I am a total whore for attention, but I prefer it if fans that rush me at least have a vague idea of who I am. “Ain’t you that guy from some TV show?” works for me. (It’s not exactly, “Aren’t you the world-renowned wit Michael Musto?” but it’s warm enough.) What I really DETEST, though, is when people stare at me from two feet away, then muster up the nerve to toddle over and screech insulting stuff like “Who are you?” Or “Aren’t you somebody?” Or “What’s your name again?” It’s irritating beyond belief to have to explain myself (“Well, I’ve written 10,000 articles and appeared on 20,000 cable shows…”) and since I never know which of those things the person might know me from, I have to give my entire resume before one of my credits might click. And I say yes to a lot of credits, honey. In the old days, it was way easier because I could just say “I’m from the Voice and the E! channel,” but now it would be more like, “And I’m on Olbermann and Showbiz Tonight and Theater Talk and I judged the Miss Lower East Side contest and…Anything ringing a bell yet?”
The worst two “fan” utterances of all are “Don’t I know you?” (“I guess not,” I generally reply, “because if you did, you wouldn’t be asking”) and “Where are you from?” (To that I have a scintillating response: “Brooklyn!”) No, wait, even worse is when someone asks my name and I say “Michael Musto.” “No, that’s not it,” they reply, determined to figure out the real answer.
So if you spot me in the street and you think I might be someone you’ve recognized from something or other but you’re not really sure what, kindly say…nothing! Or better yet, “I love you, Michael!”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 14, 2008