“Name Drop: The Really Good Celebrity Stories I Usually Only Tell at Happy Hour”
by Ross Mathews
©2020, Atria Books
225 pages

Some people collect glassware.

Others collect books or sweaters or Santa statues or fancy cars or any one of a million things there are more than two of. Scientists say that, as a species, we’re hard-wired to do it, even if you just collect friends. And in “Name Drop” by Ross Mathews, some of them might even be famous.

From the time he was a little boy growing up in a farm community in Washington state, Mathews wanted to have friends that were celebrities. He imagined what it would be like to hang out with them and gossip… and then it actually happened.

Now, he says he hates when people “name drop,” but “honey,” he has stories…

His celebrity circle started when he was an intern on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” which sent him to report on the Olympics three times, which led him to start a blog and that’s how he became BFFs with Rosie O’Donnell. They’ve been fast friends ever since, though it was she who “made” him “sleep with a Republican.”

He worked with Chelsea Handler on “Chelsea Lately” and because of where the show was filmed, he met and became friends with the Kardashians, who were filming their reality show in the same building. The Chelsea gig also gave Mathews the opportunity to be on the sidelines when his beloved Seahawks won the Super Bowl in 2013.

That was the year he also got to play celebrity matchmaker.

He had a chance to meet two of the Spice Girls. He got a quick-click photo op with Celine Dion. He met Omorosa and scooped every rabid reporter on TV; he met “Liza with an OMG” and spent all night talking with Christina Aguilera.

But “not every celebrity story is going to end like a fairy tale where the famous person and I end up bonding…” says Mathews.

Especially when it’s Barbara Walters, Faye Dunaway or Elizabeth Taylor…

No doubt about it, “Name Drop” sure is fun.

It’s got the feel of a Friday night at your bestie’s house, where the snacks on the kitchen counter are bottomless and so are the Skinny ‘Ritas, and you scream yourself hoarse in mock horror and real laughter at the stories you’re told. It’s got the kind of gossip you want about the stars you love (or love to hate), spilled with a little snark and a charming amount of awe. It’s got an absolute (and absolutely relieving) sense that being famous sometimes doesn’t make a person act famous — although sometimes, it does. And it’s got “Rossipes” (Rossipes!) you can make to go along with your reading.

Like a red-carpet walk with a broken heel, though, “Name Drop” sometimes limps. Author Mathews is funny and punny, but not both simultaneously: alas, the puns are too much, too overwhelming, so feel free to groan and ignore them. The dishy tales you get in this book are way more fun; in fact, if you love boy-meets-girl-celebrity tales, you’ll find that “Name Drop” is a great collection.