I'm a Q-lister

My father was more into the idea of celebrity. His sense of importance was measured by how many A-listers he could talk to on a daily basis at his tuxedo shop. He'd bring home autographed headshots of Michael Jackson or Jane Fonda and expect me to go as g

My sense of fame is off-kilter. I worked at _The Tonight Show_ and got this close to Halle Berry, Hillary Clinton, Tom Cruise, Denzel Washington, Tom Petty, Steve Carell, and a slew of others. But I was never totally amazed by any of it. You walk by someone that famous and you sorta feel like there's nothing to it because it's a setup—it's staged, this Hollywood thing.

I was always more fascinated by the F-listers and the notorious. When you're able to talk to the original Hamburglar in the McDonald's ads or the midget from _Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,_ it feels a little more like a novelty. It's not everyone who could mention experiences with either.

My father was more into the idea of celebrity. His sense of importance was measured by how many A-listers he could talk to on a daily basis at his tuxedo shop. He'd bring home autographed headshots of Michael Jackson or Jane Fonda and expect me to go as gaga as a three-year-old.

When I got older, I dated an F-lister comedian who was much the same way. He felt that the more famous people he could take pictures with, the more credible he was as a performer. I thought knowing him was much more incredible than knowing Tom Cruise. When I got involved in comedy myself, it was his spirit that made me fearless.

He was an F-lister to the world, but an A-lister to 20. He may not have had a billboard to his name, but his earnest attitude inspired. His knowledge of the business taught me.

Since I'm from Los Angeles, it was guaranteed that I would be involved in celebrity culture no matter what choice I made. I was a child model and a terrible child actor. My face was on baby _Vogue;_ I had been in _Rolling Stone_ magazine; I had met Debbie Gibson. The problem was that I wasn't into it. I never became a Hannah Montana because I wanted to be in school instead. It made me somewhat of a Q-lister.

Kato Kaelin lit fireworks for my friends and me on the Fourth of July. At age ten, I knew—we all knew—that he had made softcore porn, and we also knew he wasn't anyone worth knowing. But as soon as the O.J. trial hit, we were proud that we knew Kato Kaelin. It was the simple fact that he was notorious that made us feel like we were somewhat more special than anyone else in middle school. His daughter hated it.

Everyone in L.A. has a similar story about knowing this guy who knows this guy. I'm jaded from it all, but completely interested in joining the fame racket myself. I'd like to eat at a fancy restaurant one day and make people wonder.

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