Who people are trading on the Hollywood Stock Exchange, why a potato's star power is rising, and a random quote from Janeane Garofalo

Taking Stock The market action was frantic Monday, Oct. 27, as more than 95 million shares changed hands on the heaviest day of trading in history. We’re talking, of course, about the Hollywood Stock Exchange, the online market simulation in which players buy and sell ”shares” of celebs and movies. Oh, yeah, Black Monday was kind of a busy day on the slightly larger New York Stock Exchange as well. ”A lot of our players play on both the NYSE and our exchange,” HSX cofounder Max Keiser says of the coincidental market activity. ”And they have strategies that overlap both exchanges.” So what commodities were hot on the virtual big board? In general, players went for quality, selling lower-rated stocks such as Jennifer Tilly and Johnny Depp and plowing funds into blue-chip investments such as Will Smith and Jim Carrey. Maybe in the future analysts will look to the HSX as a predictor of real-life activity. After all, says Keiser, ”we like to think [the HSX] is where the selling started that day.” — Suna Chang

Spud Stud Everyone knows Hollywood is a dog-eat-dog world. The question is, do those dogs eat vegetables? In one of the stranger PR gimmicks in recent memory, L.A. radio deejays Kevin Ryder and Bean Baxter of KROQ’s The Kevin and Bean Show set out to make a star out of a potato. That’s right, a spud. ”There’s no relationship between talent and celebrity,” says Baxter, who explains that their experiment was inspired by the success of the Spice Girls. ”[They were designed by] someone who said, ‘Let’s create a group with very little ability and see how far we can take them.”’ After selecting a russet from a Hollywood supermarket, Baxter and Ryder talked up the taterlet with celebrity guests on their radio show. Soon the tuber had landed cameos on MTV’s Live, E!’s The Gossip Show, NBC’s soap opera Sunset Beach, and ABC’s Cracker. Coming up for the spud: appearances on The Drew Carey Show (Nov. 12) and Friends (Nov. 20). With such an impressive list of credits under its skin, what’s in the future for this hot potato? ”We think a porno movie,” says Baxter. ”Then we’re going to kill him off.” Does that mean — gasp! — french fries? — Tricia Laine

Random Quote

”I’m so relieved when someone’s beeper goes off during a bad movie. I always stand up and yell, ‘There’s my ride!”’
— Janeane Garofalo