Maragrita Tamarit, who lives on Long Beach’s East End echoed similar sentiments. “People need a few minutes to just not think about anything,” she said. “Billy Crystal’s awesome, he’s really funny, so I’m sure anything he does is going to be funny, he’s a funny guy.”
Rick Kaiser’s Long Beach home took on three-feet of water and he only recently moved back into it. Kaiser said he and his wife have been seeing a lot of movies lately to escape from reality. “This is great,” he said of the screening, “this is much needed. It helps take my mind off things.”
Lynbrook Deputy Mayor Alan Beach and Trustee Hilary Becker walked into each theater with Crystal to address the crowds, in addition to Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman, who called the event a, “pick-me-up for all of us who have been through a really tough time.”
Beach and Becker, who each said they were fans of Crystal’s long before Monday, were glad the event could be hosted in Lynbrook. Becker said he asked Crystal if he ever made it into Lynbrook as a kid and Crystal said he played some basketball games there. “I said, ‘Oh, what did you did do…did you play center?’” Becker said, “and he laughed and threw popcorn at me.”
There were eight screenings in total on Monday and some much-needed laughter could be heard coming from each theater throughout the film.
“We all need some comic relief,” said Linda Mandel, a Long Beach resident. “We want to laugh. We need to laugh.”
Crystal said this event was the first of many he plans on holding for residents of his hometown in the coming months.
Alexandra Spychalsky contributed to this story.