How I Met Demetri Martin
Over the past year I've been highly entertained by three comic talents: Ricky Gervais (particularly the Podcasts with Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington), singer/songwriter Jonathan Coulton (whom we saw in concert last weekend), and Demetri Martin, who has a new weekly show on Comedy Central.
So today was the first decent day of the year: sunny and about 60 degrees. Mr. O'Kitten and I were sharing a coffee on some steps at the north end of Union Square Park when a slim guy in a big sweatshirt, headphones, and a hat walked past, scribbling in a small notebook. I said to Mr. O'Kitten, "Hey--he looks like Demetri Martin..." and then, "That's definitely Demetri Martin." After a very brief pause, I whispered, "Should I go talk to him?"
Mr. O'Kitten knows that I've had a bit of a crush on Demetri Martin for quite awhile, that I watch Important Things with Demetri Martin every week and occasionally look him up on the YouTubes, which sets me to giggling in a most annoying way while Mr. O'Kitten is trying to slay monsters in World-of-Warcraft or somesuch on the next computer over. So when asked if I should go talk to Mr. Martin, Mr. O'Kitten helpfully offered me this advice: "I don't know."
Meanwhile Martin was moving at a brisk NY pace and I sensed my opportunity was about to go to waste. I hopped up and ran after him.
When I caught up with him he was still working on his sketch and I hesitated for a moment. Then, I gently patted him on the arm.
He looked up. "Yeah?"
"Demetri?" I asked, just in case he was a celebrity impersonator and not the real thing.
"Yeah," he answered, resigning himself to the interruption.
I reached my hand out and said, "Hi, I'm Shannah." He politely shook my hand.
Then I paused awkwardly, realizing I had not prepared anything else to say. Should I tell him I had also gone to Yale, thereby impressing him with our shared alma mater? Instead I almost said, "I really like your work," but stopped myself when I realized that seemed like an unbelieveably moronic thing to tell a comedian. Could I say, "You've made me laugh so hard I cried," which is true, but even more moronic than my previous thought.
So I simply said, "I'm...I'm a...big fan." I really did stutter, and I felt like just as big of an idiot as it made me sound. As usual, I felt the need to elaborate, so I prattled on: "I really like the show, which I watch, and I was watching you before that, it's really good..." Yeah, I was about that inarticulate.
"Thanks. That's good to hear. I'm glad you like it," he said. He really was nice, considering I could easily be a mental patient out on a day pass (which, incidentally, I had been in this very spot just a few years ago).
"Uh, nice to meet you. And...thanks," I managed.
He was very polite. "Nice meeting you, Shannah." And then he scurried off into the park, surely thinking, "God, please let her not be a creepy stalker. Or a mental patient out on a day pass."
Let's all hope it's true that Important Things with Demetri Martin is going to be picked up for a second season.
Free Hugs (NYC Quote of the Day)
A group of people in Union Square were distributing free hugs today. My mother-in-law, a true New Yorker, found this virtually incomprehensible, but we explained to her that there really were people holding up placards that said "Free Hugs" on them, and then hugging anyone who wanted an embrace.
One man who heard them saying "Free Hugs" came running up and asked excitedly, "Free hugs? What are hugs?"
When you've been in NYC for awhile, you inevitiably see a few famous folks. I've never been very good at the celebrity sighting game, primarily because I'm terrible at recognizing people out of context. But I still have a list of people that I've met in various contexts (those are marked with an asterisk) or merely spotted in one place or another over the years.
So here for your bemusement is my own personal list of "NY Celeb Sightings":
Woody Allen & Soon Yi
Demetri Martin (see above)
Mary Tyler Moore
Mr. & Mrs. Peter Norton*
Nam June Paik*