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@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
On The Road Again
“She made $100,000 in just ONE month?”
“Just one month. But it’s her first month on only fans, so she probably won’t make as much the following months.”
“Jesus Christ. And to think I’ve been masturbating for free all these years. $100,000. Man.”
“There’s got to be something a little fucked up about you if you’re masturbating on camera for money from strangers.”
“Sure,” I say, “but two weeks ago I drove four hours for a gig that paid me $150. Who the fuck is the crazy person now?”
“No one is denying your insanity.”
It’s slow going… having gigs come back the way they used to. Road work trickles in and I’m doing gigs I was supposed to do over a year ago. And here we are. When I see someone wearing a mask, I want to rip it off their face. Not for any politicized reason, and not even that I’m against it, I just don’t want to be reminded about it and seeing a mask is a trigger.
Down in Atlantic City, I’m at the Borgata for a week. It’s a coveted gig (that was canceled on me twice due to the pandemic), but it’s a long week. On my day off, I spend my time at the beach, reading, relaxing. A man starts waving to me and I wave back, thinking maybe he was at one of our shows. He was not. He was a middle aged man with his teenage-son who looks miserable. He wanted me to tell his son that using a metal detector on the beach could result in success finding something. I guess me saying this makes it ‘cool’? I speculate that this man is divorced, his son doesn’t want to be here at the beach, and he’s trying to “make a moment” with this metal detector business. So the dad thinks talking to me is a great idea, except you can tell that the kid is even more mortified than he originally was that is dad is now talking to this lonesome beach babe (that’s me, I’m the beach babe) asking about metal detectors.
I tell him I actually just got my dad a metal detector for his birthday. He hasn’t found anything, to my knowledge. The guy asks me if I’m here with family.
“No, I’m here for work actually.”
“What do you do?”
Mumbling I say, “non for profit conference.”
It’s not even a real answer, and a complete lie. But he doesn’t question it. No one wants to hear about whatever non for profit you work for. It’s a bullshit thing anyway. Nothing is “not for profit.” But it saves me from a grueling conversation about comedy— which I love to talk about— but mostly only with other comedians.
The funny part about the road is, often, people think you’re the absolute shit. You’re a New York comedian. You know and open for Colin Quinn. You’ve been on television. You’re writing a screenplay. You’ve pitched screenplays. You’re a working artist in New York fucking city. This always kind of baffles me, although it’s appreciated. Someone at a gig I did in Altoona, PA told me I was a “true inspiration” to them. In my mind, I’m going “why?” I ain’t shit in New York. Most of my money goes to a studio apartment. So I’m broke. I struggle for stage time like I’m still a novice comedian. My disinterest in being more promotional on social media is costing me my career. I want so badly to sell a script I become so pre-occupied with fictional characters that real connections are stuck on back burners. Sure, I’m respected by some of the best comedians, ever, and that’s a lot to me, but I assure you… I’m not the shit.
“I’m gonna go watch the hockey game after the show,” I tell my best friend on the phone, “but the drinks are expensive. Maybe I’ll get someone to buy my drinks.”
“I’m sure you’d have no problem getting someone to buy you drinks… if you talk to them. You have to talk to people to get them to buy you a drink.”
“I guess I’ll just pay $15 for my own dirty martini.”
As I sit and sip my dirty martini, just like my mother, the overwhelming sound of ringing slot machines doesn’t bother me at all. I don’t even notice it. I can tune them all out. Their faces are pixelated to me too. There is nothing glamorous about the road. It’s lonely. It’s a living. This is what you worked for and it’s what you wanted. And you’re lucky you like being alone so much. But even too much space isn’t healthy for an astronaut.
A man sits next to me and I can tell he wants to say something. I’m not in the mood for small talk. Wait. Let’s correct that— I’m never in the mood for small talk. I could say I have a boyfriend. I could say the truth, I’m recently single. But you should never say that. I’ll tell him I’m gay, if he asks. That’s what I decide. He doesn’t though. And I’m relieved. I finish my drink and head to my room. Seinfeld is on the TV. I’ve seen this one. I’ve seen them all. But it’s still funny. Every time.