I discovered Gunther during my college years, when my friends and I would waste time passing funny videos back and forth. Gunther went viral, at least on our college campus, for a while. I’ll let you explore the website (link NSFW) on your own to figure out why.
I met the real Gunther in 2007, in an elevator in Hollywood.
My mother was visiting me in California at the time, and I decided to take her and my friend V with me up to Hollywood to see what we could see. We patrolled Rodeo Drive and the Walk of Fame, grabbed lunch at a cute little hidden bistro, and took pictures with the Michael Jackson impersonator and a fresh version of Jack Sparrow who really liked V.
I even got roped into dancing with a street troupe that was overly eager to hold my purse for me while a couple of guys led us through some silly routines and then tried to trick us into pulling our shirts up for the crowd. (They were very disappointed that I had friends with me who could hold my purse instead.)
After we’d seen as much as we wanted to see, we started our trek back through the parking garage to where I’d left the car. Along the way I noticed a few posters advertising an upcoming concert featuring Gunther and his Sunshine Girls. Then I rounded the corner behind my mom and V and was shocked to find that we were standing next to Gunther and the Sunshine Girls, all waiting for an elevator. My mom saw my expression change and then she figured out that we were standing in the presence of somebody big. V was still clueless. I struggled with the right words to use as Gunther politely waited for everyone else to step in to the elevator, and then he stepped in and pressed the button for our floor. I managed to blurt, “Can I have a picture?” as he turned around, and he smiled and said yes.
Turns out, I’m a complete failure when it comes to celebrity stalking. (If you’re ever chatting with Claire Danes she’ll tell you. Psha. She totally remembers me.) In my excitement, after getting permission to take a photo of Gunther I just raised my camera to take a photo as though I were out photographing wildlife. V sensed I had no idea what I was doing and nudged me toward him so we could get a proper photo together.
My mom vaguely recalled me mocking a Swedish pop star named Gunther during my college years. V, on the other hand, still had no idea who he was. She took in the mullet, the glasses, and his pouty-lips expression, and kept asking me “He’s for real? He does concerts and he’s famous?” As we drove home I decided to refresh my mom’s memory and to convince V of Gunther’s legit status by singing for them a couple of his songs.
Oh well. He’s legit. And by some fluke we’d run into him that evening as he was leaving his sold-out venue to move to a larger performance hall at the last minute before a show. Later that night, when B called I excitedly told him that I’d had a celebrity encounter during my first visit to Hollywood. Then I made him guess who I’d seen.
“I’m gonna be pissed if while I’m over here in the Sandbox you’re out in Hollywood having dinner with Brad Pitt!” he said with a note of jealousy in his voice.
“No no, sweetie. I took a picture with Gunther, the Swedish pop star. Are you still upset?”
“No, I’m laughing my ass off. Did you touch his tralala?”