Fireside Chat #16 (Spring ’06)

SO MANY ROADS TO FAME

Osama Bin Laden’s niece, Wafah Dufour, is getting her own reality show that will chronicle her quest for stardom in modeling and singing. Isn’t that great? I’ve always said, “When your uncle is the world’s most notorious terrorist, it’s time to cash in.”

In a way, it would be a dishonor to Bin Laden’s victims for Dafour not to launch a pop singing career. Wafah is just a girl finding a little silver lining (stardom) in the storm cloud (mass murder).

Really, having an evil uncle is ideal. You don’t want evil parents because they would probably lock you up in the pantry for months at a time, feeding you gruel and frozen waffles through a doggy door. But an evil uncle is more of an occasional weekend thing. If Uncle Demento says, “Come into the backyard, I want to show you how my death ray works,” you just make plans to sleep over at the neighbors’ house. 20 years later, you’re in the movies. Fair trade? I think so.

Granted, we don’t all have evil uncles. But there are so many ways to break into the entertainment industry, it’s a wonder you and I haven’t done it yet.

One great way to become famous is to do something crazy or hardcore. There was Aron Ralston, the guy who had his arm pinned under a rock in the mountains and had to cut the arm off to survive. He wrote a book about it and went on some talk shows, and now look at him: part machine, part millionaire.

More impressively, it wasn’t long ago that Johnny Knoxville was just some “Jackass” burro. Now he’s on top of the world, getting roles as a Duke of Hazard and a guy who pretends to be mentally handicapped to compete in the Special Olympics.

The surefire road to fame is to be patient, play the odds and take every opportunity in sight.

If you write enough bad songs, one of them is bound to be a smash hit. Just ask Rivers Cuomo. Three 6 Mafia wrote a mediocre rap song, had it featured in a movie, won an Oscar for it, got made fun of by Jon Stewart, and look, now they’re household names. The fact is, the majority of Pepperdine students are more than smart enough to pump out a song like that.

Or you could make a career out of auditioning for shows where you compete to become the Next Hot Singer, Songwriting, Model, Comedian, Boxer, Skater, Dancer, Breakdancer, Choreographer, Doctor, Attorney, Business Executive, Indian, Policeman, Sailor, Construction Worker, Cowboy, or Leatherman, and you’d be bound to win one of them. But that’s probably too much work.

Here’s the best way, the “Paris Hilton” model: inherit an enormous grip of cash, then using that money to buy your way into fame. Not many people know this, but it wasn’t her acting chops alone that won her that role in “House of Wax.”

So until my parents get their act together and start making a little money, I’m going to have to look deep into my family to see if I’m even distantly related to someone notorious, like Jack the Ripper, Joseph Stalin or Paul Reubens. But I hope not Paul Reubens.

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