The following is an open letter to second-tier celebrities everywhere ... but especially in Hollywood.
Dear second-tier celebrity:
Greetings from Indianapolis. No, not Minneapolis. The town with the big race this time of year. Maybe you’ve heard of it. “Start your engines” and all that. Ring a bell? Remember the guy who won “Dancing with the Stars” a few years back? Yeah, that one.
In addition to the Indy 500, Memorial Day weekend means a big parade in Indianapolis. Once in a while, a big-name celeb is actually a part of it. (Think mid-“Grey’s Anatomy” Patrick Dempsey.)
But you don’t have to be a star-star to get a positive reaction here. Or even a star. In the past, Indy crowds have offered thunderous cheers for Christopher McDonald.
He’s the guy who played bad guy Shooter McGavin in the movie “Happy Gilmore.” Yeah, that guy.
And that’s where you come in. This year, the 500 Festival Parade is a bit light not just on big-name stars, but even on medium-name and no-name stars.
It’s got the drivers, of course, plus the champion Indiana Fever, and other top-notch athletes (hello, Olympians Shawn Johnson, Jordyn Wieber and Tyler Clary). But apart from the welcome return of the newlywed Jim Nabors, there’s a dearth of celebrities. Actually, if you were here, you—be you Carrot Top, David Spade, Michael Bolton or anyone who dated Barney on “How I Met Your Mother”—probably would be among the most recognizable people in the parade. Journalists would be hounding you with questions (something that might not have happened to you in quite some time, if at all). Fans would scream.
(Side note to Jamie Kennedy and Vivaca A. Fox: You’re coming to town for HorrorHound weekend in September? You couldn’t pay a visit in May?)
For the record, the 500 Festival has a committee that gives the thumbs-up or -down on parade participants. But surely you—be you Corey Feldman, C. Thomas Howell, Dave Coulier or any non-Alec Baldwin—could pass that test.
So think about it for next year. Have your people (or person) call our people. Indy knows how to take care of those celebrities who somehow find us. And, in return, you get to be a part of a great American tradition.
No, the 500 Festival doesn’t pay its celebrities. But it also doesn’t demand much. You just have to wave. And you get to see the race.
You might even meet Jim Nabors.
Lou Harry, IBJ
P.S. Your thoughts?