Living in Miami Florida can be pretty great: Sunny and hot all year round. Beautiful people to look at. And the food... mmmm, food. *drool* In this town, you also have the unique opportunity to rub elbows with stars of film and stage (and field and politics and pretty much everywhere else). If you happen to be at the right place at the right time, of course. Which seems to happen to me a lot. And that was no different this weekend during Miami's ever-growing Art Basel festival.
First about Basel: it's a week long, almost city-wide event where art by a local aspiring artist and/or international megastars can sit side-by-side and be seen by thousands of people. The event has really grown over the years and has become the center of the art world during operation. And it's not just physical art. Musicians also come to be a part of the festivities. And, of course, that brings the celebrities.
Which leads to my newest encounter with the "known by more than most." Now, it takes a lot for me to get starstruck. Mostly, if you're a comic writer or artist, I lose it, but someone on tv? Nah. Mostly, I just wanna say a few words, give 'em a chuckle and MAYBE make a friend. If not, that's cool, but before they go (depending on how the encounter goes) I most times ask for a quick pic. Now, I've been told no before and that's totally cool. I understand that these people are just that: people and want to be treated as such. Well, I randomly met Hannibal Buress and, well... he ended up arrested.
I was with a few friends and we were walking around the Wynwood area of Miami (and where all the festivities were centralized) checkin out all the streetart/art, when we decided to head back. While passing a gallery, someone walking out nearly falls on me. I turned to catch him and to my surprise it's Hannibal Buress. I held him up (he could hardly stand) and I immediately asked if he was ok. He just looked at me through bloodshot eyes as if he was trying to figure out if he knew me or not (I used his first name).
I asked again, "are you ok, man? Do you need to sit down?"
Then he asked, "do I know you?"
I said, "no, but I know you! Haha!"
He smiled and composed himself a bit as I began to make smalltalk. I told him I was a fan and that I had bought Spider-Man: Homecoming on Blu-Ray, blah, blah, blah. He seemed amused, but, still, he kinda swayed back-and-forth slightly. I asked him one final time if he was ok and he said, "yeah" and held his hand out for a shake. So, I did, but thought, "here's my chance:"
"Before you go, man, can I grab a quick picture? No one will belie..." and before I could get the sentence out he stopped with a, "FUCK NO, DOG!"
I was like, "uhh..."
Then began an expletive-laced rant of which I had not received in a while. Half of it was inexplicable.
At first, I was speechless. "Was this an act?" I thought. "Is he for real?"
Then I started to defend myself. Like, "hey, man, it's all good. You don't gotta get like that."
"Nah, fuck that and fuck you!" He said.
"Bruh, I was, just a minute ago, worried about your well-being. If you don't wanna take a pic, that's cool, but you don't have to curse at me."
"You ain't worried about me, dog! You worried about your social media." He said and I understood where he was coming from, but I had totally forgotten about the photo at this point.
"Nah, forget the photo. I don't even want it anymore. I'm talking about before." I said though interruptions. He kept telling me to go fuck myself.
Two minutes of this went by and we were in each other's faces pretty good as I began to get sucked in. A crowd started to gather. He poked my chest.
Now, I had had a few drinks myself, but nowhere near the level he was at. In my mind I couldn't believe what was happening. It was one of the more surreal things I had ever experienced. It sobered me up to be honest. But not before the thought ran through my mind TO JUST SLAP THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF THIS GUY.
You know how like in the movies when the protagonist stabs/shoots/kills the antagonist, but it was just a dream? He snaps out of it just stands there and keeps taking it? Well, that happened. In my mind. I had slapped Hannibal Buress silly and was just standing over his twitching "corpse."
Obviously, that didn't happen. My better judgement took over and I waited for him to finish. Once he did, I apologized for anything I said or did to bother him and if we could start over. I even offered to buy him a drink.
"Fuck you and yo drink!" He screamed.
"Ok, man." I finally gave up. "I'm gonna go back to my friends. Have a good night." And I turned to my friends who were standing with looks of horror on their faces.
"Did... did you know that guy?" One of them said. Neither of them knew who the hell he was.
I found out later that two cops had been alerted to the incident and were walking over when he left me and walked right into them. I didn't even turn around. I just dumbfoundedly walked away and my friends followed.
Later in the night, I texted Nick that I had nearly fought Hannibal Buress on the street (I'm pretty sure he thought it was a joke).
Then I woke to stories of his arrest the next morning and folks tagging me left and right. Karma's a motherfucker, man.