I Want to be a Star

That’s right, you heard me. I want to be a star!

I don’t want to be a real star like Sir Lawrence Olivier, Marlon Brando, or even Don Knotts. The money sounds good but it seems like way too much work. Besides, I have a proven track record for forgetting lines dating back to Grade 1. In fact, I was the world’s first recorded case of pediatric ulcer as a direct result of the stress of the “write a poem at home and recite it in class without looking” hour in school. I want to be one of those “celebrities for no good reason” (CFNGR) that are so popular today.

There is no shortage of CFNGRs. Even a middle-aged guy like me who is out of touch with what is “hip” and “happening” has heard of Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, and others who one might wonder if they should collectively call themselves “Generation Skank”. I want to be one of them. Not in gender, mind you, but I want my share of done-nothing-to-deserve-it fame, wealth, and glory.

They drive exotic cars, smooch with the world’s most beautiful people, engage in heavy petting in bars that serve drinks that cost at least as much per glass as a trip to The Mandarin Buffet on a Friday night, wear first-run designer originals, and get their names splashed all over the internet, TV, radio, and gossip columns. But I cannot recall them having done anything to earn them such notoriety. I’d fit in nicely.

The only problem is that all of today’s CFNGRs are so young, and there has even been some talk that the iconic CFNGR Paris Hilton is very close to being over the hill. I was born at the tail-end of the Baby Boom so I’m quite a bit older than the average meme incarnate.

When I was a teen, we had a grand total of ten celebrities that even remotely came close to holding this place in the public eye… there was Zsa Zsa Gabor and the nine regulars on Hollywood Squares. Nobody knew why they were famous, but they were. And these ten were not Baby Boomers — they were of my parents’ generation. And the biggest demographic today is still us Baby Boomers, but the current crop of CFNGRs are not! There’s something terribly wrong with this picture.

The way I see it, there’s a huge untapped market of Baby Boomers who would eat up every lurid tidbit of info on their favourite middle-aged CFNGRs. I’d like to get in on the ground floor so that in four or five years when my flash in the pan has long since fizzled, I’d still look fairly young for my three-minute interviews on the “Where Are They Now?” shows. No one likes a doddering has-been.

So now that Paris is passé and Kim has tied the knot (that’ll keep her off the gossip sheets for a good eight months), the time is ripe for a new, but older, generation of CFNGRs to capture the public’s heart.

If there are any publicists or CFNGR handlers who have the vision to be a pioneer in promoting the next wave of celebrity nobodies, here are a few things I would bring to the table if given the chance to spearhead a new era of mature idol worship…

"The Dangerous Look" doesn't necessarily work for all celebrities.

I’ve got “The Look”: Several of them in fact. I’m going to let the cat out of the bag concerning the marketing of entertainment media here… celebrities’ publicity photo facial expressions typically fall into one of three categories, with Look #1 being “Dangerous”. If you look deeply into the eyes of the person in the picture and you begin to feel like they are going to mug you or throw you a beating, that’s “The Dangerous Look”. Take a peek at your CD and DVD cases… most of the stars are trying very hard to look dangerous. That’s the big secret to making an entertainer or CFNGR look more appealing to the booger-picking public.

Look #2 is “The Ready to Face Danger Look”. It is very similar to Look #1 but is characterized by the subject not looking quite so threatening and has a more respectable clean-cut appearance. In these photos the stars just ooze a kind of “when the shit hits the fan, you want me around to take charge of the situation” expression and posture. Frankly, both Look #1 and Look #2 make people look like the kind of assholes that I don’t like to be around anywhere, anytime.

Look #3 is “The Cute and Cuddly Lovable Guy/Girl Next Door Look”. You can spot this look a mile off… the subjects look all happy and friendly like they’ve been at some cult’s recruitment retreat eating nothing but brownies for days.

A good photographer and Photoshop guru can craft a quality Hollywood-standard photo, in any one of the three basic celebrity photo flavours, of just about any doofus who walks into their studio so they’d be able to do it with photos of me, too.

Photos of CFNGRs often fall into a fourth, non-studio category… “The Haggard Stoned-to-the-Gills Look” that they sport when photographed exiting a bar at 7 a.m. This is my own default look, even when I haven’t been drinking. Unless the lighting is perfect and all the planets are perfectly aligned, in photos I tend to resemble Uncle Fester from The Addams Family TV series so I’ll always look like I have been partying very heavily. Life is cruel, but age-onset ugliness can make for good press.

Press Friendly: I don’t see myself punching any photographers but I might annoy the crap out of them with camera-oriented questions like “What f-stop are you using?”, “What auto-focus mode do you usually use?”, “How much does a lens like that cost?”, etc. These dumb questions just might drive them away so I’ll make myself a more attractive subject to them by pledging to roll down my car’s windows when I know they’re around. They’ll appreciate not having to worry about reflections from their high-powered pro electronic flash units. Also, it’s been a while since I did any really heavy partying so for the first while I should be passing out really early. The paparazzi will be clamouring to be assigned to me because once I’m carried off in an alcoholic coma, they’ll be able to wrap things up early and get home to their families in time to tuck in their kids.

SEAL Team Six: I am willing to continue the tradition of my predecessors and “go commando”  but, if at all possible, could you let me ease into this and allow me to go from jockeys to wearing boxer shorts for a couple of weeks first? Commando or not, the public will be relieved to hear that they will never catch a glimpse of my reproductive gadgets because I intend to keep my pants on at all times.

Grooming: I don’t mind walking around with that phony bad-boy stubble on my face. I’ll have my razor modified to leave 1/16″ beard to make sure I’m always dressed for the job.

The Cupid Factor: Nothing grabs and holds the public’s attention quite like getting the scoop on a CFNGR’s sexual meanderings, and I’m not above giving my followers what they want. That being said, it took me decades of picking through the psychos of womankind before I found my incredible wife, and I don’t want to lose her now. So how about we engineer what the public thinks is me stepping outside my marriage but it is really just a very good act? I’m sure Mrs. HoaiPhai would agree to it if she’s part of the planning, is kept up to date on the details, and if my CFNGR income allows her to shop in Paris and relax in Bimini’s better spas.

I was thinking that Jessica Alba might fit the bill as a love interest. She’s an actress, which is crucial in this type of situation, and is already followed closely by the public eye. If she doesn’t work out, then maybe Patricia Heaton, Julia Louise-Dreyfus, Demi Moore, Kristen Johnston, Lucy Liu, Halle Berry, Drew Barrymore, Sarah Silverman, or Denise Richards would meet the criteria. I guess I could be convinced to nuzzle up to them, either one-on-one or in groups, in semi-public places if I absolutely must.

The Spin Off: So if my phony lover is going to make phony trouble with my marriage, why not get Mrs. Hoaiphai into the spotlight? She could get a show on which she and other high-profile women who were wronged by their husbands or lovers get together and talk about the pain, and the tears, and the healing, and blah, blah, blah. The women don’t have to just sit there talking, they could spill their hearts over some sewing and light cooking. We could call the show Stitch & Bitch. The women formerly in Tiger Woods’ life alone could keep Stitch & Bitch stocked with guests for months! I’m sure the Oprah Winfrey Network would pick up a show like that in about a minute!

My Fame Name: We could go with HoaiPhai. There are already a bunch of one-name wonders out there like Bono, Sting, and Fabio. The added bonus is that HoaiPhai is bound to screw up small town announcers who will certainly be befuddled by how to pronounce it. The other option is to go with a catchy two-name name.

I heard of a formula to construct a porn star name for oneself and this just might do the trick. The way to do it is to take the name of your first pet as your first name and the name of the street that you grew up on as your family name.

I have a problem… my family moved half-way through my growing up (and I’m sure Mrs. HoaiPhai will argue that there is little to indicate that I’ve grown up at all). I lived in one house until I was nine years old where I learned to walk, talk, not mess my own pants, read, write, and ride a bicycle. In the next house I lived in until I was nineteen years old, I learned the basics of photography, got my driver’s licence, learned to roll joints, and figured out how to unfasten a girl’s bra while her shirt is still on. Personal developments in both houses have contributed equally to the well-rounded erudite man who sits before you today.

So my fabricated names turn out to be “Nipper Oakdale”, from the first house I lived in, or “Nipper Douglas”, from the street on which I became a grunting teenager.

So I put it to you, dear reader(s)…

  1. Do you think the time is right for this whole Baby Boomer CFNGR idea?
  2. Can you come up with a love interest that is better suited to this enterprise than one of the women listed above? If not, which of the ones listed do you think is the best match for me?
  3. Which Fame Name should I use or do you think HoaiPhai is most appropriate? Any other name suggestions?
  4. What is your Fame Name?

I welcome any input you may have for me. Thanks!

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About HoaiPhai

I'm up late digging up the dirt. View all posts by HoaiPhai

20 responses to “I Want to be a Star

  • The Hobbler

    Alright, first of all, I could handle being a CFNGR too (although I might not need to work as hard at it as you would 😉 ) but, how dare you mention the names of the celebrities you would pretend to date!!! That is almost as bad as laughing when your spouse asks you if you’re as hot as _________. ( http://wp.me/p1Cvgh-7p ) Completely unacceptable mister. Tell your wife that she has my sympathies.

    • HoaiPhai

      I’m sorry that you were offended. If you’re serious about what you wrote after “how dare you” I really think you misunderstand a few things so let me explain…

      I wrote this entry because I cannot understand CFNGRs’ behaviour or the public’s hunger to learn more about them. For the record, I would not want to be a CFNGR. When I wrote about the things I would do if given the chance to be a CFNGR, I wasn’t being serious… it was commentary on the incomprehensible behaviour, in public, of people knowing full well that they are constantly being followed by photographers whose photos will be bought as soon as they are uploaded onto stock photo companies’ servers. “The real me” wouldn’t do those things in private with the curtains drawn.

      At the beginning of the Cupid Factor section, I wrote “…it took me decades of picking through the psychos of womankind before I found my incredible wife, and I don’t want to lose her now”, and I didn’t write that as a safety net in case my wife read the entry and I wanted to have something to show her to get her off my back about the actresses I would be listing later — “the real me” wrote that as the truth as I see it. Looking back on it, I could have written that I’d dump my wife if any of those women came along, and that might have been an even more effective way of illustrating my opinion of CFNGRs’ morality, but even in writing this fictional account of what I’d do for fame and fortune (that “the real me” wouldn’t even want), the thought didn’t cross my mind.

      As for my list of women, I’ll let you know how I compiled it. “HoaiPhai” refers to Jessica Alba a few times across this blog and is a carry-over from my personal life. In one of her movies, my brother and I once remarked that while appearing to be small and cute, she could probably beat either of us up (based on the character she played in the movie). Now when my brother and I talk and one asks the other “What have you been up to?”, if nothing special has happened the response might be “Jessica Alba came over and beat me up”. I thought that I should add more women to the list to underscore real CFNGRs’ promiscuity so I took names of the female leads in some sit-coms and films I like. I have not heard anything scandalous about these women so I felt their inclusion in this list would enhance the aburdity of the whole thing. I assure you, my wife, and the women on this list that I am not some latent stalker.

      “HoaiPhai” is not the real me (all the time). If you’d like to read something more personal and more “real me” than the average HoaiPhai rant, try “Photographic Memory“. I read your entry “What’s the big deal about being ‘in love’?“. My wife and I will be celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary in two weeks and we’re still in “the falling in love stage”. The gas and bathroom items are the only ones on your list of past-this-stage indicators that apply to us. My wife is from South Korea where they have four “Valenine’s Days” every year. On each one, I bring her the traditional gift appropriate for each one (and, technically, on only two of these days a husband is supposed to give his wife a gift), along with gifts more traditionally Western. On top of that, some of the flowers in my “Weekly Photo Challenge: Flowers” post I gave to her for no reason other than to express my love for her. As I said in my post “Korea’s Big Failure“, I cannot imagine my life without her. Respectfully, your sympathies are misdirected.

      • The Hobbler

        I really was just teasing you, but I am glad that you and your wife have been together so long. You really sound like quite a romantic couple. I definitely was not offended by this, I was just joking. I can’t believe that the only two items from the marriage post apply to you. That is impressive.

        My husband and I don’t really celebrate holidays, but that is okay for both of us. The kids are all we care about on Valentine’s Day, Christmas, etc. My son was born on my birthday too, so he gets that day. The only thing I want for a gift pretty much anytime, is a day or two of not having to do anything for anyone. Selfish I know, but when you are a mom, you don’t get much time without having to do a million things. I hope your marriage keeps going strong, and I enjoy reading your blog.

      • HoaiPhai

        Oops! That’ll teach me to reply to comments at 4 a.m.! I thought you were serious. See what a bozo I am? The lengths I go to to defend my wife’s judgement in choosing a husband? Well, everyone now not only knows that HoaiPhai is not my real name, but that he has a sweet and cuddly underbelly. Time to wrap this blog and try again under another name.

        I’m really glad you weren’t offended.

      • The Hobbler

        Don’t you think it’s weird how many of us bloggers suffer from insomnia? It must be a creative thing.

      • HoaiPhai

        Whatever it is, it’s a marriage made in heaven!

  • xeriouslywtf

    It’s a dark path you’re looking to my friend. I know, you can be the guy that kills CFNGRs – surely there can’t be jail time for that. Kim Kardashian should have a bounty on her head, like in the old west, you could be like Pat Garrett from Young Guns 2.

    • HoaiPhai

      The darker, the better! And if I can be the one to kill the whole CFNGR fascination thing, no problem! As long as I make a decent buck and get to keep the Ferarri and the designer sunglasses. Come to think of it, I might really kill the whole thing. I put on a leisure suit one time in the early 80s. ONE TIME! And where is disco now? Dead.

      Thanks for dropping by!

      • xeriouslywtf

        I’m imagining a Sunny Crockett from Miami Vice, this look really needs a return. Let the revolution begin!

      • HoaiPhai

        In my books, the Sunny Crockett look never left. Unfortunately, I was never able to pull it off. My look has gone from a short, straighter-haired Tommy Chong to I don’t know what (see photo at the top of this post… I was going for a look as seen in the film 300.). The thing is that a successful CFNGR doesn’t have to emulate anyone else… they could wear a vest made of cat poo and that would become the new trend overnight. You never know… maybe Versace will design and give you a new custom-tailored panda suit just to get in on the Xeriously craze.

        What’s your Fame Name so I can tell you from all the other panda guys out there?

  • Mike Lilly

    I love the idea that we all have the necessary non-qualifications to be CFNGR’s, what a concept! Now to figure out a way to attract the paparazzi.

    This was a wildly hilarious and entertaining post, I’ll have to come back to it again to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

    My Fame Name: Sally Oakland (a little gender confused as it turns out)

    • HoaiPhai

      Here’s how to attract the paparazzi: We employ the flash mob principle in a small town setting to get things rolling, but first we have to research what real paparazzi and/or news photogs look like and how they operate. If a fairly big political figure comes to town, assemble a bunch of pro-looking photogs and “fans” at the big politico’s event. When the real press’ attention is on the politician, have your up-and-coming CFNGR enter the scene and then all your phony paparazzi and fans swarm the neo-CFNGR, making enough noise to draw attention to your star. Then you have people call up the local radio talk shows gushing about how they got to smell his/her hair in person, touched hi/her hand, etc. Repeat until the press recognise there is interest, and they will take it from there. In our case, the word “flash” in “flash mob” refers to the cameras’ flashes.

      Nice Fame Name! Did you ever call your pet “Sal”? Sal can be a contraction for Salvatore, a nice masculine Italian name. “Sal Oakland” sounds like a West Coast mobster name! Congrats! You’ve now got what it takes to be a CFNGR! Now all you have to do is figure out how to get all your friends to flash mob you with cameras and autograph books at some public event.

  • Redneckprincess

    Jessica Alba is totally hot. Good luck with your fame, I will be one of your adoring fans if you really need one, just let me know. Hey what are friends for right?

    • HoaiPhai

      I tend to agree with your assessment of Ms. Alba, although she does scare me a bit. I thank you for your support and I think I’m catching on as a CFNGR… I was at the bank the other day and the security camera was following my every move! It’s only a matter of time now! Woo-hoo!

      What’s your Fame Name?

  • The Hook

    I think you’d make a great celebrity! I look forward to founding your fan club!

  • :Punchie

    “Tiger Chateau” approves this blog post.

  • jennygoth

    id just lie celebs money but not the fame xxjen

    • HoaiPhai

      That’s my ultimate dream. I think that the fame would be fun, but only for a while but I’m not so flamboyant, good-looking, or psychotic to hold the public’s interest for very long anyways.

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