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The Urban Etiquette Handbook

{brushes with fame}
Where Do I Know You From?
How not to alienate That Guy From TV.
By David Cross

I am a somewhat known person, and by person, I mean face. At 7B one night, someone walked over, stood in front of me staring, then snapped his finger literally inches from my head and shouted, “Name!” Thus my first and foremost guideline to dealing with celebrities: If you don’t know who he is, ask your friend. Or a stranger. Don’t ask him. And certainly don’t ask him to keep listing his résumé until you realize he’s the guy from Blade of Innocence 2 who lost his shoe and got killed by the vampire with outer-space AIDS.

Other scenarios that will result only in a terse, rude response from your celebrity: He’s upset (people break up with and cheat on famous people, too); he’s in a hurry; he’s standing somewhere like a bank line from which there is no escape. Or, and this is the single worst situation, you are doing it for no other reason than to have contact with someone famous so you can mention it at the next 58 Thanksgiving dinners. Talking to someone who holds me in no more regard than a guy from the Real World who became a celebrity by throwing up on a girl he was trying to date-rape seems a little demeaning to all the actual work I’ve done. Though I will cut in line if that’s cool.

This is not to imply that there aren’t times when some recognition isn’t appreciated and even desired. The situation I value above all others is, of course, if you are a pretty woman who finds me attractive. I know it’s extremely obvious, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t note it. Or perhaps I have just completed my 1,000th performance of my one-man show, David Blaine: Son of God. I would be proud of that and want to talk about it, particularly if I was by myself in a strange town. As for the best approach technique ever invented: I’ve always been (and always will be, until I need an operation) a big fan of the free beer. There’s something very communal and unpretentious about it. Although even if you send a free beer, please don’t walk up to me and start making fun of my friends. I don’t know what you’re thinking—they’re my friends! Don’t raise your beer and, while toasting, say, “Personally I think [fill in the blank] is a dumb bitch!” This actually happens, frequently, and I’ve never understood it.

Is anything else acceptable? Beer . . . ladies . . . nope, I can’t think of anything else at the moment. It all really does come down to one thing—the approach. That will always be the deciding factor in the end. Respectful and smiling: hanging out for at least five minutes. Loud and drunk: terse response, brief mention in whiny New York Magazine piece.