I met Danny Pudi today, he is part of the main cast of Community, a T.V. comedy that revolves around a study group within a community college. He plays Abed, who, on the surface seems to be a person with an affinity for T.V. and Movies. Danny has such great comedic timing with this character that he's such a quotable character within the show. Actually, after evaluating who my favorite character would be... I'm realizing more and more that I really like Abed, followed by Troy, Britta, Pierce, Jeff, Shirley, and Anne. (Actually, this list gets refactored based on the episode, but Abed and Troy remain my favorite characters on the show.)
So I asked him if I could take a photo of him, actually, I've never really met a celebrity before him. Moreover, an actor who I actually appreciate in their art. My friends and I were at a coffee shop and he was there on his computer with his headphones on. After ordering our coffee and hanging out there for a few moments, I told my friends, "I'm going to ask if I could take his picture." They replied immediately, "Wait till we leave." I think that implied that they did not want to be embarassed by me, asking for a photo. Asking a stranger for a photo is quite an awkward situation in itself, but asking a celebrity is on a whole different level. My friends finished their coffee and left me. I thought to myself, as I was sipping on my cup, "why do I want to do this?" I realized immediately that I was just a guy who appreciated this man's work. I wanted to show my appreciation to him, but also ask him a few things...
I stood up, returned my finished cup on the bar counter, stood next to him. He was sitting intently, watching something on his laptop. After a few moments, I waved into his peripheral to catch his attention and said, "hi." He responded with a smile and shook my hand. It felt like an awkward situation to be in but also somewhat normal... as there seemed to me, to be no other alternative to get his attention. If he didn't want to respond and have a small conversation, he could have waved and ignored me. He didn't and I really appreciated his willingness to indulge my curiousity of him.
I immediately asked him if I could take a photo of him. He said, "Yeah, it's okay." I also mentioned that I had a few questions...
I asked him, "how does it feel to be on an amazing show?" Danny just smiled and enthusiastically replied, "It's great!" I asked him, "...about your character's development, Abed to me started off as a one dimentional character, through the past two seasons, he's been getting more depth. Did you talk to the screen writers about this?" He mentioned that it was the screenwriters that developed the character; "Having eight main characters to develop is tough when you have only so much time. With the introduction of Abed's father and some situations, they've (screen writers) definitely built up my character." Then I was curious about his comedic partner Troy, played by Donald Glover, "About Donald..." Danny: "Yes?" ..."you two have such great comedic timing... where does that come from, how does that happen?" He smiled and said, "It's the job." I laughed and I appreciated such a straight-forward answer. He's a professional that's courteous, and welcoming. I really appreciated the conversation we had. I stood up and gestured my arm into a hand shake and upon recieving the grasp of his palm, introduced myself, so did he. I think he thought I didn't know his name, I just didn't want to say "Abed" over "Danny." I didn't want to assume what to call him, because I didn't know him as a person all.
I lifted my camera and my friend Jared was there and he shook Danny's hand and said, "I'm a big fan of your work." Then Danny asked if I wanted to be in the picture, so Jared offered to take the picture.
That's the photo you see up there.
Then I asked Danny if I could take his photo alone. He said, "sure." So I did. I wish I was a little more calm to take that picture in that low light.
Thanks Danny for being a great guy and engaging in an awkward moment. I really wish this portrait came out better, it doesn't do him justice.