By now, literally everyone in the world – or, at least, everyone with a television or a computer – knows about the pizzas that Ellen Degeneres ordered for the Oscars broadcast. What few may realize is that Edgar Martiroysan, the co-owner of Big Mama’s and Papa’s, had no real clue what was going on when he pulled up to the Dolby Theatre. He was stunned, as he had been told the pizzas were for the Oscar writers.
In fact, Martiroysan would not have been the one to deliver the several boxes of pizzas to the theater were it not for the fact that the pizzeria was extremely busy. When he pulled in, he was led backstage and shortly thereafter, Degeneres came out, introduced herself and instructed Martiroysan to follow her. The 30-year-old was surprised when he was suddenly on stage and facing an audience filled with Hollywood’s finest.
The young pizzeria co-owner was further delighted when he got to meet the ultimate Pretty Woman herself, Julia Roberts. The Oscar-winning actress has been Martiroysan’s dream girl for some time, and he got to serve her some pizza during the telecast. Degeneres then took up a collection to cover the cost of the pizza for the laughing pizzeria co-owner, using Pharrell’s Mountie-style hat.
Some $600 was collected from Brad Pitt and Harvey Weinstein, and Degeneres herself kicked in another $400. There are conflicting reports as to whether or not Martiroysan actually saw the money, but the pizza chain, which has some 20 restaurants throughout California, was the big winner in any event. Ads for the Oscar telecast start at $1.8 million. It is currently estimated that Big Mama’s and Papa’s has made $10 million just in free publicity.
That is a lot of dough to most people, but Martiroysan is likely wishing he had more; after the chain’s Sunday debut on the Oscars, the pizzeria ran out of dough and the website crashed. In interviewing the pizzeria co-owner on her show Monday, Degeneres noted that Martiroysan had left before she had a chance to give him his tip and gave him the $1,000 she and the other stars had collected.
The website for the pizzeria, www.bigmamaspizza.com, now features images of Brad Pitt chowing down on a slice, the now-infamous image of Martiroysan standing with Degeneres, and Harrison Ford helping himself to a slice of pizza. The pizzeria owner was still marveling over his brush with fame on Sunday night, and entertainment fans are shocked that the young owner is an actual pizzeria owner instead of an actor.
For his part, though, Martiroysan sees his day at the Oscars as another day at the office. He told the talk show host that while “extra orders were very good,” it was still business as usual at the pizzeria. His colleagues at the pizzeria were overwhelmed and excited by Martiroysan’s brush with fame. His Facebook page is alight with congratulatory messages from family, friends and colleagues for his Oscars appearance, and he is insistent that his appearance at the Oscars, while he had been informed he was making a delivery for the writers, was just another day as a pizzeria owner.
By Christina St-Jean