So instead of going to the park to read yesterday like I intended, we cooled our heels indoors with our favorite guys.
We've spent the last couple weeks enjoying Simon's semester break, catching up on TV shows, movies, and video games. Important stuff. But of course, we've done other things, too.
On the Wednesday after Labor Day, I managed to snag tickets for a surprise last minute show at UCB. Amy Poehler, one of the founding members of UCB and one of my favorite comedians, is releasing a book in the fall called Yes Please. On Wednesday afternoon, UCB announced that she would be reading from her book later that evening, and tickets for the show sold out in minutes. Armed with just an iPad and a microphone, Amy read the last chapter of her book out loud, and told us that it was being recorded for the audiobook version of her upcoming book.
Although Amy is one of the founding members of UCB, we have never seen her at the theater because she only performs at the NY one, so it was amazing to see her there in person. She was funny, and so was the chapter that she read; I am really looking forward to reading the rest of her book when it comes out. As a perk of going to the show, we get the audiobook version for free, which is nice. I hope that one day, we get a chance to see her do improv, but this experience definitely helped tide us over until then.
The next evening, we were back at UCB for Casey & Woods, which was excellent as usual,
and on Friday, we returned for two shows. First up was the monthly recording of The Dead Authors Podcast, with H.G. Wells (Paul F. Tompkins) as the host and James Bond author Ian Fleming (Matt Gourley) as the guest.
We don't get the chance to see this show every month, but every time we've gone has been fantastic, and this was no exception. Gourley played Fleming in hilarious fashion, exaggerating his many bad qualities, and Tompkins was the bemused straight man. Combined, they made for an entertaining show, and I would highly recommend listening to the podcast once it is released.
Our second show of the evening was hosted by comedian Matt Walsh. A few months ago, he created a Kickstarter for a film he was working on, and one of the rewards was tickets to a UCB show featuring him and a few friends. Since we have enjoyed Matt's work for years, we contributed enough to get two tickets for the show.
The show ended up being a taping of Bear Down Podcast, a comedy/sports related podcast featuring Chicago Bears fans, both real and made-up. You may or may not know that Simon and I are not football fans, but the podcast had a variety of guests and was amusing enough to make up for the fact that it's a podcast about football. Horatio Sanz and Jon Daly were two of the highlights of the panel's many guests.
The next morning, we discovered that someone stole my car's hood emblem.
Now, in general, I am not too fussy about my car. I am missing two wheel covers, it has a couple of small scrapes, and it's perpetually dirty from the construction across the street. But the missing emblem was too much, even for me. So I ordered another one and replaced it, and now it looks so much better. I don't know where it was stolen - either at UCB or in front of our apartment - but I hope the thief doesn't strike again, since it was not free to replace.
Saturday afternoon, we went to Amoeba Records to check out a charity auction.
Actor Tim Simons was hosting an auction to benefit a performing arts high school, so I hoped we could find something in our budget to buy.
Tim Simons was a very humorous auctioneer, and we ended up walking away with a commemorative plate and signed Blu-Ray from season two of Veep.
After the auction, we went next door to Arclight to see Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,
which was not as good as the original film, but thankfully not as bad as the reviews led me to believe.
Sunday night, we were back at UCB for Gravid Water.
This month's edition featured many of our favorite people, and the return of Cristin Milioti from HIMYM. She was great in her scene with Thomas Middleditch. I just realized that, due to other plans, we'll be missing this show for the next two months, which legitimately bums me out since it's one of my favorites.
Monday evening, we were back at UCB for our first Harold Night. A "Harold" is the basic format for long form improv, and they have been talking about it in Simon's improv class, so we decided to check it out. UCB has several house teams that perform in pairs on a rotating basis. A lot of the performers we see at UCB have come from these house teams. Monday, we saw teams Winslow and Outside Dog each perform for about 30 minutes. Each team had at least one member we were already familiar with, and the shows were both funny.
Tuesday night, we did something entirely different and... went to see improv. Okay, so that's not new, but we did go to a new place to see it.
iO West is Improv Olympic, an improv theater with locations in Chicago and LA. We got there early for Dasariski, a show we had seen a couple times at UCB a couple of years ago and really liked, with team members Bob Dassie, Rich Talarico and Craig Cackowski. They stopped doing the show at UCB for whatever reason, but still perform weekly at iO, so we thought we would check it out.
Because I feel like I should say something nice about our experience, I did enjoy the show. But the theater is definitely not someplace we are eager to return. There's a bar with reasonably priced beer, which is awesome, but that's literally the only advantage this place has over UCB. They were running 15 minutes behind schedule, and we had to guess when the house was open to grab our seats. The chairs are horribly uncomfortable, and smashed right up against each other. The seating is set up awkwardly for the way the stage is laid out, so some of the seats have a limited view of the stage. But the worst part is that the place is attached to a nightclub, so we could hear music pounding through the walls for the entire show. Comparatively, UCB is a palace.
We spent Wednesday evening at home, and on Thursday, I did some reading in Hancock Park behind the Tar Pits.
I even made a friend.
That night, we went to see a screening of The Skeleton Twins at LACMA.
It's a dramatic, dark comedy starring former SNL cast members Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, and it was pretty good. They both adapted to drama quite well, and though the plot is a bit meandering, we liked the movie. Hader, Wiig, and the director Craig Johnson did a Q&A afterward with Elvis Mitchell. I couldn't get a photo, so here's one from Film Independent's FB page.
We actually ran into a couple of friends at the screening, which is (sadly?) the first time that has happened to us since we moved to Los Angeles.
On Friday night, we returned to the Hollywood Bowl for a show celebrating the 25th anniversary of The Simpsons.
We didn't know what exactly they were going to be doing, but we knew that a bunch of voice actors and guest stars from The Simpsons would be there, and it's one of Simon's all-time favorite shows.
The Bowl was decked out with Simpsons stuff everywhere: cut-outs, blow-ups, huge figures, and people dressed up as the characters were everywhere you looked. It was very cool.
There was a Duff blimp, and Duff drinks, and the ushers wore Sideshow Bob wigs.
The show was a mixture of clips, reminiscing and musical performances. Creator Matt Groening was first on stage. The last time we saw him, he was signing autographs five feet away from us at Meltdown Comics, and this time he was introducing the show in front of 16,000+ people.
Hank Azaria was the host, and he did a bunch of character voices and one of Apu's songs.
There were many notable appearances - Nancy Cartwright (Bart) and Yeardly Smith (Lisa), Weird Al, the Los Angeles Gay Men's Choir (with composer Hans Zimmer conducting them for part of the show),
Jon Lovitz, and band Vaud and the Villains, who had a flaming tuba on stage.
But my favorite part was when Conan O'Brien, who was a writer on The Simpsons for years, sang the Monorail Song, originally performed by the late Phil Hartman.
Overall, it was a really nicely done show, and it touched on a lot of great Simpsons stuff. Twenty five years is a long time to be on TV - I was four when the show started airing, which is crazy to think about. Here's a review of the show from the LA Times, if you are interested.
Yesterday, we had a very lazy Saturday, culminating in dinner on the patio at The Little Next Door,
a bottle of wine, and our new season two blu-ray of Veep. It was a very pleasant evening.
Today, we hit up the farmer's market and a new place for breakfast called Homestate, which serves breakfast tacos. It was cute and the food was pretty good, but everything was a bit dry. We think we are going to try to replicate their food at home sometime soon.
I hope that you guys had a good weekend. As much fun as we have doing stuff here, we miss being able to drive an hour or so to see our family & friends. Love you guys!