Eddie Pepitone in Action Auto

I don’t laugh during takes. I’m unbreakable. Kevin James, Neil Patrick Harris, Terry Crews — none have prevented me from delivering my precious dialogue. Fine, there was one time while slapping handcuffs on Henry Winkler during a Barry take when he blurted “Ouch!” and in a nanosecond I replied, “I’m so sorry.” All I could think was, “OMG I hurt the Fonz.” Thankfully, Henry was kidding, our national treasure intact. Anyway, that wasn’t laughter, right? I absolutely love seeing characters break during sketches on Saturday Night Live, their forgivable flaws shot live in front of a roaring studio audience. Bill…

I started writing daily haiku on the first day of my quarantine — Saturday, March 14, 2020. My initial hopes were to have a diary of how I felt each day, and what the sky looked like. I’ve been writing them daily ever since. Here is a selection of the first seven days.

Saturday, March 14, 2020 — Quarantine Day One (Photo by P.J. Marino)

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Went outside to phone

The warm sun opened its eye

Then went away. *Sigh*

U2 at the Inglewood Forum in 2015 (photo by author)

A friend and I were rocking sweatpants as we headed over to Jerry’s Famous Deli in Westwood one night in 2005. She’d come from yoga. I’m pretty sure I hadn’t showered. The plan was to grab matzo ball soup and catch up. Parking was unusually hard. We quickly found out why as we converged from separate spots and crossed the street. There was a movie premiere starting shortly for the Jessica Alba-Paul Walker adventure film Into the Blue. By the movie theater, a woman holding up a few extra passes was engulfed by a gaggle of young fans clamoring to…

Fox Studios in Century City (photo by author)

I felt out of place when I first arrived at Boston College High, the large college-prep school filled with mostly South Shore Irish boys. Made sense, I’d been born and raised in a small tight-knit Italian neighborhood. Hoping sports would make me fit in, I tried out for basketball in the fall. As one of the more athletic kids in my class growing up, I was devastated when I got cut. It was the first time I’d been told “you can’t play.” I withdrew socially, not even trying out for baseball, undoubtedly my favorite sport, in the spring. Two years…

all photos by author

Behold! Christmas in Los Angeles! Where one begs the question, “Should I put a bow on this cactus?” I’ve lived in sunny Southern California for almost 25 years. Every December, I’ve trekked to the East Coast to eat thousands of cookies with family, sip Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, embrace subzero wind chill and hopefully toss a snowball or two. That’s Christmas to me. It has a smell. A sound. A feel. Cold air, ricotta pie, fresh cup of Joe. My mom’s meatballs sizzling in a pan, anecdotes embellished with Boston accents, tires splashing over slush. Frosted windshields. Fluffy scarves. Mittens! But…

Photo by Jose Francisco Morales on Unsplash

I’m a big Bradley Cooper fan. We have a lot in common. We’re both from the East coast, Italian mom, same height, blue collar swagger and mesmerizing blue eyes. I’ve always wanted to work with him. The way he immerses himself in character roles is Deniro-esque. From real life con man to animated raccoon to spiraling alcoholic country singer, his range is as broad as the Serengeti. I play cops. That’s about it. It’s my thing. Like an ape with a badge. For guys like me, booking an acting job is a shot of luck mixed with a splash of…

P.J. Marino on set

Kneeling on a narrow bridge ten feet high, I felt vulnerable. A man yelled in Bulgarian, then flicked an igniter. Flames rose up around me like I was trapped inside a grill. My only escape — flipping my body sideways through scaffolding onto cardboard boxes below. It was just another day in Eastern Europe on set of a sci-fi television movie.

The stunt guy made it look easy when he demonstrated the maneuver a few moments earlier, but he wasn’t surrounded by fire. Should I really be doing this? rumbled through my head. The roughly two-million dollar production had stunt…

P.J. Marino

P.J. Marino is an actor and writer in Los Angeles who has appeared in over 100 TV shows, commercials, and films. More can be seen at www.pjmarino.com.

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