So you’d love to pop over to LA for the Oscars next weekend? Well, Irish funnyman and Hollywood veteran Mark Hayes says the red carpet isn’t really for people like us.
One thing you should know about Hollywood premieres and red carpet events: They’re awful altogether.
I’ve been to funerals in Ireland that are more fun than Hollywood premieres. Horrendous. But in a manufactured, soul numbing, fun kind of way, I suppose? So that’s nice.
Maybe it’s the fact I’ve yet to be the star of one such Hollywood, red carpet premiere but that would make it even worse I think, being the reason everyone has to gather and fake-smile and distract themselves from the fact they’re all just filling up time to fill the void inside.
First one I went to was a red carpet event for an MTV/VH1 awards show.
My buddy Benny Harris, an English comedian, was one of the talking heads that popped up during the show to discuss the awards and the people nominated, mocking them basically.
He brought me along as his plus one. Didn’t start well. Walking up to the red carpet I clipped a kerb and re-broke a recently broken toe. Handy. Hobble on.
The red carpet was being held in the car park near the entrance and was literally a roll of weathered red carpet that you might get as a free sample from a carpet shop.
About twenty feet long with a white backdrop propped up behind it and a metal barrier on the other side to keep the paparazzi at bay.
Benny’s PR person told him he’d be walking the carpet as he was part of the event. Mentioned to her that I was a comedian too, from Ireland, author, legend, you know, the usual gibber. PR woman told me to walk the carpet too.
Off Benny went. Strut five feet down the carpet. PR woman held up a sign with his name. Paparazzi, about thirty, start flashing their cameras and shouting at him to look this, LOOK THIS WAY, OVER HERE, HERE! Flash on. Benny strolls down to the end of the carpet. I’m up next.
PR woman has me held by the elbow. She’ll shove me on when it’s time to go. Like a sprinter at the blocks, I’m raring. Let me loose, lady, let me do my awkward weird face smile pose!
She goes to leave me go then pulls me back. I’ve been bumped. Limo has pulled up alongside us. Doors open. Puff of smoke billows out, followed by the one and only Snoop Doggy Dogg, or just Snoop as I call him.
Snoop and his crew saunter past me and onto the carpet. Photos, interviews, cameras, lights, smoke, charm, the lot.
I’m standing there, watching, waiting, sweating in the heat, still being held by the elbow, like a child, wondering if I gave Snoop the right kind of fist bump when he greeted me, you know, all the usual.
Snoop finishes up. Whole crew heads into the theatre. Event is about to start. PR woman releases my elbow with a whimper. Fine, you can go now, kind of thing. On I strut. Hobble. Broken toe. Limp down the red carpet.
Paparazzi have all started to pack away their stuff, put the lens caps on their cameras. Few of them see me standing there, waiting against the backdrop. Start screaming
“WHO ARE YOU, WHO. ARE. YOU?!”
PR woman never held up a sheet with my name on it. Schoolboy. I yell back “I’M ME!”
They all look at me like I’m a clown. One paparazzi guy takes a photo. Flash blinds me. Then I hear, “Sorry, accident.”
So that was fun.
Main event was even worse. Everyone sitting in the audience. People come out and tell you when to cheer and clap and look like you’re having fun.
Like a bunch of dancing monkeys. YAY YAY YAY — commercial break — and we’re back — YAY YAY YAY! That kind of thing. Wasn’t even a free bar.
Plus Benny got chopped from the video segments. All in all, a lovely day out.
My old roommate Rob Sheehan brought me along to a couple of red carpet events too. More or less went in the same vein.
Except this time I wasn’t asked to walk the carpet. Told more to “STAND OUT OF THE WAY, WE JUST WANT ROB ON HIS OWN.”
So that was fun. Standing in the gutter next to the free sample of red carpet, out of the way.
Movie premieres have an odd buzz too because everyone who was working on the movie now just wants to know what other people in the movie are currently working on.
The fear of the next job looms over the events. Or maybe just because these had no free booze either so I had too much time to overthink everything.
Unless you’re a star or a main attraction you’re kind of demoted to the lower classes by other partygoers.
Women walk by checking you out, scanning your face before realising, ‘nope he’s not famous or in the movie, not worth talking to’.
So that’s nice.
Did almost go to a good premiere recently though. Almost. So close.
My buddy Sofia Boutella invited me to her Star Trek premiere that was on in San Diego at Comic Con.
Big, huge event. Full orchestra was going to be playing live during the movie to provide a soundtrack. Conan O’Brien was introducing it — outdoors, with fireworks, the whole shebang. Mighty, mighty.
Except traffic was so bad it took me five hours to get to San Diego instead of three like I thought. So I missed the premiere. But I did make the after party. So that was fun, I suppose.
Milling around this swanky rooftop shindig (lot of milling at these events). Free food, booze, the works.
This one was pretty star packed (besides myself). At one point I’m standing between Idris and Christian Slater. Three of us, shoulder to shoulder.
And you know what, I think I was the best looking of the lot (Idris was in shorts and Christian was going a bit bald). So that was nice.
JJ Abrams asks me what I thought of the movie. Tough to say I didn’t see it so I just say “Yeah, it was great, I liked the… ship and alien bits”.
Told him he looked a bit more like a GG than a JJ. Not sure if he got it. He looked at me. Silently. Then walked away. Classic GG.
Chatting with Simon Pegg. Tell him that I was a big fan of his show Spaced. I’ve never seen it. No clue why that lie popped out of my mouth.
Maybe all the Red Bull and free chicken in me had me jacked up all weird. Just spouting out gibberish.
“You know, Simon, my first book and your first book were neck-and-neck in the charts on Amazon Humour before for first place and mine beat yours I think and have you seen Sofia? By the way, are we best friends now?”
Simon Pegg laughs nervously, backs away from me. Classic Simon.
Had a good laugh with Sofia at least.
Then I head home. Drove down and didn’t book a hotel so had to drive back to LA again at two in the morn.
All in all, not a bad red carpet, Hollywood premiere.
It was in San Diego.
On the way home the clutch in my car exploded, I got stranded in the middle of nowhere, AAA tell me it’ll cost $1200 to tow my car home, I haggle the guy down, he said he’d do it for cheap after he finishes work, so I sleep in my car for five hours on the side of the road, and eventually get home by noon the next day.
Red carpets are the best.
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