Sep 22, 2010

Almost Famous Meets Actually Famous

When Donny was growing up one of his big inspirations was Steve Martin.

We could have never realized that Donny would actually grow up to stick sharp metal things through his head, rather than just wearing them as sight gags. But, same general sentiment I suppose.

This photo, along with all those great black and white ones of Steve Martin reminds me of how as kids we used to listen to his comedy album on my old tan and orange Fisher Price record player. And, of course, we'd watch reruns of his old Saturday Night Live skits on TV (and when I say old, I mean like seventies era Wild And Crazy Guys and King Tut, not the nineties Toonces the Cat, okay?)

We also loved his movies. Too many to count.

But the one where Steve Martin was in his most inspirational form was probably The Jerk. Specifically the scene where even though he was raised as a poor black child with apparently no sense of rhythm, and therefore feeling the misfit among his soulful kinfolk, he finally finds his own groove to this very, very white supper club big band type music piping through his old-time radio. Starting with just the tap of his big toe and spreading along with his own growing revelation he begins to dance wholeheartedly with every fiber of his being with this silly, nerdy, goofy, gleeful joy across his quilt-strewn, gas-lit, wooden shack of a bedroom.

Okay, you just had to be there.

Oh, and we loved when he was the sadistic singing dentist in Little Shop Of Horrors. Oh, and in Parenthood (before the Lorelai Gilmore version). Okay, like I said, too many to count.

So here's where the two worlds collide. And I don't mean Mary Steenburgen film version and Lauren Graham TV version of Parenthood.

I mean Donny Vomit and Steve Martin.

Fan and famous person. Goofy white guy and goofy white guy.

So how it went down was Donny attending Monday Night Magic, an off Broadway production that stars a lot of performers, magicians, and comedians that he knows and sometimes collaborates with. So whenever he goes to watch a show every now and again, usually at some point someone up on stage will give him a shout out, tell folks they should check out Donny Vomit at the Coney Island Sideshows by The Seashore, the spot light will sweep the audience, land on Donny, and he'll give a wave.

So this particular magical monday night, there's a bit of a buzz in the crowd. People are whispering about something or another and eventually Donny hears from the person sitting next to him that Steve Martin is in the audience.

Basically, his heart lurches, his stomach flips, he freezes right there in his seat. He can't believe it. I think eventually the performer on stage makes mention of Mr. Martin in the crowd, and just like Donny has done in the past, gives a polite wave. The only difference being that he's... uh, actually famous.

The show goes on uneventfully, people swallowing lit cigarettes, cards flying through the air, coins coming out from behind ears and stuff, lots of "are there any volunteers from the crowd?" "Oh, not you, Mr. Martin, of course. You want to be an anonymous audience member enjoying a night of magic, except that you are super-famous so we're all just going to pretend not to look at you like it's no big deal, except now we're all getting neck cramps from trying to watch you from the very outermost corner of our eyes with out being as unsophisticated to actually turn our heads."

Then the curtain goes down, and everyone starts to mill out of the smallish theater. Since the first whispered confirmation of "the sighting" Donny's friend has now learned that Steve Martin is basically like Donny's personal Jesus, so (I can't remember if it was a guy or a girl) but they kept nudging him like, "Donny, you have got to go talk to Steve Martin out in the lobby."

Donny is just mentally paralyzed by the situation. I mean other people seem to have no problem going up to him and greeting him, and ogling him, but Donny feels really self conscious about it.

So as he's standing off to the side steeling his nerve, and all of a sudden this girl, out of nowhere is like "Oh my gosh!" "You're Donny Vomit!" She comes up to him all flustered and excited and is just telling him how much she loves his show, and is telling her friend "this is the guy I was telling you about! You know, with the hammer, and the nail, up his nose, at the sideshow!" Giggle, blush, etcetera.

So that really threw Donny for a loop. He was kind of all bashfully flattered, but still thoroughly distracted because he was standing there being a fan, and then she was his fan, and then it was this whole surreal thing... you know, like irony and all.


After the girls went on their way, Donny eventually went up to greet his childhood idol.

Don't they both just look kind of awkward here? But also perfectly "geeky makes good." Just different degrees of "making good" let's say... and leave it at that.


  1. Amazing! That is a priceless photo. I adore this blog. Hooray for families!

  2. Hi Tara et al, I'm here through Maggie at Flux Capacitator. She has taken a fancy to you blog.

    I'm intrigued too, particularly at the notion that three siblings might cooperate so well with one another as to share a blog.

    I don't even dare to tell my sibs about my blog, but then there are nine of us, maybe such cooperation would be too much to ask, though we all plan to meet again for the first time in 28 years.

    We should take a leaf out of your book and be creative.

    It's great to meet you three here, from all the way away in Australia.

  3. That is such a fantastic picture of Donny and Steve!! What's up with you guys getting to meet your childhood idols (Kathleen and Alan Cumming)??

  4. I will believe, in my heart, that after this photo was taken Donny started bawling like I did with Alan Cumming. He's got that same crazy-eye-i'm-about-to-cry look going on too!

  5. Love the hats, the 'stache, Steve Martin goodness.

    Found your blog via Maggie (Flux), love your family take on a blog, it's quirk is just my slice of yum.

  6. Hi Elisabeth from all the way away in Australia. I think nine of us would have changed our family dynamic for sure... or we would have ended up with our own musical variety show. Perhaps at your family reunion you might choreograph a musical number. Thanks for the comments!

  7. Welcome all new followers via Maggie (Flux)!

    And, yes, And Kathleen, I believe Donny probably did have a good cry after this intense moment (just like you and your forever boyfriend Alan Cumming).

  8. Your brother is cute. Just sayin'.

  9. He is cute isn't he? I always thought I'd marry a browneyed boy like my brother, but ended up with a fair blue peepers guy just like me.