Entertainment, News

Laughing all the way to Park La Brea

By Aaron Blevins, 9/06/2012


Who knew that Park La Brea had such a great sense of humor? As it turns out, the apartment complex can host a comedy show and take a joke.

Comedian Vargus Mason, a finalist on “Last Comic Standing”, joked about his experiences being a father during his comedy routine. (photo by Aaron Blevins)

That was evident on Saturday, when Wintershaw Enterprises hosted “Comedy In The Park” at the Park La Brea Theater. Four comedians performed, drawing laughs on topics that ranged from babies and public transportation to Mexican food and the local newspaper.

The show is part of a monthly offering to Park La Brea residents and the surrounding community. “Comedy In The Park” is in its fifth month, and it has been well received, host Jason Love said.

“It gets better every time,” he said, adding that Wintershaw Enterprises continues to promote the event. “It’s like the best kept secret.”

Love said all of the comedians are “very Google-able” and very funny. He said Wintershaw Enterprises books comics that have garnered laughs at famous venues or in front of large audiences, and the early hours allow the comics to perform at the apartment complex and still make it to a later show elsewhere.

However, that isn’t to take away from the Park La Brea Theater, which Love said is like a hybrid between a comedy club and a theatre. He referenced the wine and hors d’oeuvres on hand.

“You’re never going to walk into a comedy club and see grapes,” Love said, adding that there are no drink requirements. “You’re not being molested; you’re being regaled.”

While the show is for those 21 and over, the content is relatively family-friendly and includes little crass humor, he said.

“I tell them ‘PG-15’ when they come in so no reasonable person will be offended,” Love added.

Wintershaw Enterprises is run by Richard Winter-Stanbridge, who has been producing performances, shows and events at Park La Brea for the past year. These offerings include the comedy show and “Bookplates”, which hosts literary events and panel discussions regarding literature.

The company also hosts a talent show at the apartment complex, “It’s A Talented Summer”, and shows films through its Indian Film Club. Its live transmedia show, “WTTC Live!”, which discusses everything gastro/musical, is on hiatus until November.

“It’s been building really nicely,” Winter-Stanbridge said.

As he opened the show, Love introduced Winter-Stanbridge, referencing his upcoming trip to Kazakhstan for a cultural fair. Love was not sold, suggesting instead that the producer may be an arms dealer — with Park La Brea serving as his compound. He became even more skeptical after learning that the apartment complex had a newspaper named after it.

“You have your own newspaper? I don’t trust this place at all,” Love said. “Do they know about the outside world? Or is their whole map just the shape of Park La Brea, and that’s just all the news there is in the world?”

He then welcomed comedian Josh Paget, an ACME Comedy Theatre regular who joked about public transportation, riding his bicycle and the incident in which public transportation stole his bicycle.

“I put my bike on the bus and then it left without me,” he said. “There goes options A and B.”

Los Angeles native Chris Strait is featured on truTV’s “World’s Dumbest” every week. He used some of his spot to make fun of the people who willingly live on the East Coast or in the Midwest.

“I view living in snow like I view being in the mafia. I’ll explain,” he said. “You don’t realize you’ve made a mistake until you find yourself holding a shovel.”

Laurie Kilmartin, a staff writer on “Conan”, was a finalist on “Last Comic Standing”. She referenced an incident in which her son enthusiastically and loudly exclaimed about the clouds he was seeing from his window seat on an airplane. A nearby passenger sarcastically asked, “Can that kid get any louder?”

“I go, ‘Yeah, yeah he can. Would you like me to make that happen?’ Cause all I would have to do is close my kid’s window shade. ‘You think clouds is loud? Wait until you hear no clouds,’” Kilmartin said.

Vargus Mason, a fellow “Last Comic Standing” finalist, discussed his experiences being a father. He said his family is a mesh of Puerto Rican and African-American, and that the differences between his two daughters reflects that. For instance, one has straight hair, while the other has an afro.

“It’s like we gave birth to two different kinds of X-men. They each have their own individual superpower,” Mason said. “Like one shoots laser beams, and the other one’s going to need a co-signer. You’re judging my children on that one. That’s your racism, cause I didn’t say which one’s going to need a co-signer.”

Alan and Lucia Rosenfeld, who live near Park La Brea, were among those in attendance. Lucia said it was nice to have the opportunity to walk to a comedy show.

“It makes the city feel like a small community — to have nearby entertainment,” Lucia said. “It’s nice they included the community outside the Park La Brea community.”

Alan had front-row seats to the show, and said beforehand that he was anticipating an evening of entertainment. He was not disappointed.

“I’d come early again next time,” Alan said.

“Comedy In The Park” is held on the first Saturday of each month at the theatre. Tickets are $12. For information or tickets, call (323)549-5470 or visit www.parklabrea.eventbrite.com or www.wintershaw.com.



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