#88: Jan Hooks (SNL): As a pre-teen comedy nerd and passionate fan of Saturday Night Live, of course I recognized then SNL cast-member Jan Hooks at my local video store in Ft. Myers, Florida. “I feel so embarrassed with no makeup on,” she said, as she plucked a VHS of A Boy and His Dog from the shelf. Turned out her mother lived in our same condominium complex. I would run into Jan Hooks a lot over the years, saw her at the pool, and she was always very nice while indulging my SNL questions.
#89: LA Governor John Bel Edwards: I once toured New Orleans’s housing projects with Gov. Edwards and Ben Carson (who seemed very dim), and have attended a few of his press conferences, and my impression is that he is not as smart as he is kind. He seems pretty smart, too, except he’s definitely a religious nut, quoting scripture passages while announcing the opening of a new AT&T store in New Orleans East, and such. That and his anti-abortion stuff makes me doubt him. But he seems kind, close up.
#90: Jon Bon Jovi: During JazzFest time, Otis used to let me sit out front of FAB gay bookstore on Frenchmen St. and sell my music guidebook to the music tourists. I saw a lot of stuff out, sitting out there getting drunk and talking to strangers until 2am. When one of the strangers whispered to me that he’d just seen Jon Bon Jovi a block up the street, I snatched one of my music guidebooks off my table and dashed through the thick Frenchmen St. JazzFest crowd, and somehow homed right in on ol Jon, walking fast in a black leather jacket and black t-shirt. He looked great. “Mr. Bon Jovi!” I caught his attention though he didn’t stop walking with his entourage. His bodyguard tensed up. “I don’t mean to sneak up on you, but I wanted to give you this book that I wrote about New Orleans music.” Still walking very fast, and barely looking over at me, Jon Bon Jovi took the book and thanked me, then immediately handed it to an assistant who put it into her tote bag as they powerwalked into the night.
#91: Lydia Lunch: The first public reading I ever did in my life, in Ybor City, Florida in 2000, I opened for Lydia Lunch, and also Permanent Midnight author, Jerry Stahl. I’d been writing for only a couple years at that point. But I had a lot of friends in Florida who gave me lots of opportunities I didn’t necessarily deserve. I don’t remember at all what she was like. I kept in touch with Jerry Stahl for some years after. He’s a sketchy dude.
#92: Lloyd Bridges: The first famous person I ever met! At the age of about seven. I found the movie Airplane freakin hilarious, especially where the guy said “Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue!” So when I recognized the glue sniffing guy on a visit to Epcot Center — he was filming a Disney somethingorother — I had to run away from my parent and up on him and tell him, “Airplane is freakin hilarious!” “Your parents let you watch that?” Lloyd Bridges chuckled. “Thanks kid.”
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.