The second Monday in July rolled around, so it was time to hightail it down to the Largo at the Coronet for the Doug Benson Interruption. This go-round was greeted by a packed house; so packed that if the couple in line in front of me had agreed to sit separately, I wouldn’t have got in.
Doug Benson opened the show by asking how many people were coming for their first time (quite a few, maybe more than half) and set up the stage for the guests. He did only a few jokes up top including one about his trip to Universal CityWalk and a sock store called the New York Sock Market. He tried a couple of punny jokes on the woman working there, but admitted he took it too far with “If a person comes in and buys four pairs, does that make them a socktopuss?”
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Steve Agee came up first and actually half-stumbled over a music stand on the dark stage. He attributed his clumsiness partly to having had to get up at 5 that morning to have devil makeup done for an episode of “Sarah Silverman,” makeup that took hours to put on but the scene took less than a minute to shoot. This drew some faux sympathy from Doug and a comparison to what Tim Curry went through on “Legend.” Steve, I don’t think jokingly, said that it was the same makeup guy, which Doug felt made sense since that’s probably a significant niche.
Steve and Doug also talked about the proper conduct in the world of Twitter. Doug said that he had commented on a Shaq tweet that Shaq closed with “LOL.” Doug tweeted that “Shaq craqs himself up,” which drew what Doug called a “Shaqback”: “Because I’m funny. LOL LOL LOL.”
Steve said that a friend of his clearly jokingly tweeted, “How much Benadryl do you give a child to make them sleep on a car trip for 6 hours?” To which he responded, “All of it.” This drew an avalanche of critical tweets including one telling Steve not to tweet medical advice, even though “All of it” isn’t really a medical term.
Steve started to talk about going to friends’ homes that have edibles (I had no idea what this meant until about a half-minute later) and that he once ate 8 pot cookies in one sitting because he didn’t know they had pot in them. But before he could continue an astounded Doug pressed him about getting sick and if Steve threw up. This began a string of vomiting stories from Steve, who said he has only thrown up 4 times in his life, and the last time was more than two decades ago, something he is loath to state because he’s afraid that will inspire someone to try and make him nauseous. One of his episodes was when he was 14 and ate too much lasagna (Doug said that made sense since Steve is the Garfield of humans). He said that despite not throwing up a lot himself, he has many stories about vomiting, including one he shared about a friend who threw up on him twice on one car ride in Steve’s mother’s car (Doug said that Steve needed a helmet). I must applaud Steve’s comedy instincts for always using the Exorcist pea-soup projectile-vomiting rolling-thunder sound effect and never the bile-gag (never pleasant to hear).
Doug took a break to repair the equipment damaged by Steve’s gigantism and while he was fixing the mike stand he said he didn’t know what size to make it for the next one. This brought an almost simultaneous double-whispered “That’s what she said” from a blonde sitting right in front of me and from somewhere behind me.
Speaking of blondes, out next was Iliza Shlesinger, winner of “Last Comic Standing.” Being intro’d as such after already taking the stage brought her another round of applause, which Iliza greeted with a polite smile and a throat-slashing gesture. I don’t know if she had done the Interruption before, but right at the start she was standing to the side and a little bit behind Doug, who was seated at the piano, and she glanced at Doug a couple of times like she was wondering, Annnd start?
She did start by talking about how much her hip flexors hurt and that was a bad warning sign of impending old age. And this launched a back-and-forth between her and Doug about medical checkups. Iliza said she was prompted to get checked out because she saw a string of commercials in a row on breast cancer, which she took to be a sign. But when she went in she kept her bra on underneath her medical gown, and then the woman doctor only quickly drummed her fingers across Iliza’s chest, which surely couldn’t be a means to assess anything. So Iliza even offered to take off her bra if that would help. This prompted Doug to say that he does the same thing with his lady doctor only he has her check his balls. He even goes in wearing nothing but a gown. As always, it was the conversation that was producing the best moments and somehow the talk of medical visits and blood work and then AIDS led Doug to observe that Magic Johnson must be the fattest guy with AIDS ever, referencing Johnson’s commercial for that Indian casino.
Iliza also talked about her recent trip to Arizona and how ridiculously hot it is there. She said she met up with some friends and when it comes to drinking, she really only runs at 0 or 90, and had been having little blackout flashbacks pop into her head as to how she spent the weekend. One of her incidents included making out with a friend of hers whom she had known for 6 years. She described the guy as a god and out of her league. Doug said that having to wait 6 years didn’t sound like such a bad deal, in fact her friend sounded kind of easy.
Iliza also talked about having to go to New York to do a movie intro for DirecTV in which she introduces that Ali Larter and Beyonce movie. Doug also commented that it has that guy in it, and I could see everybody around me was thinking the same thing I was, “Oh, the guy. … From ‘The Wire’ and ‘The Office.’” But no one shouted out his name.
Next up was Dax Shepard, who walked up to the stage and draped either a shirt or sweatshirt over something on the stage while Doug was introducing him, and then went and stood a little off stage while Doug finished the intro with something like, “Are you going to step on stage now?”
Dax began with a callback to Iliza’s friend being “out of her league” and he was wondering just who that might be. “Apparently Iliza has been friends with Brad Pitt for the last 6 years.” Doug chalked it up to women having low self-esteem, which made Dax laugh and say that he had read Doug’s book on women.
Dax sort of semi-warned Doug that he really wanted to talk about Michael Jackson and he began by talking about how he was listening to the event unfold on CNN radio. Jermaine Jackson had been a guest on Larry King, and described to Larry what happened when he first heard about his brother’s collapse. Jermaine said that they were right across town so they went right over to Michael’s house. Larry asked him where he lives and Jermaine said Azusa. Dax said that he thinks that if you don’t live in L.A. and were listening to that interview that you might think that Azusa is an enclave in Beverly Hills, instead of being far away from Beverly Hills and not at all a place where rich people live.
Dax also shared a couple of stories he heard from some actor friends who had made trips to the Neverland Ranch, and rather than spoil his MJ anecdotes for anyone who gets a chance to hear them in the future, I am going to put the spotlight back on Mr. Benson.
Doug started to talk about working as a backup dancer on the Captain Eo short, which prompted Dax to listen while occasionally interjecting prompts of “Uh-huh” and “Yes” while waiting, like I was, for a punchline, but it never came.
Doug said that Francis Ford Coppola wildly went over budget while shooting the short, and so to save money they let the union dancers go, and brought in a bunch of extras that were just told to dance around. During breaks Michael would go over and sit with a young boy who would sit on his lap and giggle with Jackson. Doug said he knew, and I think implied that it was a shared sentiment on the set, that the behavior was too odd and disturbing to just be eccentric. So, I’m not sure, but I think Doug might be in Captain Eo.
Next up was killing machine Dana Gould. He came up kind of timidly while looking around for a place to put down what I think were notecards in his hands and was saying that since Dax and Doug had talked out Michael Jackson, he didn’t know what to talk about. So he picked up the mike:
“OH, YEAH. THANK FUCKING GOD FARRAH FAWCETT FINALLY FUCKING DIED. JESUS CHRIST IT TOOK HER FOREVER TO FINALLY SHIT THE BED.” (For Gould aficionados, he delivered this in his dad’s Boston-y voice.)
I was already in tears and the laughter was really loud so I think the exchange went like this:
“OH, YEAH. THANK FUCKING GOD FARRAH FAWCETT FINALLY FUCKING DIED. JESUS CHRIST IT TOOK HER FOREVER TO FINALLY SHIT THE BED.”
Doug: You seem really broken up.
Dana: No, I was into it. I even watched the TV special on her cancerous asshole.
Doug: Ryan O’Neal has a TV special?
That caused Dana to start laughing, and finally say, “I can’t top that.”
Dana talked about all the physical changes that Jackson went through and what his autopsy must have been like and when he pantomimed cutting open Jackson’s chest nothing but air came out. But Doug said, “What if there were one more hit in there? His final gift to the world.”
Dana also talked about the movie “Taken” with Liam Neeson as the killing machine father, a fantasy Dana thinks a lot of fathers must have. So while referencing his own kids, whose names I will leave out, Dana said in a Liam inpression, “I don’t have money, but I have a particular set of skills. If the older girl wants a yogurt pop, you cut it in half and give the other half to the younger girl. That way neither eats a full yogurt pop, and the younger one won’t get upset.” This drew a long “Awwwww” from the That’s-What-She-Said blonde.
Taking what is now known as The Elwood Slot in show business was Chris Hardwick, AST’s The Nerdlander (There Can Be Only One). And Mr. Hardwick did not disappoint on the tech and Harry Potter (and sperm) references.
Hardwick is now host of “Web Soup” and said that one week his show was slipped into “The Soup’s” normal air times and that brought him a flood of negative tweets, including one that began “Hey, Dumbass!” He said that he normally doesn’t respond to such messages, and when he did he only got back a tweet saying, “With only 140 characters there’s no room to be polite.” To which Chris pointed out that not writing “Hey, Dumbass!” would have been more polite, taken less characters and used less space, since the less you put into something the more space is left over.
Chris also talked about what he called Hogwarts Snaps, in which people wrote Your Mama-type jokes on Twitter with Harry Potter references. His was something like, “So-and-so’s lady part is so hairy not even Hagrid would game-keep it.” I’m sorry to butcher that joke, but I think the key is the Hagrid part. I am proud that I got another tweet that Chris quoted, “Your mama is so fat, her petronus is a cake.”
All of this inspired Doug to try and come up with one, and he encouraged Chris to keep talking while he thought one up. Then broke in with a line about Your mama’s lady part is so bad not even a Dementor would hit it (not verbatim). So Chris exploded in faux nerd rage and let loose with a hyperventilating rant about the effect that a Dementor would have on the tissue of exposed genitalia.
Later on, Chris said something about his mother, to which Doug responded, “She’s a nice person.” So that prompted Chris to say to the back of the room that he was going to have Doug repeat what he just said, then the lights should be completely dimmed, and Chris would deliver a closing line. And it went something like this:
Doug: She’s a nice person.
(Lights go down.)
Chris: She is Doug; she is. (But halfway through that the lights came back on in full, Chris made a Hmm? face and then the lights went completely dark again.)
Next Interruption is in September.