Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Money For Nothing

In a single night, Scott Disick—the runt of the Kardashian litter, the fuckup father of Kourtney's three children—makes more money doing nothing than most Americans earn in an entire year. Disick is a man routinely mocked on national television for being the one without any skills in a family of people who are famous for not really having any skills. But in 2016, he represents both the luckiest beneficiary and the most tragicomic casualty of the booming club-appearance economy. All he has to do to earn his check is walk through the door at 1OAK in Las Vegas and not leave for one hour.

And yet the club-appearance gig is a giant knot in Disick's life that seems to only tangle and tighten like a noose. He began booking these appearances a few years back, presumably so he could gain some agency beyond the grip of Kris Jenner and have something to call his “job.” For a while, this was working out nicely for him. He was gaining enough notoriety thanks to Keeping Up with the Kardashians that his appearance fee rose to impressive numbers: He could pull $70,000 or $80,000 a night in the U.S. At one high point, he scored a $250,000 deal for a series of appearances in the UK.

But in Disick's case, all that time spent in nightclubs exacerbated his already-problematic drinking and alleged drugging habits, which put him on shaky ground with his family. This made him come off like even more of a loser on the show, which in turn probably made him even more desperate for validation outside of the E! network. Hence, more club appearances, more bad behavior, more humiliation on national TV, more need for outside validation… This is the extended EDM remix of the song that never ends.

Eventually Disick's petulant shenanigans started to get old, and everyone realized that he was deeply troubled. And so the bad press has knocked his appearance fee down a notch. Although not so low that Disick is conflicted about doing the work: His new 1OAK contract requires him to appear eight times at the club in 2016. (...)

You may not think that hanging out in a nightclub four nights a week qualifies as work, but it does, at least as far as the IRS is concerned. “They have to go to the airport, get on a plane, go to the hotel, get ready,” says Sujit Kundu of SKAM Artist, a Los Angeles-based company that brokers club appearances for its celebrity clients. “Sometimes an hour-long club appearance can take two whole days.”

Somehow lots of people decide the excruciating toll is worth it. Not just reality-TV stars, but also DJs, rappers, Insta-famous models, fledgling socialites, and a select group of actors. Some of the club-appearance economy's biggest draws, like DJ/rapper/party personality Lil Jon, fall into a hazy, lucrative middle ground (appearing and briefly performing). Jon even works weekends. On one Saturday night in early December, he heads down from his suite at the Wynn in Las Vegas and strolls into Surrender, one of the casino's many nightclubs, where he takes his customary perch at a VIP table. He partied a little too hard last night, so he'll need a minute to morph into the Lil Jon who has been paid handsomely to be here tonight. He still hasn't taken off his sunglasses. Over the din, his road manager gestures to him with a bottle of tequila, doing a little Let's party dance. Jon smiles, brings his palms together, and holds them next to his face like a contented baby: I'm sleepy. No thanks.

I am here to watch Lil Jon do his job. His job is to party.

by Carrie Battan, GQ |  Read more:
Image: uncredited