So It’s Come To This:
An Obituary Of The HoHo (1160 N Vermont Ave)
by Matt Brousseau
The Hollywood Hotel is dead, I’m told. Well, standup is dead there. Well, I mean there’s no more standup there (EDIT: Turns out there is now. Whoops). It’s a shame. It was hardly perfect, sure, except for PUI’s when it became a great goddam mess of messed up comics. (Imagine being on mollie in a room full of friends. I don’t have to imagine. You can). Yes, often the room was sparse and you’d eat some shit. Yes, voices at the bar often overshadowed the comic. But three to four nights a week you could do five to seven minutes and hang out with some friends. And, somehow, probably because we spend of a lot of time thinking about ourselves, we’ve all had our own, singular, individual experience there even though we all did same activities. It was a great place to do comedy and drugs and make friends. Odds of the last two improved every time you did the first.
I could walk there. It was my local comedy bar. To others, perhaps, it was a place of death. But that’s fitting. The old Hotel was originally built as a mirage. All that remains is the name, “The Hollywood Hotel,” and still it tricks far off travellers. We know now it’s clearly not THE Hollywood Hotel, but more of A Hotel Adjacent To Transit To Hollywood. At its birth, however, this mattered little.
In those days, Hollywood was whatever you said it was. If a man said he was living in Hollywood, who were you to tell him he wasn’t? Were you some total asshole? I would hope note. So, The Hotel was conceived by two brothers, one, a Harold Cahuenga, a professional mortician and the other, a Hehaw Cahuenga who was more of an amateur mortician, nomenclature for “body-fiddler.” They put up a sign saying their new morgue was a dead body hotel located in Hollywood. And so it was.
It fashioned as a sort of “Farm Upstate” for humans, saving the blushes of any person too embarrassed to admit their family member or side-piece succumbed to the harsh Los Angeles conditions. “Where’s Jerry,” a friend would ask. “Oh, he didn’t get the part. He’s just resting at the Hollywood Hotel.” Both would then laugh and stub out their cigarette in some Italian ices before lighting another.
But missed breaks weren’t the only killer. The sun was fierce. At that point the city was still largely roofless. The invention of the roof had not yet made its way West, stuck in Presidio, Texas due to a communicable language shortage. If you weren’t on set in some windowless warehouse, you were probably dying from heatstroke.
Flash forward a correct amount of time and I’ve just moved to LA. and sleeping on a friend’s couch. Of course, The Hotel was one of the first places I went up out here. The Bomb Shelter. My god. I’ve never done a better mic, nor made more friends in one place. Also, drugs. Wonderful stuff. AND Domenic Padulo’s last college credits were gained by interning at it, which I believe is the modern version of the movie ‘Mrs. Robinson’. Silver and Pfeiffer made Thursday a must-go to the point that, when they stopped, Thursday remained a good night no matter who was hosting. Even when Get A Room was getting cancelled on Thursdays. (Did we suck? You’d tell us if we sucked, right?). The Hotel became a comedy home for me. I couldn’t tell you how many times I closed out the night there (unless it’s 43 times). By then I’d be three, four, five, three, two beers, a couple whiskies, some coke off a baby changing table in the bag, rambling, trying to find THAT thing I thought of hours ago, probably going over time, but you all stayed and largely don’t mind because we all knew each other and the rambling, for once guard-down comedy was at hand, and that one good new joke you have was why we all went up late and drunk and, yes, some people were goddam garbage, but we didn’t care because we’d get our chance to do it in front of our friends in a little bit. It was a great place to do comedy and I have some wonderful memories there. We’d be lucky if we had more places like it. Thanks Gust.