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Sunday, August 1, 2010

The world famous Improv

Hollywood Blvd. is jumping on a Saturday night. Everyone's out taking photos of stars' names printed on the sidewalk (isn't that going to be an amazing slide show for their neighbours?! "Look, there's the name of John Travolta! There's the name of Red Skelton!" I could write those names down on a piece of paper and get the same effect. They're just names, people!) Traffic is backed up is backed all the way down past the Jimmy Kimmel Live studio and Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum.

I hail a cab. I'm going to the world famous Improv comedy club where all the greats have played for decades. "The Improv on Melrose," I instruct my cabbie. He pauses.

"What's the cross street?"

"I don't know. It's the Improv. On Melrose? You don't know where that is?"

He asks if we can know how to use his GPS system so we type in Improv but it doesn't show up. So we hop out of the cab and ask a doorman standing by if he knows the cross street. "Fairfax," he confidently tells us. Perfect. So we hop back in the waiting cab and he takes us to Melrose and Fairfax. We're dropped off and look around. Nothing. So we start walking. Way ahead in the distance we see some green neon and what looks like a white playbill underneath, but we can't make out what it says. Still, it's all we've got. After a few blocks, we can read the sign and that's it. We finally arrive.

So much for world famous.

Over the years I've heard lots of bad things about L.A. comics but this was my first time seeing live comedy here. And I've got to say if tonight was any indication, L.A.'s got some good ones. I can't remember all the names of who I saw, but I'll start with Alex Nussbaum. Hilarious. I reviewed him at Yuk Yuk's four years ago, raving about him. And he hasn't lost a step. Still really funny. And, yes, sure, he's from Toronto, but I do believe he lives in L.A. now.

Then there was Toby Hargrave, a multiple-time guest on What's So Funny? Sure, he's a former Edmontonian who still lives in Vancouver, but he slayed 'em at the Improv just as he does all over Canada.

The headliner for the evening was Lachlan Patterson, who destroyed. It was a really strong set from Lachlan (another multiple-time guest on WSF?), who is just getting funnier and funnier. He was a celebrity there, with people coming up to tell him how great he was and to buy an autographed copy of his new CD, Jokes to Make Love To. Who knew?! The guy's going to be a star. I should have been nicer to him all these years when I was swatting away his lazy shit in basketball every Sunday night.

So I travel however many miles to La La Land to see comedy and it's old home week. Hell, even Stargate Universe's Adam Brody, as played by multiple-time WSF? guest Peter Kelamis, was in the crowd supporting his homeboys.

There were some Americans on the bill, too. I didn't catch all their names, but two of them I've seen for years and years: The Sklar Brothers. It was great seeing them live after all this time. I'm a sucker for a comedy team just because they're so rare. But I'd like them anyway.

It was a solid evening of laughs. If all L.A. comics are this good, I can't wait to see more. Just don't let them tell you the place is world famous.

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