The Stars of ‘Workaholics’ Recall Their Most Drunken Nights

Although it’s hard to believe, the stars of Workaholics—Blake Anderson (left), Adam DeVine (center), and Anders Holm—make Michael Scott look as responsible as Anthony Hopkins in The Remains of the Day. In the trio’s new half-hour scripted series, which premiered last month on Comedy Central, the real-life friends and co-founders of internet sketch group Mail Order Comedy play buddies who work together at a telemarketing company.

Not surprisingly, boneheaded sex debates (How much should a straight guy charge the fellah he’d fellate?) eclipse any real work they might accomplish, a slackerdom worsened by their on-the-clock drinking and frequent bong hits. Over the phone from Los Angeles, the comedians prove that their art imitates life in a big, blotto way. “We went to La Velvet Margarita Cantina LA for this season’s wrap party, and I definitely took way too many free shots of tequila,” Anderson says. “I ended up passing out inside a bathroom stall. Adam discovered me there and he had to fend to people trying to do cocaine over my passed-out body.” Says DeVine, “I kept trying to pick Blake up, but some dude with a bag of cocaine was like, ‘You don’t mind if I get in here real quick, do you?’” Still, DeVine’s favorite place to make new friends is Hollywood Improv. “The girls there like funny guys,” he says, “which is good for me because I’m not Hollywood good looking. I have neck fat.” Holm, meanwhile, prefers “pounding pineapple-infused vodka with babes” in the back room of Bar Lubitsch in West Hollywood. “ That place is great for LA cab companies, but it’s bad for my liver.”

Industry Insiders: Med Abrous, Mile-High Mover

Thompson Hotels’ director of promotions and entertainment Med Abrous, on his once-in-a-lifetime guest performance with Prince, bringing movie night to clubs and the bright side of the bottle-service decline.

What’s the best night you’ve ever had at one of your venues? A little over a year ago, I put together some concerts in the Roosevelt Ballroom for Prince. He performed six shows for about 300 people per show. It was so intimate, and he put on such an amazing show. During the third show, I’m sitting with a group of people — the crowd was almost more famous than he was, which is really weird — and he starts playing this riff, then calls my name and says, “Yo Med! Get up here.” So I get up onstage with Prince, and he’s playing “Play that Funky Music White Boy,” and I basically sing onstage with him playing backup guitar. It was amazing. I have a picture to prove it because it sounds like such a tall tale. I think that was pretty much the highlight of my life.

Was your performance any good? You know what? I have moves. I’ve really got moves. I was even doing mic stand tricks; I was milking it. Can I sing? Not really. But I put on a show — I was very entertaining. It didn’t help that I didn’t know all the words, but he was helping me out a little bit. It was one of those things where it’s like, okay, try to top this.

How many Thompson properties are you responsible for? I’m based out in LA right now, and I take care of all the front-of-house stuff for the Tropicana Bar, Teddy’s, Above Beverley Hills, and our new property Above Allen, which I’m really excited about. I’m responsible for programming the music, hiring the DJs, hiring promoters where they’re needed, and coming up with creative ideas to drive business.

How did you get into the hotel business? While I was going to Parsons, a lot of my friends were DJs and into nightlife, so to make some extra money I started throwing parties, and I got pretty good at it. I’ve always been interested in hotels, and even though I run the bars, it’s really all-encompassing because bars can be very much one-note, while hotels are multifaceted and have a more interesting operation. Jason Pomeranc, who owns the Thompson Group, was a good friend of mine — we had some mutual friends — and he hired me to do the Tropicana Bar, then we started to do Teddy’s and … voila! Who do you admire in the industry? I think somebody who’s really done it right is Sean MacPherson. He seems to have a great sensibility and great sense of timing for all the places he’s opened. I really respect his work — he’s got a ton of places, including The Bowery Hotel, Swingers, and a great tequila bar called El Carmen in LA. They’re places that last because he makes them accessible and not too exclusive. He delivers a great product with great service and a cool aesthetic. I would definitely use his career as a model.

What’s the best part of your job? I actually enjoy the creativity behind coming up with different concepts that people would like. For instance, in the summertime at the Roosevelt’s Tropicana Bar, which is kind of an oasis inside Hollywood, on Sunday or Monday we’re going to be doing movie nights. We will have different people curate the movies, and we’re building special menus with truffle popcorn, colby hotdogs, etc. It’ll be a night when people don’t necessarily want to go out and rage, but they’ll go and see a movie in a bar. Finding different ways to find revenue is something I really enjoy. The second thing is that I actually genuinely like people. Some people in this business actually don’t, but I tend to get along with people and enjoy most of their company.

You’re a bi-coastal boy. Where do you hang out when you’re in New York? I love to eat. I’m a closet foodie, so I have some go-to restaurants whenever I come to New York. I love Frankie’s in Brooklyn on Court Street, and I’m always discovering new places like Inoteca, which I really like. Frank, I’ve been going to forever on 2nd Avenue and the Corner Bistro to get my Bistro burger on — it’s the world’s greatest burger. In terms of bars, it all depends on what neighborhood I’m in, but there are a lot of great bars on the LES (besides Above Allen, of course) like Pianos and a lot of little local joints. But having a lot of friends in the business means that I have friends who own bars, so when I’m in New York, I usually do the rounds of all my friends’ bars, like 3 Steps on 18th Street, and then the bigger, popular spots also.

And in LA? In LA, the closest bar to me is the Chateau Marmont, so I like going there — the Bar Marmont is really great. There’s also been an emergence of a lot of really cool dive bars like The Woods, El Carmen, and Bar Lubitsch that I enjoy.

Which of your bars do you spend the most time at? Teddy’s. It’s kind of like my baby. It’s something that I work really hard on and has managed to stay successful for a long time. It’s a great space. In LA, a lot of places tend to be really slick and overdesigned, but Dodd Mitchell designed this space, and it really has a lot of character. The Roosevelt is already a historical landmark, and the design really lends itself to that. It has kind of a wine cave kind of feeling — it’s dark and comfortable — and we have great staff, great service, and it’s become kind of like Cheers, where people know each other and know that there will always be a good crowd and great music. We have great DJs that we always rotate, in addition to live music, so it’s become almost an institution at this point.

What positive trends do you see in the hospitality industry? Well, it’s more of a reality and not a trend, but the state of our economy is forcing us to do things differently and more efficiently. I think it’s actually a good thing that for the first time in a long time. People are going to actually have to live within their means. People are really tightening up their belts and trying to find interesting ways to still be successful in this economy. Bottle service, for example, is starting to fizzle, which I think actually has a good effect in the long run. I remember when bottle service first started; I was talking to Steve Lewis about this earlier. I remember that Life was one of the first places that people actually didn’t have to be cool to get in … they didn’t have to be artists anymore. And all of a sudden the investment bankers and hedge fund guys could come in and buy bottles and be in an exclusive place, and I think it hurt nightlife in a huge way. Now, with those people not spending as much money, and bottle service not being as prevalent in New York especially, I think it’s coming back to cool people coming together. Artists, etc. People who didn’t necessarily have money before the crash, and can still go out. I think that’s had a positive effect on nightlife.

Where do you see yourself in the future? I think the natural progression of things is to open my own place, but I’d definitely like to be in the hospitality business. I’d love to start with a small hotel and see what happens.

What are you doing tonight? I’m going to my parents’ house and having a home-cooked meal.

Industry Insiders: Christian Frizzell, Redwood’s Swashbuckler

The native Angeleno and self-made nightlife poobah shares his thoughts on downtown business, celebrity joints, and his movement into the art world.

What do you do? Well, this is a question I ask of myself a lot lately. I used to describe myself as a bean counter because of my consulting business for bars. In the cash-happy, alcohol-lubricated business, I was the checks and balances guy. Now I’ve become more of a glad-hand — a lot of meeting and greeting. People have been calling me a trendsetter, though I see myself as just having a healthy work ethic. If I have to sum myself up as one thing, it would be an ambassador of the service industry.

Besides your own Redwood Bar & Grill, where can you be found in the evenings? If I have to say one restaurant in Los Angeles, it would have to be Musso & Franks. Whether it’s some hipster investor I’m trying impress, my relatives from out of state, or a nice dinner out with my wife, it is always in the top five.

I am not a club guy. So my opinion should be taken with a grain of salt. However, The Edison has the right vibe and music for me. Add the historical element and knowledgeable bartenders, and I’m satisfied with my club experience there. My favorite bar right now would be Sean MacPherson’s Bar Lubitsch. I am not a vodka person — I love scotch, scotch, scotch — but the vodka drinks I’ve had there have converted me. The vibe is pre-WWII, Parisian parlor with a flair for the Bolshevik.

Many people seem to admire MacPherson. Sean MacPherson is the person who taught me the importance of the little details without forgetting the big picture. And Keith McNally is someone whose talent is only transcended by his success.

What’s one positive trend that you see in the hospitality industry? It seems to me that franchises are out, and kitsch is in. Inspiration and creativity are two of the most attractive qualities available.

Negative trends? Celebrity-driven hotspots drive me crazy. They are never what they’re hyped up to be, and they crash and burn almost as fast as they open.

Do you think Downtown’s renaissance will continue if the economy continues to go downhill? I do. I grew up in Los Angeles, and Downtown always had a majestic quality to it. There is something about the poorest of the poor being next to some of the wealthiest of the wealthy that nurtures dynamic creativity. That’s one of the esoteric reasons I believe in Downtown’s growth. Another reason is that Los Angeles can’t grow out anymore — we have to grow up, as in height. Downtown already has the infrastructure for that.

Would LA be a better nightlife town if it had reliable public transport, or are we car people no matter what? Absolutely. More trains, cabs, and buses, and later hours too. We work hard, we play hard. We should all have access to safe, reasonable transportation.

What is something that people might not know about you? That I’m shy and don’t like crowds.

What are you doing tonight? Tonight I am having a dinner meeting with my first featured artist, William Herron, for the gallery I’m opening in February 2009. The gallery will be downtown on 2nd Street and is called the “Federal Arts Project.” Willy and I are going for noodles in Little Tokyo. After that, I’m going to try and catch Mike Stinson’s set at the Redwood. Ahoy!

One-Day Tour: West Hollywood

imageWelcome to the gayborhood. Known as one of the most notable gay villages in the country, WeHo is also home to some of the best bars, restaurants, and shopping in all of Los Angeles. The vibe is friendly and the streets are walkable — this is one spot in LA where you can get all you need within a few blocks. The 90069 is filled with hot young things walking their dogs — due in part to the tight rent control in this area (cheap rent!) and the extremely dog-friendly landlords. For the first-time visitor, here’s your primer.

Stay: Chateau Marmont This beautiful, strange, matchless castle on the hill pulls stars for private bungalow overnights and rock-star debauchery. This is the spot to work your kinks out: relax, get wild, hide out, get noticed, anything goes. With all this rock n’ roll wrapped neatly in luxury linens, you may never leave the grounds. You should. But you might not.

10 a.m. Breakfast at Hugo’s. There’s a good chance you’ll sip coffee next to the latest hip producer/director/actor/creative in Hollywood. One of the top spots for power breakfasting in LA. Try the pasta Mama, it’s award-winningly delicious. Tea-lovers: You’ll be delighted to browse the several pages of offerings.

11:30 a.m. Head over to the Pacific Design Center. Browse the 130 design showrooms and the latest offerings from MOCA. Admire the oversized art surrounding the way-modern building.

1:30 p.m. Stop by Ariya and fill up on sushi. Sit in the covered back patio, and definitely order the OMG roll — it lives up to the name.

3 p.m. Put your chucks on and get ready to shop. First stop, Book Soup. This funky labyrinth of books is littered with staff recommendations and rocks an authentic creaky wooden floor. Once you’ve had your fill of the written word, pop over to Fred Segal. Trendsetters rule the roost here. The shopgirls are likely too cool for you, but admire the goods anyway. Next up, Resurrection: Vintage gowns, swoon. In case vintage isn’t your thing, check out A Bathing Ape down the street — hip hop sneakers on a conveyor belt. Then stroll over to Kidrobot and pick up the latest in limited-edition art-tastic “toys.” Whatever happens, make sure you end up at Wasteland, a Melrose institution, filled with the best vintage clothes in the city.

7 p.m. Go see the latest film at The Arclight (you are in LA for fck’s sake). See our list of the top theaters in Los Angeles.

9:30 p.m. Dinner at Comme Ca. Unpretentious French bistro. Try the steak frites and the risotto.

11:30 p.m. Roll out. Have a beer at Barney’s — and don’t be skerred if someone gets loud; the Bean has a penchant for lite bar fights. Wanna chill? Head to Bar Lubitsch, the red Russian lounge with top-shelf vodkas. Wanna people-watch? Head to The Abbey — the hottest cruising spot in town, boys who like boys who like girls who like girls, it’s all here. Wanna dance? Head to Area, of The Hills fame. Bottles, tables, dancing, preferably all three at the same time.

Bonus Round: • In town on a Sunday? Check out the Fairfax Flea Market, it’s a sure bet for funky jewelry, boho dresses, and other awesomeness. • Up late night, err, early morning? Irv’s Burgers opens at 8 a.m.

Straight Up: Sean MacPherson

pf_main_seanmcph.jpg Sean MacPherson and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore must use the same beauty treatment. Both have the gangly strides and the “dude” demeanor of a Valley teenager, and the energy of a golden retriever. “It’s taxidermy,” says MacPherson, who we caught up with while he galloped on a treadmill in Manhattan. “I’m pickled in alcohol.”

The bi-coastal MacPherson, 42, fresh off the success of the West Village’s Waverly Inn—which he co-owns with longtime business partner Eric Goode—recently opened Bar Lubitsch in Hollywood, a Russian-themed vodka emporium. The Mao-red space has already become the hot ticket for a subtly-chic tribe of Angelenos who aren’t looking for a trendy, micro-mini-wearing set, but are looking for a sophisticated outpost to chill in (with 200 vodkas behind the bar). No surprise that his partner, Jared Meisler, managed cool-and-collected Bar Marmont when MacPherson owned that hot property too. In Los Angeles, MacPherson still presides over the enduring Swingers, the Mexican cantina El Carmen, and the accommodating Jones. In New York, he co-owns The Park, the Maritime Hotel, and together with Goode, he’s just opened two new boutique hotels, the posh former brothel Lafayette House (where Ross Bleckner and Julian Schnabel have been doing time), as well as the antiques-crammed, architectural salvage outpost that is the 135-room Bowery Hotel.

Growing up “between Malibu and Mexico,” MacPherson may have picked up a little of both place’s laissez-faire vibes. “I’ve worked my whole life,” he says, “but I’ve never had a job.”