Ask A Ninja and Patton Oswalt, El Rey, 12/5
Another Day of the Ninja has come and gone, leaving us all a bit sad for its passing, as this holiday season can sometimes do.
Hundreds of budding young ninjas, cleverly disguised as 20-something nerds and geeks, converged on the El Rey Wednesday night for the first ever live performance of Ask A Ninja, a venerable day-job timekiller, dating all the way back to 2005.
Ask A Ninja co-creator Kent Nichols ran through the crowd letting dozens of folks pose their ninja questions rapid-fire, mimicing the internet episodes: "Why don't penguins fly?" It turns out they do, and soon the penguins will rise up against us. "What's the Ninja's favorite movie?" It's Casablanca. Who'd have guessed? "Why do Ninjas hate pirates again?" Because pirates are loud, have drinking problems, and it's a little pathetic the way they bury their treasure somewhere only to have ninjas find it and give it back to their owners.
Oh yeah - and lots of killing. While the questions went everywhere, the answers inevitably came back around to how the Ninja would kill his victims, and frequently the questioner. He plans to wipe out most people attending Coachella next year by the way. The Ninja was projected on a large screen on stage switching between several cameras filming him from different angles every couple of seconds. If it sounds like that would be annoying and headache-inducing, you're absolutely right. What works okay on a 3 inch box on your computer screen can get annoying very fast when it's 12 feet high.
The Ninja's biggest problem is that he just wasn't very funny. Patton Oswalt on the other hand, who went on before the Ninja, killed the audience in a way the Ninja can only dream about. In full-on computer geek mode, Oswalt dreamed about only communicating with the world through MySpace messages. YouTube, he said, allows us to act like demented Roman Emperors, demanding to see gay pandas and farting Republicans for our enjoyment.
Oswalt got the biggest applause of the night for announcing his desire to kill George Lucas with a shovel in 1992 before he could make the horrible Star Wars prequels, and he delivered crowd favorites on the KFC Famous Bowl, and their plans to introduce a massive chicken drumstick called the "Megaleg."
The show openers, Hard 'n Phirm reveled in their geekiness even more than Oswalt. The duo sang a song about pi, with a chorus that recites the number hundreds of digits out,
and a patriotic tribute to the American dinosaur, which, being American, couldn't have been green, but was red white and blue.
Through all of this, a crew from the cable network G4 roamed around the room pointing at people with a video camera topped with a blinding light. They were incredibly annoying and oblivious to the fact (or they just didn't care). So when they run the footage on G4, be sure to check out the annoyed shots of all of us shielding our eyes from their goons.
The Ninja can be funny though, when he has time to actually think out his answers. See below for his advice to the striking writers.
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