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Steve Skrovan

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Stand Up for Main Street!

Posted: 06/03/11 06:31 PM ET

I'm becoming a pain in the ass.

Let me back up a minute. I wasn't always a pain in the ass.

The short story:

A sitcom idea turns into a documentary, which results in my becoming a board member of a public interest group, which eventually turns me into an event planner.

The longer version:

The sitcom idea was supposed to be an office comedy. The documentary turned into An Unreasonable Man about the life and times of Ralph Nader. The public interest group is Public Citizen. And the event is "Stand Up For Main Street."

It's a comedy show on Sunday, 6:30pm, June 12th at the beautiful Brentwood Theater on the grounds of the VA. I've got an all-star team of comedians performing: Bill Burr, Jeff Garlin, Dom Irrera, Andy Kindler, Paula Poundstone, Hal Sparks, and Roy Zimmerman.

Plus progressive stars Jim Hightower (Hightower Lowdown), Barbara Ehrenreich (Nickel and Dimed), Annie Leonard (The Story of Stuff), and Robert Weissman (President of Public Citizen) will also be there.

So I did this movie about Ralph (BTW for all of you who are still mad at Ralph, relax. This event is not about him. He hasn't been involved with Public Citizen for thirty years. No. Really. Please. Stop yelling. And I apologize for using BTW instead of writing out "By the way," but it's shorter.)

In the process of doing the movie, I interview Joan Claybrook and Sid Wolfe of Public Citizen. Joan was the president of Public Citizen at the time and was involved in all the landmark auto safety legislation of the sixties, seventies, eighties... let's just say the last forty-five years. I'm talking seat belts, air bags, Pintos catching on fire, Firestone tires blowing up, roofs crushing, SUVs rolling over...

You know, all that grindhouse movie stuff they show sixteen-year-olds to scare the shit out of them at driving school.

She also ran a group in the early seventies called "Critical Mass," which was a leader in the "No Nukes" movement. And I'm just scratching the surface here.

Dr. Sid created the Health Research Group, the reason we know about things like "Red Dye #2" and "Toxic Shock Syndrome." He puts out a newsletter called "Worst PIlls/Best Pills," which tells you what drugs will actually kill you like ephedra, Rezulin, Darvon, and Darvocet. He watchdogs bad medical devices and bad doctors.

In other words, they have pissed off a lot of powerful people. They are first class pains in the ass. And in the process, they've saved a lot of lives.

They convince me to join the board of Public Citizen. I think they were under the mistaken impression that I was a Hollywood player. I've never been on a board before. I have no organizational experience. And everything I know about the law, I learned from the OJ trial.

And Public Citizen is into everything. Not just auto safety and health, but also energy issues, global trade, watch-dogging congress, arguing cases in front of the Supreme Court. I don't know WTO from BTW, but they do. I figure my role at board meetings is to do what I've done all my life at the dinner table, crack a few jokes, keep everybody loose, and pass the ambrosia.

Then, I open my big yap and say, "Hey! I know comedians! Why don't I do a comedy show fundraiser in LA!?" So, now I'm a freaking event planner! (Sorry for using "freaking," but I didn't want to say "fuck.") And I can't even take corporate donations. We're supported by real living, breathing people. Fighting for their right to continue living and breathing.

I'm not saving lives like Joan and Sid and Rob. But, I am becoming a second class pain in the ass. I'm bugging the shit out of people. Getting them to come to my show. Asking them to post it on their Facebook page.

Tweet it.

Even old fashioned e-mail blasts. Although, e-mail seems so Amish now.

By the way...

Did I mention I'm doing a comedy show in LA called "Stand Up For Main Street?" Sunday, 6:30pm, June 12th at the beautiful Brentwood Theater on the grounds of the VA? I've got an all-star team of comedians performing: Bill Burr, Jeff Garlin, Dom Irrera, Andy Kindler, Paula Poundstone, Hal Sparks, and Roy Zimmerman.

Come to my show! Stand Up For Main Street!

See what a pain in the ass I am?

I'm getting used to it.