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Posts from — August 2011

New BFFs

Everyone’s got a celeb that they think they’d be friends with if they met under different circumstances. Or in another life. My stepfather had an imaginary bromance with Barack Obama, for example. My mom was ready to invite Billy Crystal over for dinner. My friend’s late grandmother figured she could be part of the royal family. And me? I always thought Matt Damon and I would hit it off. And we did (albeit for about 3 minutes…)

NBF's 2010...Remember?

But in terms of ladies, my best celeb girlfriend was always going to be Ellen. Not just daytime talk show Ellen. Oscar host Ellen, Dory-Ellen, even “straight” Ellen. She’s always cracked me up and I figured that if – no, when – we met, friend fireworks would light up the sky.

So when a dear (real life) pal asked me if I’d like to come see Ellen speak – and meet her afterwards – at a conference in Toronto, I leaped at the chance.

I pictured us milling around the VIP green room, chit-chatting, laughing at jokes – me at hers and, yeah, her at mine. While we may not (or might!) have exchanged numbers, I really thought we had friend potential.

So did about 5000 other people.

I knew Ellen was popular and hugely successful but it’s not like she’s Oprah…Is it?

Turns out we weren’t the only ones with golden – actually, emerald – tickets to meet Ms Degeneres. The lucky 200 or so of us were herded into a holding room, instructed to leave our bags/purses/cameras/phones outside and sent to queue. And we did. Like lambs to slaughter. Totally bizarro. There we were, with the rest of gen pop, waiting to meet my friend Ellen. What the f*ck?!

I decided right then and there to leave. I wasn’t standing in line for some staged photo op. How mortifying. How gauche. How cheesy. How….how now Ellen!!!!!

BFF's

Talk about swallowing your pride – and quick. We only got about 14 seconds with her. Enough time to shake hands and smile. I opted out of the hug. Too weird. I laughed awkwardly and asked if this was so strange. She said not at all and I was ushered away by her handlers.

What? Did they think I was stalking her?

Believe it or not, some people were. They came in their t-shirts and tiaras. They travelled from all over. They paid the big bucks. They burst into tears. They asked her to dance. And Ellen? She took it all in stride, like I knew she would.

Her speech itself was an interview. I was up front and completely impressed. She discussed notions of power, how she was amazed at where she was in her life, considering how difficult it was for her to come out – on national TV, no less. No one would work with her for 3 years. There were some new-age-y moments only she could pull-off, but she came across as funny, self-deprecating and lovely. She was into making people smile and feel good. No judgements, no preaching, no politics.

Then the audience Q & A began. And it was outrageous. From “why can’t I get tickets to your show” to “I have a DVD of my genius 7-yr old”, these folks were shameless. It reached the point where my pal and I were heckling the crowd, daring them to actually ask a question (other than “I met you when you were a nobody but I knew you’d be famous. Do you remember me?” Honestly!)

And Ellen? Ever the pro, she took it all in stride. Even when a couple of pensioners, dressed in twin ballgowns, asked if she’d sign a nasty 1997 Spy Magazine cover in which her face was superimposed onto the late Princess Diana’s with the words “Di, Ellen”. They didn’t get how that would be offensive. She chided them in a not-so-subtle way, ultimately suggesting that perhaps they should sign it themselves.

As the inane questions continued, I marvelled at her professionalism. While I cringed at my fellow audience members’ audacity, twisting awkwardly in my chair, embarrassed to be part of such a lame-ass crowd, my pal Ellen stayed classy and upbeat right ’til the end. Unlike me, who bolted at the first oppurtunity to get away from those losers.

Maybe Ellen and I we weren’t meant to be tight after all. I couldn’t handle all the other “friends”….

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August 19, 2011   2 Comments

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