A Sad Day

As long-time readers of my blog know, I’m a big fan of Harris Wittels. He played the drums in the comedy band “Don’t Stop or We’ll Die”, did stand up around Los Angeles, has written for many comedy tv shows and even invented the Humblebrag, all before 30. He was the “Flight of the Concords”, to my “Mel”. He even once commented on this very blog (check it out HERE). Getting that notification email “Harris Wittels has left a comment for you” was the best day (I still have the email saved). He was the type of guy that cared enough to find his fans and talk to them, which is incredibly rare.

He was always open about his drug use, as he talked about it candidly in different podcasts. Back in November he was a guest on Pete Holmes’ “You Made It Weird” (find that HERE), where he talks about when recreational drug use shifted to addiction and then took over his life. He was working on recovery and died too soon. This is such a loss for the comedy world, as Harris had so much comedy left in him. It’s a sad day.

imag1109 Harris doing stand up at UCB’s Comedy Bang Bang Wednesday show in Los Angeles.

imag1074 Don’t Stop or We’ll Die performing at the Meltdown Theater in Los Angeles.

adamscott Harris Wittels (right) with Adam Scott and Scott Aukerman at the Comedy Bang Bang LA event as part of the IFC Tour (Aug 2012).

harris

226283_504893182859027_1782309762_n Above is the band Don’t Stop or We’ll Die performing at the Comedy Bang Bang 2011 Nativity Pageant at UCB in LA (Harris is in the center on drums).

Do This Today: Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die

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Tonight Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die  is performing at Largo! This comedy band is made up of Paul Rust, Harris Wittels and Michael Cassady. Check out a full write up about them HERE.  Tonight’s tickets are two for one with the code “dontstop”. Other performers include Doug Benson, Chelsea Peretti, the band FMLY, and I think Nick from Islands.

Event: Don’t Stop Or We’l Die at Largo (event link)
Location: The Largo, 366 North La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
Time: Tuesday March 14, 7:30pm doors, 9pm show
Cost: $25 (but 2 for 1 tickets with code “dontstop”)

Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty

 

I’ve been waiting for the right Comedy Wednesday to bring this up, and it seems today is the day. Harris Wittels, friend of the blog and full time dreamboat, has released his first book based on his hit twitter revolution: the humblebrag. For those new to this term, it’s when someone phrases a humble statement that is really meant to brag about themselves. For example (which I took from the book), this tweet by Noah Harlan (@noahharlan) “In other news, Paul McCartney stole our golf cart. I’m serious. #HonoredOrPissed?” Are you really pissed or are you super excited and want the world to know you just had an interaction with Paul McCartney… probably the latter. It’s a modest form of bragging. This term was invented by Harris and is now common-speak. That’s pretty cool.

Well he’s taken his Grantland monthly column and twitter account (@Humblebrag) and turned it into an awesome book called Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty. Order your copy today and check out the hilarious video-ad above.

Comedy Wednesday: Comedy Bang Bang IFC Event (Los Angeles)

Today is a special Comedy Wednesday because this past weekend I attended Comedy Bang Bang‘s live podcast taping at the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles. This event is part of a promo tour for Scott Aukerman’s IFC show, Comedy Bang Bang. It also began (and continues to exist) as a once a week stand up show at UCB. This week I had to skip it, but at least I have the podcast taping to share with you.

I arrived at the church around 6pm (7pm, doors open. 8pm show starts). Parking took forever, but at least I was in line around 6:30 and got a decent spot.

When we got in we snagged some good seats and payed a visit to the 2 stalled restroom. This made my decision not to drink very easy, because I could tell the restroom lines were going to get crazy long. They had wine and beer on sale in the courtyard. The venue was fine despite the bad parking and practically no bathrooms. The thing that was a challenge to get around was the smell. Inside the sanctuary, where the podcast taping was done, it did not smell pleasant. All of these things didn’t matter to me though, because the excitement of the night performance had me captivated.

To start off the evening, Kurt Braunohler, host of IFC’s Bunk, came out and did a bit of stand up as well as showed a clip from his show. He was hilarious, and while I’ve seen him on Bunk I’ve never seen him doing stand up. It was a great start to the show and had lots of energy.

Next up Scott Aukerman came out to set the stage for how the nights events would work. For part of his bit he brought up a potential Fire Safety leader (aka random member of the audience) to participate in a series of fire safety tests… which ultimately lead to the audience member dressed in a wig make-up and shirtless while on his knees pretending to be a cow. It was hilarious and the audience member was a good sport about it all. I mean, how cool to have that story to tell your friends.

After Scott finished up, he brought out James Adomian to do some stand-up. I used to see James all the time when he lived in Los Angeles, but a few years ago (?) he moved to New York so I haven’t seen him in a while. He’s always a good time and he does a lot of characters on the Comedy Bang Bang Podcast. It was nice to see him to stand-up as himself. He’s also an openly gay comedian, which I think is awesome, as he’s not afraid to talk about gay rights and other American issues in his set. He did a bit that basically calls out certain beer companies as being offensive to gays in their ad campaigns.

Once James finished up, Scott came back out to begin the podcast portion of the night. The first guest he brought out for this is my (and most of the listeners) favorite comedian, Harris Wittels. He and Scott talked for a while which was fun.

Scott then brought out Adam Scott (best dressed of the night) and the three of them did some character work. If you know the CBB podcast, you know that each episode different comedians come on as characters, which are often very well done. Harris and Adam had been on the podcast before as the two funny people they are. Scott tried to get them to do characters and it was hilariously bad. So bad that it’s insanely funny, because these two guys just don’t do characters. I’m not knocking them in any way, and they know that they characters they’ve created are just hilariously weird. In fact their episodes were ranked the highest because people enjoyed it so much. And this past Saturday they did not disappoint. They introduced two new characters who work together at the Raisin Bran Factory in the scooping department (see, hilarious!).

Andy Daly joined them on stage next as Chip Gardner, as his reoccurring character of a man trying to become the honorary mayor of West Hollywood. Andy Daly does his stand-up as characters so he’s amazing at committing to a character. His stand-up album Nine Sweaters is so great (and you can buy that here).

Nick Kroll came out next as El Chupacabra. He was excellent and kept the energy going, despite it being about two hours into the event.

Last up, James Adomian came out as Paul Giamatti. I’m glad that we got to see James do stand-up and as a character, since he’s really excellent at both. His Paul Giamatti character was a little tricky to hear based on the acoustics of the room. The louder a comedian spoke, the more it echoed, and James has a loud audience voice. Also, my favorite character that James does is Huell Howser, since it’s so dead-on.

Once everyone was on stage, they did a round of would you rather, which gave all the comedians a chance to interact which is really fun for the audience. Once it got to be close to 11p it wrapped up, and the show ended. It was such a great night and so worth he ticket. They are selling the recordings from their tour HERE.

Weekend Guide August 3 + 4 + 5

There’s nothing like really taking a close look at your student loans to ruin a Friday. In 35 years, I’ll be all payed off! And I’ll be just at retirement age.. excellent. Enough of my bummer Friday. Did you enjoy my Font Friday post? I’m VERY excited to bring that to you each Friday.. and I like that it gives you something to think about before I jump into the WEEKEND GUIDE! Yup, it’s that time folks!

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FRIDAY August 3rd:

Are you ready for Animation August at the LACMA? Tonight they will be doing an outdoor screening of Bolt. This is a free event starting at 8p. Come early to claim a spot, pack a picnic dinner and hang out by the giant rock. This is a great family night event.

Echo Park Film Center is hosting An Evening With Action Item where the band Action Item will present a 45 minute documentary and play songs from their upcoming album. It sound like a relazing chill Echo Park night.

I’m having trouble confirming this next item (click here for the details), but Maria Bamford should be performing at the Fake Gallery tonight from 8-10p. Tickets are $5 and Maria is worth far more. This isn’t to be missed.

Hey I have an idea- why not check out Maria Bamford and then head over to the Lyric Cafe (not far down the road) for Matty’s Pizza Party at 10pm. Tickets are $5 and you can get them HERE! John Ennis will be there tonight. He’s a comedy legend as he started out on the Mr. Show with Bob (Odenkirk) and David (Cross). And there will be pizza!

I almost don’t want to mention this because it’s pretty pricy, but for you music loving richies, this weekend is Hard Summer (Fri+Sat) at LA’s State Historic Park. The lovely location of the Renegade Craft Fair has now become a musical jamboree! A two-day pass is $129, and a single-day pass is $75 ($82 with fees). It’s too rich for my blood (given my depressing student loans evaluation this morning) but you should check it out if you have the time and the funds.

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SATURDAY August 4th:

Here’s the weekend movie forecast:
Eat See HearPurple Rain at the Marina Green Park in Long Beach @ 8:30 ($10)
Devils Night Drive InPulp Fiction downtown @ 8:30 (presale $10)
Street Food Cinema: Bridesmaids in Exposition Park @ 8:30 (presale $10)
Forever Cemetery/CinespiaSunset Boulevard in the Forever Cemetery @ 9 ($10)

If you’re sick of movies, and want to check out some comedy… Comedy Bang Bang (on IFC) is having their big Los Angeles event on Saturday at the Unitarian Church in Hollywood. That’s just the venue and I swear it’s not religious comedy. Get tickets and full details HERE. The event goes from 7p-12am, so you’ll get your monies worth! I mean, Nick Kroll, Andy Daly and comedy dreamboat Harris Wittels?! Does it get better than that?

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SUNDAY August 5th: (aka national cheese pizza day)

Last weekend a few friends and I rented bikes and biked the path along the beach. It was awesome and we all found ourselves thinking, how have we lived in LA this long and not done this before? Well, now’s your chance to jump in the fun. The LA Bike Coalition is hosting Sunday Funday, where bikers meet at 9:30am at Del Valle Park in Lakewood and then they bike in Long Beach. You can even become a member and do this all the time. Fun for the family!

The Upright Citizen’s Brigade has their monthly Gravid Water show on Sunday at 9:30p. This is an incredible show, where there are several 2 person scenes. One person has memorized a section of writing (play, poem, literary piece) and the other person has no clue what they’re reciting from and has to completely improvise. This improv show is fantistic. It’s great for literary buffs as well as people who enjoy comedy. It’s smart and funny. IT’s a hot ticket and usually sells out fast, but you can always put your name on the waiting list, and they are good about fitting everyone in.

If you’re looking to catch a new movie this weekend (indoors and not on a lawn) and feeling a bit melancholy, check out Celeste and Jesse Forever which opens at the Arclight and Landmark theaters this weekend. Check out the trailer for this funny bittersweet love story:

Comedy Bang Bang: May 29, 2012

I’m taking a break from Hawaii posts to tell you about Comedy Bang Bang‘s live show last night at UCB in Los Angeles. I was lucky enough to get tickets last Friday (since they go on sale every Friday at noon) and see the show at 8:30p, as well as Doug Loves Movies free live podcast taping at 7:30p. You know my usual cell phone photo-taking issues, so only 4 of the 12 that I took actually stayed in the camera. I wonder where all those other pictures go? Hopefully Ill have a new phone within the next few months, which will greatly improve all my comedy posts. Oh well. So no photos of DLM. But Greg Proops was the guest with three other people (I’m so bad, I can’t remember their names). The podcast episode will be out soon, and I’ll have to update you.

Comedy Bang Bang was really awesome this week. The host was Chris Gethard (yup.. get hard) who is about to embark on a journey to Bonnaroo.

His goal is to get to Bonnaroo by using Americas help. With just a change of clothes, his cell phone and solar charger (and a camera crew following behind) Chris needs to get across the country. While his crew will be in hotels, Chris has zero money and is relying on twitter followers to help put him up. The crew following him is constantly editing the footage so that when he arrives at the show next weekend, he’ll have a video in his hand of his whole trip. He was nervous about it, but I think it’s genius. Watch this video made last night at UCB:

If you want to help Chris Gethard, tweet him #BonnarooGethard

The first guest was Dana Gould, always a classic. My cell phone failed me, so the photo of him didn’t save. But I did find this clip online of Dana doing part of a set that he did last night (about his father).

Next up was Gabe Liedman, who I’ve seen perform with Jenny Slate at Largo in the past. He’s hilarious and doing his cd taping at UCB tomorrow night! I’m SHOCKED that there are still tickets left. It’s only $5 and he’s awesome.. and your laughs will forever be memorialized on a cd. Plus Jenny Slate is opening for him. That’s pretty cool. Get tickets HERE. Here’s a video (I found on the internet and did not film myself) that you should watch. He did this bit last night and it rocked.

Here’s the crappy cell photo I took:

After Gabe, Brent Weinbach came up and did a set. I saw him this past Sunday at the Silver Lake Jubilee, and I wondered if I’d see him at UCB… sure enough I did! He did a very similar set to Sunday’s show. I actually enjoy seeing comedians do the same bits twice because you can see what parts they are reworking to get more laughs. It lets you look into how they’re bettering their craft. Here’s the crappy cell photo of him:

Here’s a video I found of him online (doing a bit that I saw him do last night):

After Brent, Jay Chandraskhar took the stage. He’s directed a bunch of big projects like Super Troopers, Beerfest and Arrested Development. He’s actually directed a show I worked on, Friends With Benefits. I had no clue he did standup, so it was fun seeing him perform. My phone wasn’t able to keep the photos I took of him.. grrr.

Here’s a video of him I found online (that I didn’t record):

 

Next up, Harris Wittels. He’s commented on this blog before (yes, that was my favorite day too) and I was lucky enough to get a ticket coincidentally the night he did a set at CBB. He basically did his foam-corner. Fans of the Comedy Bang Bang podcast know what I’m talking about. He read tweets and did some material that was new to me. Pretty great and always a crowd favorite. You can’t help but have a crush on this guy.

Okay, moving along… Rory Scovel was the closer. I’ve heard his name before but I don’t think I’ve seen him in person before. He was really funny and now on my radar to see again. Here’s another video I found online to give you a taste of what he’s like:

For those of you wanting more comedy this week, there are two very cool shows tomorrow night. The first is Eric Andre’s show at The Satellite in Silver Lake. Tickets are $12, doors open at 7 and the show’s at 8p. Brent Weinbach will be there, so if you missed CBB this week you can catch him there.

The second show tomorrow night is Maria Bamford (So funny!) at an event called Gallows Humor. Show starts at 8p and tickets are $5. The venue is Vlad the Retailer (new to me) at 4270 Melrose Ave in Los Feliz. Free wine and beer and a dj plus a line-up of comedians. You can bet money I’ll be there.

Bootleg Theater

Did my expose on raccoon stare-downs blow your mind yesterday? I know- only hard hitting stories here at Life Absorbed!

Well on Monday night I hit-up the Bootleg Theater in Echo Park (on Beverly near Alvarado) to see Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die. If you’re a fan of the blog, you know of my love for this band (specifically the drummer) as I’ve writen about them here and of course here. Also, what better way to celebrate my first weekday of funemployment, then to stay out late and go see my favorite local band?

I didn’t bring my camera, for obvious drawing-attention-to-myself reasons, so I only got in a couple bad cell phone pics. I went with two of my friends and I totally screwed up the times. I thought DSoWD (terrible abbreviation that I must apologize for) went on at 8pm, so we arrived casually late at 8:10p. We walk in to a basically empty room, accept Harris Wittels (said drummer and full-time dream boat) was walking around with his backpack on. Considering I thought we were ten minutes late.. I was a bit confused. We got a table and chairs (the perk of screwing up and being crazy early) and chatted. We kept seeing people in costumes running in and out of the room. There was a lady in a white unitard, an old man with a backpack, a guy dressed as a clown, a super short young girl… and more. They kept running excitedly from one door to the next. Then they brought out trays full of chinese take-out boxes. They ran into one door and came back with empty trays. Who ate all that Chinese food??? SO MANY QUESTIONS! We were intrigued to say the least. Eventually, one of the doors was propped open and we could hear tons of clapping. We had no clue there was a back room, which turned out to be a filled theater. We must have seen the actors running in and out. I don’t know what play this was, but check that place out.

Finally around 8:45(?) The Californian came on stage to perform. I had also thought that DSoWD was up first, so this was very confusing too. Since I had seen HArris, and then later saw Paul Rust (bass) and Michael Cassady (piano) running around I knew the band would go on eventually. The Californian was a new band to me and my friends and we enjoyed listening to them. Here’s my crappy cell photo:

Then Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die came on and they were great. I love watching them perform live and I know they have another cd in the works which I am very excited about. They played some of their classics, I Got A Perm For Our Camping Trip, Austin and Ace, The Ballad of Bird and Fox (Which they opened with), and Central PArk (my second favorite of all their songs). They played some new ones which I’m sure will be on the upcoming album. They didn’t play my favorite song, Once In Awhile, but they played a great set and I was glad I got to see them. They’ve been doing more shows lately so Ill let you know when they have another one. Here’s a crappy cell photo I took and then tried to adjust so you can actually make their bodies out.

We ended up staying for one song of the following band, Harriet. This band is doing their residency at Bootleg and will be there every Monday. Before they performed, they brought a lot of ferns on stage. Like a lot. Like too many ferns. Also they had their own canvas backing and brought in up lighting. It was quite a presentation. The thing that put it over the top for us, was the lead singer in camo-fatigues and a shirt tied around his head in a half-turban style. It looked like a bad Nam flashback. Their music was good, but we were tired and to watch this lead singer (who also repeatedly asked the house to change the sound for them) was too much of a diva for a free show. This guy clearly thought he deserved a grammy for having his shirt wrapped around his head. It’s too bad, because the music was pretty good but we as a group agreed that it was time to go.

Weekend Guide April 20 + 21 + 22

So who’s hitting up weekend 2 of Coachella? If you’re like me and saving a zillion dollars by not attending Coachella, here’s a ton of stuff happening in LA this weekend to keep you busy.

FRIDAY April 20:

Tonight at The Echo Park Film Center they are screening The Silver Lake Badminton and Adventures Club (web series). It sounds hilarious and worth checking out. If you can’t make the screening, at least check out an episode HERE.

I’m very excited to tell you about an event taking place at the Moca Geffen from April 20 to May 6th called Transmission LA:AV Club. This event is about how audio and visual effect each other and is Curated by Mike D. Please tell me you’ve heard of the BEASTIE BOYS! My younger assistant said “Oh yeah, those guys are like the Beach Boys, right?” I cried a little. This 17 day festival will have concerts, DJ Nights at the museum, performances and Installations. Check HERE for all the info. You know, Angel City Brewing is not far from the Moca.. just say’in.

SATURDAY April 21:

This weekend is the FESTIVAL OF BOOKS! My librarian friend Carrie would be so proud of me, as I plan to attend the event (which is held at USC). I’m going specifically to see the comedians pictured above at 1pm on Saturday peform in “Fresh From Figment”. This FREE event will have Michael Ian Black, Michael Hitchcock, Wendi McLendon-Covy, Andrea Savage, Martin Starr & Michaela Watkins. There are a ton of other cool events. Check out THIS link for the full list of events and click HERE to see a map of all the stages. There are more events happening on Sunday too, so plan accordingly.

If you don’t like comedy and books (which means you must be insane), then hit up Santa Monica for the Tadasana Festival. This yoga + music event is happening Saturday and Sunday as well. Get your tickets online HERE. and then check out the schedule HERE to see what yoga classes you want to go to.

It’s also Earth Day Weekend! Why not hit up the Aquarium of the Pacific for their celebration!

For blog followers, you probably know about my unwavering love of Tony’s Darts Away (in Burbank on Magnolia). Well this Saturday they are celebrating their 2nd Anniversary. RSVP on facebook HERE. Tickets are $30 and includes 5 pours and you can keep the glass.

SUNDAY April 22:

On Sunday, Castle Green in Pasadena is doing their Spring Tour from 1-5pm for $20. It looks like a wedding facility… but it also just looks beautiful. and it’s called a CASTLE! It has castle IN the name!

At 5pm on Sunday, 826LA is holding their Nerdist Writers Panel at Meltdown Comics. The sessions are $15 and this weeks guest writers are Andrew Miller, Chic Eglee, and more. These are great for all you writers looking for your ticket into Hollywood.

Keep in mind that the Festival of Books and the Tadasana Festival are continuing into Sunday as well.

Because I love you so much, I’m going to leave you with this gem. Cheack out THE NEW DON’T STOP OR WE’LL DIE MUSIC VIDEO! Have a great weekend!

Largo: March 9, 2012

Did everyone have a fabulous weekend? I had to get outside of LA to enjoy the last remnants of winter, although our cross country skiing weekend turned into a snowless hiking weekend. It was still so much fun to go up into the mountains, breathe fresh air and see stars. It’s hard to believe you’re and hour and a half away from 80 degree heat and you’re looking down on the clouds from so high. More on that coming throughout the week, but I want to catch you up on my Friday night.

I didn’t head into the mountains until early Saturday morning, which means Friday night needed to be mostly about packing and getting to bed early. Oh yeah, and comedy.

I went to Largo (the photo-phobic theatre) to see Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die headline their own show. It’s about time. Although I was disappointed in the low crowd turn out. The theater was probably half-full (not half-empty like some Negative Nancy’s would say). Come on DSOWD fans! It was a great show, and if you missed it, well boy did you miss it.

Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die performed a ton of songs. They even brought out Sarah Silverman who sang a beautiful (serious) song with the band. She has a lovely singing voice and even played gutar to the song “First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes. She sang this song at her friend Rob Schrab‘s wedding. Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die was the band for Rob’s wedding. I’ve searched on youtube but can’t find a version of her singing it. Here’s a video of the real version. It’s a beautiful song.

Gabe Lieman and Jenny Slate (SNL) had a funny comedy set, which was a little different from the music and was a nice way to breakup the night. Since they don’t allow recording/photos in Largo, I found this video (not taken by me) online of a bit similar to what they did on Friday. It’s a really funny schtick they have. It’s rare to see 2 comedians working together on an act and I enjoyed the combo as they compliment each other well. Check out the video:

Next up was Emerson Alum, Jim Hanft who performed two songs with his real-life girlfriend and singing partner Samantha Yonack. They have such beautiful gentle soulful voices. Here is a video I found online of them singing “Lazy Love”, which is one song they performed on Friday. Buy their music!

Here is another video of them singing I found on youtube:

After this music set, Kyle Dunnigan came out and performed comedy. You probably know him best as serial killer Craig Pullin in Reno 911. I’ve seen him do whole sets in the Craig character and it was great to see him mix in some of himself into this set. I’d never heard his real voice before Friday. He was hilarious and did off-the-cuff musical jokes as he sat at a piano and played really well. It was so great to see the real Kyle.

After Kyle Dunningan, Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die was back on stage for a few more songs. They added in a one song encore, and then Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die night came to a close. It was a fun night, and I even grabbed a drink (alone) at the Roger Bar before the show. Does that make me sad? Or awesome? I’m going to go with awesome. If you’re waiting for a Largo show to start, check out the Roger Room next door.

Plug: Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die

Before I tell you about Saturday’s activities, I need to promote one of my favorite bands, Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die. They are the guests on this weeks Comedy Bang Bang Podcast. The band is made up Harris Wittels (my comedy crush), Paul Rust (adorable), and Michael Cassady (crazy talented musucian). They are a comedy band that plays great music and they are so fun to watch perform. Their EPs are available on itunes for purchase and I recommend it.

I took this photo at a show they played in the back room of Meltdown Comics last year. One of my favorite songs are “Once In A While”, which I like to think is from the point-of-view of a NYC pet dog (although I don’t think it’s meant to be). I can totally picture the music video for that. I love blasting it in my car while loudly singing along. It’s a great pump-up song. My other favorite song of theirs is “Central Park”. These songs are less “funny” but I think they make really great unique songs, and the band performs them really well.

Okay, enough gushing for me. Go listen to the podcast HERE to hear more comedy and music from the band. They play shows around LA sometimes, and I’ll keep you posted on upcoming shows, as I intend to be there in the front row. I’ll leave you with their music video for their song “I Got A Perm For Our Camping Trip”.