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All

Kato Kaelin wants to do is have

some fun. Is that so wrong?


Amy Pagnozzi spends quality time
with the clown prince
of the case of the century
henever he
is spottai by
his public,
KaroKaelin
is always
obliging.
"Kato, man, how ya doing?"
"Kato-love che hair."
It doesn't matter where
Kato's headed, or what he's
supposed to do. There is never
too little time-no matter
whose time he's on-to ask
people's names, sign autographs, swap pleasantries.
Clocks don't faze him. They
do me, but I'm me one whds
spent two weeks of my life in
an L.A. hotel suite wooing
Kato's publicist, agent, and
lawyer by telephone and fax
machine to nail this sir-down
interview, which to Kato
means me standing behind
him while he talks to his fans.
I want to mump him on che
head when I see him whip out that tube of
Vaseline Lip Therapy again.
Behold, me relic!
"Is mat che same rube of lip balm you
used in front ofMarcia Clark on me wimess
srand? Way rooll" his fans exclaim.
Though Kato swears it's che same rube
from M.a!dl, I know it can't be-not ar the
rate hes putting it on. Still, its a good trick.

As a teenager, playing
air guitar was Kato's favorite act:
"He thought he
was Bruce Springsteen,"
says his sister Go~.
"All the little girfs used to scream

when he played,'
I

If

The one that made him a star.


One day you're an underemployed thirtysomething
houseboy wim me sex: appeal
of Lassie, next thing )QU know,
Hollywood's at your paws and
college coeds are stripping fur
you on the street, presenting the glories that bounce
beneath their T-shirts fur your
inspection. Karo Kaelin is a
happy puppy these days,
rolling around in the karmic
wave that carried him from
freeloader to phenom as if he
were born to it. "People ask
me ifl'm sick of the arrencion.
It's an honor," says Karo.
"Every person I meet is a separate person. I{! hate to go up
to some famous individual on
the day he gave out his one
millionth autograph and have
him just go harummph."
From what I've seen, the
positive attention far outweighs the negative, and Kato agrees: "My
ra~ ~about 92 percent positive-that's
berrer dtan most politicians, I think. Two or
three weeks ago," he concedes, "somebody
said something bad to me in a mall ... jusr
a comment I didn't like, something about,
'Your careersmriving because of murder' or
something, and I really felt bad."
He looks at me like I'm loopy when I >

suggest r.his was merely the truth.


On the day of the murders, he reminds
me, had his cypewrirer been working, he
would have composed a new resume co
tuck beneath a pizza he imended to deliver
personally to a casting director holding an
audition. Who knows? he says, perhaps
that pizza would have landed the role that
would have made him as famous as he is
now because of the murders.
Sounds like DNA odds co me. To Kaco,
"You can't know 1wouldn't be F.unous now
and I can't know that. l always knew something, whatever, was going to happen in my
life. I always knew la be here."
When Kato talks locations, he is talking
degrees of fame. "Here" i.~ Famous. "Up
there," more famous. Acmallocations are

her job with an Asian airlines carrier.


''Where's your camera?" she demands when
she sees me. Ttell her I am a writer, not a
photographer. She sends me to my room to
search lOr a disposable camera in the minibar, saying, ''Go now. Rod won't wait." I
know my \Vay around rhe minibar; llmow
there's no camera in there; obligingly, 1 go
anyway. When 1 get back, Karo is air playing
the guitar with Rod's band (Rod never
showed) while she rakes phoco afi:er photo
with a camera she has somehow managed to
borrow. One of the original members of rhe
Face.~ is offering Kato front-row seats and
backstage passes to Rod's L.A. gig as I'm
dragging Karo back to my room. 'Td love ro
go, ifl'm around," I<ato says as we're leaving.
"But by that time, I may be 'up there.' "

Kato Kaelin
is a happy puppy
these days,
rolling around in
the karmic
wave that carried
him from
freeloader to
phenom as if he
were born to it.
problematic, because he does not und~rand
you can only be in one place at a time and
must choose between all those A-list parties,
show-business meetings, and hot new babes.
When, by some miracle, be shows up at
my hotel for our interview only s~ghcly lace,
he gets waylaid further in r.he lobby.
".Am-age!" he trills over the house phone.
(No matter how short your name, be
diminutizes it furthe.r. Amy, An1age. The
Juice, Juiceage.. ) "You have co rome down
co the lobby right now and see this! There's
a woman here whose husband plays in Rod
Stewart's band! Rod's coming and he wams
to meet me!''
I agree, with a warning: Should he waste
any more of our time be will have co cancel his date with Laylage, a twencyish
"model-girl" he just mer ar a photo shoot.
"I promise it will just take a minute,"
he says.
When I get there, the band member's wife
is seducing Kato with cue-rate vacations to
Singapore, which she can arrange through
320

I don't want to give you the impression


that Karo KaeEn is unremittingly tedious.
Yes, he does have time and space issues> bur
his manners, when it comes to remembering names, opening doors, saying please
and thank you, and avoiding profimiry, are
impeccable. Once in my room, he notices I
got my hair trimmed, mixes me his signature Karo Kaelin Global Fan Club rock.rail
(apple juice and iced rea), then shows me
to the couch, plopping to the loor at my
feet. I know that rm being shined and that
Tam only one year older than he is--but
whenever Kato is around me, I nonetheless
have this recurring urge to say, "My, you're
a well-brought-up young man."
lone with Kato, away from
the Phenomenon, you can see
how pleasant it must have
been for 0.}. and Nicole to
have someone so determinedly ingratiating banging
around the house--someone sufficiently

underemployed to be available, someone


sufficiently beholden that you can send
rum back to his room, like an actual kid.
When he gives you that trademark rorallyrapt-bur-slighdy-bcwildered look, you feel
powerful by comparison. You know the
expression I mean; ic:~ d1e one your dog gets
when you've got a pocketful ofMilk-Bones.
Kid and animal analogies are inescapable
in any disrussion of the man; everyone who
knows him uses them. ''Kato reminds me of
a puppy or a kirten- he's got this playful,
innocent-but-rroublemaking quality to his
character," says director Savage Steve
Holland, who in fact cast Kato as Kat the
Kitten in his FOX cartoon Eek! The CAt.
"He's so vivacious." Holland adds. "He's
kind ofl.ilre r.he prom king, but even though
be's the prom king, you still like him."
Brian "Kaco'' Kaelin, who took his
nickname from a character on the 1V
show The Grem Hornet, was, in fact,
prom king at Nicoler High, School in
Glendale, Wtsconsin, and prides himself on being congenial. He says he
mixed with greasers and stoners in
school as easily as he did with the jocks
and the drill-team girls: "T didn't have
any Favorites, and that's the truth," he
declares earnestly.
His mother, Isabelle, who worked as
an industrial .nurse at the Schlitz
Brewery when he was growing up, says
that from his first day in the first grade
ar Our Lady of Good Hope parochial
school, he was always "very, very popular. We have a grear big backyard, and
he was always putting on sl;ows for the
kids here." Kato's Favorite act? Scooting
inside the house to come bounding our wid1
his clectcic guiCU", on which he would air play
"Born to Run" while Bruce Springsteen
blared &om the stereo.
"He d1ought he \vas Bmce Springsteen,"
says Kato's thirty-seven-year-old sister, GaiL
'~I the little girls used to scream when he
'played'-he was always so up. Kato's were
tough fOotsteps to follow." In d1ose days he
was known as Brian, the restofthesix Kaelin
siblings were known as "Brian's brothers and
sisters"-even though Kato was the serond
youngest among them.
Of course, the skills that make you bigtime in high school dont necessarily take you
beyond it, but, apart from Kato's father, Al,
the rest of r.hc family always accepred Karo
for the star he thought he was.
Al, who died five years ago of a heart atrack, sold Equor co restaurants. Two of his
sons, Mark and John, folloWIXi him inco sales;
Robert is a romputcr operator; and Mary
and Gail, just like d1eir mother, became>

l)rofile
health-care professionals. Kato was the only
Eek! The Cat director Holland daims,
one of Al's kids who never held down a tra- "There are 2illions of guys like Karo out
ditional job; his father had a problem wiLh here in LA who reason that at some point
thar. AI felt he needed to find some profes-. you aan only do so much, then you're waitsion, some trade-something other than ing for your break. You just open yourself
"Class Clown" to pur on his resume.
up and let it come in, instead of putting it
"I always thought my dad was tough on out. And sometimes it happens; people
me," Kato recalls. '1tsrarnxi when I was who don't work all thar nard suddenly
in school. He wanted me to be a pro become famous."
lr's happening for Kato. A Roseanne
ballplayer, and Twas good enough to have a
shot, but I wasn't commirred. 1 preferred episode he appears in bas not ytt aired, but
hanging with my buddies co mnning and there are movie roles he could take right
working out."
now, if he wanted them. Eek! T/;e Gtt and
To this day, Kato
occasional stints hostdoes not have the focu~
ing Talk Soup keep
his father wanted for
him afloat till he plays
Alone with Kato,
him. nr just always
Vegas with Anderson,
whom he'll also
wanted ro be on the you can
accompany on che
top, in something, to be
in d1e spoilighr. I never see how pleasant
road. Ir's almost as if
he can't put his foot
gave up," Kato says.
it must have
He decided Calidown without stepfornia was the place been for OJ and
ping in it. When Kato
where destiny would
went to see the heavymetal band Anthrax,
find him after taking a Nicole to have
trip to Redlands with
they told him, even
someone
one of his high school
though he can't sing,
that he could join
buddies. Just over a year so determinedly
later, he transferred to
their group. When he
ingratiating
a college in che area.
flew back to LA from
Again, he had a slight
the Kentucky Derby
hanging around
(where he was f~ted
problem with location.
''1 thought Redlands the house.
with Muhammed Ali),
was LA," he admits.
he just happened, hav"How did I know
ing been bumped up
what was meant co bappeo ro me when I to first class, co be seared next ro Jon Lovit'l..
wa~ growing up?" says Kato. "I was pretty,
Lovitt offered him a role on bis FOX carno, very hip back then-I mean, 1 always toon series, The Critic.
knew I was way, way ahead of my time. I
'Tm going to conquer this comedy thing
remember when I was a lirde kid looking first," declares Karo. "I've got Louie
in the mirror sometimes, when fd get into Anderson, T can't ask for anything more.
an argumenr with my dad or something, r He's brilliant, he's a genius. He has an
remember crying all the time and going: insight in me-l mean, he just knows me."
Tm leaving. I am notstaying here. I'm leavrand-up comedy, perhaps an
ing.' " (He says these words in a sniveling,
childish voice.) "I'd wa.ir until I'd stopped
album, his own TV show, and
definitely movies are what he
bawling. And then fd move away !Tom the
mirror. J knew I was supposed to be ... "
sees in his furure, for srarters.
Infur "here."
Not only comedic roles, either.
Imagine. Kato Kaelin sr-,ming
Portents of grearness. Perhaps you have
to live in LA to understand. The aaors I in "The Tragedy Thing."
know in New York cot1stancly go to classes
"It's in me. I'm very deep. Believe me,
and workshops, showcases and auditions to emotions are ... " Kaco begin.., then he tells
refine their art, and yer they remain me this srory: "I was watching Drugstore
wracked with self-doubt. Kato, who takes Cowbi1J and d1ere's a scene where the girl
no classes, cites college productions when dies, and as soon as she died I got a phone
you ask about his theatrical experience, and call from my sister saying thac my dad had
never performed at a single amateur night died. That's why it always bad so much
before opening recently ar some small com- .unpacr on me. "
edy d ubs for Louie Anderson, exudes a
I have no idea what he means.
confidence so Zen, l asked if he was a
"I mean, 1 need to go and srudy some
Buddhist. (He isn't.)
more, but it just has to come our," says
322

Kato. '1\cring, you're on a set getting a lot of


money and you're there to do make-believe.
Youre playing pretend. You're a kid again."
I had never before met anybody over age
eight who gaz..ed out at the worJd to see such
limitless horiwns. Close your eyes and listen to binl. You could be c-alking to a child.
''A lot of the girls, they see me as a boy,
and yet, a man," says Karo. "It's funny.
Even though I wa~ a prom king, I always
looked like a baby. The girls I wanted to go
out with were set on the older guys. Now
it's just the opposite."
Of course, now he is an older guy, the
bags beginning to set in beneath those
puppy-dog eyes, buc he doesn't choose to
know it. At thi rty-six, he still talks about
marriage and children as if he hasn't already
been there and gone. ''I would love to f.tll
in love someday and get married. Kids? I
know I will. Lots of kids. rll have all that
scuff. Maybe an occasional nanny, so J
could srill do stuff with the wife.''
I remind him that he has ao ex-wife
named Cyndi. He says, "I never should
have gotten married. She was going ro
beauty school and modeling and she was
very beautiful and T said, 'Oh my God,
this model-girl likes me, she loves me,
she'd marry me, I'd better get her befOre
my friends do.' That's how immature T
was at rwency-three."
Layla, or Laylage, as be call~ her, comes
to my mind immediarely-bur I don'r
bring her up, because 1 don't want to
remind him that he's lace for this week's
"model-girl."
"It was Like a total rejection after Cyndi
and J separared, o he continues. "J.felr very
w1atrractive p hysically and I couldn't be
fUnny anymore. l had this emotion ofbeing
hwl. I felt very alone.., He feels he suffered
a major-league depression that lasted three
weeks, until he found bachelor digs with
rwo guys and three girL~ and "was fine."
l<ato's ex-wife, Cyndi Parrerson, agrees
chey were too young tO wed when they
married at St Juliana's Church in Fullerton,
C.alifornia, then flew off for a honeymoon
trip to Vegas that Kato had previously won
on a game show. fn 1985, when their
daughter, Tiffany, was just six months old
and scill breast-feeding, Karo announced he
needed to be an aaor, and then be split. It
musr have been rough for Cyndi, who ultimately had to pur aside her own dreams of
modeling and acting to become a legal secretary. According to court papers she Jed
in 1989, Kato frequcmly dragged his heels
in paying his $300-a-montb child support
and wasn't the best caregiver when he took
Tiffany from her on wcck.ends, neglecting,>

profile
at times, even to see rhac she showered.
Nevenhclcss, Cyndl's attitude coward her ex
today is more bemused than angry: "What
am. I say abour Kato? He's one of a kind,"
she says. Cyndi .!>'a)'S her generosiry springs
from her happy marriage to an engineer
named Rick, who embraced the fatherly
duties Kaco abandoned.
Karo himse!fadmits he had no desire ro be
a dad. ''I was like, Oh my God, no way can
you be pregnane, you Cln't be, you can't be, 1
don'r want to have a haby. l'd always rhink.
r'Or what ~n do l have a baby? and it's only
now that fm srarting to
know why TtfEmy was
born." When I ask him
co elaborate, he says, "As
far as me looking at a
flower, to me, it's a
flower, okay, bur Tiffany looks at a flower
very diffct~::ntly, deli1
I
cately. Now l understand women, with her
growing up."
He seems to be
implying chat Tilliny
was born 1.0 enhance
his own self-growth,
but I figure he can't be.
Then he nods his
head: Yes, that's right.

flick he srarred in], with aU the boob kissing


and humping and grinding and everything
else--when she was five!" Shelaughs. "Kato
claims he made her close her eyes during rhe
bad pans. Lcr's justsay he's more into being
a buddy than raking on a fatherly role."
Karo's such a textbook ClSC of Dan Kiley,
MD's, The Peter Pan Syndrome: Men. Wbo
Have Never Grown Up. f go our and pick
up a copy of the 1983 best-seller ro reread
it. When I call Cyndi to make sure I'm not
being unfu.i.rly harsh on Kaw, she giggles
and reUs me about the rime Kato wrapped
an eight-by-ten glossy
of himself 1n shiny
paper and gave it 1.0
her for Chrisrmas.
I make Cyndi rake
Dr. Riley's test for
women who want ro
see if there's a Peter
Pan in their lives. Out
of a possible score of
forty; Kato rates a
pathological twenrysix, indicating that
both he and any
woman considering
sharing his life should
seek professional help.
The
symptoms:
Doesn't like to say he's

Daughters. This years

sorry. Fo'l'gets birthdaJS


and anrtiversares. Musr be the life ofthe
parry, Has unexplainedf~an Hates being
alone- that one l :already knew. The night
he got back from Kentucky; before we'd even

'Growing
up I was pretty,
no, very
hip back thenmean,
always knew I
was way,
way ahead of
my time,''
says Koto.

perfect accersoryfor the weU-dressed narcissist.


Earlier in our conveJ~tions, Kaco had
told me that Shakespeare's The ]empest
was aU about a guy who wanted "ro go out
and travel and experiment in life." Thar
was pretty scary. But it was only when he
began calking about his daughter that I felr
genuinely horrified. Lt's not that he doesn't
truly love his daughter, either-he does.,
within his limited understanding of what
that means.
"Dad, you want co hear asong?"liffimy
a.~ks, when he calls her on speakerphone
from my room. 'lo rhe nme of"Oay-0,"
she sings, "Kato, Ka-a-a-to. O.J.'s gone and
Kato's got no home."
Kato: "Sing a di:Herenr song."
T rffany: "Kato, Ka-a-a-ro. Karo gees girls
wherever he goes.... Amy didn't Like that
one, did she? Dad, do you like Amy-ofthe-week?"
Kato: "No, T tff, Amy here Is a friend.
shes interviewing me."
Tlfimy: ''Yeah, r.ight."
She's teaching him about women. He's
reaching her about roeo.
"When Tiffany was five years old," says
Cyndi. "Kaw went out and rented the
uncut version of Beach Fever [a sex:ploiration
326

mer, Karo was so despcrnte co have company


for dinner, he called all of his friends, then
evetybody he knew, rill, .finding nobody at
aU was home, he got down to me.
UncaUe~forjlashes ojmge?ll1at one surprised me. Cyndi laughs again. "Oh, yes.
He's gor quire a temper, and irs always over
the silliest things. I'll tell you wl1at,
rhough," she adds. "He used to wcite me
the mosr beautiful poetry and the most
beauriful letters when we were still courting." Prerry odd, Cyndi concedes, for
someone who can't finish sentences when
he's speaking. It gave me something w
think abour. Could it be, when Karo says,
''I'm very deep,'' he is tclling the truth?
e claims he has never been
in rherapy and ha.~ never fdr
the need ro be because his
rwo be.n buddies from high
school, 1om O'Brien and
Will Srumpe, now live
nearby in LA. O'Brien is a disrrict attomey.
Srumpe owns a lighting supply company.

"They're better than any comedy act. Iff


get cocky. rhey tell me, 'He's changing his
name from Kato to Pluto, he's got his
own planet now.' ''
As Karo puts it, "'IV will always be
there, but being our wich my buddies, it's
so important." He's got a lor of buddies
these days, including Charlie Sheen and
Nick Cassavercs, with whom be enjoys hitting the clubs and playing baseball. Kaw
wore one of Sheen's jackers to coutt on one
of the early days of his testimony. 'Tve
made so many friends," he end1Uses,
infurming me chat Lany King invited him
to his engagement parcy and Politically
Incorrect host Bill Maher took him along:as
a sidekick ro a friend's bachelor party.
Jessica H alm and Roxanne Pul irlCr and
Gennifer flowers spring immediately ro
mind. l know ir's boode.~s to t:ell him,
''Well, of course they invire you places,
you're the flavor of the weekJ ir's a wonder
rhey didn't make you jump out of the
cake." I rell him anyway.
"1 don'r get what you mean," he says. ''1
am see when there's fiiendsh.ip."
For rhe first rime ever in my life, I regret
1 wasn't more blunt. Karo Kaelin is rhe
brand-spanking-new, latest spin on a longstanding, time-honort:d tradition. He's
America's first Male Bimbo. And he
doesn't even know it.
yndi is amazed at the change in
the way people perccive Karo
these days, righr down ro her
own family. "My relatives, rhe
same people who were saying he
was such a jerk, such a lose.~;,
want ro get rheir pictures calcen with him
now, they're&.wningall over hlm."
Daughter Tiffany goes deadpan when
she sees people do rhis. "Tmean, he's nice,"
she says, "bur 1 just don't see it, Mom.
What's the big &scinarion with my dad?"
Kato himself is the only one who's not
amazed. Theres no doubt he saw his srim
on the stand ar the OJ. rrial as an audition,
ot chat he was positively staggered when
Marcia Clark had him declared a "hostile
wit;ness.'' He tOld me he had no idea whar
tbe tetm meanT aT that ume. H ow could
she possibly say he was ''habuit-," when he'd
tried so vety hard to gee people to like him,
and so many had?
He srill cant understand either why anybody accused him of lyi.ug. "I wasn't lying
on the stand. I told the truth," he says. He
is refening to his testimony on March 28,
1995, when he rold Clark no, he absolutely
did not have a book proposaL Of course,
Muc Eliot, who claim~ Karo had already >

profile
given his final approval ro Stnr Witness: .My
Lift With Nicole and 0.). Simpson, a manuscript they'd worked on for six monrhs
together, has a different take on that.
Bur I believe Kato really thinks he is
telling the truth when he says, "There was
never a book." After all, he knows nothing
of the literazy world, only show business.
In show business, when somebody pitches
you a project, whether you love it or hate
it, you say yes, yes, yes. Does tbac mean
you made a deal? No, all it means is you're
a player. ln show business, nothing is real
but d1e check. That's how Karo can concede chat his voice was on Eliot's tape
recorder and his name was on the proposal
Eliot shopped around,
while ~'till insisting there
was no deal.
"1 never acrually
signed anything," Kato
rold me. "J never got
paid."
It is a licrle hard to
figure out why he clidn't publish a book, considering how innocuous Kato !Gulin: ihe
Whole Truth (the unauthorized version Eliot
published without him)
is, until you remember
how much Karo's life
has changed in the
rime that elapsed between the pitch and the publication. Karos
dance card is much fuller roday. What looked
like a great financial opportunity at the time
doesn't look so good now that he knows he
can make money in ways more helpntl ro
his career because they arc less directly
exploitative of his relarionship with rhe
Simpson family, and rhus less likely to
underscore his curiosity value. Says Kato:
"Everything's becoming very legitimate for
me now."
I'm nor daiming that Karo treated Eliot
nicely; but why would Eliot, a mere hired
hand, expect Kato to be nice, a.fi:er what
Karo did to his friend Nicole? After all,
Nicole Brown Simpson might very weU be
alive today ifKaro bad followed mrough on
his agreement to rem a room in her condo
on Bundy, insread of accepting a bercer
offer from O.J. She never really spoke ro
Karo again after that, and you can understand her feeJjng of becrayal, given that
Karo was nor ju''t her roommate bur a confidante with whom she shared her fears
abour her ex-husband. Karo, of course,
was surprised at her ani rude, because as far
as he was concerned. no snub to Nicole was

inrended. He wasn't even thinking about


her when he made his decision: He was
far too busy envisaging the exciting adventures he'd have living wim 0 .J.
This a fellow for whom nm, in the most
childish meaning of that word, is paramount. Who keeps a princess phone in
his '83 Jaguar so he can pretend he's calking on it. Who ends every phone conversation with ..Whoever hangs up first is
the greatest." \'V'ho doses every personal
encounter with rhe Karo handshake,
which is sort of a consensual snap.
In fu.imess, just as Karo has no jusri6carion
for the great expectations he has for himself,
he's given others no justification to expect
anything &om him.
You don't expect a
boy to prO(ect you the
way you would a man.
You don't expect a
joker to sraod behind
you in tragedy.
When it comes ro
tl:iends, maybe you get
what you pay foL
In times before ours,
every noble household
had jrs jester. Thac was
Kato Kaelin's role in the
Simpson householdstO provide comic relief-and it is a role
recurring frequently
enough in the compounds and mansions of Los Angeles that
after Karo's resrin10ny you could hear people at dinner parties saying, "You know, I
also have a Karo in my guest house."
During me si.x days Karo testified on the
witness smnd, thanks to the cameras imide
the courtroom, we got ro have one, too.
Shakespeare never inflicted a rragedy
upon us without leavening it wim the odd
drunkard, sprite, or grave digger. And let's
be honest, the gavel-to-gavel courtroom
coverage of the 0.]. trial seldom rises ro
that lcvd. On most days, the testimony is
dull, just as on most days our lives are. The
one-liners Kato was cracking on the wimcss
sraod wouldn't get a rise out of you if you
were paying co hear them ac a club. But in
the context of that trial, they provided
comicrdief.
f'm not forgetting that rwo people are
dead; only suggesting that reality is dreadful,
and sometimes we w.mt to be disrr-acted.
Charlie Manson's name sells T-shirrs,
Jeffrey Dahmer's sells comic books and
rrading cards.
David Letterman turns the LA. riots,
the Clarence Thomas hearings, the

Kato's father
thought he needed
to find some
profession, some
tradesomething other
than 'Class
Clown" to put on
his resume.

328

Menendez brothers inro comic fodder.


When thousands of people were starVing
in Africa, the lare Sam KiJlison joked,
''Why don't they go where the food is?"
!laughed. fm nor a horrible personwhy did l think that was funny?
As much as I hare ro admit ic, Kaco
Kaelin is far from being the only person in
America wim a teensy lirde attention span
and tendencies gallopiJ1g toward narcissism.
He is merely an extreme case.
"Alll want ro do is have some fun and I
have a feeling I'm not the only one," sang
Sheryl Crow.
She was too right.
Within the first three weeks after the
Kato Kaelin Global Fan Club set up irs 800
number, more than 7,500 calls poured in.
The truth is, the guy couldn't be selling
himselfifnobodyout there was buying.
What better poster child could there be
for a post-baby-boomer generarion thar
believes you're likelier ro get life's rewards by
bumping your unimproved self into the
right person at the right pany than you are
through hard work? And if there are trillions of guys just Like Karo in LA., New
York's East Village is littefed wid1 the same
number of aging waifs who believe a
pierced naval or interesting earrings to be
an excuse for a life.
ay ro go, Karo! Here's ro
the man who not only
survived co age thirtysix without stjckiog ro
college or a job or marriage or fatherhood, he's
thriving because of it. Here'~"' ro the boy
who never grew up. and now never has w.
He has turned his pathology into
schtick.
"I think sometimes I'm acrually coo sensitive. lfl hear whispering, J think people
might be laughing at me, that they think
rm this dweeh," says Karo.
Okay. So he isn't going ro play Hcnzy IV,
part one or two. Bur game-show host, latenight sidekick, video VJ? All I can say is if
you don't believe there are enough cableTV channels out there for Kato Kaelin to
find a place on one of them, you haven't
been w.trching lately.
"Knock, knock," he says.
Who's there?
"Kato," he says.
Katowho?
"That's my biggest fear," he says.
He's joking.
Given me launching he5 gotl'en so Far, he
can malce the ride last for a whil.e.
Sometimes, lik is like a rube ofUp balm. 0

contributors

amy pagnozzl

Columnist and writer Amy Pagnozz.i flew off to meet Kato


Kaelin determined to lind an explanation fOr his enormous
popularity-"! thought there had to be more to him."
Four days in L.A. with the Phenomenon left
Pagnozzi feeling uneasy about our culture and
rocally exhausted. "He was excruciatingly annoying," she says. "Imerviewing Karo is like crying
to hold mercury in your hand." Despite her
tiranic srmggle to engage Kato in adult conversation and keep him ar a professional &tance
("He kept asking me if I was mad at him,''
she says), PagnOZI'..i finally surrendered to his
childishn~. 'There comes a point where
you just give up, and you do the Karo
handshake." Pr~ for a comparison,
she's srumped, until suddenly it hits
her: "It's Bill Clinton," she says. "They're
on opposite ends ofthe intellecrual scale,
but rhey both have that Dale
Carnegie-esque l'm-going-ro-makeyou-like-me-no-marrer-what quality."