So I met Steven Yeun on Monday
and I was just like
As the curtain fell, I briskly walked from my seat at the live @midnight show, out the entrance of the Colony Theater and straight to the stage door.
Roughly a dozen other members of the audience gathered and we waited on a street corner in the middle of South Beach, hoping to score an encounter with some of the talent from the night’s performance. Arden Myrin, Matt Braughner and Doug Benson were the contestants of the social-media-centric comedy game show and we had hopes that they might come say “Hi!”, however, the man most of us were dying to meet was the host, the Nerdist himself, Chris Hardwick.
About 15 minutes after the show ended, with the alacrity of a panda bear, Benson plodded down the steps to greet us, “Hi guys!” he said in his trademark sing-songy stoner voice. Other fans and I snapped quite a few photos with him, and we were surprised when he didn’t immediately retreat to the solitude of his dressing room, but instead stayed out on the street corner just chatting (and occasionally inhaling a, ahem, certain substance). Eventually, he climbed back up the steps and said he’d try to convince the rest of the talent to come on out, since there were so few of us. A couple of minutes passed and this time Braughner appeared, decked in a hilarious Lionel Richie tee, and posed for pics before strolling away down the street to grab some grub before the impending 10 o’clock show. Arden Myrin followed, and joked with us for a while.
At this point, about 30 minutes had passed since the show ended and still no Nerdist; the crowd began to thin. As many of us were starting to lose hope, a soft breeze blew through the alley behind the theater, and from the aroma travelling our way, we knew Benson was back. One brave groupie strolled into the dark alley and proceeded to participate in the puff-puff festivities with Benson. His girlfriend and another couple soon followed. I, being the law-abiding, tee-totaling teen that I am, was now one of three fans who remained by the stage door, fingers crossed that Hardwick might acknowledge our existence.
As we waited, we nervously checked our iPhones. It was a few minutes til 10—the show would be starting soon. Our spirits were beginning to sink, when that certain scent began to head our way again. This time the smell was not carried by the wind, but by Benson and his groupies who were parting ways. The comedian came to say bye to us before re-entering the theater, when one man complained that he travelled 3 hours to the show and desperately wanted Hardwick’s autograph. My dad, who had just returned from feeding our parking meter, had to one-up him, “We drove 5!”
Benson gave a look almost as expressive as anyone in his state could, and declared “I’m gonna go try to grab him” as he hustled up the steps.
Time continued to tick away and it was already past 10. My two remaining men-in-waiting, decided to throw in the towel, and rushed back to their cars to avoid getting towed. I was ready to leave, but my dad was now engaged in a conversation with a man who had approached us a few minutes earlier. By the way the man was rambling about his extensive history as a journalist and his work in Hollywood (and his friendship with Tommy Chong), I assumed him to be crazy or on drugs stronger than Benson et al., or both. It was 10:14; after a long day at school and a fun night, I just wanted to go snack on some Shake Shack and head to my hotel. I attempted to covertly urge my father to terminate his conversation so we could hit the road, then suddenly the stage door cracked open, and light flooded onto the sidewalk in heavenly rays.
I shrieked. It was Hardwick.
“I heard there were people out here who wanted to see me?” he said with a smile.
“ME!” I cried. “I’m the last man standing.”
He ran down the steps and put his arm around me for a photo, and since I was the only one there I asked, “Could we take a silly one?”
“Sure!” he said in his perpetually peppy voice.
We pondered our pose, and he dashed behind me, placing his chin on my shoulder, as I held my hand to my rapidly beating heart.
I thanked him probably a dozen times and was so enamored by his puppy-dog-like joie de vivre that I threw my hands around his waist. Guys, Hardwick is like the world’s greatest hugger. I was nearly in tears from euphoria, but I knew he was running late for his show, so I succinctly told him that his book totally changed outlook on life and thanked him for writing it. As he jogged back up the stairs, he turned back to me, asked my name and extended his hand to shake mine.
“It was so nice to meet you,” he said.
My heart melted. Chris, it was so nice to meet you, too.
The birthday gift I pined, and whined, for the most this year was a ticket to see “Waiting for Godot.”
A few months ago, I had no clue who or what Godot was—other than a quip in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, I had managed to be tragically unaware of the masterpiece—yet when I heard that Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen would be starring in the play, my interest was sufficiently piqued. (Stewart and McKellen play Professor X and Magneto in the X-Men films and I simply adore them. I’ve seriously never seen anything cuter than these two gents.) Seeing the loveable titans of theater would be marvelous—cheesy comic book pun 800% intended—so I started researching the production. Quickly, my interest in Didi and Gogo began to overshadow my love of Stewart and McKellen, and I was feverishly flipping through the play in preparation for my trip to Broadway.
As an existentialism-buff I was enthralled reading Samuel Beckett’s work, but seeing the repartee between Vladimir and Estragon on stage was even greater than I had imagined. The actors were perfectly absurd, revealing the pettiness of our existence in a comical yet critical way. The characters are so free of any free-will that they seem ridiculously over-the-top, but they portray an eerily accurate picture of human nature. I love the play because it gives viewers a critical lens through which we can view our lives; it turns a mirror on each of us, providing at least a moment of haunting self-awareness. “Godot” shows the grim insignificance of life, but to me it also offers a glimmer of hope. We can go about our lives like Beckett’s fools, caught in a purgatory of passivity, or we can take action and embrace the absolute freedom that existentialism preaches to give our lives meaning.