I can't believe it took me over 30 years to sit down and watch The King of Comedy, Martin Scorsese's 1982 comedy about fan culture and the changing state of fame. My friends John and Sheldon (me with Sheldon, pictured; image by John Stanton) invited me to see it at MoMA, and it was—as you may know—perfection.
Also, I have met people like just about everyone in the movie. Or been them.
Jerry Lewis was impossibly good, perfect even, and I finally got to sample Sandra Bernhard's career-making supporting performance, which felt a lot like she improvised most of it.
Maybe the scene in the film that most succinctly captured fan culture was when a woman at a pay phone sees Lewis's famous character and asks for an autograph, which he grants, then wants him to speak to her husband on the phone. When he politely states he's late and can't, she yells after him, “You should only get cancer!” (Scorsese has said the scene was suggested by Lewis, who directed the actress in it based on an incident that really happened to him.)
Patrick Wilson (Image by Matthew Rettenmund)
There was an actual star in the audience for the show, Patrick Wilson. I love him, and we were chatting about how hot he is or isn't (I vote is). I thought it would be perfect to ask him for a selfie after, then tell him he should only get cancer if he refused. However, we didn't get the chance because the woman he was seated with was on her cellphone more than a few times, texting. Not that discreetly. A man behind her, and one row in front of us, tapped her and asked her to stop, and this woman turned and seethed that he shouldn't touch her.
GLAAD's Rich Ferraro has consistently invited me to his organization's events and I've consistently declined; I officially cover so many events for my dayjob and unofficially cover so many events on my blog for fun that my thought has been I don't really need to hyperextend myself by marrying the two and officially covering an event for my blog.
Gays & thespians: Honoree Nixon with Prayers for Bobby's Weaver
But The 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards were honoring Cynthia Nixon and Joy Behar (two of my favorite redheads—the red carpet was truly red/orange...it was a Night of 1,000 Gingers) so I made it my first red carpet, quickly discovering that doing an event with no boss to please and nothing to lose and yet having orchestrated access to the main attractions can wind up being the best of both worlds—officially fun.
From where I stood
I arrived around 3PM for press check-in. There was a crush of people and the nice lady at the desk wasn't; I asked where to go and she said up the escalator, which isn't really that descriptive considering I was in the Marriott Marquis in Times Square (a place I was at on 9/10/01, and where I discussed going to the World Trade Center the following day to get TKTS tickets for a show...something that never panned out, obviously). I went up, as commanded, but couldn't figure out where to go next. I was pointed in many directions, finally landing on the third floor. (You'll see from the photos that I was much even more disheveled and droopy than usual.)
All my B-roll footage:
Here, I found my spot on the line—right toward the end. Red carpets are like the social caste system made manifest, or like a literal food chain. On the latter, I would be the seeds the birds poop out to keep the plants growing. To make it less metaphorical, I was two slots behind something called Autostraddle.com, which I refuse to look up because it sounds like one of those mechanical dildo sites. (I broke down and looked it up—it's a kinda great lesbian site with lots of traffic.)
But it turns out my spot wasn't so bad (considering I'm just some guy with a blog) because most of the stars were rather available and those who weren't were stopping to my left to do stuff with GLAAD. At first, I was right next to Ben Harvey and Dave Rubin of Ben & Dave's Six Pack(pictured, image from Metrosource).They were also covering for Queerty,though I wondered if they might not get less frozen reactions if they left the Queerty part out (I still link to Queerty, but I think it's fair to describe it as somewhat caustic).They were cute and as nice as can be; I point this out because the act of having a six-pack makes people gushingly nice, but the act of having six-pack abs usually does the opposite. They were professional and hot, the types of guys you wouldn't hate being stuck on a crowded elevator with, so I hoped they'd help attract stars, Suddenly Last Summer-style.