I Drive Dean Haglund

Mueller Airport, Wednesday, April 7



photograph by Bruce Dye

Dutifully donating the can of tuna that was my invitation to the BS4 "Media Mixer" at the Paramount Theatre, I searched furtively for actor-comic Dean Haglund. I was pretending to look for my pal Weezer, who hadn't arrived, but was really trying to see if Haglund, host of Thursday's gala show for BS4, was in sight. Alas, festival publicist Jennifer Hill apologized to me, his plane was late and he would not arrive until the evening, but the MAD TV people were upstairs with the food spread. Her dilemma reminded me of my mid-Eighties job at the Comedy Workshop, working with then-rising comics like Bill Hicks, Sam Kinison, and Dennis Miller. Often, that meant picking them up at the airport, checking them into hotels, going out to dinner or on an informal tour of the town, or sometimes all of the above. It was the best part of the job; it even had a title: celebrity liaison. At an event like BS4, such a job can be hellacious. "Say," I ventured shamelessly, "who's picking Haglund up at the airport?" Within minutes, I was back downstairs and greeting Weezer. "Guess what we're doing tonight? We're picking up Langley." Weezer was thrilled, since Haglund plays the hip one of the three conspiracy computer dweebs known as the Lone Gunmen on The X-Files, the show that is our absolute favorite.

Three hours later, we were waiting at the America West gate and recounting our favorite episodes with glee. Suddenly, the blond, long-haired Canadian -- sans the Langley glasses -- came striding down the jetway toward us. I introduced myself and Weezer, and we set off. The flight was awful, Haglund recounted pleasantly; the seat he was assigned didn't exist. We exchanged airline horror stories and he asked how far we were from town. Not far, I replied, noting that this was probably my last trip to Mueller before Bergstrom opens.

Zipping out of the airport, we chatted about this and that, Haglund's replies quick and smart and not fussy the way his TV character's can be. Here's the info from Jennifer, I said as I gave him some BS4 material. Here's a Chronicle Day of the Dead T-shirt, too, and went on to explain how a former TV columnist and her sidekick ended up as his driver. There's the UT Tower. There's downtown. This is Sixth Street. He asked some questions, we pointed out a few places to him, and explained how the streets were laid out. As we said goodbye to him at the Driskill, it occurred to me what a quick, easy trip that had been and how that convenience would be a thing of the past when Bergstrom opens. On the other hand, Bill Clinton will be here for the occasion. I wonder if they have anyone picking him up. -- Margaret Moser

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