Close encounters of the Cummings kind

A reader emailed me to tell me about the time that they got to meet Jim Cummings and totally panicked to meet him in person. I would love to hear from other readers who have met Jim Cummings and, with your permission, I’d love to post some of the good stories. Feel free to email them over or put them in the comments.

Jim Cummings being low profile and rather hard to run into, this made me think about brushes with fame in general. I’m not interested in that time that you shared an elevator with someone from The Real World or saw them shooting a scene for The Sopranos, I am interested in stories of meeting one of those celebrities that you are a huge fan of or are otherwise totally obsessed with. My family often mocks me that I could probably chat, unfazed, with George Clooney but would be a total mess if I ran into Jim Cummings, who no one else would probably recognize.

Have you ever met one of your “grail” celebrities? Were you suave or did you totally spaz out?

To get the ball rolling, I will share my own sad and pathetic story after the fold.

I used to work in entertainment so I have met, socialized with and otherwise interacted with many celebrities. I am professional, charming and have inner poise. But there are  a few entertainers who, though no one else may even have heard of them, I find myself a giddy mess when interacting with.

Sadly, I have never met Jim Cummings but I think I have a comparable story. I am a huge Muppet fan. Seriously. Let me put it this way. This article is funny to me only because I could have written it in all seriousness. So meeting one of the Muppeteers in person is like a religious experience for me. Ok, I am kidding, but I do have a hard time keeping my cool when I run into one unawares.

When I met Steve Whitmire (aka Kermit and Rizzo), I went to a place specifically to meet him so my wits were all perfectly about me and I was witty and cool and he remembered my name when I saw him later and everything was good. When I met Kevin Clash, however, (you know him best as Elmo) I was completely unprepared and definitely made a fool of myself.

Once upon a time ago, I used to work for Sesame Street in the administrative offices. I suppose I should have been expecting to run into a Muppeteer at anytime but you know how it is when you are in work mode and I quite honestly wasn’t, esp since the show is filmed in a different office. One day, when I hadn’t been working there very long, it was late and mostly everyone had gone home but I had to finish up a project and was just making a final trip back to my desk down the hallway when I saw someone walking towards me. Suddenly every photo of Kevin Clash with Elmo held aloft came back to me and I knew instantly who he was. I had one of those internal squealing moments though I said nothing. Though I later met mostly all the cast of Sesame Street, this was my first encounter with a Muppet person ever and it was pretty epic for me.

I would assume that Kevin Clash doesn’t get a lot of people shrieking his name in he streets as most people have no idea what he looks like so I am willing to bet he wasn’t expecting strange behavior or even that I knew who he was. Kevin smiled at me and said hello in a polite, passing each other in the hallway kind of way. I would like to think that I smiled back but I am not convinced that I did. Instead I just let out a small and potentially unhinged laugh and then walked purposefully into the wall at full tilt. Looking back, I suspect I thought I was at the turn off for my desk while I was actually far away from it. From his perspective, I just laughed at him, turned and walked into a wall.

In case you were wondering, there is no graceful way to pull off walking into a wall and Kevin looked back at me with some concern as he passed but said nothing as, at this point, I think he just assumed I was crazy. Rightfully so, you might say.

Luckily, I ran into Kevin many more times and was eventually able to make small talk with him like a normal, hinged person.

Ok, I went first. Now what are your stories? I know you are out there, people, I can see my feed count. 😉

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