Skippy Jessop is a Mormon from Orem, Utah. He has pictures with almost any “A” list celebrity that you could think of. Also Skippy has been on a number of television shows such as Celebrity Name Game and a guest on the Chelsea Lately show. He is likely the most famous non famous person in the whole state of Utah. A super humble guy who would give you the shirt off his back. A connoisseur of pop knowledge I caught up with the Virgin Diaries Alumnus to talk about how he developed his hobby of meeting celebrities.
How did you develop your interesting hobby of meeting celebrities?
Kind of the way that I started my hobby was first I was in radio when I was fourteen cause a teacher of mine had a class assignment to interview someone and her favorite DJ’s in Utah were at Kiss FM 97 it was Fisher and Todd and so I was like I’ll suck up to the teacher by interviewing them and that was kind of fun cause they were like Utah famous and so it was fun to get the A and to kind of meet celebrities for the first time and then they liked me a lot so they had me be their radio gopher boy for a couple of years and then I got into radio and did that at my high school and then at a country radio station in Salt Lake called KBull 93 FM with the Outlaw Pat Garrett and that was fun cause at the radio station country music celebrities would come through. That was fun, I went on a Mormon mission, came home and got back into radio and worked for that same radio station group as a gopher boy but I got to set up meet and greets and when I was 22 and she was 18 I got to ask Britney Spears out on a date. I had this crazy experience at this young age that was super fun.
Then when I was 24 this tiny reality show came though town and if you search Skippy in Love on YouTube you can see this awkward five-minute long video but one of the people who worked on that set came to me two months afterwards and said they were filming this thing up at Sundance and we need some gophers to help do you know some friends? So I grabbed four friends and we were production assistants on it and I got to drive Ben and J.Lo around for ten minutes one day and it was just a crazy fun experience but we couldn’t get photos with them or of anyone. So I was like wow I didn’t realize all these people were up here in Utah once a year, I’m going to start doing this and so for the last fourteen years I’ve gone up to Sundance and have met celebrities. It’s just a really fun hobby. Its been even better because sometimes they even remember you and I’ve had some experiences were the celebrities have gone from being a celebrity that I was a fan of to we legitimately became friends.
What are some of your coolest celebrity experiences?
The coolest thing that ever happened was I met Dave Grohl up at Sundance about five years ago. I said “Hi Dave can I get a photo with you, and would you like a rape whistle.” He was like “rape whistle” and he was like “Oh, your that kid”. I’m like “what?” He was like “yeah you come up every year and meet celebrities.” And I’m like “yeah how’d you know.” Apparently he had seen some of my videos on YouTube, apparently anything Dave Grohl does he researches it a ton!! So when his documentary got into Sundance he looked up everything about Sundance he could including videos of me meeting celebrities on Main Street at Sundance. He knew who I was and a week after Sundance I got an email inviting me to be on the Chelsea Lately show because Dave Grohl was the guest host. Me and my friends got the chance to hang out with Dave Grohl and the guests of the show, Tenacious D backstage.
One of the other fun ones was becoming friends with the band Smashmouth by messaging them on Myspace. The band manager invited me to his wedding and I was the head usher and now I have celebrity friends in common with some of these people.The number one celebrity on my list is Oprah. If you think about what she was ten or fifteen years ago, I say that because if she likes you she could make your career. Dr. Phil and tons of authors owe their career to Oprah liking them. She also seemed like this larger than life person that had an eye for talent. She was this one worded woman that had control of the media universe. Its always been something awesome in my mind about her and she is the precursor for the second person on my list who is Ellen. Ellen is the person now who Oprah was then. Both seem like people you would love to know. Something so fun in that world they are in. It also would be great to meet Tom Cruise or Will Smith.
I watched your documentary Sundance Skippy and you seem to recognize every celebrity which is really impressive, you also were a winner on Celebrity Name Game so how did Skippy accumulate all this knowledge of pop culture?
One of the things I did constantly but don’t do as much now because the internet is so great for doing research, but I used to watch lots of TMZ.
Is there anytime you wouldn’t ask a celebrity for a picture?
There have been times when they are with their family or if you know they are in poor health. My general rule of thumb is if they are in a public place, I never go to hotels or restaurants to get pictures with celebrities.
Since you are such an excellent tastemaker, who are some of the bands and musicians that Skippy is listening to nowadays?
A few years back I got into this band called The Format which broke up and then the lead singer formed this band called Fun which had the song called “Some Nights” which was really popular. Nate Ruess and then his bandmates from Fun were Jack Antonoff from the band Steel Train and now he’s the lead singer of the band Bleachers and then Andrew Dost was in this band Antathallo and now he does lots of stuff working with musicians. I also listen to Ingrid Michaelson, she had a keyboardist named Ian Axel who had a solo CD and then he formed a group with this guy named Chad King, and the band is called A Great Big World. Locally we have Matt Lewis and the Medicine, Cory Mon and the Starlight Gospel, Imagine Dragons, and my favorite band of all time is the Barenaked Ladies.