My brushes with fame – part three. Ludacris (the rapper)


(This is part three of a series. You can find part one here, and part two here)
At my former employer, one of my co-workers was the guy who came up with the most awarded radio campaign ever. yeah, that one! Now i have won my share of ad awards but this guy has had an insufferable run. so much so that he sometimes needed people to cover for him at awards shows. so after he and his partner bowed out of attending a somewhat prestigious radio awards show for the umpteenth time, he kindly nominated me to show up in his stead. it entailed a potentially fun night in new york so i agreed. i like new york. i used to live there. it was summer. what the hell!

so i go there. and spend the first hour explaining to attendees that i am NOT in fact the guy they’d hoped to meet. more wine was consumed and i kind of stopped doing that. i happily pretended that i was who they’d hoped i was. they had come all the way from paraguay! what was i supposed to do? disappoint them?

So the awards show gets underway.  It was one of those awards shows where they serve dinner as they dish out the gongs.  i made many fake acceptances.    And the guy sitting next to me is a young Jamaican-Londoner. He hears me tell somone at the table that i used to live in NYC. But what he doesn’t realize is that it had been 7 years since i lived there. everything changes in New York every three years. all my former hangouts were long gone. i tried to communicate this to him but it fell on deaf ears. he thought i was his ticket to New york excitement baby!  ouch. so not the case.  i am a middle-aged white guy with three kids  who lives in the Chicago  suburbs.

After the awards show, i was laden with a shedfull of  gold and silver awards.  so  i suggest going back to my hotel bar for a drink.  so we’re back at my hotel in the bar and my pal starts nudging me in the ribs.


He pointed towards an African-American guy with corn rows seated next to hot girl. An enormous bodyguard type sat in front of them.  there was nobody seated near them.  And sure enough, it was Ludacris himself. Even I knew who who he was. My London pal suggested we go over and introduce ourselves. I dismissed the idea. Ludacris looked like he wanted privacy. But it turned out that  he didn’t.

We both went and sat down at a table far from Luda boy. I facing in the general direction of Ludacris.  Then suddenly i noticed Ludacris was gesturing to me to come over to him. doing that index finger “i mean you” thing. I was convinced i’d somehow insulted him and that this was surely the end for me. So I reluctantly creep over. He’d clearly noticed my friend’s excitement at seeing him.  So he  invited me and my new found friend to join him and his girl for a drink. I agreed. I was not a fanatical fan but i appreciated his coolness. I went back to Londoner and told him. he nearly died of ecstatic transport. i did have magic new york powers!

So he bent Ludacris’ ear about music etc. I told Ludacris of some ads i’d done. He liked them. Luda likes Irish people! I mostly chatted with his girlfriend and bodyguard. his girl suggested i get my picture with Ludacris and i foolishly declined. citing my sudden and strident inebriated desire not to intrude on his privacy, i stupidly refused.   Ludacris was somewhat surprised by that too.

i remember buying a bottle of expensive champagne for us all – hey, i was partying with a famous rapper! Ludacris’ girl drank some blue stuff out of what looked like a test tube. Hpnotiq i think. I had some of that too.

we had a great night. Ludacris was cool. simple as that. but of course i have no digital photographic record of any of it. doh!  i got an email from my london cohort the next day featuring some of the hundreds of cameraphone shots he’d taken with Ludacris.

This incident prompted me to, somewhat weirdly, have Sir John Hegarty sign my D&AD Art Directors book when we met in NYC a month later. i wasn’t letting this one get away!  Asking someone to sign something immediately places you in pathetic geek fanboy zone. but i didn’t care.  it was true.  and  i had a feeling we would never meet again. So far i’ve been right.  So I’m glad i did.

21 responses to “My brushes with fame – part three. Ludacris (the rapper)

  1. Thanks Vinny, I will always remember from hereon to get the evidence! I have met with many famous people, Steve Martin (skiing), Bono (benefit night), Charlie Haughey (you don’t want to know!), various members of the Royals (horses, (and I don’t mean them personally!)) and many more… but no pics. Not really worried for me, but telling the kids “Oh yeah, I met him/her” and then getting a disbelieving look would be sooo much better if you could then say, “yeah, see here?”
    The only saving grace is that your London friend now carries a picture of you on his phone and tells his friends you are the man who got him an audience with Ludacris.

  2. At least you’re the enthusiastic type, Vinny. Trust me, it’s WAY WORSE to be like me! – I’m unable to make personalities feel special in any way. But I really don’t feel anything special while being around famous people, I just don’t and I can’t fake it. I do admire some of them a lot, but it’s no different from admiring one of my friends. And I know they are used to being treated as gods, so when I show up with this you’re-great-so-what-I-eat-ambrosia-too attitude, the contrast is pretty strong and I feel awful, I think I look like a self-important – thank god I’m highly entertaining as a compensation for that, which probably makes me look more like a naughty kid.

  3. Pat,

    Steve Martin is someone I w0uld love to meet. have you read his book? born standing up. it’s brilliant. a great story. whenever i’m in LA i keep an eye out for him. i’m sure we’ll get on great when we meet;-)


    I am an appalling celebrity whore. I love meeting famous people. and am utterly fascinated by fame and how it works.

  4. Hi Vinny
    First time for me on your blog. Hope I get a chance to peruse more so it’s just a quick one as I’ve got to get to the pub to watch the international footy. Sorry to rub it in as I know you must be still working at 1.45 your time?!

    I’m a bit of a celeb whore myself. It always tickles me to spot one on my rounds about my adopted town. London Town that is. Sometimes I’ll say hello, sometimes a nod and a smile, sometimes I’ll blank them just for the hell of it! The ego has landed and all that jazz. Gene Hackman is the biggest for me. Saw him coming out of The Ritz with what can only be loosely described as a loose woman. He met my eyes with a knowing smile. I also managed to speak to Richard Harris in The Coal Hole before he shuffled off this mortal coil. Steve Martin would be cool to bump into but one have a better chance in Manhattan than L.A?

  5. John W. thanks for stopping by. you really should be over at dave’s blog you know!

    i had a great sighting in london years ago. i was in a pub on shaftesbury avenue when Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Liza Minnelli got out of a limo in front of my eyes. and of course i was on my own at the time.

    and speaking of loose women, i once saw a well known irish film actor with a hooker in manhattan. he too gave me the “hey, i’m just havin’ a bit of fun” look.

    Richard Harris would have been an excellent find. A real character i’d imagine.

    Peter O’Toole once knocked on the door of my house in Ireland when i was a teenager. I nearly died of shock when i opened the door.

    for some reason i’ve always been quietly confident that i will somehow meet Paul McCartney at some point. no idea why!

    Steve Martin lives in LA, as far as i know. he’s a native Californian.

  6. Well Ireland won their world cup game 2-1 after trailing thanks to 2 goals from Robbie Keane. Meanwhile England lost in Spain 2-0.
    Catching part of the Rat Pack is impressive.
    I always thought Lawrence of Arabia was born in Yorkshire. Turns out he was brought up there.
    Didn’t see anyone on my travels back from the pub tonight so I’ll leave you with past sightings of Jeremy Irons in Covent Garden doing his best Orson Welles impression in The Third Man when he was lit up in a doorway, John Malkovich off Oxford Street nr Bond Street looking aloof and The Jackal aka Edward Fox in a hurry off Oxford St too.

  7. I’d be happier to meet the two of you.
    (See, Vinny? That’s how the Latins do it.)

  8. Ireland won? Nice.

    yes, peter o’toole was born in limerick raised in yorkshire. and ended up living near galway. where i encountered him.

    i sat next to the wee hobbit actor elijah wood in a sushi restaurant in LA once. that guy is tiiiiiiiiiny. even by actor standards. and his girlfriend was even smaller. think they both consumed 100 calories of fish between them!

    and i once worked with spike lee. but working with someone doesn’t really count in my book. jeremy irons dramatically framed in a london doorway. you can’t buy that.

    and i fear anca is having a seizure of some sort!

  9. john w.

    this is a recent one. i was flying back to chicago from new york. i’d upgraded to first class. and i’m going through the first class only security line. and doing all the stupid “terrorist prevention” stuff, when i hear a voice behind me moaning about the stupidity of it all. and it sounded a lot like John Cleese. And it was! but it took me a while to realize that. so i said something bland like “You got that right dude!” and turned to face JC himself. He is VERY tall.

    He then went into a just-for-me rant about the stupidity of it all. i was in heaven. he was funny. but it was the weariness we all feel. and i happily resisted the slavish adoration thing and just wished him farewell. i really think he thought i had no idea who he was. success!

  10. Have you noticed that you only meet famous men and no famous women? What does it mean?

  11. Anca, could I be very rude/brave to say that it is easier for a famous woman to dress down and pass under the radar than it is for a famous man? Thus easier to see the man, he usually is as he is.

  12. Ha! Excellent, Pat! You know this could be turned into a script for a TV ad, don’t you? Brilliant.

  13. The possibilities are all around us Anca. Surely that is part of the reason for this whole blog-writing thingy? The exercise of writing is good for creativity in itself, but the feedback some posts generate is like an online brainstorming exercise! Usually good fun too!

  14. …and that’s why I keep saying that you don’t need an office to be a creative, not in 2009. The only “control” a CD can have over a creative team’s activity is to keep them involved. More than ever, it is now visible who’s a good CD and who’s not, they have to take the blame for not creating an engaging context.

  15. World Cup Qualifier Ireland 2 Georgia 1, Vinny.
    Interesting point Pat (hello again to you – we met on Dave Trott’s blog – my father is from Mountshannon, Co Clare – mother’s side from Tipp!) Probably it’s because women wear make-up and without it they sometimes look a little different. I had to double take when I saw Cate Blanchett over at a dining table in Blackfriars once. She was in company so I didn’t bother her.

  16. Glad you didn’t “bother” her john w. You might have been arrested! Would have been confirming the Irish stereotype then. Esp with that mix of Banner and Stonethrower in you.

  17. Not why that is Anca.

    Pat has a good point. Famous women (ie entertainers) tend to trade on their looks more. i did see Jennifer Aniston in a restaurant in Malibu celebrating her birthday. but she was in full Jennifer Aniston mode. I think famous women tend to “hide” more.

    And Pat is right. I’ve noticed that my writing skills have improved a lot since i started blogging. i found i didn’t actually write that much in my job. despite technically being a “writer” for years. you don’t really “write” commercials. you shoot them.

    and blogging is a great way to meet new people. Anca, Pat, John W. for example.

  18. And you too Vinny. This “Brushes with Fame” series has been good so far. Interesting to see can you top it with Part 4.

  19. I still think we could set up the first virtual advertising agency.

  20. Pat,

    I may have to dig deep to top Ludacris.


    i think we are doing that. it’s something that happens organically.

  21. That’s why it makes a lot of sense — there’s no effort required.

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