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Laughing it up all over L.A.

Of course the Improv is a sure stop for the comedian, but then there's people-watching at Gold's Gym, movie night at the ArcLight, musical nirvana at Largo, he could go on.

December 18, 2009|By Mark Sachs

Need a gift idea? Comedian Doug Benson might suggest his latest album, "Uneven Load," or maybe the DVD of his 2007 film, "Super High Me." And on Dec. 28, when you're all shopped out, he'd recommend kicking back and watching his new comedy special on the G4 channel, "The High Road."

"It's a documentary-style film in which the camera follows me around while I'm on the road doing my stand-up act," explains Benson. "And that's really my life -- I'm a road comic. I live in L.A., but I'm out of town 47 or 48 weekends of the year. So when I'm home, I have very specific ideas about what I want to do with my weekend."

Doug Benson: The "My Favorite Weekend" feature in Friday's Calendar section referred to Doug Benson's comedy CD as "Uneven Load." The title is "Unbalanced Load." —

Music to our ears, Doug. Do go on. . . .

Funny business

The Improv in West Hollywood is always good on a Friday night, because you never know who might drop in for a set. They might have a nationally known headliner scheduled, and if you like that person, great, but even if you don't, you might get a surprise pop-in from a really well-known comedian.

And what I like about the Improv specifically is that there's a lot of room in the bar-restaurant area to hang out before or after the show. And if people hang around long enough, they often get to see some really drunken comics there. But the food is good too. The artichoke dip is the best anywhere.

Seeing is believing

On Saturday morning, I like to get in a little Stair-Gazing at Gold's Gym in Hollywood, which is star-gazing while you're on the StairMaster. There's something really weird and fun about it. I mean, there you are, bored, tired and sweating, and then suddenly it's, "Oh, Anderson Cooper just walked by!" Or, "Hey, that's Ron Perlman from 'Sons of Anarchy'!" It makes working out so much more bearable.

After that, I'll go to lunch at a terrific Argentine place on Melrose called Lala's Grill. They really know their way around a skirt steak, and if the weather's nice, they have great outdoor seating.

It's showtime

In the late afternoon, I'll go catch a movie at the ArcLight in Hollywood. I don't mind paying a little more and reserving your seats, because then you don't have to wait in a long line only to sit among a crazy crowd of -- dare I say it, I'm going to sound like an old man -- noisy teenagers.

And another great thing about the ArcLight is that either before or after the movie, you can grab a drink or bite to eat right there. I like the barbecued chicken quesadillas.

In the evening, I love going to Largo on La Cienega. There are some amazing shows on Saturday nights, music acts like Aimee Mann or Grant-Lee Phillips, or, on the comedy side, Sarah Silverman or Patton Oswalt. It's an amazing place.

Easing into Sunday

After too much fun the night before, I'll sleep late and then go to the afternoon pool party at the Standard hotel downtown. A beautiful spot with a great view and a fun crowd. Some weeks everyone is dancing like mad and other weeks it's more of a social scene. Great people-watching, especially if you're into body ink.

After that, I'll go to Ketchup on Sunset for a dinner, which -- the last time I went -- still had a half-price menu on Sundays. One of my favorite things there is the Kobe beef meatballs on a skewer. The very best in town.

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