 1950s or 60s, and during the game, all these kids were coming up with baseballs they'd bought and asking Bob to sign them. There were a ton of kids, but Bob still gamely autographed all their baseballs.

Fast-forward to the mid-70s. Bob Newhart was one of the guest hosts of Saturday Night Live in its first year. And after he settled in on his first day, there was suddenly a knock on his dressing room door. It was John Belushi, standing there smiling. He said something about how Bob was a Cubs fan, and so was he. "And do you remember, one day in Wrigley field, all these kids were asking you to autograph baseballs?"


"....I was one of those kids. Thank you."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:42 PM on November 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

Jensen Ackles (co-star of the alleged TV show Supernatural)...

Alleged?! Them's fighting words. I <3 Supermantural. Also, Ackles is a reaction gif-generating machine.
posted by brundlefly at 6:49 PM on November 15, 2017

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