Fan Girl Blackout

I met Marc Maron on Saturday and turned into a blithering, tongue-tied, shaky shell of myself. To quote my husband, “What is WRONG with you?!?!”

I have a feeling that a large majority of you are currently thinking, “Who the hell is Marc Maron?” When I updated my Facebook status with a comment on my excitement, someone replied, “Is that the guy from Double Dare on Nickelodeon?” Considering it took him longer to type that comment than to enter Maron’s name into a Google search, I was tempted to reply with the awesome, but since he isn’t someone I talk to regularly or ever outside of FB, I kept my snarkiness in check. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Marc Maron has been a stand-up comedian since the early ’90s. While he has worked steadily for most of that time, appearing on Conan and Letterman tons of times, he didn’t really break into the household name arena until recently with his podcast, WTF with Marc Maron. The format of the podcast is about as simple as it gets. From inside his garage, dubbed “The Cat Ranch” thanks to his three feline friends/mortal enemies, Maron interviews a stream of (mostly) comedians from Robin Williams and Louis C.K. to relative newcomers or lesser-known comics like Nick Thune and Iris Bahr. He posts new episodes twice a week, so I spend at least two hours a week with him talking into my ear and infiltrating my brain.

While Marc interviews funny people, the episodes are often less laugh-out-loud and more holy-crap-they-are-getting-into-some-deep-shit. Hearing people known outwardly for their comedic sensibilities and ability to brighten our days with laughter open up about parenthood, depression, industry struggles, and suicide attempts (among so many other topics) is intriguing, disconcerting, and infinitely listenable. Marc himself is brutally, painfully honest with his guests and opens each show with a rant/ramble about something going in his life. He is gruff, he has anger management issues, he is flawed. He is also hilarious, insightful, and truly appreciates and is awed by the community of fans he has created.

Which brings me all to Saturday night. The minute I heard he was playing in my area, I was online buying tickets. We went to the Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco (totally awesome – check to see when the next one is in your area; we always find the COOLEST stuff), and I wanted to find a gift for Marc. He talks about the amazing items his fans bring to his show, which are often baked goods, which he then playfully complains are making him fat, so I wanted to find him something unique and fun that wouldn’t contribute to his expanding waistline. Jon laughed at me all day as I fretted and second-guessed everything I thought would work. I finally decided on a handcrafted mug shaped like a skull ( and a ridiculously awesome cat print from Berkley Illustrations (×10) in honor of the Cat Ranch. I bagged them up on the way to the show and grew increasingly more nervous/excited as we drew nearer to the venue.

Some information about me to help show how truly out of character the impending description of my behavior is (please excuse the name droppage, but it does have context, I swear): I have been lucky enough in my life to have the pleasure of meeting and spending time with some pretty famous people. I have been at house parties with Matt Damon and Winona Ryder back in the days of their relationship; I found myself at a cast party for Lost when I was in Hawaii back in the first season and partied with all of them*. Through various friends I have spent time with musicians and actors on a fairly regular basis. I have always been able to keep my cool, realizing fairly quickly that most famous people are pretty normal and pleasant people, and that the percentage of complete assholes and idiots is in keeping with that of the non-famous population. However, apparently when met with the opportunity to come face-to-face with a 47-year-old dude with a podcast, I behave like a 12-year-old girl meeting Justin Beiber.

We were seated at our table, and 10 minutes later I saw Marc walk in. I excitedly started tapping Jon on the arm, squeaking “He’s here! He’s here!” He proceeds to the back room to put down his bag, then returns to the floor to survey the crowd. He is now standing about 10 feet away from me, and my heart is beating so fast I feel like I just ran a 5K. “Should I give him his presents?” I nervously ask Jon. “Yeah, sure, do it,” he says. I stand up and immediately drop back into my chair, saying, “I can’t, I can’t, I’m too shy!” This is when all of my behavior up to this point becomes too much for Jon and he exclaims, “Oh my god, woman, who are you and what have you done with my wife?” I am many things, but shy is not a descriptor that anyone who knows me would use. Loudmouth? Sure. Outspoken, sometimes (often) more than is appropriate? Yep. Shy, demure, introverted? Never. I can safely say never, not once, have those words been used to describe me. And yet, here I was, crouched down in my chair to hide from my moments-ago gopher pop-up move. I work up all my courage, stand again, and take the 10 steps necessary to put me face to face with Marc. I say, much more rapidly than is probably coherent, “Hi, my name is Kym, and I’m a really huge fan, and I got you presents, and I promise they aren’t baked goods,” and then I had a fan girl blackout. I was so excited that I have absolutely no idea what I said to him after that point. I know words came out of my mouth, but I couldn’t tell you what they were if my life depended on it. He was exceptionally gracious and nice, thanked me for the package, and went to the backstage area to open it. I returned to my table shaking with excitement and embarrassment and let Jon laugh at me for the next few minutes. Marc then comes back out with his new mug in hand and takes it up to the bar to get coffee with it. I rarely have need to quote Rachel Zoe, but HOLY SHIT I DIE!!!!!! He brings it up on stage with him and drinks out of it repeatedly through his set. Like a pig in shit, that is me. Kid on Christmas morning, any analogy for overwhelming giddiness you would like to apply, they all work to describe my elation. After the (totally mind-blowingly hilarious) show, we go outside to chat with him, and y’all, when I walk up he says, “Kym, right?” Jesus, I am going to pass out at this point. He is awesome and nice, chats with us for a few minutes, and then lets me take a picture with him.

A photo of Kym with comedian Marc Maron
This is what is known as a "shit eating grin."

So, my question to you all: have you ever completely lost your shit when you met someone famous or someone you admired? Ever totally geek out on someone at Comic Con or the like? Please tell me I am not the only person to be unable to keep her composure in the presence of someone they are a fan of. Please tell me I am not the only person who has fan girl blackouts. I beg of you.

*everyone, that is, except for Daniel Day Kim, who is the only other person I have ever geeked out on like I did with Marc Maron. I am such a huge Angel/Buffy fan that I could not approach him because I was too embarrassed of what I might say or do. The rapid fire onslaught of Whedonverse questions and comments that would have spewed from my mouth would have been humiliating, thus I kept my distance. The only other time in my life I have uttered the words “I’m too shy.” My friends laughed at me then, too.

4 replies on “Fan Girl Blackout”

Kym, thanks for the offer to share starstruck incidents we’ve had in our own lives….I don’t consider myself to be someone who is easily starstruck.  Having lived in LA, if you keep your eyes open, chances are you’ll come across someone who sits in front of a camera.  And, respecting the privacy of those actors, I’ve tended just to keep my distance; unless circumstances are such that conversation would be expected; such as having drinks with Fred Schneider or dancing with Donna Summer; yes these happened. The name dropping is just to give some perspective for the time when I did actually become starstruck and completely FAILED……  last summer I attended Sunset magazine’s annual Celebration Weekend; where they have speakers on cooking, landscaping, and design appear.  When I learned that Taniya Nayak from HGTV was to speak at a design lecture I decided to attend.

Prelude to this, I don’t have cable.  So, to get my HGTV fix, when I visit my Mom in SoCal (driving from NorCal), we would sit and watch hours of HGTV together.  It got to the point where we decided we couldn’t watch HGTV anymore because my Mom and I wouldn’t have normal conversations during my visits.  Instead, I’d call her during my 5 hour drives back up from SoCal; not the best time for catching up with Mom, I admit.  So, no more HGTV for me; visits with Mom are now better; we talk.

So there I am sitting under the open tent at the Sunset campus waiting for the HGTV lecture to start.  Taniya decides to come out and start introducing herself to everyone.  I’m sitting near the back thinking, “oh, that’s nice of her.”  I’m not at all thinking she might make her way towards the back; but she does.  She comes up to me and introduces herself.  I am totally starstruck at this moment; and I know I am.  But, I relay the story of HGTV and my Mom in what I think to be a totally cool and even-tempered way; but I’m really hella nervous; which makes no friggin’ sense.  And, for those of you thinking, though she is hot, she is married, and I’m honestly just starstruck – nevermind Donna or Fred.  They had nothing on cute, little, pint-sized, cable television star Taniya Nayak at that moment.  And then the moment of failure arrived.  After telling my Mom story to Taniya, she said to come up after the show and we’d call my Mom together!  What?!?  Now, not only am I not able to comprehend a God Damn’d thing during the course of her lecture cause Taniya just spoke to me, but I have no idea how I am going to approach her after the show…. like was she serious??? …she really wants to call my Mom???  …or really, she’s just super cool!!!  And, what am I going to say when I approach her, “hey, remember me, you said we could call my Mom together.”  Lame!!!!  Sooooooo, after the show, I got out of my folding chair, panicked, walked halfway across the grounds, sat in the cooking tent, and watched some food demo.  Done……

I met Patti Smith when I was 15 in the late 90’s. She was doing a book signing of her book of lyrics, and I was a big fan of her. During the reading/Q&A part, she borrowed my copy of her book and even got pizza sauce on a page. Afterwards, when I was on line to get my copy signed, she remembered me because she had borrowed my book, and my knees were shaking. She was nice and gracious, and it was all brief, but she was the first famous person I had seen in real life, and someone I really admired.

Besides her, I haven’t ever geeked out over anybody. I live in Queens, and occasionally see famous people in Manhattan and Brooklyn, but nobody I was ever a big fan of. So far, Patti Smith is the only one I felt nervous about. I even had a crush on Sam Rockwell, and saw him in the audience of a comedy theatre, and even walked past him, and still didn’t feel any nervousness.

I have been lucky to hang out with some great musicians over the years but one “fan-girl” moment comes to mind.

I had a “OMG he is so hawt” crush on the lead singer of a band and after the show I followed him out toward the tour bus to get his autograph. Right as I called out his name so he would turn around, I tripped and fell smack on my face! Never in my life have I been so mortified. He was super sweet and helped me up and made sure I was okay. I, barely able to speak, managed to whisper “I stole the set list from the stage, can you sign it?” while totally not making eye contact… which was sad ’cause he had pretty eyes. Of course he did and I snuck away quickly.

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