Being a celebrity in the time of COVID-19 is proving to be a challenging task.
While we can now definitely rule out philosophizing from your bath (Madonna) while looking like a precog from Minority Report, or singing the lyrics to the world’s most famous hymn to anti-materialism from your million-dollar L.A. hidey-hole, a new effort by Olivia Wilde and a phalanx of “fake doctors” thanking real medical staff fighting the coronavirus may just have nailed it successfully.
Wilde, who played Dr. Remy Hadley on House, got together a string of actors who have played medics for her Instagram video, posting a message that read: “On behalf of fake doctors everywhere, we want to thank the actual health-care superheroes on the front lines of this crisis. On this #worldhealthday please consider donating to buy essential resources for these first responders who are risking their lives for us.”
Wilde offered “elbow bumps” to her “favorite fake docs,” including Jennifer Garner, Eddie Falco, and Sandra Oh.
However, the stand-out star of the clip was undoubtedly Neil Patrick Harris, whose fake medical work includes starring as the eponymous teenage physician in Doogie Howser, M.D..
“I wish I was there with you guys to assist in my medical capacity, but probably all I would be doing would be writing prescriptions for myself, which is kind of all I did when I was 16 and 17,” he deadpanned, adding, “I’d rather not talk about that time in my life. I didn’t realize that’s what we were doing this video for.”
Harris concluded: “Now let’s see this video go viral! No, can—can I do this again? Can we, can I, can I please do this again?”
For the most part, however, Harris’s wry take was the outlier with most of the celebs choosing instead to deliver more emotional messages.
For instance Jennifer Garner, who played a doctor treating AIDS patients in the acclaimed film Dallas Buyers Club, said, “No matter how many times we wear scrubs or stethoscopes, none of us can do for society what all of you are doing for us now. Thank you.”
Sandra Oh, formerly of Grey’s Anatomy, praised all staff and offered “a quick shout-out to my brother-in-law Scott, who is an ER doc up in Vancouver. I love you, man.”
The combination of humor and sincerity seemed to go down well, for the most part, with medical staff and others who commented on the post, with many appreciating the sentiments of the post.
“I’m an American Emergency Medicine PA,” one wrote, “and I’ve had a lot of people thank me but this video got me. Thank you guys for understanding. As I write this I’m quarantined in a hotel room away from my wife who’s 30 weeks pregnant waiting for me to come home and be with her and Junior. I look forward to that.”
Another said, “Thank you for this video. It made me cry. I’m a nurse on a recently converted covid unit and just knowing that I help even one person makes my job worth it. When patients are able to be discharged and on their way to recovery, I cheer for them. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this beautiful tribute.”