I’m sure I’m violating at least six principles of journalism by posting an unverified story submitted by someone I don’t know, but the story’s too good not to share, and I never wanted to be a journalist anyway, as demonstrated by my backwards ball cap and relaxed attitude towards work (*air guitar*). A FilmDrunk reader shared his always-entertaining Gary Busey encounter with me, and now I’m sharing it with you. You’re a big boy/girl, you can decide for yourself whether it’s true.
So, UCLA used to give away free tickets to their first non-conference home game of each year to high school teams. The games were usually awful, and this particular year UCLA happened to be playing Oklahoma State before they became good again.
We were sitting in the stands waiting for kick-off and over the intercom I heard the name Gary Busey. I missed what exactly was going on, but being a big Point Break and Lethal Weapon fan my attention was piqued. It turns out his alma mater is Oklahoma State and he was an honorary captain or something of that ilk.
Whatever the case was they let Busey onto the field during the game. At one point, I went to go get some food at the same concession stand as Busey. He was wearing a bowling shirt, black pants, and what I think were painted bowling shoes. [FYI, Matt Ufford’s Gary Busey encounter also mentioned painted shoes -Ed.] While he was ordering I could hear him starting to tell a story to a very uninterested cashier.
That was really all I saw of Busey that day until we fast forward to the next afternoon. Now we’re at the Malibu Chili Cook-Off, we’re walking around and see they have live music playing. We get closer and hear what sounds literally like someone just screaming nonsense into a microphone while bluegrass plays.
My friends and I start making fun of the band, until I actually take a look at the stage. “Wait, I think that’s Gary Busey.”
They laugh, but I say “No, I really think that’s him.” Luckily he was wearing the exact same thing he was wearing the day before from head to toe, he definitely did not change clothes.
From the people around us it turns out Busey just jumped into the band’s set and took the microphone to sing his shrieking nonsense. After he finished up it looked like he was talking to some organizers of the event or something and was getting ready to leave.
We decided to get some face time with the man himself and cut him off at the parking lot. We found him there walking with a whole bunch of chili to his car (a 90s black Mercedes that looked like it hadn’t been washed in a year). We asked him for autographs and everything was going pretty normally, until we told him we saw him at the football game the day before. He asked us if we liked football, and we all said yes.
Next he went into a story detailing his life from High School, to his days playing football in college. He next asked us if we ever heard of Vietnam, everyone is quiet out of confusion, and he says “you know, the war in the sixties”. Oh, of course, Gary Busey, that Vietnam.
He commenced to tell us that he blew out his knee playing football, so he could not get drafted. After about 30 minutes, he started onto another subject, but we kinda wanted to get out of there, so we told Busey that we had to leave.
Before he leaves he puts his arm around me and my friend’s shoulder and says to us all that we only need to know one thing in life, “keep the freedom in your hearts, boys.”
Keep the freedom in your hearts, you guys. That’s freedom, F.R.E.E.D.O.M., Fascist Restaurants Engaged in Eating Dimsum Outside Melrose. Never forget, like the elephants. Be the elephant, boys. Here, help me load this trunk into my car. It’s full of moccasins.
Obviously, many of the details of this particular encounter ring true with what we already know about Gary Busey – the painted shoes, the eagerness to talk football, the extraneous buckets of chili. I don’t know what it says about the man himself, but I always enjoy any celebrity encounter that begins with fans feeling starstruck and ends with exaggerated looks at their watches, going “Hey… so, anyway, we’ve got this, uh, thing that we have to get to, and we really should be on our way…”