Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Of the Conchords

I've told this story a couple of times but I'm gonna do it again for those of you who didn't hear it. 

Picture it: I'm bustling around work as usual, the cafe/restaurant packed with hungry patrons eager for their bottomless mimosas and spinach and three cheese omelettes. Expertly weaving among the tables on my way to print a check for one of my tables, I look up at the growing number of people waiting at the door to be seated, and he catches my eye immediately. Undoubtedly, it was him. My heart begins thudding instantly. I have to talk to him, I say to myself. I just have to. It was strange because I waited on a pretty famous person once and looked at her with wonder a couple of times but didn't get all giddy about it. But I was so excited to see this guy that I knew without a doubt that I would talk to him. 

So I worked in my head what I would say to him and then approached.

"Excuse me," I said. "May I ask you a question?"

He turned to me. "Sure."

"Are you an actor?"


HUGE grin on my face. I could feel it. "Were you on Flight of the Conchords?" I beamed.

"Yes, I was. I'm in the season finale. I play the concierge in the hotel at the end of the second season," he replied.

"Weren't you also in the first season? You played Quincy Jones's brother?"

"Yeah," he smiled. I think he was a little surprised.

Then of course I did what I thought I'd never do. I gushed. "I watch Flight of the Conchords all the time! I totally recognized you! I don't have a TV but I have the first season on my computer that a coworker put on my desktop right before I left California and I've watched the season countless times and I sent my friends at home a couple of videos from youtube last summer and now they're fans and it was the only thing I watched for the first two months when I moved here and I just think it's a fabulous show the other day I was googling Flight of the Conchords Merchandise and was led to an HBO website and I was able to watch the premier episode of the second season but I'll have to wait til it comes out on dvd," I breathed.

"Yeah, it's a great show," he answered, smiling. "I won't tell you how this season ends, but I think season 2 is even better than the first. They're really coming into their own now."

"Well, my name's D______ and it was great to meet you," I smiled, shaking his hand with supreme pleasure. 

"Yeah, nice to meet you too," he said.

I was hoping he would be seated in my section but wasn't. I was a little disappointed, but I ran his food to him and his family while my coworker took care of them. Now, he appeared in just one episode in the first season for a total of probably five minutes. But like I told him, I've watched the whole season over and over and over again. That's why I instantly recognized him. He scams the band's manager when he sells him "stereo equipment," which turns out to be just boxes of sawdust. He claims to be the brother of famed record producer Quincy Jones and offers to sell Murray hot pants as well.

So after our exchange I'm positively floating through the restaurant, renewed by the chance encounter. I'm giving exceptional service at this point, smiling genuinely at my tables and being really patient and forgiving when they're acting like idiots. 

Towards the middle of their meal, I get it in my head that I would like to have a picture with this man before he and his family leaves, but decide that I will approach him discreetly and request a picture outside so as not to draw attention to him and possibly embarrass him.  I grab my camera from my bag, stuff it in my apron and watch for my opportunity. Once they've paid, his wife takes their two daughters to the bathroom and he's standing in front of the coffee bar waiting for them, his arms loaded with kids' stuff like small jackets and coloring books. Maybe this is a good time to ask, since he's alone and can talk a bit. 

"I just wanted to say again it was so nice to meet you." I grinned widely at him. 

"Are you an actress?" he asked me.

"Oh, I came out here to try everything," I said quickly, trying to change the subject. "I moved out her nine months ago."

"From where?"


"How do you like it here?" he asked.

"Oh I love it," I said and he smiled. 

"Yeah, it's great up here," he agreed. "Have you been to the Cloisters?"

"Yeah, a couple of times. I live very close to Fort Tryon Park."

So we chatted for a couple of minutes. He told me he was from New York, born and raised, and we talked about how cool Inwood and Washington Heights was. I asked him if the show was filmed throughout Manhattan. The outside of the guys' apartment is filmed in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, but that everything else is taped throughout the city.  

"I was wondering if I could get a picture with you?" I asked shyly. "We could take it outside so we don't attract so much attention?"

"Oh... sure," he responded, surprised. "I'm flattered."

By this time his family returned. "She's a Conchords fan," he told his wife. "We're going outside to take a picture."

And that's just what we did. We both stopped the first person walking by, the guy snapped our picture, and he shook my hand once more and asked me my name again, which I gave eagerly. 
He was so nice!

This experience is on the list of the top 5 coolest things that have happened to me in NYC. Ever.


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