I’m not sure if you know this, because they seem to keep it on the so-called “down low,” but Hollywood is where they make a lot of movies. And if you make the effort, go out of your way a little bit, you can see some stars on the pavement with the names of famous entertainers in them. Here are some of them.
Of course, I’m messing about. It’s Hollywood. Woo hoo! There’s the Capitol Records building. There’s that Chinese Theatre. There’s a crap load of red carpet ready for The X-Files premiere. There’s some blokes dressed up as superheroes, Star Wars characters, and Johnny-Depp-as-a-pirate. There’s some tramps stinking and sleeping next to a tipped-over wheelchair and a brown-paper-bag-wrapped bottle of booze. Yay for Hollywood.
You go into a Starbucks and there’s a couple of dudes with a laptop going through the lines of a script they are writing, and at another table, a dude with a legal pad writing a script of his own. You see that Hollywood is a sponge that sucks up a vast amount of the USA’s beautiful women and has them all walking around in clothes that make one go a bit weak at the knees.
It’s just an amazing headfuck of cultural references. It’s all so familiar, but to be in the middle of it all, blows my mind a bit. Something as simple as seeing the street sign for Vine Street makes me giddy with joy, being as it is, the title of a Randy Newman song, that’s also been covered by two of my other favourite artists, Harry Nilsson and Van Dyke Parks. Lulu also did a version, apparently, but I’ve not heard that one.
There’s chaps selling burned CDs of their rapping. One guy asked me what kind of music I liked. Not wanting to be hassled, I told him “country and western.” He wasn’t put off, told me I had style (ha!), and he had one of those smiles that probably gets him out of trouble. I gave him a couple of dollars for a CD, and he told me that when he blows up, I could tell my friends I’ve met a real life rap star. So I’m telling you now. If Troof Serum (I assume that’s his real name) does indeed “blow up,” well, I met him. Here’s his MySpace page.
That was Wednesday. In the evening I went to The Comedy Store on Sunset Strip. Another cab ride, another fascinating driver. This time an Armenian guy who was once stationed with the Soviet army in East Germany. The Comedy Store has a fair bit of history, being a place that has seen the likes of Bill Hicks, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Sam Kinison, Andy Kaufman, Gary Shandling, and Jerry Seinfeld perform there. I went on a night when the biggest name was Pauly Shore. And aside from the first couple of not-very-funny comedians, he was kinda the worst one of the night. His act seems to be “I’m Pauly Shore. I like to fuck women. I’m not as famous as I used to be.” But, there were some funny people, and, of course, the more I drank, the funnier some of them seemed. What I learned: comedians think that German accents are funny. Comedians like to fuck women. Comedians would prefer not to use condoms cos they suck. Obama. McCain. Gay accents are funny. Drunk people are asking to be insulted. Thankfully for me, I’m a quiet drunk, and I was sat near the back, so didn’t once get asked where I was from. I pitied the poor Moroccan woman in the front row. Several comedians took a shine to her – she was pretty – and seemed to use the stage as a place to begin the courting process. I felt a tad uncomfortable at times, but still, what a job, eh? Standing there in front of people who’ve paid money so they can laugh, and it’s your job to make them laugh. Balls of steel, those comedians. Anyway, I enjoyed Dov Davidoff (he did some nice, clever, more thoughtful stuff, as well as dick jokes), Chris D’Elia (does a fine impression of a deer being shot), Ari Shaffir (does some good stuff about blow jobs which I’ll not ruin by mis-remembering here), and Mike Faverman (who just laid into the drunk people with a nice amount of venom which had my shoulders chuckling like crazy being, as they were, out of the firing line).
I stumbled out, past the comedians who all seemed to be gathered outside the club chatting amongst themselves, got a cab, got some Thai take-out food (in one of those white boxes! like! in! the! movies!), and felt a bit sick after shovelling egg rolls and noodles down my neck. Serves me right, really.