I went to a party once at a big celebrity’s home, thrown annually with another big celebrity, a sort of a fun joint birthday celebration, which was neither fun nor celebratory nor were there any joints in evidence. That might have made the thing worthwhile or at least slightly more relaxed. There is something very weird and tense when you group a lot of famous people in one area. Usually, the truly famous need assistance, often a great deal of assistance, and so these events are rarely about the famous folks but more about their handlers, who can really suck the oxygen out of a room. At any kind of junket or awards show or showbiz thing I can feel my cells dying as they try to co-exist with all the entourages and teams and plus ones and minus ones.
At this particular affair, there were big, circularly arranged crowds around each bold name face, and so the famous did not so much commune with each other, rather the outer layer of each group surrounding the celebrity would mingle, but that was the extent of the socializing. This is my assumption and assessment of most famous folks. It’s a large cluster of people, the one you know in the middle, many you don’t know surrounding them. Don’t even try, I think. You’ll never get to the center of that tootsie pop. How many licks? I can’t count that high.
I was surprised by Tom Hanks, coming around a corner, on his own, even without Rita, as this was ages ago, when he was just a lone celebrity, altogether without satellites. He’s a wonderful actor, and a nice guy. He told me that he had long loved my comedy and that it reminded him of his family, as his grandmother or great grandmother or something grand in the title was Chinese. As I looked at him again, with this new information, and I could see it, and it was slightly shocking to think of him as asian, almost a scandal. It was akin to coming out of the closet, I guess. Coming out as asian. Look at his eyes. It’s all there in the eyes. this was a big deal, and I never forgot it. I go see his movies still to this day in the theatre, and I sit back and I enjoy his acting, and in the back of my mind I think, “That guy is Chinese” and I believe I enjoy him more because of it.