Deep in the heart of Echo Park, surrounded by taco trucks and fruit vendors, cash-only dive bars and my ex-boyfriends, there exists off Sunset Boulevard a Time Travel Mart 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: It’s the home for 826LA East, a chapter of the nonprofit tutoring organization co-founded by Dave Eggers and dedicated to improving the lives of young students by encouraging them to write creatively. (Venice’s SPARC Building is home to 826LA West.)
Wednesday night, while many Angelenos were glued to their TVs watching the newest Sons of Anarchy episode, 826LA welcomed some of comedy’s finest performers to the Avalon theater in Hollywood for a night of standup at the Fall-Time Yuk-Fest, with all proceeds going to the organization’s free student tutoring at both the East and West chapters. Those who took the stage included Patton Oswalt (who recently gave L.A. 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 Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (of Adult Swim’s Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!), Bill Burr and Bob Moore (complete with his tightrope-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.’?”
Dana Gould: “The coolest time-travel supplies would be lightweight togs, like in the 1700s. 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 you invented a time machine, you’d get so laid. You’d go to every decade. You’d go all the way through.”
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 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.”
Los Angeles premiere parties are full of perks, like free cocktails, irreverent celebrity commentary and, if you’re lucky, a few laughs and plenty of photo opportunities. There were plenty of all at the premiere bash in West Hollywood’s Palihouse for Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy, a 10-part independent series of YouTube shorts created exclusively for Internet consumption (see sethcomedy.com).
Not since childhood have I based the success of a party on the amount of gooey cupcake frosting stuck underneath my fingernails the next morning. Let’s just say it was good times had by all. Joined by Jonah Hill (Superbad), Seth Green (Family Guy), Ken Davitian (Borat), Seth Morris (FunnyorDie.com) and MacFarlane, we gorged on gourmet cupcakes and tapped the open bar while enjoying a night of animated pop-culture parody. Between cupcake bites, we had to ask: “What is the funniest or weirdest YouTube video you’ve seen recently?”
Seth Green: “Oh, man, there’s this great video of a kid acting really stupid and jumping out of a car, like, while it’s in motion. He thinks he’s just jumping out of a car, but he’s too close to a parked car and he hits a parked car with his face! It’s the metal bumper of a car. You just hear everybody in the car go, ‘Oh, no!’ Like, really serious. It’s one of the most insane moments I’ve ever seen on video.”
Ken Davitian: “I went to an interview for a documentary and they showed me my scene in Borat and that was the thing I’ve seen recently that made me go, ‘Oh my God.’?”
Seth Morris: “I saw a really fucked-up one today called ‘ShakeThatBear.’ I don’t want to ruin it for anybody. The less you know, the better.”
Seth MacFarlane, who introduced himself to the crowd as “just another hockey mom”: “Probably the Sarah Palin speech.”
Check laweekly.com for slide shows of both Yuk-Fest and the Cavalcade premiere.