Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Celebrity Gaffes

I used to live near the west-side of Los Angeles, not far from Beverly Hills and the Hollywood Hills.  In that part of town, celebrities were as common as those cheesy shops hocking fake oscars awards for "Coolest Mom" or "Best Hooters."  After a few months in the city, you only notice celebrities in order to avoid them or point them out to tourists.

My parents, though, loooooooove celebrities -- my dad especially.  We once ran into Jackie Mason outside a restaurant in Chicago, and my dad jumped up and down with delight, pointed over to the man, and said:  "You know who that is? That's Jackie Mason! What do you think he'd say if I went over there and did my impression of him?" My father then proceeded to practice his impression (which was pretty bad, even disregarding the heavy Taiwanese accent).  Mr. Mason looked over at us with a tired beleagured expression, and I begged my dad to stop.  Though he was not with a bodyguard per se, Mr. Mason was accompanied by a large fellow who gave the impression that he wore a pinky ring and spoke with a thick New Jersey accent.*

All this to say, whenever my parents visited me in Los Angeles, I made it a point take them to celebrity watering holes so that they could joyfully gawk and go back home with a good story.  On one visit, I took my parents out for dinner at the Malibu restaurant called Nobu.  The place was packed with celebrities, as usual, but this evening it was mostly B-list.  Just after we sat down, I pointed out the man sitting behind my mother.  "Do you know who that is?"  The man was eating quietly with people I presume were his wife and son.  "That's Vidal Sasson! He's that famous hairstylist.  I would recognize him anywhere.  He's in a lot of TV commercials."  My parents nodded.  Yes, they heard of the famous Vidal Sassoon and agreed that Vidal was a great man.  I was so proud of myself that repeated my declaration. "Yes. Vidal Sasson, it's got to be him."  I even said it loudly enough so that Vidal could appreciate that he was recognized and appreciated.

Of course the man wasn't Vidal Sassoon.  I didn't realize my mistake until I was watching television one day and happened to see a commercial featuring the man I saw at the restaurant.  Like Vidal Sassoon, he is a famous hair stylist and creator of his own popular line of hair products.  Except he's Paul Mitchell and at least twenty years younger than Vidal Sassoon.

Paul Mitchell appears at the end of the commercial (about 23 seconds into the video).

*If you're wondering who Jackie Mason is, I don't blame you.  Suffice it to say, he is not the sort of celebrity that would should get anyone under the age of 80 (with the one exception of my father) all that excited.  For many of us, the most relevant reference point may be that he was voice of the Aardvark in the Pink Panther cartoons.  If you'd like to learn more about Jackie Mason, visit his website or watch this YouTube video.

**For the record,  Paul Mitchell was luckily not our only celebrity sighting.  To my parents' unending delight, Matthew McConaughey came in half through dinner and sat at the table next to us.   So, at least for them, it was a good night.

1 comment:

  1. That's hilarious! Go easy on Jersey accents, though. It may be that the rest of the world doesn't know how to say "quarter" properly...