I had a rather ... interesting ... weekend. According to Paul and Storm on Sunday, I won the game of "What I did last night" that I didn't even know we were playing. It was so surreal, I'm mostly writing this down today so I never forget what an incredible time we had.
Saturday, Anne and I were invited to a party at Seth Macfarlane's house for the release of Family Guy Something Something Something Dark Side (their parody of Empire Strikes Back).
I almost didn't go, because I never know anyone at parties like that and end up feeling like a tourist, but I really like Seth and figured there was a non-zero chance I'd see at least one other person I knew while we were there. "Besides," I told Anne, "if we really feel like we don't fit in, we can always go out to dinner or something."
We parked in a garage on Sunset and took a shuttle bus up terrifyingly narrow and winding roads into the Hollywood hills, while the last edge of a nasty winter storm did its best to convince us we were all going to die. When we got to Seth's house, I understood why we needed to park so far away: he lives on the top of a mountain and you could probably only park ten cars there.
The whole thing is a blur, but I shared some highlights with Twitter, which I reprint here with added context and whatnot:
Not only did I not expect paparazzi at this party, I didn't expect them to give a shit about me. That was really weird.
We walked up his driveway, and I was totally unprepared to see an actual press line, with a red carpet and photographers and everything. Usually when there's a press line, there's also a normal walkway without press for normal people to use. I really don't like the whole press line thing, so I always try to go down the other walkway. It's never really been an issue, because for much of the last decade, nobody in the entertainment press has given a shit about me and I can sneak in under a radar that isn't exactly waiting for me to return a ping.
This time, though, it was different. I walked down the normal person entrance, and when I was about two steps from the door, I realized that people were calling my name. From the press line. "That's weird," I thought. "Well, I'm almost in the door, so I'll just keep walking and they'll forget about me in five seconds."
"Who's calling you?" Anne said.
"Photographers, I think," I said. "Let's just keep going and they'll lose interest."
That's when I saw that the people in front of us had stopped, and I was trapped.
I realize this may seem strange to a lot of people, but I really hate having my picture taken, especially when it's by a ton of photographers who all yell my name over and over again while they fire off dozens of flashes and pictures each in the span of about 60 seconds. I can't stress how uncomfortable and self conscious that whole thing makes me feel, but I felt like I was really being a dick by refusing to walk ten feet away and let them do it, so I went over, tried to put on my "I'm happy to be here and not completely freaked out by this whole thing" face, and two profoundly uncomfortable minutes later, got to walk into the party.
http://twitpic.com/tb62v - Ice sculpture of Stewie as Darth Vader. Cool!
When we saw that ice sculpture, the total mindfuck of being in someone's house for a big-budget party with hundreds of strangers totally settled in. It was like, "Oh, you're not just here for a nifty thing at Seth's house. If the fucking press line out front didn't clue you in, Wheaton, you're at a Very Big Deal Event." But I'm not going to lie to you, Marge, that ice sculpture was even cooler (ha! ha! cooler!) in person than it appears in any of the photographs I've seen from the party.
I'm in a room at Seth Macfarlane's house with a full orchestra, and a bar made entirely out of ice. This is so weird.
After we saw the ice sculpture, we wandered around a little bit (Seth's house is one of those giant places that could fit my entire home in the garage) until we walked down some stairs and discovered that the wonderful big band music we'd been hearing since we walked in was actually being created by a live big band. Like, a 22 65-piece live big band. With a conductor and a dance floor and everything.
We saw Seth (who looked every inch the Rat Packer in his white jacket and red carnation) and thanked him for inviting us. At first, he didn't recognize me (on account of my luxurious beard, a theme that would repeat itself again in a moment) but when he did, he got super excited to introduce me to his orchestra's conductor, Ron Jones. Ron scored Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Seth was such a huge TNG fan, he hired him to score Family Guy. When Seth introduced us, Ron smiled warmly and said, "It's so lovely to meet you. I scored your childhood."
It was such a wonderful sentiment, and said with such joy and nostalgia, I looked at Anne and had to blink my eyes several times. Seth got pulled away by one of the hundreds of people who wanted to talk to him, and Anne and I talked with Ron for a little bit before he had to go back to conducting his orchestra.
I just saw @levarburton. He didn't recognize me, on account of my luxurious beard. Ha!
I saw LeVar and his family, and would have run across the room if it hadn't been packed with people.
"Hi, I follow you on Twitter and you never reply to me," I said.
LeVar laughed and said, "That's because I'm an asshole. What's your Twitter name?"
I thought, "Ha! LB doesn't recognize me!" so I said, "It's WilW, but you can call me ... Whil Wheaton!"
LeVar engulfed me with a hug and told me he didn't recognize me, on account of my luxurious beard. We talked for as long as you can reasonably talk in a room packed with people, an orchestra, and a bar made entirely from ice, before deciding that we'd just hook up in a week or so in a more quiet and normal location to catch up.
I am about to have my picture taken with ... wait for it ... Chewbacca Claus.
The printer they were using to make these photos jammed, so we don't have a copy of ours. Apparently, though, we'll be getting a copy via the magic of the internet soon. When that happens, I will produce the photographic proof that so many people on Twitter require before accepting that this event actually happened.
So, uh, it turns out that Katie Sackhoff and I are in the mutual admiration society. (Squee!)
Yeah, so ... that was weird. The next day, upon realizing I'd misspelled her name, I told Twitter: "So in my nerdglee last night, I misspelled Katee Sackhoff's name. As someone whose first name is frequently misspelled, I'm mortified." Katee was friendly and excited and told me that she grew up watching TNG with her dad, who would probably have a heart attack upon learning that she'd met me. I didn't tell her that I was fairly sure a lot of people in the Twitterverse would have a similar reaction upon learning that I had met her. (And they did, too. I felt a disturbance in the Force, like a million billion million people cried out a Sheldonesque WHHHHHEEEEEAAATTTOOONNNN! and were suddenly silenced.)
We talked about working on Big Bang Theory and being nerds, and then I had to pee.
I didn't Twitter this because my phone battery died, but I ran into Simon Helberg (Wolowitz on the aforementioned BBT, and Moist on the not-until-now mentioned Doctor Horrible) on my way to the restrooms, which was a cluster of port-a-potties arranged beneath a tent on one of Seth Macfarlane's numerous and spacious patios.
Simon was on his way out, so I said, "Hey, how plush are those things?"
"Oh, they're magnificent," he said. "Each one has a restroom attendant inside."
Maybe this was only funny to us, but we riffed on the concept of not just a single restroom attendant inside an 8 square-foot port-a-pottie, but a different one inside each port-a-pottie, for a very long time. Simon is a tremendously funny and kind person. I loved everyone on Big Bang Theory, but I really hope I get to have scenes with him if they ever bring back Evil Wil Wheaton.
Now I'm about 20 feet from Seth, as he sings Dean Martin's "I've got my love to keep me warm" with the orchestra. This is FUCKING AWESOME!
This is unbelievable. We're getting a private Rat Pack-style show from Seth in his freakin' house.
You know that Seth sings all the songs on Family Guy, right? He has made no secret of his love of show tunes and crooners, and the man can fucking sing, people. It was infectious how much fun he was having. Whatever the party cost, I'm bet he'd say it was worth it, just to sing for his friends (and a lot of strangers) backed up by an orchestra ... in his freakin' house.
Draw a Venn Diagram of Weird, Awesome, Surreal, and How The Hell Did I Get Invited To This? And put me in the middle. That was my night.
Someone actually made that diagram, which rules.
As midnight approached, Anne and I felt old and tired, and we'd had an incredible time, so we rode a shuttle bus down the hill to the parking lot, and drove home to our delightfully normal lives, where we live in a small house with a lovely patio that can probably only accommodate a single port-a-pottie, if we move the table to one side.
I doubt Seth Macfarlane will ever see this, and I know that for a party of this magnitude, he probably had no personal involvement with our invitation, but just in case: Thanks, Seth. We had a wonderful time, your home is beautiful, and you sang like an angel. Something Something Something Christmas.