Boy, people sure like to be the first person to tell you when a celebrity dies, don’t they? Man I love that! That is one of my favorite things ever; I love to be the first person to break the news that someone well-known or important has died. There is nothing more awesome and rewarding than that. What an exquisite pleasure!
RCoA: Hey man, that’s a great shirt.
PERSON: Thanks dude! I got it at Mervyn’s.
RCoA: Crazy. Hey, did you hear about Dom Deluise?
PERSON: No, what happened?
RCoA: [respectful pause] He died.
PERSON: [gasp!] Really? Wow, that’s so sad. How did he die?
RCoA: Not sure, they didn’t say in the news, but I’d guess it was natural causes.
PERSON: Boy, that’s too bad. I just saw Blazing Saddles like two months ago.
It’s like a sport for me. Let’s say it’s the middle of the day and I’m at work and I catch wind that Marilyn Chambers or Bea Arthur just passed. I’d look around the office and see if people were talking about it yet. Do I detect an air of fake solemnity yet? No? Not yet? The buzz of laughter as a means to kill the fake pain? Not yet. Then I’d pick up my mug and head to the kitchen. On my way there, I’d poke my head into the different offices and come up with some half-assed reason to talk to the person as in my “great shirt” example above. I’d break the news to them and try to act as solemn as I could, but I’m not REALLY being solemn, I’m just ACTING solemn because it’s part of life’s stage play entitled “How To Act When Someone Dies”. Inside though I’m gloating because if I’m successful, I get to break the horrible news of celebrity death to this sap and see his fake solemn expression as well. It’s a game! Then I move onto the next office until everybody knows that the celebrity has died. In turn, they phone their boyfriends and girlfriends and fake some conversation just so they can get to the juicy death and be the amateur celebrity death reporter in THAT person’s life.
You ever tell someone that a celebrity dies and they say, “Oh yeah, I heard about that earlier today”? Doesn’t that piss you off? Man, that really takes the wind out of my fucking sails. I have a juicy bit of death gossip and they’re all like, “heard it already dude.” I fucking hate that! But I’ll be honest, sometimes I use that tactic when someone is trying to break the news to me, but maybe I don’t like the way they report because they’re too smug or something, so I’ll pretend to have heard about the celebrity death just to spite them.
PERSON: Did you hear about Marilyn Chambers?
RCoA: Yep. Heard about it a few hours ago.
PERSON: But she died like five minutes ago.
RCoA: A friend of a friend of hers called me this morning to warn me of her imminent death.
To be a good amateur celebrity death reporter these days, you can’t just limit yourself to walking through the office telling everybody, you have to hit up all of your social media avenues as well. You’ve gotta post in a Myspace Bulletin: “A moment of silence for Dom Deluise, who has recently passed, God rest his soul…” Then you gotta update your Facebook status and drop a quick Tweet about it. “RIP Dom Deluise! :.( We’ll miss you.” After you post your news item, people will likely respond to express sadness and to share a few memories with you, so you’ll want to follow up on the replies because you’ll want them to think that you’re there for them in their time of genuine sorrow and because you’ll want to maintain the appearance of being compassionate.
If you’re really hardcore about doing a good job as an amateur celebrity death reporter, you’ll visit some of the mainstream news reporting agencies and leave comments to one-up all of the other amateur celebrity death reporters, even if you have to fudge some facts.
PERSON 1: Good article, guys, yeah, sorry to hear about Dom passing today. I found out at lunch.
PERSON 2: So sad, such a great talent. I was ordering breakfast at McDonald’s when I heard about it.
RCoA: The world has lost a very funny man today. What a bummer. Dom was my neighbor and I heard the thud.
In this last example not only have I become one of the FIRST people to have known about the celebrity death, but I am almost elevated to mourner status because of my proximity (albeit fake) to the decedent at the time of death. It’s nice because you get a little extra attention that way. But it’s not totally dishonest because the comforters will totally get an ego boost for playing the role of the good guy and comforter.
PERSON 1 & 2: We’re so sorry to hear that. That must have been tough to go through. If you need anything, just let us know. We may be strangers, but we’re here to help if you need us because we’re good people: Down-to-earth, compassionate…
So back I go under my rock, awaiting the next celebrity to snuff it so I can again be your Action 400 News Celebrity Death Reporter live on the scene with breaking news in high definition.
[c] 2009 Russ of America
UPDATE: RIP David Carradine. And Ed McMahon. And Farrah Fawcett (06.25.09). And Michael Jackson (06.25.09). Holy crap! I was definitely on the ball to report Michael Jackson’s demise to everyone I know. I was making phone calls, Tweeting, Facebooking… If you’re gonna be an Amateur Celebrity Death Reporter, there is no bigger story than Michael Jackson.
Hey you! Purveyor of fine entertainment! Don’t be a time cheapskate, take a second to Digg, Stumble, ReTweet or otherwise mention this article via I’ve got bills to pay!