Saturday, August 30, 2008

Enemies And Enemas

Saturday August 30th, 2008 - Lake Villa, IL

Nothing much going on this weekend and that’s ok with me. I did my shows early in the week and I suppose I could have booked something this weekend but I just didn’t feel like it. I know that isn’t the way to find real success so it was better to take the weekend off.

I did some serious reflecting today and thought a lot about a lot of things. I feel like I’m more of an outsider now than ever before and I’ve always felt that way even as a kid. I am in my own world and my ups and downs don’t seem to coincide with those of the masses.

I feel unimportant and insignificant and I wonder why I’m even here at all. I thought for a while I had a purpose but now I’m not sure. I used to hear how ‘God has a plan for your life’ but I think that’s a pile of pony poo. Not unless God wanted me to live like a hobo.

After all these years of searching and trying to find my way I feel like I’m drifting along with no rudder on my boat and I’m starting to get seasick. Doing what I’m doing isn’t any closer to a payoff now than when I started. It feels like I’m running around in a big circle.

I started to think about all the people I’ve crossed paths with over the years. There have been quite a few from all walks of life and they’ve gone in all different directions. People like Frank Caliendo started after me in show business and hit the big time while others on the list started before me and I blew them out of the water by comparison. It’s individual.

Some people have become cherished friends but others have become enemies. That’s an ugly side of life I’ve never understood. I really don’t look to make enemies but I’ve had a tendency to clash with a certain few in my time. I don’t want it to be personal or last long but that’s usually what happens. I’m the kind of person that polarizes and that’s how it is.

opener from this week is an example. I can tell he’s angry and I could sense a bit of tension even before our shows. Something doesn’t match and I have learned to not fight it when that happens. I prefer to just avoid that person rather than make it ugly for us both.

I guess my sister must think that of me. She still has the red ass for me fifteen years out. I don’t claim to be perfect but I did try to at least make it right with her and I don’t want a feud with the comic guy or anyone else either. We may not agree but I don’t want a fight.

Life is too short for that. There’s a sportswriter in Chicago named Jay Mariotti who had more enemies than friends from all accounts and he quit his job this week and had a lot of his former coworkers blast him from all sides. That’s exactly what I do NOT want to be.

I guess nobody goes through life without enemies or at least critics so I’m going to look for those who mesh with me and not focus on the clashes. I have already had so many big disappointments in my life that I feel like I’m already dead. Anything good I do now is an unexpected bonus. I’m never going to be whatever I thought ‘normal’ is so that dream is a thing of the past. I have what I have to work with and now it’s up to me to create success.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Reinventing My Wheel

Friday August 29th, 2008 - Lake Villa, IL

Time for a reinvention. Madonna does it every few years and she usually nails it. I have been pretty much the same thing for most of my adult life and haven’t nailed anything yet so this is as good a time as any to make a change. What I’m doing isn’t making me rich.

Last night in Rockford was a real pisser. The agony of having to stand there in front of a small crowd who didn’t care if I was living or dead really wasn’t fun. I was a whore just there for money and that’s never why I got into this in the first place. I like the process of being a comedian and developing an act and a persona but none of that mattered at all.

I got an email from the opening act saying he read what I said and wasn’t thrilled about it. That’s fine, that’s why I didn’t include his name. I didn’t mean anything personal by it but his act is absolutely WAY over the line and disgustingly vulgar. I’ve been doing this far too long to have to go up after that kind of filth and I’m not going to take it anymore.

If he takes it personally that’s up to him. I’m sure I’ll see him again at some point and I won’t pussyfoot around but I won’t look for a confrontation either. That’s not what I was looking to do when I wrote what I wrote. I wanted to explain to younger comics who read this that working blue is NEVER the right way to do things especially in the opener slot.

Maybe what I said was taken as harsh and I didn’t mean that at all. I went back and saw what I wrote and it said I ‘wasn’t fond of him’. That’s not really what I meant. I get along OK off stage but I really wasn’t fond of his choice of material to go up in front of me. If I miscommunicated that I sincerely apologize but I’m not sorry for defending my position.

In a way this whole thing was my fault for taking this run anyway. I did it for the money and didn’t think to ask who the opener was. Last week I had a guy who was really great to work with. He was older than me just like this week’s guy was but last week he got it and we had no problems. It’s really not my job to train newbies but I do try to offer some tips.

This is not the business it was when I started and I’m not excited about the direction it’s headed. I can either stay with it and be miserable like I am now or change my course. I am choosing to change my course even if that means joining the Peace Corps or finding a day job for a while to support myself while I find what it is that can help me find satisfaction.

It used to be really satisfying to go up and blow a room of strangers away but now that’s usually not the task at hand. A lot of times it’s babysitting drunks or having to shovel up a mound of wreckage any number of horrendous opening acts leave for me to deal with. It’s a constant grind and it would be a lot easier if I could have a little more say in all of this.

Booking rooms is not what I want to do but working with a set group of professionals is going to be higher on my list after this than it’s been in the past. I need to find a new way to channel my energy and make a living other than standing in a rock bar in front of a few people who don’t really care if I’m there or not. I’ve done it for too long and it‘s futile.

I’m up to my saturation point with a lot of things lately. Maybe it’s a midlife crisis and I need to get a Corvette and a stripper girlfriend like most normal guys my age are probably doing but I know that wouldn‘t satisfy my inner desire. I need my creative itch scratched.

The times I’ve been happiest in my life were when I was able to create something out of nothing. I still say my first pro wrestling show was THE most satisfying moment I’ve had in my entire life. I started with an idea and brought it to life and that was better than either the Packers winning the Super Bowl or sex. Or both. Together. I love to give ideas life.

Seeing my comedy class graduation shows have been right up there as well. Watching a group of people come from absolute ground zero in their experience and knowledge to go up and get laughs in a packed room of people is a thrill on many levels. I love to see them get the laughs but also I love the look of pure glee on their faces after the show is over.

Unfortunately these things haven’t put a whole lot of money in my pocket. Wrestling is long out of my life and no longer an option but comedy classes might be a way to get my creative juices stirred and make some money too. I need to take it to a place where people can pay for it and that’s probably in a corporate environment but I think I could do that.

The principles of comedy are the same whether I’m teaching in a comedy club or in the training room at a big company. People are basically people and I’ve got years of training in both comedy and teaching. I will have to start completely over and reinvent that also.

I guess this is just my time in life to do that. Whatever I’ve done in the past has brought me to exactly here and I don’t really like where I am so it’s time for a change. I can’t have as vague a definition as Barack Obama does about what that change is however. I need an exact focused well thought out detailed plan of action and I need to execute it every day.

My problem is I’m always too distracted by things around me and I continue to let it get into my field of vision. That’s on me and I need to improve dramatically. Now. This is an unstable time for most everyone and things are changing all over the place. Now I need to find my niche in all of this and grow whatever that is into my financial and creative base.

I’m backed into a corner and I don’t have many options left. I went up to Milwaukee to get a copy of my grandmother’s will today. My cousin Brett asked me to get a copy so he could see the details of how money was doled out. He was supposedly in for a half share of her house but that never came through. His father and my father stuck it to both of us.

I am going to let all that pass. If I dwell on it I’ll go crazier than I already am. Going up to Milwaukee was a big mistake today because of the Harley Davidson 105th Anniversary. Hundreds of thousands of Harleys are there and that’s like holy water to Dracula for me.

Every time I hear that sound I think of my father and his maggoty bunch of losers and I want to swerve my car over and take them all out. That’s not what I need to think so I will stay away from Milwaukee until it all blows over. I’ve got enough other stuff to work on.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Return To Rockford

Thursday August 28th, 2008 - Rockford, IL

Back in Rockford again only this time someone was expecting me. I was going to drive home from Decatur last night but then I asked myself why and couldn’t come up with any good answers so I stayed and used my hotel room. I’ve had enough drives lately thanks.

There’s no hotel for the Rockford gig anymore so I stayed as late as I could at the hotel and then took a leisurely trip up US 51 to I-39 and listened to Steve Martin’s audio book ‘Born Standing Up’ which was about his comedy career. I had read the book but this was a treat because he actually read it and it really flowed well. I enjoyed it all over again.

His father and he had a tumultuous relationship and one of the lines he said that stuck to me was ‘I’m qualified to be a comedian.’ I am too. The dents in my can are both deep and plentiful and so far this has been the only thing I’ve been able to find that eases the pain. I know I’m not alone and hearing of Steve Martin’s father/son pain made me feel for him.

Getting to Rockford was a breeze because I was immersed in the audio program most of the way and it made the time fly. I was still early for the show so I stopped at the studio of WXRX to hang out with my radio friends Jim Stone and his partner named ‘Double T’.

It turns out they were at the Rockford River Hawks baseball game so I went over to join them on the air for a while. They let me come on when I want and that’s always a blast. If Bob and Tom would give me as much of a push as Stone and Double T I’d be a huge star.

There were a bunch of other guests on the show today along with me. I didn’t tell them I was coming but they put me on anyway and that was very classy. One of the other guests was Rick Neilsen’s son from Cheap Trick. He sang a few songs and was very good and a nice guy too. I love hanging out on fun radio shows and this is another one I really enjoy.

To make the whole trip worth it the guys let me throw out the first pitch at the game. I’d never done that before and it was a fantastic experience. I walked out to the mound when they told me to and they announced my name and I could see the crowd gawk at me but it was still fun to wind up and let one rip. I didn’t bounce it and the crowd popped nicely.

I shook hands with the catcher and he gave me the ball and I waved and walked off with a huge smile on my face. That was one of the most unexpected fun things I’ve done in my life and if I never get to do it again I still really enjoyed it. It was the highlight of my day.

The lowlight was going to do the show at LT’s. There was an extra small crowd tonight because of baseball, Obama’s speech, the Bears game, the Packer game and Styx had big show in town. I was lucky anyone was left over to see comedy at all. It was a bad night.

The opener was just as filthy today as yesterday but I didn’t even bring it up. I shut my mouth and just ignored it. Hopefully I won’t have to work with him for a long time but if I do I can see it will be an issue. I hope I can avoid it. I’ve got important things to get to.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dirty In Decatur

Wednesday August 27th, 2008 – Decatur, IL

Decatur, IL – take TWO. I walked up to the desk clerk at the hotel and said ‘Let’s try to do this again.’ We both laughed and I checked in and then went to the sports bar to check in with the person in charge there. I confirmed I was indeed where I needed to be tonight.

I also learned I’d be working with an opening act I’m not fond of. I saw his picture next to mine on the wall and winced. I’m not going to mention his name because I really don’t want to build any more tension between us than there already is. We’ve clashed before.

His act is absolutely FILTHY. Period. I don’t want to have to follow that and neither do most headliners who work decent venues because it drags the audience into the toilet and doesn’t do anyone any good. If a headliner chooses to go in that direction it’s a choice the headliner should be allowed to make. An opener should NEVER set that kind of a tone.

I am about as far from a prude as can be. I grew up around foul mouthed bikers and that kind of language doesn’t shock or offend me at all but I absolutely do not want anyone on stage in front of me to use it because it burns out an audience in a hurry. This guy doesn’t get that and thinks he’s ‘blowing me off the stage’ when in fact he’s blowing his career.

The problem is most bookers don’t really care who is matched up on shows. They’ll fill spots like putting pegs in holes and not think twice about who’s opening for whom and if it is a good fit or not. This particular match is a bad one and it bothers me to have to still deal with this kind of stuff all these years into the business. I’d rather bring my own act.

More than one booker has told me over the years ‘I put the questionable acts with you. I know you can follow anything.’ Gee, thanks a lot. I guess it’s nice to hear that but having to follow a mismatched opener doesn’t do me or the whole show any good. It’s annoying.

The worst kind of act to follow is a dirty one and this guy is right in the gutter. He uses ‘the words’ but also the content is graphic and disgusting and together it makes following it extremely difficult. I’ve tried to tell him before in a nice way and he just doesn’t get it.

What’s funny to me is that his promo says a line like ‘it doesn’t have to be filthy to be funny’ but he’s one of the worst offenders I’ve seen in a long time. He should listen to his own claim and follow up on it. It takes a whole lot to make me cringe but he surely did it.

I don’t want any personal jags with the guy and if I had my way he and I wouldn’t ever be booked on the same show but that’s just not realistic at this time. I try to be cordial but I can feel a tension between us and I’m just not up for that at this stage of my life. He’s a few years older than me and started late in comedy but that’s not my fault. Act like a pro.

I’m going to try and ask him politely to please tone it down tomorrow in Rockford but I have serious doubts that he’ll do it. I’ll give him a shot but if he doesn’t I’m going to call the booker and at least complain a little. I hate to do that but he’s way over the line here.

This is getting to be a bigger and bigger problem in comedy. When I started there were a lot fewer rooms to work with a lot fewer comedians and chances were at least the act in the closing spot had some experience and if an opening act got too blue or went to long it was dealt with. It didn’t have to be nasty or mean but it usually was handled very quickly.

I remember a couple of guys mentioning something to me when I was coming up and it wasn’t meant to humiliate me at all. I remember one time I was an emcee and tried to get a laugh in the middle of the show before I brought the headliner up. It was a graphic joke about someone taking a nasty dump and not flushing and it wasn’t the right mood setter.

The headliner was a guy named Tommy Sledge and he was a wily road veteran. He’s a great guy and a real pro and when he told me that I knew he was right and apologized for my mistake and said I’d never do it again and I didn’t. At the end of the week I could tell Tommy was appreciative of it because he came over and told me so. I got his message.

He wasn’t doing it to ‘cramp my style’ or ‘censor my artistic voice’. He was doing it to help me learn the ropes and just letting me know I needed to go in a different direction. It totally made sense and I appreciate him taking the time to do that. Many guys won’t. It’ll be a matter of a call to the booker and that’s the end of it. I am thankful Tommy was nice.

I try to be nice too but that doesn’t work with the guy I’m with this week. Like a lot of newbies he thinks he’s going to change the rules to suit him and that everyone will come running to make him the next big thing in comedy. His ‘routine’ about oral sex is way too graphic and isn’t very funny at all and I could see people squirming in their seats tonight.

I went up and purposely didn’t swear at all tonight. Not once. I don’t have to and in my opinion nobody really does. Sometimes some spicy language can punctuate a bit and that is the discretion of the comedian but it should come later in the show. Doing it up front is a good way to lose the crowd for the whole show and nobody wants to be on stage then.

In my opinion no opener or even feature act on a three act comedy show needs to use a single ‘F-bomb’ for their entire show. Sometimes the situation dictates or the mood calls for it and occasionally that’s fine but to have it be a written in part of the act isn’t needed.

I counted about 15 ‘F-bombs’ before I walked out of the room. Then I came back and it had changed to a sermon about giving oral pleasure to a woman complete with vivid and graphic descriptions which were beyond good taste in a hotel sports bar in Decatur, IL.

People need to learn to be a COMEDIAN first. Fundamentals are important and THEN a comic can choose which direction to go. Some will choose to work blue and that’s fine but it also limits the places to work and why would anyone new want to do that up front? I’ve had clashes with several comics over the years but I still maintain I’m in the right.

I tell my students ‘clean leads to green’ and I mean it. If a comedian can work clean in most environments it’s the best way to get booked back. Even if people are laughing it’s a tough sell to bring a dirty act back again. Comedy is not easy but that’s part of the fun.

530 Wasted Miles

Tuesday August 26th, 2008 - Decatur, IL/Rockford, IL/Lake Villa, IL

For as much effort as I put into being an intelligent person and making smart decisions I sure can pull off some world class stupid things. Today was one of my finest hours. It will be a long time before I can top this one and I hope it is. This was one for the record book.

I’ve got two one nighters booked for this week. One is at the Holiday Inn in Decatur, IL and the other is at a place called LT’s in Rockford. I’ve done them both probably a dozen times over the years and it should be no big deal. I have worked for John Yoder for years. He’s the guy that books these two places and it’s about as easy of a transaction as there is.

He sends me an email asking if I’m open for the dates. I say yes. He puts me in and then sends me a confirmation with an itinerary of the information I’ll need like time and place and date and contact numbers, stuff like that. I show up and do the gigs and get my pay.

That shouldn’t be an issue at all and for the last however many times I’ve done this run there have been no problems at all. I showed up and did my show and even though some audiences were better than others there were no problems like I had to deal with tonight.

For whatever reason I stupidly went to DECATUR today rather than Rockford. I knew Decatur was always on a Wednesday but I totally had a brain pan malfunction and went a day early. I had lunch with Marc Schultz and everything and I told him I was heading out to Decatur and it never crossed my mind even once that this was Tuesday. I just blew it.

My drive was leisurely and actually pretty relaxing…until I got to the Holiday Inn and asked to check in. The guy behind the counter looked at me and wrinkled an eye brow as he asked ‘You want a room TONIGHT?’ I said ‘Uh…yes please.’ He then said ‘You’re a COMEDIAN?’ I pointed to the poster for the show and said ‘Yes. That’s me right there.’

He said ‘OK but the show is TOMORROW night. We do our comedy on Wednesdays.’ That’s when it hit me like a cement boxing glove to the face. My eyes got big and I knew I blew it. I laughed about it with the desk clerk and then made a mad dash back to the car.

If Decatur was tomorrow that must mean Rockford was TONIGHT. It was 7pm and I’d have to really hustle to make it on time for a 9pm show. I called the club in Rockford and got the worse news that their show started at 8pm. Gulp. There was no way I’d make it to Rockford, IL from Decatur by show time so I asked if they could hold the show for a bit.

As I was asking my phone ran out of juice and shut off. I have no car charger right now because my new phone doesn’t fit on my old charger. What a scam and I didn’t spend the $40 to get the new one because I just don’t have an extra $40 right now. So I’m screwed.

This is when the frustration sets in. I needed to be in Rockford and it was far away but I was the one who made the mistake so it was up to me to fix it. I cranked my Honda up as far as it would go and I risked life and limb at 95mph to hopefully make this all go away.

It’s amazing how quickly the tide can turn and completely change everything. Just a few minutes ago I was relaxing and preparing to take a nice shower and get ready for the show and now I’m like a NASCAR driver in a cross country race hoping to make good time.

I didn’t follow my rule of wearing something that I could wear on stage in a pinch while I drive because I wasn‘t expecting this at all. Everything I ‘usually’ do was not done today and I laughed about it because it was pretty funny. When it rains it pours but this was way bigger than just a rain storm. This was a tsunami of stupid and I was the one who did it.

USUALLY I have my phone charged up. USUALLY I know where I’m going and what day to be there. USUALLY I show up on time. This was not a usual day but all I could do since I couldn’t call anyone was try to get to Rockford and do damage control and hope to be able to salvage a show and not have the owner call John Yoder and cause a big scene.

One thing I did right was keep my wits about me in all this commotion. I didn’t panic at all and thought things through as I sped up I-39 toward Rockford. Would this affect me in the big scheme of life? No. Would it ruin my career? No. What’s the worst thing that may happen if I miss the gig? Well, John Yoder might get a call. I can live with that. It’s ok.

John is a reasonable guy and he’s been booking comedians for 30 years. I’m sure he has had comics miss shows in the past and the world is still spinning. If I have to pay him his commission out of my pocket as a penalty I’ll do it but I doubt if he’ll stop booking me.

With all those things going through my mind I knew this wouldn’t be a crisis but only a minor inconvenience and whatever consequences there would be I’d be able to accept the final outcome and move on. I was a little angry at myself for being so stupid but I moved past that too after a short time. The damage was done and being angry wouldn’t help any.

The reason this happened is that I’m TOO familiar with the circumstances. I’ve been at this for so long that I didn’t check the details like I would normally do. I ‘assumed’ and it is never good to do that. Well, the ‘ass’ this time was just ‘me’. There was no ‘u’ at all. It was my fault and I claimed the mistake and didn’t dwell on it after a while. I felt ok then.

The smart thing to do was keep focusing on good things so that’s what I did. I pictured myself onstage rather than getting yelled at by the owner. I pictured him giving me money rather than having me write a check to John Yoder. I totally focused on that while I drove.

Then when I got to LT’s I saw another guy on stage. I figured they must have called one of the locals in and it was actually relief to see the show going on. As it turns out I was on the wrong night here too. LT’s does comedy TWO nights a week and I’m booked for their show on THURSDAY instead of Tuesday. I dodged a bullet but what a bad way to do it.

I could have stayed in Decatur and relaxed because I had tonight OFF. What a dummy I am for not looking at that itinerary closer. Here I drove a total of 530 miles when I should have stayed home and relaxed all day. I sure learned my lesson today. Read the itinerary.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Rodney Time

Monday August 25th, 2008 - Chicago, IL

Something’s wrong. I feel it. My head’s in a bad space and I need to change direction in a hurry. I’ve been here before and I don’t like it one bit. Hopefully like a cold I can get rid of it in the shortest time possible. I need orange juice and hot chicken soup for my brain.

I’m trying to figure out what put me here so I can stay away from it next time. It’s been a while since I have slid into ‘the heaviness’ as Rodney Dangerfield used to call it but it’s back like herpes and I’m not thrilled about it. These are the times when life isn’t any fun.

Today was a rough Monday and I usually love Mondays. I do Jerry’s Kidders on WLS with a fun group and then I usually do Zanies at night. Today I was late for the radio show because I had a friend in town I hadn’t seen in years. Brian Diamond is a comic I’ve been friends with for many years and he was passing through Chicago on his way back home.

He’s around my age and has been working the road forever but he really wants to be an actor. He doesn’t hide it and that’s fine but we differ on that goal. I want to be a COMIC. Period. I love doing standup comedy for audiences who enjoy it and that’s my life’s goal.

Brian has a nice girlfriend who he brought on this trip and we met in a Denny’s to catch up on the last few years. I really like Brian and in all the years we’ve known each other he has never heard my entire bank robbery story. It really is a fascinating story but I am very sick of telling it after all these years. It really pains me to go back to that mental place.

I was sold down the river by my lifelong best friend and the only choice I had was to be the one who testified against him and sent him to prison. That’s a hell of a choice and it’s bad enough I had to actually do it but to relive it again all these years later isn’t fun at all.

Brian asked me nicely to tell it and I obliged but it didn’t feel good at all. Maybe that’s part of the reason I’m in a mental funk right now. I picked a few old scabs inside and it’s bleeding everywhere. It was great to see Brian but then I had to get to the radio station in time for the Kidder’s show at 10:30. I fought hellish traffic and made it barely on time.

I was stressed out and sweating like a pig because it was hot and muggy and I didn’t get to look at the stories at all. I was busy yesterday working on the Mothership Connection’s guest content and I figured I’d do the WLS prep this morning. I took longer than I thought with Brian and that put me behind schedule. That’s just how it worked out but it hurt me.

Well, it hurt my ability to prepare for the radio show. Usually I like to ad lib a lot but to know the stories allows for the ability to ad lib better. Today I was flat out unprepared for my part of the show and even though I let loose with a few good lines I was disappointed.

This isn’t how I want to represent myself or Jerry either. Winging it half ass is not what I want to be known for. I want to be better than that but today I didn’t think I was. Maybe that’s also a part of why I’m dragging my tail behind me. I felt like I didn‘t give my best.

Tonight at Zanies wasn’t much better. They’re having their 30th anniversary and part of it includes a contest each month to find the funniest lawyer or doctor or teacher etc. and I was the one to close out the show with a forty minute set. I got some nice laughs in a tiny audience but it didn’t seem fulfilling at all. Usually I love to work but tonight it was flat.

I guess I just felt bored with it all. I’m bored with the Jerry’ Kidders bit on WLS and if you’d have bet me a year ago I’d never say that I’d have taken that bet. I love Zanies and I am very thankful they asked me to close the show tonight but that bored me just the same.

Those things are fun enough but I’ve done them both many times and I just feel that I’m spinning my wheels at this point. I’m not getting paid for the WLS gig and it’s a hassle to take the train into town every Monday even though it is fun to hang out with the group.

I don’t want to complain and I know that I could be replaced in a blink in either of these two deals and if it happened today I really couldn’t care less. That’s not how it should be. I should be excited to be in both places. I think. Maybe this is the universe talking to me.

I have always read where the most creative people have no idea how much impact they truly make on those around them and I guess I am in that place right now. There are many people who tell me I’m very funny and talented and how much they admire my work and I really do appreciate it when they say that but I just don’t feel it myself. I feel like a bum.

It’s hard not to look at all that went wrong in my life combined with the stupid mistakes I made to go with it and I’m not sure if I’ll ever recover. Sometimes I feel like I’m totally bulletproof and I’ll overcome anything. Today I feel like I can get beaten up by a fruit fly.

When I get this low there’s only one cure for my ills - The King. In my world only one guy cheers me up when I’m in a mud rut like this and that’s Rodney Dangerfield. He’s my favorite comedian just like George Clinton is my favorite music. No substitutes will do.

I put in the DVD of Rodney’s movie ‘Easy Money’ which always makes me laugh out loud. Everything about Rodney is funny to me and like a virtuoso he plays his comic gifts like a violin and it soothes my inner pain every time. Thanks Rodney. I needed you today.

I’ve got a 3 DVD box set of his specials on HBO and some of the Tonight Shows he did over the years. To watch his timing and rhythm and study his greatness really puts me in a good mood or at least helps me forget about the bad one for a while. He is truly a classic.

It would be a thrill if I could be that kind of influence on some other people too. Rodney is still making me laugh even after he passed and there’s no greater comic gift than that. If I can have one wish it would be to make future generations laugh even after I pass away.

Laurel and Hardy did it too. The Three Stooges. Buster Keaton. Chaplin. Even a few of the newer guys like Belushi and Kinison and Bill Hicks and Mitch Hedberg. They’re dead in body but alive in making people laugh who need it. Today I’m one. Thanks Rodney!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fun At The Faire

Sunday August 24th, 2008 - Bristol, WI/Kenosha, WI

It only took me about thirty years but I finally checked out the Bristol Renaissance Faire today. I remember seeing commercials for it on TV when I was a kid but it was known as King Richard’s Faire then. I’ve always wanted to check it out and today I got my chance.

Anything that has to do with well done live entertainment interests me and I thought the whole operation was extremely well done. These guys must be doing something right or it wouldn’t have lasted this long and I just sat back and observed how the operation worked.

We saw a jousting show which was great and then had a guy with a big beard do a show about some sort of old time surgeon’s tricks and even though I had no idea what he talked about I appreciated how he held the attention of everyone for his thirty minute soliloquy.

The highlight of the day was ‘The Mud Show’. Three guys did a show in a mud pit and it was one of the most entertaining things I’ve ever seen. The mud was only a tiny portion of what made it so great. The rest of it was the interaction and teamwork of the players.

It was basically two guys cheerleading to see who could get one side of the audience to yell louder than the other and then donate more money than the other so the ‘judge’ might deem one side the better one. It was a cross between a street hustle and a pep rally but the guys were extremely tight and we all loved it. They are a three man team and very funny.

I got to talk to two of them after the show and told them I was a performer too but I had never seen anything quite like their show and I meant it. I told them how smooth they had their teamwork down and pointed out several examples and they both beamed when I said it because they’re not used to hearing it. Most audiences don’t care how difficult this is.

I knew exactly how much work it took to do what they did and they literally pulled their show right out of the mud and made it a big hit. I wanted to tell them I appreciated all that it took to polish a show like that and they were more than happy to hear it. They earned it.

I love to watch quality entertainment and I thought the entire place was top shelf all the way. I’m sure there is a circuit of these things just like comedy clubs and many of the acts travel around just like I do hoping to get that big break, whatever it may be. A lot of these people were quite freakish but that’s all part of the fun. I for one really enjoyed all of it.

Tonight we were back on the air in Kenosha for the Mothership Connection on WLIP. I was on the road most of the week so my co-host Scott Markus lined up the guests. One of them was good but the other was just so-so and we had a difficult time filling both hours.

This is all part of the growth process. We’re getting better every week and I’m not at all worried. We’re still having fun and that’s the main thing. After this long week I needed to relax a little and today was fun all around. I did hear from Terri Sorenson about the status of the family after the fire and they’re doing ok but I’d still like to do a benefit for them.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Drowning In BS

Saturday August 23rd, 2008 - Lake Villa, IL

I’m trying not to let a bunch of little things get to me. But they are. There seems to be a glut of idiots who want to teach comedy classes and they’re springing up everywhere. It’s annoying and it makes what I’m doing seem like just another one of those hacks when it’s totally not. I’ve spent years improving and tweaking and putting my soul into what I do.

These other goofs are just trying to make a quick buck. They’ve never headlined a show in a club and to me they’re stealing money from a potential student but the students aren’t smart enough to know that and it all just irritates the hell out of me. But I can’t stop them.

Another thing that’s gnawing at me is the ‘Christian’ comedian in Rockford who is now apparently making big money to do lame shows for church audiences. I helped him out of respect for a friend of his who worked with Jerry Agar in North Carolina. He asked me to help Mr. Jesus Joker get started and I did. He really crossed the line with asking though.

He bugged me incessantly for months and I tried to be nice but it got to be an enormous pain in the ass after a while. I told him he was being a little aggressive and that hard work was what he needed to do but I guess he thought God would miracle his ass to be funny.

The least he could have done is let me be part of the shows if there was pay involved. It is common courtesy which is apparently not all that common. I have a real disdain for the way most God Squad wankers handle themselves anyway starting with my father on back. They like to play by different rules and always say ‘God bless’ right as they screw you.

I’m trying not to think about all this but it’s clogging my brain pipe lately. I had dinner with my cousin Brett up in Milwaukee because we were both off today. He’s been telling me lately he thinks I got screwed from my siblings on my father’s will and today he had a document from the case to prove it. Apparently they did get a chunk from life insurance.

I already signed off so it’s too late but it really bothered me that I’d been had…again. It isn’t supposed to work like that and if they had to steal from me how bad is their life? I’m struggling to survive and could have really used that money but I guess I’ll never see any.

My end would have been about $24,000 apparently not counting anything from the sale of his Munster like house on Mitchell Street which probably should have been torched on Halloween of 1977 to exorcise all the demons that lived there. But they did sell it I guess.

What can I do about any of it? Not a damn thing. I know in my heart I signed off on my end at the time because I wanted to make it easier on the rest. I was told there was nothing there and I believed it and if I did get screwed then it’s on them. If they need the cash that badly or think they’re pulling one over on me then I guess that’s what they needed to do.

This whole world is insane. I’m sick of fighting the stupidity and all I want to do is be a world class comedian and help others lives to be better. Mine is looking pretty unfixable.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Burning Sadness

Friday August 22nd, 2008 - Minonk, IL

Shock. Sadness. Sympathy. Sobbing. Those are four words that kicked me in the ‘s’ as I read my email this morning before leaving the hotel in Arkansas. I sadly learned of a huge fire that completely destroyed my friend Les Sorenson’s house up in the Milwaukee area.

Les was the guy who owned the coin and stamp shop on Howell Avenue that was killed right in the store a couple of years ago now. They never did catch the lowlife maggot who did it and the whole thing was just wrong. Les was a wonderful soul and as gentle as they come. Every time I did a show in Milwaukee he’d bring his whole family out to see me.

He was a fan and a friend and I got to know and like his family too. I can honestly say I have never met a kinder bunch of people anywhere and now they get paid back by having their house with everything in it burn down. From what I heard they lost EVERYTHING.

Les was a packrat for sure and he had so much crap packed into his shop it was difficult to even walk through it so I’m sure the house had a ton of stuff in it. There was a lot of all kinds of stuff but Les especially liked autographs. The family was going to sell those so it could help make ends meet but there was just so much of it they hadn’t sorted it all out.

Les used to tell me how he built that house with his own hands. He was proud of it and always said he was going to have me out for dinner so I could see it but we never did get to do that and now it‘s too late. It‘s one more bit of proof that nothing is ever guaranteed.

To make it even worse they had a son who was in a nasty car wreck years ago and had a lot of special needs. He had trouble getting around and now he’s without a home too. I am very sad to hear of this and it bothered me all day in the car as I drove just over 650 miles.

I sent an email to the family saying I’ll be glad to do a comedy show to benefit them but in reality how much would it really do? I’ve tried to do benefit shows before and they’re a tough sell and I’m the first one to admit I’m not a big draw, especially in my home town.

This isn’t about me at all though. This is about trying to lend a hand to a family who has seen more tough times than anyone needs to. I know nothing about rebuilding a house but I do know about putting on comedy shows so if I can do that and help out I’ll gladly do it.

I know there are causes all over the place and many of them are legit and worthy and I’ll always pitch in whenever I can to help someone in need but this is a special occasion. The whole family is about as kind and gentle as humans get and I’d do anything to help them.

Nothing else I can say or do today will be more important than this. I totally don’t care about any baseball or football scores or who Obama’s oil can running mate is going to be or a whole lot of anything else either. Hearing of this really laid heavy on my heart all day and I feel totally helpless about what I can do to lend a hand. This makes NO sense to me at all. How can such friendly gentle people have this kind of evil keep crapping on them?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Good Road Trip

Thursday August 21st, 2008 - Dallas, TX/Ft. Smith, AR

Only 296 miles of driving today. It felt like a day off. Plus, having Lee Adams with me in the car made the trip go even faster. He’s a fascinating guy with some great stories and insights about life. He’s a few years older than me and just started doing comedy six years ago after spending a lifetime in the military and doing some other interesting things too.

He’s been over to Iraq and a whole lot of other places and he’s got some insights from a first hand perspective that kept my full interest on this trip. Plus he used to tour as a road manager for Bo Diddley and some other music acts and that made for a few stories also.

Hooking up with a good guy is one of the true treats of doing comedy on the road. I like the fact that we might not see each other for years and then we’ll cross paths and relive all the memories of the week all over again. It makes for a bond that lasts a lifetime and only the people involved can truly appreciate it. Lee and I hit it off and I hope we do it again.

I knew the drive wouldn’t be as long today so I got up early in Dallas to wander around downtown for a while. The last time I did that was when I took the bus trip and that was so long ago it all looked new again. I need to start exercising again though and I thought I’d start again today so I can hopefully get a streak going again. I need to do it every day.

It was a lot hotter and muggier today than it was yesterday and I was sweating like a pig in a very short time. I happened to see the Greyhound station a few blocks away so I went over there as a personal silver anniversary reunion of the trip that popped my road cherry.

I don’t know if it was the same station or not. I really didn’t remember anything unique about it back then and I was so tired from the trip that I wasn’t focusing on what the bus station looked like. I wanted to see Dallas. Now all these years later I couldn’t remember anything and it looked just like any other bus station - filled with derelicts and wackos.

My comedy bit came to life as I looked around the station 25 years later and I saw there hadn’t been much change in the clientele. One guy had a computer with him which is new since when I took my journey but I don’t think all the solitaire in the world could make up for the horrors of riding across America in a filthy sweat box filled with unwashed freaks.

I stood in line for about two minutes hoping to ask the ticket clerk how much a one way ticket to Milwaukee would be just to compare notes and see how it had evolved. I can still remember my round trip ticket back then costing $154. I wondered what a one way would cost but the idiot in front of me had a big problem and I didn’t feel like waiting any more.

If I really need to know what a bus ticket costs from Dallas to Milwaukee (and I hope to hell I never will) I’m sure I can look it up online in about ten minutes. It satisfied my need to relive my bus adventure so I got out of line and walked back out into the humid heat. It felt like I had graduated and went back to my old school again and it feels good for a little while but then it’s time to move on. I hope I never have to ride a Greyhound bus again.

A few blocks from the bus station I happened upon the Kennedy Memorial. I assumed a memorial of some sort would be downtown and there was. It was only a few blocks away from the actual site of the assassination and I couldn’t leave town without experiencing it.

These are the kinds of things that make the road so special and keep it fresh. I’m so glad I took the time over the years to see everything and anything I could and all this time later I don’t miss the money I spent but I do cherish all the lifetime memories it bought me. It’s the best money I ever spent and $13.50 admission today will be long forgotten very soon.

I’ll never forget the experience though. The museum is very well designed and there is a headset audio program that explains the whole story along the way. They restored the part of the building where allegedly the shots were fired and it’s a bit eerie to stand right there.

That was a huge event in American history and to see it in person was totally worth the price. I’m glad I did it and it was another thing that made me know I made a wise choice when I accepted these gigs. I listened to my little inner voice and it didn’t let me down.

After seeing the museum and finishing my walk I went back and showered at the hotel. They put us up in a great place and I just took time to be thankful for all that I’ve gotten a chance to experience in my life. Yes I’ve gotten more than my share of bad breaks but if I don’t acknowledge and claim the good things my whole life will be a waste. That’s dumb.

Today was a great day for many reasons. I had a super hotel room and Dallas has about as many hot women as any place I’ve ever seen. The hotel has a free breakfast and I got to sit at a table with some gorgeous babes and flirt for a while and then I went out and took a walk and saw the Greyhound station and then a piece of American History. It was great!

Then I got to ride in the car and hear fascinating stories of the music business and some other ones about traveling the world and what’s really going on in Iraq and that was about as entertaining as it gets. The drive seemed to fly by and we stopped at a burger joint for a sandwich and really got a great flavor of what Arkansas is all about. That was good too.

But the very best was saved for last. I was SO dreading coming back to do a show here I almost wanted to call in sick. Last time I was here it was a total disaster and I just wanted to get this over with and get paid. I wasn’t looking for any trouble and I knew when I took this run that this one might be a problem. I was prepared to just do my time and go home.

Boy was I surprised. For whatever reason this was a totally different vibe and I felt it as soon as I walked in the door. There were a LOT less hats both cowboy and baseball and it didn’t feel at all hostile and threatening like it did last time. I thought I might have a shot.

I was wrong. I had more than a shot. I had a bazooka tonight. These people were about as into it as it gets and I had one of the best shows I’ve had in a long time. I knocked this one not only out of the park but out of the parking lot too. What a way to end a run I was leery of to start with. Mr. Lucky caught a break and now it’s the long drive back home.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Dallas Flashback

Wednesday August 20th, 2008 - Dallas, TX

Deep in the heart of Texas. I’m back in Dallas after a long absence and I’m the only one who knows or cares. This is the place I intended to call home when I first left Milwaukee many years ago. I bought a Greyhound bus ticket because this was the farthest place away from Milwaukee back then that I could afford to buy a ticket. Not L.A. Not Miami. Here.

At least I was smart enough to buy a round trip ticket. Even back then I knew I may not be ready to sprout my wings and as it turns out I was totally right. I was going nowhere as a cook at a steak restaurant called ‘Rustler’ and I knew I needed to get out of Milwaukee.

Dallas seemed exciting to me and I still don’t know why. I never really was a fan of the TV show and I sure as hell can’t stand the Cowboys but I had heard good things about the town and decided this was where I was going to make my mark and start my comedy life.

I quit my job in mid shift when I was going on my break. I will never forget the look on the salad bar girl’s face when I told her what I was going to do. ‘Tell them I quit and I am never coming back. I can’t stay here anymore.’ There was a look in her eyes of ‘PLEASE take me with you.’ Looking back on it I bet she would have come along if I’d asked her.

The feeling of sheer adrenaline in quitting a dead end job was fantastic and then getting on the bus was even better. I had never been much of anywhere at the time and I was just out of high school and SO green and inexperienced but I knew this was what I wanted to do. I knew that it would be an experience and whatever happened I could recover from it.

I had a couple hundred bucks and some clothes and I set out to see the world. Getting to St. Louis and seeing the Gateway Arch for the first time was a big thrill that sends a chill down my back whenever I see it even now. It symbolized freedom and coming of age and chasing the big dream. I was 20 years old and my spirit of adventure was trying to bloom.

Crossing the Texas state line back then was another thrill I relived today when I did it in my car. I thought of how much time had passed since the last time and how far I’ve come and I was really proud that no matter what blew up in my face (and a lot did) I didn’t quit. Almost a quarter century later I’m driving a dented Honda but I’m still living the dream.

I remember very vividly getting off the bus and getting my duffel bag from the bowels of it and thinking to myself ‘Ok genius, NOW what?’ I had no contacts here and no idea of where to go to look for a place to live or a job or even a decent meal. I had looked in a few Dallas newspapers at the library but this was before the internet. I wasn’t prepared.

The sinking feeling hit me in about five minutes that I was no where near ready to make a move like this at that time. I didn’t fight it though. I went to the ticket counter and asked when the next bus back to Milwaukee left and it was in four hours. I took that time to just walk around downtown and see as much of the city as I could before I would have to suck up my pride and get back on the bus and return home. I’d bitten off just a little too much.

That ride home was one of the longest most painful experiences of my life since having the humiliation of flunking my first driver’s test but that’s another story for another time. One major life disappointment per day - that’s my rule or I’d be here typing until October.
What made the bus trip even worse was that I had gotten on the one that made twice as many stops as the last one did. We stopped in every little town and burg and Hooterville from Dallas to Milwaukee and many of them were familiar as I drove down here today.

McAlester, OK is one of them. There’s a prison there apparently and I remember back to that trip when a woman was on the bus and got off to meet her husband who had just been released. I heard her talking about it and she was all excited and I could see he was too as he smiled from ear to ear and showed the five or six teeth he had left. It was vivid.

That whole experience was and is vivid in my memory I’ve done a bit about a bus trip for many years that has gotten huge laughs time and time again. That was the trip I took and retracing those steps today was a surreal experience. It was an odd sort of reunion or something. I felt like I was going back to see my comedy kindergarten and I guess I was.

Even though it was a long drive it seemed nowhere near how long that bus trip felt. It’s like looking at the yard from childhood as an adult. It seems a lot smaller now. This was very similar. The trip wasn’t as far as I remembered it and it wasn’t really that big a deal. I kind of get the feeling death will be the same way. It won’t be as big as everyone thinks.

A lot of the thrill is gone for me for a lot of things, or at least the feeling of awe. When I got on that bus it felt like I was climbing into a spaceship to go to Alpha Centauri. All this time later driving the 1100 miles myself in my own car didn’t seem like a big deal at all.

Tonight’s show was at the House of Blues right downtown. They only started comedy a month ago so it’s still new. The room they do it in is pretty nice and the sound system was outstanding. The staff couldn’t have been any nicer from the GM to the manager to all the bartenders and servers. Even though the crowd wasn’t huge they still enjoyed the show.

Afterward they told us how much they loved us and I think they meant it. I could tell the staff were big partiers and they brought out shots for us and I had to politely decline. That isn’t always easy because many people don’t get the concept of someone who doesn’t like to drink. I don’t care if someone else does but for me I’m not interested. Not an easy sell.

To turn down a staff who wants to go nuts can be really bad for rebooking purposes. It’s considered a slap in the face by many and I know I’ve lost work over the years because of it just as it’s gotten work for mediocre comics in the past. That’s just how it works out.

I’m glad I took this gig for several reasons. Coming back to Dallas all these years later I can see how far I’ve progressed and it’s enormous. I also am enjoying the company of the opening act Lee Adams. He’s a very interesting guy with some great stories of working in the music business for years. We rode together to split gas costs and that helps both of us.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Three For The Money

Tuesday August 19th, 2008 - Springfield, MO

I need money. Period. The best and quickest way I know of to accomplish that legally is to accept comedy gigs so that’s what I did. There was a last minute fallout for three nights beginning tonight in Springfield, MO. Tomorrow night is in Dallas, TX and Thursday is a return trip to good old Ft. Smith, AR which was absolutely torture last time I was there.

Never say never. I really didn’t think I’d ever go back to Ft. Smith again but the fates all huddled up and apparently they want me back. It was so miserable last time they all must want to make it up to me. I’m expecting a pair of horny twins with huge knockers to stalk me back to my hotel room after the show but then again I expect that all nights. No luck.

The booker called and offered me this three night run and I said yes. End of story. I am hoping to clear enough of a profit to pay my rent next month and if there aren’t any nasty unforeseen expenses I should be able to do exactly that. The drives will be long but I said I’d do it and I will without complaining. I’m just thankful I got the call when I needed it.

I was off this week and planned on revamping my whole life plan but I can still get a lot done by using my car as a mobile office. I have a cassette player and now a CD adapter to go with it so that makes it very flexible. I can start listening to my huge pile of audio stuff I’ve been neglecting for so long and I actually put a few in on the way down here today.

I also have divided up my projects into a top ten and have ten legal tablets each with the heading of the project and I’m going through them all and making notes until I run out of ideas and then I’m moving to the next one. I made some nice progress on that today also.

I’ve been having some hot shows lately even in shaky circumstances and that’s the best time to put some time into that to start improving even more. I made notes and have about 200 lines, ideas and concepts I want to start polishing and I went over those for an hour as I drove and it felt great to start that in motion too. My long day in the car was well spent.

It was 572 miles by the time I pulled into the hotel an hour and a half before the show. I don’t like to cut it that close but today I did and I accepted it. No panic. If I never get back to Springfield, MO I can still have a happy life. No offense to the town but that’s all it is.

There are a lot of towns a lot closer to where I live that I can get booked in the future to pay my bills but for this particular time this is the town that has the bucket of money on a stage. I had to drive 572 miles to pick it up and since I’m here I get to go up on that stage. That doesn’t mean I don’t try to give the people my best show but this is for the money.

This is a total stripper mentality and I admit it. This isn’t a career builder and nobody is going to see me here that can help me do anything I want to do except if those twins show up. Even then I’ll probably have to sit and pretend I’m interested in their stories of getting pit row passes at the last NASCAR race that came to town. I’ll worry about that when it’s happening but until then I will be thankful I could pick up these gigs and pay some bills.

The show tonight was at The Electric Cowboy. That’s the chain of clubs I worked back in December when I had my last hell run through these parts. It’s the same booker and he managed to put deals together with quite a few of these places. I did three of them the last run and one of them was Ft. Smith. They’re very nicely set up even if the crowds hate me.

It’s a country themed dance club and that’s never been my audience anyway. I’m not at all surprised I don’t go over very well in a situation like that but I am surprised they try to do comedy shows at all. The places are all huge and trying to focus on comedy is difficult for the audience and damn near impossible for the comedian. They’re loud and talkative.

I expected it going in so I wasn’t surprised when I got there and saw the identical setup I saw in Arkansas in December. They made a makeshift stage near the dance floor and put some tables near it. When I got there the DJ who ran the show was talking to the opening act and explaining the situation. They were both laid back and friendly and I appreciate it.

Most times if there will be a problem it manifests itself right away. Nobody was playing pampered superstar or diva and I surely don’t so I could tell in thirty seconds we’d all get along fine. There was also a bonus comic who did ten minutes to open the show for us.

He called himself ‘Old Man Willie’ and he didn’t tell me his age now but he did say he started comedy when he was 67 years old. He must have been about 72 or 73 at the very least but he went up and told the best of Henny Youngman and the rest of the old timers.

Apparently guys have been giving him all kinds of hassles because he thanked me about six times for being ‘kind and gracious to let me go up’. I could tell it made his whole day when I told him he was funny and he was. He got some laughs and who cares if he did the best of the Borscht Belt? Most of those guys are dead and I doubt if this crowd knew it.

The opener Lee Adams is a self described ‘country boy from Louisiana’ even though he wears a suit on stage. He is a nice guy but he talks about being country and smoking dope and this audience was a bunch of countrified dope smokers and they loved him the whole time he was up there. I don’t have a problem with that but they sure weren’t ready for me.

I took it slow and before I went on I told myself I wasn’t going to let this one deteriorate into another Topeka situation no matter what. I was going to do my time if I had to give a lesson in CPR or the subtleties of Three Stooges episodes with Shemp vs. Curly. Or both.

I could tell in the first minute I was in for a long night. Again. They just didn’t get it for the most part although a few of them did and those were the ones I worked to. There was a loud table of rude stupid rubes and rather than attack them I just talked over them so the audience could choose between listening to them yammer on or listen to me. It was a tie.

Anyone who wants to be a comedian needs to be in a situation like I was in tonight. It’s not for the squeamish on any level. I dare ANYONE to stand on a tiny makeshift stage to tell jokes to intoxicated locals in cowboy hats. Oh, and stay up there for 55 minutes too.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Mediocre Monday

Monday August 18th, 2008 - Chicago, IL

Not the greatest of days today. It started off by me oversleeping and almost missing my train into Chicago to do Jerry’s Kidders on WLS. I didn’t have time to shower so I put my clothes on and sprinted for the train station. It’s about a six block trek but today it was an opportunity to almost have a heart attack. I need to get in shape yesterday and I know that.

I was wheezing and panting and sweating and embarrassed as I got to the train just as it was pulling in to the Lake Villa station. Youth is gone and I don’t think it’s coming back. I am out of shape and full of bacon and need to do something about it or I’ll be a statistic.

The crossword puzzle in the paper was screwy too and I wasn’t clicking on the clues. It usually stimulates my brain to do a daily crossword puzzle but today it just frustrated me. This particular puzzle just wasn’t clicking and for whatever reason I couldn’t figure it out.

Maybe it had something to do with the obese Pakistani woman who sat next to me with a rancid stench that smelled like the inflamed decomposing colon of a bison. There was more than one empty seat available on the train but of course she had to sit next to me for an hour and clear my sinuses with her fetid ass ripeness. Doesn’t Allah allow any soap?

I tried to ignore it but I couldn’t. I wanted to just stand up and say out loud ‘Would you PLEASE remember to wash your bung hole tomorrow morning?’ I’m still sorry I didn’t. I’m sure others had to smell it too. I’m fine with other cultures…as long as they all bathe.

Our show on WLS was nothing to be proud or ashamed of. It just was. We kept sounds coming out of the speakers for a half hour and nobody complained but I doubt they’ll tell their grandchildren about it either. Sometimes people have off days and today we all had one simultaneously. Maura Myles does news and she was sharp as usual. She saved us all.

I did hear from my friend Joey Callahan in Philadelphia and that’s always a highlight. I think the world of Joey onstage and off and it was just his birthday this week. I called him to wish him a happy one and he called back and we chatted for a while as I fought the big traffic nightmare on my way into the city to host the Zanies rising stars showcase tonight.

The audience was pretty big and I thought it might be a hot show but it was again just as mediocre as the radio show was. I wasn’t the only one either. There were several acts that had a tough time and that happens. For whatever reason this was just one of those days.

John Fox came in and he was in rough shape. His mother died very recently and he was in a sad mood. I gave him a nice plug from the stage and afterward he came over and said ‘Thanks buddy, I sure needed that tonight.’ Then he gave me a hug and squeezed it hard.

It lasted a little longer than was comfortable but I could tell he was in pain and I always liked John as a person. He never hurt anyone else and was very encouraging to me when I started. I’m glad I could pay him back a little. He’s a dented can too and I felt his pain.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

UFOs & IOUs

Sunday August 17th, 2008 - Milwaukee, WI/Kenosha, WI

Up early again and off to Milwaukee to take a lap at the Gonzaga Hall sports card show. It’s only once a month and I like to escape for a few hours looking at old cards and seeing a few old friends. There’s also an auction and once in a while I’ll find some great deals.

I found a few things today that I got really cheap and that made it worth the trip. This is a very slow month so I decided not to set up and I’m glad I didn’t. I bet it would’ve been a death ride like last month when I did set up. This way I could visit and leave any time.

My cousin Brett called and since I was in town we decided to go get some lunch. He’s a hard worker and is always busy these days and I haven’t seen him in a while so it was fun to hang out and vent a little. He’s sick of idiots just like I am and many of them are in our own family. We’ve both had problems dealing with our immediate families and it shows.

Neither one of us are married and we are both very independent. Some people may call it pigheaded but that’s how we are. My uncle is Brett’s father and he has been struggling with cancer for a few years but they still don’t talk. Brett said the damage is done and that trying to revive any kind of relationship now would be useless and I completely agree.

His sister doesn’t and that’s been a source of tension. I’m not thrilled with my uncle for pulling a stunt with my grandfather’s will and getting me to sign away my part of it which would have been a nice chunk of cash I could have really used right now. When I learned he did that it was a shocker at first and then it really hurt. It still does but what can I do?

What can Brett do either? We’re both trying to just get past it and salvage a good life to look back on and know we didn’t resort to the devious tactics our fathers did. Neither one of those two ever amounted to anything and we’ve had them both beat for years but that’s not the point. The point is we both could have used a father and neither one of us had one.

Brett’s doing well and continues to be kind whenever he can. I try to do the same thing. We both agreed that since we never got it from our fathers it’s no reason we have to be as mean spirited as they were to others even if we don’t have kids of our own. Neither of us felt we were ready to spawn because we both had our own dents to pound out of our cans.

It really felt good to vent a little and just let this stuff heal. Nobody else cares about any of it and we both know that. One thing that did trouble me a little was that Brett thought a chunk of money was left by my old man from an insurance policy when he died and that’s why my siblings aren’t talking to me. He said he looked it up in public records and saw it.

I went home and immediately looked it up myself and sure enough there it was. I heard from my half brother Bruce there was no money at all other than a small policy and it was going to be used to pay for the funeral. After that supposedly there was nothing left and it would have been a hassle to keep having me sign documents so I volunteered to drop out of the running to make it easier for the others to just wrap it all up and end all of the pain.

I know in my heart my intentions were good and if they were able to get $100,000 from the old man that doesn’t bother me at all. They earned it. He was a nasty dark hearted soul who thrived on being a bully and lording over people. I wouldn’t take any amount of cash on Earth to have to get trapped under that iron fisted rule and I didn’t. I guess I was lucky.

I did get the residual affect though and even though I was mainly raised by his parents it still hurts to think of all the times I would have to be put in a situation of having to endure his anger and wrath when I tried to be assimilated into the family all through childhood.

There’s no reason any child should have had to go through any of the insanity he put all of us through to some degree or another and I want to move past it and heal if that is at all a possibility. Hooking up with my brothers and sister would be a very good way to start.

I have really tried my best to make this whole situation right. I wrote letters and I meant every word of what I wrote asking for a clean slate and forgiveness and a chance to talk in person and begin that process but none of them will answer me one word. That really rots and even if they did get a wad out of the old bastard I just wish they would let me know.

They can have the money. I’m used to living like an insect and even though I’m having a bit of a rough time financially right now it would mean a lot more to me to just have the chance to see them face to face and start all over again. I don’t think that’s out of line but I guess it is because they won’t even acknowledge my existence and that just isn’t right.

This whole thing was bothering me a lot as I arrived at WLIP to do another Mothership Connection show. We had some technical problems the first 20 minutes because of a new old phone system that was in place while the other one got fixed for unknown reasons. To make it worse our regular engineer didn’t show up and we were stranded all by ourselves.

My partner Scott Markus is very sharp and between the two of us we didn’t know what to do so I called another engineer Dan Hanni and he came from a party he was at and was a huge help. He ran the controls and got everything back in order so we could do a show.

Our first guest was a woman who does past life regressions and she was really good. It seemed like she was on especially for me and whether there are past lives or not she said there was and that many times we’re here to learn many lessons and that’s why things are so painful sometimes. The more pain the more is learned so I think I must be a professor.

During the second hour we had royalty on the show. Sam Maranto is a guy who just had a UFO Symposium in the Chicago area tonight and he was a guest along with two of THE biggest names in the business - Ted Phillips and Stanton Friedman. I was totally in awe.

Those guys are always on Coast to Coast AM and they were just as interesting and nice as they are on the big show. We had a fun interview with all of them and everyone agreed to come back on with us in the future. We’re building this show and if we can get anyone of note to hear it I won’t need any money from the old man anyway. I‘ll have my own.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Running Around Again

Saturday August 16th, 2008 - Bristol, WI/Lake Villa, IL

Lots of little things to report today. First, I went to the Red School CafĂ© and FINALLY got to meet the blondie waitress I like one on one. She apparently doesn’t work weekends anymore but was in today because she had to drop off her ex ‘somewhere‘. She came over to where I was sitting at the counter and sat down right next to me and ordered breakfast.

I’d given her a CD a few months ago and she said she listened to it and loved it and that made me feel like a million bucks. Then she said she was single and that made me double my money. Then I found out her ‘ex’ was one of the guys working at the restaurant and it was kind of weird. I know the guy from serving me and like him and he was there as well.

It took me a while to put together all the pieces but he was the one she had to get up and drive to work this morning and that’s why she was there. I don’t mind at all and I enjoyed my chance to finally get to spend some time with her but the whole time he was there too and it just felt goofy. I don’t know if ‘ex’ meant marriage or whatever and I didn’t ask.

It’s none of my business and I’m not a gossip so I just enjoyed the time I spent with her and she really is funny and smart and I think she thinks the same about me. She’s the one that came right over and sat next to me and she could have sat anywhere else she wanted.

Who knows where if anywhere this will go? There are all kinds of oddball relationships in the world and I am not going to try and force anything. IF she wants to go out with me I’d love to take her anywhere she wants to go. I’ll stop in again and see where it goes and if it feels right I’ll ask her out. If it doesn’t I don’t want to get involved in any wackiness.

I have had enough wackiness in my life thank you, especially with women. It seems the ones I like are more often than not out of their mind completely and the ones that like me I’m not attracted to. I’m not the first one to experience that but it’s never fun to repeat it.

Tonight I had a private show for a group of baseball umpires of all things. They held an annual golf outing and banquet and I was the entertainment. The guy who booked me is a big fan and the brother of a friend of my ex partner who stole from me so I guess this was a chance to indirectly get a few bucks back. It was a great group and they loved the show.

I cut them a fair deal on price and they appreciated it and so did I. If I could get a couple of shows like this a month I’d be in great shape but that’s not as easy as it sounds. This is a show that has been in the works for months. The main guy in charge came out to Zanies in Pheasant Run to see me and approve me to the committee to buy me for today’s show.

Afterwards I stopped at Zanies in Vernon Hills to see a super funny guy named Kenny Rogerson. He’s one of the funniest guys around and I think he’s from Chicago but he got his comedy chops in Boston. That’s a legendary scene and he’s right up there with every one of the greats to come from there. We worked together years ago and he remembered me and that was very flattering. He’s a great comic and I can‘t believe he‘s not a big star.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Flirtin' With Danger

Friday August 15th, 2008 - Chicago, IL

Lots of running around today since gas is down in price lately. In the Chicago area it’s a paltry $4.05 a gallon. Hell, they’re practically GIVING it away. It was $3.89 in the Duluth area but this stuff must be better. Sixteen cents a gallon better. The whole thing is a scam.

Whatever the prices are I promised my former student Hollie Himmelman I would do a gig that was set up by her husband Steve. He is setting up shows to get her stage time and that’s actually a very smart way to get better at comedy. Stage time is the key to growth.

Check that - QUALITY stage time is the key to growth. This was not it. Steve was once employed at the Board of Trade in downtown Chicago and the show tonight was upstairs in an Italian restaurant not far away. The setup made the whole thing like a big minefield.

There were two rooms and one of them was full of heavy drinking traders who did NOT come to see comedy. They were loud and rowdy and it’s a Friday and they weren’t in any mood to sit and watch anyone with clothes on talk about anything not concerning them.

The other room where the show was had a high degree of difficulty. The first thing was the loudness of the other room bleeding through. The second was there was no lighting on the stage area not to mention there was no stage. It was just on the hardwood floor and the waitress kept walking back and forth taking drink orders which was beyond distracting.

My friend Michael Alexander was on the show too and he went on right before me. He used to work at the Board of Trade so he knew how to handle himself with them and he’s an experienced comedian too so he did well. He hit them hard and fast and right when he finished his show a large portion of the not large audience got up and left along with him.

I told Steve just to end the show there and I wouldn’t be upset at all but he decided he’d bring me up anyway. I have lots of experience in horrible situations and even though I am not thrilled about it I can usually pull out some kind of a show. Usually. Tonight I started out pretty well and I actually got some laughs going and I kept it going for a nice stretch.

Just when I was starting to cool off a spectacularly stunning bronze goddess came in the room from the other side and strutted right past me six inches away. She had a body like a stripper and maybe she was but I cracked off a few ad libs that brought the house down. It was like shooting fish in a barrel and she walked back out as soon as she wasn‘t my topic.

The audience was into it and I closed very strong with a big applause break but this was totally not fun at all. I really do try to support my students and I don’t want to be rude but I can’t keep doing shows like this. Even if the crowd loved it this was meatball surgery.

They were very appreciative and that’s always nice but that could have really turned bad in a hurry. Those people weren’t there to see comedy and I don’t need attention that badly that I have to flag down a bunch of hard drinking stock traders. I was lucky to walk away.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fighting The Fog

Thursday August 14th, 2008 - Lake Villa, IL

Today I paid the price of paying back the favor I paid back yesterday. Payback’s a bitch. We decided to leave right after the show last night to get that long boring drive over with rather than go to sleep and get up later than expected and waste the whole day driving.

On paper that sounds like a good plan but getting behind the wheel is another story. I’ve been making drives like this my whole life and it has come to a point where I don’t care if I ever make another one. This one is especially boring because there aren’t any highlights to look forward to along the way. The stretch from Duluth to Eau Claire is a desolate run.

There isn’t anything thrilling after that either and by the time we hit Eau Claire I wished I had made some different choices in life. I don’t mind paying back a booker but it would be a lot better if I either got more money for it or had some more gigs to do in the region.

Driving up for one night in Duluth isn’t worth my while anymore and today proved it. It was a long drive that was made even longer by a stretch of thick nasty fog that started just after Madison and lasted until we got home. I had to slow WAY down and it was egghells and pins and needles the whole way trying to pass semis going even slower. What a mess.

It reminded me so much of where my life is now. I had just driven about 800 miles total and done a show and had been up going on 24 hours and THEN the fog patch hit. I was as tired as humanly possible and that made everything harder and the whole day feel wasted.

I dropped J.T. Newton off at his house and then went to get some breakfast at the Red School House because I was too tired to sleep. I was fatigued beyond belief and felt like I had jet lag. To make it even worse the waitress cutie I have the hots for wasn’t working.

Then the guy who was ended up cooking because the cook was on break and he burned my breakfast beyond recognition. It was horrible but I didn’t feel like complaining so I ate it and shut up. Then I went home and laid on my bed and stared at the ceiling for a minute and the next thing I knew I was 5:30 in the afternoon. I’d wasted the whole day anyway.

This is not what I need to be doing right now. I’m glad I could pay Chuck back but now I need to pay ME back for all the sacrifices I’ve made throughout my life to get where I’m at today. I’ve done good and bad and smart and stupid things and all of them added up are where I am today. There’s a limited amount of days in anyone’s life and mine are waning.

I feel like I’m a total bust out and haven’t accomplished a damn thing in life. I’ve made a ton of mistakes and am trying to recover from them but it sure isn’t easy. Driving a long way for low pay in fog is not what I envisioned I’d be doing all these years into comedy.

Something’s missing from my mix and I wish I could nail it down and find it and get on the path I did envision. I want to do Comedy Central specials and work full houses in nice venues for crazy money and then I’ll give most of it to worthy causes. Right now I’m one.

Repaying A Favor

Wednesday August 13th, 2008 - Duluth, MN

If I’m not good for anything else in life I’m good for paying back favors. If somebody is nice enough to throw me a bone I’m more than happy to show my appreciation however I can whenever I can. Today was a chance to do that but I had to make a long drive to do it.

Chuck Androvsky is a booker up in the Duluth area and for whatever reason he thinks I am the funniest person to walk the earth. It never hurts to have anyone think that but if the person can book me it’s even better. Chuck uses me in all his venues whenever he can.

He’s not a big time booker but he really is a good guy and very honest and is genuinely appreciative when he can lock down a date for me. Those are the kind of people anybody would love to work for and even though it’s a hellish eight hour drive through the bowels of Wisconsin every time I show up I get the royal treatment from Chuck and that’s a treat.

I don’t know exactly when it was but a while back there was a gig he booked in a music venue that was sold to a new owner. The owner wanted to drop comedy and Chuck did all he could to keep it going. He tried to make me a ‘special event’ from Chicago and put lots of time and effort into making posters and trying to please the owner but it was a big flop.

It wasn’t Chuck’s fault but the weather was nice and in Duluth when the temperature is in double digits without a minus sign in front of it everyone is outside celebrating. I drove the marathon to get there that night and Chuck was bummed out and disappointed but out of his pocket he made sure I got paid. It’s very classy and most bookers wouldn’t do that.

I told him I owed him a favor and there would be some time when he would need me to help him out and I would do it without question. Tonight was that time. The Black Bear is a casino a few miles out of town and they’ve done comedy for years. They just remodeled and stopped doing shows for a while but they finished early and wanted to start up again.

Chuck called me on short notice and asked if I could do it and I couldn’t say no. I know it’s a long drive and the money is ok but not great and by the time I pay for gas I’ll be just about even but this one is more important than that. He was in a spot and I was available.

It’s not horrible at all though. It’s a great hotel and they fed us a buffet that had walleye and barbecued duck and the people couldn’t have been any nicer to us so why is any of it a bad thing? If I had to take a day away from working on my projects this wasn’t awful.

I was supposed to do the gig with Kristi McHugh but she got a better gig for the week. I understand that totally and didn’t mind at all even though she’s a sweetie and way hot too but I was able to throw a bone to a guy named J.T. Newton and he was very appreciative.

J.T. lives near me and used to sell radio time but is now doing comedy. He thinks I’m a saint for getting him in with a new booker and Chuck was thrilled we could come up and the audience absolutely loved the show. Oh, the casino staff did too. It was worth the trip.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wasting The Day

Tuesday August 12th, 2008 - Chicago, IL

I didn’t do a damn thing today to forward any of my dreams but I still had fun anyway. I promised Kristi McHugh I would show her some of the sights of Chicago because she has never been here before so that’s what I did. I love Chicago and was very happy to oblige.

Our first stop was the Museum Of Science and Industry. Our class took a field trip there when I was in grade school and I’ve loved that place ever since. When I first got to town I visited a few times but the last one ended on a sour note. I went with a blind date that I’d talked to on the phone but never seen and when I did see her I knew I was in deep do-do.

She wasn’t attractive at all and not that I’m Brad Pitt myself but this was about 20 years ago when whatever sex appeal I may have had hadn’t been beaten out of me by life yet. It was the longest drive of my life from her house where I’d met her biker father all the way over to the museum. Bikers repulse me anyway and I knew I was in for a long ugly ride.

I was thinking of a way to fake a seizure or choke on a piece of popcorn or something to get me out of the vice grip of dating hell but alas no such luck. I had to walk in with her at my side so all the good looking single women would write me off because I was matched up with Sasquatch’s litter mate - ‘SIS-quatch’. On top of that she had a bad attitude too.

She was complaining about everything from how cold it was in the place to how boring it was to how far we had to walk from the parking spot and after about ten minutes inside the museum I told her ‘Look, I’m going to enjoy myself at the museum today whether it’s with you or by myself. If you don’t like me or my car or anything else please leave now.’

That really set her off and she started to raise her voice and I just turned around and left her there. I kind of half expected to see her stuffed and mounted on a wall someplace but that’s more of a Field Museum exhibit. I was relieved when I got there she wasn’t around.

That was about twenty years ago give or take a couple and I realized I hadn’t been back in way too long. The price of admission was $13 which was a lot higher than I’d recalled but it was the best money I spent in a long time. We walked through and had a total blast.

Kristi is really a sweetie. She’s from Iowa originally and as she said today as we walked around ‘I’m just a li’l ol’ farm girl.' Well she looks like a Playboy centerfold so that’s not a problem with me. I grew up in Wisconsin and there are lots of farms there too. Plant on.

We just walked around and enjoyed the exhibits and it was worth the $13 and more. It’s been so long since I’d seen the place that most of it was new to me but there were still the old standbys like the U-505 German submarine and the coal mine and it was all fantastic.

This is the kind of stuff that makes life worth living. I lived in or near Chicago for much of my adult life and I haven’t enjoyed the city as much as I need to. I can guarantee if I’m alive another 20 years I will make it a point to schedule more visits to Chicago’s hotspots.

After the museum we drove down Lake Shore Drive and I showed Kristi around a little. She noticed the Buckingham Fountain that is featured on Married With Children and also Navy Pier. I took her past Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park and Soldier Field too. After a tour of as many Chicago things as I could think of we headed off to Chinatown for dinner.

Chicago’s Chinatown is one of the first places I came when I moved here. I used to hear my grandmother talk about it with reverence. My grandfather would take her out to dinner on her birthday and it was a special thing to them. I’d never been there but I’d heard about it for years and somebody offered to take me there so I went to see what it was all about.

Then I went to San Francisco and saw what they called Chinatown and I realized I’d not been to one at all. That one makes Chicago’s version look like a strip mall China buffet. I still like going there once in a while and tonight was one of those whiles. It just felt right.

We hung out in a place that had sushi which I’m sure isn’t Chinese but they served it as if it were. We were the only ones in there and it seemed like we were bothering everyone in there and keeping them from watching the Olympics. They were cheering for China in a diving event and I wanted to stand up and yell ‘U-S-A! U-S-A!’ I’m glad I refrained.

I’ve heard all kinds of stories of Chinese mafia connections and one time I was here and there was a shooting and the paper said it was Chinese gang related. I didn’t want to be an article in the Beijing Bugle tomorrow about taking a bullet to the brain for making a joke.

This whole day was really enjoyable and even though I blew off work I got a call when I was in the museum asking me to do a week in Nashville in October. I need the money and will be glad to head down there and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I appreciate it.

I also did a nice long phone interview with a radio station in Bakersfield, CA. There is a woman named Anne Kelly who decided she wanted to interview comedians during her air shift and I think it’s great. The booker who booked me in Topeka sent out a mass mailing and I responded and today we did the interview. It went really well and I’m glad I did it.

This came about because I didn’t burn the bridge when I easily could have. I don’t have a clue as to where if anywhere this will lead but Anne was an absolute sweetheart to deal with and she’s very good on the air too. We taped an interview which she said she’ll play at a later date and who knows where it will lead? Would I perform in Bakersfield? Of course.

These are the kinds of things I have to keep doing. She let me plug the Uranus website a lot and laughed out loud when I told her the idea. This is the kind of publicity that can get me known all over the world and I see now that I’m on the right track with this. It’s a BIG winner. I know how to do interviews and I also know I can get a lot more of them as well.

Shangri-la for two days ends now and I have to drive to Duluth in the morning but I did really enjoy yesterday and today for all the right reasons. I did fun things with as good of people as there are anywhere and I can’t think of too many things better to do than that.

Monday, August 11, 2008

My Super Monday

Monday August 11th, 2008 - Chicago, IL

Today was a fantastic day on many levels. For all my quirks and peccadilloes and dents in my can and disappointments and complaints I want to acknowledge a day that couldn’t have gone much better if I’d scripted it myself. I kind of did but everything worked out as well as it could have and as I reflect I realize life as we know it does NOT get any better.

Would it be great to have millions in the bank and no problems of any kind and nothing bothering me or hanging over my head? I don’t think that exists for anyone on this planet. If that’s the case - and I think it is - then today was a day to just enjoy as much as possible and that’s what I did. Tomorrow may have sorrows and pain but today I was sitting pretty.

First of all I got to take the train into the city to be on WLS with Jerry’s Kidders. I only have to take the train one day a week while most of the people on it ride in every day. I’m able to relax and read the paper and do a crossword puzzle and gawk at all the hot chicks.

There was a bumper crop today for whatever reason and I just enjoyed the whole scene.
Second, the weather was as perfect as it can get. August can be unbearable but today the weather was sunny but cool and not humid at all. I walked the dozen or so blocks it takes to go from Union Station to the radio station is and enjoyed the scenery the whole way.

Chicago has a fantastic downtown and walking through it on a sunny perfect morning is nothing short of exhilarating. The beautiful buildings and women and hustle and bustle is enjoyable to me and for some reason I appreciated it today even more than I usually do.

Our segment on the air today was cooking. I really don’t think we could have done it a whole lot better if we tried. We all contributed funny lines and it was a total blast and as it was happening that little voice in my head told me to notice and savor how lucky I was to be hanging out on the air with people I truly like on one of the biggest radio stations ever.

That put me in an even better mood than I already was and it felt kind of like an out of body experience in a way. I was in the moment and enjoying the situation but there was a part of me that was laying back and watching it all happen. I enjoyed every minute of it.

After the show we usually go out to breakfast and hang out and talk about the show for a while. We finish at 11:00am and my train isn’t until 1:00pm so we’ve got time. Jerry is done with work and the other guys have trains at similar times so we hang out and visit.

That time is almost as much fun as being on the air. We’re a group of guys like a poker club or tree house or something and today we hung out and just relaxed and ate and had a fun conversation. We made each other laugh and we even got the cute waitress for once.

After lunch I took a brisk but relaxing walk back to Union Station and boarded my train home. I had a great book to read by a guy named Ken Kragen who is one of the top names in PR there ever was. His book is called ‘Life Is A Contact Sport’ and it’s full of wisdom.

I’ve glanced at the book before but today I got into it a little and it’s really in sync with all that I’m doing right now. My friend Jim Mickelson in Utah knows Ken personally and he said he’d try to let me meet him someday. I’d love that. He’s a total mover and shaker.

Getting off the train I again walked a few blocks home and just basked in the wonderful weather. We don’t get that all that often in this part of the world but today we did so I just enjoyed it and didn’t think about snow or sleet or anything but what was right about it all.

I drove into the city and met up with a radio buddy I worked with years ago in Michigan who was in town with his wife. I hadn’t seen him in years and we visited and he said how much he enjoyed working with me and how funny I was and who wouldn’t enjoy that?

I was supposed to have dinner with a super hot woman who wants to take my classes at some point. She may or may not but any hot woman that wants to buy me dinner can have my undivided attention for as long as she wants it. I got a call from her saying she got Sox tickets and apologized profusely but I told her I didn’t mind and I really didn’t. Whatever.

Then I got a call from Kristi McHugh who is a comic I worked with a while back out in Lake Tahoe and Oroville, CA. She is in town to do a Zanies audition tonight and I didn’t expect to see her until tomorrow when we were going to hang out and explore Chicago. I will be doing a gig with her in Minnesota on Wednesday so the week looks good already.

As it worked out we were both near the club at the same time so we hung out and ate at a sushi restaurant just a couple of blocks from Zanies. Kristi is an absolute goddess. She’s super smart and very funny in a warped and twisted way and that’s a total compliment. To top it off she’s one of the most gorgeous women I’ve ever seen and doesn’t even know it.

She’s way down to earth and easy to talk to and she was even hotter than I remembered her from California. Getting bumped by one sexpot and having another one show up in a few minutes is how I always felt life should work and for at least one day it did. I love it!

The show at Zanies went very well too. I know how to host these things and I took it by the horns and made sure everyone got a good introduction and a fair shot at having a good set to hopefully get some work. I have had more than my share of bad intros but it doesn’t mean I have to continue that tradition. I enjoy hosting the Monday shows. It’s a workout.

Kristi had a fine set as did another guy I worked with a while back named Mikey Mason from Ohio. He’s a music act but very funny and he rocked the house too. Being able to be a part of shows like this and bring people up with a major league intro is what I live for. It makes me feel like I’m totally practicing the golden rule. It’s exactly what I would want.

I realize I’ve missed out on a lot of things in life and have a lot of problems but for one day everything went RIGHT in my eyes and if I don’t acknowledge and claim it I’ll never have a chance to be truly happy. Fun on radio, lunch with friends, dinner with a goddess and comedy at night. All in my favorite town. What a super day! Fame couldn’t top this.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Way Behind...Again

Sunday August 10th, 2008 - Kenosha, WI/Lake Villa, IL

The busier I am the more behind I get. Things are starting to pile up around me and I am starting to lose control of it all. I’ve just got too much going on at once and I need to back off a little or I’m going to blow everything I do have going. I’m full up on the dance card.

Today I got a call back from the restaurant in my neighborhood that I approached about doing some shows. The woman in charge is stunningly hot but she isn’t very versed about comedy so we went back and forth for a while trying to come up with some kind of deal.

She seemed to think I was willing to bring in comedy shows for free but that was never the idea. I was willing to run an open mike comedy show for her but I would have to get a few bucks for doing it much like I do at Zanies on Mondays for hosting their showcases.

I’m not sure if she got the idea comedians need to make a living but after a few minutes we did agree to do a one time test show for free on a Thursday in September. IF she likes it we’ll make a deal to do paid shows on Saturday nights after that and the people who do the show in September will obviously get first crack. We get a free dinner out of the deal.

It’s no big deal for me because I can walk there but the other comics will have a drive. I have done things like this in the past and had to drive so this is payback in a positive way. If I can get some work for some other comics and make a few bucks I’m happy to do that and with the gas prices the way they are ANY money coming in on a Thursday is good.

It took me a couple of hours to go back and forth and bring the manager 8 x 10s and put on paper what the poster should say and go over the logistics of the show and examine the room to see how the stage area will work for comedy and there’s no guarantee of money.

This is the kind of stuff that needs to be done but it also wastes time and puts me WAY behind like I am. I have piles of emails to answer and calls to make and booking avails to send and promo to update and a script to finish and Uranus Factory Outlet is full of dust.

I spent my time after meeting with the potential show joint preparing for Jerry’s Kidders tomorrow on WLS and The Mothership Connection show on WLIP tonight. We had a big show tonight packed with more guests than we’ve ever had before and it was a lot of fun.

I’m still getting used to running the controls but I’m getting better and nobody listening had any clue. The good part of this show is that management wants us to be on so they’ve stayed completely out of my hair and I love it. I do what I want how I want when I want. I don’t get paid a dime but to have all those other things makes it all absolutely worth it.

Everything I’ve got going right now I really enjoy but I’m having a real problem having everything fit in to my schedule smoothly. This week I’ve got a road trip to Minnesota but I wish I didn’t. I need the money so I have to go but the following week I have nothing so hopefully I can regroup and reorganize and get ready to make a fall push toward Uranus.