Video: 13,000 People Tuned In To Watch This Car Get A Parking Ticket
Comedians Brent Weinbach and Doug Lussenhop illegally parked a car on 1236 South Orange Drive and then live-streamed their roughly half-hour long wait for a parking ticket.
The stream was broadcast by comedy video website Super Deluxe on their Facebook page, and approximately 13,000 people tuned in at some point during the 38-minute broadcast.
Like many streets in L.A., South Orange Drive mandates weekly parking restrictions for street cleaning services. In this case, parking was restricted on one side of the street from noon to 3 p.m. The comedians set up shop at 11:55 a.m and punctuated their stream with banter and very dramatic music.
A parking enforcement officer eventually showed up around minute 27 of the broadcast. According to the audio commentary, she acknowledged the comedians with a look that they felt offered them a chance to move the car, but eventually ticketed their zero-emissions vehicle after they remained immobile. They will have to pay a fine of $73.
We spoke on the phone with Lussenhop and Super Deluxe's executive producer Cyrus Ghahremani (Weinbach couldn't be reached because he doesn't own a cell phone), who said that the idea was originally conceived by filmmaker Callum Hanlon.
"It's an idea that comes out living in L.A., because everyone gets parking and everyone wonders how they happen and when they happen," Ghahremani told LAist.
L.A.'s exorbitant parking fines have actually gotten worse in recent years; the L.A. Times reports that the city's current fine revenues have skyrocketed 50 percent since 2003, and with current totals equalling $165 million a year.
"Where is the street cleaner though?" Weinbach and Lussenhop asked shortly before closing their broadcast, questioning why the city needed to ticket the car since the street sweeper had yet to make an appearance. Actually, the city now refunds parking tickets issued during street cleaning restriction periods when no street cleaning actually occurs, but given that the comedians peaced-out a mere half-hour into the three-hour time block, it's quite possible that cleaning could still occur.
And what of the waiting? Was there satisfaction to the live-stream? As pretentious but insightful French philosopher Jean Baudrillard once wrote, carrying out any kind of program ultimately "produces the same sense of futility that comes from doing anything merely to prove to yourself that you can do it: having a child, climbing a mountain, making some sexual conquest, committing suicide."
When asked if they were depressed by the fact that 13,000 real people tuned in to watch a parked car wait for a parking ticket, Lussenhop and Ghahremani said that on the contrary, they felt good about, and that the (relatively) large viewership was "like support." For context, there are roughly 13,000 people currently stranded at Greece-Macedonia border; it's also how many people James Blunt got to do "the wave" at a recent concert.
"People are on the internet anyway," Lussenhop said. "I feel like this kind of live feedback is very appealing," he added, explaining that even if viewers are at work they can still participate and chime in on the live broadcast.
"Plus, we are super interesting. We're more interesting than the best part of their day," Lussenhop said—while we mentally circled back to Baudrillard's thoughts on futility [winky face], but did not disagree.
Super Deluxe will be doing two live-streams a week for the foreseeable future, so you will have plenty of time to wrestle with these questions. Thursday's live broadcast will feature a trivia game show where participants receive electric shocks if they answer a question incorrectly. The shocks will be administered via dog collar and Ghahremani and Lussenhop assure us that unlike the famed Milgram experiment, these participants will actually be getting real shocks.
So was today's parking stream performance art? "Sure, it's performance art. It's a social demonstration," Ghahremani said.
"It's more of a social experiment," Lussenhop argued. "I think it's good to examine the things we take for granted like street cleaning. The city doesn't really tell you how effective the street cleaning program is. The street's not really that dirty, as I mentioned on the show. Do we really need to clean it every week?"
"That's the real takeaway," Lussenhop added. "That you should clean your own street." For what it's worth, we are told that South Orange Drive street cleaner did show up after an hour and a half.
“Imagine the amazing good fortune of the generation that gets to see the end of the world,” Baudrillard once wrote. "This is as marvelous as being there in the beginning.” Amen, dude.