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Where Things are Hollow

Russ Pitts | 20 May 2008 14:12
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But how famous is internet famous exactly? Hollywood celebrities cry their own rivers over the trials and tribulations of leading a life of notoriety. From paparazzi car chases to the difficulty of finishing a meal in peace, some go so far as to say they regret ever having become famous. Rocker and former husband of Pamela Anderson (with whom he recorded an infamous sex tape) Tommy Lee even wrote a book about it, complaining that those of us who aren't famous will never understand what it's like for those who are. Perhaps.

So how does internet fame stack up? While not famous for the size of his wang like Lee, Croshaw did have his moments of celebriphobia at this year's GDC, where even a short trip down the hall inevitably resulted in more than a few handshakes and requests for autographs. One woman had been clandestinely following him around all week, finally accosting him on his way to the airport to show him her sketchbook. He had a beguiling manner about him, she said, showing him how she'd captured the jaunty tilt of his hat with pencil and ink. The experience was jarring.

According to Croshaw, that kind of treatment is rare, limited mainly to "games industry events ... and once in an EB Games. Since my voice is more famous than my face it usually takes a minute or two to sink in, but when it does I'll generally have some hands to shake."

Everywhere else, he says, he's just as anonymous as you or me. "[That's] the nature of being internet famous, I suppose. I'm glad I don't have to go around in a baseball cap and sunglasses like proper famous people, but at the same time, I'm recognized by industry people so reliably that when I meet ones who don't know who I am there's a tendency to feel a bit put out, if only because it's a defiance of trend."

Parikh looks forward to his first taste of recognition. "I suppose the first few times will be cool and then not so much. It's pretty fun when you're at a screening or a festival and people recognize you. But it's never happened at a random bar or restaurant or anything. ... I guess I'm not that net famous yet." Yet. His success with The Guild and The Legend of Neil has already translated into notoriety for his stand-up comedy website, effinfunny.com, and The Legend of Neil is currently in development with Comedy Central.

I asked both men if they'd go back to being not internet famous if given the chance. Both replied "no," without hesitation. And only Croshaw suggested he might someday want something different.

"It's fun to do," says Croshaw, referring to making funny videos on the internet, "but it's seriously not something I intend to have as the only thing to show for myself at the end of my life. ... I still haven't written a bestselling novel, so there's that. I suppose the only way I'm going to achieve that is to actually sit down and focus on an idea long enough to complete it, which at this point seems unlikely. Maybe I'll wait 'till I'm older and more patient."

Russ Pitts was once famous on the internet for using the phrase "Eagle Semen" in a company-wide email. His blog can be found at www.falsegravity.com.

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