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Take A Trip Back to Middle School with ‘SNL’

I know I know I know, two “SNL” sketch posts in a row? Try not to judge me too hard. This one was just too good to pass up, especially if you, like me, fondly remember attending or being a part of your school’s theatrical productions.

 

I used to always joke that I had the heart of a performer but none of the skill, and so I generally stayed away from being a part of any of the plays or musicals done in middle or high school. I did, however, have a lot of friends who appeared in school productions, so needless to say I spent a lot of time seeing them (which was both a good and bad thing).

 

The way that the characters in the above sketch hype the show vs. the way the show actually plays out is eerily accurate to my many experiences with my friends’ shows. They’d talk it up as this great production that would blow my mind and make me feel like I was seeing something on Broadway and then it would end up being the hottest of messes. Missed cues, wrong notes, periods of awkward silence while a main character tried to remember lyrics MID-SONG; I’ve seen just about everything while trying to be a supportive pal. (To my friends’ credit though, they were never the problem. And I swear I’m not just saying that because they were my friends.)

 

It wasn’t until I became a part of the pit band (yeah, I was a band geek) for my high school’s production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” that I came to understand the disconnect between what they saw and what actually happened. Was our production amazing? Probably not. Were audiences “dancing in the aisles,” as many ads for Broadway musicals like to claim? I highly doubt it. But were we convinced, after weeks of work and dedication, that we were a part of something worth seeing? You better believe it. And we weren’t even really in the cast, so you can only imagine how they felt about it all.

 

“SNL” is often at its best when it taps into something that’s relatable. Sure, the topical sketches on politics and current events can be fun (although I’m starting to wonder if Alec Baldwin’s one-note impression of 45 is wearing thin), but the best moments are when they hit something that you thought only you and your friends felt or experienced. This sketch is great example of that.

 

What did you think of this sketch? Have any other favorites from the episode? Are you also grappling with the fact that you really liked that new Harry Styles song? Make your confession in the comments. And, as always…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

Sit Back and Watch This ‘SNL’ Sketch About Sectionals

There’s a lot going on in the world right now. From missile strikes to Supreme Court confirmations, celebrity deaths to the fact that John Waters was on “Feud” last night, it’s often hard to keep up with it all. So don’t. At least, not for the next 4-ish minutes. Because right now you need to see Louis C.K. talk about sectional couches in the above sketch from the most recent episode of “Saturday Night Live.”

 

You see, C.K.’s character in the sketch LOVES sectionals. And really, what’s not to love? Who wouldn’t want a couch that can “bend and keep going” where most couches do not? Their majesty is on full display in the sketch, where C.K. and others share their thoughts on the perhaps misunderstood and under appreciated furniture piece.

 

…And that’s really it. You might think, “there must be something more to this sketch, some deeper meaning”? I, of course, did not write it (although I wish I did) so I can’t really say if there’s something bigger beneath the surface. From what I can tell though, it’s just about sectionals, and one man’s love of them. And that’s perfectly fine. Not everything needs to be complicated and full of levels and undiscovered depths. Sometimes you just want to step away from the stresses of the world and watch someone talk lovingly and hilariously about sectionals. And this is the sketch to make that happen.

 

So sit back, relax and watch. The rest of the world can wait, but this man and his sectionals cannot. You can thank me later.

 

What did you think of this sketch? Any other favorites from this week’s episode of SNL? Are you currently sitting on the sectional? I must know, so please share in the comments. And, before you go back to listening to “S-Town” (if you’re not listening to “S-Town” then WHAT ARE YOU DOING GO LISTEN TO IT NOW), remember…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

 

P.S. In addition to the very sad death of Don Rickles this week, Tim Pigott-Smith, a british actor I was lucky enough to see in the excellent “King Charles III” (which I wrote about on this blog), also tragically passed away. I will never forget his incredible performance. RIP.

2 Elaborate TV Theories I’m Hoping Will Pay Off

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Actual image of me explaining my elaborate theories to anyone who will listen. Screenshot by Jenn Murphy

(Spoilers and semi-spoilers for a whole bunch of shows, like “Mr. Robot,” “How to Get Away With Murder,” “This Is Us,” “Designated Survivor” and “Riverdale.” Read with caution.)

 

It seems like nearly every show on TV right now has some sort of mystery at its core that will (hopefully) be solved or at least slightly illuminated by the end of the season. As a result, everyone has their own theories on who did it/what happened/who’s dead/etc, so that if they’re correct, they can gloat and rub it in the faces of others until it’s time for the next big mystery.

 

Naturally, I’m a big fan of this practice. I love being right about things, and while I’m not always correct in my theories, I have had a few moments where I really nailed it. I called the big season 1 “Mr. Robot” reveal that the titular character wasn’t actually a real, living human being. (I did not call that it was Elliot’s dead father, but hey I got the biggest part!) I also figured out the “Wes is always the culprit in the Winter Finale” pattern on “How to Get Away With Murder,” even though I desperately didn’t want it to be true. I also figured out pretty early on that Jack and Rebecca Pearson were the parents of the other people on “This Is Us.” All of this is to say that sometimes I get it right.

 

For a lot of that it was about looking at the tiny details that might seem insignificant, like the scene in the “Mr. Robot” pilot where the Mr. Robot character is clearly ignored (or unseen, because he’s not really there!!!) by two men he approaches at a table, or the fact that there were boxes labeled with years in the 70’s in the young Pearson’s apartment. Those small details can really pay off later, and play a big role in the two elaborate theories I’m going to share here.

 

I’ve decided to write about them because if I’m right I can show this off and say “woooo look at me I’m a genius!!” and if I’m wrong we can just pretend none of this ever happened, okay? Thanks. I really appreciate it.

 

Behold, my theories!

 

Theory #1: President Kirkman’s Wife on “Designated Survivor” Is Not to Be Trusted

This one might seem a little crazy, but hear me out: it’s all about the tiny details. (In case you don’t know, “Designated Survivor” is about a the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development being left as the designated survivor aka the person who stays away from the State of the Union Address so that there will be someone left to assume the presidency if disaster strikes. Disaster obviously strikes and he has become president.) Tiny Detail #1: Alex, the newly inaugurated president’s wife, was the one who wanted him to take the Secretary of HUD job that got him to be the designated survivor in the first place. She was totally cool with moving herself and her family from New York City to Washington, D.C., pulling her kids out of school and leaving her office behind. She could just be there stereotypical supportive TV wife, oooor she knew that something was about to go down and wanted her husband to be the one to take over! Tiny Detail #2: Alex always wants to be kept in the loop on everything the president is dealing with, even things that might be considered confidential or classified. Why does she care that much? In a recent episode the president was advised to be more choosy about who he shares information with and he decided to keep his wife out. In his eyes this was probably to protect her, but she didn’t seem to pleased. Tiny Detail #3: This detail isn’t necessarily tiny, but it’s more sinister implications could be easily ignored. Amidst all of the danger and drama that has resulted from nearly everyone in government being killed in an explosion at the Capital, Alex decided that she and the kids should move out of the White House and spend their time at the secure Camp David, away from her husband and his presidential duties. Her reasoning on the show was that she wanted to protect the kids, but she also could know that something big and bad is coming and she wants to be out of town when it does. Tiny Detail #4: In the most recent episode, she casually said that her mother is Russian and doesn’t actually like Kirkman very much. This could actually be very insignificant and unimportant, but it did seem like a weird detail to add.

 

Theory #2: Ms. Grundy’s Violent Ex-Husband is the One Who Killed Jason Blossom on “Riverdale”

This one is a bit more plausible than my “Designated Survivor” theory, but I still felt like sharing it. (In case you don’t watch “Riverdale”, it’s set in the Archie comics universe and this guy, Jason Blossom, was found dead and they’re trying to figure out who killed him.) Again, it’s all about the tiny details. Tiny Detail #1: Archie and Grundy were at the lake (or river or whatever, I don’t know bodies of water) the day Jason was killed, having some very inappropriate teacher-student relations. This isn’t so tiny, as it played a big part in early episodes of the show, but it leads into my other details, so just accept it. Tiny Detail #2: Grundy reveals that she isn’t actually named Grundy; she assumed a new identity to escape her abusive ex-husband. While this detail was used in the show to explain why she wasn’t who she said she was, it could still play a role later in the series, as evidenced by… Tiny Detail #3: At one point, Grundy said that Archie and Jason look a lot alike. They’re not exactly twins, but they’re both redheads, and in a world where a redhead isn’t a common occurrence, it might be easy to get the two mixed up from a distance, which is what Grundy’s ex-husband did when he saw her and Archie by the lake. He became enraged and then happened upon Jason, who was trying to get across the lake to start over, and killed him, thinking it was Archie. See? It all checks out.

 

So them’s the facts, at least as I see ’em. If I end up being correct about at least one it’ll be awesome; if I’m somehow correct about both, it’ll be amazing. We’ll all have to stay tuned to find out!

 

What do you think? Have your own elaborate TV show theories? Think I need to take a break from all this TV watching and maybe go outside or something? Give me a good reason in the comments, and I’ll take it into consideration. And, as always…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

Get Ready to Get Super Creeped Out By “The Handmaid’s Tale”

With so many different takes on a post-apocalyptic or dystopian society already out there, it might seem crazy to bring another one to the small screen. But Hulu’s upcoming adaptation of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” is an upsettingly new and completely disturbing take on the dystopian societies of pop culture that we have come to know and love/fear.

 

Based on the excellent 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood, “The Handmaid’s Tale” tells the story of Offred, a woman living in a dystopian version of what appears to be the once United States, who is forced to act as a surrogate of sorts to the barren wife of one of the new leaders. I don’t want to give too much away, but the government that we know no longer exists, and a semi-religious group has taken over, sorting women into categories based on the skills they can provide.

 

I first read the book back in high school for a class and was immediately pulled in by the story (Atwood is an amazing writer fyi, if you read and like this book be sure to check out “The Blind Assassin” as well!) and thought it would make at least a great movie. They did end up making a movie of it in the early 90’s, starring Natasha Richardson and Faye Dunaway (of recent Oscar fiasco fame), but I never saw it, mostly because it didn’t look super great. However, this new TV (or streaming TV, whatever) adaptation looks like it might live up to my own hype for the book. It looks just as fascinating and unnerving as the book was, and with Elizabeth Moss in the role of Offred (and a very not-Rory Gilmore role for Alexis Bledel) it’s bound to be excellent. At least, that’s what I’m hoping.

 

What do you think? Excited for “The Handmaid’s Tale”? Worried that in our current political and social climate this whole story doesn’t seem as unlikely as one might hope? Me too… Well, anyway, I’m going to go find something to think about that won’t give me panic sweats. You, on the other hand, should…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

An Unnecessary Deep Dive into My Current Weekly TV Viewing Habits

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A taste of my weekly TV viewing schedule. Screenshot by Jenn Murphy

Like anyone who loves TV (and has a lot of free time) I like to keep a list of shows that I’m currently watching, along with what time each show airs and what channel I can find it on (because unlike a lot of people who watch TV, I still like to watch most of it live). I thought it might be interesting to go through its most current iteration (aka shows that are airing new episodes as of this week) and see if it reveals anything curious about my regular TV habits. (Plus, I don’t really care about that new live-action “Beauty and the Beast” movie, so my pop culture news week has been pretty slow.)

 

Let’s start at the very beginning, aka MONDAYS:

Supergirl” – 8/7c The CW: I started watching this back when it was on CBS because I thought the trailer for it looked entertaining (plus the ever-charming Jeremy Jordan is on it and as a onetime Fansie, I will follow him wherever he may go…in the least creepy way possible, of course). In its move to The CW I feel like it’s lost some of the more grounded and realistic elements of the show, making it fit in more with the rest of the hyper-melodramatic CW superhero shows (that they will never get me to watch no matter how many crossovers they do). Sadly, I might be cutting ties with this show soon, but in the meantime I still check it out weekly.

 

Quantico” – 10/9c ABC: This show reveals a certain habit I get into way too often when it comes to TV: I love a weird mystery. If a pilot trailer implies that something terrible has happened and over the course of the series we’ll find out what exactly happened and who did it, you can almost guarantee that I’ll watch at least the first episode. This habit has steered me in directions both good-ish (“How to Get Away With Murder“) and very very bad (Oh, “The Family“). “Quantico,” I would say, is in the middle of that spectrum. They wrapped their first season mystery up with a neat, if not overly corny, bow and have even knocked out their second season whodunnit before their sophomore pass even ended. It’ll be interesting to see where they go from here, as reports have indicated that it’s moving from season-long arcs to more episode-by-episode stories. Will it keep my attention? I guess that’s a mystery we’ll all have to wait to find out about.

 

TUESDAYS:

New Girl” – 8/7c Fox: This show holds the special position of being one of the few comedies that actually makes me laugh out loud, as opposed to just quietly acknowledging that something is funny or clever like I do with most things. Their jokes are just so silly and the delivery by the likes of Jake Johnson and Max Greenfield is so perfect. My favorite character is Winston though. Give me a scene with him and his cat, Furguson, and I am in comedy heaven.

 

Detroiters” – 10:30/9:30c Comedy Central: I’ve already written on this blog about how this show is great, and with every week it gets even better. If you’re still not watching it, what is wrong with you?!? Come on. Watch it.

 

WEDNESDAYS:

Empire” – 9/8c Fox: I’ve written elsewhere about how I think this show would be better if it made the risky decision to kill off Lucious Lyon, the super not-fun villainous patriarch of the Lyon dynasty, so it’ll be interesting to see where the season goes now that it’s back from its winter break. Andre said in the winter finale that his new goal was to knock his father off so he could take over the family business, and while I doubt he’ll actually be able to do it, I kind of look forward to finding out.

 

Designated Survivor” – 10/9c ABC: This is another “Quantico”-like show with a central mystery that pulled me in and kept me watching, even though the series overall has been kind of majorly boring. This past week though the series went in a direction that I didn’t think it would logically go in until at least a season two or three (if it even got that far). I have no idea how it’s going to maintain this somewhat breakneck speed if it gets to a season two, so my curiosity in the show has been renewed. That is, of course, until it gets boring again.

 

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” – 10:30/9:30c TBS: Technically I don’t get to watch this show live because it coincides with “Designated Survivor,” but I wanted to give a much deserved shout-out to this lovely program. I think that Samantha Bee is the true heir to the Jon Stewart brand of late-night news skewering, with her acerbic wit and general angriness about the insanity of most current events. She’s definitely the one that sticks the most out of the pack.

 

THURSDAYS:

Grey’s Anatomy” – 8/7c ABC: I started watching “Grey’s” in season three when I happened upon an episode where it looked like the main character was legit going to die. She didn’t of course, but nearly everyone else around her in that season has died (or moved to Switzerland) since. Now in its 13th season, “Grey’s Anatomy” has continued to be an excellent source of great cries for me. And hey, for the most part it’s also still a pretty great and compelling series. It’s actually kind of crazy how well it’s maintained over the years. It kind of seems like it’ll just keep going until the actress who plays the titular Meredith Grey decides she wants off and I’ll definitely keep watching until then.

 

Superstore” – 8/7c NBC: Another show that I don’t always get to watch live, but it’s worth mentioning because it genuinely lovely and hilarious. Plus, it brought America Ferrera back to TV and as a big “Ugly Betty” fan, I needed that to happen.

 

FRIDAYS:

Nothing. There’s nothing on Fridays.

 

SATURDAYS:

Saturday Night Live” – 11:30/10:30c NBC: Duh.

 

SUNDAYS:

Making History” – 8:30/7:30c Fox: The last of the shows that I highlighted in my post about great new pilot trailers, “Making History” has definitely lived up to my hype. It’s hilarious take on time travel and history is a perfect fit with the other weird and funny shows, like “Son of Zorn” and “The Last Man on Earth”, that make up Fox Sunday nights.

 

The Last Man on Earth” – 9:30/8:30c Fox – Wrote about this bad boy recently too, so just read that to understand what makes this show so enjoyable. Also, I guess I really like weird comedy? That’s what I’m getting from all of this.

 

Feud” – 10/9c FX: I kind of hate that I’ve become someone who watches everything Ryan Murphy makes, but he just keeps making stuff that’s right up my alley! The first season of his latest anthology series tracks the infamous tensions between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford while making the film “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” It’s super campy and entertaining just like most Ryan Murphy things. Plus, Stanley Tucci is on it and I love him more than life itself.

 

American Crime” – 10/9c ABC: Another one that I don’t get to watch live, but I definitely make sure to watch it because it’s one of the best shows on network TV, if not TV as a whole. It’s more than a little insane that its even on network TV, given it’s unflinching takes on pretty much every sensitive subject in modern society. The third season just began last week and it’s already better than almost everything on this list. If you’ve never watched it, go back and watch the first two seasons. Even though each season is a completely different story with  different characters, it’s imperative that you see the series as whole. It’s truly excellent.

 

Well, there you have it! My currently weekly TV viewing schedule. Riveting, I know.

 

What do you think of the shows I watch? Do you have your own weekly TV viewing schedule? Was this interesting to anyone? I’m dying to know. Be honest (but not too honest) in the comments. And, as always…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

Michael Shannon on a Talk Show is a Gift to us All

A few days ago I was going down a YouTube rabbit hole of recent late-night talk show clips (as one is wont to do) and was pleasantly reminded of how great Michael Shannon has become when it comes to talk show interviews. If you watch the above clip, I think you’ll definitely agree.

 

He’s always been an excellent actor, playing his fair share of bad guys (like the biggest of bads in “Man of Steel“) and the occasional good one (like in the wonderful, recent movie “Loving“) but great acting skills don’t always translate into a great talk show interview. It’s a certain art form of its own that requires a command of the audience’s attention and an effortless back and forth with the host. Of course, Jimmy Fallon isn’t necessarily the most difficult host to work off of. His whole vibe is “I love the guest and everything they do and say is great” which can be awesome in scenarios like the one above but can also go south pretty quickly.

 

Shannon is just incredibly funny, and his dry delivery keeps people on their toes. Sometimes it’s not entirely clear what’s a joke and what isn’t and that keeps things interesting. He’s not spouting off pre-planned statements (although to say the above moment isn’t pre-planned would be a big ‘ol lie), or at least he doesn’t seem like he is. He’s just being himself, which, contrary to the many dark and serious roles that he has played, apparently is a very funny guy who likes to shout-sing  Sting karaoke.

 

So do yourself a favor and go down your own YouTube rabbit hole of old Michael Shannon talk show clips. It’s definitely a great way to start or brighten your day. You know I wouldn’t steer you wrong.

 

What do you think? Love Michael Shannon on talk shows? Do you also think he would be amazing as the preacher in a remake of “The Night of the Hunter“? Because he totally would. Write a tell all in the comments. And, before you go see “Get Out” for a second time (seriously, it’s that good), remember to always…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

‘The Last Man on Earth’ Continues to do the Seemingly Impossible

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Kristen Wiig on “The Last Man on Earth” Screenshot by Jenn Murphy

I’ve written a little bit on this blog about my love of Fox’s “The Last Man on Earth” in the past, but after last night’s excellent new episode I’ve decided it’s necessary to delve a little more into why this show is so great. Because it is great. And frankly, it’s doing something that may seem impossible for a comedy to effectively pull off, and it does it insanely well.

 

The premise of the show (for the uninformed) is that a mysterious virus has killed off most if not all of the population except for one man, Phil Miller (played brilliantly by series creator Will Forte). Miller quickly discovers that he is not in fact alone and over the course of the series meets up with a number of other last man and women who collectively choose to navigate life alone, together, despite their many differences.

 

If you just read that and thought, “Hey that does not sound like a comedy at all. In fact, that sounds kind of terrifying and sad” you’d be right! This premise should not work as a comedy and yet it does. With so many other shows and films dealing with dark and ominous post-apocalyptic worlds, it feels both crazy and somewhat necessary to provide a more comedic take on the end of modern civilization as we know it.

 

And yes, “The Last Man on Earth” is incredibly funny. Anything created by Will Forte is destined to be hilarious. But it also doesn’t shy away from the more serious, much darker elements of the story that have to be in play for it to work. Characters die, sometimes in darkly comedic ways but other times in sad, heartbreaking ways. While our ragtag group of survivors have made it so far, the possibility of the virus further effecting their lives always looms large, especially now that two of the characters are pregnant with babies that may or may not be as presumably immune as their parents. Not to mention that their world is so eerily similar to ours that the prospect of a virus taking hold on real life doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

 

This brings me to last night’s episode, where we learned more about when the virus initially broke through the eyes of Pamela Brinton, a wealthy woman played by Kristen Wiig who survived the virus by retreating to an underground bunker. At first Brinton sees the virus as simply a “really bad flu season.” It’s not until she starts to see the effects of the virus in her own life, from a brilliant series of news segments reporting on the virus- related death of the 46th president (and the 47th, 48th, 49th and 50th) to her own husband contracting the virus and ordering her to leave to protect herself, that she realizes that this is something deadly serious.

 

Again, this could easily be the plot of a horror movie or a dramatic series coming to USA in the fall, but Wiig’s performance as the horrified yet hilarious Brinton (with her little dog wonderfully named Jeremy in tow) brings a certain lightness. And after we learn that Brinton has a certain connection to earlier events in the series, it seems like she might not be alone for much longer.

 

Much like its main characters, “The Last Man on Earth” seems like it shouldn’t exist. Its mix of darkness and light doesn’t seem like it should work, but it does. The show has been quietly brilliant for years now and with last night’s new episode, it seems like they have no plans to stop. I like to think that if more eyes were on this show and the incredible balance it manages, it could possibly give Emmys juggernaut “Veep” an actual run for its money. But who knows, maybe the virus has gotten to me too.

 

Do you watch “The Last Man on Earth”? What did you think of last night’s episode? Have your own underground bunker prepped for the end? Share your tips in the comments. And, before you go see “Get Out” (because you REALLY need to see “Get Out”; I did and it was incredible), remember…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

The Oscars a.k.a. Holy Plot Twist, Batman!

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The craziest moment in the history of the Oscars. Screenshot by Jenn Murphy

Early on in last night’s 89th Annual Academy Awards telecast, it seemed like the night was going to be verrry predictable. Some of that was good, like when Viola Davis finally won the Oscar she’s probably deserved since birth. Other more predictable moments weren’t so great, like Casey Affleck‘s win for Actor in a Leading Role. I mean, all you have to do is look at should-have-won Denzel Washington’s face to know how I, and many others, feel about that.

And, of course, “La La Land” won a whole bunch of awards, including Production Design, Original Song (for “City of Stars,” stopping Lin-Manuel Miranda from achieving EGOT glory), Original Score, Cinematography, Director for Damien Chazelle and Actress in a Leading Role for Emma Stone. It seemed all but definite that the movie-musical would take home Best Picture at the end of the night, and then it did….until it didn’t.

In one of the most insane things, if not the most insane, to have ever happened at an Oscars telecast (and that includes a streaker, various protest acceptance speeches and whatever this was), midway through the acceptance speeches from Team “La La Land” one of its own took the mic to say that the beautiful and moving “Moonlight” (which, in my opinion, was absolutely the best film of 2016) had actually won the award. And he wasn’t kidding.

In an unbelievable turn of events (that is reportedly still being investigated), presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given the envelope for the previous award given out, Actress in a Leading Role, which was won by “La La Land’s” Emma Stone. Beatty, confused by the fact that Emma’s name was on the card, hesitated before handing the card to Dunaway who read “La La Land’s” name. Both Beatty and Dunaway don’t seem to jazzed about what happened, and neither did host Jimmy Kimmel, who said somewhat jokingly that he’ll probably never be welcomed back again.

While it’s incredibly frustrating that this fiasco took away from “Moonlight’s” much-deserved moment in the sun, there is hope that the whole ordeal will bring awareness to the film and people who might not have been familiar with it will check it out. Needless to say, I don’t think anyone is going to forget this win anytime soon.

What did you think of last night’s Oscar telecast? Are you also still shaken by the mixup? Do you still believe that other shows (*cough* Grammys *cough*) had a similar mistake? Share your thoughts in the comments. And, before I go back to developing my own conspiracy theory about what happened involving Matt Damon and a prank gone horribly wrong, I’ll tell you to be like Team “La La Land” and…

Stay classy.

Jenn

Here’s the Story of the Time I Saw Steven Spielberg (And Judd Apatow) in the Wild

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Proof that this story is true. Photo credit to my cousin, Laura.

We are less than a week away from the Oscars, and while it might make more sense for me to make an Oscars prediction post, I’ve decided instead to tell you all a story. (Plus, I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m hoping for “Moonlight” to win all the awards, even ones it wasn’t actually nominated for.)

 

Celebrity run-ins are always exciting. There’s just something about seeing someone you’ve watched on TV or in the movies in person that feels so surreal and crazy, it can often be hard to believe it’s actually happening. I’ve had my fair share or random celebrity run-ins, from holding the door open at an Old Navy for John Waters to sharing an elevator ride with Cynthia Nixon to even sitting a few rows and an aisle away from Meryl Streep at a Broadway play. And while all of those run-ins were special, the story I’m about to tell you beats them all (Except maybe Meryl. Nothing beats Meryl. Except for Emma Stone at the Oscars, hopefully.) because in this story I spotted not one, not two, but three mega-stars, all in one place.

 

The first mega-star I knew I was going to see, since he was the star of the thing we were all there for. I was in the audience at “Lucky Guy,” a Broadway play written by Nora Ephron and starring Tom Hanks. So yeah, Tom Hanks was there. Mega-celebrity number one, check. My mom and I had gotten the tickets a month prior when we were in town to see another show, Alan Cumming‘s essentially one-man version of “Macbeth,” which was crazy and awesome. The only good seats left were on opposite ends of the center row, so we accepted the fact that we would not be sitting together and got the tickets. This may not seem important to the story, but trust me, it is.

 

Another seemingly not important but important element to the story is the fact that whenever my family is in a place where we might have a chance of seeing some stars, we play the celebrity spotting game. First person to spot someone (and get visual confirmation from someone else) wins 10 bucks. Now I don’t want to toot my own horn, but let’s just say I’ve scored many Alexander Hamiltons in my life. My mom has only really taken home the prize once, when she insanely spotted actor Hamish Linklater on the street in New York. What can I say, she was a big “The New Adventures of Old Christine” fan.

 

She equally insanely spotted Linklater again in the audience at “Lucky Guy” and had all but claimed victory for the day. Little did she know, however, that I had my eye on the back of a head four rows up that looked a lot like famed filmmaker Steven Spielberg. It might sound crazy that I thought a guy looked like Steven Spielberg from simply the back of his head, but it just looked to strangely distinctive I couldn’t let it go. I looked around to see if anyone else in the audience was eyeing him and spotted a couple in orchestra right trying to clandestinely snap a shot. I knew then that I wasn’t crazy. He finally turned around and I was 100 percent confident that it was Steven Spielberg in the flesh. I got visual confirmation from my cousin Laura, who was sitting next to me, and shot a quick text to my mom on the other end of the row before the lights went down for the first act.

 

Act one finishes and I turn my phone back on to see if my mother has responded and see a text that says “Is that Judd Apatow?” Did my mom think that Steven Spielberg looked like Judd Apatow, of “Knocked Up” and “Freaks and Geeks” fame? Then I saw the actual Judd Apatow walk up the aisle past me and I knew that no, she had not been sorely mistaken. Judd Apatow was there too. And not only was he there, he was sitting in the row in directly front of Spielberg. When he got back to his seat I got to watch him and Spielberg chat (probably about making box-office hit movies like it’s no big deal) and my cousin got to take the above picture, proof of our crazy day. (The play was also great, by the way. I feel like it’s important to mention that.)

 

I told myself that if I happened to be walking up the aisle near either Spielberg or Apatow after the show I would say something to them, but I never got the chance. I left the theater the pedestrian way and they left the theater the fancy superstar way, which probably involves a series of hidden doors. It was exciting nevertheless, and has definitely stayed with me in the following years. Oh, and we decided that no one should get the 10 bucks. We were all winners that day.

 

Have any great celebrity run-in stories? Does you family also play the celebrity spotting game? Can you think of any other celebrities with distinctive head shapes? Tell your tale in the comments. And, before I go back to preparing for the Oscars, always remember…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

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