The oddity of (very) minor celebrity

Picture of us

Ben and I are (extremely) minor celebrities.

We’ve been on TV a couple times now, once on a game show where we won cash for complying with a talking ATM and the other time a reality TV series where we talked about watching TV.

When we were first on the game show we lived in Etobicoke and apparently everyone in Etobicoke saw the show because people were constantly coming up to us and saying: ‘you were on that show!’. We would smile and say ‘yup!’ because what else can you say to such an open ended statement?

And now that the reality show we were on is playing on repeat on every possible channel we’re getting a lot more recognition on the streets.

Being a celebrity, however minor, is weird.

Because people don’t really want to talk to you. They want to say something at you and then walk away. Some people even come up to us and start talking as though continuing a conversation we were just having, launching into something random like we’re the best of friends. Then, when we’re thoroughly confused, squinting at them like we’re trying to see them better, they smile and say ‘I saw you on TV last night’.

They want to wave at you too, we’ve had some of that. But surprisingly no random stranger ever wants to, you know, have a conversation.

I’ve never fully understood the appeal of talking to celebrities. Sure I’ve had my moments as a kid, starstruck and hugging Drew Barrymore or Kurt Browning (woot woot professional figure skating), but as I got older I started to realize the people we see on TV are just people and I don’t really have much to say to people unless I know them or am forced into a socializing situation with them. 

So I guess that explains why people don’t say much besides ‘you’re on TV’ when they see us. Because ultimately we’re people and unless they’re planning to actually try to befriend us, we are strangers and they don’t really have anything to say to strangers.

But it begs the question of why they even bother to talk to us in the first place. Sure some people tell us they like the show, or that we’re funny, and the other day we had some kids who wanted us to do a shout out to them if we were ever on the show again (hi Adrian!). But some people don’t say anything about it, they just point out the fact that they recognize us and leave it awkwardly hanging after that.

So why do they do it? Is it just for a story to tell? Like are they going home and talking to their friends about how they saw those wacky kids from the TV? It seems unlikely, but possible. Or is it just a knee-jerk reaction to seeing someone vaguely and distantly familiar. Like that person across from you on the subway who you know you know from somewhere and you smile at just to be sure you’re not being rude? Do people feel it’s the polite thing to do to offer recognition to the recognizable?

It doesn’t bother me, it’s just kind of weird sometimes and fascinating (because humans are always fascinating to me).

And ours is only a very minor celebrity. I can’t even begin to imagine the strangeness or the disconnectedness of actually being famous.

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