Playing with the minors

Playing with the minors

When people find out I worked for the Walt Disney Co., their eyes light up. It’s generally followed by the exclamation, “Oh cool!” Then, I go on to tell them that I worked in business planning and development. It’s like shooting off a firecracker and following it up with a lecture on “The Science of Pyrotechnics.” The elaborate, gated entrance to Yawnville.

Every job is still a job. Even while working at Disney, I hit the snooze button in the morning. I still had to get up and go to the office every morning like every other working schlub in America. The only difference is that I worked in a building that had a sculpture of the seven dwarves carved into it, like a Mount Rushmore for Dopey, Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy and Bashful (everyone always forgets Bashful).

Ironically, I did not sing, “Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It’s off to work I go!”

There was an unusual perk to working at Disney: the celebrity sightings.

Most mornings, I would ride up the elevator with an occasional guest star. I’ve ridden up and/or down with Jada Pinkett Smith, Keanu Reeves and Lindsay Lohan. It was really fun when I spotted a big star.

Unfortunately, not all of the stars were big and bright, like they are in Texas.

Sometimes a minor celeb would come down the hall, and I would try to process it. Once I walked down the hall and met up with a very pleasant Mindy Sterling. I assumed she was an admin from human resources. It didn’t occur to me she was Frau Farbissina from the Austin Powers movies until I saw her in an improv show two weeks later.

Do you know who Sendhil Ramamurthy is? I sure didn’t when I met him in the office one day. He was Mohinder Suresh from NBC’s “Heroes.” He looked familiar, but I couldn’t place him without Adrian Pasdar and Milo Ventimiglia standing next to him. Now that’s a hero sandwich!

“Heroes”-related side note: Hayden Panettiere smiled at me on Santa Monica Boulevard once. She was coming out of Millions of Milkshakes, so it was probably just a sugar high.

But I digress, like I do. It must be harder to be a minor celebrity than a major one. In Los Angeles, when you saw someone who looked like a celebrity, it usually WAS the celebrity they looked like.

Case in point: At a bar in Hollywood, I turned to a friend and said, “That looks like Paris Hilton.”

And my friend said, “That’s because it is Paris Hilton.”

I responded with, “She sure looks like herself, then.”

I’m curious about the number of people who say, “Where do I know you from?” to Stephen Tobolowsky (Ned Ryerson from “Groundhog Day”).

My advice: If you’re going to be a celebrity, be a big one. Otherwise people will point at you and say, “You’re that guy from that thing!”

I know, because I’ve been that guy from that thing.