There’s a lot to love about LA. Hiking in Griffith Park. Having a cocktail downtown. Lying on the beach in Malibu. Complaining about the traffic on the 405. Playing hobo or hipster in Echo Park. Oh yeah, and those Keys on Van Nuys commercials (“Keys-keys-keys, Keys on Van Nuys.”)
I love you too, Cal Worthington of Worthington Ford.
One thing I am not so fond of? The constant name dropping. No wonder we have names all over our sidewalks here—people in LA treat names like US planes over Baghdad treated bombs.
Let me just warn you in advance: I don’t care about the time you went to Spain with Brad and Angelina. I don’t care that Sting and Robert Downey Jr. threw you a surprise birthday party. I don’t care about the time you sexually harassed John C. Reilly.
It’s not even that I doubt you. It’s just that I have absolutely no interest. You know what would really surprise me? If you lived in LA and had never seen a celebrity.
I am convinced that would be physically impossible. I can’t even leave my apartment without tripping over a b-list sitcom actor. And when I say trip, I mean it literally. I have actually tripped over a b-list sitcom actor (note that I am not telling you which one because that would be name dropping).
I don’t name drop. Never have, never will. However, there is one notable exception and, in my opinion, that exception was completely justified. As far as I am concerned, there is only one name worth dropping and that name is….wait for it…. Carrot Top.
I decided to spare you from seeing an actual photo of the man.
Perhaps I should explain myself. You see, one day, a bragging ex-girlfriend of mine was telling me about a party she attended the night before. She was hanging out with some indie rock band and a famous film director. I think Jesus Christ and Shakespeare might have been there too, but I kind of tuned her out.
As the story dragged on, I decided I would have a little fun at her expense. “Oh yeah?” I sarcastically retorted. “Well, you know who I saw the other day? Carrot Top.” She just looked at me with disgust.
I was attempting to mock her, but I actually had seen Carrot Top the day before and, the truth is, it was kind of awesome. Seeing Carrot Top is a little bit like seeing Michael Jackson—minus the talent but including the grotesque appearance.
When I saw Carrot Top, he was standing in a clothing store in West Hollywood, shopping by himself. He looked dejected and lonely—a broken man with a ripped, muscle-bound body and a misshapen, clown face.
Basically, Bozo on steroids.
My first reaction was to burst out laughing. My second reaction was to stop laughing in fear of hurting his feelings. My third reaction was to continue laughing—he’s a comedian, wouldn’t he want me to laugh at him? My final reaction: no, he wants me to laugh at his zany prop comedy, not at his unsightly appearance.
I walked away feeling sorry for him but somehow also strangely star struck. There’s something mesmerizing about that guy (in a dream-haunting kind of way).
Imagine my surprise when I saw Carrot Top again almost two years later. A couple days ago, an SUV passed my car and a familiar, slightly deformed head with fiery red hair poked through the window. To my further amazement, he stuck his tongue out at me and shook it around as if he was saying, “Carrot Top, hellll yeaaah!”
After the fear had subsided , I smiled and gave him the thumbs up. It was good to see Carrot Top no longer looking so lonely and depressed. He was no longer letting his bizarre appearance and sickeningly unfunny stage act get him down. He had finally learned to embrace the inner Top.
So, here’s to you, buddy. I’m dropping your name because I care.