Friday, May 9, 2014

Celebrity Week, Bonus Edition

Yesterday, I wrote about our whirlwind experience with ABC and showed an ad we did for Politically Incorrect. That's when I suddenly remembered my hotblooded exchange with its star, Bill Maher.

Of course to tell this story correctly we've got to jump in the time machine.

In 1997, Chiat/Day teamed me up with a freelance art director, John Shirley.

Apart from our toothy grins, John and I had absolutely nothing in common.

He was a blond haired, surfer dude given to earrings, chin air and picture books.
I was a fat Jew from NY who chose to wear my facial hair above the lip.

What we did have in common, and still do, is an ability to make each other laugh.

Shortly after we won the ABC account we were invited to NY for something called an upfront. All the stars were there. After a few top shelf cocktails, compliments of the Disney shareholders, John did what I could never do.

He literally inserted himself into snapshots with the stars. Think of it as reverse photobombing.

He even convinced Robert Pastorelli to strike a Sears Roebuck catalogue shot.

I was howling with laughter.

While he went about securing photos with every actor who had ever stepped foot on the ABC lot, I was busy relieving Disney of its massive quantities of bourbon. And it was on one of these frequent trips to the bar that I ran into Bill Maher, who in case you haven't guessed, is a lot shorter in real life.

I'm a big fan of Bill Maher.
I like his show.
And loved his movie Irreligious.

But at the time, Bill was not a fan of our Yellow campaign; and said as much to the press.

I like a good entanglement as much as the next fellow, but even more so when it comes to my work. So after some introductory niceties, Bill and I got into it. I had three inches of height and 50 lbs. on him, so we really got into it.

This was a long time ago and I'd love to quote you some of the witty repartee that went back and forth, but that dialogue is forever lost somewhere along the shores of the Knob Creek.

I could as I might have done in the past, fictionalize it, now with the advantage of hindsight and a sober mind. But that would be wrong.

Here's what I do remember.

The argument ended with Bill Maher loudly calling me an asshole.
And me, equally, if not louder, returning the favor.

Suffice to say, it was a magical night.

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