It’s weird that on a day of the year that some might say is ” v. important,” I woke up, not thinking about that, but about Jeremy Piven, of all people.
I spotted him on Friday. In a clothes store on Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood. Though we were there for two entirely different reasons. The store has a bar next to the check-out and serves cocktails to celebrity customers while they shop. And seriously, what could be more handy or appropriate, or hysterically ludicrous actually, than sipping a pina colada while trying on a pair of pants? Who’s idea was that?
Anyway, I was there to interview the staff about this happy hour thing. Meanwhile, Piven was in a changing room experimenting with shirts.
Of course, I didn’t know it was him. But the manager was quick to point it out. “Oh, we can’t do the interview just yet – Jeremy Piven’s over there shopping.”
That Jeremy Piven.
Well, immediately, I was fascinated. I pretended I wasn’t, but I was. It’s Hollywood, how can you not be? Plus, the guy’s on Entourage, for God’s sake. He takes home Emmys the way the rest of us take home groceries from Costco.
But, like gazelles in a wildlife park, celebrities scare easily, and you don’t want to rattle them by climbing out of your vehicle at the wrong time, especially not in a clothes store, and not when you’re carrying a microphone. So, being considerably less famous than Piven – in the sense that I’m not famous at all – I was forced to lurk in a back office well away from him, while assistants ran around with armfuls of clothes, servicing his needs, which I assume were great.
Then it was over. Bag in hand, he slipped on his shades, said a quiet goodbye, and disappeared out the back door into the alleyway.
Dunno why, but I always assume celebs will be obnoxious in some way. Too loud, too argumentative, too self-focused, too something. But that’s just the news outlets doing their job, portraying it that way. In real life it’s not like that most times. They tend to be low-key, eager to duck the limelight, and stay out of harm’s way. In fact, many cower from exposure, as though one more camera flash, one more dumb heckle from one of the paparazzi jackals, one more inane question from an ordinary guy with a Flip camera hoping to get footage on TMZ or Entertainment Tonight, will drive them right over the edge: they’ll shoot a pistol into the crowd and start taking hostages.
Piven was like that. Not the taking hostages part – but rather the gentlemanly, eager to play it cool, ultra-pleasant, quick to exit part. Standing there in front of me one minute; then, like a wisp of smoke, or Robin Williams in Aladdin, gone.
What’s interesting about this – and I know you’re thinking, “Please God, let there be something interesting about this” – is that this isn’t my first encounter with Jeremy Piven. Back when I was in TV, he was making a travel show with the same production company. Called something like Journey of a Lifetime. The idea: take a celebrity to India and let him do yoga. That’s it. There was only one episode, as far as I know – Piven’s episode – then it vanished. Something else we have in common.
For that reason, he’d sometimes be in the building, sitting in the next edit suite watching a rough cut of his documentary. And of course there’d be an immediate buzz. The production assistants would run around in a tizz, going, “Jeremy Piven’s in the building. Next door. Watching footage. Yes, Jeremy Piven. That Jeremy Piven.” They couldn’t have been more excited. So clearly the guy has something, even if it’s not entirely obvious to me what that is. A sense of danger probably. Or, as an outside bet, talent.
However, back then, one of the production guys who went to India with him was less than complimentary, I recall.
Oh yes. Piven was passionate about yoga, sure, but oddly less passionate about making a show about yoga, or so went the story. At least, that’s what I heard.
TV production people are notorious liars almost by habit, so the whole of this may be a fabrication, with Piven being the very model of a host and extremely dedicated. That said, the production guy did seem very flustered when I met him, so something went on. I just can’t say for sure what.
Besides, I know a thing or two about this. About TV production. I was extremely dedicated when I was making my TV show, and also very agreeable for the most part. Yet my producers were in despair a lot of the time too and couldn’t wait for the whole thing to end and to come home.
So, in short, maybe the India thing says more about TV crews than it does about a certain quiet, agreeable, and unobtrusive celebrity I saw buying shirts in a West Hollywood clothes shop. That’s all I’m saying.
JP gets five magic carpets out of five for his behavior in a clothes store.
TV Swami – he say YES.
More ongoing celeb news on Twitter @TVSwami.
Follow Cash Peters on Twitter @cashpeters.
Cash Peters’s book Naked in Dangerous Places is published today.