Serious Stuff

Whitey and War

Photo by James BunoanCool LA comics like to come down to Satan's stronghold—The Irvine Spectrum—and make fun of Orange County. (The one that warmed my heart most was Dave Chapelle, the star of many movies about the weed, humming the theme from The Smurfs to better capture the ethos of our little white hamlet.) And the people at The Irvine Improv eat it up. "Ho, ho!" you can hear them howling in glee. "We suck!"

But you know what's even better? When the audience doesn't know it's being roasted! Hasn't even the glimmer of a clue! When it falls into its own smug assumptions about, oh, morality and truth and justice—you know: all the shiny abstracts a comedian typically talks about in his act!

What, no dick jokes?

No, Christopher Titus had no dick jokes last weekend. The star of the hilarious (and thus canceled) Fox sitcom about growing up with an alcoholic father and mentally ill mother (Fox would program the Scott Peterson Fishing Hour if it thought it would get ratings, Titus said) expounded instead on just one basic theme: how white people are dicks, and we should apologize. Hey, black people? Christopher Titus is Whitey, and he apologizes. He doesn't know what he was thinking when he decided to enslave you. And, Native Americans, you know those smallpox blankets he gave you? He's sorry he did that, too. Conquest of the Aztecs? Destruction of the people of Hispaniola? All of it. While the five people closest to the stage smiled tight little grimaces (I swear, one older blonde only actually smiled at the words, "We got rid of all the Mexicans"), Titus moved on to Japan, with the internment camps and the A-bomb. "Aw, fuck it," he said. "You guys threw the first punch on that one!" And then, like a guy who has been dragged to couples counseling, he threw up his hands. "But I overreacted, and I'm sorry!"

The most brilliant part of Titus' act, though, came after he'd been smearing clear Lefty beliefs all over the audience using Lefty code words like LAPDand Florida. (He'd tried to vote, he said, but he was in Florida, and his hair was parted on the wrong side. Hey, rules is rules!) Using as his pro-war qualifications only a quick remark that three months after Sept. 11, it felt good to be over in Afghanistan kicking some ass, he said that in the Middle East, we're acting like the captain of the wrestling team slamming geeks into lockers. And as he demanded, "What are you looking at, Syria? Jordan, when you talk to me, you look at your shoes!" the people went nuts, hooting and shouting and applauding and rioting at their cocktail tables. I don't think one of them realized "captain of the wrestling team" wasn't a compliment. Then he told the story of how his mother killed her last husband. It was hilarious. The blond lady still only laughed at the part about the Mexicans.

There were millions of Mexicans and not one single little Newport snob at Detroit on Thursday, May 8, for Cinco de Mau. Instead, the Fullerton punks from the Linda's Doll Hut days took over the Costa Mesa club, but very respectfully and without breaking anything or vomiting. Since none of them had been there since the Memphis Mafia bought out the sodden old Club Mesa, they were all very impressed that the floor no longer sticks to one's face.

Fabulous celebrities such as G. Charles and Sandy from Trucker Up (whose rendition of "Jackson" alone is worth the price of a Trucker Up show—and it's "Jackson" alone that's worth that price) chatted in a corner with such peeps as Pooka and Pauly the Bookman and that guy from the Tiki Tones and Gary "Veronica" Gomez, who was birthday-fying. Big Sandy was there, too, looking considerably less.

The seven or eight guys in Los Super Elegantes—wearing fabulous red Ricky Martin shirts—Latin-funked it through all kinds of funky Latin goodness along with their hit, "Spider-Man" done cumbia-style, which the drummer sang a bit tunelessly. Yay! Why these guys are still making your dinner at Memphis instead of getting Latin Grammy nominations along with Kinky, I have no idea at all. Not even the glimmer of a clue. And where has Ricky Martin been, anyway?

The Busstop Hurricanes, as usual, were utterly loungalicious, with sour Twisty Lemons doing her usual guitar goddess laced with her usual dazzling ennui.

The new band for Brian from Save Ferris did a version of The Police's "Next to You"from Outlandos d'Amour that sounded suspiciously like Dave Wakeling doing "I Confess." It was real poppy.

Commie Mom and I headed up to Santa Monica's Ocean Park for the Code Pink Mother's Dayextravaganza for peace. It wasn't nearly as much fun as when Commie Mom wouldn't let me get arrested at the Nevada Test Site Mother's Day protests when I was 15. Back then, we just helped pick up all the cool, arrested people in their zip-tie handcuffs from the police station. I sulked all day.
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