A couple months ago, I was sitting in a meeting at work when my Twitter feed starting filling up with a string of videos, announcing Let’s Play Live for the Friday following E3 week. Before I was able to actually watch the Kinda Funny video, I went ahead and clicked the link to buy tickets and booked one. A Friday night show in L.A; I can make it work and spend the weekend with some of my L.A. friends that I haven’t seen in a while.
A couple hours later, I was finally able to watch. Lovingly ripped off by the News Team fight sequence from Anchorman, each group of the Let’s Play family of YouTubers had their own unique introduction and rivalry established that led into the same stock fight among the teams. Very amusing little bit of promotion. I watched all of the different iterations, despite not knowing most of the partners but was able to appreciate the small tweaks they made here and there to cater to each group’s specific audience and in-jokes.
The Community Event
Fast-forward to the end of my Kinda Funny Live week. Kinda Funny Community Powerhouse Joey Noelle and I sat at the airport awaiting our flights and began discussing the idea of putting together a meetup for the Best Friends attending the show. I had to jet back to Phoenix before we landed on anything specific but she eventually hit on a community meetup at a Buffalo Wild Wings a block or two down from the Dolby Theatre event housing the performance. Wings with Friends.
So fast-forward again to Friday, where I woke up and caught a morning flight to the Burbank airport. The meetup was scheduled for 1pm. Since my flight got in at 11am so I just caught a ride straight to the Buffalo Wild Wings. As I sat enjoying a couple drinks and some wings, one of the guys who worked there started talking about E3, VR being the future, and Twitch being a big thing so I struck up a conversation with him. Turns out he’s an actor (because who isn’t in LA?) and someone from a studio hooked him up with an extra ticket for E3.
All in all, it was a fun conversation to have with a complete stranger. He talked about some of his “completely heretical theories” like Nintendo should stop making hardware and just make games, which I told him is actually quite common among my circles. He got to try a VR demo of Gran Turismo that basically immediately sold him on the tech. Eventually, he had to run and do some BWW work and other community members started showing up. Frankie arrived first, followed by fellow Arizona Frank , and John from Ireland who I first met a couple weeks earlier at Kinda Funny Live.
Before too long, Joey Noelle (finally) showed up, and we had a much larger group and moved from the bar to a table.
I had some great conversations with new and old friends. I met @MissMovies who I kind of sort of had seen through her previous work on Screen Junkie's Movie Fights show, and Joey Noelle gave me the set of custom Kinda Funny LEGO Dimensions sets I won in an auction from Toys for Games. She picked them up for me while at E3, which was the next-best thing to getting me an exclusive Green Arrow figure for LEGO Dimensions.
Eventually, we decided to take the party over to the Dave and Buster's right next to the Dolby Theatre, where the conversations and drinks flowed a little bit more. Some people went and played some games I think but Joey and I had talked our fellow Kinda Funny Facebook group admin Lauren into swinging by after work so we hung out with her and visited. She lives in the area and didn't originally plan on joining us because she thought she'd have work. But she didn't and some of the members of the group had spare tickets so we got her in with us. As we neared showtime, we closed our tabs and began to walk over.
Let's Play Live
With about eight rum and cokes coursing through my veins and a handful of wings (since I'd started nearly eight hours earlier), I went to find my seat. This was actually one of the crappiest things of the night. Because it was assigned seating, all of the friends I'd spent the day with were scattered all around the theatre. Though in a weird coincidence, when I got to my seat, on of our group was in it and asked it I would switch seats with him so he could sit with the rest of his friends. I said sure and moved from the 5th row all the way up to the 2nd.
Now, we're a couple days removed so I won't really be giving the play by play of the event. Partly because the whole Let's Play Live event was really mostly an excuse to hang with friends and partly because of the aforementioned eight drinks... But I remember they kicked off with one of Achievement Hunter's GTA V "Heists" (one of the very few Let's Play ideas of theirs I actually knew about and had experienced before. Other segments I remember/can piece together from my tweets:
- Kinda Funny vs. Funhaus in some game with animals where the teams build an obstacle course, hoping to screw over the other team, while being able to complete it yourself.
- A Super Mario Maker challenge: the fastest person through four stages of varying difficulty.
- Some games of Murder, where it was pretty much one person from each Let's Play group in a free-for-all.
- A take on Funhaus' "Drunk Souls" playthrough that was effectively Dark Souls bondage edition. Every time somebody died, they would get spanked, whipped, given a ball gag, etc. by their gimp.
- In honor of the Ellen Oscars selfie from a few years ago, they tried to one-up it. Particularly annoying for me because Joey Noelle (who can be seen prominently in the picture) was texting me the whole show to come take the empty seat right near her. Argh!
- The Kinda Funny guys played Gang Beasts against Geoff Ramsey, with Colin taking the crown.
- One member from each team played The Culling and three of the six had seemingly never played it before.
- Just Dance finale to "Uptown Funk" up and down the aisles with most of the Let's Players.
Let's Play Live After Party
Following the event, a bunch of us headed over to Cabo Wabo(?) - a mexican food bar. Dave and Buster's was carding at this point, so this place won out as it was more friendly to our under-21 members. More conversations ensued, often about what we had just witnessed since the Kinda Funny guys don't really do a lot in the way of group Let's Plays anymore. Possibly my favorite part of the after party was getting to catch up with my old friend Patrick.
Patrick and I met at the first Kinda Funny Live last year, during the day-after Picnic in the Park event. A completely chance encounter, we wound up talking for hours while Greg and other fans chatted with each other. I was sad he wasn't able to make it out to Kinda Funny Live 2 this year but he was incredibly grateful for the write-ups I had compiled because they made him feel as though he had been there. This was a sentiment I got from a handful of people after those write-ups but it warmed my heart that I was able to help him be there in spirit if not in person. So getting to see him and reconnect with him at Let's Play Live was great.
At some point, I learned that my local friends who were originally going to join us decided to turn in early for the night. Rather than show up at their house in a couple hours and try to wake them up to be buzzed in, I asked to see if anyone who let me crash with them. Both Frankie and Lauren were gracious enough to offer but I opted for Lauren's apartment over Frankie's AirBnB.
After eating and much of our party began to disperse, a few of us went back down to Dave and Buster's after all. Unfortunately, because they were at the formal Let's Play Live VIP meet and greet, and then exhausted after the long E3 week, none of the Kinda Funny guys were able to join us or say hi. I figured that would probably be the case but it was nice to hope that we would see them outside of the event.
And that pretty much wrapped up Friday. Lauren and I headed back to her apartment and wound up talking for a few more hours. I always love getting to know people in the community better so it was probably a blessing in disguise that my original plans had temporarily fallen through.
Click here for Part Two of the weekend's festivities.