Jonathan Ames introduces despondent fans to the ‘Harry Call’ to mourn the death of ‘Bored to Death’

Jonathan Ames' 'Harry Call.' (Chris Chafin)
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Chris Chafin

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“I mean how appealing could it be? It’s just a drink,” the writer Jonathan Ames said to the massive crowd that had assembled at the tiny bar Brooklyn Inn in Cobble Hill last night.

Ames, the mind behind the recently-canceled HBO comedy series "Bored to Death," had invited sad fans and show staff to meet him there and maybe get a free drink; since the small viewership was a reason for the cancellation (and since last night's weather, though unseasonably warm, featured weird hurricane-like gales of rain from time to time), he was obviously surprised at the turnout.

His show was canceled yesterday along with two other HBO series, "Hung" and "How To Make it in America," despite its avid though small fan-base and critical acclaim. Ames might have taken it personally. After all his show revolved around the adventures of a writer turned private eye who happened to be named Jonathan Ames. That it featured a relentlessly huggable cast including his close friends, including Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson and his wife Mary Steenburgen, Zach Galafanakis, John Hodgman, Kristen Wiig, and more might also have rankled.

Still, it really shouldn’t have been a surprise to Ames when a few hundred of the show’s slavish fans showed up after he’d invited them via Twitter to meet in Brooklyn, where the show was set and shot, for a beer on him. As these things go, those who loved the show really loved it, and besides, a free drink is a free drink.

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Between those weird Hurricane Irene flashbacks, Ames was standing on the corner outside the Brooklyn Inn, where most of the fans had gathered despairing of making it through the doors, seeming to relish the embrace of the die-hards. He gave a heartfelt and rambling thank-you speech to the crowd, as well as to the actors, set designers, and illustrators who’d worked on the show and turned up that evening.

His words to Dean Haspiel, who’d drawn all of the illustrations for the comic book about a well-endowed superhero which was central to the show's plot, were typically opaque:

“It came out of your mind, man, that phallus came out of your mind .... You could imagine it, so you drew it.”

The crowd laughed, and Ames thanked them for laughing.

“I make this sound, it’s called a Harry Call,” he continued, unbidden. “It’s a sound my friends and I would make on the playground when being attacked by more normal children.”

He then tilted his head back, putting one had to his mouth, and the other as far in front of him as he could manage, a pose more for a 1920s male cheerleader than a 21-century television producer, and cried out at the top of his lungs—a long, gurgling call that sounded like the wounded Sasquatch of Harry and the Hendersons fame.

He gave the multitude one last grin, said a few more words, and asked whether anyone in the crowd might like to say something? No one stepped forward, and so a few moments later Ames thanked everyone one last time, slowly turned, and went in to see about getting those drinks for the people who had been lucky enough to make it inside.