Friday morning. Inauspicious start to a week of travel. I’m heading to Beijing a few days from now, but first I’m taking an extended weekend in Los Angeles. Unbeknownst to me and ignored in the email that United sent to my iPhone, the flight out of SFO is early for a change, so I arrive five minutes too late to check the bag I’d already prepaid. Lost my 30 year old pocket knife and various soothing creamy unguents.
Apparently the airport doesn’t like it when they ask, “What have you got in your luggage, sir?” and I answer, “I have a balm.”
Also: cavity searches aren’t pleasurable. I don’t care how kinky you are.
First stop: Los Angeles. I haven’t been here since, let’s see—last week. Visiting my brother, so This Time It’s Personal. By the way, that’s my tagline for the script I’m working on, a sequel to The Passion Of The Christ: This Time It’s Personal.
Sitting at an audition with Greg, watching my brother work the room. Look up Gregarious. Greg’s headshot is right there in the dictionary. At least, until somebody on Wikipedia deletes it. I keep adding his head, somebody keeps taking it down, like head badminton.
He’s playing the part of a snowman. The director invited me in to watch Greg audition and sit on the casting couch. No, no, no, it’s not like that. It was a real couch. I’m sure the stains were just butter from the popcorn.
Outside in the waiting room, a guy noted, “You can tell the kind of stuff people are auditioning for by looking at who shows up.” Apparently next door to the snowman commercial they were casting women for GOT MILF?
Sis-in-law Kim met us back at the house, a.k.a. Mediocre Films Studios. G shot us all for a brief intro to one of his YouTube videos, and I took a nap before we all headed off to one of Kim’s auditions. Maybe they’ll invite G and me both in. I could use some popcorn to tide me over.
It’s a clear and hot day in Los Angeles. We arrived at Kim’s audition, in a tiny unmarked house where apparently a huge number of national spots get cast. Kids run around in the tiny yard. People who look familiar from other commercials sit around under poor lighting and look glum. Greg and I split to go get dinner.
Zankou Chicken! It’s a pilgrimmage for me whenever I’m in LA. And then off to see Mike Birbiglia at a comedy club. We actually saw Mike B before the show, walking toward the club with his wife. Intro’s all around. He’d seen some of Greg’s videos. Nice guy. Fast walker. Managed to get away from us a good half block before we hit the back of the line waiting to see him.
To be fair, I’d be hurrying too, to avoid being late to my own show. Or just to get away from Greg, Kim and me.
Homeless guy on the street calls out as we pass: “Hey, I’m a fan of Richard Pryor. Can I have five dollars?” Greg responds that he is also a fan of Richard Pryor, and No. How’d the homeless guy know it was comedy weekend?
Mike Birbiglia’s show was great! The warmup act had 10 really funny minutes, but was out there for 30. Excellent yogurt afterward, and Beatles Rock Band, and XBox on the big screen, and sleep.
To be continued…