Comedy Twitter Takes Shots At The Guns And Drugs Found At Hollywood's Abandoned iO West Theater
By Mike Roe & Elizabeth Muñoz
Hollywood's iO West comedy theater was supposed to be vacant since it was shut down earlier this year, but more than 60 people were detained in its former space on Wednesday during an early morning raid by Los Angeles police.
It turns out the abandoned site in the Palmer Building on Hollywood Boulevard had been under investigation for months for possible drug and gun sales.
There were a lot of mixed feelings when iO — an offshoot of Chicago's iO (formerly the ImprovOlympic) — closed down. Some theater members pointed fingers at poor management from Chicago, with particular focus on iO head honcho Charna Halpern. Perhaps not surprising, then, that a number of former students and performers took to social media about the news — and ran with it:
The old IO West space shutting down and INSTANTLY turning into a drug and gun den is very very funny. https://t.co/CIwQggdSLQ— Alex Fernie (@FernieCommaAlex) September 12, 2018
We saw dudes selling drugs out the front door the other night and iOWest never looked more popular.— James Mastraieni (@Jmazz1111) September 12, 2018
Fun times at iO West can't be stopped! https://t.co/MSin6pcYhZ— Jeremy Cohen (@citylifejc) September 12, 2018
The building and the area around it are known for criminal activity, according to LAPD Detective Meghan Aguilar.
"Not everyone there was involved in criminal activity to the extent of selling or using drugs," Aguilar said. "I'm sure that a good number of them there were either there because they were seeking shelter for the night or maybe unaware of what was actually happening."
Beyond drugs, a shotgun and a rifle were also confiscated — it's also suspected of being home to gun sales, according to CBS 2. Other items confiscated from the site included an English bulldog and mattresses.
"Everybody in there is just trying to be in Hollywood, making a living, doing what they love," Ramsey Barton told CBS 2. "That's why I'm in there, my fiance, he's a rapper and he makes music."
Most of the people detained have since been released, but the investigation into what was actually happening in the post-comedy iO West continues.
The building's owner is boarding up the site to keep anyone from getting back inside. Police said the building's owner could be held liable for what happened inside, according to CBS 2.
An ongoing parody account, "iO West dude trapped in Loft," has been playing out the idea that someone was left in the building's Loft theater when it was shut down. The anonymous person behind that account reassured his followers that, yes, he is still trapped in the Loft and was not found in this raid:
....Cops never came up to The Loft cuz nobody really does. or did. #stilltrappedupiniowestloft— IO West dude trapped in Loft (@inIOWestLoft) September 12, 2018
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