At my seven-year mark in Los Angeles, I share what I’ve discovered about the city.
Today is my seventh anniversary of moving to L.A. One week after I graduated college in 2001, I got on a plane with my parents and came out here… with no money and no job… to see what I could do. And while I haven’t achieved my goals here — not even close — I’ve made a living as a comedy writer for damn near five years now, which I am genuinely happy about.
Anyway, yesterday, I wrote the first 11 things I’ve learned about L.A. since I moved here in ’01. Today, I have 11 more.
1 | Crazy celebrity sightings do randomly happen
Even though this is Hollywood and celebrities are all over the place… despite the locals’ insistence to the contrary, people in L.A. still get excited about celebrity sightings. We talk about them. A few weeks ago, a few co-workers and I were eating at Chipotle and David Beckham sat down next to us to eat. Then Lil’ Romeo came over and started talking to him. And as we walked out of the restaurant, Henry Winkler passed us walking down the street. And even though, in theory, we in L.A. are “too cool” to care about that… we love that stuff.
2 | There is no good Chinese food in this city
Period. I’ve tried it all, even in Chinatown. L.A. just can’t do Chinese food.
3 | But sushi…
However, L.A. does have world class sushi restaurants… and they’re all in strip malls. Seriously. You go up to the Valley and have some of the world’s finest sushi in a restaurant that’s sandwiched between a Radio Shack and a dry cleaner. And no one finds this odd.
4 | The In-N-Out life
When you first move here, you eat at In-N-Out burger. It’s delicious. And then you get worried that you’re going to eat it all the time and gain 200 pounds. But that doesn’t happen. As you live here longer, basically, the only time you go to In-N-Out is when you have guests in town who want to eat there. And when you go inside, you still can’t believe how cheap it is, how good it tastes and how there’s always a line.
5 | Avocadoland
I’d probably eaten avocado once a year when I lived in the Midwest. In L.A., there’s avocado and/or guacamole on everything. Seriously.
6 | The quirks of the local news
Newscasters always refer to the L.A./Orange County/Valley/Inland Empire area as the “Southland.” No one besides newscasters uses the term “Southland.” Also, every weatherman in this city has an awesome fake name like Dallas Raines or Johnny Mountain.And, yes, the L.A. news stations love televising car chases and even have a full vernacular to use during said chases (“The cops trying the pit maneuver here!” However, discussing the L.A. news obsession with car chases is very well-treaded ground, so I won’t go into it anymore.)
7 | Don’t sleep on downtown
Every six months or so, I meet someone who swears that downtown L.A. is about to be THE up-and-coming area. People have been insisting that for seven years. It ain’t happened yet… and I just don’t ever see it happening.
8 | Or Koreatown?
When I moved here in ’01, I moved into Koreatown, which, people said, was starting to become more mainstream with young people… and was on pace to become THE up-and-coming area. It wasn’t true seven years ago… and I just don’t ever see it happening.
9 | The missing beer
Busch Light still hasn’t made it to L.A. And it looks like it never will. Which is just a genuine tragedy.
10 | The forgotten theme park
No one ever goes to Universal Studios.
11 | Will I ever leave?
And finally, people ask me if I could see myself living in L.A. for “a while”… or if I see myself moving back to Cleveland or Chicago or wherever. And I’ll say now what I’ve been saying all along: I love it here. And I see myself here for the foreseeable future… and probably beyond. At least until global warming makes California fall into the ocean and/or the entertainment industry relocates to somewhere like Des Moines. Here’s to another seven years.
And in case you’re wondering (which you aren’t), I spent my seven year anniversary at work… where I made plans to visit the set of My Name is Earl to interview people tomorrow… then I rode my bike home… almost got hit by a car… went to play adult kickball… then stayed with my friends at a bar until 2:00 A.M. on a Monday. I would say that everything’s going just like I planned… but it’s not… and I wouldn’t have it any other way.