This is a little long and may not be interesting to most, but I really wanted to say it.
Okay, it’s like this. I am a Weird Al fan. Nothing remotely ironic about it, he makes me happy. His parodies are funny, and his original material is even better.
I’ve been buying his stuff since I first heard it. My whole family loves him. I have a lot of friends in the very hip alt comedy scene, and THEY all love him, too. And I have never heard anyone ever say that he was anything less than wonderful in person.
We had seen his show a couple times, just in the regular audience, and I have to say, the shows were huge fun. He gives a remarkable, hilarious performance, and the musical chops of the band are stellar. You go home laughing and singing and it’s just a great show in every way.
A few years ago, by a strange set of circumstances, a friend of mine, Jim, met Weird Al and had his contact info. I had this odd idea to bring Weird Al into an issue of Wonder Woman. Everyone complains that WW is a stiff, and that she has no sense of humor, so that was something I wanted to dispel, so I made sure she DID have a sense of humor. And I thought an issue where someone is trying to kidnap Weird Al, and WW has to protect him, would be so ridiculous and extreme that it could be like The Trouble With Tribbles for Wonder Woman.
So I took a million to one shot and asked Al’s management. And they took it seriously, and asked him, and he said immediately that that sounded like fun, he was in.
I kind of loved that, no big debate, no long discussions about how to show Al in the best light, just, “Go ahead, that sounds fun.”
So, you probably know the rest, we had to end our run before it could happen, which I regret to this day. I thought he’d forget about it, but later he mentioned it in an interview. I didn’t want to bother him, so I didn’t contact him directly, but he put me on his Christmas card list and every year there’s a really funny card from him. That was the extent of our contact.
A few years later, he’s playing an hour away from my home. We decide to go, just me, the hubby, my son and his girlfriend. She’s a huge Al fan…the first cd she bought with her own money is Running With Scissors and she still has it.
I call to make sure there will be tickets available the day of the show, because we’re not POSITIVE we can work it out time-wise. The organizers assure me there should still be tickets.
So the day comes up, it looks like we can go, and at the last minute, I dropped a note to Al at the address on the Christmas card list, just as a whim. Just to say we’re coming and thank you for the cards and everything.
A minute later, Al himself writes me back, and he couldn’t be sweeter. He remembers me, and would I like to come backstage with my family after the show to say hi?
YES I WOULD, AL!
I was just dumbfounded. He had a show in a few hours, and he took the time to do that. Then, as we were driving over, there was a huge delay because of a crash on our small highway. Al wrote and said there would be aftershow passes at the gate, no worries. He assumed I already had tickets.
I said we didn’t, but if we couldn’t get in, it was our fault, stupid traffic has us stuck.
He said, no worries, now you have tickets.
I mean, I know this may not sound like much, but we LOVE Weird Al, he’s brought us so much happiness over the years. For him to do this stuff for total strangers, it’s just a big deal.
We were cruel to my son and his girlfriend, we didn’t tell them about the tickets and passes, to keep it a surprise. We said, “Oh, man, this traffic might make it so we can’t get in, guys. If we can’t, I’m sorry, maybe we can go see a movie.” Being a mean parent is AWESOME.
So I figured Al got us general seating, it was very late in the day and we would have been DELIGHTED to get that. But we show up, and our seats are three rows back DEAD CENTER. Literally the best seats in the house.
He put on the best show ever. His Jim Morrison was hysterical. We were laughing and singing and just had the best time in history. He finished with a Star Wars medley, behind him was a chorus line of Vader, Fett, and stormtroopers dancing. It was awesome.
After, we got to meet him, and he yells out, GAIL! and comes and gives me this huge hug. We took photos and chatted a bit, he signed my ipad cover (WHICH I WILL TREASURE FOREVER), and he was so nice to my son and his girlfriend, signed her cd I told you about and laughed and was just generally everything you hope Weird Al will be. He just radiated kindness.
I thought the kids were going to die. I’ve never seen them so happy. We meet a lot of famous people at cons and other events, and again, yeah, so what, movie stars. Who cares? This is WEIRD AL.
Still just delighted. What an evening, and what a cool guy.
It reminds me that even with the kind of silly thing that is comic book ‘celebrity,’ you have to really try your best. It’s not about you, it’s about the person getting your signature or photo or telling you they love your work. It may feel a little awkward for you but sometimes for the people in line, for whatever reason, it can be a very big deal.
That’s why I’m terrified that I will accidentally overlook someone or accidentally be a little bit hasty if I have to go to the bathroom or something. The worst is when you have several things to do at once…you have a panel and people are waiting, it’s rude to be late, but at the same time, people are talking to you and asking for your signature, and it’s rude to make them wait, argh, that stuff is my nightmare, having to turn someone down or rush them through a line or something. Horrible.
I guess all I can say about that is that I really appreciate everyone’s patience, I PROMISE I am trying my best.
How someone like Al handles that when he is an ACTUAL celebrity, I have no idea.
THANK YOU, AL! You are an inspiration for a lot of reasons and we love you so much!