Mark Duplass and Katie Aselton Co-Host Young Literati Toast for Hollywood Bookworms

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Katie Aselton and Mark Duplass

Constance Zimmer, Paul F. Tompkins, Natalie Morales and Hari Nef switch their scripts for comedic articles and 1-star Amazon reviews to read in front of the crowd at the 11th annual event.

Ken Brecher, the president of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, on Saturday kicked off the Young Literati 11th Annual Toast by discussing how libraries represent democracy.

“We never tell people who to vote for, but we do tell them how to get to the truth,” he said. “The board says to us every year, ‘Your job is to change Los Angeles and the world through the power of libraries.’ And I say, ‘Sure, we can do it.’”

The Library Foundation of Los Angeles held an evening of comedic live readings and music to celebrate the Los Angeles Public Library at the City Market Social House in downtown. The venue seamlessly merged the decor of a library and a bar: Exposed brick, a wallpaper of shelved books where attendees could take pictures and, in the back, a sleek black bar that welcomed last year’s co-host Colin Hanks (Fargo), Ginnifer Goodwin (Once Upon a Time), Natasha Rothwell (Insecure) and more stars into its open layout.

Mark Duplass co-hosted the event with his wife Katie Aselton, who co-starred alongside him on The League. 

“I grew up going to my public library every day after school,” New Girl actress June Diane Raphael told The Hollywood Reporter. “Both of my parents worked, and it was a sanctuary to come to and do homework and to get resources. We’re really passionate about public libraries and investing in them in our communities.”

The 11th Annual Toast raised money for the Lifelong Learning umbrella programming at the Los Angeles Public Library, which includes adult literacy services with English-language workshops, a fully accredited career online high school diploma program, a Health Matters network for people experiencing homelessness and Full STEM Ahead workshops for all ages.

“Storytelling is definitely the most important thing for me in Hollywood and in the world,” said Manifest actor Josh Dallas. “And that’s why libraries are so important, and not only the books in libraries, but the programs in libraries. They ignite the imagination, and what better thing to put into our world, into this society.”

Abby’s star Natalie Morales found the public library to be an integral part of her childhood. “I needed the library very much as a kid,” she said. “I didn’t have a lot of money growing up as a kid, and the library was where I went every weekend. And I would just check out stacks and stacks and stacks of books.” 

Duplass and Aselton presented Morales, Constance Zimmer, Paul F. Tompkins and Hari Nef, before they read select articles, with 1-star Amazon reviews of renowned literature and short stories for the audience. Prior to reading, UnREAL alum Zimmer started the evening with billowing laughter as her hug with Aselton popped her bra off; she recruited Duplass to distract the crowd as she moved to a discreet corner of the stage to fix the wardrobe malfunction. 

“The library really isn’t the bosom of the city,” Duplass teased her in front of the audience.

Zimmer returned to enthusiastically read out a New Yorker piece titled “You Have to Watch This Show.” Tompkins, of Netflix’s BoJack Horseman, acted out the anger and confusion behind 1-star Amazon reviews of famous literature, including Strange Case by Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. “There was a lot of talking, but did not go into full detail of how he became Mr. Hyde!” he jokingly read aloud.

Morales put on her best Ricky Ricardo voice to impersonate Desi Arnaz’s character on I Love Lucy while reading part of an old episode script. THR previously reported that Morales is the first Cuban star of an American network TV comedy in more than 60 years since Arnaz.

As the final reader of the evening, Transparent's Nef called upon any Bruce Springsteen fans in the room before jumping into “You and the Boss,” a short story about the “Born in the USA” singer by Tama Janowitz. Singer Holly Miranda capped off the night with a soothing performance featuring Todd Simon on the trumpet. The musical number signaled the arrival of an afterparty.