Today I flew to LA to decompress before pushing forth to my third San Diego Comic Con. Upon landing I was met by Gary Leli, a fellow New York comedian who is relocating to California. Gary is as classy as they come— he picked me up in a car that looked like it was straight out of a Bond film. We put the top down, donned our sunglasses and zipped through LA traffic listening to Billy Joel before arriving at his beautiful Hollywood home. Dinner and drinks were in order. Lots of Drinks. (My flight had been diverted to New Mexico because there wasn't enough fuel in the plane to get us from New York to Los Angeles. Because of course there wasn't.)
Copious cocktails were bookended with a nightcap cigar on the deck in the warm open air: We were at the zenith of our chillaxitude.
The next morning we decided we’d hit the historic Beverly Hills hotel for some libations and merriment. His fiancée, the lovely Lindsay, ordered us an Uber. The phone bleeped to tell us he’d be here in 4 minutes, and that his name was Getty.
In his profile photo he looked like Buddha (if Buddha always wore a cap he made himself and drove a Toyota Sienna).
As the car pulled up, the doors flung open to reveal a veritable treasure trove of snacks, water, apple juice, fresh bananas, soft drinks and wonderment. Our driver was wearing a cap that said "Dr. Food Man Chew" and by golly did we take heed.
I grabbed a banana and a water and went to town as we hummed towards the Hills of Beverly. Getty had a story -and dammit, he was going to tell it whether we liked it or not.
Apropos of nothing, he held up a sign that he'd kept on his dash that read "Dream Big." It was at that point he told us about his life as a Chinese chef at his restaurant Food Man Chew, and about his son who -of course- was a stand-up comic.
He rattled of his spiel as he'd almost certainly done a million times prior, and in doing so missed about a dozen turns on the GPS, ensuring the length of the trip matched the length of his story.
At one point he said, "I changed my name to Getty because I read a book about a man named Getty. Very interesting fellow. So I change my name to Getty."
"It used to be George" he said.
He then went on to tell Gary that he could teach him to make hot and sour soup in two hours, and that we were all going to win the lottery. At which point he reached into his sunglasses compartment and grabbed a lottery ticket for tonight's draw and handed it back to Lindsay.
If we win, we're going to track him down and split it with him, so he can re-open his restaurant and make Gary some soup.
Thanks for the ride, Getty.