How Not to Join a Tour of the Stars’ Homes

Blending in. Photo by Jefferson VanBilliard

It started pretty innocently. I’d done enough research to know which celebrity houses would be the most interesting. I just needed to get to Hollywood and try to not look like someone who would murder another person for no reason. 

I succeeded in exactly half of my plan. 

Maybe it was the excitement of having the chance to see real houses that famous people might have lived in, or maybe it was the potent high from the 225-milligram, PB&J-flavored edible that had just been delivered by Puffy ( and was subsequently ingested, but I was feeling like a million bucks by the time my train arrived. 

Pre-tour pick-me-up. Photo by Jefferson VanBilliard

My day began at Union Station. The potent mix of hobo pee and Gorilla Glue swirled through my nostrils as I stood on the platform with a crowd of tourists and businessmen waiting for the next four-car train. I studied the map of the stars that I had purchased earlier from a very pushy salesman and realized that about half of the people listed were either dead, had moved or were so boring it wouldn’t matter if I ran into them on the street, let alone saw what their gardens looked like. 

As the Hollywood sign finally came into view, I looked down at myself and noted that my impeccable sense of fashion would lead to my being found out as an imposter in a sea of Asian tourists. So I did what any logical person would do and made my way to the nearest T-shirt shop. I searched the racks and settled on what I I felt not only fit my own personal style, but also would allow me to blend in; it had pink, glittery letters spelling out my favorite city in the world: Beverly Hills. 

I then made my way through a sea of Spider-Men and androgynous pirates to the front of the kiosk to purchase my ticket for the TMZ Celebrity Tour. While waiting, I met a couple on vacation hoping to see John Mayer’s bachelor pad/sex compound, and I told them about how the hottest girl I ever dated revealed to me that her celebrity crush for whom she had a “hall pass” was the same slack-jawed hillbilly. I guess people take half-hearted death threats super-seriously, and I was no longer allowed on the tour because of “safety concerns.” It turns out these tours are magnets for socially inept people plotting revenge and Midwesterners who don’t understand self-deprecating humor. Whatever; each seat cost a whopping $70 anyway. 

The real slap in the face came when I learned that TMZ legend Harvey Levin doesn’t even ride along and you don’t get a big plastic cup to drink out of like they do on his gossipy television show. I ducked down a side street and finished a preroll cone from VVS while pondering my next move.

I remembered a few other companies offering the same tours on a more “off the books” kind of operation, so I headed away from the glamour of the Walk of Fame and closer to where dreams seemed to give up. Between a stand hawking bacon-wrapped hot dogs and someone selling what I assumed to be broken watches was one such operation. I paid $30 for the tour and was told the next one would leave in 15 minutes, so I walked into the closest bar to wait. I’m sure you can guess what happened when I returned. Yes, the man was nowhere to be found. The watch lady wasn’t snitching, and the hot-dog seller just laughed at me. Dejected, bored and a bit poorer, I walked back into the bar wishing I did run into Mayer so I could punch the equivalent of $30 out of him.

Harvey Levin not included. Photo by Jefferson VanBilliard

After several shots of tequila, the sting of failure had subsided and I was able to accept that Mayer had bested me yet again. I concluded that Hollywood was a farce: Nothing magical ever happens there, and Levin is a genius for charging people to see celebrity fences. And then I met a man who resembled Thor and Michaelangelo’s David all at once. BoJesse had sat opposite me, and we started talking about surfing and skating. At first, I thought my new bestie was no different from anyone else in Los Angeles (athletic and charming with a full, thick head of golden hair). But he made the mistake of telling me that he was actually a member of a famous gang of surfers in the ’90s that robbed banks to follow the best waves. Turns out I didn’t need Levin’s stupid bus to see the stars, as one was drinking a whiskey right next to me the whole time and his name was BoJesse Christopher. I asked him every question I had about Point Break and Garey Busey’s teeth until I had the courage to exchange numbers.

I guess I’ll never get to see Burt Rey-nolds’ mailbox or Justin Bieber’s hedges, but I know I can catch Bojesse at “Truth Be Told” Acting Collective every Tuesday in Santa Monica. Oh, and don’t go on Hollywood tours; they’re overpriced and boring.

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