tmz_tour

As part of this year’s Videogum Oscar Pool, Kelly and I made a side bet wherein the loser had to suffer not only the indignity of making a poor guess about who would win Best Sound Editing, but also to suffer some further humiliation. Had Kelly lost, you’d now be reading about her experience riding the New York Movie and TV Sites Tour, which frankly doesn’t even sound that bad, and I’ll have you know that Kelly played a big hand in determining the rules of the bet. She cut herself a pretty sweet deal if you ask me. But she didn’t lose. She won. Congratulations, Kelly, on the last thing you did before you were fired! What a wonderful victory for you. Anyway, being an honorable gentleman, I fulfilled my end of the bargain this week, which was to ride the TMZ Tour of Hollywood. Before we begin, I would like you to think of the words “TMZ Tour of Hollywood,” and picture whatever nightmare that brings to mind. Now I want you to double it. Good. Now triple that. OK. You’re starting to almost have the beginnings of an idea of the actual experience but not even close! Just the worst thing. Deep breaths. We’re OK. They can’t hurt us anymore. It’s over. But let us review herstory lest anyone be doomed to pay $50 to repeat it.

If New York is constantly tearing down and rebuilding itself in an endless cycle of renewal and innovation, Los Angeles simply changes the name on the marquee. There are ways in which this is very charming: old diners with canted ceilings and endless formica bars that have never been renovated, steak houses that feel like the wood paneled sets of an 8mm full-bush porno. But where New York is difficult and unforgiving, Los Angeles is difficult and all too forgiving. When someone’s New York dreams are crushed under heel, they simply move back in with their parents, or go to law school. When someone’s Los Angeles dreams are destroyed, no one actually bothers to tell them. They just continue to sous vide themselves in the sun and wait for the pre-paid phone to ring. I’m sure this is an overly simplistic generalization about the differences between two cities that don’t even need comparing in the first place because they really are two different places entirely and the only people who have the time or interest in drawing parallels are hack comedians, but it really does seem like there’s much less EVIDENCE in New York of that city’s ravaging effects. In Los Angeles, there’s nothing BUT evidence. It’s in every tucked lip and poison-flattened brow. And that’s all of the lips and brows. But, so, let’s tour it.

The TMZ Hollywood Tour, which from now on we will just refer to as The Nightmare, picks you up and drops you off in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater in the heart of Hollywood. The movie playing at Grauman’s right now is Good Deeds, which is hilarious to me. It’s about a guy named Deeds who is too good! What a sacred temple for the art and glamour of movies! Good Deeds. Haha. The place is packed with tourists taking photos of celebrity hand and footprints in the cement, and/or getting their picture taken with someone wearing an elaborate costume. For example, there is a dude dressed up as Johnny Depp from Tim Burton’s remake of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. This is obviously a weird and intense choice considering that the movie came out seven years ago and wasn’t even that popular, I don’t think, but what’s even weirder is when I realize there are actually TWO dudes dressed up as Johnny Depp from Tim Burton’s remake of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. What’s the matter costume shop? All out of the Gene Wilder Willy Wonka?

The overall vibe of Grauman’s Chinese Theater, if you have not been there, is of a shopping mall food court where people love having their picture taken.

The Starlines bus kiosk is tucked away in a corner, and as I’m waiting in line to confirm my reservation, I realize that I’m standing on Warren Beatty’s cement prints. Aww. Poor guy. Certainly on that heady day when he was being permanently etched into Hollywood History he didn’t imagine that what had seemed so exciting and important and such a symbol of success would mostly just be the place where people impatiently tapped their feet, caught in yet another line in a seemingly endless procession of lines. And then you die.

When I get to the front they print out an actual bus ticket. On paper! You hand the ticket to someone as you board the bus! How charming! But first, a man who looks more tired than anyone I have ever seen in my entire life leads our procession from the kiosk around the corner past Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum to a parking curve where the various tour buses wait, and then he leaves us in the capable hands of our driver, Enrique. That’s a whole job? To just cattle drive some tourist’s half a block? What’s he so tired from then? Oh, right. LIFE. As we board our bus, we are introduced to our guide. Well, not so much introduced to as talked at by. He quickly jumps into his crowd work, and I will say this about the Nightmare’s guide: he knows how to do his job. Oh, the tour is the worst thing ever, and the guide plays a key role in that awfulness, but he was KILLING. The rest of the people on the bus LOVED IT. So, fair enough. Know your audience. And make fun of where they live. Apparently, our guide is on the actual TMZ show from time to time. Neat. He asked people on the bus if they recognized him. Two did. This is a fun game. Just to put that into perspective, though: the dude makes on camera appearances on the TMZ show and he STILL has to hustle down to the garbage dump of Hollywood to HOST a bus tour. Can you even imagine? No. You cannot imagine. There are depths of courage and stamina in the human experience that you did not even know were possible. Some people cut off their own arm, others do this. (More than once, our guide will make self-deprecating jokes about how terrible his life is, which will seem about right, but then he will also brag about how Diddy recognized him one time. He’s a little all over the map. Everyone loves it.)

If you’re familiar with the geography of the city, then you will be real impressed by the fascinating route the Nightmare takes. When I was telling a friend about the tour afterwards, they asked if we had just gone around looking at celebrities’ homes. UH, I WISH. For one thing, I bet celebrities have nice homes! And for another thing, at least then we would have been tucked away on curving, sun-dappled side streets where people couldn’t openly stare right into our eyes with full-bore loathing in their faces that screamed ‘WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU ON THAT HORRIBLE BUS’ as loudly as the bus screamed back “DID YOU KNOW THAT ONE TIME JOSH HARTNETT CALLED 911 BECAUSE HE HAD DIARRHEA?”‘ (Actual factoid from the Official TMZ Hollywood Bus Tour! Fun Tour!) Admittedly, the people on the bus deserve a taste of their own medicine, but for those of us who lost bets it was uncomfortable, and I’m sure no one else even noticed because they all were too busy keeping their eyes peeled for if Selena Gomez stumbled drunk out of a Pinkberry.

The bus comes equipped with video screens to show video packages that the guide would throw to, prepared in the style of the TMZ television show. Have you ever watched that show? This is what that show sounds like:

OH YEAH! OH YEAH! Now imagine that narrator dude’s voice played at MAXIMUM VOLUME, sometimes SINGING, in an open-aired bus for all the world to hear. It’s torture. Straight up Emmy Award winning Homeland torture. UP THERE IS THE SOHO HOUSE, NOW WHAT IS ABU NAZIR PLANNING?! This video also illustrates one of the most horrifying aspects of the whole horrifying ordeal. When you board the bus, they explain that while other Hollywood tours might afford you a celebrity sighting (of someone walking down the street or eating brunch!) the TMZ tour is “better” because if you spot a celebrity on the TMZ tour they STOP THE BUS, and make you GET OFF THE BUS, and FILM YOU “INTERVIEWING” THE CELEBRITY, and you GET A T-SHIRT. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! On our tour, the guide himself spotted Kat Williams, but that didn’t really count because no one on the bus knew who he was and I certainly wasn’t going to say anything. First they DIDN’T come for Kat Williams and I said nothing.

Later, we we saw Perez Hilton, but that’s later.

Speaking of nobodies, the guide finds out that one group on the tour is from Shreveport, Louisiana, which he says is very exciting not only because he is also from Louisiana, but because Jared Leto is from Shreveport. Crickets. Jared Leto? No one knows who Jared Leto is. This is the highlight of the entire tour.

But, so, the Nightmare’s route: you drive down Sunset until it hits Doheny, then you turn onto Santa Monica, take that to Rodeo Drive, turn around at Wilshire and eventually wind your way back up Melrose until you’re home. (Home is Grauman’s, of course. Because that is where you live and feel the most comfortable.) If you’re not familiar with the streets I’m talking about, the best way I can think of to describe the depressing lameness of this route is to pretend you drove down a busy strip of car dealerships and Arby’s restaurants, drove over someone’s lawn, made a detour through a strip mall, and then got dropped off in hell. All while someone on a headset microphone pretended like the tire fires and AIDS piles you were looking at were the Taj Mafuckinghal.There is a sinking feeling in my stomach as we keep driving further and further west because I know that the further out we go means we’ll have to spend at least that much time coming back. No one told me how long this tour actually was before it started, but it turns out it’s forever hours.

Within the first 10 minutes of the tour, we are instructed to look at TWO different strip clubs! Here are some of the other incredible National Monuments that we saw on the tour:

-The fried chicken restaurant where Brad Pitt used to work
-The hotel where Verne Troyer made his sex tape
-The corner where Hugh Grant picked up a prostitute
-A Guitar Center
-The liquor store where Halle Berry crashed her car into a liquor store
-The hair salon where the “Rachel” was invented
-A police station

This is an actual note written in my notebook during the tour: “people take photos of the police station.” What are those people going to do with a photo taken of the outside of a police station? Are they going to look at those photos ever again? God forbid, are they going to show those photos to other people? But of course these questions are simply distractions from The One True Question: the fuck are these people doing on the TMZ Tour in the first place? Did they all lose their Oscar Pools? To each his own, but maybe not so much.

The bus stops again for another photo opportunity: a parked Bugatti Veyron. The guide tells us, “that’s a $1.2 million dollar car, you should definitely take a picture of it.” People take a picture of it. So many cherished memories!

He points out the Prada store. He tells people how much commercial property rents are. We are officially on a tour of a shopping mall at this point. I text Kelly that she can go fuck herself.

When we pass by Canter’s Deli on Fairfax, the guide makes a comment about Jews and my ears perk up. HERE WE GO! Then a video package begins with the quote, “Do you love Jews?” Oh brother. It points out that the deli is a famous hang out for “people like Larry David and Sarah Silverman.” Eek. I mean, asking if you love Jews is about the same as asking if you hate Jews. Especially when you’re just pointing out where they “all” are. This would be a shocking moment under any circumstance, but it doesn’t help when you are riding in what is basically a Safari vehicle. It turns out the Shreveport group are all school teachers traveling together, along with the school’s principal. And guess what: they love the Jew stuff! America #1.

So, then we see Perez Hilton. “We” notice him because someone is being filmed for something at an outdoor cafe, which draws “our” attention, and then it turns out that person is Perez Hilton. The guide encourages everyone to yell “Hey Perez!” at him. This is a terrible thing to do to a human being. To just get a bus full of people to YELL at them. Even if the person is awful. But this is when it gets hilarious: the guide puts his hand over his headset microphone as if he’s about to let us in on a secret, and explains that we can’t actually get off the bus and film an interview with Perez Hilton and win all the t-shirts because Perez Hilton is “the competition.” Would that he could, guys, wink wink, so sorry, you know how it is in the gossip blog bizz. Hahahhaha. OH NOOOOOOO! Worst. Tour. Ever. Let’s. All. Kill. Ourselves.

The guide tells us that we’re all “part of the TMZ family now.” Everyone applauds!

In a weird way, the TMZ tour IS the perfect tour of Hollywood because it’s so contemporary in its cruelty and sadness. America has long had a fascination with celebrity, but it has taken some kind of strange, sad turn in recent years. It’s been said that celebrities are American royalty, but if that’s true we sure FUCKING HATE our royalty. We want to see them sex each other’s spouses to death and then get carted off in handcuffs. We want to literally watch them eat each other if possible. And if you see one, SCREAM AT IT. You might win a t-shirt! So, yes, if you’re going to take a tour of this cum-stained Disaster Factory, you might as well do it with a shrieking, atonal video package and a guide who can’t stop talking about the ways in which his reality is not quite matching up to his dreams. (He tells us he has an MFA. It turns out being a TMZ Tour Guide wasn’t Plan A. Who knew?!)

The bus pulls over so everyone can take a picture of the Hollywood sign. Sure. I don’t understand the compulsion to take photos of monuments that have been photographed thousands of times before by better photographers with nicer cameras than you, but it certainly is a thing that people do. Here is the view of the Hollywood sign that we stopped for:

Perfect. Fuck you, Ansel Adams.

As the tour is slowly winding down, the guide’s voice changes. “I know we’re having fun,” he says. (YEAH!) “And I don’t want to end on a down note,” he says. (UH OH!) “But I do need to talk about the death of MIchael Jackson.” (GUHH! DO YOU? DO YOU NEED TO?) “You see,” he says, “TMZ actually broke that story. So it’s very important to us.” Oh fuck me. I’m sure the guide hates this part, but that doesn’t keep him from doing it. It also seems worth pointing out that we were not near Michael Jackson’s home, or Doctor Conrad Murray’s office, or a hospital or even a morgue. We were just at an intersection. A moment of silence descends upon the bus. R.I.P. Michael Jackson. You were a golden bird that flew too close to the BING BONG FART NOISE.

The silence is broken when the guide explains that a human head was recently found in Griffith Park underneath the Hollywood sign and that someone took a picture of the head and tried to sell it to TMZ, but TMZ wouldn’t buy it, because the head didn’t belong to anybody famous. “That’s just the latest news about the Hollywood sign for you guys,” he says. For real. Not joking. Thank you?

Finally, after a few more jabs at how DUMB celebrities are–(Example: we pass a hot dog stand that is connected to a secret nightclub, and the guide explains that we should all try to get in to the nightclub if we can because Jaleel White hangs out there, and then he literally says, “I’m being sarcastic.”) (It’s a very complicated Super Bowl Half-Time Show Tight Rope Crotch Dance that this tour does, because it is so sarcastic and cynical about celebrities and their personal problems, and yet all anyone wants is to just SEE one. The guide himself, as previously mentioned, takes regular breaks from ripping everyone to shreds to speak in breathless tones about the time he saw Harrison Ford getting gas, or the time he met Cee-Lo Green at a Chick-Fil-A. The guide clearly has aspirations towards acting and/or stand up comedy and/or ANY KIND OF FAME JUST GIMME THAT SWEET FAME. What a mess we are all in with this stuff. Maybe we should all start going to group therapy together?)–the bus pulls back into the circular parking lot behind Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. The guide throws to one last video package which is Harvey Levin himself, Mr. Piece of Shit, explaining that while the guide is too humble and nice to ask this himself, tips are appreciated. Well, of course they are. It’s called showBUSINESS.

I give him five dollars. I run to my car. I need a shower.

Comments (121)
  1. in New York, shady, evil people put on suits and ties, get on a train or a bus, and then sit around conference tables figuring out how to trick people into spending their money. this happens on wall street and on Madison avenue.

    in Los Angeles, shady, evil people put on crocs and ridiculous t-shirts, get a license to drive a bus, and then figure out how to trick people into spending their money.

  2. You saw Perez Hilton!?!?! OMG!!!!>!

  3. I was in L.A. with a friend who’d never been there before, and in Hollywood he said, “OK, now take me to the Hollywood Walk Of Stars.” -So I pointed down to the star he was LITERALLY standing on at the time. He was a little disappointed.

    • My grandpa really wanted to see Hollywood and Vine because that’s where “the magic happens.” So I took him and we stopped at the intersection. He looked around and said, “Well this is a big nothing.”

      Then we drove around looking at mansions in Bel Aire and made fun of the obscene wealth.

      My grandpa was the best.

      • I just noticed today that there is a Starbucks “Coming soon!” to that intersection. So that’s something, I guess. (not something)

      • When I first moved to LA 10+ years ago, I lived in Venice and drove all the way to Hollywood & Vine to see “the magic.” But the magic was made of bullet casings and crack vials — both of which were under my feet. I got back in my car before it could get stolen, and for years I didn’t go to Hollywood again unless I had to.

        Except now I live 2 blocks from Hollywood & Vine, and it’s nice. My 2nd-favorite beer place is there (ALL pints are $3, even Guinness), plus excellent cheeseburgers, a farmer’s market with good tamales — and some of the worst places have burned down or become a W Hotel. So it has improved! And my rent is low, so I can afford better scotch.

        Anyway Gabe, you’re in LA. Huzzah! I will buy you a drink, if you want one. Or if not, a T-shirt. There is a place near me that sells them 3 for $10.

        • The Frolic Room? Isn’t the rest of that area owned by the Scientologists?

          • The Frolic Room is important in my personal mythology, but no. The $3 pints place is called Dillon’s and is only 2 years old (or 3? It opened when Avatar came out and my first time there was the day I planned to do two terrible things: see Avatar and try this new bar. Except I ended up enjoying both? In about the same way?)

          • Dillon’s is pretty sweet. OMG, if you buy Gabe t-shirts, make sure they’re extra small so he can show off his gunzzzzz.

        • Dude, I also live two blocks from Hollywood and Vine, and also frequent Dillon’s ($3 pints), the farmer’s market, and various burger joints. Are you stalking me?? ;)

          (and yes, the neighboorhood has vastly improved, yet rent is still cheap – we win!)

          • High five!

            I hope you aren’t my crazy neighbor who was screaming in the hallway last night.

          • I really miss the tamales at that Farmer’s Market..

            The Frolic Room might have been the first bar I went to in Hollywood… or the Burgandy Room?

          • No comment on the screaming in the hallway.

            Also, @badideajeans the Frolic Room is alive and well – still one of the dive-iest dive bars in town.

          • Yeah, Frolic Room has not changed since 1998 at least. Burgundy might be gone? Badidea, come to Hollywood, you & me & wi_ngo will tour the hell out of it.

    • Yeah, it’s tough when people come to visit and they want to see Hollywood, because it’s always a letdown. Hollywood is a pain in the ass to get to, and it smells like bum pee. There are parts of LA that are awesome, but Hollywood is not among them.

      • Serious, non-snide question- where are the awesome parts?

        • Griffith Park, near where the aforementioned severed head was found, is actually pretty great.

        • The West Side is the best side (Santa Monica/Venice). People are generally more laid back and less concerned with image and the entertainment industry. The air quality is better, the weather is unbeatable (so far this year I have only had to shut my windows three times), no A/C or heat needed. I’ve heard nice things about other neighborhoods, but I don’t like to leave mine so I can’t personally vouch for them.

          • That is a goddamn lie. EASTSIDE4EVA.

          • “I’ve heard nice things about other neighborhoods, but I don’t like to leave mine so I can’t personally vouch for them.” = HAHAHA! This sums up everything that is WRONG with the West Side!

            “You want me to cross Sepulveda? Uh… that’s too far.”

          • HIGH FIVE!!

          • Apologies to badideajeans & hotspur, I didn’t mean to slag off your neighborhoods. I’m a big fan of LA in general. I think it’s easy to avoid the bad aspects of our city and find your own niche if that’s what you want to do. My happy place is the West Side, but I’m sure you live in great areas, too. We gotta stick together.

        • Pasadena. Or pretty much all of the west San Gabriel Valley. In other words, outside the city limits.

        • As someone who lives in Hollywood and would like to be able to show off parts of it to family members who visit me, which parts are actually good to show off to other people?

          • I tend to tailor the tour to the specific visitor — some friends could care less about Graumann’s; others are all “Whoa, a wax museum!” But everyone likes the Getty. Especially on a clear day (good views). If it’s a clear night, think about Griffith Observatory — they point the big telescope at stuff. I got to see Saturn’s rings once. If you have someone who wants a hike, there’s lots of trails in Griffith, and Runyon is okay. If your people eat: read Jonathan Gold (formerly at LA Weekly, now at LA Times), he’s a music writer who became a food critic and you can learn a lot about LA in general from his columns. A staple of my “welcome to LA, visitor” tour is a trip up the PCH for lunch at Neptune’s Net. If you like fried seafood, beer, and oceans, BOOM. Generally, whatever pie-in-the-sky thing your visitors want, LA has it, so just ask them; I have guests this weekend and they want to see the Lakers, horse racing, eat Tibetan food and do a wine tasting. All do-able.

          • 100 percent with Hotspur on this.

            My dad and I did Grauman’s and had the most enthusiastic tour guide in the entire world. He made Kenneth Parcell look like an angry stoner on a couch. We still make fun of him, actually, and I think we did the tour in 2006? But I learned that Grauman’s is air conditioned with water that circulates through the walls, which is super neat.

            The WB tour is really fun too, but I honestly love looking at warehouses of cataloged old set decorations — plus we got to walk into Richard and Emily’s house on Gilmore Girls.

            Otherwise I do Griffith Park, Runyon Canyon, Vermont and Hillhurst for window shopping, Alcove, Orochon Ramen vegetarian miso #3 (the post apocalyptic mall it’s in is awesome and worth checking out beyond the delicious ramen noodles it provides) and The Grove if friends/relatives are hell-bent on celebrity spotting and I need to run errands. Though really, Mayfair on Bronson and Franklin is the #1 place I’d see big names. Yes, I literally take people to a grocery store (but also since at some point we would need to get food, wine or other things). Oh and sometimes we’d go to the beach but I’d make people only look at it from afar because I worked in the news for a long LONG time and have reported on that filthy water more times than anyone should know. Oh! and I have a really really good mansion hike that meanders through the Los Feliz hills and I have a ton of books on the architectural significance and/or cultural history of the mansions so it’s fun and educational, pending on who I’m hanging out with.

          • Heh. The Mayfair badidea mentions is a Gelsons now, but I’m sure it still gets the occasional celeb who needs ketchup and flatbread crackers on a Wednesday night.

        • Much of the east side is great – Griffith Park, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Eagle Rock – city life with trees and personal space.

          Parts of downtown are really cool – little tokyo, k-town, olvera street etc.

          Even some of the west side is ok, too – santa monica and venice have great parts with lots of art, food, etc. el segundo, play del rey, and westchester are great if you like the beach but don’t like the south bay and don’t have a ton of money.

          LA has pockets of awesomeness. You just have to have a car to find them.

        • I take people on a world tour when they come visit. We go to Little Tokyo for German sausages followed by karaoke, we get bi bim bop in K-town, we go to this amazing burrito place in East LA, we go to little India, we get ramen in little Osaka, go to Flame for Persian food in Westwood and finish in Little Ethiopia on the way to LAX.

  4. I’m still waiting for an answer to the Jew question…

  5. i’ve always wanted to see the parking lot where Lindsay Lohan lost her innocence and drunkenly chased down a car with an 8 ball of coke in her pockets.

  6. Thank you, Kelly.

  7. I am totally going to do this when I get back. That sounds fucking incredible. HOLLYWOOD!!!!!!!!

    • I will stand outside Jumbo’s. You can spot me, claim I am a celebrity (I’ll wear sunglasses), and make the bus stop.

      • You make me sad we can’t be friends in real life because we would have been neighbors if I had never moved away.

      • True story: When I was a reporter at CBS, my boss suggested I do what Gabe did since I had just moved there from Wisconsin and they thought it would be funny as I am rather surly, but I still got a little kick out of seeing random actors at the grocery store. But my friends did the tour in that weird tiki bus w/out a roof that parks on Hollywood in Los Feliz (around Jimbo’s, acutally) and said they were stuck in traffic for two or three hours, breathing exhaust fumes and it was absolutely horrifying. Plus they got crazy sunburned. So I said no. Later, my friend and I took the 1947 tour — where they chronicle all the murders that happened after WWII? But it was sooo awkward because it was basically the NPR crowd in a bus going through Hollywood, Los Feliz, Silverlake… then it goes down to Compton and South L.A. So while the Black Dahlia stuff (maybe the focus of the tour or at least the main murder?) kept the very white, very NPR types in areas they might be touring for whatever reason they’d be touring (Craftsman houses?), it was sooo awkward and horrifying when this guy is pointing out where kids got shot and killed in 1947… especially as I had probably reported the same kind of incident earlier in the week on the same block (which actually happened three times during the tour). I don’t even think Compton and Inglewood and Bell Gardens are all that bad, but holy shit was it fucked up to be on a luxury travel bus (it said this on the side of that bus) with a ton of of upper middle class white liberals and an overenthusiastic tour guide pointing at yards where people were just going on with their day as if they were the goddamn attraction.

        I guess I should have done what Gabe did. I can’t even believe I’m saying this, but pointing out Perez Hilton is not the worst pointing out of something I have witnessed in regards to an L.A. bus tour.

        • For a while there was actually a thing called the ‘LA Gang Tour’ or something. Not sure if that still goes down.

          • Oh that was definitely there when I did the murder tour because my friend kept telling me “at least I didn’t make you go on the gang tour” when I was complaining about how I felt like such a shitty person for being on that bus.

  8. Did you have to ask one of the Johnny Depp Willy Wonkas to take that photo of you outside the bus?

  9. Me, while reading this: “ugh…ugh…gross…ugh…oh! the ‘Rachel’! that’s cool…”

    …i’m gonna go stab myself in the face now.

    • I felt the same way when Guitar Center was mentioned: “Guitar Center?! That’s probably on Sunset, across the street from Meltdown Comics! I was buying comics there yesterday! SQUEEEEEE- *stab* *stab* *stab*”

      • I LIVE BY THAT GUITAR CENTER. Well, a few blocks away from that Guitar Center, and also Meltdown, where I would go to all the comedy shows if they didn’t make me pay for them, and probably should go to anyway. If I do, Kumail Nanjiani might talk to me one day! That would be the best.

        • $8 for NerdMelt is a pretty good deal. That’s the price of a fast food combo. People burn through $8 without blinking twice.

          • This is true — I pick very weird things to be cheap about. If I was being fiscally responsible, I would live inside an elaborate series of milk crates and dress in wet paper towels, though, so I might as well see more comedy/find and personally heckle Moshe Kasher for that time he didn’t respond to my OK Cupid message.

  10. This is imbued with the same kind of sadness and torment that comes with taking a road trip in a car with no AC and vinyl seats with someone you hate in August during a record breaking heatwave, on a two lane highway behind one of those huge trucks carrying cattle that you are unable to pass, and you have to pee but there is no restroom in sight and you can’t just pull over because a) the person you hate will be an ass about it, and b) what if you pee on your pants? that would be awkward and embarrassing and gross. So you sit on the hot sticky vinyl on an endless road under the weight of an unforgiving sun, needing to pee and hoping for death.

    Only worse.

    Gabe, you got hosed.

  11. We were having dinner in LA a long time ago when In walked Sylvester Stallone. We pointed him out to the kids but they had no idea who he was. “You know, Rocky?” Nothin’. Hahaha. Good for them. BTW, he’s really short.

  12. The only way it sounds like this tour could’ve been better is if it were on segways.

    • Walking is for peasants. Come on!

    • Ugh, last time I was in Toronto I saw a segway tour group. In the distillery district, which is fancy bourgeois rich hipster (richpster?) paradise. It was so perfect that I only “ugh”ed a little bit.

      • I have a sad love for the half desiring “ugh”s. Like, fuck those people, but more so because I wish I was one of them. Just like the football/lacrosse players in high school. Or 6′ tall bartenders who literally have the same skill set and everything else as me but they just happen to be 2 inches taller.

        • I have no desire to go on a segway tour of Toronto, let me clarify. I just couldn’t muster the level of disgust that I should have because OF COURSE there are people touring the distillery district on segways. Why would I ever have thought that there might not be people touring the distillery district on segways?

    • There are actual Segway tours in Beverly Hills (maybe you know this?), who I used to see grouped up wearing their little helmets in a tiny park on Sunset. I think I hated those helmets the most.

  13. In the end times, TMZ will be the one showing the damned the day spa where Cthulu gets his asshole bleached.

  14. Where all my tourists from Shreveport at?!?!!

  15. Real question — that guy in the green shirt in that awful TMZ video? Is he the guy who kidnapped the younger brother on Six Feet Under and was all cracked out and crazy?

  16. Gabe, I refuse to believe the TMZ bus drove RIGHT BY the Beverly Hilton at Santa Monica and Wilshire and the tour guide didn’t start jabbering about how Whitney Houston died right there, and directed everyone’s eyes to the window of the room of her final hours (“9 stories up, 6th window from the right, everybody! YAY!”).

  17. So… no Jodie Sweetin sightings?

  18. Gabe, I like your glasses.

  19. I am adult with a job (jealous?) so I haven’t had a lot of time for Videogum lately, but I cannot wait to read this…

  20. I was in New Orleans on vacation this past weekend and saw more famous-y people then I have in the last year living in Hollywood. Related: I got a *very* non-sober vibe from the one and only Russell Brand, and then he promptly showed up on TMZ. It all ties together, people. Full concentric circles!

    • In the past 5 months I’ve seen a handful of celebrities, but I’ve only seen one outside of my place of work or at not at a comedy show, and that was when I was apartment hunting. It had just gotten dark, and I had wound up driving down Hollywood Blvd like an idiot, and while I was crawling along in the bumper to bumper nightmare I noticed out of the corner of my eye people frantically moving about. Lo and behold, people were snapping photos of Ludacris being escorted to his car, entourage and security in tow. Wowwee!

      • Yeah, I tend to consiously stay away from places where you would normally run into those types – but I didn’t consider comedy shows. You’re always bound to run into someone at UCB or Meltdown.

        • My new roommate works at Earwolf and I have a hard time not begging him to take me to work with him every day. If I didn’t have my own job, I would go whether he wanted me to or not. He had an actual conversation with Tom Lennon yesterrday, in which they made fun of the Sklar Bros! Matt Besser considers him his personal lackey! Goddamn your luck, new roommate…

          • Holy crap having a gig at Earwolf would be the absolute best. Goddamn your new roommate, indeed!

          • If I had known studying programming would let me become friends with all the best comedians, I would have spent a lot less time writing papers about The Wasteland.

          • That’s awesome. Did he mention all the windows Andy Daly broke when he tried to commit suicide eight times a couple weeks ago?

            Also, I just did some crowdsourced work for Engineer Dustin this past weekend after responding to a tweet of his.

          • That was possibly one of the greatest moments in CBB history. Auckerman and Mantzoukas were losing their minds.

          • Such a great episode! All three of the Mantzoukas/Daly eps are some of my favorite!

            I also commented on the Earwolf messageboards, suggesting that Andy’s follow up album to Nine Sweaters should be called Eight Autodefenestrations.

          • Haha, yes, he did tell me about it! I kind of hear about everything that happens over there, since my roommate is a fresh transplant to LA and doesn’t yet have other people to talk to. I think my boyfriend and I and the owner of “Karma Tobacco and Gifts” are the only non-work/non-comedian people my roommate interacts with right now.

            By the by, I heard somewhere (could’ve been anywhere) that that store is just straight up selling pot brownies, which are all lined up at the register for impulse pot-brownie-buying. Which, oh, this city.

          • Also, if any of you guys want to make friends with a 19-year-old AI programmer from Olympia, WA who also programs all the advertising stuff at Earwolf, I think the position is open.

      • FUCK. That’s a goddamn #humblebrag. Now I feel awful.

  21. That tour would have been worth it if they’d handed everyone Sharpies and set you loose to draw penises on Perez Hilton’s face.

  22. One of my cousins from Denmark came to California to visit us when I was about eight. My parents wanted to take her to all our favourite places to show off our beautiful state. After San Francisco, we took her to Big Basin, Big Sur, Santa Cruz, Yosemite, and thought about going to Tahoe when she asked if we could go to Hollywood and Los Angeles. She was so excited and basically made clear that this was the entire reason she flew across the world to California. My parents said we’d happily take her anywhere she wanted and we could stay as long as she liked. After we arrived in Hollywood, we stayed all of 10 minutes.

    That said, I loved laughing at your pain, Gabe!! This post is amazing. Perez Hilton AND the TMZ bus tour?? TOO PERFECT.

  23. One thing I gotta know, Gabe: Was the Guitar Center having a sale?!

  24. As someone who lives in the Nightmare day in and day out for the past decade, let me just say that I appreciate this article more than you can possibly imagine, Gabe.

  25. Canter’s onion rings… so… good…

  26. When Gabe watches The Walking Dead for us it results in those great recaps. When the level of torment is increased with a TMZ bus tour the resulting post is even better. I think we can all see that the worse it is for Gabe, the better it is for us. That’s probably why we all want the WMOAT-feature back.

  27. Do you like Jews? Get over it Jews!

  28. Little did they know they had their own celebrity on the bus with them that day.

  29. OMG!!! This was hilarious start to finish! Gabe I need your address so I can send you a severed head… I mean muffin basket.

  30. Please lose more bets!!

  31. This is so good. God what a nightmare.

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