CALIFORNIA: ROLLING THE DICE IN HOLLYWOOD
*******WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T CLICK ON THE RED WORDS BELOW!******
Like a lunatic with lots of guts, I drove all the way across the country in my lime green KIA Soul to make it BIG in Hollywood. I was only in Hollywood for 15 hours and already, I received my first insult: some guy put a promotion on my KIA that read, “We Buy Junk Cars.” I remember thinking, “I must be in Hollywood.”
After AirBnB-ing my way across the country, it was time to find a place to live at for more than just a few days. I stumbled upon an ad on Craigslist entitled, The House of Dreams. The House of Dreams (The Ho
od)is a shared living space in Sherman Oaks that caters to individuals trying to make it in the entertainment business. Weary at first and still kind of am, being around like minded individuals with similar goals = not a terrible idea.
BONUS TRUE: The place is pretty cheap and has free WIFI! You can’t really bring too many chicks back here, however. Besides the fact that it would be pretty inconsiderate, the house currently consists of 14 guys and only two of them are gay. ONLY TWO!!!!!! When a girl walks into The HO
OD, you’ll see like twelve-creepy-forks instinctively chase after one piece of steak. I know what you are thinking: very few females like to be put into that kind of situation.
XL TRUE: Even If I did bring a girl back here, I like fat chicks and I sleep on the top bunk.
What if all our weight combined squashed the person sleeping directly underneath us? Worse case scenario, I would kick myself out of the house “immediately.”
Dan, the landlord of the HOD, tries to keep the atmosphere pretty positive and that’s not easy, especially when new faces with different auras are moving in and out of the house on a monthly basis. No security deposit necessary so it can get a little scary, i.e., you never know who is going to move in next.
After a long day of auditioning, writing jokes, and squatting a tremendous amount of weight at the gym, I come back to The Hod to discover a new face sleeping on the couch. I turned to Theo (house monitor, roommate, comedy buddy, great person) in panic!
Me: I understand that Dan needs to make some money, but does he ever screen any of these people? Whose the bum on the couch? Theo: Dude, that’s not a bum, that’s Shaun Weiss, Goldberg from the Mighty Ducks! Me: What?! That’s freaking Goldberg!? Theo: Yeah dude, you can tell by his nose. Me: Oh yeah, wow, that is the same nose.
Eh, I liked him better when he was fat. Theo: Shh, shut up! I think he’s waking up. Shaun: Hey. How long was I out for? Do any of you guys have any crackers?
He smelled like Bigfoot’s dick, to be honest. I never smelled Bigfoot’s Dick before, but if I did I couldn’t believe this was one of the my/the world’s favorite child star actors. He’s been in over 30 national television commercials, The Cosby Show, Charles in Charge, Freaks and Geeks, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, Saved By the Bell, Boy Meets World, King of Queens, Heavy Weights, and the list continues. How the hell did he end up here? How the hell could he end up at a place where you have to hire someone to flush the toilet 100 times just so you can take a hot shower? Crazy. Regardless, I was super stoked that he was, so was Theo.
The Trifecta: Shaun later revealed that he had just hit rock bottom. His girlfriend had just left him, he ran out of ALL of his money, and his father had recently passed away.
Despite his uphill battle, he was determined to focus his time and energy on synergy. FACT: “The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.” – Jim Carrey
The Way To San Jose: Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to do stand up comedy.
I didn’t know Shaun too well, but after getting to know him for a few days, he invited Theo and I to open up for him at the San Jose Improv Comedy Club. The venue seats 600 people. Side Note: The first time I ever tried doing stand-up comedy, I started hyperventilating on stage; there were only two people in the audience, a bartender and a custodian. The custodian was like, “Calm down, I’m just trying to mop the floor.
Mop the floor with your jokes.” Shaun’s never even seen our acts before, still, he invited us to open up for him at one of the biggest comedy venues in the world. It sounded too good to be true, but our gut instincts told us to roll the dice anyway.
DOPE WOW! Autographed posters of David Spade, Joe Rogan, and other comedy legends hanging up on the interior of the San Jose Improv. It felt like I was in the movie Funny People, only I was Shaun Weiss’s tutelage. All sorts of thoughts and emotions started to stack on top of one another as I followed Shaun around The Improv. “I hope I can make bitches laugh. Please don’t hyperventilate on stage again. Is this really going to happen? Stop talking to yourself! I CAN’T!” I was in disbelief. Then the show director came up to me and asked, “What song do you want to walk out to?” Head blowing up like a hot air balloon, I piped, “I’ll definitely walk out to my band’s music, The Scarlet Scourge! We are this sick melodic-jam-rock band out of Northern New Jersey and we like to slay. I can def. get the cd from my car if you want or you can simply go to YouTube and plug in the-” “How about Metallica.” she stated. I was like, “Metallica’s great, I’d love me some Metallica. I’ll friggin walk out to Barney’s theme song if you have it! Did you know Les Claypool tried out for them once? Crazy. Thanks!”
I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but you can watch the highlights here:
Art is completed in the imagination of its onlookers. The consistent laughter from the audience was a reflection of Shaun’s stellar 45 minute set but to me, his ability to charismatic-ally interact with the crowd is what made his performance mesmerizing. His set wasn’t full of jokes, it was full of connections and just like a true pro does, he left the crowd wanting more. Whether you were a part of that crowd or not, when you want more, sometimes, you have to be willing to explore. Just make sure to bring your binoculars.
More Irons in the Fire! Over the last five years, Shaun and his partner-in-crime, Sean W. Adair have been vehemently working on a semiautobiographical comedy show based on Weiss’s life and career in the entertainment business. The show is called Why Not Weiss and it poops on a variety of shows currently being broadcast throughout America, especially that brand new show based on dead people coming back to life; what’s that one called? Oh yeah, The Fuller House! C’mon now America, “Cut it Out!” With your help, Why Not Weiss can get picked up by Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu and Shaun can start sleeping on his own couch for a change. Plus, I’m in it and
I want and think it’s dope. When you’re done watching the pilot episode linked below, please roll the dice with us and share it much as you can. Thank you so much for all your love and support. A special thanks goes out to Shaun Weiss, Sean Adair, Theo Manhattan, Dan Slayden, Jamie Norried, Zach Merzel, Garrett Gonzalez, Jenna Colemartino, Ron Jeremy, Kirk Fox, The Hod, Jaden Hoff, Chad Meisenheimer, Dinah Leffert, and everyone else working hard on this who I didn’t mention. Enjoy!