The Westside Rentals guy: Now I've seen everything
He was the last person I expected to see here Monday night, at a poorly attended high school basketball game in Compton.
I figured he typically shows up at high-profile events to get the most bang for his company's buck. You know, Lakers, Dodgers, maybe an Angels game, never a Clippers game.
But here was the zany Westside Rentals guy, appearing at halftime of the Southern California regional first-round playoff game between Compton Dominguez and Santa Monica. He did his funky dance routine in one corner of the gym to the tunes belted out by the Dominguez band.
He's hard to miss, what with his bizarre ensemble consisting of a Viking-style helmet with blond ponytails descending, along with a cape and plastic shield. I've seen the guy everywhere but never met him, so I figured this was my chance to get the lowdown.
His name is Philip Parks, for starters. He drove to the game from Santa Monica at the behest of his boss, a Santa Monica St. Monica's alum. Yes, he realized these were the Santa Monica Vikings playing, but close enough, I guess.
I wanted to know who taught Parks his frantic, herky-jerky dance moves, which might make Napoleon Dynamite jealous. "I did," he said. That figures.
I told Parks I had spotted him Saturday at the Honda Center during the Southern Section Division I-AA championship game between Mater Dei and Riverside King. King's students seemed particularly taken by Parks' dance moves and booed when security personnel booted him from his spot on the club level.
"Long story," Parks said.
Fortunately, Parks might end up with the ultimate last laugh. He said he used to do his moves for free, and now he's getting paid.
So maybe the joke's on us.
And here's a quick video of what the halftime show sort of looked like:
Photo: Philip Parks, left, as Rental Man, and Westside Rentals owner Mark Verge pose in front their office in Santa Monica. Credit: Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times