For Norman Reedus, one of the stars of “The Walking Dead,” his run on the hit AMC show has been rather unexpected.
“I didn’t know I was going to be on the second episode of the first season,” Reedus revealed to me on the red carpet at The Garden Of Laughs charity event inside The Theater at Madison Square Garden last week. “I’m excited just to be here, you know what I mean?”
Now seven seasons later, the actor who plays Daryl Dixon has grown accustomed to walking around New York City and hearing adoring fans shout, “Don’t die!”
“I get a lot of police love and firemen love here,” he responded when I asked what fan interactions are like in the city. “(They talk) mostly about the show.”
And while Reedus talks about it comfortably, he admitted that there are some scenarios that he is not fully accustomed to.
“I just came back from Madrid and there were 10,000 screaming people in the streets and sometimes that’s overwhelming,” he admitted. “But it always feels good. I mean we work really hard on that show and we shoot it out in a bubble in the woods of Georgia so, when we come out of that and we get a lot of love it feels good.”
Sometimes he doesn’t even have to leave Georgia to feel the love. When I asked Reedus who the most surprising public figure was to tell him that they enjoyed “The Walking Dead,” he responded with Jada Pinkett Smith.
“I saw her in Savannah; she was there for a ‘Magic Mike’ after-party… I think they wrapped there,” he recalled. “She came up to me at a restaurant and said she really loved the show and I geeked out on her.”
Of course after Reedus’ story on “Fallon” about talk show host Sean Hannity sending endless shots of tequila to him and Dave Chappelle once, the Jada Smith run-in will only rank as the second most-random tale he’s told the media this year. Reedus probably encountered a few more TWD fans at The Garden Of Laughs stand-up comedy show. The event featured performances by Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, John Oliver, Tracy Morgan and Sebastian Maniscalco. “Saturday Night Live” star Leslie Jones and Bob Saget also performed at the benefit, which raised $2 million for The Garden Of Dreams Foundation to help kids through the tri-state area overcome obstacles.
Reedus has called New York home for almost 20 years; his son attends school in the city and his mother taught class in the Bronx and Harlem.