Yesterday, my wasband and I went to lunch, like we do every Friday.
Well. We went to lunch at a place where we've sometimes seen random famous people. It's not a fancy place or anything. It's just food, for crying out loud. But we've seen "news anchor" Anderson Cooper (who is short), Curb Your Enthusiasm's Cheryl Hines (tiny), Macaulay Culkin (shorter and tinier than anyone ever), and others. It's never really that big of a deal. Really.
Yesterday, however, Matthew Perry - star of the very popular situation comedy Friends and the not-so-popular hour-long television program Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - was having lunch there too. Huh! Looky there! It's Matthew Perry. A good actor. A rich man. A guy just having some lunch like all the rest of us.
But seeing him there in person got me wondering in a new way about just how wealthy that guy is. I also wondered what it would be like to be in a relationship with someone that rich. My wasband speculated that you'd never know where you stood with that guy. "You'd always be asking him, 'So, what's going on with us?'" he said. I thought this was a strong point. My wasband is a genius.
Anyway, I got stuck on this idea of wealth and not understanding just how rich people in the entertainment business are. And I started wondering about relative wealth, as in:
"Who do you think is richer - Matthew Perry or Ted Danson?"
"But Ted Danson was the highest paid actor on television for a long time, and that show Cheers was in syndication forever."
"Yeah, but Ted Danson is old school. That was back in the day. It was different then. All the Friends were making a million dollars an episode there at the end."
"Good point. So, Matthew Perry or Jennifer Aniston? Aniston's got the movie career plus Friends."
"Mmm. Yes. Jennifer Aniston. She also kept herself in the papers for quite a while, what with the Brad Pitt thing."
"Right. So, Matthew Perry or Lisa Kudrow?"
It went on like this for a little bit, but then it just became who's richer - this TV star or this other TV star. (TV is where the big money is, people.)
We factored in whether someone was a producer of their show, if it ran in syndication, if they also had a movie career. (If you're a producer/writer or an actor, chances are you're still getting paid if your show is still alive somewhere.) It included speculation about Mark Harmon vs. the guy from Walker, Texas Ranger (also, strangely, the highest paid actor on TV at some point), Jerry Seinfeld vs. Larry David, George Clooney vs. Jerry Seinfeld.
I think we ultimately decided Jerry Seinfeld had to be the richest guy there is. I'm sure we're dead wrong, but we didn't do a real thorough-going analysis. And I'm sure there's an actual list somewhere like in some Entertainment Weekly-style publication that ranks these people. And I'm sure some of you could reach out with your left hand and grab that information.
But I just thought I'd share my celebrity sighting and our subsequent musings. Feel free to play my fancy "who's richer" game at home. Do it with your friends! It's a blast. It will provide you with plenty of entertainment while you're, I don't know, waiting in line to buy a Nintendo Wii or some such ridiculous thing.
Ladies and gentleman, I am a geek of massive proportions. That is all.
Edited to add: I've now added links to information about said "stars" or "shows". Enjoy!