Stand-up comedian Jeff Ross, best known for his super insulting celebrity roasts, stopped by Occupy LA for a quick set peppered with obligatory jokes about the smell (even though there isn’t any, it keeps getting mentioned) and the place looking like a Phish concert, interspersed with inspirational words and some cracks at Oprah and the banks. Ross had the help of a local homeless guy whose wisecracks, heckling and goofing off were pure comic genius. Ross said:
Any expression of free speech I love…You’re out here being honest with yourselves. It doesn’t matter why you’re mad; desperation isn’t always articulate, we’re out here for all different reasons…I love what you’re standing for and for taking patriotism by the balls.
Ross’ set brought laughs and groans, he’s a slightly warmer, cuddlier Don Rickles, but things got a little weird when a guy jumped up for the open mic and told the audience that as sovereign individuals we don’t have to follow the laws, then handed the mic off to another dude who launched into ramble about something another, when a woman off to the side called buzz kill #2
and claimed he had been harassing her. The crowd then took up the chant of
We are the 99%
and the sound system, which is solar powered, died.
A retired policeman in uniform (they do film shoot detail), had come down specifically to see Ross perform. He said it was funnier than anything he’d watched on Comedy Central and that he felt it was a good thing people were expressing themselves at Occupy, and that things had to change. The same sentiment was express by a man I spoke to who works for Los Angeles County government. He told me he didn’t think it was right that elected officials can retire with a pension that is up 150% of their salary and full benefits.