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Art and comedy: The Groundlings and The Getty are two worthwhile Los Angeles destinations 

When I first walk into The Groundlings Theatre on Melrose Avenue in LA for an April 6 Saturday night show, I'm initially struck by its intimate size and feel.

For an improv and sketch comedy outfit that was the springboard for the careers of Will Ferrell, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Jon Lovitz, and so many other greats, I guess I pictured something more extravagant. But it turns out The Groundlings' homey vibe is one of its secret weapons, the perfect playground for its hilarious and inventive cast members to perform their creations.

click to enlarge SKETCH COMEDY I snapped a photo of The Groundlings Theatre's April 6 show poster that was up in their bathroom. While the sketch-tastic show had nothing to do with attorneys or law firms, I was laughing the entire time. - PHOTOS BY PETER JOHNSON
  • Photos By Peter Johnson
  • SKETCH COMEDY I snapped a photo of The Groundlings Theatre's April 6 show poster that was up in their bathroom. While the sketch-tastic show had nothing to do with attorneys or law firms, I was laughing the entire time.

Here with my family over my mom's birthday weekend, the "Groundlings & Groundlings Attorneys at Law" show has us all in stitches pretty much right out of the gate. The cast of about 10 delivers an onslaught of sketches, which come at us fast and furious with the spirited accompaniment of musicians jamming in between scenes.

Each sketch shares nothing in relation to the prior, and there's absolutely no mention of attorneys, a law firm, or court, despite the show's title. But continuity and titles don't matter here; these Groundlings are all about just bringing the comedy. We watch a couple's relationship fall apart over what their Amazon Alexa device is saying; an audition go off the rails for the host of America's next hit reality TV show; a woman failing miserably (and hysterically) as a contestant in The Great British Baking Show; and so much more.

If you plan to be in the Hollywood area for an upcoming weekend, I highly recommend reserving tickets. It's a hoot, and you get a sense for why the theater is such a respected breeding ground for future show business stars.

click to enlarge GET ME SOME GETTY Built atop a hill, the Getty Museum offers incredible views of Los Angeles, not to mention gorgeous architecture, grounds, and, oh yeah, art. - PHOTOS BY PETER JOHNSON
  • Photos By Peter Johnson
  • GET ME SOME GETTY Built atop a hill, the Getty Museum offers incredible views of Los Angeles, not to mention gorgeous architecture, grounds, and, oh yeah, art.

The next morning, our crew of five decides to check out another beloved LA institution: the Getty Museum. Located right off Highway 405, pretty close to where it intersects with Highway 101, The Getty is perched atop a hill overlooking the entire LA area.

Entry is free (but parking isn't). You get to take a majestic tram ride from the parking area up to the museum itself. The center is massive and gorgeous—a $1.3 billion campus opened in 1997 with more than 1.8 million visitors each year. Art aside, just exploring The Getty's breathtaking architecture, grounds, and views of the area is absolutely worth the trip on its own. Then, add in the countless art and photography exhibits to peruse ... and you could easily spend an entire day, or more, here.

Unfortunately, I have just a few hours before I need to make the drive back to SLO. Before we leave, we check out the museum's illustrious, meticulously manicured outdoor garden, where we decide a family photo is definitely in order.

All in all, the two outings made for a rich weekend—and my mom had a blast on her birthday, which was the point all along! Δ

Assistant Editor Peter Johnson is a big Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig fan. Reach him at pjohnson@newtimesslo.com.

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