Hot dogs

Skooby's on Hollywood Boulevard is an economical stop after a night of cheap laughs down the street at iO West. You can get two dogs and a drink for $5.50. (Michelle Maltais / Los Angeles Times)

So, a man and a woman walk into a theater with a budget of $25. . . .

That was the opening of the evening my pal Jevon and I had planned for an informal night of cheap laughs. We had intended to hit the Second City improv, but we walked into the wrong theater on Hollywood Boulevard.

We unwittingly stumbled into comedic relationship therapy at iO West -- a date that killed two birds with $10 each. It was a bit of a shock as the lady at the box office excitedly hurled at us the show's clever but slightly crude name (which is unprintable because of its profane twist on the word "relationship") when we were expecting the decidedly more tamely named shows "FrankenMatt" and "Bingo!"

After ingesting a pleasant fill of flirtation, advice and self-deprecating tidbits -- blended with a belly-laugh workout -- Jevon and I strolled in search of a nosh. A couple of blocks down was hot dog nook Skooby's. Nearly within budget was a two-dog and one-drink special for $5.50, which would have brought the evening's total to $25.50. Except that we couldn't resist and spent an additional $7 putting chili on the dogs and buying a second drink. Oops.

-- Michelle Maltais