While I am happy to engage in conversation with my seatmate, I make it a point to never initiate conversation beyond a greeting when boarding. But a friendly celebrity on my American Airlines flight saw fit to strike up a conversation with me and we turned out to enjoy a great talk on travel, miles and points, and life.
Flying With Jack McBrayer In American Airlines First Class
As boarding was winding down for my Los Angeles to Chicago flight, actor Jack McBrayer took a seat next to me. You will likely remember he played Kenneth Parcell in 30 Rock and has appeared in film, television, and theatre over his very productive career.
He said good morning to me, I said good morning back, but then I went back to working. I was editing pictures of my recent trip through Brazil, Panama, and El Salvador. I was also taking several pictures out the window. That must have piqued his curiosity, because he asked what I was doing (maybe he thought I was trying to sneak a picture of him, which he later told me people often used to do while he was going back and forth from New York during 30 Rock).
I explained about Live and Let’s Fly and Award Expert and we went on to have great conversation about international travel and then about family life, education, living in LA (we are both Angelenos, though he is a transplanted one and was shocked that I actually born in LA), and work. We went into a holding pattern over Chicago and ended up chatting even longer due to our delayed arrival.
Seriously, this was a great conversation and I have so much respect for this man. One reason is just because he was intelligent, witty, and great to speak to. But McBrayer is also an A-list celebrity, very financially wealthy, and it has not gone to his head. He’s a very down-to-earth guy.
I asked him with he was working on next and he told me about a new show he is making with Apple called Hello Jack! The Kindness Show. He invoked the memory of Fred Rogers and said the mission was to create family-friendly, edifying, clean programming for kids. The trailer looks good:
Before landing, I asked for a picture with him so that I can show it to my five-year-old son Augustine when I introduce him to this program. We don’t have a TV, but he can watch it on my laptop. In case you are wondering, the American Airlines flight attendant made us take off our masks briefly for the picture, especially because I was wearing a United Airlines mask…
What a pleasant surprise. Jack McBrayer is a kind man. It was a lot of fun to fly next to him and it was the best conversation I’ve had with a seatmate in many years.
Crazy, yeah? Even their hair. Literal mirror image.
That is wonderful. 30 Rock is a beloved show in our family.
The best part of the story is that you were wearing your United mask on American! 🙂 (there was nothing wrong with the rest of it, but that part just made me chuckle)
The only exception to the federal mask mandate is for eating and drinking, not photo ops with so-called “A-list” celebrities. How many lives were endangered with this picture?
I can never tell if your comments are meant to be a parody or if you actually believe this stuff…
It’s called concern trolling
There is also an exemption if you are a politician that mandates your herd to wear a mask. Look at the Demented in Chief leaving a restaurant in DC, the mayor of Chicago watching a WNBA basketball game, etc… The mask mandate is just for the brainwashed people.
And your mandate came on Jan 6th.
And not wearing masks is for those who lack a brain.
And for those who have chosen to have sexual relations with their close family members
you guys could be brothers
You could learn something from the guy. Wearing a United Airlines mask while flying AA was classless.
Why? I go into an Adidas store with Nikes on. What’s the difference?
How exciting – You guys look like you could be twins.
ALL YOU EVER DO ITS BITCH ABOUT AMERICAN!
WHO I ENJOY FLYING AND EXPERIENCE GREAT SERVICE.
YET, YOU FLY AMERICAN WITH A UNITED MASK.
Are you kidding me? I had a great flight on AA.
I thought it was an all around great article. You captured the experience. It felt like I was nearby observing. Seems as though the aforementioned negative comentors should tune into the new TV show. This kind of criticism and behavior is why I have left an otherwise satisfying 18 months as a front line RN. Keep up your good work.
I’ve never seen or heard of him. However, I’m sure that’s more of a reflection on me.
I’m glad I’m not the only one who said “who?”
McBrayer’s reaction to your being born in LA is similar to my reaction when I met people who were born in DC. I was born & raised in the DC area (and have lived here my whole life), but so many people are from out of town (due to the presence of the federal government) that when I meet a fellow lifelong DMV resident, I am very surprised, to put it mildly.
I am one, Brian. There are a few others here as well that banter in LALF. I agree though, yes, we are far and few between!
I would have seen him board the flight and think he looks familiar (I’m sure I’ve seen him on TV) but I don’t really watch TV, so would otherwise have no clue who he was. I usually don’t get star struck. I’m still hoping to sit next to Tom Hanks once though. Looks like it was a fun flight.
I was in a cab that almost ran him over in New York’s Meatpacking District circa 2012.
I also saw him at the Clermont Lounge.
Glad he’s nice but celebrity status questionable. Guy was on a TV show.
He co-starred in the play Waitress in London a couple of years ago and was superb. He stole the show.
This UA mask mischief strikes me as a passive-aggressive alternative to an anti-vaxer w an amplified mic. Any hint of soon being placed on a AA Do-Not-Fly list?
“In case you are wondering, the American Airlines flight attendant made us take off our masks briefly for the picture, especially because I was wearing a United Airlines mask…”
Enough with the silly excuses when you break a rule and just own up to it when you.
“…when you do” is how that sentence was supposed to end.
His smile looks so much like his character from 30 Rock. When you spoke to him did you mentally try to draw a connection between him and the character he portrayed? Did you find more similarities than differences?
Very cool! Great story! Jack McBrayer looks and sounds like a really great guy… as you are Matthew!
Watched the preview of Hello Jack! The Kindness Show. We sure could use more kindness in our world.
Typo in the title. Correct version would be:
JACK MCBRAYER SAT NEXT TO THE KINDEST CELEBRITY ON HIS AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIGHT.
Matthew is the celebrity, in my opinion. I once met 2 celebrities at the same time at an event. Only had a chance to get one autograph so I had to choose. This would be a similar case. I choose Matthew!
LOL ok calm down
“…and it was the best conversation I’ve had with a seatmate in many years.” Ouch! I hope John takes no offense. I can’t believe our on the air conversation meant nothing to you. Next time you want a cold beverage just press it against your heart,Matt. 😉
I was leaving Bush Jr’s first Inaugural Ball around midnight. It was snowing and quite beautiful. Looking at the snow instead of where I was walking, I bumped into Jacklyn Smith. We both muttered apologies. I said something inane, she laughed and kept walking. Years later I played in the Child Help Charity Golf tournament in Palm Desert. Co host was Cheryl Ladd. Each foursome had a celebrity. I walked into the silent auction cocktail party the night before the tournament. I locked eyes with Cheryl and she with me. As I approached her someone she knew pulled her into a conversation. As I surveyed the room, I saw him. My thoughts were, “Dear God, I hope he’s not my celebrity tomorrow?” As I approached my golf cart the next day, Kato Kaelin turned around and said, “ You must be Jim!” Oh well, 2 out of 3 Charlie’s Angels ain’t bad!
This is probably the coolest post on LALF. Some street cred restored, Matthew.
I’ve never heard of this person. You seem more famous to me Matthew.
Jack McBrayer is an incredible talent who has been in loads of shows and movies! Aside from 30 Rock, he stole the movie in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and he was one of the leads in the Wreck It Ralph movies and many other animated films, like The Smurfs and the Cats and Dogs movie. He probably has more voiceover credits than anything, which is why maybe he isn’t as recognizable to some. But those animated movies perform very very well.
How do you two look so similar 🙂 ?
Can I ask why you don’t own a television? I’m genuinely interested. I’ve never known anyone to not own a TV before!
If “Live and Let’s Fly” were a movie…
Great story! Loved him in 30 Rock – as well as Penny’s brother in The Big Bang Theory!
Interesting. When did “someone is kind” become news worthy of sharing with thousands (more?) of people?