Las Vegas, Nevada “Hi. I’m Tom. Welcome to Hooters.”

I’ve never known how to behave around guys who call each other “bro.”

I didn’t grasp the implications until I took my seat on the plane: Friday, 5pm flight from New York to Vegas. Right…

I’m seated amidst a bachelor party of 27. After one run of the drink cart, they’d consumed all the alcohol on the plane. The pair next to me had four bloody marys between them and converted the contents, near-instantaneously, into fart form.

JFK is the most calamitous airport I’ve ever endured. Bamako runs more smoothly. On arrival yesterday, the gate staff couldn’t figure out how to get the cabin door open, so the full flight waited in the aisle for 20 minutes while they worked on it. Today, while taxiing on the runway, the captain announced we were 40th in line for takeoff, due to low visibility. We sat for 90 minutes without AC. The characteristically genial and soft-spoken New Yorkers onboard were shockingly expressive about the predicament.

Meanwhile, I slept.

Sleep has been a prized commodity lately. I had to get up before 6am this morning to go on Good Morning America.

I’d post a video link if I could find one.

I still don’t know why I was on the show. I don’t think they do either. It would’ve made sense a month ago, when I was traveling across the US and passing through New York. They couldn’t schedule it, so they rebooked me for today. But I’m done with the US tour now, and the video won’t be finished for another 8 months. So I don’t really have anything to talk about.

But I can always dance, I suppose.

In person, Nicolette Sheridan could easily be mistaken for a drag queen. She stood on one side of the room, in front of the full-length mirror, while her handlers added one more pound of makeup to her face. It looked like fresh snow on an alpine precipice – one loose yodel and it could all come crashing down. I stood on the other side of the room while my handlers picked lint and dog hair off my collar.

When did it become normal for women to have orange skin? Is there some orange ethnicity — aside from Oompa Loompas?

Good Morning America has a Wii in their green room. It runs Big Brain Academy, part of the Japanese fad of IQ testing games. At the end of an examination, it tells you what career path you’re most suited for. I got “Marketing Guru.” Suzanne, the marketing guru who chaperones me to these things, played a round and was told she’d make an ideal “Adventurer.”

So there you go.

I’m in Las Vegas now at the Orleans hotel and casino. Suzanne says it’s known as the “Poorleans.” Be that as it may, I got a free upgrade, and my room far exceeds the chair count benchmark set by that scene in Knocked Up. I have twelve chairs in my room – that’s not even counting the wraparound couch.

Twelve chairs! I’ve only sat in two so far.

Vegas has its charms.

I walked here from the airport. I’m pretty sure I’m the first person whose ever done that, even though you could throw a rock from the runway and hit the strip. The layout here is openly hostile toward the peripatetic.

Had dinner at the Hooters casino. My waiter was named Tom.

Where are your hooters, Tom?

I felt kinda jipped until I realized I was in the Dan Marino steakhouse within the Hooters casino – which apparently supersedes the established Hooters precepts. Anything goes.

The billboards on every major road in Las Vegas tout comedians who I assumed had died long ago. Louis Anderson? George Wallace? Rich Little? Seriously. Rich Little?

It strikes me that even on the billboards – The Billboards – these people look deeply unhappy.

And who the hell is Danny Gans? Am I supposed to have heard of Danny Gans?

Fortunately, my reason for being in Las Vegas has nothing to do with Las Vegas. It is so colossally interesting and I am so flipping giddy about it that I can’t even get into it right now. I’ll have to report after the fact. Time for bed.

19 Responses to Las Vegas, Nevada “Hi. I’m Tom. Welcome to Hooters.”

  1. I noticed you didn’t post about New Orleans; I hope the reason isn’t that the turnout wasn’t good. I tried to make it, but the fates conspired against me that day.
    Anyway, from what I’ve seen so far, the video will be great.

  2. I watch GMA everymorning, just sorta let it play in the background… I got very happy when I saw you, hoping that a new video was coming sooner than we thought (i can dream, huh?)
    I was very disappointed that Diane, Robin and Sam weren’t there. They would have danced with you!!

  3. Neil

    I learn a new word in every post; “peripatetic”. I’d still buy your book even if it was just all this stuff re-printed. Keep up the good work.

  4. Believe In Steve

    Any day now I expect to watch an episode of “Survivorman” on the Discovery channel and just as Les Stroud scrambles over a boulder there will be Matt, dancing away in the Boreal wilderness. Of course, Les would join Matt for a dance until he spots his dinner scurrying under a rock. Ohhhh… The places you go, the things you see.

  5. Doug

    I was one of those Atlantans who danced with you in the Centennial Olympic Park fountain a few weeks ago. (That guy with the beard and the cap–yep.) I just wanted to tell you your timing was great–the Great Water Poobah recently ordered the fountain shut off because we’re actually in a pretty bad drought right now. (I guess we’ll have to start drinking our bourbon straight and showering with friends.)

    It was great to meet you, and I’ll keep following your progress.

  6. Zach

    Back in my home state of Kansas, I used to see (every once in a while) this tribute drag queen who performs under the name Nicorette Sheraton at our town’s one and only, lonely gay bar. With the image of her firmly lodged in my brain, I laughed for a good three minutes when I read your Swiss-Alps description of what the real thing looks like.

  7. Jon Wu

    I think Las Vegas is the most deeply depressing place on earth. People who love to go to Las Vegas are, in my opinion, superficial and idiotic.

  8. Rosemarie

    Hey Matt, been wondering what you have been up to, you haven’t posted for a while. Was hoping you would post about the Santa Monica Beach group and your bad dancing experience there. I was there and danced badly with you and the rest of your friends, I had a blast. Can’t wait to see if we make the video.

    So being in Vegas has nothing to do with Vegas……Maybe you and Melissa are getting hitched? or maybe you stopped there and are making plans to go on from Vegas to the Grand Canyon and dance badly there? You need to get out of Poorleans and move onto the strip, I can see you dancing badly in midst of one of the Cirque Du Soleil shows.

    It is beyond me to guess what you are doing in Vegas that has nothing to do with Vegas. We’ll have to wait for your next post!

  9. Karen

    I live in Vegas and I have nothing to do with “Vegas” so I know what you mean. I’m excited for you. You’re joking right? You really don’t give a rats ass who Danny Ganz is. I found you through Elizabeth Gilbert’s site on the FAQ page a few minutes ago. Coincidence that you’re right here in town. Nah, not really. I have to admit at first your funny pseudo Irish jig thing was puzzling (my daughter does Irish Dance and I kept waiting for you to kick it up a notch) but then I watched you jiggity jig your way around the world and I got all teary eyed. You’re beautiful! Thanks for the video. I hope your stay here is fullfilling. If you need a break just email me. My 3 year old son and I will take you out for a hike at Red Rock. It’s a gorgeous time of the year to be outside. If you’re here through the week you could join us in Irish Dance class… you know, get some polish. No, I think I like you the way you are. It’d be fun though.

  10. Rich

    ” The characteristically genial and soft-spoken New Yorkers onboard were shockingly expressive about the predicament.”

    LAMO!! Matt, you are at your finest…

    Seriously, what a great read. Thanks!

  11. Matt

    I walked from the Paris hotel and Casino to the Airport in Las Vegas. It was the most hostile enviornment in which to take your suit case for a walk. 110 degree heat and no sidewalks on airport approach. Then I had a brainstorm. I walked into a Hertz rental car return and pretended I had just returned a car and got on the courtesy shuttle. Brilliant!

  12. Hey Matt – No, you’re definitely not the first person to walk from the airport to the Strip. I do it almost every time I arrive in Vegas. It’s strange that a city with an infamously poor pedestrian infrastructure (aside from the Strip itself) has a great little pedestrian path out of the airport.

    Sometimes when I go to Vegas the only time I ever get in a vehicle is boarding the plane itself. Bike to the airport, fly, then walk to the strip.

    I’m pretty sure that I’m not the first person to try walking, but I surely never see anyone else doing it.

    [link goes to the long gone “Tropicana mobile home park” that you would pass along this walk.]

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