A long line of people trail around the corner of Sunset Boulevard, many of them dressed to impress on a seemingly inconspicous Tuesday night.
The World Famous Comedy Store holds sets 365 days a year featuring some of the hottest comics and comedic actors in show business today, being the middle of the week doesn’t stop the likes of Joe Rogan, Chris D’Elia, Tony Hinchliffe, Bobby Lee, and of course, jiu-jitsu legend Eddie Bravo from jumping up to work on their set. Many don’t know that in addition to internationally being renowned for teaching sold-out jiu-jitsu seminars on the regular, Bravo subsequently tours with Tinfoil Hat Comedy to put on shows with different comedian friends of his, notably Sam Tripoli.
Similar to how Bravo runs drills for his students at 10th Planet Headquarters only a 20-30 minute drive south from Sunset Boulevard to downtown Los Angeles, professional comics frequent the club to hone their craft, using the short sets and the ‘No Heckling’ rules of the longtime Hollywood mainstay as a way to work out similar to how a body-builder may use a weight room to prep for a competition. New jokes are experimented with, old jokes are recycled with a new twist or quirk, and stage presence is polished.
Eddie will be the first to tell you that his number one priority has always been his jiu-jitsu school and his students. Before informing his students that he would be taking this rare Tuesday night off, he reminded them that he dislikes being away from his students for even one class, going so far as inviting as many of his regulars to come enjoy the set as his guests that would be willing. The result, a cadre of 10th Planet logo-wearing patrons standing at the entrance awaiting to be escorted in.
“Who are these guys?” one guard asked.
“These are Eddie Bravo’s crew,” replied another.
“WOW! Ok remember guys, no filming, no heckling, absolutely no cell phone use, it’s a two drink minimum per person, do you understand?”
We all nod.
The one’s who don’t drink understand that it is more of a ‘two-item’ minimum, bottled water would qualify.
They escort us to the corner of the Main Room with a booth reserved for Eddie’s crew.
Eddie stops by the table poking out from backstage, giving everybody a fist bump, thanking us for coming through to support him.
“Maaaan they were SO mad at me! They asked ‘How many people did you bring?!’ They were so mad!”
Needless to say this wasn’t the first time a 10th Planet collective frequented the club, and it certainly won’t be the last. With a sold-out show on the helm featuring some of the premier comedians on the planet, it’s no surprise that the Comedy Store was trying to fill every seat in the house and max out it’s revenue.
Eddie heads back stage and the show begins with master of ceremonies Sam Tripoli. Tripoli, a newfound dad of two twin daughters and comedy tourmate of Eddie’s, jokes that he named his daughters ‘Ninja’ and ‘Ghost’, also joking that he wishes his kids came out as a different race just for the comedic value it would provide. He sets the stage for each of the comedians, acting as the de facto emcee of the event.
Eddie comes up and the corner erupts. He begins his set by stating “I’m not going to get into politics. I swear I’m not”. Naturally, he uses the opportunity to make a couple political jabs, pokes, feeding the crowd and drawing laughs. He then delves into male/female relations, subject matter that is more or less unfit to print but had the room filled with raucous bellyaching laughter.
Joe Rogan came on and entertained the crowd with a set befitting of the long-time comedy veteran. He brought about a classic joke where he took an edible before an airplane flight, something he likes to do, but got stuck in traffic on the way over and was being patted down by security by the time it hit full swing. He weaved a tale that took psychedelic turns and kept the audience actively engaged and roaring.
What stole the show though was the followup comedian Tim Dillon. By this point, Eddie had made his way back to our seats just as the act was set to begin. Whereas Eddie made it a point to minimize the political wisecracks, Tim Dillon doubled-down. The entire row of 10th Planet patrons could barely breathe from laughing so hard, literally being on the verge of tears. Some of the analogies that Dillon drew had Eddie dubbing him an ‘absolute genius.’
As another couple comedians began their set, the crowd slowly started to thin. Eddie was met outside by his students, kicking back and telling stories as he does many of the nights at 10th Planet HQ. One patron approached him having caught a show somewhere in Texas, and Eddie remembered him. The guy claimed to know Eddie through a mutual friend in their youth and though the two had never really hung out, there was a time around when Eddie was 19 or 20 that the two had hung out in a car for hours listening to music. Eddie hilariously recounts the story, saying that as the guy approached him in Texas and started reminiscing about it Eddie’s mind started to piece it all together. The charisma with which he interacted to star-struck patrons of the Comedy Story was gracious in it’s appearance, as Eddie simply overdelivers in his interactions with his fans. He cracks jokes, shares a part of his life to anyone who is willing to listen, and truly gives himself to the person he is speaking to at the moment, making it no surprise as to how and why he has developed into a recognizable personality off the mat and an A-list teacher on the mat.
It’s rare I take a night off training, but as many of my fellow compatriots of the school that Eddie built would agree, nights like that night are hard to come by and well-worth going to support your friend and mentor. There can be no question that any jiu-jitsu athlete or even casual hobbyist should include a trip to the Comedy Store to watch Eddie Bravo on their bucketlist trip to Los Angeles. You might just create an unforgettable memory.