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Running Joke: I Don’t Have a Car in L.A.

Click here for L.A. Weekly’s Comedy Issue cover story, “When Bad Things Happen to Funny People.”

I don’t have a car. There. I said it. And even more horrifying for you “Nobody walks in L.A.” people, I don’t even have a license. Before you get all defensive about your precious autos, I’m not against cars. I’m not Ed Begley Jr., I’ve just always gotten by on (drumroll, please ...) Public Transportation.

When I first came down here from the Bay Area, I was staying with my girlfriend, who lived in Riverside. So when I had to go to a meeting in Beverly Hills, I did what everyone does, I looked up how to get there on Google Maps. Yup, that same Google Maps that has driving directions also has a button you can push for public-transit directions. Google said the entire trip would take two hours and 12 minutes, or an hour-and-15-minute drive. Two hours and 12 minutes may seem like a long time to go only 70 miles, but all you car people know that you can go two hours in L.A. and not even get from one Pinkberry to another. So yes, it’s ONLY two hours and 12 minutes. All it takes is a commuter train, a subway (yes, L.A. has a subway) and a bus. (Yes, there are buses in Beverly Hills. Those poor people have to have a way to get there to clean up after those rich people.)

Only two hours and 12 minutes. ... That is, if you get on the right commuter train, which I didn’t, and if you take the subway going in the right direction, which I didn’t, and if the streets of L.A. are free of all traffic for your bus trip, which. ... Well, you get it. Luckily, I applied an old-school maxim when taking public transportation for the first time. Allow for it to take twice as long. So yeah, I left Riverside at 10 a.m. for a 3 p.m. meeting. And I just barely made it in time.

When I started my day, I thought that when I finally got to my meeting I would enter the office full of vim and vigor with a story of how I was getting to know the real Los Angeles. And I thought all the movers and shakers in the office would say, “YOU TOOK THE BUS IN LOS ANGELES? Well, that is the kind of outside-of-the-box thinking that we’ve been missing in Hollywood! Sit down so we can cut you a check with many zeros and commas, and offer you unprecedented creative freedom.”

But instead I arrived at my meeting, sweaty from a hot day and a bus with no air conditioner, disheveled from running to catch connections, and smelling like spoiled Ensure from somebody’s grandmother who sat next to me even though THERE WERE OTHER OPEN SEATS. And instead of the people at the meeting celebrating my fortitude and pioneer spirit, what I mostly got were blank stares that said, “You took the bus? Ummm ... if you can’t afford a car, how can we afford to have you write jokes?” I’m not sure of the correlation between the two, but I certainly felt it. I’m still waiting on that check.

But the worst part was that when I left the meeting, the requisite stunningly beautiful receptionist was sitting at the front desk. When she asked if I needed my parking validated, I, in a spontaneous moment of whimsy, said, “No, I took the bus, but you can stamp my bus transfer if you want to. HAHA!”

Yeah, she didn’t think it was funny either.