We returned to Hilarities main stage at 4:20 on Saturday for "Doug Loves Movies" hosted by Doug Benson. Yeah, THAT Doug Benson. The concept is simple, Doug hosts a game show in which four other comics compete on behalf of four different audience members for cool prizes. Movie knowledge is the game. And Doug really does know his movies. Each comedian picks out some locally themed gifts and winner takes all. Gifts ranged from t-shirts and books to cool hotel swag and even some fun, uncool hotel crap. The show is actually a podcast. So we'll do a brief write-up here but for the complete show, please check out the podcast.
Our competitors Saturday were Dan Soder, David Gborie, Amy Miller and the man responsible for the entire festival...Ramon Rivas. So with Benson overseeing that group, funny was going to happen no matter what.
And it did.
The show starts with funny/punny audience signs. Signs like "Courtney Loves Movies" complete with pictures of movies featuring Courtney Love. Or the inexplicable "Doug will turn you every which way but Jeff".
A non-sensical attempt that Benson managed to make humorous.
Doug was reminded that Hilarities does indeed have a balcony. He had forgotten. And so Dan Soder, clearly the Trump favorite on this otherwise diverse panel of guests, was quick to sarcastically point out that Cleveland definitely has the "most talked about balconies in the comedy industry".
After also learning that "Cavs" is not short for baby cow, we were ready for introductions.
I don't know if it has ever been mentioned but Dan Soder sounds like a very funny Peyton Manning. The similarity in their voices took me a while to shake. Maybe it's just me, but give it a listen.
Then Ramon Rivas got a sweet introduction. As well he should. He gave some light background on the festival and how it has grown. This is year six, by the way, and every year is better than the last. Good luck topping 2017!!! We can't wait!!!
Ok. Back to the show. Ramon helped with the Ohio trivia. Ohio is not "for lovers" as Dan thought. That's actually Virginia. "Ohio is for fuckers" as Ramon suggested. We think that would look great on a stamp.
Or a license plate! David Gborie's selection for an unsung movie that Doug hadn't seen, but might like, was "Paper Soldiers". David said it makes him laugh a lot. Doug asked "well how much do you laugh at other Kevin Hart movies?" To which Gborie replied "Not". So I guess I need to see Paper Soldiers soon.
After looking for fun name tags, and procuring what Amy Miller described as "weed cookies", our four audience members were selected and each guest was now playing for their chosen fan's chance to win the prizes!
The cookies were gone quickly with this panel of comics despite Doug's personal review of "they're not good" and "I hope it'll be worth it ultimately, but for now I'm unhappy with my choice. I'll get back to you guys in forty minutes".
The movie topics Saturday ranged from "Cleveland Movies" to anything with Emilio Estevez...but again, it's all on the podcast.
It's very funny. You should check it out if you have the time. And let's be honest, you do.
So now let's take another detour and talk about Doug Benson.
We saw Doug chilling behind the scenes on Friday night.
As he was eating, a man who was obviously a fan was lingering nearby.
I watched to see how Doug was going to react. Politely or not-so-politely? Twenty minutes later, they are still talking and the guy is sitting right next to Doug. Just nerd-chatting about movies and stuff.
So that says a lot about Doug Benson. Dude is real. He's not a mega-star, but he is somewhere between very well-known and famous and he doesn't have to be so darned nice and approachable. But he is.
And literally every comedian there was also very accommodating.
If you wanted pictures, the comics were all very obliging. Small talk, even a drink with someone you just paid money to see perform was easily achievable. This was a festival for casual comedy fans and true comedy fanatics alike. It was all about the fun. And we did not use media passes for this event. General admission. Coolness was equally available for everyone.
So...to wrap it up, Doug Loves Movies is very fun, very funny and there are no slow points. It moves along nicely and very smoothly. We also had another "fruit and cheese plate" during the show. Those are becoming very addictive. Oh yeah, Hilarities is not a club, it is an entertainment complex. Main room, Cabaret, Martini Bar and Champagne Bar all with an unbelievable restaurant occupy the sprawling East Fourth Street complex. The restaurant alone is always worth visiting and as a result, anything you eat there is outstanding. Like the comedy.
Go to Hilarities and see for yourself.