Liking stuff is fun — you can enjoy the stuff, and also enjoy the act of enjoying the stuff. It’s a double-win, enjoyment squared. Then there are hardcore fans, who get extra enjoyment out of identifying as someone who enjoys enjoying the stuff, which is enjoyment cubed and becomes life-defining.
But sometimes fans end up ruining things. They take it too far, or make the objects of their fandom uncomfortable, and can end up just sucking the joy out of the whole endeavor or grinding things to a halt. Sometimes there’s a mismatch between one fan’s enthusiasm and the world around them, or they get so emotionally invested in things that their behavior just loses all sense of proportion.
It’s a huge shame really — it takes away from the experience for both other fans and the objects of their fandom. Nothing would take the wind out of your sails more as a famous person than realizing there was now an army of people obsessed with you, not letting you enjoy anything. And then, if that led you to change what you were doing, there’s a shit-ton of fans who’ve done nothing wrong but now miss out on opportunities to engage.
The thing to do, really, is try to separate art from artist and try not to put people on pedestals. They’re all just people doing jobs — they pee and poop and fart like the rest of us — and if we just enjoy their output without getting obsessive or overexcited, surely everyone will have a better time. Then if we meet the people involved we can be like, “Hey, I like your work,” rather than getting all pass-outy and shit-pantsy. Just a thought. Anything that makes the world less shit-pantsy seems like it might be a good idea.
The Horror Fan Who Recognized a Creepy Style
Stephen King wrote under the pseudonym Richard Bachman to test whether he was talented or his success just perpetuated itself. Fan Steve Brown noted similarities and tracked down proof, outing King and ending the experiment. Bachman “died,” from “pseudonym cancer.”
The Anonymous Fan Who Found Wizardry
J.K. Rowling published The Cuckoo’s Calling as Robert Galbraith, in a bid to escape Harry Potter’s shadow. However, an anonymous fan tipped off the New York Times that this obscure new author had a secret, and soon it was all out.
The Man with the Fan and the Boxing-Match Ban
In 1993, a heavyweight fight between Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield was interrupted when eccentric paraglider James Miller crashed into the ring via the overhead lights. The eighth round was delayed while security, uh, beat the shit out of him.
The Drumming Devotees Who Don’t Know When to Stop
Blink-182’s Travis Barker has had several incidents involving fans getting overexcited and breaking into his house. He was so certain stalkers would try to kill him that he had a gun on him during his second wedding in 2004. Creepy.
Malice at the Palace
A 2004 brawl between the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers may not have escalated if not for one fan. As players were cooling off after a fight, a fan threw a drink at Ron Artest and everything went to absolute shit.
The Rowdy Pop Fans Who Turned Violent
Within one week earlier this year, singers Bebe Rexha and Ava Max were both attacked by fans, Rexha took a thrown phone to the eye and Max was slapped on stage. While neither canceled their tours, this’ll definitely affect their future plans.
The Beliebers and Selenators Who Needed More Chill
Selena Gomez canceled all meet-and-greets after overzealous fans nearly collapsed a security barrier on her during her 2016 tour. Justin Bieber also canceled meet-and-greets, citing the “emotional exhaustion” of meeting people who were so overexcited and overwhelmed to meet him.
The Ungodly Priest
At the 2004 Olympics, shitty priest Neil Horan pushed Brazilian runner Vanderlei de Lima, in first place, into the crowd. De Lima ended up coming third while Horan babbled a bunch of nonsense about the end of the world.
The Tennis Fanatic Who Thought He Was Helping
Tennis enthusiast Günter Parche decided that the best thing he could do, as a fan of Steffi Graf, was to stab her rival Monica Seles. Oddly enough, Graf wasn’t impressed.
The Fan Who Made Dave Chappelle Sure He Was Right
Chappelle fan Isaiah Lee had written songs about him, but also felt motivated to attack him at a 2022 show. Not only was this wrong, it also led Chappelle to double down even more on being a dick.
The Amy Schumer Fan Who Did It for the ‘Gram
In 2016, Amy Schumer stated that she would no longer pose for pictures with fans, and it was all the fault of one individual in Greenville who refused to take no for an answer.
The Bon Jovi Fan Who Really Rounded Up
In 2008, Samuel Bartley Steele accused Bon Jovi of plagiarizing the lyrics to a song he wrote, and attempted to sue the band for $400 billion. That’s $400,000,000,000. That’s, what, twice the global movie industry?
The Grunge Fan Who Courted a Hole Lot of Trouble
A Courtney Love concert screeched to a halt in 2011 when a fan held up a Kurt Cobain poster. Love — who was married to Cobain — became extremely upset before, fairly confusingly, trying to get the crowd to chant that Foo Fighters were gay.
The Foo Fighters Fan Who Lowered the Tone
A 2011 London Foo Fighters show stopped mid-song when Dave Grohl spotted a fight. Eventually it got back on track after a stern talking-to: “You don’t come to my show and fight, you come to my show and fuckin’ dance, you asshole.”
The WWE Fan Who Felt Personally Attacked, So Attacked a Person
A wrestling fan who fell victim to catfishing attacked WWE superstar Seth Rollins at a Monday Night Raw taping, pinning him to the floor. A con artist using Rollins’ name — not, crucially, Rollins — had swindled him out of thousands.
The Fame-Hungry Bike Fan Who Knocked ‘Em All Down
At the 2021 Tour de France, a fan holding a sign accidentally hit race leader Tony Martin, who fell and caused over 50 cyclists to tumble. Several broke limbs — multiple limbs — and pulled out, while the fan was fined 1,200 Euros.