Last night I had the opportunity to go music/comedy extravaganza “Stand by Haiti” hosted by Jack Black at what I consider an awesome venue, the Wiltern (probably just because I saw NIN at the Wiltern for their last show, so it has a special place in my heart). To be honest I didn’t much want to go out on a Tuesday, and an earthquake in Haiti is nowhere near the top of my priority list, but it was free, and I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised.
The lineup was broken into two groups: stand-up acts (Maya Rudolph, Tig, Will Ferrell, Bob Odenkirk, Jason Segel, Nick Kroll v. Ben Stiller, Patton Oswalt and Russell Brand) and musical performances (Frank Black/Black Francis of the Pixies, James Mercer of the Shins, Aimee Mann of ‘Til Tuesday fame, and Tenacious D). There was also a special guest that can’t quite be categorized: The Iron Sheik!
Comedy highlights started with Bob Odenkirk as “Sandy Jobs” (Steve Jobs’ deadbeat brother) who developed “new” technology while partying with Clint Howard at his brother’s estate. The new items he revealed are just cumbersome and expensive versions of items that most Americans already take for granted, such as the “iOldtimeyphone,” a rotary phone you use to call a friend with the internet so they can look stuff up for you. I paraphrase, but it was pretty damn funny.
The only other comedian I really laughed at was Patton Oswalt. I had heard him on the Adam Carolla show before and as the voice of one of the mice on Ratatouille (I was on a long flight, and it was that or My Life in Ruins). The guy ripped. Lots of potty humor coming from a little chubby dude. The segment of him being behind some fat guy at the deli counter who ordered “all the ham” which caused Patton to run away he was laughing so hard, was hilarious.
The rest of the stand-ups were pretty good as well. Tig’s deadpan delivery was something I can appreciate; Will Ferrell just did a quick dance to the “Popcorn Song” by Hot Butter which was short but sweet, Nick Kroll tore Ben Stiller a new one, but went into some awkward silences, and Russell Brand… well, he’s funny, it’s just that he makes some Dennis Miller-style references in that accent of his that left the crowd hanging a few times.
As for the music, I have to say that everyone was incredibly talented and sounded just like they do on their records. That being said, the guy that stole the show musically was Frank Black. I never thought I would see Pixies songs played live, “Monkey’s Gone to Heaven” being my favorite of the set, which he pulled off perfectly and completely solo. Reminds me of the time I saw Two Live Crew in Sac and only one dude showed up and STILL rocked the party.
Tenacious D wrapped things up and kept the crowd pumped. Not really my kind of music, but it was fun nonetheless. I had the opportunity to meet Jack Black once, and I have to say the guy is super cool which is not what I would have expected from any celebrity.
Last but not least, as I mentioned earlier, the Iron Sheik was there. I don’t know how or why, but the poor guy hobbled out on stage, did a back and forth with Jack Black, threatened to put him in the Camel Clutch and then waved and walked painfully to the wings. After the show he was backstage in a wheelchair watching the news by himself which was both cool and sad at the same time. It was nice to see a wrestling legend.
In conclusion, it was a good, albeit long (getting too old for 4 hour shows) night. Putting it out as a small disclaimer: I got a free ticket because my girlfriend works in philanthropy not because I try to get involved with Hollyweird bullshit…although I am willing to admit that every once in a while it can be a lot of fun. As far as Haiti goes, I got a $5 bottle of water so I hope that the proceeds go to a good cause.