Look What You Did You Little Jerk: The Macaulay Culkin Incident

Last night I saw Macaulay Culkin's band "The Pizza Underground" at the Hi Ho Lounge in New Orleans.  If you aren't familiar with them, they sing Velvet Underground songs, but change the lyrics to be about pizza.  You can listen to their demo here.

Like everyone else on the planet, I love Home Alone.  I saw it in the theater when I was 8 and have been a fan of Macaulay Culkin ever since. I live in Houston, so New Orleans is a 6 hour drive, but this was not something I was going to miss.

The Show:

The Pizza Underground demo is 9 minutes long.  If they would have come out, handed out pizza and played for 15 minutes I really think the crowd would have been satisfied.  Instead they would leave the stage between songs and have someone else come out.  First it was one of the members from Carte Blanche (one of their opening acts) who came out and rapped.  Macaulay's girlfriend came out and sang a poem that he had written for her.  One of the female members of Pizza Underground stayed on stage and sang a song by herself.  There was even a Nirvana tribute performer named Kurt Cobained under the band name "Nevermound" who sang Nirvava songs in the past tense (Come as you were).  The most bizarre of the side acts was Pussy Joel.  The band left the stage and a video of cats played on their projection screen while Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire" played over the P.A. all while the hashtag #PussyJoel would randomly appear on the screen.  Like I said, I would have been fine with just 15 minutes of Pizza Underground, the side acts were a but much.


After the show the bar cleared out pretty quickly.  Within an hour there were probably 20 people left, with most of them standing at the bar.  Becky, Martha, Eddie, and I decided to hang around for a while to see if Macaualy Culkin would come out.  A couple girls kept one of the pizza boxes the band had passed out and had asked one of the guys who was helping break down the stage to have the band sign it.  He went backstage, had Macaulay sign it, then found the rest of the band and had them sign it too.  I had brought my childhood Talk Boy with me hoping I could get Macaulay to sign it.  Since the pizza box had been a success for the girls, Becky went over and asked him politely if he could ask Macaulay to sign the Talk Boy.  He was pretty excited "Man, I haven't seen one of those in a long time!"  Unfortunately though, he said he could not ask Mac to sign it.  He told us that he was the bands manager.  "But, when he comes out to leave, you can ask him to sign it."  That was good enough for us so we waited around a few more minutes to see if he would come out.  There was another girl who had been waiting near us, one of the bar backs came from backstage and told her that Macaulay had left.  Martha had heard the bartender tell someone that the band had been practicing their karaoke earlier, so we assumed they went to a karaoke bar.  When we left the Hi Ho Lounge, we saw one open bar across the street.  We decided to try our luck and check it out.

The Karaoke Bar:

The second we walked into the bar I knew we were in the right place.  There was Anchovy Warhol (the bands mascot), and next to him was Macaulay Culkin.  He was leaning against a pole in the middle of the bar.  I honestly don't think anyone in the bar realized he was there.  He was standing there with his manager and one of his bandmates watching people do karaoke.  When the manager saw Becky he waved us over.  He tapped Mac on the shoulder and said "Mac, this is my friend Becky."  He turned around, avoided eye contact, quickly shook her hand and turned back around. I thought it was a really gracious of their manager to introduce Becky as his friend, giving us an opportunity to ask him to sign the Talk Boy. Becky gently tapped him on the shoulder.  He turned his ear slightly towards her.  Becky said "I really hate to bother you, but I have a Talk Boy in my purse and I was wondering if you could sign it for me."  Without looking at her he said "Nah, no, no.  I don't want to make a big deal."

Now, I am not an unreasonable person, I understand his thinking behind that.  Sure, you don't want to sign one autograph and get ambushed, but like I said before, no one was talking to him.

I've loved Home Alone since I was 8 years old, here I am 2 feet away from Kevin McAllister, Im not about to pass up the chance to say hello to him.  I didn't want to not take up too much of his time, so I decided to offer to buy him a drink.  I tapped him on the shoulder and got the same slight head turn that he had given Becky.  "Mac, can I buy you a drink?"  He turned his head away from me, raised up a beer and said "Already have one."

Becky and I went back over to Eddie.  The three of us stood there like Charlie and Grandpa Joe at the end of Willy Wonka. "What did we do wrong?"

That's when I noticed Martha talking to a very drunk, very angry woman.

The Incident:

I walked over to Martha to tell her about our strike out.  That's when the angry woman (I never heard her name, but let's call her Roxy) told us her story.  I had seen her at the Hi Ho while we were waiting for Macaulay to come out.  I had seen her go backstage.  She told me "I gave him $75 worth of mushrooms and he didn't acknowledge or even thank me, just took them!" (I edited that a little, just drop an F bomb in wherever you want.) I can't confirm that she gave him mushrooms, but for the sake of the story, we'll assume she is telling the truth.

Then she started yelling about how she was going to "grab him by his pony tail and slam his head into that pole."  Becky and Eddie were still standing over by him and saw us talking to Roxy so they came over to see what was going on.  Eddie said the whole time Mac had been bragging to his girlfriend about how how was the king of karaoke and how he was better than all these people.  NFor some reason this made Roxy even more angry.  Then Becky told her the talk boy story.  At this point Roxy was boiling and walked away.  Our group decided it was time to leave and headed towards the door.  I looked over and saw Roxy screaming in Macaulay Culkin's face.  Then she pointed at me, then back at him and started screaming at him even more. Macaulay Culkin looked right at me,  I didn't know what to do, so I kept walking towards the door. Mac was still looking at me, that's when Roxy grabbed him by the ponytail and bashed his head into the pole he had been leaning against.  Anchovy Warhol and the manager jumped in-between them and yelled "Get her out of here!" As the bouncer came to haul Roxy away, Mac started egging her on.  Arms out telling her to "come on" with a smirk on his face.

Martha and I went outside to look for Roxy so we could find out what she had said to him.  She was already in the back of someone's car, but saw us and came out.  First she had yelled at him about his lack of gratitude with her generous gift of mushrooms.  Then she told us she said "Those people came all the way from Houston to see you and you won't even sign something for them?!"  That's when she grabbed his ponytail.  "Then Andy Warhol shows up and I tell him F**K you Andy Warhol, Your'e washed up!"



The Conclusion:

Martha and I went back to the bar to find Becky and Eddie.  They were inside watching Mac's girlfriend rub his sore head.  It was almost 2 in the morning at this point so we decided it was best to leave. While we were waiting for a cab, The Pizza Underground left the bar. As they walked past us I heard one of the members say "We'll just do Karaoke when we get back to New York, and we'll make sure to get a private room."  Then they crossed the street, got in their van and left.

Maybe he was drunk, maybe he had eaten Roxy's mushrooms and didn't want to be bothered.  The truth is though, you were in New Orleans to play a show, your name is on the ticket.  If you didn't want people talking to you, maybe don't advertise it as a Macaualy Culkin show.  Let's be honest, he's the only reason anyone knows who this band is.

I've played the night over in my had a million times at this point.  Was I overreacting?  Is he just short with people?  On stage he had been laughing and joking and seemed like a really pleasant guy.  I checked twitter and one guy had tweeted about seeing Roxy slam his head into that pole.  He also tweeted that Macaualy Culkin refused to take a photo with him.  So, the whole time he was in that bar  only a handful of people approached him and he was rude to all of them?  How hard is it to just be nice to someone who took time out of their day to support you and your band?

He had told Becky he didn't want to make a big deal by signing our Talk Boy, but by not signing it, that's exactly what he caused.

2020 Update:

Since "the incident" I have told this story a lot. If the most ridiculous thing I have ever witnessed. I mean, how many of you have seen a drunk woman attack a child star because he didn't thank her for drugs or sign a toy movie prop? I didn't think so. I wrote the story the day after it happened because it really bummed me out and I wanted to figure out why. I'm sure for most people this very brief interaction seems like nothing, but I was a huge Macaulay Culkin fan growing up. I saw The Nutcracker in the theater because he was in it! Did you even know he was in a theatrical version of The Nutcracker?

Around the time Mac was touring with The Pizza Underground, photos came out where he was looking pretty bad and people assumed he was on heroin. Maybe he was going through a rough time when the incident took place. He recently did an interview and photo shoot for Esquire where he seems to be happy and looks great, and that makes me happy. I still love Home Alone, and if he ever comes to town you better believe I am bringing my Talk Boy.

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