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Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 08/ 4/2009

Welcome to the Jungle

By Nancy Kerr

I recently relocated from the orbit of D.C./Charlottesville to the very different galaxy of Los Angeles, where my husband is a reporter covering television. Talk about an armchair Celebritologist’s dream – an opportunity to stop relying on Us Weekly to show me that stars are just like me, and to see them wandering around in their natural habitat. Awesome.

Actor Jon Hamm attends the 25th Annual Television Critics Association Awards in Pasadena, California August 1, 2009 (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Except for one thing. Stars are not just like us. They are mythologically blessed – with good genes, talent, agents who help them show off that talent, and the good fortune to get a lot of freebies. And hey, good for them. But once in a while they do have to do some kind of normal thing, like run to Target – which is where I ran into my first celeb last week. Literally. I’d never have recognized the teen heartthrob from a huge ‘90s TV hit if he hadn’t very kindly apologized for running into my cart – and it was my fault anyway. I’ve always been a firm believer in saying “Hey, love your work” upon seeing someone famous in the wild, but as I stood there playing it cool and marveling over his profuse apology, it occurred to me: for him, being seen out in the jungle is potentially hazardous. Any utterance could be twittered, texted, blogged, played up for some site or made up for some column – and he was just minding his own business, shopping with his kid. For the first time, I realized how easy I have it – people can think what they want when they see me disheveled, out buying housewares in some big-box store, but I don’t have to hear about it, and I don’t have to worry about putting on my game face.

Last weekend, I got to attend the Television Critics Association awards – a virtual petting zoo compared to real-life errand-running on the open plain. In a controlled setting like that, there is no equalizer – the stars are there for work. Everyone’s on their best behavior. You’re supposed to stare at the lovely ladies of “Battlestar Galactica.” As a civilian it’s alright if you turn into a stuttering schmoe when meeting the very talented, exceptionally handsome – and extremely nice – Jon Hamm of “Mad Men,” looking devastatingly like Don Draper but with none of the mean. And when you get a chance to tell Alan Ball, creator of "True Blood"and "Six Feet Under”, how much you love his work, you hope it’s charming that you’re gaping like a dopey fangirl. Everyone knows the rules in that animal kingdom – and I have to say, I think I prefer it that way.

Guest Celebritologist Lisa Todorovich once did shots with George Clooney. Then went home. Alone.

By Nancy Kerr  | August 4, 2009; 10:45 AM ET
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"Guest Celebritologist Lisa Todorovich once did shots with George Clooney. Then went home. Alone."

What kind of gun were you firing?

Posted by: mdreader01 | August 4, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

The only celeb I've met in the wild was Joey Lawrence and family, who stayed in the bungalow next to us in Maui years ago. In fact, we could not get away from him. When we went to the beach, he would show up. When we went to pool, there he was. When we went to the hotel restaurant, 10 minutes later, there he was having a burger. We finally decided to go off the resort across the island to Lahaina. We joked that if we saw Joey Lawrence we were going to report him for stalking. We made a mistake and had dinner a Planet Hollywood and who was seated at the table right next to us?? You guessed it Joey Lawrence and about a million teenage giggling girl fans requesting his autograph. I was quite impressed with how he handled it, not upset, smiling and signing each one. We decided not to report him.

Posted by: hodie | August 4, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Some family friends of ours live in the same area as a rather famous rock star. They say you always know the tourist or fans who've come to glimpse him, because all the locals just leave him alone and let him get his errands run.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | August 4, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I live next door to Pat Fergerson.

Eat your hearts out.

As ever,


Posted by: bmschumacher | August 4, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

...Los Angeles, where my husband is a reporter covering television.

Are you Lisa de Moraes, the WaPo's very own Pookie? If not, do you know her? Now, she's a REAL celebrity to us Lizard Islanders!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 4, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

WTF is Pat Fergerson???

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 4, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Why, he's Mudge's next-door neighbor, of course.

Posted by: memphis1 | August 4, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I once sat behind Larry King at a local movie theater. I know I sat behind him because
a. I could see the back of his suspenders
b. I could see his bald spot
c. He kept turning around to look for wife #4 (or was that 5?)
d. All of the above

Posted by: mdreader01 | August 4, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Hey Nosy,

Nope, not the divine Ms. de M, but I do know here and adore her too. She's a much cooler customer than I am.

Posted by: Lisatee | August 4, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Charlottesville?!?! My home sweet home. We know from celebrities here - I've stalked Sissy Spacek shopping at the Giant, Howie Long at the movies, and John Grisham slinging hotdogs at the ball field.

Sissy is way beautiful in person. Howie is, ahem, gorgeous. And John is TALL. And so handsome. *sigh*

Never did see Jessica Lange, though, more's the pity.

Posted by: jaybbub | August 4, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Lisa, how cool. You get apologized to at Target (or wherever) and still know when to gush.

Of course, here on Lizard Island, it's always snark time.

Posted by: epjd | August 4, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I haven't seen the word "schmoe" in such a long time, and I love it because it fits so well here. I grew up in suburban LA, regularly saw TV stars in our local grocery store, and played Barbies with Jodie Foster's older sister (they lived across the street). Celebs are like the rest of us, but now they have it much worse because national newspapers have comments sections like this: I used to just have to tell my LA childhood stories, not commit them writing.

Posted by: Jeannie8 | August 4, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Why, he's Mudge's next-door neighbor, of course.

Well, then, that means Mudge is the celebrity! But we already knew that here.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 4, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Of course, here on Lizard Island, it's always snark time.

I do believe ep may have come up with a motto for us!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 4, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh Jaybub...I see celebrities all the time but I must say I'd probably swoon if I bumped into Howie Long. Good lord but that man is handsome. Amazing, considering he was a lineman, you'd think he'd be wearing his career on his face.

Posted by: sorcerers_cat | August 4, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

sorcerers_cat, Maybe we should get the name of Howie's plastic surgeon.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 4, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I thought linemen tended to wear their careers on their knees. Or as concussions, sad to say.
Now hockey players on the other hand...

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | August 4, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

We do in fact see the celebs quite a bit here in C-ville. It's not just the ones who live here wither. It seems as though Howie Long is the one who I see most often.

I worked at a wine bar on the downtown mall that was owned by some friends of Howie and his wife. We frequently held fundraisers there for the non-profits they were involved with. One night, after the fundraiser, the Long's went to dinner with the owners. As they were leaving to go home, they passed by the restaurant while we were putting away the patio chairs. No one else was around, but suddenly there was a very strong odor of sulfur.

SC, he does look good, but his wife looks amazing.

Posted by: MzFitz | August 4, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I've had a few encounters with a certain cyclist who couldn't win the Tour de France this year. One time he was with the star of the new Prince of Persia movie.

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | August 4, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I do know here and adore [the divine Ms. De M) too.

Oooh, please dish! Free drinks for you at the Lizard Island Tiki Bar, on me.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 4, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I ran into Joey Lawrence when I was standing in line at Customs in Paris. I think he was there filming Blossom in Paris. He was pretty nice, although a bit confused about being recognized overseas. I guess Blossom wasn't on TV over there at the time. I also saw the guy who played Vinnie, but I didn't talk to him. I also met Luke Perry years later in London. I swear my heart skipped a beat when I saw him even though I was almost 30 at the time and 90201 had been off the air for nearly a decade.

Posted by: StuckatWork | August 4, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

OK, I am a bit more out to lunch today than usual, and I didn't read this blog yesterday, and I forgot that Liz is on vacation this week, soooo when I read this I thought:
1. I didn't know Liz's husband is a writer
2. I can't believe Liz never said she was moving
3. I wonder how Andy, Opie and Page took the move.

Then I got to the bottom and remembered that Liz is having guest celebritologists fill in, and then I spilled my Coke all over my keyboard, my pants and the floor, and that's the way my week is going.

Posted by: rb42 | August 4, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Woah, rab42 - talk about a life shock!

Anyhow, besides living next door to Pat Ferguson, the only other contact I've had was in Philadelphia in an elevator with that guy who played the delivery driver on "Designing Women". He looked just like himself.



Posted by: bmschumacher | August 4, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, Who is this Pat Ferguson person? Does s/he have any claim to fame besides living next door to you? (Not that that's not enough, of course).

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 4, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Pat Furgerson lives next door to me. And he's just like a regular person. I can't say any more or I'd have to get out the hose.

My niece used to work for the Secretary of State.



Posted by: bmschumacher | August 4, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

My only brush with celebrity is that I live in the same St. Louis suburb as Nelly, though our paths have yet to cross.

Posted by: zn123 | August 4, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Whenever anyone talks about Nelly - I think about the mean girl from Little House on the Prairie (Nelly Oleson). Nelly Oleson was a Swedish gangster back in the day....

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | August 4, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse


I wonder id the girl who played Nelly Olson ever dated John Mayer?



Posted by: bmschumacher | August 4, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmm- well Nelly O. was a blond and JM seems to like blondes...

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | August 4, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I know I'm dense and I've had just a little too much vino, but WHO did she run into at Target?

Posted by: Guest1234 | August 4, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I know I'm dense and I've had just a little too much vino, but WHO did she run into at Target?

Posted by: Guest1234 | August 4, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

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