So you got the Facebook message from your home-town pal that we all dread – ‘I’m coming to LA! Can’t wait to hang out with you! HOLLYWOOD BABY!’, and you immediately begin to rig up an elaborate lie about how you are ‘so happy they’re coming out but you will probably be super busy that weekend’ because you don’t have the heart to show them your glamorous lifestyle involves attaching a pink mustache to your car to make money before you go home to your sad studio apartment in Glendale above an Armenian bakery. Fear not, we’re here to give you some insider tips into tricking your friends into thinking you are way cooler than you actually are while they’re here on their trip.
1. Lay Out Poolside As You Overlook The City
The Standard downtown is one of LA’s hottest hotels and night spots, and is also home to a rooftop pool which, for some inexplicable reason, is open to the public. That’s right, for no money at all you too can feel self conscious about your Midwest body type while some of the cities most attractive and unemployed people lay out and drink cocktails nearby. Get there early to snag a bodega, which will not only shield you from the sun’s harsh rays, but give you a chance to lay on a waterbed just like weekends at your old Uncle Jack’s place. Bring along your own picnic and make a day of it, or splurge on the delicious brats in their Biergarden.
2. Get Tacos. All The Tacos.
The cool thing about LA is there are taco trucks everywhere, and they are crazy cheap. Perfect for post-or-pre bar hopping. So what if you have to awkwardly wobble your plate and your Mexican coke? This is LA, where people eat standing up because it makes us look skinnier. If you want a really good deal, head to Candela in the Miracle Mile where they have $1 tacos all day on Wednesdays. If you go during happy hour you can easily have a feast and get tipsy for under $15 each. Go ahead, get that third margarita and let your best friend know her boyfriend isn’t really good enough for her – you know it needs to happen.
3. Go To A Television Taping
Tons of television shows tape in the LA area, Monday through Friday, and you can see them for FREE. With everything from American Idol to @Midnight to Pawnography (what the hell is that) you are guaranteed to find something your guests will like. Just go to www.oncameraaudiences.com and pick a a show. Impress your friends by printing out “VIP” passes, then when you are waiting for two hours before the taping, assure them that regular ticket holders have to wait twice as long. When you get inside, just insist that Chelsea Handler was too busy to bring you back to the green room. But don’t worry, free snacks abide – there’s usually a warmup guy that will throw out free snack size candies while repeating the same one-liners he’s been using for the last 15 years. Don’t be afraid to be VERY aggressive about grabbing the free stuff – that grandma from Ohio next to you doesn’t need to mess with her diabetes.
4. Catch A Free Comedy Show
At any given time in Los Angeles there are around fifty million free or cheap comedy shows happening, packed with lineups from well-known comics down to the ones who are the next big thing. Guarantee your friends they are going to see the next Sarah Silverman or Louis C.K. by checking out the expansive list of shows at the The Comedy Bureau, which lists all the best comedy happenings in the city. Many even offer free booze, but be sure your cousin Reggie doesn’t drink so much he starts heckling, even if his fart jokes get a lot of laughs from his pals down at the sewage plant.
5. Explore The Beach and People Watch
The best free attraction in the city is the one humans had nothing to do with – the ocean. Take your poorly tanned clan to the beach for the day and lay out, before you wander Venice boardwalk and get a contact high from the doctor’s offices selling weed cards, or the guys selling hemp fanny packs, or literally any person you’re near. It’s also a great place to do some people watching and get those Tupac and kitten-swearing-sunglasses shirts your friends are guaranteed to find nowhere else. Spend a little extra time and drive up the coast to Malibu for less crowded beaches and the chance to get a glimpse at a Matthew McConaughey, who’s probably playing hackey sack somewhere around there at this very moment.
So there you have it, those are just a few ways to impress your out-of-town friends for little to no money before you send them packing back home. For an extra edge, make sure to take lots of calls from your “agent’, and constantly be looking for someone better to talk to while you’re with them. If you follow this guide, they are guaranteed to have a great time and return to your hometown brimming with stories about how cool your life is back in L.A. Settle down, eat a Lean Cuisine by yourself, and relax…that is, until all your other friends decide it sounded so fun that they can’t wait to visit either. Then get those shades on, baby, it’s SHOWTIME!
Barbara Gray is a comedian and writer in Los Angeles. She loves you. Listen to her podcast Lady to Lady or check out her pizza tweets @BabsGray.