Those tuxes? They're wet suits! Photo: L.A.zy River

Are those tuxes? They’re wetsuits! Photo: Courtesy of L.A.zy River

It’s news to no one that Southern California is mid-drought. Reports of an imminent El Nino have flooded the media since last summer, but the massive rains have been dribbling in (at best) since then. Until March.

To celebrate the recent precipitation, two Angelenos are upping the fun ante with a tubing party on the famed (and scary to some) Los Angeles River for Saturday, March 19.

“It was both of our ideas,” said comedian Kurt Braunohler during a phone interview that included his wife, writer/actor, Lauren Cook. “It was such a hot and dry fall. We moved here three years ago and had never experienced an El Nino in LA. We heard all of this rain was coming and wondered, ‘What’s a cool way to celebrate it?'” continued Braunohler.

So, they waited and waited. And thanks to the big rains during the first weekend of March, the water level looks like it’s risen enough to hold the L.A.zy River (get it? L.A. + zy = LAzy). And if you want in, don’t sleep.

The couple that floats together... Photo: L.A.zy River

The couple that floats together, stays together. Photo: Courtesy of L.A.zy River

“This is never going to be a permanent event because it’s not exactly legal,” said Braunohler.

But it does look fun. Current events slated for Saturday include a tube christening and ceremony, “a race to the death with cheering sections at key points along the river,” and an awards ceremony with an after party.

The event is free, but they’ll be collecting donations at the beginning of the race as well as at the after party. Proceeds will go to the non-profits who protect the river. And they’ll also have volunteers on garbage patrol.

“We’ll leave the River in better shape than we found it,” said Cook.

As far as the temperature of the H20 goes, it’s brisk. Braunohler completed a test run last week and said, “The water’s pretty chilly, but with the hot sun it’s very refreshing. It was a real relaxed float.”

Braunohler’s no stranger to industrial waterways, having swam in New York City’s East River as well as Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River. He even jet skied from Chicago to New Orleans for charity.

When it comes to bathing suit, beers, or floaties, you gotta run what ya brung. Photo: Courtesy of L.A.zy River

When it comes to bathing suit, beers, or floaties, you gotta run what ya brung. Photo: L.A.zy River

And Braunohler knows funny. He convinced friends and fans to pay for an awesome PR stunt to (thanks, Kickstarter!) help him promote his album on Kill Rock Stars in March 2013. The gag? A professional pilot skywriting, “How Do I Land?” in Southern California.

Folks fishing in the la river. #lalife #lariver

A photo posted by Ülysses Davalos (@ulyssesdavalos) on

If you haven’t seen the LA River recently, you’re in for a treat. Once a watery wasteland, it’s now the site of flourishing flora and fauna. And there’s plenty of wildlife that includes 300 species of birds like hawks, egrets, as well as herons and a significant amount fisherman.

And then there are the funny goofballs who show up for an event like this. “Everyone is jumping right into the spirit of the stupidity of the event,” said Cook. “There’s been a lot of funny emails, I can testify to that,” said Cook.

For more info go to They’re releasing specifics about the event tomorrow (on St. Patrick’s Day), but our hunch is it’s going to take place in the Frogtown.

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