“…long white T-shirt. He’s armed with a gun and a knife located at the rear of his backpack.”-random excerpt from LAPD Police Scanner
True to the title of this post, the offices of the Comedy Bureau are currently listening to You Are Listening To Los Angeles, which is an audio mash-up of the LAPD police scanner and a shuffled playlist of ambient music via SoundCloud. It’s the soundtrack to the office, lately. At times, it’s existential and at others it’s slightly disturbing, but, for the most part, I visualize the openings to either Falling Down or Blade Runner on repeat permanently. Why can’t You Are Listening to Los Angeles conjure up images of 500 Days of Summer (despite plenty of you hating that movie, it showed a side of LA that isn’t shown during Lakers games)?
Unfortunately, the film most indicative of You Are Listening to Los Angeles would most likely be Crash, which we hate. Everyone at the Bureau hates that film, which takes its overly heavy handed (bordering on ingenuine) comment on racism and furthers the idea that LA represents 6 or 7 out of the 9 rings of hell described in the Inferno by Dante. As good as it is “white noise” to write to, we can’t help but be aware of the fact that is a real police scanner reporting real incidents that are being investigated, reported, or possibly need back up on against ethereal soundscapes. Perhaps, it’s a call to shut up some pesky kids making some noise in the Silverlake/Los Feliz/Echo Park area where many comedy shows take place in living rooms, garages, back yards, etc.
This is not LA. Many people choose to project the horrible misfortune of their own lives on this city because attribute perceived failure to LA supposedly chewing up their dreams and spitting them out, then pretending to care about you making ends meet. The truth is any major metropolitan center where millions flock to has a certain element of that self-perpetuating misery. When it comes to comedy, you can see people bomb, get bitter, vengeful, break up sketch/improv groups, or steal jokes anywhere.
The opposite of the popular image of LA as a dystopia that never seems to just break down into chaos is also true. There are plenty of people, LA transplants and native Los Angelenos alike, that have found their way in this massive collection of cement, steel, and ceaseless traffic (you’ll never hear true silence in Los Angeles county). People do have souls here. People do make it here. That’s why we’re overcrowded in Los Angeles because everyone’s vying for that slice of the pie chart that makes it. For every comedy show that comes to an end, there’s five to take it’s place. As Patton Oswalt pleaded with people at the independently produced comedy show, the Comedy Palace, a few weeks ago while running through his hour special, you never know when you’ll see the next bunch of comedians to make it to the top at some coffee shop. There are so many coffee shops in the plethora of LA neighborhoods that aren’t Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, East LA, and South Central as so often depicted on TV and movies wher
With that in mind, if you are really listening to Los Angeles, then put down your headphones, and step outside because you have already missed too much (like Drennon Davis’ Imaginary Radio at the Nerdist Theater–simply incredible and only about 12 people saw it).