I’m assigned to write a profile of acting legend John C. Reilly. It’s an assignment of a lifetime. Wait. In a lifetime. It’s an assignment in my lifetime. In preparation, I decide to watch his films to study his technique. There’s just one problem: I still can’t figure out Netflix.
The day of the interview, I ride my skateboard 7 miles from my apartment to meet him at a restaurant that turns out to be next door to my apartment. So that’s why I suggested that deli, I realize after 3.5 miles.
I walk through the door to see acting legend John C. Reilly already waiting. I look at him and think, He’s the kind of guy who played Mr. Collins in a high school production of Pride and Prejudice. I pull out my journal to write down the thought in case I want to use it in something I write someday.
The man sitting across from me, drinking a mug of some hot brown liquid that smells coffee-y, is different than I imagined. In person, he looks like a man out of a Will Ferrell movie. Like Will Ferrell. Or maybe John C. Reilly.
“Happy belated birthday,” I open. “It’s next month,” he counters. And now I know when his birthday is. The cards are in my hand, or I have the upper cards, some phrase like that.
“So John C. Reilly, eh?” I ask. “I don’t suppose that 'C' stands for anything, does it?” We both laugh, and I assume the answer is no. Without breaking eye contact I cross out my next 50 questions: all guesses of names starting with C.
I’m about to ask him about his upcoming projects when our sandwiches come. For the 45 minutes we say nothing because I don’t like to talk while I’m eating.
As we get the bill and I push it toward acting legend John C. Reilly, I inquire about his craft. “Do you believe that acting is just reacting?” As he begins to answer, I throw a stapler at his head, knocking him out. “React to that!” I yell. He is passed out and does nothing. Yelling comes before throwing, I realize.
As I leave the deli for the long skateboard trip home, I have a thought. The whole afternoon was like a scene from the hit John C. Reilly vehicle Chicago, except without the singing, without Richard Gere, and we’re in a different part of Chicago. Also, I noted, we aren’t in a movie.
SMASH CUT TO:
TITLE CARD: ‘FIN’
Blythe Roberson is a writer and improviser living in New York.
The Humor Section features a piece of original humor writing each week. To submit, send an email to Brian Boone.