jessica (saltyj) wrote in ohnotheydidnt,
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ohnotheydidnt

Comedian Mark Malkoff lives in IKEA for one week.



PARAMUS, N.J. - When Mark Malkoff thought about where he could stay while his New York City apartment was being fumigated for cockroaches, he quickly ruled out friends' places (too small) and hotels (too expensive).

Instead, the comedian and filmmaker decided to move into an Ikea store in suburban New Jersey, where on Monday he unloaded two suitcases of personal belongings into a spacious bedroom set at the Paramus store.

At night when the store is closed, he says he'll play laser tag with security guards and even plans to host a housewarming party.

"The fact that Ikea is letting me do this is mind-boggling," said Malkoff, lounging on a bed in his new room. "There's no way I'm going back. I love this way too much."

Malkoff, who works for Comedy Central's "Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert" as a ticket handler, is allowed to stay until Ikea closes at about midnight on Saturday; the store, famous for its low-cost do-it-yourself furniture, is closed on Sundays.


The 31-year-old said his friends didn't have room and hotels are too expensive. He said the idea also makes sense because his Astoria, Queens, apartment is 80 percent Ikea products anyway.

Malkoff is best known for the "171 Starbucks" video documenting his visits to all of the coffee chain's Manhattan stores in a single day.

Deputy store manager Julie Mott said Malkoff contacted the store about three weeks ago and presented a proposal to move in.

She said store officials enjoyed his Starbucks video and loyalty to Ikea products.

"We thought it would be a lot of fun and interesting," Mott said. "We're not really sure what this week holds."

On Monday, the store welcomed Malkoff at 7:45 a.m. with a gift basket filled with cookies, blankets, pillows, an alarm clock, picture frames and a sleeping eye mask.

After dropping off his suitcases and eating breakfast in the Ikea cafeteria, he selected an two-bedroom apartment display complete with bunk beds, a bathroom, living room and a dining room area accented with green and purple wine glasses.

He is being followed by a camera crew documenting his stay for a video, which will be shown on his Web site, http://www.marklivesinikea.com.

But despite the hospitality, Malkoff did find a few problems: The sinks don't work, and neither does the toilet, refrigerator, flat-screen television or the washer and drier _ a much coveted amenity in New York City.

"Is anything real in this place?" he asked.

He must shower in the staff locker room and will have access to the staff cafeteria to cook his own meals, if he chooses, Mott said.

However, the Ikea display does offer more spacious living than his two-bedroom Queens apartment.

"I feel like I'm on the set of 'Friends,"' he said, adding that he has met a few new faux friends _ customers who wandered into his new apartment.

The cameras filmed a pretend spat with one customer, who tried to walk away with a white kitchen chair in his space.

"You can't take my chair," he said. "I live here."

He also had a friendly encounter with one group of teenage shoppers. Hannah Works, 16, of Midland Park said Malkoff saw them watching him and invited them to break in his new apartment.

"Mark came up to us and said, 'Do you want to jump on beds?"' she said.

After doing that, they ran down the halls of the store and toured another apartment display with him.

"I think he would be difficult to live with him," said George Bosworth, 17, of Watertown, N.Y. "He's kind of messy and he changes subjects very quickly."

The one person who does normally live with him, his wife of 2{ years, Christine, isn't as thrilled with his new digs and has instead opted to stay with relatives in upstate New York.

"For some reason," he said, "she doesn't want to live in a store."


EDIT: Source: http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newjersey/ny-bc-nj--livinginikea0107jan07,0,7823097.story
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