Deep in the heart of Echo Park, surrounded by taco trucks and fruit vendors, cash-only dive bars and my ex-boyfriends, there exists a Time Travel Mart off Sunset Boulevard that supplies an array of collectibles one might need (or want) from the past or future; collectibles like human emotion chips for robots, Ricky Martin lunch boxes, caveman candy, robot milk, dinosaur eggs, time machine parts, bottled time, dead languages and Pogs. The store is one-stop shopping for all your nerdy needs. But forget hoverboards and flux capacitors, the Echo Park Time Travel Mart serves a greater purpose as the home for 826LA, a non-profit tutoring organization dedicated to impacting the lives of young students by encouraging them to write creatively.
Wednesday night, while most Angelenos were glued to their TVs watching the newest Sons of Anarchy episode, 826LA welcomed comedy's finest performers to the Avalon theater in Hollywood for a night of stand-up at the Fall-Time Yuk-Fest, with all proceeds going to the organization's free student tutoring. Those who took the stage included Patton Oswalt (who recently gave the Weekly a hard time on Indie 103.1 for our "least-creepy" Grim Sleeper serial killer name), Dana Gould, Janeane Garofalo, Jimmy Pardo, Al Madrigal, Sire, Tim & Eric (of Adult Swim's Awesome Show, Great Job!), Bill Burr, and Bob Moore (complete with his tight-rope walking dogs).
The Avalon was packed so while the audience took to the bar and their seats, I crashed the green room and snagged some one-on-one time with the performers. And while we were all unanimous in our support of youth education and creative writing, there was one burning question I was dying to ask the comedians: When it comes to time travel supplies, which would be the coolest to own and why?
Patton Oswalt: "The coolest time travel supply you could get would be, like, when you go to travel stores and they have those little racks of spices you take with you to travel, but instead they give you a tackle box full of the world's currencies for different time periods so wherever you are, you're like, 'Hold on. We need Confederate Bills. We're in Atlanta in 1863.' It should be called 'Wherever you go, you're a millionaire.' That's what the thing would be. You'd have the world's currencies and history's currencies."
Dana Gould:"The coolest time travel supplies would be lightweight togs, like in the 1700s. That, and lightweight flouncy polyester would be great. By the way, interesting fact, do you know how we know that no one will ever invent a time machine? Because they have yet to come back and tell us. If somebody in 2478 invents a time machine they would have come back... if you invented a time machine, you'd get so laid. You'd go to every decade. You'd go all the way through."
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Jimmy Pardo: "It would have to be a space pack, although I don't know if that would make you time travel; it would just get you across the street faster. For me, time travel is all about going into the future. I want to see what's happening on 30 Rock next season. If I'm going back [in time], I'm going back to punch some guys in junior high. Or I'm going to go back and bring my Tonight Show set and show them that and go, 'Look what I'm about to be. Wanna make fun of me now? Wanna mock me now?'"
Janeane Garofalo: "A jet pack. We were supposed to have jet packs by now. I know there are jet packs but they only lift a person temporarily a little bit high and then it's a bust. So I guess an improved jet pack."
826LA is located at 1714 W. Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park. For more information on the organization and the Echo Park Time Travel Mart check out 826la.org. Check out L.A. Weekly's slideshow from the Yuk-Fest here.
Photo credit: Shannon Cottrell