A couple of weeks ago on the radio show we were talking about meeting celebrities. I was in the minority when I said I really do not get excited about meeting famous people. Even people whose work I really like and respect does not make me swoon. Is that weird? I think in our current society my reaction is certainly abnormal.
When I was a child I liked trying to get autographs of ball players. It was in my youth that baseball players started to make good money charging for their autograph. I think I have only paid for one autograph. That was of Al Leiter when he was a young Yankee phenom and he was signing at a baseball card show where I was selling cards. I bought several autographs and had him sign his rookie card. I thought I would make a lot of money off of those cards. I never made a dime. Still have them too. Make me an offer. A few years ago I was working in Florida and went to a couple of spring training games. I got an autograph of former Reds star Eric Davis and a Yankee minor leaguer that never quite made it. I don’t know why I got the autographs. I guess in spring training it is the thing to do.
I am in my thirties and my Dad will still encourage me to get autographs of ball players. I never do though. I think it is kind of creepy for a man of my age to ask another grown man, sometimes my junior for an autograph. Maybe it is different if I was hanging with the guy and asked him to personalize it so I could have a memory.
Fans ask me for autographs after shows. It always strikes me as weird but I gladly sign. I use to be like, “why would you want one of me?” but another comic told me not to do that because it makes the person asking for it feel like crap. By doing that I am putting them down and putting their judgment and joy in question. I never want to do that to a fan. Now some comics just put signed things in people’s hands or make a spectacle of signing autographs. That is not for me at all though I realize a large amount of audience members like that.
I can’t envision ever charging for my autograph like some celebrities do. Unless of course I was in dire straits for money. Then I might sign my autograph and clean your car. I realize some people make money off of celebrity’s autographs. I like the route that some stars take in just signing one thing per person. That way if somebody wants a memory of their encounter they have it. If they want to make money off of it then they are out of luck.
I think in the end it comes down to connecting with people. When I am on stage I try to make a big room feel small and connect with everybody even though in reality I am not talking to them individually. When I am on the radio I want it to feel like we are all hanging out when in reality we can’t see each other. When I meet fans or interact with them on social media I don’t want any awkwardness between us. I realize I am not a celebrity at all but if I do become one I want to remain the same person. The type of person who if you say you like my work I smile, say thank you and am gracious about it. So if you meet me and want my autograph I will be happy to give it to you. I will a bit surprised but very pleased. Unless it is a bill collector. In which case I will not be a bit surprised and very displeased. I mean c’mon people I am a big star don’t I get stuff for free or have my people take care of this?