1: Shall We Begin?

Photo by Jack Gould[Cue orchestra. Open on spectacular sunset at Laguna Beach. Cut to kids hugging Mickey Mouse at Disneyland. Cut to closeup of kid's face lit up by the glow of pyrotechnics at Huntington Beach's Fourth of July celebration. Pull back to reveal that the child is standing near a couch set on fire by skinheads. Cut to limousines arriving before a red carpet. Its doors swing open to reveal people in formalwear walking into a hall amidst flashing cameras and screaming fans.]

ANNOUNCER: And now, LIVE, from the El Pulmones Negro Room of the Philip Morris SmokerDome, located deep in the heart of the Aliso Viejo badlands, it's the fifth annual OC Weekly Best of Orange County Awards and Good Time Country Smile Factory! Starring . . . OC Weekly editor Will SWAIM . . . a bunch of other people you don't know . . . and Anthony Pignataro!

[Crowd rises in applause.]

ANNOUNCER: With special guest performances by U2 (scheduled to appear), Aretha Franklin (scheduled to appear), The Vienna Boys Choir (scheduled to appear), Joey Bishop (scheduled to appear), Whiff the Odorous Pooch (scheduled to appear), the original cast of Oedipus Rex (scheduled to appear), the chick who killed Vince Foster (scheduled to appear), The Vienna Sausage Choir (scheduled to appear—which, and we can't stress this enough, has nothing to do with the Vienna Boys Choir, which is a centuries-old musical group that raises the human spirit, whereas the VSC are . . . well . . . it has something to do with casings and filling, but really not in any way that bears repeating . . . and, oh, there's a Welshman involved —also scheduled to appear).

[Camera pans the audience with shots of Ernest Borgnine, Tiger Woods and that really annoying little girl from the Pepsi commercials.]

ANNOUNCER: But first, our master of ceremonies, the Host Who'd Rather be Reading Proust, that big-haired fly in the ointment himself—ladies and gentlemen, commence to slapping yourselves about the palms and thighs for OC Weekly editor Will SWAIM!

[Applause, audience shots of Red Buttons, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Alan Thicke. SWAIM appears in a tuxedo and a headband, accompanied by a dozen dancers in martial-arts clothing. SWAIM and the dancers go through numerous martial-arts poses and tricks as the orchestra begins playing the tune to "Everyone Was Kung Fu Fighting." SWAIM begins to sing.]

SWAIM: Everyone loves Orange County

Where we shave the tops off mounties

The water flows down and makes brown seas

And no one voted for Muskie

We got a Magic Kingdom land

And we turn out tinny pop bands

A museum made of wax

It's Leisure World, that's a fact

We got no seals in Seal Beach

And the best property's out of reach

But TBN sure is glitzy

Paul is scary, and Jan is ditzy

We got a cathedral made of crystal

And make lots of hair-trigger pistols

Don't get caught naked with an ouncey

They'll take you to jail, and the inmates will pouncey.

[Dance sequence. Dancers and SWAIM break boards with their hands and big blocks of ice with their heads.]

SWAIM: Where else but Orange County?

The girls are slightly flouncy

This ain't no Silicon Valley

Just check out my big-busted Sally

We got a Knott's Berry Ghost Town

Pretty soon that'll be most towns

And everyone who's laughin'

I'd refer you, sir, to Stanton

We got Spitzer, who is hunky

And Silva, who's a monkey

And the politicians' kids are junkies

But they still dance pretty funky

And, yeah, I live with mama

In a condo in La Palma


[Song end.]

SWAIM [perspiring, out of breath]: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you very much. Woo! Hey, give it up for the Robert SCHULLER Fists of Fury Dancers! Aren't they great?

[Dancers run back onstage, bowing and executing intricate scissors kicks.]

SWAIM: C'mon out here, Bob!

[The Reverend Robert SCHULLER appears onstage doing a series of back flips culminating in a triple flip and then sticks the landing in perfect karate pose.]

SWAIM: Bob SCHULLER, ladies and gentlemen!




SWAIM: Thanks, Bob.

SCHULLER: I'm serious.

SWAIM: Okay.

SCHULLER: Serious as a heart attack!

SWAIM: All right.

SCHULLER: Serious as a Big Mac!

SWAIM: All right.

SCHULLER: Serious as Rat-a-Tat-Tat!


[SCHULLER back-flips his way offstage.]

SWAIM: It's like New Year's at the Brens' place all over again. . . . Well, welcome, welcome all to yet another OC Weekly Best of OC Awards here in the beautiful badlands of Aliso Viejo. You know, people said we were crazy for holding the show here, what with the mysterious cattle mutilations and such. But the way I look at it, those cows were probably asking for it. And anyway, the folks down here have just been great, very hospitable, seems like it's just one barbecue after another.

But enough of this touchy-feely stuff. Let's get to awarding . . . Which one am I reading off . . . Davey? Davey? Dave Soucheck, our director, ladies and gentlemen.

DAVE SOUCHECK [over speaker]: It's the one with the words on it.

SWAIM: Right. You know, folks, I'll never forget my first day at the Weekly. I was younger then, with a few less gray hairs up here and a few more bumps down . . . Well, anyway, I'll never forget walking into our new offices that day, seeing many of the faces that are looking back at me now from the audience and some that have since gone on to other things, the sons of bitches. I remember being overwhelmed by a good feeling that day, a great feeling, a feeling so great I was moved to go into my office and immediately scribble down what I was feeling. And what I wrote was: "I can't believe I passed the drug test."

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