A couple years ago I was backpacking through Sweden. After hiking around Stockholm all day with my hefty backpacking backpack, I sat outside a grocery store to catch my breath. Suddenly all the walker-bys started averting their eyes and shying their kids to the other side of the walk. I examined my sweaty, disheveled state and the dirty backpack I was leaning against and realized everyone thought I was homeless—certainly taught me something about humanity. Nobody gave me a backstage pass to the White Stripes, though.
Before Jon Bernthal made it big on The Walking Dead, he was living the starving artist’s life in LA. One night, the open-aired Greek Theater was hosting the White Stripes and Bernthal—because he couldn’t afford a ticket—bought a couple 40’s and enjoyed the show from the sidewalk.
“I was sitting there and Seth Green and Macaulay Culkin were walking up. I had done a movie with Macaulay Culkin’s girlfriend—I just had a real little part,” he explained to Conan last night on Late Night. “I remember everybody called him ‘Mac’ and I thought that that was the cool thing to do. So I said ‘Hey Mac, how ya doin’?’ and they walked over and they said ‘Hey man, what are you doing here?’ I told ‘em and Seth Green said, ‘Well today is your lucky day,’ and he handed me a backstage pass to go see the White Stripes.”
So nice of Culkin to have remembered him, right? Well that’t not the end of the story. “About 10 years later, I had done The Walking Dead and I get a call that [Seth Green] wants me to do a voice on his animated show. He says, ‘Wow man I’m a big fan.’ I say ‘whoa whoa whoa whoa Seth Green, let me tell you something.’ And I told his whole crew there how he had given me a backstage pass. And he said, ‘Wait a second, that was you? I thought that was a homeless guy.’”
Laughs all around. Moral of the story: give your White Stripes backstage pass to a homeless person and then watch him or her ascend to the Hollywood firmament. Or just don’t avert your eyes and shoo your kids to the other side of the street when you do encounter a homeless person—they’re people, just like you.
IMAGE: Gage Skidmore