Eight Gifts to Buy Famous People

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Recommendations from musicians, actors, authors, and everyone’s favorite YouTube celebrity.


Questlove, musician

The best gift is a handpicked iPod from my record collection. One of my computers has about 600 gigs worth of music. It’s well stocked. One particular high-profile couple who’s been waiting for their long overdue honeymoon gift — I think they think I’m bullshitting them. I told them I’d make them the ultimate slow-jam iPod mix, and they’re almost in their second year. They’re childless. And they’re like, “yo, where’s our quiet-storm iPod.” Every time I get near the letter X — I literally have to go through these songs and pick them out one by one — first time, my computer crashed, I had to start all over again. Second time, I accidentally erased and deleted the playlist. That was a heartbreaker. I wanted to throw the computer out the window. So now I’m doing it for the third time, and I'm on the letter L. "Long Way To Go," by Phil Collins.

8 Gifts to Buy Famous People

Gary Shteyngart

Gary Shteyngart, author

So, I love this toilet — it’s called the Toto Toilet, it’s a Japanese brand. I own one, in my new apartment. Mine is a very simple model, but the model I really sweat, it just like cleans you up completely, and it talks to you in these soothing tones. It says things like, “I am honored to accept your waste.” That would be a dream come true, if somebody would be honored to accept my waste. You can add on a voice-control. My Christmas gift would be the whole package. Toilet, voice-control, bidet-function. Oh, man. You can plug an MP3 player into the back of it. I shit you not — so to speak. Ha. That was a good one.  


8 Gifts to Buy Famous People

Danny McBride

Danny McBride, actor

I can remember a few years ago I went to the store — this was a bad move — my girlfriend was coming to visit and meet the family and stuff. And for Christmas I decided to get her this really cool thumb ring, that would look cool. And I gave it to her, and as I gave her the box and saw the look on her face, I instantly knew that I had made a big mistake, because I don’t think she thought it was going to be a thumb ring. When they’re primed for an engagement ring and they’re instead given a thumb ring it’s honestly about the lamest gift that you could ever give. She was like, “A thumb ring? What the fuck? Why not even just a regular ring?” I’m engaged; I’m getting married in a few weeks here. Ready to roll over and play dead.


8 Gifts to Buy Famous People

Matt Johnson of Matt & Kim

Matt Johnson of Matt & Kim

The best Christmas present I ever got was when I was eight years old. I remember getting this remote-controlled hovercraft that I was so stoked on. I was doing something really dumb with it, and I totally broke it the day I got it, and I just remember feeling so ashamed and embarrassed. So much so that I never told my parents that I broke it. I never used it again. I was just like, “Yeah, I don’t really like it.” I ruined my best Christmas present ever. 


8 Gifts to Buy Famous People

Bear “Double-Rainbow Guy” Vasquez

I’ve gotten some beautiful handmade jewelry. It was something that was made by someone who loved me and it was made with a lot of their time and energy. Those are the things that I think are the most precious. When I'm giving gifts, I like to give people my artwork. I like to give something that I make, something that’s handcrafted or made from my heart. I don’t like to buy things.


8 Gifts to Buy Famous People

Shari Springer Berman

Shari Springer Berman, director of The Extra Man

I usually go on a vacation or I buy my husband, Bob, a nice piece of clothing, because all he ever wears is swag. Like promo t-shirts. If I don’t go to Barney’s and buy him a nice shirt he will wear a swag shirt from, you know, the Sarasota Film Festival every day.

For someone else, it would probably be some meaningful book. I can’t really answer that because it would have to be specific to the person. I wouldn’t get them something generic. It could be like Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots if that was something they were into, you know what I mean? It would have to be something meaningful to that person.


8 Gifts to Buy Famous People

Rob Sheffield

Rob Sheffield, author of Love is a Mixtape and Talking to Girls about Duran Duran

Budget or not, sometimes the cheapest things are the most awesome. You can get a replica of the telescope that Galileo used when he first discovered all that shit.  It’s called the Galileo-scope, and it costs like twenty bucks. The great thing about it is it’s simple, it’s portable, but it’s incredibly romantic. My wife, who’s an astrophysicist, got one last year around Christmas.



8 Gifts to Buy Famous People

Tim Harrington

Tim Harrington, musician with Les Savy Fav

I have the most maudlin, sentimental answer ever — give the gift of time.