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The Column


The old joke is that Jewish people celebrate Christmas by eating Chinese food and going to the movies. But let's be realistic - many of us do that all year.

This morning I chose IHOP over Chinese food, as I didn't think egg drop soup would make the best breakfast. IHOP was thankfully open, a brilliant tactical move on their part. The place was packed - they were one of the only places serving breakfast, thus catering to Jews and people already tired of their family. But IHOP was not quite as packed as The House of Blues the night before. And they don't even have pancakes.

On Christmas Eve, there's not much to do if you're not Christian. Or if you're Christian and tired of your family. So I did what any Jewish guy in Los Angeles would do - I went to a party called "Shmooza Palooza."

Despite a name lamer than a monopod with a bum knee, the event itself wasn't bad. Every Christmas Eve, LA's House of Blues caters to a few thousand Jewish people and a few dozen others who just seem to really like Jewish people. It's just a big ol' party - nothing very Jewish about it except those in attendance. My roommate and I decided to check it out - it was that or watch "It's a Wonderful Life" for the eighth time in case it ends differently.

"Who knew Clarence was Kaizer Soze?!"

My roommate is comedian Adam Hunter, who has appeared in this column before (mainly when we lost his car in a parking garage). One of Adam's best qualities is his ability to say terribly ridiculous things simply to make whoever he is with laugh. Which made waiting in line much more fun.

"What's your name?" one girl asked him.

She was not prepared to hear Adam say he was Peter O'Brien from Kentucky, who relocated to LA as a missionary and was attending the event to do the Lord's Work. The guy at the door was also not prepared when Adam asked if everyone was there to see Bone Thugs & Harmony. Fun times were already being had at the House of Jews.

It was quite a scene. There were the sketchy old guys, many of whom weren't Jewish but were there because where there are short skirts and music, there will always be sketchy old guys. There were girls wearing the short skirts, some entitled to and some not as much. The male equivalent of that was there, too - guys wearing button shirts that didn't seem to button all the way up. It must have been because of all the chest hair in the way. There were roving packs of females hell bent on not talking to any guys until they got drunk, roving packs of males hell bent on getting those girls drunk, and normal people who just wanted to party. In other words, it was like your typical club, only filled with people my mother would want me to end up with. Except the sketchy old guys.

Adam and I had fun dancing, chilling, talking to people, and telling the occasional annoying person we were there Doing The Lord's Work. One person was blathering on and on about how she was a personal trainor, and she was so fit because she practiced what she preached. I replied, "Hey Peter, didn't you used to be a preacher?"

Most importantly, there was no Christmas music at the event. I know that some of you may think you like Christmas music, but the only people who actually like that stuff are the people who make money when it sells.

Think I'm wrong? Then imagine your favorite Christmas song. Now think about the last time you listened to it in May. I bet never. I like Outkast. You know how I know I like Outkast? I listen to them year-round. No one has ever been driving, heard "Holy Night" on the radio, and said, "Awww, yeah, this is my jam!"

Thankfully, the Jewmboree didn't have Hannukah music either. I'm not against Christmas; seasonal music is annoying no matter the season. I like hearing "Monster Mash" on Halloween once. But only once.

It was nice to have at least one place open on Christmas Eve - and a pretty good idea by the promoters. Maybe next year I'll produce a giant comedy show geared towards Jewish people and people who are tired of their family. That way there'd be no sketchy old guys. Unless you count some of the comedians.

Merry everything!

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