As a culture, we’re fairly obsessed with celebrities. Most of us have well-formed opinions on the antics of the Kardashians, and we’re all pretty sure that Woody Harrelson’s a nice guy.
Still, there’s a big difference between watching someone on screen and actually meeting them in person. In several threads, Reddit users shared their stories of celebrity encounters. Some of them are amazing—and some are hilariously simple. We collected a few of our favorites, then edited them slightly for grammar and readability.
How do you make a great impression on a celebrity?
For starters, you could do…nothing.
“Roughly 15 years ago, I was at Disneyland with my family in the gallery above the Pirates of the Caribbean ride,” wrote one Reddit user. “I look up from a display, and Neil Patrick Harris is standing there.”
“We made eye contact, and he got this look on his face like he really just wanted to be left alone, so I just gave him a little nod, went back to looking at the gallery and let him go back to being a regular guy for the day.”
That probably took a great deal of self-control, but we admire the approach. After all, celebrities are people, too. They probably don’t love dealing with rabid fans every single day…particularly when those fans have a limited appreciation of their careers.
“I had just moved to New York City back in 2005,” wrote IamChicharon. “I was 18, by myself, and wandering my new home city when someone caught my eye. It was Wayne Knight. ‘Oh man!’ I thought, ‘My very first celebrity sighting!’”
“I ran up to him and shouted, ‘You were in Space Jam!’”
“I could have chosen Seinfeld or Jurassic Park, but Space Jam was the only thing I thought of.”
“He just smiled at me and said ‘Yes. Yes, I was.’ I rule.”
He can pilot a starship, but he still needs directions.
“When I was a kid, my dad and I were driving somewhere on a nice, sunny afternoon,” wrote Totes-muh-gotes. “My window was rolled down. The town we live in isn’t known to be a destination for celebs of any kind. We pull up to a light; we’re the second car from the front. A polished limo pulls up next to us, and the window rolls down. A man pops his head out and waves to get our attention.”
“It’s William Shatner. All smiles, he asks us for directions to a hotel downtown. My dad, a Trekkie, plays it cool and gives him solid directions. Shatner thanks us, gives me a wink and sits back in his seat. He says to the other people in the limo, ‘Stay on this road for a while.’”
“Just as the light turns, I hear a ‘Woohoo!’ and look over to see a different man giving a thumbs up to us as the limo pulls away, big grin on his face. ‘We’re going downtown, baby!’ That guy was Brent Spiner. This was mid 90’s; I think Generations was still fairly new.”
When it Rainns, it pours.
“I met Rainn Wilson at a Bahá’í function,” wrote Roflbarn. If you’re not familiar, the Bahá’í Faith is a spiritual community that recognizes all of the world’s major religions as equally valid.
“He gave a speech along with some musician. My father grew up in the same small town as Rainn, and when we were walking with him, Rainn stopped his conversation and said ‘[My dad’s name]? From Castle Rock?’”
“And they had this very brief catch-up-with-each-other’s-life conversation. My dad introduced him to me. I got to shake his hand; he was truly a very funny person in real life.”
If you’re going to run into a celebrity, comedians are always a safe bet.
“Back in January 2006, I was on a cruise to Mexico with some friends,” wrote Mattxl. “My friend told me there was this guy on the cruise that looked just like Weird Al, and that I needed to see him.”
“We went to dinner that night, and my friend is like, ‘Hey, there he is at that table next to ours.’”
“Sure enough, it’s not a guy who looks like Weird Al, but Mr. Weird Al himself. He was eating dinner with his wife, new baby, and his in-laws.”
Just ran into Weird Al in Edinburgh, please lmk if this is interesting enough to use as my fun fact in all future ice-breaker games
— Lily (@lilyarmweak) July 4, 2018
“We didn’t say anything to him, but a day or two later, we were in Mexico. Here he comes, walking back to the ship with his family, so we go over and say hi and talk to him for a bit and get a picture with him. He was super nice; he was just on vacation with his family.”
This Reddit user worked at a high-end salon that had the occasional celebrity client.
“I worked at a salon on the Upper East Side in Manhattan for about 8 months until I got a better paying job,” wrote Nixity. “Jane Fonda was a regular client, and she was super classy and friendly. I also met Shirley MacLaine and Sigourney Weaver, who were also both very nice.”
“Side note: Sigourney Weaver is enormous. She’s gotta be at least 6’1” or 6’2″, and if not, she just looks monstrously tall.”
“I can remember one person who was really strange; One morning, I opened the salon and we had someone come in on the fly who needed a quick haircut. Dude was super weird on the phone, and originally wanted us to make sure no other clients came in while he was there. We were thinking it was going to be some hot-shot actor, and we all got a little excited. He gave us a fake name and everything (no, we didn’t close the salon, but it was early and there was not much traffic). When he walked out, the other girl working asked me if I knew who it was. I said ‘No, I have no idea.’”
“Apparently, it was Jonathan Taylor Thomas, delusional that he’s still a high-profile actor who needs to be shielded from his raging public fandom.”
In JTT’s defense, we’d geek out if we saw him in public. Who doesn’t love The Lion King?
This one takes place in Los Angeles; after all, he loves L.A.
“Back in the ‘90s, I was living in Los Angeles and doing music on the side,” wrote ThisAndLess. “I had composed music for a school play production of Where the Sidewalk Ends, and I performed during the show.”
“Afterwards, a short man with grey hair and glasses came up to me and said, ‘Hi, I’m Randy Newman. I thought the music was great. Did you write that?’” Apparently, his kid went to the school. I don’t remember the rest because I was so floored. He offered to listen to my demo, which I sent, but I never heard back from him.”
Make out in front of an airport crew and the internet will hear about it.
“I worked at [a fixed-base operator] in Nashville as a line guy,” wrote Turakamu. A fixed-base operator, in case you’re not up on your aeronautical terms, is a company that provides fueling, maintenance, and other services for aircraft at a specific airport.”
“[We] had a few celebrities that lived nearby who would come in for shows, store openings, etc. A Gulfstream we had just fueled was ready to take off, waiting on its passenger. We got the call from the front desk to go get the luggage, so I grab the cart [and] go out front to wait.”
“This short couple get out of a truck. She is in big sunglasses, he’s in a big cowboy hat. They say their goodbyes, then kiss—and keep kissing. Tongue gets involved. 10 minutes pass while I’m holding her luggage, trying to not watch them make out.”
“The lady says she is ready, and the guy gives me the stink-eye. Going through our lobby, she apologizes for taking so long. We get onto the tarmac, and she keeps trying to make small talk to me. Engines are running, so I mouth to her, ‘I can’t hear what you are saying.’” She smiles and nods. She panics when we get to the plane, says she doesn’t have any cash, and goes onboard to get some from one of the pilots. She comes out with a $5 bill, apologizes, and wishes me the best.”
“My irritability turned into confusion thanks to her oblivious sweetness. I get back into the line office and start telling the crew how annoying that process was, and how she went out of her way to find me a tip. My supervisor laughs and asks, ‘You had no clue who she was, did you? You just watched Reneé Zellweger and Kenny Chesney make out.’”
If you want to meet celebrities, hang out at the premiere of a big musical.
“I was waiting in the lobby for Spamalot when it was the pre-Broadway Chicago premiere, trying to find someone scalping tickets,” wrote Tubafx. “The door opens, and I heard a British voice say ‘Hello.’ I turn around, and Tim Curry walks past, giving us a nod.”
“A few minutes later, the door opens again. I hear, ‘Hey, guys’ again, and Hank Azaria walks in. I didn’t want to bother him, so I just said ‘Hey’ back, but the person I was with was a theater nerd. They chatted for a couple of minutes about college plans and stuff, then I got an autograph.”
Some of the best celebrity stories are pretty light on the details.
“I almost poured water all over Harrison Ford at one of his son’s restaurants,” wrote DrCutePuppies. “Also, I was once on a flight with Stevie Wonder, and I had his ‘Greatest Hits’ CD in my CD player.”
No word on if Stevie Wonder noticed, or if he didn’t see the…oh, we get it.
“I met Anthony Kiedis at a restaurant in Grand Haven, Michigan,” wrote Mayodefender. “He was a nice dude, and he complimented my nasty scar on my knee. He ended up buying me a corn dog. It was a good day.”
Any day you get a free corn dog is a good day.
“One time, Danny Glover and several other people came to my college to give a speech,” wrote Mattinva. “I blew off the actual event and went to a friend’s frat house for some afternoon video games. On my way there, I see a limo pulled up to the student union. My school was a pretty small one, so it was a pretty unusual sight.”
“I noticed a guy walking to the limo, and when I looked, I realized it was him. For some reason, my brain froze, so I just sort of yelled, ‘It’s Danny Glover!’ Not sure why, since it was just me and him. Anyway, he gave me the biggest smile ever and climbed in his car.”
“I peed next to Roger Ebert at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival,” wrote Hornswogglerator. “The end.”
We give that story two thumbs down.
This just in: Pharrell loves LEGO.
“I met Pharrell at New York Comic Con last year,” wrote heartskippedabeat. “It was by the LEGO setup, which was massive. I was talking to my friend who was working the event space, and I notice Pharrell and a huge bodyguard next to him.”
“Without even thinking about the bodyguard, I walked over and gave Pharrell a fist pound and told him I love his music. He’s a damn good producer, and he was super nice to me. He was literally just trying to enjoy the convention—he said he felt like a little kid. He was mad cool.”
That definitely sounds like Pharrell.
“I was pretty starstruck but smart enough to just leave him alone. He wasn’t being recognized by anyone else, and I figured he wanted to enjoy as much of the show as possible before people started to really notice him.”
Some celebrities seem to love the attention.
“I met Steven Tyler,” wrote Aerokitty. “He was an incredibly warm, surprisingly down-to-earth guy who talked to my friends and me for over 20 minutes. It only made me an even bigger fan than I was before.”
That reminds us of this classic video, in which Steven Tyler sings “Happy Birthday” to a little girl on her seventh birthday. Yes, the guy from Aerosmith is weird, but he seems pretty cool.
Another apparently awesome celeb: Keanu Reeves.
“I remember seeing Keanu Reeves while walking through New York a long time ago when I was a young (and probably very annoying) pre-teen,” wrote MrMandu. “I yelled out, ‘Yo, Neo!’ And then I obnoxiously mimicked the bullet dodge motion from The Matrix. He looked back at me, laughed, and mirrored the same move in acknowledgment.”
“It’s such a great memory because I feel like anyone would have been justified in getting annoyed and shrugging this stupid kid off, but instead, he was a good sport and humored me. I’ll never forget it.”
“We passed Jack Black walking down a street in Los Angeles,” wrote jbarinsd. “My daughter says, ‘I swear that’s Jack Black!’ We doubted her, so she yells—he’s about 10 yards away—‘Hey, are you Jack Black?’”
“He stops, turns around, and says ‘I am.’ Then he walked back up to our group, took a picture with my kids, chatted with my husband about Judas Priest (my hubby was wearing their latest tour shirt) and signed autographs. I was with a group of six tweens/teens and he engaged every one of them in a conversation. So very cool.”
Remember: If you run out of gas, your engine will be smokin’.
“Jim Carrey gave me a ride to the gas station after my car ran out of gas in Bel Aire,” wrote Granadafan. “I told him I was a huge fan of Ace Ventura, and that I could mimic his laugh from the movie.”
“A little later, we both had our heads out the window, cackling away. He bought my gas and drove me back to my car. One of the greatest moments in my life.”
And while all of these stories are interesting, this one seems particularly cool—especially given that Reddit user Kalapuya didn’t know who they were meeting.
“When I was 12 in the early ’90s, I went to a concert with my dad, who was volunteer staff,” they wrote. “We were there hours ahead of time to set up chairs and such. One of the performers came out on stage to check his instruments.”
“My dad walked me over to the end of the stage and called the man over. He brought us up on stage, and we each shook his hand and introduced ourselves. We chatted politely for a few minutes, then let him get back to his work. My dad knelt down and looked me in the eye and said, ‘You remember this, this is important.'”
“It didn’t click with me until over a decade later when I was telling my dad about the movie Walk the Line that he reminded me I had shaken hands with Johnny Cash.”