How to Ignore a Celebrity

This weekend, my new bride and I made our way to Kitchener where we picked up a piano from her brother’s house, and relocated it to our new home in Kingston. (Note to all: moving a piano is not fun, always hire someone who knows what they’re doing.) So after we arrived back in Kingston late Saturday night, we decided that we’d earned a frosty beverage and perhaps some nachos. As we made our way downtown, we encountered long lines out the doors of many establishments, and legions of Blue Rodeo fans who were just getting out from a rocking concert at the KRC. We ended up finding a table at The Toucan, but sadly the kitchen was closed, and there were no nachos to be had. As I nursed my nacho pain with a beer, I glanced over to a dark corner of the bar, and low and behold there he was, sitting there like any other patron. Out of respect, I ignored this celebrity, allowing him to carry on without any acknowledging gestures, requests for an autograph or even a compliment.

Now I know Kingston has a good number of celebrities: Doug Gilmour, Don Cherry, Sarah Harmer, and the list goes on, but it’s always a treat when we spot out of town talent in the Limestone City. We’ve all been within 2 feet of Dan Ackroyd at an event, or seen Gord Downie in the supermarket etc… I’ve even shook the hand of a few of local celebrities when they were lending their name to a given cause, but I am always disgusted when people approach celebs while their simply out living life. Requesting an autograph, picture or making some remark about how they are such a big fan of “insert special talent here” is crossing the line.

I suppose habitual line steppers think that they have a right to a small piece of a celebrity’s time, so asking for a measly signature, or photo for their Facebook profile isn’t out of the question. That said, while I was at The Touc, I was amazed by the number of people who could not let Spencer “Spenny” Rice sit there in peace and sip his white wine spritzer. Sure the guy is talented, and Canadian to boot, but that doesn’t mean he wants to be constantly inundated with stupid compliments and requests for DNA samples.

Being starstruck is something that happens to the best of us, but I’m just curious as to whether or not anyone else feels the same way as I do. Can’t we simply let celebrities be when they’re with their kids at Chuck E. Cheese, or do we have to lurk around the skeeball ramps for our chance to pounce and share a little moment with them? Or conversely, do you feel a sense of entitlement or ownership over certain people, who you simply would not let pass by without an exchange? If you do follow the same code of conduct as I do, is there anyone who you would consider breaking the rules for?

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

4 thoughts on “How to Ignore a Celebrity

  • 1. Why don’t more Kingston bars keep their kitchen open later? There’s profit to be had!

    2. I don’t bother celebrities either and I don’t think there’s anyone I’d make an exception for but at the same time, they have a job that puts them out there so they do have to accept that people will want to meet them.

    3. Spenny is talented?

  • I would have said hey if it was Kenny, but Spenny is too much of a pussy. I probably would have made a remark about one of the many humiliations he has suffered on the show. For me, I guess I wouldn’t bother them if they looked really busy, but if they were just kicking back I would def give them a shout.

  • Celebrities are our property, and anything we do to them is fair game. Don’t be famous if you can’t take the heat.

  • I had a similar experience with “spenny” this past weekend while in Toronto. I was in a restaurant and as I was gazing around I noticed Spenny sitting at a nearby table. He was clearly on a date as he was well dressed, alone, and didn’t seem entirely comfortable. I recognized that if I were in his position I can’t imagine myself wanting to have my date interrupted by a young fan, unless of course the interruption would somehow ease any awkwardness on the date or perhaps impress the girl if she were previously unaware of my moderate celebrity status. With this in mind i left spenny to his date however my friends who were sitting with me either did not go through the same thought process as i did, or if they did came to a different conclusion as to what action to take, for upon recognizing him they proceeded to begin shouting and rushing towards his table wielding pens, paper and cameras. Spenny obliged with their onslaught of demands for tangible proof of their interaction (photos, autographs) however the photos show his eyes rolling and a frown on his face- clear indicators of his discontent for the attention. I suppose some will say that celebrities only exist because of their fan’s support, however I felt (and still do) that there is a time and place for pestering celebrities and that evening at that restaurant did not meet the criteria i had in mind of an appropriate situation to meet Spenny. I also would fill like a fool if i were to rush screaming at anyone and beg for anything even if it were simply a picture.

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