“Ladies, please prepare your vaginas,” announced actor/comedian Aziz Ansari Monday night at Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles, introducing masters of ceremonies Jon Hamm and Adam Scott to the sold-out crowd at the “We Hate Hurricanes” benefit, where over $100,000 was raised for AmeriCares to aid Hurricane Sandy victims.
Wearing suits, they entered the stage playfully, jumping up and down and keeping the tone light. Hamm said, wryly, “I didn't realize the full on hate people have for hurricanes,” before referring to Sandy as “a bitch.” When a female audience member screamed, “You're so sexy,” neither Hamm nor Scott missed a beat. “That one was for you,” said Scott. “There's your new nickname,” countered Hamm. “Adam, 'You're So Sexy' Scott.”
The first performer was comedian Sarah Silverman, dressed in a blazer, plaid button-down shirt and jeans, with the sides of her hair pulled back into ponytails. She opened by referring to the song playing as she walked out on to the stage. “I was brutally raped to that song. I don't like to talk about it obviously,” she said. “It's a testament to the song that it didn't ruin it for me.”
Silverman covered a wide range of political topics, including starving children in Africa: “When I see videos of starving children in Africa, I have to remind myself it's just an actor…those tiny little kids with big bellies and flies, 2-year-old babies, 9 months pregnant….I don't give money because I don't want them to spend it on drugs.” She also joked that she once confused Kanye West for President Obama and said she prays for “billions of tiny Republicans who die every single year in hookers' asses.”
The crowd was fully on Silverman's side until she said that despite her desire to have a baby, she doesn't want to end up with an actual child, so she wants to adopt terminally ill babies. When part of the crowd groaned uneasily, Silverman easily brought them back around to solid laughter saying, “I feel like there are blankets of judgments,” and adding that the kind of person who would adopt a terminally ill baby is a great person. Before ripping on Hassidic Jews and the Make-A-Wish Foundation (saying that 60 per cent of the number one wishes have to be just to be able to live), she ended her set telling the crowd that you can get away with throwing up on a penis from having given a blow job so long as you finish with saying, “Tada!”
The next act was announced as Dave Duncan, a juggler making his debut performance in Los Angeles. Will Ferrell, wearing all black with the exception of white suspenders and bow tie, appeared onstage. While the audience howled appreciatively, Ferrell, never breaking character, cried that he had forgotten to bring his juggling equipment. It was decided that he should imaginary juggle. Set to Evanescence's “Wake Me Up Inside,” Ferrell fake juggled, shimmied, danced, and kneeled on the floor to retrieve non-existent balls, committing so completely to his absurd mimed performance that the audience exploded in hysterics.
Following Ferrell was a musical performance by Beck, pianist Roger Manning and bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen, who played a beautifully executed six-song set including Beck songs “Strange Apparition,” “Golden Age,” “Lost Cause,” “MTV Makes Me Want To Smoke Crack,” “I'm Down” (from Beck's recent Song Reader sheet music project) and a Chris Bell cover “I Am The Cosmos.”
Restoring the laughs, comedian Chelsea Peretti came out dressed in jeans, boots and a tank top and expounded upon dating, social anxiety, social media and pop culture. She claimed to be picky when it comes to guys, saying she is creeped out by smiles she can “hear” and beards. And she asked, “Do you think it's worse to wear a fedora or kill 15 people?”
Her entire summation of VH1 reality show Basketball Wives was, “I don't like to be cheated on. But I love purses.” She pointed out that hot girls give bad dating advice like, “Just ignore him,” and that she is unsure as to the type of man who is considered to be attractive nowadays, saying, “Rock stars and actors look like they'd have died of consumption writing a letter with a feather.”
After teaching the women in the audience how to eat a banana on a bus without having it seem sexual, Peretti finished by saying that she's tired of hearing men complain about female comedians referring to their periods in stand-up routines because if men got their periods, “Ninety percent of stand up comedy would consist of guys running across the stage saying, 'I am bleeding out of my dick.'”
Headliner Aziz Ansari then took the stage and immediately told the audience that he doesn't want to be subjected to camera flashes throughout his set, encouraging people to take a couple of shots and then to put away their phones. He asked, “Why do you need so many shots of someone doing stand-up? How much documentation do you need? Are you going to run a filter through it so it looks like, 'I saw him doing stand up in the '70s?'”
Ansari said he detests when people publicize their babies on email and Facebook, and that his reaction to videos of a baby taking its first steps is, “I walk all the time. I'm not impressed.” He thinks anyone who still uses a chain for his wallet is not yet fit to be a father and that “white babies are like regular babies that aren't ripe yet.”
Ansari pointed out the ridiculousness of high school sweethearts getting married, saying that if other lifelong decisions were made during the teenage years, some people would have to live the rest of their lives with a Bob Marley poster above their beds. He referred to his own youthful choices, which included studying business and biology. “What was I going to do? Sell organs on the black market very efficiently?” He also talked about how he had been such an adorable child that he was likely intimidating to child molesters in the same way that hot women are intimidating to most men at bars.
He made fun of online dating, saying you can enter terms like “Jewish” and your zipcode, which is not terribly different from ordering chicken nuggets online, and noted that it's different from a bar, where you can't just walk in and “get rid of all the other men and get rid of anyone who doesn't like Game of Thrones.”
Throughout the two and a half hours of consistent laughs, Hamm and Scott also reminded the crowd of the severity of Sandy's destruction. To contribute to the Sandy relief effort, visit the AmeriCares website.
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