The U.S. Comedy Arts Festival has a long history of heating up the cold, snowy winter in Aspen. In previous years, John Cleese reunited with Monty Python at the festival; Mike Judge had his first meeting with ”King of the Hill” cocreator Greg Daniels; and ”Everybody Loves Raymond”’s Ray Romano landed a network deal after doing a stand-up gig there.
This year’s festivities, which started Feb. 27 and run till March 3, have attracted another impressive roster. Whoopi Goldberg will receive the AFI Star Award; the new movie ”Death to Smoochy” (starring Robin Williams, Edward Norton, Jon Stewart, and Catherine O’Hara and directed by Danny DeVito) will screen; and Lily Tomlin, Oliver Stone, the Smothers Brothers, George Carlin, and Norman Lear will join in a tribute to the First Amendant. Meanwhile, comedy fans who have pockets deep enough to afford four days in this pricey ski resort can snap up tickets to stand-up acts by Janeane Garofalo, David Alan Grier, Jim Breuer, Louis C.K., and Richard Jeni.
Despite all that activity, we wanted to do something to tip the scales when it comes to star power, or at least when it comes to laughs. So we enlisted Space Ghost, host of Cartoon Network’s late-night chat show ”Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast” (Sundays, 11:30 p.m.), as our special correspondent. Each day, SG will give his own spin on what’s happening in Aspen, and more importantly, how he’s being treated. Read on for his insightful (and by ”insightful,” we mean ”obtuse”) reports.
2/26: Space Ghost before arriving at the festival
Aspen is the neatest place I’ve ever been and I haven’t even gotten there yet. My bosses at AOL-Time-Warner provided me with a map of Aspen and told me that if I can fly there with my superpowers, there will be plenty of snow from which to craft a suitable living fort for the comedy festival. Squirrels are abundant wherever there is comedy, and I know that if you stand close to the edge of the slope, a wayward skier will hit one for you, rendering it unconscious — the perfect mental state for skinning. Yes, the tender dark squirrel meat is rich in bone and cartilage, and will proffer a feast fit for a king in my snow castle in the parking lot just outside the St. Regis Hotel in downtown Aspen.
2/28: Space Ghost in Aspen
The thin mountain air here is chockful of comedy and moisture. Just this morning I broke bread with superstar Adam Sandler when he initiated eye contact with me in the parking lot outside the Opera House. When I approached him about a possible interview and maybe some money for food, he suggested that I not touch his coat. It’s good to know that I can always count on advice from famous people who are close personal friends of mine. In fact, just last night Michael Richards advised me to find someone else to breathe on or he was going to take the next jet out of town.
There’s not as much food here as I would have imagined. I mean, sure, they sell it, but who has money, right? I mean, besides all these people? So naturally I broke open a deer skull from the gift shop at the St. Regis and tried to suck the marrow out of the antlers. Turns out the skull was made of plastic. Can you believe that? So then I tried to eat it. And that’s when hotel security showed up. But don’t worry about me. I ‘m keeping out of the cold under the Jeep Cherokee where I’ve been sleeping. (Apparently the snow here is very powdery and not good building material for the castle I had planned.)
3/1: Space Ghost in Aspen
Yet another day of stars and excitement here at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in beautiful Aspen. Yesterday was a sneak preview of the dark comedy ”Death to Smoochy,” where superstars such as Adam Sandler, Robin Williams, Ed Norton, and Danny DeVito rubbed elbows inside near the heating vents. Someone said Salma Hayek was there too, but I was behind the theater huddling inside a Dumpster. In fact, I’m still there now, because no one will let me into any of the shows.
Whoopi Goldberg is to be awarded the 2002 AFI Star Award today at 5 p.m. For the sake of maintaining my secret identity, I cannot be seen there. Otherwise USCAF will likely give the award to me for my crime-fighting work and that would devastate Whoopi. So I’ll stay in this Dumpster and wait for the snow to stop soaking my clothes. After that, I’ve got other plans. While I was securing a wet hot dog bun from a horde of tenacious ants, I uncovered 12 tickets to Jim Breuer’s Heavy Metal Comedy tonight at midnight. So plan to read a lot about the Goat Boy tomorrow.
3/2: Space Ghost in Aspen
Or not. The creators of ”South Park,” Trey Parker and Matt Stone, were on a panel with Oliver Stone, Norman Lear, and Garry Trudeau on behalf of something involving something. Everyone acted very serious and there was also a lot of clapping. Oliver Stone isn’t nearly as funny in person as he seems in his Vietnam movies. He should do a Vietnam comedy where one of the Vietnamese soldiers gets hit on the head and trades places with Eddie Murphy somehow, and then they have to solve a murder mystery in L.A. And also, they’re cops. That would be pretty funny. I told him that too. His body language definitely said ”Yes, I’m interested.” But I think his mouth said ”Let go of my thigh or I will call security.”
It’s too bad Robin Williams wasn’t there or I might have sold my first script deal. He definitely knows a good idea when he hears one. One viewing of ”Bicentennial Man” will tell you that. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to actually see his stand-up appearance at the Late Night Lounge because my eyes are now black with frostbite. But it definitely sounded funny. And sometimes that’s all it takes to forget for a minute that your eyeballs are dead and starting to smell a little.
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