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  • Writer's pictureJenny Wynter

The End is Nigh

Oh boy: talk about going out with a bang. Today was quite possibly the best day of the entire trip. Holy overpriced bananas, batman.

But let’s backtrack to last night, shall we?

Beep, beep, beep.

That was me reversing.

So…I decided to take a stroll down Hollywood Boulevard in the early evening, a move which turned out to be amusing, insightful and mildly disturbing. Basically, the entire strip is just filled with hundreds of variations of the same shop – that is, filled with every Hollywood-ised souvenier you can imagine, from “Best Dad” Oscars to celebrity photographs to Street Signs. Then there’s the people – tourists, obviously, but also various street performers (one being a frozen Michael Jackson impersonator who, upon receiving a dollar in his hat, would spring to life for a few seconds of dancing to Smooth Criminal) and wannabe hip-hop musicians touting their wears and trying to sell their CDs on the streets. Combine this with the stars on the Walk of Fame (I was rather chuffed to stumble straight onto Saturday Night Live’s Gilda Radner’s), then you’ve pretty much got one long, celebrity-obsessed street.

I would imagine actual celebrities avoid it like cellulite.

I wandered back to my hotel and then ventured next door to the Comic’s Lounge, where I straight away bumped into Tom Gleeson and his bro. We ended up hanging out, chatting and having beers over a couple of hours and discuss the pros and cons of LA. Turns out that not only were we all staying at the same hotel but our flights back to Oz the following night were leaving within twenty minutes of each other – they promptly offered to give me a ride out to the airport…what a lovely couple of lads!

I forced myself to go to bed so as to avoid self-destructing the following day…

I woke up and greeted my last USA day with fatigued excitement. Steve Kaplan picked me up and drove me to a rehearsal studio in Studio City, the journey of which I spent ogling the mansions in the Hollywood Hills.

We worked together for a couple of hours – which, to cut a long story short, was incredibly useful and inspiring – and then I headed over to the famous and very VERY exclusive Magic Castle, apparently the most famous magician’s club in the world!

The second I walked in the door, I was AWESTRUCK. I wish I was allowed to take photos in there as it feels almost impossible to describe it in words. Ornate decorations, amazing things everywhere you turn…to even get into the main part of the castle you have to approach an owl and say “Open Sesame” upon which a bookcase opens to let you in. You get the picture.

What followed in the castle felt pretty much like being in one of the magical lands at the top of the Faraway tree, including: – Partaking in the most unbelievable buffet I have ever had (I’m talking champagne, roast, pastas, salmon, prawns, blue vein cheese, salads, chocolate mousse…in other words, every amazing thing you could ever hope to ingest) which, in true excessive American style, was classified as ‘brunch’. Whatever. – Strolling through the myriad of rooms, one of which featured Irma, the invisible piano player, playing your songs on request (she did a rowsing version of “Waltzing Matilda” for me) – Being shown some magic card tricks by a member of the club, one card of which I was even allowed to keep as a souvenier. Awww. – Witnessing not one, not two, but three magic shows!

The actual tricks aside, the place is just damn magical. My mind was almost blown away – I kept pinching myself through the whole thing (metaphorically, of course: I may be a glutton, but not for punishment) to make sure that it was real. What a way to spend my last day here!

I met up with musical improv genius Michael Pollock afterwards (who got me into the Castle in the first place) who then took me to check out the Sunday afternoon Second City improv shows (of which he is musical director) – it was so so cool to see not only another show format, but the Second City venue, which adjoins the famous Improv Comedy Club. My trip to the bathroom was delayed when I got distracted eyeballing the corridor of photographs of famous faces who have graced its stage: Jim Carrey, Jerry Seinfeld, Danny DeVito…I’ll stop there before I’m exposed as the hack I am.

Then…as I left, Michael handed me one of the BEST presents I think I’ve ever received in my entire life: the third draft manuscript of his upcoming book How to Write Funny Lyrics: The Comedy Songwriting Manual. Needless to say, I was completely and utterly gobsmacked: I could have cried. I was 100% going to buy a copy as soon as it got released anyway (which I believe is in a month or so) so to be handed this incredible gift by someone I consider to be an absolute genius – complete with his own notes and everything – was just beyond belief.

I decided to use my buoyant heart as a floatation device in the hotel’s roof-top pool, for one last classy LA romp. It felt cool.

In fact, the only thing cooler was then heading downstairs and having Tom Gleeson and his brother Nick pull up ready to head off to the airport…in a silver convertible.

I’ve gotta confess – I think I’ve used up so much of my ‘cool’ quota in this trip that I fear I’m destined for a life-time of klutz-ridden dagginess.

But…at least I’ll have the memories.

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