Celebrities aren't so different from the rest of us. They hang out together, get plastered, and beat the shit out of each other, just like you and your besties do. As much as the internet likes sharing photos of famous people standing next to each other, we have to assume that the majority of those meetings were as awkward and boring as every other human interaction.
Sometimes, however, the stars intersect in ways no one could have seen coming, and the results can be magical, like angel-dust-spiked pixie dust. We're talking about occasions like ...
The same way everyone had an O.J. Simpson anecdote after his trial, everyone has a Donald Trump one now. Charlie Sheen recently told his during one of those weird desk-less British talk shows:
When Sheen and his soon-to-be-future-ex-wife ran into Trump at dinner shortly before their wedding, Trump apologized for being unable to attend. Sheen graciously accepted the apology, especially since Trump hadn't been invited in the first place. Trump insisted on making up for his busy schedule with a super swanky wedding gift: He removed his (as he described them) "platinum, diamond Harry Winston" cuff links and gave them to Sheen like it was nothing. Because that's exactly what it was.
Six months later, Sheen had the items appraised and discovered they were made of cheap pewter, and the "diamonds" were cubic zirconia. Trump had been so proud of his shitty fake jewelry he had even stamped his name across it.
This blatant bait and switch is apparently a go-to gift-giving tactic of Trump's. Roy Cohn had been Trump's lawyer and trusted advisor for years, seeing to everything from prenuptial agreements to huge real estate deals. After one such questionable deal, Trump insisted on rewarding his faithful lawyer with some diamond cuff links ... which, again, turned out to be fake and totally worthless. Man, this guy is good at lying to people. We're starting to think he should run for office.
Every single interaction O.J. Simpson had before transitioning from beloved celebrity to America's most famous (alleged) wife-killer is retroactively creepy, but this one takes the pudding cake. In 1981, Playboy announced the "Cosby Celebrity Challenge," a mega singles tournament featuring O.J. and several of the era's hottest celebrities ... plus a bunch of half-naked women. The event was presented as Cosby's chance to prove to Hollywood that he could swing a racket with the best of them, but it's hard not to read a whole lot of ulterior motives into this now.
To see Simpson and Cosby in such a setting -- a Vegas event hosted by the purveyors of the objectified female form -- makes a certain kind of sense. What's sadly confusing is seeing these two walking dangers toward women happily participate in the same wedding party. Four years after their sexy sports match, Cosby and Simpson watched as Phylicia Rashad, Cosby's Cosby Show wife, and Ahmad Rashad, Simpson's football-playing friend, tied the knot. It's a miracle this event is still documented, as copies of the wedding party photos spontaneously burst into flames accompanied by organ music and faint cackling.
Monroe S. Frederik II / Jet Magazine
Speaking of wives, no one could have predicted what happened to O.J.'s ... except, of all people, Donald Trump. At least, we think that's the point of this unnerving anecdote Trump once told during The Howard Stern Show:
With his trademark tact and empathy, Trump goes on to say that O.J.'s wife would be "kissing his ass" now that he's "the biggest star on television." But don't worry, we're reasonably sure that when Stern asks if he'd kill his ex-wife and Trump says he'd think about it, he was joking. Like, 63 percent sure.
When Joaquin Phoenix flipped his car on a Los Angeles road in 2006, the first thing he reached for after the shock began to set in was a pack of smokes and his trusty lighter. That's understandable, to a point. But you know, maybe get away from your demolished vehicle first, unless you're an actual phoenix and can survive the flames.
Luckily for Phoenix, a guardian angel was waiting in the wings. A nearby man saw the state of Phoenix's vehicle, noted the gasoline pouring into the overturned car, and saw Phoenix reaching for his lighter. This fortuitous stranger confiscated the lighter, implored Phoenix to calm down, broke a window, and dragged the helpless actor to safety. The man then jumped into his car and disappeared into the ether like the beautiful deus ex machina that he is. That's because that man was the legendary Werner Herzog, director of Grizzly Man.
According to Phoenix, "I got out of the car and I said, 'Thank you' ... and he was gone." If it sounds like a scene from some bizarre indie movie, that's because it is. Some benevolent soul who learned of the close encounter took upon themselves to animate Herzog's narration of the serendipitous moment for our benefit. Bless you, gentle stranger.
If you'd rather not live in a world without Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie (painfully) doing it on a mound of cash, head to your nearest Twitter account and thank the venerable Tommy Chong (of "Cheech and ..." fame) for his sage words of wisdom. You see, in 2004, Chong found himself serving nine months in prison for, believe it or not, selling drug paraphernalia.
Of course, this was one of those comfortable rich people prisons, like the one at the end of The Wolf Of Wall Street. In fact, it was exactly like that, because it was the same prison. Chong found himself cellmates with Jordan Belfort, the eponymous wolf and convicted fraudster played by DiCaprio in the movie. Each night, Belfort would regale Chong with depraved bedtime stories outlining his wild debaucheries. Chong would listen intently, only taking breaks to write his book. Belfort became interested in Chong's literary pursuits and began writing a book of his own, a crappy detective noir story long on hack and seriously devoid of any kind of substance. Recognizing Belfort's ample time to improve on his work, Chong gave the aspiring writer some genuinely useful advice: "This. Is. Terrible."
If the co-author of this scene offers you writing advice, you listen.
Chong told Belfort that he should ditch the half-assed detective crap and write about his days on Wall Street instead. Belfort snatched the pages away from his cellmate and didn't talk to him for a month ... but still started doing exactly what Chong suggested. The resulting book would become the basis for Martin Scorsese's famous film, but even as he wrote it, the still-butthurt Belfort refused to show Chong any of his pages. They remain friends to this day, but Belfort didn't even score Chong a cameo on the movie for inspiring the book that made him filthy rich again.
If you grew up loving comic books and rock music, prepare to hate the Zappa kids. Not only did they get to have Frank Zappa as their dad, but they also got to hang out with artist Jack Kirby, co-creator of like half the Marvel Universe. Zappa and Kirby would get together frequently to smoke, exchange lofty ideas, and bitch about their industry woes.
One grievance heard 'round the Zappa dinner table was about how Kirby was certain George Lucas had stolen Star Wars from his Fourth World comics -- a cosmic saga wherein the main hero turns out to be the son of the dark villain and uses the power of "the Source." Not sure how he got that impression.
Zappa would occasionally suggest panel ideas to Kirby, and at one point, they were even working on a comic strip adaptation of his song "Valley Girl." Of course, this being Kirby, he managed to turn a song about California slang into utter insanity:
Zappa is the right amount of creative crazy for this match-up to make a fair amount of sense. But he wasn't the only music royalty Kirby crossed paths with. Paul McCartney once wrote a song inspired by his work, "Magneto And The Titanium Man." The next time McCartney came to Los Angeles, Kirby's assistant's brother told Sir Paul's people that Kirby had a sketch for him ... which, of course, he didn't. When McCartney agreed to meet with him, Kirby was blindsided with the arrangement and told that he had a few hours to whip up a drawing for one quarter of the goddamn Beatles. No pressure. Kirby's resulting "quick sketch" of McCartney and his band battling Magneto is more epic than some entire comic book runs.
McCartney rewarded Kirby for his short-notice skills by inviting him to his band's performance later that night. Said band was Wings, but hey, it's the thought that counts.
Whether it's an incoherent rant on lies in the media, a well-planned stink bomb of an album, or aimlessly trespassing into random people's yards, Bob Dylan approaches everything he does with a carefree sense of pure batshit lunacy. Dylan's penchant for taking things to their fever dream hallucination extremes even carries over into his love of movies, as Val Kilmer found out one fateful day.
When Kilmer discovered he was in New York the same time as Dylan, he reached out to see if it would be possible for the two of them to meet, because Kilmer is a human born in the 20th Century and therefore a fan by default. Dylan returned Kilmer's phone call immediately, exciting Kilmer to no end. And then things got ... weirdly stalkery.
Sony Pictures Classics
Dylan rushed over to meet Kilmer and insisted on talking about one of his favorite films, the Kilmer-starring western Tombstone. Kilmer felt uncomfortable with this topic of conversation and attempted to change the subject, so Dylan finally asked him to "say something" about the dang movie. Kilmer refused, joking off the request by asking Dylan to perform "Blowin' In The Wind." It's unclear what happened next -- Kilmer just says "I turned him down," so we can safely assume there was no blowing of any kind at the Kilmer residence that evening.
Kilmer would later experience guilt over not acquiescing to Dylan's demands, and recorded himself singing a cheerful Dylan tune ("It's Alright Ma, I'm Only Bleeding") while reciting lines from the film. Sadly, this recording doesn't exist on the internet, probably because Dylan wore out the original tape watching it over and over while crying tears of happiness.
Kristian Dowling/Getty Images for Lotusflow3r.com
Prince was a force to be reckoned with, and reckon they did. Who, you ask? Every goddamn person who ever crossed paths with the man. Anyone who met him has a story to tell, and every single of them is a doozy. When Matt Damon and his Bourne Ultimatum costars were gifted with tickets to a Prince concert, Damon awkwardly tried to make small talk with the purple one. He asked Prince about his home in Minnesota, remarking that he once heard that was where the pop music god resided. Prince responded with, "I live inside my own heart, Matt Damon." The "you dumbass" was implied.
Another time, Prince sauntered into a club at 2 a.m., and hip-hop artist Talib Kweli watched as he ushered all the men in attendance right out the door, leaving only Kweli and the female patrons. And then, of course, Prince whipped out his ... Bible, and immediately began reading scripture to the crowd.
Prince had a penchant for crashing parties and infusing them with wholesome entertainment. He once demanded that Roots drummer Questlove DJ a last-minute after party for him following a gig. Questlove obliged, only to be fired shortly thereafter and replaced with a DVD of Finding Nemo.
And then there was that one time Prince rented former Chicago Bull Carlos Boozer's Beverly Hills home, only to stealthily renovate it so damn much that Booz drove by it multiple times, not even recognizing it. As one of Boozer's friends recalls:
Prince's surprises extended beyond turning his landlord's weight room into a nightclub. When Kevin Smith called the musician to get the rights to "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World" for use in his film Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back (which never was granted), Prince lectured Smith on the extensive use of profanity in his works. He then whisked Smith away to Paisley Park to work on a still-unreleased documentary ... for free. As if "being bossed around by Prince for a while" wasn't a form of payment in itself.
Not every run-in with the funk superstar is so intensely Prince. When the suave crooner met one of his own idols, Muhammad Ali, he was like a kid in candy store. How awestruck was he? Well, he actually forgave Ali when he slipped and called him Prince instead of "The Artist," as he was going by that time, so a lot.
Better yet, Ali and Prince bonded right away over their love of magic tricks. Ali performed a levitation trick for Prince, who reciprocated by jumping on a table, because who would dare to tell him he couldn't? That person hasn't been invented yet.
Carolyn invites everyone to randomly encounter her on Twitter.
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Nightmarish villains with superhuman enhancements. An all-seeing social network that tracks your every move. A young woman from the trailer park and her very smelly cat. Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits, a new novel about futuristic shit, by David Wong.