In a strange collision of high-brow and low-brow, a NPR reporter recently took a ride on the TMZ Tour Of Hollywood bus. His finding: TMZ is kind of sleazy!
Perhaps this says something about our depraved interests, but the report does make the TMZ bus ride sound a bit more interesting than a traditional Hollywood tour (though we couldn't handle being subjected to the hours of TMZ video that plays during the journey). Sure, we should care that the Roosevelt Hotel is where the first Academy Awards were held, but the fact that it's a favorite haunt of Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson seems more relevant. In addition to pointing out such important historical sites as the comedy club where Michael Richards made a racist rant and the fast food restaurant where Brad Pitt once worked, a major goal of the excursion is to spot, and possibly harass, celebrities. Sadly, during his tour NPR's Ben Bergman only saw the bus driver attempt to box in Ryan Phillippe's car.
Bergman notes that the bus drives past TMZ headquarters, yet doesn't point out the building. Harvey Levin explains, "We don't like to ballyhoo where we are. There's no signage on our building, and we like to keep it that way." He adds, "This is a working, functioning newsroom and we don't want it to become a tourist trap where people are coming by the window all the time." Good idea. Having people stare and snap photos of you while you're trying to go about your daily business is probably a drag.