Etiquette Tips from 10 Pop Culture Icons


You’re not a proper celebrity these days unless you’re a brand and you’ve cornered the lifestyle market. Jay-Z, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Blake Lively are just a few of the famous figures who have built their empire by offering fans wellness tips, recipes, fashion exclusives, and more. Liv Tyler is joining the ranks of celebrity lifestyle gurus with a new book she wrote with her grandmother, Modern Manners: Tools to Take You To The Top. Etiquette is always in style, so we’ve brought you tips from pop culture’s finest that will improve your politeness and make you a better person.

David Cross

The advice in New York Magazine’s Urban Etiquette Handbook seems obvious to the sane and rational person, but not everyone knows how to behave around a celebrity. The publication spoke to David Cross to get his take on how to behave when it comes to brushes with fame. His number one rule?

“If you don’t know who he is, ask your friend. Or a stranger. Don’t ask him. And certainly don’t ask him to keep listing his résumé until you realize he’s the guy from Blade of Innocence 2 who lost his shoe and got killed by the vampire with outer-space AIDS.”

The Arrested Development star believes buying a celeb a beer is the best approach:

“There’s something very communal and unpretentious about it. Although even if you send a free beer, please don’t walk up to me and start making fun of my friends. I don’t know what you’re thinking — they’re my friends! Don’t raise your beer and, while toasting, say, ‘Personally I think [fill in the blank] is a dumb bitch!’ This actually happens, frequently, and I’ve never understood it.”

Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler also spoke to New York Magazine to add her two cents to their Urban Etiquette Handbook. We already know she gives great advice based on her Smart Girls series, so we’re always prepared to do whatever she wants in order to become better humans. “My absolute pet peeve is people who are rude to waiters,” she admitted.

“Etiquette in New York is all about time management,” she added. “In other places, you seem rude if you see someone and don’t talk to them long enough. But here, it’s all about speed. And people are fine with that. It’s like, ‘Hello. It’s nice to see you. Thank you for giving me your kidney. I gotta go..” And here’s a handy list she created that everyone should memorize:

1. Be nice to everyone, especially people wearing hospital bracelets. 2. Don’t ask white girls if they “left their ass at home.” 3. If you have to bring your baby to a movie, make sure he laughs at appropriate times. 4. Don’t eat Cheetos and then sit down at a fancy hotel piano. 5. If you are in Central Park and think you are getting mugged, first check to see if maybe you’re just part of a student film. 6. If you see Oprah at a fancy function, don’t grab her wrist and ask for money. Quietly sneak up behind her and whisper, “You give me that money, Oprah. You hear me?” 7. When walking on a New York street, try not to spit, litter, bleed, or take a crap. 8. If you need to do any of these things, try to do it between two parked cars.


Beyoncé is probably the only person who can get away with this while playing pool. Still, she has some good tips (“BEY Confident”) and does an amazing victory dance.

Lena Dunham

One of Lena Dunham’s essays for The New Yorker taught us how not to behave on Facebook. The story centers on an old college boyfriend and a Facebook message from his mother, delivered two years after the couple broke up:

“Hi, Lena — Bill and I remember you with such pleasure and fondness! But it’s time to sever the Facebook connection so I’m going to block you. We wish you all the best!”

The awkward announcement turned out to be great fodder for Dunham, but she describes how mortified and confused she was at the time. Hey moms: next time just unfriend. Quietly.

Patrick Stewart

We live in a world where celebrities are more accessible to us than ever before. Events like Comic-Con are a smorgasbord for fans looking to connect with their favorite stars — and here’s more fan etiquette from the one and only Patrick Stewart. The actor joined this Star Trek: The Captain’s Summit sit-down with fellow Trekkies Whoopi Goldberg, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and Jonathan Frakes. Whoopi asks the group when fandom becomes too much to deal with, and Stewart pipes up to state what should be the obvious: “inappropriate physical contact.” It starts around the 4:23 mark.

Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day

Speaking of fan conventions, nerdy pals and creative collaborators Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day scripted an etiquette guide for the geek community at the monster known as Comic-Con. Felicia advises that everyone wear deodorant (seriously, wear it) and most importantly, “have fun with your friends, because being a geek is about having a great community most of all.” Wil added that patience is key — but so are comfortable shoes and plenty of water. And let’s not forget the very important rant Wheaton wrote about respecting people’s privacy and not acting like a total lunatic. That’s good etiquette no matter where you are.

Mindy Kaling

The Mindy Project star thinks it’s just plain rude to hog the karaoke machine, especially when it comes to one kind of song in particular:

“I don’t care if Don freakin’ McLean shows up in a red-white-and-blue tuxedo, no one is allowed to sing “American Pie.” It’s… kind of hostile to a group of partiers to pick a song longer than three minutes.”

Nick Offerman

In his recently published book of advice and personal essays, Paddle Your Own Canoe, Parks and Rec actor Nick Offerman fills readers in on the “fundamentals for delicious living.” He also spoke about etiquette in an interview for GQ. When asked about his code for behaving properly, Offerman shared these wise words:

“I would say, first of all, be prepared. I can’t say enough about that. Right now I’m traveling in New York City, but I still have my Swiss army knife on me. I grew up among farmers in Illinois and so you always have to have the tools you might need in the eventuality of a flat tire or a broken window. In the traditional role of man, it falls to you to keep the weather out and fish in the boat. Two: Be polite. Good manners have gotten me as far as anything else in this business. The first film I did, Chain Reaction, was with Keanu Reeves and Morgan Freeman. I had some really nice scenes as Keanu’s building super, which were then completely cut from the film [giggles]. Anyway, at the end of my day on set, I hung up my costume in the trailer, and the wardrobe assistant came to pick it up. I said something involving please and thank you. She stopped, put her hands on her heart, and said, ‘Can I just say thank you so much for treating me like that, and for hanging up your clothes?’ I said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ And it quickly became clear, as I continued working, that having manners was equivalent to a superpower in the business.”

Amy Sedaris

No one entertains with wit and sass like Amy Sedaris. Her book, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence , is a fun guide for the hostess with the mostess. Bonus: there are recipes and crafts. Amy advises to respond immediately to party invites, never bring a guest or arrive early without asking, don’t bitch and moan about your miserable life as soon as you walk through the door, and valuable other pointers. Inappropriate introductions are also a big no-no: “This is Barbara, she can’t have children.”

Larry David

Larry David, the high-strung Emily Post of pop culture, essentially plays himself on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Here’s a delightful mashup detailing the neurotic star’s standards of etiquette. Remember: don’t abuse your sampling privileges, don’t make chit-chat in the doctor’s office, deliver bad news in a casual way, and don’t ask to try someone else’s glasses on.