Towne Hall Meetin’ takes place on the first Thursday of every month at 799 Towne Ave #110, Los Angeles, CA. and is $5 with a with a donation only bar. Tony Sam, Aparna Nancherla and Anthony DeVries act as candidates running for a the fictional political position.They field questions from citizens and the moderator, who serves as the evening’s host. These faux town hall sketch pieces are interspersed between stand-up comic acts.
The inaugural March 1st 2012 Towne Hall Meetin’ was hosted by Allen Strickland Williams, and featured stand-up from Dave Ross, Maria Bamford, Brody Stevens, Karl Hess, Mary Mack, Brent Weinbach, and Moshe Kasher. The town folk were played by Scott Krinsky, Robert Buscemi, Tess Barker, Ric Rosario, Frederick Young, Kirk Mason & Johnny Pemberton.
Allen Strickland Williams dressed in a suit and tie, introduced himself as George Feely, the evenings moderator. He told us that this emergency town hall meeting was to determine who will replace disgraced Public Safety Commissioner, Mario Gutierrez (played by Scott Krinsky). Scott wearing a mustache, hard hat and orange safety vest, came to the stage to apologize and was greeted with boo’s from the audience. One audience member tuned his chair around and sat with his back facing Krinsky for his entire apology. Scott as Mario, told us how he had turned decommissioned county vehicles into marijuana-prostitution-food-trucks. We learned Mario was turning over a new leaf, in sex-addict-therapy, and working on sanitizing all the trucks, so they can be turned into book-mobiles.
Disgraced Public Safety Commissioner Mario Gutierrez (Scott Krinsky) left the stage and George Feely(ASW) welcomed the three candidates vying for the open position, Mario Gutierrez (Anthony DeVries, who was voted most handsome) Mario Gutierrez (Aparna Nancherla, who was running on the same platform as his opponents only more,) and Mario Gutierrez(Tony Sam, who pointed out that this meeting was taking place in a very unsafe building.) They were all wearing the same mustache, hard hat and orange safety vest that the disgraced Public Safety Commissioner had worn before.
Allen then welcomed the nights first stand up comic and three term County Dog Catcher Dave Ross, who came on stage to the Rocky theme. Dave conceded that he was in fact a dog catcher and told us he had parked his car under a homeless guy. He talked about having a gay roommate how he would kill to have someone fuck him in his sleep. He went on to talk about how he won’t go to dance-fighting class with his neighbor. He closed his set talking about advertising bed sheet’s with a shit-pun and The Muppet Movie.
Allen took the stage and reminded the nights speakers that this meeting was about public safety and asked them politely to stay on subject. He then asked the three candidates Mario, Mario, and Mario back on stage to field questions. Allen asked Tony Sam about how he was still alive after donating a liver, a half a heart, and a left big-toe to the organization “Every-BODY Loves Safety.” Tony answered that he was the only candidate with an American flag in his pocket. When the other two candidates quickly pulled an American flag out of their pockets, as well, Tony answered that he was still alive because he signed a deal with the Devil. The next question from the moderator was for Aparna and concerned The Broken Glass and Jagged Metal Crisis of 2005. Aparna told us to listen closely because she was only going to say this once, and then asked the moderator to repeat the question. The next question was taken from Twitter and directed at Anthony. @CrazyGirl asked about why Anthony favored traveling by blimp over airplanes and also wondered “where [he] got those nappy-ass roots.” Anthony responded that his roots came from pure American soil. He told us his roots were here, they were queer, so get used to it. The next questions came from the audience. Stacey Marino a senior in high school and student council president asked an incoherent, rambling question. Aparna fielded it and told her to stay in school and enunciate. A man in the audience wearing a cowboy hat had a question that was more of an angry tirade about buying a telescope from Wal-Mart on Black Friday and how he can’t see shit looking through it and that makes him feel raped. Anthony fielded this one and came out against rape. The next question was about kids who hang out at yard sales. Tony answered that he’s against yard sales, as well as rusty nails, and told us he never hits his wife. The woman who asked this question then started talking about turkey steaks and Tony asked where she was getting “free speed.”
Allen as moderator then welcomed the nights next stand-up comic, Comptroller Maria Bamford. Maria told us she would like to be a politician and would run on a platform of eradicating sadness in her community. She talked about being the sane one at the coffee shop and Gerardo writing a book about hogs called “Hog Book.” She told us about a conversation she had with one of her neighbor’s children. When the kid asked Maria how she considered herself a comedian even though she doesn’t have any jokes, Maria told the kid to contact her manager who’d explain everything. Maria told us she speaks pretend SWpanish and pretend tiger. She talked about how she has some guy named Ernesto Martinez’s old phone number and people keep calling asking for him. She talked about her friends always trying to get her to buy things she doesn’t need. She asked that the next time we’re considering suicide maybe try dressing up like a cat and yelling at people, instead. She closed her set talking about “Sid the Schizophrenic Squid,” clown operas, and making faces in the bathroom mirror.
Next, the candidates came on stage for more questions. We learned that one of the candidate’s daughter was killed at a Sizzler buffet with a steak knife and they were asked if we should outlaw silverware. Anthony responded that, yes we should outlaw silverware and consider what to do about chopsticks. Tony made a pun using the phrase “misteak knife.” Aparna responded to the question, “True or false?” with the answer “Never.”
Then the moderator welcomed to the stage the third stand-up comic of the evening, and Junior Comptroller Brody Stevens. Brody began by welcoming everyone to his city, county, and neighborhood, Los Angeles. He told us that his focus was so acute that he picks up on everything. He went on to explain that he has jokes and a persona, he shoots on a Cannon D5 and he doesn’t create anymore; he just works with co-creators. He told us that he is constantly surrounded by boom-mics, and while all his life people have told him that he’s funny, now he’s finally starting to believe them. He talked about circulatory problems, mental illness in the neighborhood and his own history with that issue. He talked about how he wants to be a travelling baseball announcer. He talked a little about his neighbor a fellow stand-up comic who was being stalked. He noticed that the audience was young and happy and our parents were probably helping us out. Brody talked about golf tournaments, working audience warm-up, and asked who else in the room was taking Depakote. He told us that Depakote ages you, talked about flights to Vancouver and getting WiFi in the hotel lobby. We learned that Brody was born in the San Fernando Valley, his English isn’t great but he can write a paper and he’s a Rock-o-holic. “Fuck K-Rock.! Fuck NPR! 98.7!”
Next, the moderator welcomed Tony Sam as Mario Gutierrez back on stage for some one-on-one questions. Tony started to hand out fake mustaches to audience members but warned them that these mustaches were choking hazards. His first question was about whether Banksy (the graffiti artist) should be considered a safety concern or just a passing fad. Tony responded by telling us that he spells “SAFETY,” M-A-R-I-O G-U-T-I-E-R-R-E-Z. Then, Tony was asked if we should have fire drills 4 times a day. He responded by talking about how the meeting was taking place in a building that was a fire hazard. The next question came from an audience member who was looking for his long lost father, Mario Gutierrez. Tony as Mario thought the guy had probably taken some “free speed ” and asked security to escort the man to the exit. The next question was about the movie,“1984.” One audience member asked Tony why we can’t all dress the same like they do in that movie. The next question came from a man with a guitar who sang his question and then plugged a few shows. Mario’s estranged son emerged again and produced an American flag from his pocket.
After this question and answer session, Allen took the stage to welcome Former Deputy Mayor Karl Hess. Mary Mack was crouching behind the small stage because she thought she was next and when she heard Karl’s name called she stood up looking a little confused and returned to the bar area. Karl talked about getting a medical marijuana card and Netflix streaming in the same week. He talked about Ralph’s rotisserie chicken, red long-john underwear and not being able to turn off the funny in the real world. He talked about the 15 seconds of clarity you receive before you die, finally getting health insurance, and drinking on antibiotics.
Next, Allen welcomed Mary Mack to the stage. Two girls sitting in the audience told her that they loved the sweater she was wearing and she remarked that she could already tell this would be the best show she’s ever done. Mary talked about the impossibility of living in the now, and asked the audience to focus because there’s a fine line between worst show and best show. She told us that she doesn’t want to just mix the paint; she wants to create the colors. She asked the audience if anyone was feeling hostile and offered a relaxation technique. She talked about being born premature and closed with a bit about “This Little Piggy Went to the Market.”
Next up, Allen asked Anthony and Aparna to the stage to field some questions. “Paul and Anna” were from 5th 3rd Presbyterian Church and said a prayer before asking a question about skateboarders. Tess Barker and Robert Buscemi asked the next question about gay marriage and Matt Peters asked about dogs digging holes in his yard.
Next, Allen welcomed Superintendent Brent Weinbach. Brent started his set by talking about how he doesn’t question the phone when it rings, he answers it. He did a dramatic reading from The Road by Cormac McCarthy and had an audience member read the fortune cookie he received with his meal at Panda Express. He had another volunteer come on stage and do a scene that took place in a library, and closed his set doing an accurate impression of one audience member crying.
Lastly, Allen told us that the votes had been counted and the winner was Moshe Kasher who would be the evening’s final performer. Moshe told us he felt like he should apologize for being another comedian. He talked about valet parking as a threat, fear of bombing, and name-tags as a way to build community. He asked an audience member named Morgan what her favorite part of the show was, to which Morgan replied, “this part.” Moshe told a story about simultaneously crying to Star Trek: The Next Generation and spooning jam into his mouth. He asked the audience member whom Weinbach had imitated crying, “Who cries to rap?” and then looked for a way out of his set, eventually deciding on just leaving.
That was the show. The three Marios got back on stage and thanked the giant cast of characters it took to pull the show off, as well as all the people who came out to watch. I also made a note that someone said, “Enjoy your penises and vaginas” but I’m not sure who said that.
You can follow all these performers on Twitter.
https://twitter.com/#!/ANTHD (Anthony DeVries)
https://twitter.com/#!/TotallyAllen (Allen Strickland Williams)