Aspen, Days Three and Four My last day in Aspen was a whirlwind of shows, secret shows, awards, an awkward press conference, and one party in the most unbelievable house ever. First up, the shows. I saw Brian Finklestein (who was pithy and funny and pretty well-received), the Whitest Kids U Know (who were absurd and hilarious and very well-received), and Eliza Coupe (who was pretty, and pretty well-received. Oh, and she can do accents). Later on, I saw "Experts Only," which was a showcase of expert stand-ups Paul F. Tompkins, Dana Gould, and Russell Peters. Tompkins told three stories and killed, Gould was angry and excellent, but Peters wasn't quite "expert" enough for me, so I left early. That was a mistake, because after "Experts Only," there was a secret show. I knew about it, but the rumor was that it was Chris Tucker. Not wanting to sit through his "Everybody in Aspen's got a lot of money!" set again (say that in Chris Tucker's voice and it magically becomes a joke), I didn't go. Turns out, the secret show was Dave Chappelle. And it was a life-changing experience for everyone who attended. And Chappelle mostly just talked, about, you know, whatever. And it was hysterical. Also, it'll probably never happen again. Like, seriously, Amelie, sorry you missed it. It was great. So, where was I when Chappelle was doing the best thing he's ever done? I was in the basement of the St. Regis Hotel at the festival wrap party, which was kind of like a bad bar mitzvah (80s-rock-heavy DJ, dance floor, free drinks, and lots of comedians). But I did get to meet Rip Torn there––unfortunately he wasn't in NorthFace, but it was extremely worthwhile nonetheless––so everything evens out. Before the wrap party, I went to the Swingers reunion, where Doug Liman, John "Favs" Favreau, and Vince Vaughn talked about Swingers for two hours. It was interesting at points, dragging in others, but I stuck around in the hope that afterwards there would be a press opportunity, and, like a little kid waiting in line for Santa, I would be alotted five minutes to talk to Vince Vaughn, who had been reclusive the whole festival. Post reunion, there was a press op…but it was a press conference with Vaughn, and Liman, and Favs. Also, we were told that all questions had to be Swingers reunion-related. If anyone asked an off-topic question, the conference would immediately be over, and the offending reporter would be dragged off to the Sky Hotel and forced to interview Bill Bellamy at length. So, to sum up: we were only allowed to ask questions about the thing that people had already been asking questions about for two hours. Only two writers dug deep down inside of themselves and somehow managed to come up with two new Swingers-related questions. Then there was awkward silence. I really wanted to ask Vaughn if he knew why Joe Jackson was there (since no one else did), but I was afraid the reporters from Us Weekly and OK! would have their papparazzi run my cab off the road for ruining the press op, so I didn't. The press conference ended, and Vaughn, Liman, and Favs were whisked away, undoubtedly to some special closing-night soiree that was not the USCAF Wrap Party in the basement of the St. Regis Hotel. There was another closing-night party much later on that night, though, at a huge house up in the mountains. It took about 10 minutes driving up a dark, winding, snow-covered road to reach the place, but HBO had shuttles running from the St. Regis to the house for staff, and talent, and intrepid others who scored passes (i.e. me). It's called "The Goldberg Party," because a man named Goldberg owns the cliff-top mansion in which it's held each year. I didn't meet him, but here are a few things I learned about Mr. Goldberg: ––He likes bowling (the house had its own bowling alley) ––He enjoys wine (the house had its own wine cellar) ––His brother is a famous pro-wrestler (there was a wall of photos of someone involved in the WWE) ––He may or may not own Fed Ex (I also heard that he owned the town of Aspen, as well as some famous sushi restaurant. You decide which profession you want your millionaire host to have!) ––He must really like comedy and HBO (enough to open up his extraordinarily expensive house to dozens and dozens of HBO employees and comedians till 6 am) Anyway, I'm off the mountain now, and back in New York. But here are the final Aspen stats: 1. Comedians In Puffy Jackets: I think Vince Vaughn and his jacket win this one, because they're the most elusive. 2. Buzz: Now the buzz has translated into awards: Whitest Kids deservedly won Best Sketch. Aziz Ansari and Mitch Fatel tied for Best Stand-Up. Excellent character comic Kristen Schaal won Best Alternative. Rick Cleveland won Best One-Man Show for his show about hanging out with Bill Clinton. And Eliza Coupe won the Breakout Award, which should be called the "Castability Award," because every time I would ask someone "Is Eliza Coupe funny?" they would say, "Well, she's really castable." Ah, casting. It's what a comedy festival is all about! 3. Freebies: Look for the mauve sweater on eBay. 4. Public (or Semi-Public) Drunkeness: Dave Chappelle's Block Party director Michel Gondry playing drums with a local band at the Goldberg party. I'm not sure he was drunk, but a confused French director on drums in a mansion certainly merits a mention somewhere. 5. Anything Else I Can Think Of: If anyone can tell me why Michael Jackson's dad was in Aspen, I'll give you the mauve sweater. Or at least rig the auction in your favor.

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