#43. I met Harry Shearer (New Orleans, 2005 & 2015)

Spinal Tap bassist, Derek Albion Smalls

More than once, Gambit Weekly nominated my musical act The White Bitch “Best Electronic Artist” at the magazine’s annual awards ceremony. But then they always pitted me against Quintron, who always won.

My booby prize came in the form of seeing the words “White Bitch” blared huge across double Jumbotron screens to a 1,000-plus crowd that included New Orleans’s mayor, and every member of the Neville family. I also got to hear awards host Harry Shearer’s famous voice say “White Bitch” into the microphone — at which point he paused to enjoy the wave of crowd laughter that followed. That was fuckin sweet.

When Quintron won the category, he magnanimously dragged all of the nominees up onto the stage with him. Somewhere in it, Q said my band name again into the microphone. Also sweet. Exiting the stage, we all shook Shearer’s hand.

When the awards finished, we all attended the photoshoot and afterparty, where we hounded Harry Shearer. Quintron’s partner, Miss Pussycat, a talented puppeteer and voice-over artist, told me later that she cornered Shearer, a hero of hers, backstage, and interrogated him about the Simpsons. I think she even asked him to do Ned Flanders. Or maybe Mr. Burns. Either way, I bet he loves when people do that.

Ten years later, I interviewed Shearer for a Columbia Journalism Review piece I wrote about lying, deadbeat former journalist Chris Rose. “[I was at Kingfish and] this waiter walks up, and it took me probably way too long to realize [it was Rose]. I was absolutely startled,” Shearer told me. “To go from an essential voice to a forgotten voice in the relative blink of an eye is pretty shocking. For a city that reveres tradition and history, a city full of second chances, it seems very puritanical what seems to have happened to Chris.”

But fuck Chris Rose.

Michael Patrick Welch’s “132 Famous People I Have Met” series is FREE, but please consider donating to his VENMO (michael-welch-42), or to his PayPal account (paypal.me/michaelpatrickwelch2), so he can feed his kids, pay his mortgage, etc.

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