Tuesday, July 8, 2014

One of Life's Highlights

This is long, but it also has gifs.

I love a lot of celebrities, yet only a select few fall into my 'LOVE' category: Joss Whedon, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Chris Hardwick come to mind. These are people I would go out of my way to meet. I would donate to any Kickstarter they created, even if they already had millions of dollars. I would do menial tasks for them, just so I can say I work for that person. I've interacted with Chris Hardwick on two separate occasions (three if you count that time he responded to my tweet), and he was delightful each time. I briefly thought this might give me unrealistic expectations for when/if I meet anyone else on my LOVE list. However, on Saturday, July the fifth in the year of our Lord two thousand-fourteen, I was again astounded at the graciousness of celebrity.

Gentle readers, I met Simon Pegg.

Before I get too far into this post, let me first say thank you to two people. Well, one organization and one person. First, thank you, Fantasy Con, for doing whatever you did to get Simon Pegg to Salt Lake City for his first non-SDCC convention. Thank you for timing it when you did so he only had to take a quick flight from Los Angeles. Thank you for all that you are. 

Second, thank you, Simon Pegg, for effectively saying "eh, what the hell?" when Fantasy Con contacted your people. Thank you for taking a day to fly from Los Angeles and meet your fans in the nerdiest state in the nation (according to 

Now, I've been devotedly following Simon Pegg's career since I first discovered him in the mid 2000s ("'obsessive' is what lazy people call the dedicated" -Mack). I honestly can't remember if I saw Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz first, but whatever it was, I went out of my way to find his works and a budding one-way relationship was formed. I knew that in a different world where he wasn't a rising star and I wasn't your run-of-the-mill college student, we'd be friends. How did I know this? 

It wasn't until later that I found out he loved Buff the Vampire Slayer. So, you know, duh. 

I watched his career grow from cult movies to blockbusters like Mission Impossible and Star Trek. All the while I looked on fondly as this man I admired so much was rewarded for being freaking awesome. 

Anyway, Fantasy Con decided to be a thing (or I heard about it for the first time this year, still not sure which it is), and if you read my blog regularly, you know that I only decided to purchase a ticket because of Simon Pegg. 

Every now and then I would remember how many days it was until July 5th or I'd see him tweet something about Fantasy Con and/or Salt Lake City and I'd fangirl with a cheesy grin and watery eyes. I was so freaking excited. 

Then they came out with the prices of photos and autographs. Typically around $35 for a photo and less for an autograph, but Simon was not typical. $85 for a photo and $75 for an autograph. 

I thought long and hard about it. None of the celebrities did pictures at their booths with fans, so it was either pay or get nothing. I decided to pay the $85 for the photo but not get the autograph because I don't care as much about autographs. I was still not super happy because my experience with the professional photo with Sir Patrick Stewart was essentially this:

I did find out later that the guy had gotten zero hours of sleep and decided last minute to come, so I don't blame him for being near comatose. 

Anyway, I bought the photo op and they told me to show at 2, about an hour before it started. This did not sit well with me because that was when his panel started. So at that point it was either miss his panel or miss the picture.  

Luckily, I don't often accept things that are unacceptable (just ask everyone I ever interacted with in the University of Utah's social work department) so I headed back to his booth to see if the volunteers there could tell me to do what I had already decided to do - go to the panel and just rush back for the photo. Good news, they did. 

I sat through panels with Sean Astin and six of the dwarves from The Hobbit in part to make sure I had a good seat for Simon Pegg. As my friend Mike and I anxiously awaited the panel to start (well, anxious for me, he hadn't seen Pegg in much), we thought of questions to ask. Mike got up to get in line a bit early, but I'm a chicken and I waited until they actually said we could get in line. Mike was about 5th in line and I was about 10th. I was okay with that. 

By the way, this whole time I was visibly shaking. Probably for a good 15 minutes before the panel started up until it ended. 

Before I get to my question, some highlights from the panel:
  • Thandie Newton pranked Simon on the set of Run Fat Boy Run. Among other things she put saran wrap over his toilet and left a snickers bar, molded to look like poo, on the floor of his trailer. 
  • One time a guy at some function went up to Simon and said, "Shaun of the Dead: The Musical!" to which Simon replied, "f*@k off" thinking the man was joking. He was not. 
  • Although Fantasy Con was family friendly, Simon didn't clean up his language (and I wouldn't have had it any other way). When he swore for the first time the volunteers looked uncomfortably at each other, all internally wondering what they should do. I think the only thing I didn't hear him say was the C word and he talked about how it's a worse word here than in England. "I even call my mum that. We'll be playing Jenga and she'll make her move and I'm like, 'oh, you [mouths C word]'."
  • If Shaun, Nicholas, and Gary got into a fight, Nicholas would take out Shaun after Shaun hit Gary over the head with a croquet bat. 
  • When Leonard Nimoy said the line, "You are Montgomery Scott" in Star Trek, Pegg giggled and had to do the line again. 
  • Edgar Wright's Ant-Man is a thoroughly Edgar Wright movie and Pegg said it was a shame no one will see it, but he's proud of Wright for sticking to his creative convictions. 
  • Simon Pegg and Nick Frost's meet cute is the best meet cute in the history of meet cutes. According to Pegg, he was out to dinner with a group of people (Frost included) and he made a Chewbacca noise. No one knew what the noise was except Frost, their eyes met, and "Take My Breath Away" began to play in the background. 
I asked him about his show Spaced, which is one of my favorite shows of all time and he took a good chunk of time to answer the question and answered it well. And you know, we totally made eye contact (or close to it, we were still far away from each other). 

That's me asking my question and Pegg looking engaged. My friend recorded my question and his response so I'll add that here as soon as I get it from him.

[UPDATED] So, remember how I said I'd post the video of me asking my question to Simon? Turns out Fantasy Con put the entire panel on YouTube, which is even better. My question starts at 20:30 if you want to jump to that, but I would recommend watching the whole thing. If you skip the beginning and don't see the "foul language" warning, be warned that there is some "foul" language.

*I use "foul" in quotes because the video uses that word and I'm finding it hilarious for some reason, in case you were wondering*

When the panel ended, they took pictures of the room. I can kind of make myself out. If you see the guy in the green shirt next to Simon's fist, I'm next to that guy.

Once that was over, I walked rather briskly to his booth to get in line for the picture. There were more people who skipped his panel or left early than I thought, but the line moved quickly. It probably took maybe 30 minutes for me to get my moment with Simon Pegg.

I walked through the curtain and up to him and he said, "Hey, thanks for your question, I appreciated it!" Needless to say at that moment, I was surprised I had any control over my body at all. He remembered me! I said, "oh, thank you" or something equally lame then asked him to do a cheesy thumbs up for the photo. And yes, I was thinking of this moment when I asked him that:

I said thanks and started walking away but he turned to me and said, "you don't have to clarify. Thumbs up - always cheesy." I probably just laughed and said thanks again because my very being was so overcome with star struckedness.

As I was standing in the line to pick up the photo I just took, I started to regret not bringing something for him to sign. Sure, they had pictures from his movies, but that's hokey, in my opinion. I took a breath and remembered it was another $75. But he was just so awesome, I wanted more interaction. Then it hit me. He could sign the picture I was about to pick up! There was no turning back at that point. I got the photo, bought an autograph ticket, and got into his autograph line.

It was only a few minutes before I got up to him. When he saw the picture he said, "awe, look at us" and I commented on how cute we were. 

As he was signing the photo, I said, "I just want to say, I don't know how they got you here, but I'm very glad you came." He went on to tell me that he had never done a con like this, just SDCC to promote things for work. He was free and just thought he'd give it a try. He said the people had made it a great experience "and you're one of those people." 

And you know, fangirling of epic proportions ensued.

Except on the outside I just said thanks again (probably a couple of times) and left.

I'm sure I could have been a bit smoother. But I feel like my behavior was better than what I'm more often than not wont to do...

Smooth or not, I still felt like a total badass as I left. I had a couple of mini conversations with Simon Pegg. He put his arm around me. I HAD THE PHOTO TO PROVE IT!! YEAH!!

In short, he exceeded any and all expectations I had. The man was friendly, personable, and seemed really down to earth. I knew there was a reason he's been at the top of my LOVE list for so long. 

And after a total fangirl post like this, I feel like I have to clarify to you... 

Cause I know you were gonna ask in that smug way you do. Yeah, you.