My wife has supernatural face memory and always sees celebrities when we are together. I am sure I saw many more celebrities without realizing it. Overall, fun sightings, but not as awesome as 2017 (Fred Armisen, Jemaine from New Zealand and Flight of the Conchords, Abbi from Broad City).
The following entries are in chronological order.
Josh Flagg (January)
Angelinos look at me crazy because I take the bus to work. Well, the joke is on them because, aside from helping me stay productive, the bus helps me celebrity spot as well. Josh Flagg is one of the few tolerable characters on my favorite guilty pleasure show, Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles, and he paralleled my bus on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood for a few minutes recently. I definitely did not get very excited and take photos almost constantly for five minutes. Definitely not. UPDATE: Saw again in late 2018.
Stuart from Big Bang Theory (January)
Seen at brunch at Botanica Restaurant and Market, a hip “Israeli” restaurant in a quiet part of Silver Lake.
The Third Dude from Lonely Island (April)
Also known as the DJ in Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, my wife and I saw him while waiting for a table at Salazar. I would not have recognized him, and the tacos were fine. You pay for the ambiance.
Jessica Koslow, about 1/10 of the time I walk Chestnut (first sighting in May)
Jessica Koslow is the former chef, and now empire builder, behind Sqirl, one of the best, and most Los Angeles, restaurants in all of Los Angeles. A great pleasure of where I live is that I can walk there in 2 minutes. Over time, my dog has also discovered she can walk there – though it’s about 8 minutes with her – and now insists on going by every morning. One morning, around mid-May, she was talking to an assistant. The second morning, in early June, she was with a contractor. Sadly, paper covered the windows, and a sign announced the restaurant was on vacation for two weeks. This well-deserved vacation meant my dog could not have her daily crumb breakfast, and I conveyed her disappointment to Jessica. Jessica expressed her sympathy, and we moved on. In other words: I HAD A CELEBRITY INTERACTION!!!!
Jordan Peele (June)
Okay, so my wife saw Jordan Peele, but I’m putting it here because why wouldn’t I. He was having a Saturday brunch with friends in Los Feliz.
Najat Kaanache (June, Fes)
Najat Kaanache is the chef at Nur in Fes, Morocco. Moroccan born and Spanish raised (after age 17 according to VICE, though Wikipedia says she was born in San Sebastian, Spain), her peripatetic life includes substantial experience at Alinea, The French Laundry, Per Se, Noma, and El Bulli. You know, just the best restaurants of the last two decades, no big deal. My wife and I booked a celebratory meal at her Fes restaurant. Meeting the chef is not included, but meeting a porter to help you find the restaurant is. An undercover tourist police was giving our porter trouble for being an unlicensed guide, which apparently is preposterous because Nur uses a porter for all of its reservations, has never had a problem, and is well known by the police. Our porter called the chef, Najat, to resolve the situation. She arrived, things were fixed, and we got to chat with her on the way back. That’s how we learned Netflix is going to feature on its new season of Chef’s Table.
Mayor Eric Garcetti (July)
Whole Foods 365 for the win! I was checking out and heard someone approach a man. “I don’t normally do this, but I love your work. Can I have a photo?” she exclaimed. Dressed in a suit with a similarly attired woman slightly behind him, the guy clearly wasn’t a celebrity. Two suited men, burly, were about 20′ away. While an actor could have this entourage, someone of that stature would probably not buy their own groceries, much less at the cheap Whole Foods. The lady happened to exit the store after me, and she told me it was Mayor Garcetti. “The future president,” she gushed.
Mark Duplass and Katie Aselton (July)
Mark Duplass is Pete from The League and Katie Aselton, his wife, plays Jenny, Pete’s sister-in-law. I actually prefer Jenny as a character because she is the show’s only multidimensional female character. I think Pete is my fourth favorite character: Taco, Andre, Jenny, then Pete. My wife noticed Mark when I sat down next to him at a showing of Ocean’s 8. Even though he and I made eye contact because that’s what you do with the person you’re sitting next to, I am bad with faces and it was dark (previews had already started), so I did not recognize him. But I loitered outside of the theater entrance after the movie, confirming it was him. I did not know then that his wife is also an actress, so I was not paying attention. But she was there, so it counts!
Mary Holland (July)
My big revelation of late July is that you can pay to see famous people. This development is huge. I learned this because my wife and I decided to catch a random local show, and Mary Holland was a guest. Who? Wikipedia says she is most famous for Shelly on Blunt Talk, but I know her as Shawnee Tanz, Jonah’s social climbing wife from Veep. The show was a live podcast, and she was very funny.
Mayim Bialik (September, but also Tishri 5779)
I was on the fence about going to morning Rosh Hashanah service and had a moment of crisis choosing between a Reform or Conservative service. Glad I chose Conservative! I saw someone who looked like Mayim Bialik (Blossom from Blossom, but most famous for playing Amy Fowler in Big Bang Theory) walk in with a shofar and kid (10? 12? 8? I can’t tell kids’ age), but I am bad with faces and figured Mayim could afford a real synagogue. The signs kept pointing to it being her: her PhD is from UCLA; Wikipedia said she had a kid in 2008, and the boy with her sort of looked like one in a paparazzi photo of her at a farmers’ market; and her voice (she spoke briefly just before blowing the shofar) sounded just like Amy’s. Googling “Mayim Bialik shofar” turned up a lot of interviews where she mentioned her love of Judaism and the shofar. (I have Yom Kippur to ask God to forgive me for stalking her using my smart phone, but I couldn’t help it.) At this point, I was pretty certain I had gotten better at recognizing faces, but I was certain once the sermon happened. The Rabbi was discussing how people can be so certain they’re right and how all the professors in the room may have ideas. “I’m sure neuroscientists have thought a lot about this,” he supposed, looking directly at her. DINGDINGDING it was her!
The Mom from How I Met Your Mother (December 8)
This was at Botanica for brunch, celebrating my wife’s birthday with her parents. (I guess this year I learned that Botanica is a good place for celebrity spotting.) Jessica saw this actress as we left the restaurant, and I still could not tell you who she is. I guess she’s the “Mother” part of the hit show, but that also means she had very few appearances.
Joe Sasto III (December 22)
Wow, it’s been quite the dry spell, not counting the semi-frequent Kaslow sightings and a second Josh Flagg siting (he was going in the opposite direction). My wife and I went to a pop-up event featuring lots of local bakeries where the proceeds went to a fire relief effort and something animal related. Joe Sasto was one of the strongest contestants on Top Chef: Denver, is from LA, though I haven’t been to his restaurant, and was fun to watch. The event opened at 10, we arrived at 10:05, and he was first in line. Chef knows what’s up. It’s the mustache that’s the giveaway.