Life is really defined by awkward social encounters and I have many. Here are a few that have made me become incredibly weary of speaking in public without rehearsals.
1. Jy’s Paula
A few years ago I was at the Baxter theatre, having a drink with some friends after a show. When suddenly out of the corner of my eye (which is amazing because the eye is round, so well done to me) I see Paula from 7de Laan. Now obviously her real name isn’t Paula but in fact Diaan Lawrenson but who knew! Below is a picture of her, I circled her face so you know which one I’m talking about.
I immediately alert all my friends of her presence followed by a ‘don’t look now’ and ‘just be cool, act normal’ ‘shhht shhht shht’ – drawing even more attention to myself. I’ve always been a huge fan of Diaan’s character Paula on the show and suddenly realised that I was totally starstruck. A bestie of mine then said that he knows her and will introduce us. I was HYSTERICAL! I almost couldn’t contain the anticipation. So he says, he’ll go to the bar, chat with her a bit and I should follow a few minutes later. I’m ready. Hiding behind a pilar, practising my ‘hello’ voice. Then I pounce like a panther.
Bestie: Hey Anne, ken jy vir Diaan? [Hey Anne, have you met Diaan]
Me: HAAAI JY’S PAULA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [ HEY YOU’RE PAULA!!!!!!!!!!!]
Silence fell over the room.
She gave me one look and walked off. Now I inserted numerous exclamation marks because in my head that’s about the volume that those words came out of my mouth of. Clearly she thought I was some crazed fan who could not differentiate her on screen personality from real life. I don’t know why I said those words but surely she could see the irony. I was a normal person, someone she could share a laugh with about her perils of fame over a glass of Sauvignon Blanc on the set of Pasella. Needless to say, I never saw her again and bestie thought I was possessed – think he just left me there that night.
2. Zapiro – you can be Leo and I’ll be Kate
Im a crazy fan of cartoonist Zapiro (obviously not ‘crazy’ in the ‘i’ll-make-a-shrine-in-your-honour-crazy’ but more of a ‘i’ll-buy-your-book-and-put-it-on-my-coffee-table-crazy’). The man is a legend. And I was totally beyond pleasantly surprised when I met him through a friend of mine. He’s really a great guy and I managed at least 3 encounters with him without making a complete fool of myself. But then came the dreaded night. It was at my friends birthday party and he was also there. All was going well when suddenly he popped past our table to say goodbye. In the loudest voice imaginable, almost like that little girl from the Excorcist when her head starts spinning around I say to him:
You must draw me sometime!! You can be like Leo and I’ll be Kate in that scene from Titanic where he sketches her. Hahahaha *insert manic laughter…only from me*
He nodded and walked off. How could this have happened? He hardly knows me. The shame of it all. I finished my wine and left. Well, not true, I finished several glasses of wine, went out and got a taxi home, totally shamed by my foot IN mouth disease.
3. Marc Lottering and my mum
I’d just started doing stand-up and I was on a flight to Bloemfontein for a gig there. I noticed comedian Marc Lottering on the plane. Im such a huge fan and have been honoured to work with Marc several times since then but this was my very first encouter. I knew he was doing the same gig that I was that night and my nerves were killing me. My parents still live in Bloem and were en route to picking me up from the airport. Due to the huge influx of visitors to Bloemfontein my luggage was taking ages to get through the conveyer belt (well, more like the little man on the bike behind the wall was peddling too slowly) so I was the last one to enter the arrivals lounge. After a tearful ‘hello’ to my mom and pops my dad informs me of what just went down, moments before I entered the room .
My mother, bless her, walked straight up to Marc Lottering and said: HI, I’M ANNE HIRSCH’S MOM!!!
According to my dad, Marc was very gracious but just walked on, clearly trying to avoid the crazy lady. I was devastated. Obviously Marc had never heard of me, I could have died right there. Now we laugh about what happened. And Marc says that he actually thought she said Anne Heche (famous American actress and Ellen Degenerous’s ex). He said he was super impressed that she was in Bloemfontein.
There you go – a few (just a few – there are many many more) embarrassing moments, gotta love them!