By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Christmastime is a magical time, a time for those who don’t know how to socialize at parties to socialize at parties. So last Saturday night, as part of its subliminal party-socialization-training services, the Fake Gallery on east Melrose held its First Annual Fake Christmas Party — four hours of 20-minute tours, with each audience member given close personal attention from powerful, dedicated comedians in character as their favorite archetypal partygoers.
After entering through the National Mule Gallery around the corner, I was greeted by a man wearing an I Wasn’t Invited T-shirt (Troy Devolld), who applied a sticker to my chest: "Hello!" my chest now said. "My name is Charles Hampton!" I felt pretty good about this, until I was guided into a dark hallway where Fake Security (Mike West) informed me that I wasn’t on the list. But I’m Your In (Mike Timpson) made up a story, and soon I was past security, down the hallway and in the dubious company of You Still Owe Me Money and I Like To Avoid Confrontations (Steve Hurley and Chris Hobbs), who, after some brief and stilted banter, parted to allow me passage into the Fake Gallery proper.
Inside, the place resonated with the festive cacophony of holiday music forced through blown speakers mounted high above, as the crowd of performers worked on the audience-in-progress. I Think I’m Going To Hurl (Laura Milligan) offered me a red plastic cup and guided a stream of red wine into it, straight from the box. The adjacent bathroom door opened and out popped the top half of I’m Coked Out of My Mind (Pat Healy). "Charlieee!!!" he bellowed, waving me over. "Charlie Hampton! Dude! Charlie Hampton! Hey, man, how you doin’?! Come-on-in I-can’t-take-it-out-there it’s-crazy-come-on-in-what’s-been-goin’-on-Charles-Charlie-Charlie-Charlie-Hampton?!"
"I’m all right," I said. "How’re your kids doing?"
"They’re with their mom this weekend."
"I was hoping. Bleeding stop?"
"Yeah, that’s-all-over. And-Carrie’s-in-Special-Ed, which-is, like, maybe, like, better-better, because she’s she’s she’s-gettin’-taught-more-and-probably-gonna-end-up-a-lot-smarter, but-I’m-gettin’-my-thing-together-gettin’-my-G.E.D.-and-I-feel-fuckin’-great-like-energized-for-the-first-time-and-it’s-like-the-holidays-and-do-you-know-Craig? Craig’s-like-this-really-cool . . ."
"Yeah," I said. "I better go meet Craig now."
"HEY, MAN!" someone shouted from across the room. "HEY, MAN! I RECOGNIZED YOU!" Looking up, I saw that it was, in fact, I Recognized You From Across the Room (Charles Ezell), heading this way through the crowd, a beer in each hand, squinting to read my name tag. Instinctually, I ducked behind the nearest I’m Still Not Talking to You (Ebbie Parker) and made my escape; unfortunately it was into the path of I Make Inappropriate Confessions (Melinda Hill).
"I have a yeast infection," she confessed.
"Garlic-clove suppository," I recommended.
"But I have hepatitis C, too," she confessed. "I’m not gonna live that long."
Jesus. I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned around to find I’m Looking for Weed (Blaine Capatch). "Hey, Charles. What’s going on? Did you ever end up talking with . . ."
"I GOT YER BACK, CHARLIE HAMPTON!" I Recognized You From Across the Room recognized me again, this time from just a few feet away. Here he was, beer in one hand, beer in the other, recognizing the shit out of me. "Charlie Hampton! Buddy! Yeah! Got your back, buddy!"
"Come find me later," said I’m Looking for Weed, and he split. And then everything happened at once: I’m Carrying Your Child (Suzy Nakamura) approached and requested, politely, at least $500 a month until our impending spawn turns 18; I Have No Internal Editor (Dana Gould) detailed recent difficulties with urination: "When I sneeze, I pee a little bit. It’s like the lips of my urethra are about as elastic as two little pizza crusts. So what I do is, I swallow bouillon cubes and dried gelatin."
Let Me Give You Some Unsolicited Career Advice (Bil Dwyer) could no longer contain himself. "Hey, Charles," he said, smiling broadly, stepping in between I Have No Internal Editor and me. "You know, my brother books celebrity impersonators, and I think you’d be a perfect telemarketer for him. Don’t you think? You’d be great at that. And that money is sooo easy."
The word telemarketer — that’s always my signal. Mentally, I stripped naked, donned my Hello, I Must Be Going bathrobe and headed for the back door, only to find it tragically blocked by I’m Trying To Drag You Into My Argument (Eddie Pepitone), who proceeded to drag me into the argument he was having with No, I’m Trying To Drag You Into My Argument (Sean Conroy). Something about Hubble’s Law, JonBenet Ramsey and either Jamie Lee Curtis or Curtis Mayfield.
"No. Jamie Lee Curtis. But he thinks — and this is what kills me — he says the universe is not expanding. Like it’s finite."
"See what I have to deal with all night?"
"Do you believe the universe is expanding?"
"Well, yeah. The farther away a galaxy is, the faster it recedes, right?"
"Yes. But we’re all in the same spot we were before."
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