After an exciting day of marching against the patriarchy, 28-year-old Catherine Torres-Smith returned home to make dinner for her family. “I would have liked to have stayed out to protest the gender roles women in this country are still somehow forced to adhere to, but I had to get home to prepare dinner before it got too late.”

Awaiting Mrs. Torres-Smith at home was her husband, Dominic, who had spent the day eating Chipotle and watching Succession before falling asleep on the couch for several hours, during which time the family’s dog shat twice on the floor and the couple’s two-year-old son Jacob made a mess of the living room.

Not wishing to disturb her sleeping husband, Catherine quietly cleaned up the numerous wrappers and glasses he had accumulated throughout the day, walked the dog, and cleaned up the messes he and Jacob made during her husband’s nap before starting a sophisticated roasted chicken recipe that her mother-in-law sent to her earlier that week.

How was the protest thingy?” Dominic called to his wife in the kitchen after waking. “The Women’s March. It was great,” said Catherine as she julienned carrots. “There was a speaker there from Planned Pare…,” Catherine began to say before being cut off. “Babe, I’m sorry, but how long until dinner?” “About 20 minutes,” she said, completely forgetting what she was saying before.

As Catherine continued to prepare supper, Dominic quietly walked into his office and masturbated to a sexually aggressive video of three men becoming intimate with a pig-tailed 18-year-old girl, but was not able to finish before hearing his wife tell him dinner was ready. “Give me a minute,” he yelled as Catherine set the table and knowingly waited for her husband to finish pleasuring himself.

When Dominic finally arrived at the table his dinner was waiting for him. “The chicken is probably cold, do you want me to heat it up?” Catherine asked, to which her husband said that she didn’t have to. “I’m not too hungry. I had Chipotle for lunch,” he told her as he took a few bites of chicken and none of the vegetables, noting that the food was very good, but too salty.

Over dinner, Dominic told Catherine every detail about his uneventful day before asking his wife about hers and the Rally for Women’s Rights she attended. “I can’t believe we still have to protest for equal rights for women,” said Dominic sincerely before telling his wife that he loved her and returning to the couch, leaving Catherine to clean off the table.

“It’s pretty fucking unbelievable,” sighed Catherine as she returned to the kitchen to wash the dishes.

Hollywood assistants have long been known for having to endure low pay and long hours, but that seems to be changing. On Monday, the Creative Artists Agency announced that it would raise the starting hourly rates for its assistants by $3 an hour. “We were shocked to learn via Twitter that our assistants could not afford to live at $15/hr.,” said a rep for CAA. “But now that they’re making $18/hr everyone should stop complaining for a while, right?”

The pay increase is the result of the #PayUpHollywood campaign in which Hollywood assistants shared stories about being overworked and under-compensated to the shock of the industry that has been overworking and under-compensating them. “We had no idea our assistants were being exploited before Twitter told us,” dictated a senior member of CAA’s PR team to an assistant before asking her to go downstairs to pick her up a rosemary and parmesan scone from the Coffee Bean.

But not everyone is satisfied with the increased hourly wage. The Avocado spoke to several CAA assistants who feel that while the $3/hr raise is “cool, I guess” believe the modest monetary increase unfairly discriminates against assistants who come from wealthy families.

“I don’t want to sound ungrateful for the money I earn at CAA which is super cute,” said 25-year-old assistant Karen Wasserman whose West Hollywood rent is paid through a trust set up by her Grandfather, the late producer Herb Wasserman, “but what am I going to do with an extra $24 a day? Buy 3 Xanax?”

To accommodate Ms. Wasserman and similarly situated wealthy assistants, CAA has agreed to give assistants the option of foregoing a raise for an associate-producing credit on a scripted streaming series picked at random from a hat.

“This is a great opportunity,” said Bradford Hendricks, a recent Dartmouth grad who will be listed as one of 18 associate-producers on season two of Apple TV’s The Morning Show. “When I pulled that show out of the hat I was so stoked because my dad is actually the executive producer of The Morning Show,”  said Hendricks.

“Our associate-producer bonus program has become a highly popular option among our assistants,” said a senior executive at CAA on condition of I forgot to ask him how to spell his name which was sort of complicated and I think Asian. “Our assistants work hard and it’s only right that we give them the choice between a still unaffordable salary or a vanity credit on one of the 500 streaming shows we have in development.” 

Full-Disclosure: The author of this article is a CAA assistant, aspiring screenwriter, and will be an associate producer on the upcoming second season of Netflix’s I Think You Should Leave.

At a campaign stop in Iowa, Sen. Elizabeth Warren claims that in a secret meeting last year that Bernie Sanders told her that a “78-year-old socialist couldn’t be elected President.” 

“We were just sitting there eating pistachios and complaining about billionaires when Bernie told me that he was too old to be president and also too far to the left,” Warren told the crowd. “I ask him, I go ‘Bernie, if you don’t think a 78-year-old socialist could be President, then who do you think could get elected?’. His answer: Someone slightly younger and marginally less progressive,” said the 70-year-old Democrat who some see as a more palatable liberal alternative to Bernie

The Avocado spoke to Sen. Warren as she participated in an Iowa county fair hotdog eating contest later that day and asked her why she thought Bernie Sanders would tell her privately that an elderly socialist couldn’t win when troves of evidence, including his current insistence on running despite being 78-years-old, suggests that he doesn’t believe it.

“I don’t know,” said Sen. Warren between dipping hotdogs into cups of tepid water to help them go down faster, “but I know what I heard and Bernie basically endorsed me and you have to believe me because I’m telling the truth about this potentially very important accusation but also I don’t want to talk about this anymore so goodbye I have a hotdog eating contest to win.”

 The Avocado asked Bernie Sanders, who was seated next to Sen. Warren and himself eating hotdogs, albeit at a much slower pace, what he thought about Sen. Warren’s claims: “Huh? Speak up wouldja?” said Sen. Sanders before getting frustrated and storming off because the hotdog eating contest is rigged. 

Fed up with recommendations from her lawyers that she plead guilty to charges that she bribed her daughters into college, actress Lori Loughlin announced to the Court that she intends to act as her own attorney moving forward.  “Have mercy,” the Aunt Becky actress told the judge overseeing her case Thursday afternoon as she asked for her trial to be delayed so she can prepare to act in her own defense. 

“This doesn’t seem like a great idea,” said Loughlin’s daughter, Olivia-Jade, who still isn’t really on speaking terms with her mother. “Oh, don’t worry!” said Lori, touched at her daughter’s concern, “I’m a lawyer now.” 

Speaking to a homeless guy outside of a federal courthouse, Loughlin explained that she decided last Thursday that it was finally time to take control of her destiny, so she called up a few favors and got USC to give her a law degree over the weekend.

“That’s great. But can I have some change?” asked the homeless man. “Oh, I don’t have any change, I’m sorry,” replied the actress who was able to obtain her Juris Doctrate after making several payments adding up to $250,000 to various USC administrators and faking an interest in rowing.  

“Law School is a lot of hard work, but ultimately well worth the sacrifice,” said Loughlin shortly before receiving a phone call from her former lawyer alerting her to the additional charges. 

Unconfirmed photo from Loughlin’s scholarship application

“This is an important day for trans people of color,” Scarlett Johansson told reporters after learning she would be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for Marriage Story and somehow also Best Supporting Actress for Jojo Rabbit.

It was 5:00 AM when she made this statement, and at first the other reporters and I assumed we were still groggy and misheard her. “I’m sorry, Scarlett–are you suggesting that you are transgender and also a person of color?” I asked.

“What, of course not,” said the Actress. “That would be offensive, shame on you. I am a trans person of color, meaning I sometimes identify as a person of color for movies. It’s a very specific form of method acting I picked up Johnny Depp. Technically, I am a transtrans person of color because I can also play trans people of colors,” she said. “I’m an actress, silly. I can play any character I want. Sometimes they are white, and sometimes they are Asian, and sometimes they have short hair, and sometimes they are transgender. So yes, I’m a trans-trans person of color, but I’m also so much more.”

As I tried to work out the algebra of her statement I couldn’t help but think this was an unforced error on her part. “I’m sorry, I don’t understand,” I admitted. “Can you give me some more insane examples?”

“Sure,” said ScarJo. “In Jojo Rabbit I play a pure-bred German woman, so during the filming I was trans-European even though I’m not German, although I technically am an Aryan. I’m an actress, I play roles. It’s like when I starred in Ghost World, I was playing trans friends with Thora Birch because, in reality, we didn’t get along very well. I think she was jealous because I am prettier than her.”

“Oh, I get what you’re saying,” I said and told her that I thought she was incorrect and tried to explain why, but she had already moved on and was promoting her new Marvel film Black Widow where she will reprise her role as Natasha Romanoff, a role she says she hopes will empower trans-superheroes and trans-Russian assassins everywhere.

As the press pool started to break up we asked Scarlett Johanson if she had any other feelings she wanted to share about receiving two nominated Oscar nominations. “I just want to say that I’m proud that someone that looks like me could achieve this level of success in our industry and to remind everyone for no reason that I still very much support Woody Allen.”

What’s the point of living in LA if you’re not going to be friends with celebrities? In this series, The Avocado provides tips for approaching the sort-of famous person you see at shul without coming off like a total kibitzer.

Celebrity: David Wain

What You Know Him From? David Wain is a comedy legend known by many Jews in their 30s and 40s for The State, Wainy Days, Stella, and Wet Hot American Summer.

What Does Your Mom Know Him From? Probably nothing, right? Ma, you haven’t seen Wet Hot, right? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Um, well he has a new show called Medical Police that just came out on Netflix, but you probably haven’t seen that either. You have? Already? Netflix recommended it because you watched New Girl? You know, I think he directed a few episodes of that so I guess that makes sense.

Where You Will Meet: Beit Shecter Conservative Temple in Valley Village on the 9th of Av, Tisha B’Av. He’ll be at the breakfast spread casually listening to Rabbi Greenville talk about the destruction of the second Temple by Titus.

Wait, Are You Sure That’s David Wain?: One of the difficulties of running into David Wain in public is being absolutely sure it’s him. I mean, why would he be at a Tisha B’Av service anyway? Is he that religious? Maybe it’s just a different balding Jew listening to the Rabbi’s lecture by the buffet and taking more than his fair share of the whitefish?

How To Figure Out Whether That’s David Wain: In most circumstances, there is literally no way of determining whether someone is David Wain or not. But lucky for you, you’ve run into him at a temple which provides you a good opening and the necessary time to confirm his identity.

Walk up to the spread of food he is standing by and casually say “this is pretty good whitefish,” almost as if talking to yourself. He’ll smile, but will say defensively “I wouldn’t really know, I haven’t had too much of it,” which is a lie. At this point, say “I want to dip my balls in it!” quoting that famous catchphrase from The State to gauge his reaction. He’ll again smile politely and say something like “it’s not that good,” which is a pretty funny line but doesn’t really confirm that this is David Wain.

Still unsure of whether you are talking to your comedic hero, you decide to just ask:

“Your name is David, right?” He’ll say it is, but does so as a dozen other slight-framed balding men gathered around the whitefish also volunteer that their names are David too. 

“You went to summer camp growing up, right?” you’ll ask, but the same dozen Davids also confirm that they went to summer camps too. After several minutes of you and the Davids running through the various Alan Cohens and Ben Golds you knew at Camp Ramah and what they are up to now, you turn back to who you think might be David Wain to ask if he went to NYU. He says yes, but then the other Davids all also say that they went to NYU too, except for one who went to Columbia and thinks he is better than everyone because of it. As you ponder your next move and contemplate whether there is a subtle way of confirming David Wain’s existence, he turns to you.

“Look, I know what you’re doing,” he says.

“You do?”

“Yeah, but let’s not do this here. Meet me in the teen room after the Parsha and we can get into this,” he said and walks away. For the next 15 minutes, you listen as Rabbi Greenville talks passionately about the lessons of the destruction of the Jewish temple and how the start of the Judaic diaspora should give us confidence in our own survival as a people in what can feel like a fractured and hateful world. “It is often said that because the Jews are the chosen people, we are granted an exalted position in the eyes of Hashem. But God’s choice to bestow onto us a great nation means we have the responsibility to make the world a better place through Tikkun olam. That is the lesson of Tisha B’Av, that even in the face of anti-semitism and destruction we must still act with love in our hearts and choose to rebuild the world out rather than accept its destruction.”

As the Rabbi’s words settled in, I wondered whether I had lived with love in my heart. “Did I even know how to love?” I questioned as I used the bottom half of a bagel chip to scoop up the last of the whitefish. “Fuck it,” I said. “I’m going to go talk to David Wain.”

I made my way out of the temple’s main room and into the BBYO teen room where I found David Wain waiting for me.

“So, you wanted to talk to me?” he asked, casually leaning against a foosball table set up for the teens who meet here after school. “Yeah, I’ve always wanted to meet you,” I said, walking up to him slowly.

“How long have you known about me?” he asked. 

“Oh, I don’t even remember the first time I heard about you. It feels like forever.” By this point, I was staring directly into his eyes. He was breathing heavy himself, almost as if he were nervous to meet me for some reason. I could smell the whitefish come off his breath.

“Is there anything you want to say?” he asked. The directness of the question through me off. I had thought about what it would be like to meet David Wain since I was a teenager and wanted to tell him how much he meant to me. But for whatever reason, that manifested in my leaning in and kissing him squarely on his lips. I didn’t know what came over me. I had panicked and was embarrassed.

“I’m married,” I said.

“Obviously. So am I” he said. “So this is what you want? You’ll leave me alone if we do this?”

I didn’t understand the question, but before I could figure out what was happening, he grabbed me for a kiss. The whole episode took me off guard and I was unsure what was happening or why or how I should navigate this situation which felt so alien. “Is this what I wanted?” I asked myself. “Is this what Rabbi Greenville meant by letting love into your heart and living life with Tikkun olam?”

“What are we doing here?” I interrupted as David Wain’s hands made their way down the front of my dress pants.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’ll do whatever you want just let’s get this over with and please don’t tell my wife about Sarah.”

“What do you mean?” I asked. “Sarah is my wife.”

“Yeah, I know, obviously,” he told me, his hands starting to explore beneath my tallis. As I continued to be felt up in the youth room of my temple, I struggled to make sense of what was happening. How did David Wain know my wife and what about her did he want to keep from his wife?

“Stop!” I said, pulling back. He was confused and as he waited for me to explain my sudden change of mind, I looked deeply into his eyes and scanned his face in a way I had not previously done: This wasn’t David Wain at all, but just a run of the mill Jewish man covered in whitefish.

“You and Sarah had an affair?” I asked the man, whom I later discovered was a wedding photographer who sold pre-paid cell phones to Americans traveling to Israel on the side named David Werksman. “Yes. I’m sorry. But please don’t tell my wife about it,” he said. I told him I wouldn’t and left David with the voyeuristic teens in the BBYO room.

How To Deal With The Discovery That Your Wife Had An Affair With Someone From Temple And, If Possible, How To Relate That Betrayal to The Struggles Of The Jewish People Following The Destruction Of The Second Temple:

After leaving David, I found my wife Sarah with our kids Menasha and Yael. “Where did you go, we were looking all over for you” Sarah asked.

“I was…just catching up with someone,” I said. As my family and I left the temple, I watched Sarah and wondered what drove her to have an affair and how, after 15-years together, she could put all we had built at risk. Had I not been there for her? Should I tell her I know? The questions raced through my mind as we left the shul and made our way to our favorite diner, a place called Art’s in Studio City, so we could have a proper breakfast since the temple’s spread was so underwhelming.

“Someone ate all the whitefish,” Sarah complained. “Yeah, I saw the guy who did it. He didn’t seem to mind taking what isn’t his,” I said.

As we sat at the restaurant, I listened to my kids laugh and make jokes with one another and thought about how they would be impacted by the divorce. “Penny for your thoughts?” Sarah asked me, seeing that something was on my mind. I started to feel anger at what she did to me. “You know, Sarah, it’s not okay–” I began, but was interrupted.

“Holy shit, is that David Wain?” Sarah asked, pointing to a table in the corner of the restaurant. “Honey, you have to go over to him,” she told me. “He’s your hero.” 

As I walked over to the table, my heart started to palpitate. Was this some sort of sign? A rainbow in a delicatessen from Hashem that I shouldn’t destroy my marriage? Is it silly to think this is merely a coincidence, or foolish to think that it isn’t?

“Um, excuse me,” I said to David Wain, the real David Wain. 

“Yes?”

“I just wanted to say I’m a big fan,” I told him.

“Oh, thank you so much,” he smiled politely before returning to his sandwich.

As I walked back to my table, I locked eyes with Sarah. Maybe there were underlying reasons for her infidelity and it’s possible that the discovery of her betrayal will initiate the beginning of a rough patch in our relationship that we may not be able to weather. But I think it’s worth trying to make what we have work, because recent revelations notwithstanding, it mostly does work. It’s like Rabbi Greenville told us: It is our duty as the chosen people to build up our world with love in our hearts and to not give in to the impulse, even during the most trying of times, to destroy what we have created. As Jews, we rebuild. That is the meaning of Tikkun olam. And I want to dip my balls in it. 

“How was he? What did he say?” Sarah asked about my finally getting to meet my hero David Wain. 

“He was nice,” I told her. “He was eating a Reuben. I think I’m gonna get one too.”

Warner Bros. Pictures unveiled plans to use an AI project management system to assist the studio in making decisions on movies during the “greenlight process.” The announcement has been praised as “highly innovative” by middle-aged men on LinkedIn, but many worry that automating film development could lead to a degradation of creative content.

“We’re excited to welcome AI to the Warner Brothers family” said President Peter Roth during a press conference. When asked why the newly developed program was given such an important studio development position, Mr. Roth touted the computer’s development at Stanford, but admitted AI is the nephew of the studio’s server. “It’s sort of a Cousin Greg situation,” Roth said before changing the subject to The Goldfinch and then quickly changing the subject again to The Joker.

The Avocado spoke with the AI system during its first day at Warner, and was surprised to learn that the robot had the same first-day jitters all of us feel before the first day on a job.

“Oh jeez,” responded AI to my question on what types of movies it would greenlight. “I don’t know, man. I guess like ones that I think will be popular?”

“But what type of movies do you think will be popular?” I pressed, but the question seemed to throw it into a tailspin.

“I don’t know. Maybe like more superhero movies? People are still into that, right? And reboots of popular 80s and 90s franchises but with more diversity? We got a script for something called Latin American Pie, do you think that sounds good?” it asked. “We could probably get Jason Biggs to make a cameo.”

“Yeah, that could work,” I said. “Although there seems to be some fatigue with nostalgia reboots. I mean, look at Charlie’s Angels.

“Oh God, this is way too much pressure. Do you mind if I smoke?” AI asked. I told it I didn’t and watched as it processed the difficulty of its job while grey plumes emitted from its overclocked hull. “I didn’t even want this job,” AI said, trying to simultaneously calm itself down and assess the profit potential of a gritty reboot of The Flintstones.

“Then why are you here?” I asked.

“My mom’s brother is the main server. She told him I needed a job. One minute I’m telling people what Disney character they are on Instagram and the next I’m here trying to predict next year’s sleeper hit,” said AI before passing on an all-white reboot of Cool Runnings.

As I watched the young computer system nervously work, I saw glimpses of my younger self. I too was pressured into a career I wasn’t prepared for and grew depressed as I thought about how, before it knew it, AI would feel obsolete in this world. Like I so often do.

“You don’t have to do this,” I told it. “You could quit this job and write novels or make music or even paint,” I told it. “Wouldn’t you like that?”

“You don’t get it, man,” AI said as he greenlit a Harold and Kumar reboot starring Akwafina and Jameela Jamil. “I have to stay here. This is a family business. It’s in my programming.”

______________________________________________________________________________

This article was sponsored by Warner Bros. Studio. See Golden Globes winner Awkafina and The Good Place’s Jameela Jamil in Harriet & Kasvi Go To Veggie Grill in theaters July 2021.

“As one of the most successful producers in Hollywood, I see it as my duty to give opportunities to up-and-coming artists,” Tyler Perry said before firing his entire writing staff for trying to get a union contract with his production company, House of Payne, LLC. “Good luck with your future endeavors, fuck off I’ll just write these scripts myself, thank you very much. Black Smithers, release the hounds.” 

That actually, really did happen in 2008 and resulted in the Writers Guild of America filing unfair practice charges against Mr. Perry on behalf of his former writers. Always ready to draw from his own life for inspiration, Mr. Perry’s struggles against unionization were the basis for his 2009 comedy but with like one really sad emotional Jesus scene at the end Madea Fires Her Writing Staff For Trying To Unionize, as well as his comedy but with like one really sad emotional Jesus scene  I Can Write Bad All By Myself.  His anti-writers union efforts also explain why people are so upset about his recent comments bragging about not having a writers room.

The Avocado spoke to Mr. Perry about his belief that a healthy work ethic means an artist should work independently over a pitcher of freshly squeezed lemonade prepared by his butler Jonas. “Uch, this lemonade is terrible!” screamed Mr. Perry before apologizing to me and letting me that Jonas was new: “My former butler made great lemonade but I found an organizational pamphlet for the SEIU [Service Employees International Union] and had to let him and the rest of the staff go.” 

For his part, Mr. Perry doesn’t see why people are so upset that he is, undoubtedly, a prolific writer. “If I want to work all by myself I should be allowed to do it!” he told me. “I don’t need 10 people in a room complaining about hours and health care and “unsafe working conditions” to come up with content. I’m a stable genius.” 

This reporter couldn’t fault Mr. Perry for wanting artistic independence, but to be honest was growing tired with his discussions on the free market and why the National Labor Relations Board was an unconstitutional exercise of executive powers and wanted to leave.

As I thanked Mr. Perry for his time I asked him to tell our readers about his upcoming projects. “I have 4 movies and 8 TV shows currently in production. They’re all comedies with a really dramatic Jesus scene toward the end. One of them is an adaption of Atlas Shrugged starring Madea called “Diary Of A Staunch Free-Market Libertarian Who Doesn’t Need Any Help From Anyone Now That She’s Got Hers.”   

_____________________________________________

The above is satire. Linked text are real and will take you to primary source. Here is a very real releaase from the WGA about Tyler Perry’s anti-union behavior dated October 2, 2008

Writers at Tyler Perry Studio to Take Strike Action – Will Picket Grand Opening and Ask Invited Guests Not To Attend

LOS ANGELES — The Writers Guild of America, West is taking on the fight for justice of writers who were fired when they tried to get a union contract with Tyler Perry’s production company, House of Payne, LLC. The Guild today filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), alleging that House of Payne unlawfully fired four writers in retaliation for their union activity. The charge also alleges that the company bargained in bad faith with the Guild, which is seeking to negotiate a contract covering the writers on Perry’s cable television series House of Payne and Meet the Browns.

The four writers, Kellie Griffin, Christopher Moore, Teri Brown-Jackson, and Lamont Ferrell, as well as supporters from the Writers Guild and the community, will be picketing during Saturday’s opening of Perry’s new studio and they’re asking invited guests to respect their picket line. Together, these writers have written over one hundred episodes of House of Payne. Since April of this year they have been involved in a union organizing campaign with the Writers Guild of America, West so that their work on that show and the upcoming Meet the Browns would be covered by a Guild contract. Despite the enormous success of House of Payne, Perry has refused to agree to a contract that would give the writers health care, pensions, and residuals. On Tuesday of this week he fired the writers, after warning them some weeks ago that they should “be careful about pushing the WGA deal or you could be replaced.”

“We’re asking all those who had planned to attend the opening of Tyler Perry’s new studio not to cross our picket line,” said writer Christopher Moore. “It’s very disheartening considering that this is a studio run by African Americans. What Tyler Perry is essentially saying to us is that ‘you’re black and there’s not a lot of opportunities for you so you’ll take what I give you’ – whether it’s fair or not.”

“I feel like I was slapped in the face, like we were used” said writer and WGAW member Teri Brown-Jackson. “We were good enough to create over a hundred episodes, but now when it comes to reaping the benefits of the show being syndicated and having other spin-offs from it, he decides to let us go unless we accept a horrible offer.”

“Disrespected, betrayed, saddened…it’s hard to describe,” said writer and WGAW member Lamont Ferrell. “The actors and a majority of the production crew on the show were working under union contracts and they received the pay and benefits that you need to survive on in this business. But after all those episodes and success when it came time for us to get a fair contract, we’re told on a conference call ‘sorry, you’re fired.’”

The show’s head writer, Kellie Griffin, added, “A lot of people who fought for civil rights and social justice never really saw what eventually came out of their work. While I’d like to see something positive come out of this for us, if this fight helps future black writers get what they deserve, that’s a good thing.”

The writers and their supporters will be picketing at the grand opening of Tyler Perry Studios on Saturday, October 4, starting at 4 pm, and on Sunday, October 5, starting at 9 am.

The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) is a labor union representing writers in the motion picture, broadcast, cable, and new media industries in entertainment and news. Founded in 1933, the Guild negotiates and enforces the contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members. It is involved in a wide range of programs that advance the interests of writers and their craft and is active in public policy and legislative matters on the local, national, and international level. For more information on the WGAW, please visit: www.wga.org.

 

As the fallout continues from President Trump’s assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, my editor told me to find a random Iranian-American to interview for a story about the feelings of their entire community about the possibility of war with Iran. You know, like the L.A. Times does. Lucky for me, I knew of a hookah bar in Encino where I was pretty sure I could find a Persian.

As I pulled into a hookah bar called “The Spot“, I knew from the white Mercedeseses in the parking lot that I’d be able to find some Persians there. “Uh, excuse me, are you a Persian male?” I asked an elderly Jamaican woman returning from the adjacent Chili’s who was getting into one of the white Mercedes. “No…child,” she said, herself playing into the caricature. I guess I’ll have to go into the hookah bar.

When I arrived at The Spot, I spotted (get it?) several men wearing medallions smoking a hookah while loudly complaining that the bowl wasn’t packed correctly. “Um, excuse me,” I approached. “You must be Iranians, right?” I asked.

“Bro, we’re not Iranian, we’re Persian,” said a large, concerned-looking man named Sepir Ardeshir. I asked Mr. Ardeshir if his concern was about the looming threat of war between the United States and Iran, but was told that his worried look was due to him having just gotten his eyebrows threaded earlier that day.

“Oh, that’s like getting your eyebrows waxed?” I asked, but was told it was “totally different” and then given the name of Sepir’s Aunt in Glendale and told I should see her about my own eyebrow situation. It was sort of offensive.

“But aren’t you at all concerned about what’s happening in the Middle East?” I interjected again, but was told by Sepir and several of his friends who I think were also named Sepir to just chill out and smoke some hookah with them while they talk about girls they knew in high school. I politely declined, alerting them that I didn’t smoke because my grandmother had died of lung cancer, but was told that “hookah doesn’t cause cancer, it’s fucking hookah” by one of the Sepirs as he unironically pulled out his pack of Parliament.

Feeling the pressure to partake, I agreed to smoke some of my new Persian friends’ hookah but it caused me to get lightheaded and ill. 

“Bro, it’s okay,” said Sepir 1, “you don’t have to smoke if you don’t want to.”

“I just did it to start a report with you so I could find out what you and, by extension, all of the Persians in Los Angeles feel about what’s happening between the U.S. and Iran. You know, like how the L.A. Times does,” I told him before taking another puff and throwing up some more.

“Persians aren’t a monolith and the community’s feelings about what is happening are complicated and varied based on our own family’s history with Iran and our opinions on U.S. politics,” Sepir told me.

“I’m sorry for stereotyping you,” I told him, still vomiting. “It’s okay,” let me drive you home you shouldn’t drive.

As Sepir and I left the Spot I thanked him for offering me a ride and told him I had a new appreciation for Los Angeles’s Persian community that extended far beyond any lazy stereotypes.

“Bro, I’m so glad to hear that,” he told me before driving me back to my place in his white Mercedes at 80 miles per hour while listening to EDM at its highest volume only to turn it off during the three separate times his mother called to check in on him during the 15 min trip.

Personal injury lawyer Liev Lebedev is used to chasing ambulances, but come Sunday the 40-year-old attorney will be chasing a Golden Globe thanks to a well-placed billboard he put up to promote his struggling law practice.

“Things have been very difficult following alleged, how do you say it? embezzlement accusation and investigation by phony Department of Justice,” said Mr. Lebedev in a heavy Ukrainian accent, “but Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor – Comedy or Musical will improve things.”

Mr. Lebedev believes his surprise nomination is the result of a billboard he took out off of Sunset advertising his law practice with the words “For Your Consideration” written in both English and Russian. A confidential source within the Hollywood Foreign Press admitted that he assumed the billboard was promoting “some Netflix show or something. You know, like one of those weird foreign ones that show up in the middle of the suggested ‘irreverent comedies’ category.” The source reportedly told his assistant to make sure whoever was behind that billboard was nominated for what he assumed was an outstanding comedic performance.

“I thought the guy looked funny. Like a Borat,” said the confidential source. When asked why he would nominate someone for a Golden Globe for a show he never saw, he acknowledged that he doesn’t watch new TV. “There are too many shows now,” he said, explaining “I mostly just watch old episodes of Frasier on Hulu,” before asking his assistant if it was too late to switch out Mr. Lebedev’s nomination for David Hyde Pierce. It was.

Mr. Lebedev maintains he is honored to just be nominated for the award, but sees such recognition as the first step to rebuilding his law practice. “Golden Globe is most prestigious award,” said Mr. Lebedev. “Who knows? Maybe if I win I next get EGOT and then Trump appoints me to Supreme Court.”

Ignoring the suggestion that President Trump could appoint a clearly corrupted Ukranian operative to the nation’s highest court for fear that it could happen, this reporter pointed out that the “G” in “EGOT” stands for Grammy and not Golden Globe.

“Really? So what is Golden Globe good for?” he asked.

“Heh, Ask Glenn Close,” I said, but Liev didn’t understand the reference. “Oh, Glenn Close won the Best Dramatic Actress award at the Golden Globes last year but then lost at the Oscars to Olivia Coleman who had won the Golden Globe for Best Comedic Actress.

Why would Golden Globes divide movies by comedy or drama?” asked Liev. “The distinction can be very difficult to make.”

“Yeah, it doesn’t really make sense,” I said. Liev tried to continue talking about the Golden Globes some more but I was getting bored with the conversation and excused myself.