@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
AC (Part III)
Dear Blog Readers,
Welcome to the third part of this road journal. If you haven’t read the first two parts, don’t even trip, dawg. My blogs are more episodic than serialized anyway.
In the morning, I discovered there were desserts in my mini fridge. An egg claire and tiramisu cups. Not your typical, “we’ll rip you off if you eat this” hotel stuff. I figured whomever stayed in my room before me left them behind and they were forgotten. I’d have to make a note to ask the other comedians if their mini fridges had treats.
Again, I hit the fitness center in the morning. Like the day before, after my work out, I’d head to the beach. This time, one of the other comics, Matthew joined me. We also met with the two comics who were performing at the Hard Rock. And also like the previous day, I’d get called in by the life guards for swimming out too far. Fucking life guards.
Matthew and I were both recognized on the beach by these two old ladies who were very sweet. If Matthew is uncomfortable receiving adulation, he doesn’t show it.
I honestly am not sure what I did after the beach and before the show. I suppose I just showered, ate, wrote and read, and then went down to the venue. There’s only so many times you can masturbate (haha, this joke is for me and like two other people)! I’m writing this later, which is only part of the reason I’m having trouble recalling what happened. The other part is the days blur together. Everyday, there would be a delay in remembering what day it was altogether. It was getting easier to block out the people in the casino. To me, their faces became pixelated.
Until someone recognized me…
“You were great!”
“You had us cracking up!”
“Such a clever comedian!”
“That takes a lot of courage to go up in front of an audience that big!”
Oh cool, yah, thanks so much. Please, I don’t like to make eye contact for a long time.
I would be terrible at being famous.
The show was that night was good, though the audience was tighter than the previous nights. Which is fine, if not expected, with a casino crowd. Though, if you’re working with cool people, it makes any gig so much better. John and Matthew were cool and interesting, with fun stories. All three of us very different characters, on stage and off, which made for a good dynamic.
After that show, I Ubered over to the Hard Rock where the other comics were performing/staying. There we drank with some of their friends/fans and bullshitted about comedy among other things. I think I was actually rather chatty, a rarity for me, though if I spend long periods of time in solitude and then go drinking, apparently I do have things to say. I don’t know what those things are. Probably they’re ridiculous.
It’s gotten to the point where the only people I feel akin to and not like a complete alien is around comics. It’s kind of cool, in the sense that, as a comedy nerd, I like to feel like I’m part of the club. Though, I can never be too sure if that’s how I’m perceived.
All to often I’m easily made uncomfortable by the thought that I’m seen a poser, a wannabe, or worse, that I’m only kept around because I’m cute. Ugh. In my life, I’ve been told since I was a kid, relentlessly into my adult life from family, friends, and even boyfriends that men are not to be trusted: men want one thing. However, I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy, felt way more at ease in likes of a boys club than being amongst girlfriends, and preferred the camaraderie of male packs. Men speak a different language than women, metaphorically speaking. Men are more direct, less emotional, more likely to take a stab at you in mockery. I was more proficient in their language than of my own gender. This has everything to do with my adolescence.
For the most part, being one of the guys is a role I easily fall into, because it’s really all I’ve ever known. Guys have been my best friends my whole life. In many ways, I trust men more than I trust women, but I’ve had front row seats to all their relationships too. Sometimes they use women, sometimes women use them. From where I was standing, most relationships were phony, if not complete bull shit. This had it’s own repercussions for me. As a result, I seldom believed any guy who told me he loved me actually cared at all. Then again, that’s probably more on me than them. Trust issues were learned more from other peoples’ experiences more so than my own.
Something else you’ll learn being amongst a boys club, always, (even more so as the years go by) is I’ve gotten to work with a lot of headliners who are hilarious, if not genius, but their confidence is most often a facade. Insecurity in green rooms is more common than cocaine in the green rooms in the 80s. Time and time again, it has baffled me to see a great comic in the throes of some sort of mental dread that this show will suck and they suck. It makes me feel hopeless. That feeling doesn’t go away? You mean, even if I’m as good as you, that feeling still haunts your mind? What the fuck are any of us doing? The vast majority of comics I’ve worked with or come to know, even a little bit, have peeled back their layers from the titans they are on stage. It’s no trick to get people to reveal their true self if you actually listen. That’s what people never get. The reason people confide in me is not always because I’m quiet, it’s because I’m listening.
It also scares me a little too, that my social life orbits around comedy. If the tides of my life change and it’s time for me to duck out, it will be extremely difficult to abandon some of the bonds I’ve made. Often I wonder what will be harder to quit; my favorite drug— new jokes, genuine laughter, stage adrenaline. Or the people who actually cared and believed I would succeed. Leaving would mean withdrawal while being totally alone. I could handle either separately. Both at the same time? Challenging, possibly crushing.
At the Hard Rock, the other comics were recognized. I’d hold my breath, forgetting that I wasn’t in the casino I performed in. Realizing that I wouldn’t get recognized was much of a relief.
It’s Thursday now, in case you’ve lost track. I have. Many times. So don’t feel bad about it.
Thursday is our night off. A whole day with no obligations. This sort of frightens me. I like having things to do. So much so, I texted my writing partner requesting that he send over a treatment we are working on. Let me have a pass at it! Give it a go!
In the morning, I hit the fitness center, and then I went to the beach where I also went for a run and then met up with the guys from the Hard Rock. It was a beautiful day, hot. The water was the clearest it’s been all week. The waves were so close to being rideable. Just a little tiny bit bigger and I could catch these waves. I lamented to the other comics of how much of a torture it is watching clean waves be almost good enough. They didn’t seem to empathize, but it would be like watching a comic doing great in front of an awesome crowd and all you wanna do is go up, but you can’t.
Mother Ocean. I’ll never stop being in love with you, but you are a fucking cock tease.
But she did treat us in other ways. I was sitting on the beach talking with the other guys with my eyes on the horizon. A fishing boat made a rather unusual swing and looked like it was headed for shore which would make no sense. Until I saw the dolphins.
“Hey, look! Dolphins!”
I nearly jumped to my feet. Such marine sightings turns me into an excited 5 year-old kid. One moment I’m talking about serial killers (comics are the only people who are ever impressed about how much I know about serial killers), and the next I’m practically jumping up and down at the sight of a dolphin pod. They thought it was cool but they didn’t share my ebullience for ocean animal sightings (people rarely do). I even felt the need to tone down my excitement because I wanted to seem cool (haha). Though the humorous irony here is they were probably trying to seem cool around me. Even though I’ve seen dolphins many times, it still thrills me to see them. What a treasured moment! What a nerd!
Those guys had a gig that night that I was planning on going to, until I went back to hotel and my room and ate an edible and then became agoraphobic and I couldn’t possibly leave my room. I stayed in my room the whole night. I did very little. For three hours, I stayed under the covers of my bed, no TV, no music, nothing. I just melted into the sheets and decided there was no possible way I could actually walk through the casino. It didn’t even feel like an option. Instead, I closed my eyes and I just did a lot of thinking. I both laughed and cried in the darkness and silence, though I wouldn’t say I was depressed. They were necessary tears and laughter. If that sounds insane to you, it’s probably because it is (didn’t I warn you that shit was going to get weird in my head in the first part of this road journal/blog?). I’m unsure I can explain the feeling of agoraphobia. Because if I had just gotten up and walked out the door I would have been completely fine. It was a mistake on my part to crawl under the covers after showering. The blankets such a comfort. I should have just gotten dressed and walked around, after all, I know how I get. Agoraphobia could be described as paralyzed by dread.
Agoraphobia is sometimes a side effect of depression, but not necessarily. It may seem especially odd for someone who can walk on stage in front of a 1000 people and be totally okay with it, then later becomes crippled with dread of going anywhere, seeing anyone. Dread is a word that comes up a lot in psychology text books. I didn’t realize what a dreadful person I was until college. And I don’t mean in the sense where I’m deplorable to be around (though, sometimes, I am). I mean that I dread a lot of things.
This is a conversation I’ve had a couple times as of late. That gut feeling of dreading something. The first conversation was with a good friend who attributed a lot of his broken off relationships because of dread. The same is true for me.
We both confessed that once we are out and with someone, we are fine, but we dread all moments leading up to it, including making plans, all the way up to actually seeing them. I guess it’s the sense of obligation. Though, I conceded (and advised that his relationship is doomed) that relationships shouldn’t feel like an obligation, so I didn’t regret ending them if they did. There’s no way in hell I consider myself a relationship expert, if anything I’m a hermit expert, but being excited to see someone is something that’s necessary in a relationship. I’ve ended a lot of relationships not because I didn’t like them, but I dreaded something about seeing them. Which almost sounds worse? But it’s really nothing about them, dread is often a deeper psychological issue. They did nothing wrong. A common trait among comics is that we don’t like answering to people. That’s part of it, I’m sure.
Dread, unfortunately, has a tight grasp on the psyche of any comic. Dread that the calendar will be empty, dread that the calendar will be filled with awful gigs, dread that you don’t have a future, dread that you’ll lose the ability to come up with new and funny bits, and most recently, dread that political correctness has taken away one of the things that drew us to becoming comedians in the first place: that free speech doesn’t even exist anymore.
After the beach the only other person I talked to was a late night phone call with my writing partner about our project. I wouldn’t talk to anyone else until showtime the following night.
So, my Thursday night was rather uneventful. Dread of leaving my room overpowered my literal hunger to go down to the cafeteria and eat. I can’t go down there. You should leave this room. I can’t leave this room. Without a show, I wouldn’t get that second wind/adrenaline rush I had the previous nights.
Road blues officially kicked in that morning. It probably did not help that I spent hours under the sheets the night before, so that’s on me.
There was no legitimate reason I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. After all, I had been in bed since 5pm the night before, so it wasn’t like I was tired. I missed home. That was for sure true. Keeping productive and being active put off this feeling. I’d leave tonight after the show, so it’s actually a success that the lonely feels of being away had only crept in now, at day six.
It was equal parts annoying and a blessing that some work was being done and a drilling noise got me out of bed and to the fitness center.
The rest of day would be reading and writing. Low key. As much as I wanted to come home, I dreaded the upcoming week and normalcy as well. Being away is lonely, but having a week of just being a working comic, not having to deal with a low end day job and scrambling for gigs to work out new bits, and getting nervous that there aren’t enough paid gigs is a harsh reality that would make even an optimist weary. Ups and downs. Good days, dreadful days. There’s got to be something to look forward to in order to combat dread.
After all, dread is only one letter off from being dead.
The show was a hit! John, in a classic road vet fashion, brought his bag down to the green room to leave right from there. I too left after the show, talking to myself on the car ride home, without a feeling of dread but a feeling of growth. Comedy is always a continued learned experience. I hope it never stops being that way.
I’d like to thank the following people who will most likely never read this blog: The bookers of the Borgata, who treat comics respectfully, making us feel appreciated, and booking me on a gig that makes all those years of shit shows worth it. John Sialiano and Matthew Broussard, the two comics I worked with. Working with good people makes bad gigs great, so working with good people on a fun gig amplifies a positive experience. Hard Rock comics, Jim Florentine and Don Jamieson, both funny guys and a good hang. Finally, I’d like thank the dolphins… you guys were beautiful, as always.