A rented limo is a bad Halloween costume worn on Christmas. And a bad Halloween costume worn on Christmas without a rented celebrity inside is like a pancake turner without a pan. So we decide to fulfill the limo–celebrity requirement with Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, of Mr. Show notoriety, because Mr. Show is some of the best comedy — on television or otherwise — since Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
“Can Jay come, too?”
“Yeah. That’d be great.” Jay is Jay “Old Cobra Eyes” Johnston, also of Mr. Show notoriety, and someone less likely to get beat up than any of us.
How Y’all Doing Tonight?
Under the jurisdiction of the eloquently wisecracking DeAndré Armstrong, the limo pulls up to the Mr. Show offices to find, unfortunately, Bob pretending to be sick.
“Oh, man.” says Bob. “I’m really sorry. I think it’s some kind of stomach flu. Damn! And I really wanted to go!”
Jay assures us that Bob’ll be all right, that he’s not really sick at all. It’s just his way of showing his feelings. “Bob hates you,” Jay says matter-of-factly. “More than anything.”
In the limo, we play with all the limo toys — Guinness and Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale and something called Coca-Cola and a tennis court and a confounding CD player. It’s sort of a ¼ -scale Marriot hotel suite.
David says,”How y’all doing tonight?” and “Y’all ready to party?” but no one says much back, so he says (real, real loud), “I SAID, Y’ALL READY TO PAR-TEEEEE??!!“
David’s from Atlanta.
“I propose,” he goes on, “winding the whole evening up, if you guys are into it, coming back to Santa Monica, near where the offices are, and we can all, you know, stop off for a blowjob. That way you get the whole experience. You get the whole thing. In the limo.”
We get our directions straight and head out Akbar way. We pass L. Ron Hubbard Way, a public street crossing Sunset at the McScientology Center du Earth, or whatever it’s called.
“I really want this to turn into a big drunken sloppy night,” says David. “With all this sexual tension and weirdness, and secrets revealed. I want somebody to cry. By the end of the night, someone will be crying. That is my vow.”
We pull up just beyond a genuine McDonald’s and sort of tumble out and into Akbar. Inside, we learn the first truly useful thing of the evening: Akbar has a happy hour. Please make a note of it.
At a small round table at Akbar, we discuss possible venues for crying — you can’t just cry anywhere. Somewhere sad might be good . . . the Mondrian? It’s a question that will plague the rest of our journey, creating all this sexual tension and weirdness.
David says, “I’ve never been addicted to anything. I’ve been lucky enough to take many different drugs and not get addicted to any of them. Did you ever see the [Mr. Show] shampoo sketch? That is a result of my bringing hash back from Amsterdam. It was in a baggie in my shampoo. Anyway, I brought all this hash back, and we decided to make hash brownies and go to Vegas. I ground up all the hash in my coffee-grinder thing — I never stopped to think to portion it out. Just took it all and put it in the brownie mix without thinking. Just dumped it all in there.”
“They were big fucking brownies,” adds Jay. “They were like that [spreads hand as if around a quart of motor oil, or a jar of pickles].”
“I took a whole one and a half, and man, I was fucking wiped,” says David. “I said like nine words the next day.”
David excuses himself to go pee-pee so that we can talk about him. We do, and as David returns from urinating, we spot an old friend and excuse ourselves to say hello, careful to leave the tape recorder running so that David and Jay can talk about us.
“I can’t believe this,” says Jay.
“This is the rudest thing I’ve ever seen,” says David.
“Unbelievable. They just get up and fucking walk away.”
“You know, Jay, I’ve learned a very valuable lesson about people who work for the L.A. Weekly and rent limousines and then buy drinks for people. If a friend of theirs comes into a bar, they just rush over.”
“I feel violated.”
“Let’s go get a grilled cheese.”
“Let’s see what’s in Shulman’s bag.”
We return to find David and Jay rummaging through Shulman’s ever-present bag of stuff. “My God! Look at the size of that! That’s definitely not American.” Spotting us, David snatches up the tape recorder and announces into the fabulous condenser mic, “The Weekly is my source for what’s going on in L.A. And who’s going out with it. And what they’re wearing to the it.”
The limo makes a big-ass U-turn just past Philippe’s; Shulman gives directions to Third and Hewitt; David gives directions to Traction and Hewitt; Libby’s still wondering why the beer selection aboard a limo consists of one each of a dozen different brands; Jay drinks a Coke and surveys the black-and-blue skyline. DeAndré figures out a way for Hewitt, Traction, Second and Third to all intersect, and we pull up to find a film crew shooting outside Al’s Bar.
Inside, beer dispenser Stay C cheerfully recounts the story of her puppy who had ingrown nipples that she thought were ticks and tweezed them and all this pus came out.
“We loved that dog.”
Dave carries two pitchers of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale to our table — that four-seater in front of the men’s room — and we sink into the vinyl for one of those sink-into-the-vinyl chats.
“The whole idea of a scene,” says David, rightfully anticipating a request for analysis, “and its life, and how it lives — how it exists and how it continues to exist — and this whole superficial idea of going to a place — and it has nothing to do with the place itself — it’s just a matter of being at the place — but the place itself . . .” He trails off for a second, then returns in the character of pathetic drunken wretch. “Let me tell you something, Libby. Some of the most beautiful people I know are right here. I don’t give two goddamns who knows it.”
David sits back. We all nod reverently. DeAndré returns from scoping out the band, which seems about ready to start. “See the guy that’s got his hair piled up? With the bra on? He’s the lead singer.”
“I would hope so,” says David.
The band starts up with the subtlety of a Dennis Woodruff paint job. Nine feet up a wall, a sign: Sound Silencer PLUS soft foam ear plugs @ the bar — $1.25/pair. ã
The band (a) rocks and rocks hard, or (b) makes incredibly loud noises and tries to sing. We’re pretty sure the first song went . . . a little like this:
LIMO DRIVIN’ YEAH BAYBUH!
ROARIN’ DOWN THE BULL OF ODD
INTO A BOTTLE OF VITALIS — YEAH!
MY BAYBUH FOUND IN THE STORE!
IN THE STORE!
IN THE STORE!
IN THE STORE!
Hello, Little Tokyo
Twenty minutes and
A gallon of ale later
We’ve deserted Al’s
Rock and pitchers for
Yagura Ichiban’s karaoke
And porcelain shots of sake.
We drink plenty of fluids
And David sings “To
Sir With Love”
Into a huge video
Montage of clips, perhaps
From The Courtship of Eddie’s Father
and/or fully-clothed late-’80s
Then David and DeAndré
Do “Float On,” a serious
Slow jam. The crowd goes wild
And David waxes
Back in the limo, Jay comes up with a novel idea: “Crack ’Ho Time™” he says.
“Yeah!” says Shulman. “Hey everybody! It’s Crack ’Ho Time™!”
“Spaceland?” says David. “What do you guys think?”
Two Dimes for a Twenty
For some reason, we don’t go to Spaceland. We don’t go anywhere; we just want to drink and drive. Somewhere west of downtown, we decide to save the Weekly’s research department the bother of fact-checking one of this year’s “Best of L.A.” items, a paragraph on the best place to score grass, which is a colloquial term for marijuana, which we strongly advise our readers against using. (If you’re illiterate, however, dig right in.)
With minimal effort, we corroborate the facts. (See “Best Place to Score Grass at 4 a.m.,” Section 9.) David gets two dimes for a twenty.
“I got two dimes for the twenty,” says David.
“It’s probably someone’s shit with some oregano on it,” says Shulman. “Is it even pot?”
“It’s pot, but it doesn’t smell that great . . . (pause). . . (sniff) . . . (sniff/pause). . . Actually, it smells okay.”
We take turns smelling it.
“Smells like high-school bathroom,” says Shulman. “Not even restroom. Bathroom.”
David sighs. “This is the most special, wonderful thing that’s ever been.”
Someone passes part of a plant to the front of the limo.
“No, thanks,” says DeAndré. “I don’t smoke and I don’t drink.”
“You don’t need to smoke and drink, the way you drive,” says Jay.
Where . . . are we . . . ?
We seem to be . . . moving through a turn-of-the-century ghost town in some sort of . . . vehicle, possibly seafaring. Libby is. . . Lauren Tewes as Julie, only without the clipboard. Shulman and Jay are either Gavin MacLeod and whoever played Isaac, or Gavin MacLeod and whoever played Gopher. David is . . . Bernie Koppell, that guy most people tend to remember as being Steve Landesburg, even though
they really look nothing alike. Sort of a Garry Shandling–David Brenner visual relationship.
We feel a need to exploit the image of the limousine. “We should go one place we’d never go in real life,” someone says. “Like, uh . . .”
Less than 50 yards from the entrance to the Sky Bar, David knows what he must do. And he’s prepared. “If they let us in, we do a sociological, you know, study.”
“If they let us in, let’s try and document David and I trying to get laid,” says Jay.
“Yeah,” says David.
“Yeah,” says Shulman, “but you can’t say ‘baby’ — just regular words.”
Jay faux-hits on someone: “You gonna drink that drink?”
“Ladies!” David chimes in. “Hi! How are you? Welcome to L.A. No, I’m not part of this whole thing, but I love L.A., a hundred percent. Yeah . . . yeah . . . yeah, I am! I’m Michael Stipe.”
The Mondrian used to have a nice little ugly little bar, and anyone with a few dollars who’d showered in the last 48 hours was welcomed. Then it was redone, and now it’s some place the New York fashion industry thinks we should like. You’re not allowed in unless you’re a guest of the hotel or famous, period. David’s confident he’s not famous enough to be recognized (not to mention the fact that we’re dressed for Al’s, not Sky); but it doesn’t really matter. All we want to do is get kicked out of the Sky Bar and into a limousine. That’s the project. If we make it in, fine — have a few drinks, then get kicked out. If we don’t get in, just as well. Saves us having to drink their booze.
We get in. Seems the serious executive-bouncer-guy recognized David from his small part in Men in Black, a movie he probably watched because he thought it was about guys who don’t let people into the Sky Bar. So we’re in. Damn.
David walks up to a small group of European-Americans and starts talking to one of them as if they’re old pals. The selected victim is mildly polite at first and then starts fidgeting and slowly backing away. A few minutes into it, David’s voice rises to scene-level, so Jay steps in as The Rescuer.
“He’s okay,” says Jay.
“I’M OKAY!” shouts David. “I’M OKAY!”
“He’s okay,” Jay insists, pulling David away by the shoulders, or trying to.
David stands his ground. “NO! NO! NO! NO!! I’M OKAY! I’M OKAY! I’M OKAY!! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!!“
“He’s okay,” says Jay, prying David off his feet. “No problem. I got him. He’s okay.”
The guards guard, security moves in, bouncers bounce.
Guards, security, bouncers (in unison): “Is he on medication?”
“Yeah,” says Libby. “Medication. Sure.”
As one unit, we are swiftly escorted through the lobby, out onto the street and into our waiting limo. It is accomplished.
Jay sits back and reflects: “I saw a woman fighting for her youth at this one table. Her veins were full of perfume.”
There’s a Hole in the Top!
and David’s standing up through it, yelling the shit out of his lungs: “HEY!!! I’M IN A LIMOUSINE!! YOU KNOW?? ALL RIGHT!! I’M IN A RENTED LIMOUSINE!!! Hey, guys? Check it OUT! I’m in a RENTED LIMO!!!!“
“It never gets old,” says Jay.
“HEY!! YEAH!!! THAT’S RIGHT!!! I’M — I’M IN A RENTED LIMOUSINE!!!”
“Hey, I’m in a rented limousine!!! check it out!! you can rent this!!! I’m in a fucking limousine in Southern California!!!!
“Tell him,” DeAndré calls back from the cockpit, “if he sees the police, he has to get down. It’s a thousand-dollar fine.”
“That’s cuz they’ve never tried it,” says Jay.
David returns from the thousand-dollar view.
“Do we have enough petty cash for a hooker for David?” says Libby.
“Teeth or no teeth?” says Shulman.
“They should change the name from the Sky Bar to the Prick Bar,” says DeAndré.
See Andy Dick
We decide to wind the night down at Bar Deluxe. On the way, we talk about Andy Dick. And other stuff — Norms’ Steak & Eggs Specials, for one. And then a few minutes later, when we pull up in front of Bar Deluxe, there’s Andy Dick. Sitting on the curb. Moving.
Jay and David join Andy on the curb and try to explain everything. Andy’s in his usual festive mood. Jay and David tell him all about the limo, the Weekly, the nutty at the Sky Bar, ingrown nipples and Vitalis commercials at Al’s, crack ho’s, karaoke, grilled cheese sandwiches — Bob’s sick — someone’s shit with oregano on it, hash brownies, that one U-turn, not going to Spaceland and the woman with perfume running through her veins.
Andy falls asleep on top of the limo and we drive home.