8 Weird Ways Celebrities Were Friends Before Fame
Admit it: When you and your friends were kids, you probably all thought you'd be famous. You probably sat around at some sleepover during third grade and talked about the future -- one of you saying he'd like to be president, another boasting she was going to be a world-famous pop star. Fast-forward 20 years, and one is working in an office and the other is cooking meth.
But, as we've previously discussed, there absolutely are groups of childhood friends who all wind up being world famous, often via completely different paths. For example ...
Jay Z, Biggie Smalls, Busta Rhymes, And DMX All Went To The Same School
Where you go to high school has a massive effect on what you do with your life -- it can determine the college you go to, your eventual career, or how many times your rap album goes platinum. For most of us, that last number is "none," but if you went to Brooklyn's George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School in the 1980s, you apparently have to go out of your way not to sell a million records: Four of the world's most famous rap artists all went there.
Those four are Jay Z, The Notorious B.I.G., Busta Rhymes, and DMX. Obviously, some members of that group have had a huge effect on the musical landscape, whereas the impact of others is better felt in Steven Seagal movies but, nevertheless, they all began their respective careers in these halls:
Big Pimpin' 101 is their most popular elective.
While Biggie chose not to share his skills with his fellow students, Jay Z and Busta Rhymes actually had a rap battle in the school lunchroom. According to Busta, "That was probably the first time I lost a battle that mattered," which seems to indicate that facing off against Jay Z was his own personal Vietnam. Despite the fact that he wasn't the best rapper in the school, it is presumably some consolation that the man who defeated him currently has a net worth of over $500 million.
He's "wears a handkerchief in his pocket and communicates telepathically with Bill Gates" rich now.
So, what, is this just one of those freak coincidences, like how most of America's astronauts are from Ohio? Maybe. But we should also point out that these guys knew each other, challenged each other, worked together ... and in general, probably got a really healthy concept of just how much they'd have to practice to get ahead. Having moderate rap skills might make you King Shit in suburban Wisconsin, but these guys had to wake up every morning knowing they had to sharpen their skills daily just to keep up with the other dudes in gym class.
Craig Ferguson And The Current Doctor Who Were In A Punk Band
Over the course of a schizophrenic career, former Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson has dabbled in everything from stand-up comedy and producing to voice acting and starring on The Drew Carey Show. The man's career already seems like a random collection of crossword puzzle clues, which makes the revelation that he started off by playing in a punk band with Doctor Fucking Who only slightly less surprising.
He's wearing a bowtie, as if he somehow already knew.
The Scottish-born Ferguson entered show business in the '80s by playing drums in a band called the Dreamboys (originally "The Bastards from Hell") with Peter Capaldi, AKA the current star of Doctor Who, which for all intents and purposes is one slain enemy of the Crown away from full-blown knighthood. When they weren't playing loud music, they were engaging in the other chief pursuit of punk musicians -- doing absolutely all of the drugs in the universe.
All of them.
According to Ferguson, there wasn't much cocaine in Scotland at the time, so they mostly got by on speed and acid. This is another way of saying that, by the time the group disbanded, Peter Capaldi's mind had likely already conjured up scarier creatures than he would ever encounter as a Time Lord.
"Outer Limits," the greatest "accidentally fucked an alien who collects people like stamps" song ever written.
Before they went their separate ways, it was Capaldi who gave Ferguson the idea that he should pursue comedy. Three decades later, one's portraying a classic sci-fi character and the other is hosting a game show after a long stint as a late-night talk show host, so we think we're way overdue for a reunion via an improbable crossover episode.
Kevin James And Mick Foley Were On The Same Wrestling Team
If you did a word association with actor Kevin James, the words "star athlete" would probably be ranked six or seven results lower than "Adam Sandler charity." The heavyset comedian is better known for playing sad sacks and blue-collar working men (the two are not mutually exclusive). And yet, in high school he was the star of the wrestling team, totally eclipsing one of his teammates, Michael Foley, better known as Mick "bestselling author and hardcore wrestling legend" Foley. Foley is most recognizable as Mankind, the masked lunatic who rose to WWE stardom in the late 1990s by throwing himself headfirst into every kind of violence imaginable.
Getting thrown from the top of a cage was probably less painful than being in Grown Ups 2.
It's easy to imagine James as being the comedic foil to Foley's wrestling champion back in high school, but both men agree that James was the better wrestler. Foley looked up to Kevin James, whom he considered "the toughest kid in school" (again, this is in reference to the man who would eventually enjoy his greatest box office success as Paul Blart: Mall Cop). According to James: "We were both heavyweights. And I used to take him down all the time."
"And I didn't even need thumbtacks."
In fact, if it wasn't for James, Foley might never have become a WWE Hall of Famer. In a classic sports film setup, Foley moved up from sparring partner to star when James hurt his back and was out for the season. Foley rose to the challenge, no doubt through an '80s power ballad montage, and went on to raise the standards of violence in televised wrestling. Meanwhile, James recovered and had a promising college football career ... only for his shitty back to ruin everything again.
It was apparently then that James got bored of the life-risking injuries and decided to go from sports to stand-up comedy -- a career progression, by the way, that Foley is now trying to imitate. So it is our responsibility to assume that Mick Foley will soon be appearing in an Adam Sandler film as Kevin James' weird cousin or something.
Cameron Diaz Probably Bought Weed From Snoop Dogg In High School
If a fortune teller had told 16-year-old Cameron Diaz, one of the most popular cheerleaders at Long Beach Polytechnic High School, that she would go on co-star in movies with Tom Cruise and Leonardo DiCaprio, her response probably would've been, "Sure, I can see that" (or "This is 1988; who the hell is Leonardo DiCaprio?").
"You're going to have to suffer through some bullshit movie about a magical cartoon mask, though. So, be ready for that."
On the other hand, if that same soothsayer told her that Calvin Broadus, the skinny kid who sold pot at Diaz' school, would also become a world-famous superstar with 16 Grammy nominations, and that the two of them would be their high school's most famous alumni, that might have been harder to believe. Although if we're being perfectly honest, judging by their yearbook photos it seemed like both of them were destined to become elementary school guidance counselors.
They would recommend every kid pursue either herbal medicine, or hair care.
Snoop Dogg was a year ahead of Diaz and, though they weren't friends, Snoop recalls Diaz as being "hip" and "fly," while Diaz says Snoop "wore a lot of ponytails," which is about as much of a judge of character as we can expect the star of two Charlie's Angels movies to be. Incidentally, they both think he might have sold weed to her at some point, though Snoop added that he probably gave her "white girl weed. Y'know, sticks and stems." Probably because that fortune teller told him about Knight and Day.
Jon Lovitz' Father Was Michael Jackson's Family Doctor
It's pretty hard to picture Jon Lovitz (Saturday Night Live, The Critic) and Michael Jackson (Michael Jackson) as growing up together, mainly because at any given point in their respective careers, Lovitz has always looked 40 years older than Jackson. However, they both lived in Encino, California when they were kids, and had a pretty big connection outside of mere geographical proximity: Lovitz' father was the Jacksons' family doctor. Considering there were like 11 of them, doctoring for the Jacksons might have been the only thing the Lovitz practice had to do.
"Their chickenpox outbreak in '61 covered all of Jon's college fund."
Consequently, Jon Lovitz and the King of Pop met several times over the years, including the time an 11-year-old Jackson almost ran Lovitz over with his bicycle. This is before moonwalking and giant robotic versions of himself became Jackson's primary forms of transportation.
The two met again when Lovitz was in college and Jackson was shooting Battle of the Network Stars, because Joe Jackson wasn't going to waste money on college. When they both became famous (albeit to wildly different degrees), Lovitz twice got to send a truckload of orphaned and sick kids to Jackson's Neverland Ranch, and even spent the night at the ranch once -- an experience that was either deeply moving or fodder for sexual assault jokes, depending on which context Lovitz is telling the story in.
MC Hammer Got His Nickname From Hanging Around Baseball Legend Reggie Jackson
Back in 1975, MC Hammer was just a poor kid from Oakland called Stanley Burrell who wanted to dance. When he was 11, Oakland A's owner Charles O. Finley spotted Burrell outside the Oakland Coliseum, hawking baseballs and dancing to a boombox, and was so impressed by his skills that he hired him as a bat boy. This really speaks to Hammer's dancing prowess, because as you might have noticed, dancing has absolutely nothing to do with being a bat boy.
He's always had a thing for bright yellow clothes.
Noting his uncanny resemblance to Hank "The Hammer" Aaron, legendary A's player (and future Hall of Famer) Reggie Jackson gave Burrell the nickname "Little Hammer," and it stuck.
He might seriously be 2015 Hammer, having traveled back in time to warn his past self about 1996.
Hammer rose through the ranks from bat boy to office assistant and eventually Executive Vice President ... by age 13 (at this point, the team was in decline and most of the staff had quit, but Hammer was far too legit for that bullshit so they gave him the title partially as a goof).
"Hey, you can't touch my phone!"
After Finley sold the team and Hammer's attempt to become a pro player went nowhere, he used a $20,000 loan from two A's players to start Bustin' Records, launching his music career and cementing his role as the prince of early-90s film soundtracks (he inherited this title from Prince, who was the prince of 1980s film soundtracks).
Rick Moranis Gave His Childhood Friend Geddy Lee (of Rush) His Biggest Hit
Canada has contributed at least two things to the world of popular culture: the comedy of Ghostbusters and Honey, I Shrunk The Kids star Rick Moranis, and the ponderous songs of the progressive rock band Rush. And, at this point in the article, you know what's coming next: As a kid, Moranis went to grade school with Geddy Lee, the future frontman of Rush and a member of the Rick Astley Pantheon Of Singers Who Look Nothing Like You Imagined.
He wrote "Tom Sawyer" after requiring freshmen to read Tom Sawyer for 20 years.
Moranis and Lee were friends at school until the latter moved away, presumably to be with his fabled American girlfriend. Time passed, and eventually Moranis hit it big on Second City TV as half of comedic duo the McKenzie Brothers. The characters became so popular that they eventually made a movie and a comedy album, which was to be released on Anthem Records, Rush's label. So, Moranis invited his childhood friend Geddy Lee to sing backup vocals on the album, because the idea of a prog-rock superstar contributing ridiculous vocals to a song about Canadian dialect was simply too good to pass up.
Ironically, the song "Take Off" remains the most successful single Geddy Lee has ever recorded, charting higher than any Rush song despite the fact that he banged it out in half an hour with an old friend for a payment of $10 (that's in Canadian dollars, which we're assuming is the real-world equivalent of magic beans).
Just kidding, they paid him in knit caps.
And while many of you might have found that one unsurprising, since most of us secretly suspect there are only, like, 60 people in Canada, nothing on this list can match the sheer randomness of ...
Novelist Samuel Beckett Used To Drive Andre The Giant To School
Samuel Beckett was a Nobel Prize-winning novelist and playwright, best known for such revolutionary works as Waiting For Godot and everything else that ripped off Waiting For Godot. Andre the Giant was a professional wrestler, best known for being impossibly large and delivering barely intelligible jokes in The Princess Bride through the thickest French accent ever recorded on film. In other words, these were two very different dudes.
They look like they're from different planets.
Yet through an improbable series of events, Beckett wound up driving Andre the Giant to school, because the universe occasionally behaves like a drunken mad lib.
Though Beckett was Irish, he lived most of his life in France (he even joined the French resistance against the Nazis, presumably using his ferocious perpetual scowl to its maximum regime-toppling effect). In 1953, he bought some land outside of Paris and recruited some locals to help him build a cottage there. One of these locals was a Bulgarian-born farmer named Boris Roussimoff, who had a little kid named Andre -- "little" being a relative term. By the time Andre was 12 years old, he was already over 6 feet tall and weighed 240 pounds, which is larger than anyone in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
"Oh, excuse me, sir."
"Jacques, please call me Andre; we're brothers."
The point is, young Andre had become too big to take the bus to school, so -- according to Andre's Princess Bride co-star, Cary Elwes -- Beckett began driving him to class in his truck. Even though their conversations weren't the most stimulating (unless you love French cricket), this magical pairing has inspired plays, short stories, comics, and hopefully one day a buddy cop film and accompanying video game. If it's not already in the works, please, somebody go Kickstart that project.
Philip Rodney Moon is a screenwriter. Watch his web series Suit Up and follow him on Twitter. You can follow Steve Hanley on Twitter too, but we wouldn't recommend it.
For more celebrity besties, check out The 7 Most Random Celebrity Duos Who Hung Out Before Fame and 5 Famous Celebrities With Insane Family Backgrounds.
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