Letter Rip: Why People Like Me Have No Celebrity Friends



Me: It is a pleasure to meet you, Jennifer Lopez. You’re even more beautiful in person. Though, I admit, you’re not the first “J. Lo” I’ve encountered in the flesh. Years ago, I spotted Jon Lovitz on the subway.

Jennifer Lopez: I once slept with Jon Lovitz.

Me: You did?!

Jennifer Lopez: Are you an idiot? Get away from me.



Me: Okay, Alex Rodriguez, best A-Rod of all time: you or nineteenth-century French sculptor Auguste Rodin?

Alex Rodriguez: I’m sorry … what?



Me: This is incredible – I can’t believe I’m shaking hands with President Clinton! Did you know, sir, that the vowels in “President Clinton,” when read in order, are the vowels sung in the refrain from “Old MacDonald”?

President Clinton: I’ll tell you something else. It’ll be our little secret. “President Clinton of the USA” is an anagram of “To copulate, he finds interns.”

Me: Holy …! That checks out! Look at the big brain on mister two-term president!

President Clinton: Damn skippy.

Me: Just think – if you had lost to Bob Dole, we would have had a president whose name anagrams to “Boob led.” Ha-ha! That would have been so crazy, right?

President Clinton: Beat it, geek.



Me: Hey, Shamu, get this – the word “orca” contains the U.S. postal abbreviations for two states that killer whales swim by when they’re migrating! Amazing, huh?


Me: Sorry, what?

Shamu: That’s whalesong for “You’re banned for life from SeaWorld, nerd.”



Me: Not to sound like your financial planner, Yoko Ono, but have you ever thought about investing in a 401(k)? It just seems appropriate since your name has four o’s and one k …

Yoko Ono: Who let you into my apartment?



Me: I am a huge fan of your stories, Alice Munro. And congrats on your recent Nobel win.

Alice Munro: Thank you. Suck it, Philip Roth.

Me: Do you always say that when someone congratulates you on becoming a Nobel laureate?

Alice Munro: Yes.

Me: Did you know that you’re the first Nobel Prize winner for literature whose name features a single appearance of each of the five vowels?

Alice Munro: Yes … at least until they give it to “Breaking the Surface” author Greg Louganis. Then it will be me and him.

Me: Ha! That’s right! That’s great! You and I seem to share a love for wordplay. So … we’re friends then?

Alice Munro: No.



Me: Oo! Tina Fey! Sorry to bother you but did you know that “fey” is one of the letters of the Yiddish alphabet? Wow, I can’t believe I’m talking to Tina Fey!

Tina Fey: Oy.



Me: I’m very intrigued by tennis stars, you see … you two in particular.

Li Na: Is it because I won this year’s Australian Open?

Goran Ivanisevic: Or because I won Wimbledon in 2001?

Me: The Australian Open? Wimbledon? What about the fact that “Li” and “Na” are the symbols for lithium and sodium on the periodic table of elements? Have you ever given a smidgen of thought to that incredible fact?

Or you, Goran Ivanisevic? Do you even care that your full name features alternating consonants and vowels for its entire fifteen-letter length? Do you even care about that? Do you? Or do you both simply take for granted the singular gifts the word gods have bestowed upon you?

Goran Ivanisevic: I’m scared.

Li Na: Me, too. Please, can you untie us now?



Me: It must be frustrating. You, a famous world leader, and no one in the western world can agree on the spelling of your name. The New York Times spells it Muammar el-Qaddafi. USA Today spells it Moammar Gadhafi. The L.A. Times spells it Moammar Kadafi. And the Washington Post spells it Moammar Gaddafi. It’s exasperating, huh?

Foreign dictator: […]

Me: I said it’s exasperating, huh?

Foreign dictator: […]

Me: Oh, right … you’re dead.



Me: Hey, Tom Cruise! When you were dating Penelope Cruz, did you call her “my little homophone”?

Tom Cruise: Police! Help me!



Me: Hey, Penelope Cruz! When you were dating Tom Cruise, did you call him “my little homophone”?

Penelope Cruz: ¡Policia! ¡Ayudame!



Me: Everyone knows you’re one of the best shortstops of all time, Derek Jeter. But few are aware that “jeter” is actually a French verb meaning “to throw.” Would you regret retiring after this year without letting the world know this fascinating fact about your name?

Derek Jeter: I have no regrets. I’ve done everything I’ve set out to accomplish in the game of baseball. I’m really looking forward to this season which, yes, will be my last before I retire. I’m just sorry A-Rod, who is retired, can’t be here with me this year to enjoy it.

Me: A-Rod didn’t retire – he’s just serving a one-year suspension for performance enhancing drugs.

Derek Jeter: Andy Roddick took PEDs?

David Levinson Wilk is a TV writer who has worked on game shows for ABC, CBS and NBC. His book “TEDtalks Across, TMZ Down,”  a collection of crosswords, will be published this spring.