Friday, January 30, 2009

Jokey And The Bandit

Friday January 30th, 2009 - Milwaukee, WI/Chicago, IL

I feel like a cross between a NASCAR driver and a trucker with all the hard miles I put on my car today between Milwaukee and Chicago. Lake Villa is right in the middle of the two cities and today I made the rounds and completed a full circuit. I had business in both places and was pressed for time so I ended up starring in my own one man chase movie.

I half expected to see Jackie Gleason chasing me in a police car and Burt Reynolds and Sally Field running interference in a black Trans Am. I was all over the place today but it needed to get done. My first stop was to get breakfast at my favorite Red School Diner on US 45 right over the Wisconsin border. It was right on the way and I felt kind of hungry.

Just when I got there everyone was very stone faced because apparently some guy at the counter almost choked on a big piece of ham. He swallowed it and it got stuck and he was not able to get it out. By all accounts it was very scary and nobody thought he would live.

Two minutes later I walked in and could feel the eerie vibe. I heard the story about eight times from every angle but it must have been a close call because everyone who spoke of what happened all had a quiet somber tone in their voices. The guy was lucky to survive.

I was lucky to be there on a day when my favorite cutie waitress was working but she’s not a blondie anymore. She had dyed her hair apparently and now it’s back to her natural brown. She still looks great though and she flirted with me for a while which I enjoyed at the time but I don’t think we’ll ever hook up. She’s in her own world and it isn’t mine.

Plus I really find myself liking the woman in Milwaukee I’ve known forever. She’s very smart and funny and it just feels right when we’re together. We’re very comfortable being with each other and the last few times we went out it’s gone really well. She’s got her son to take care of so I’m not going to put pressure on her but for now we are hitting it off.

The reason I had to go to Milwaukee was to drop off a copy of my raw recordings of the week of shows at Zanies in Chicago I recorded last year. I thought my ex partner had kept them but I ended up finding a copy and my heart raced with joy. That was a lot of work.

I remember having some hot shows and switching bits around so I bet there’ll be enough for two or three projects. I paid money out of my pocket to have a sound engineer come to Zanies and set up for the recording and losing all that work would have been devastating.

Donna Gurda produced my friend Tom Green’s CD projects and she knew of a guy she trusts to cut up the bits and clean them up and edit them down into a CD format so I’ll be able to release at least one new CD if not two or three. I can really use some new product.

After I dropped off the master I dropped off a hamburger for the woman I like. She was working all day and I wanted to give her a treat and she loved it. That made my day to be able to bring some unexpected happiness to someone’s life but especially her. She’s great.

Then I hot footed it down to Chicago intending to be on WLS where Jerry Agar filled in for Roe Conn‘s afternoon show. For a guy who just got fired he’s working on the air a lot more than some of those that are actually working there. He’s their main go to fill in host.

Jerry knows what he’s doing on the air and he should have a full time job. Period. He is good at what he does and has ratings to prove it in Chicago so why he’s only doing fill ins is a mystery to both of us. He’s smart to take the work though. It keeps his name out there so program directors of other stations can hear him. I think he should have a job by now.

So does he. We talked about it today but the other stations in town haven’t made him an offer. The same thing happened to my partners and me when we got torched at the Loop. I would have thought we’d get at least a couple of phone calls from SOMEONE but we did not get a single one. That blew my mind and still does. I’d have thought we’d get a call.

Radio is like that though. Sometimes someone gets branded with a station and that’s the way that person is seen. It’s tough to change stations even though many have done it. I’ve never done it in the same town other than going from the Loop in Chicago over to WLS.

That’s a little different though. I was only a regular guest on WLS with Jerry’s Kidders. I was a co-host of the morning show on the Loop. BIG difference. For one thing I got paid on the Loop. Jerry’s Kidders was a lot of fun but we’re still doing it for free. Not good for the career especially since we weren’t able to stay on long enough to draw for live shows.

Jerry called this morning and asked if I would come down to the station to do a Kidders bit to close out the show. Ken Sevara was iffy but Tim Slagle could definitely make it out so it sounded good in theory but I wasn’t able to make it on time. I got stuck in traffic and ended up having to do a phoner as did Ken Sevara. Tim Slagle was the only one in studio.

Jerry said it went well even though two of the three Kidders weren’t there live but that’s the mark of a pro. He pulled it off flawlessly as did we and we gave the best we could in a short notice situation. The audience never knew and we still managed to nail some jokes.

I got to the station downtown just as the show ended but Jerry and Tim and I kept up an ongoing Kidders tradition of an after show meal. We shot around ideas like we usually do and everyone agreed it’s a bizarre situation to still be on from time to time after we’ve all gotten the heave ho. Jerry got gassed and that should have meant the end of all of this.

But alas we’re still alive. We did our year end special which all of us loved doing and it was all of our thoughts that would be our last go round on WLS but today we did it again even if it was in an altered form. We were on the air doing jokes about the news on WLS.

Not a lot of comedians or radio people can say that and it still is a thrill for me to say it. I respect the history of radio and knowing I have been on such a legendary station is a real honor I don’t take lightly. Every time I can do it I will and today I did even if it was only a phoner. Today was a lot of driving and a lot of stress. This isn’t a habit I want to develop.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Eruption Preparation

Thursday January 29th, 2009 - Lake Villa, IL

Something tells me a volcano of positive energy is about to erupt into my life and I had better be prepared when it comes. Little rumblings have been going off lately and I really believe it’s a warning sign of future events. There won’t be time for goofing around when it does blow so I’m battening down my life’s hatches and preparing myself as best I can.

I don’t want to miss my big chance, whatever that may be. I’ve got a lot of irons in a lot of fires right now and if one of them hits it could put the whole thing into hyperspace in a single day. I spent my whole life getting to this point so I have to be careful not to blow it.

My phone is starting to ring even more than usual and it’s people asking me for booking avails. I’m getting more emails than usual and much of that is the same thing. I am on the radar of bookers and I’m not complaining at all. I can use the work and will appreciate it.

The volcano I’m talking about is going to be some kind of a big break. Soon. I received another email from the talent booker of the Craig Ferguson show and she said she’d get a final date as soon as she could and thanked me for my patience. No problem. It will come.

It has to. Maybe not March 3rd or maybe not even the Craig Ferguson show even though I think I’d be a great fit on that program. But at some point I will get my shot to prove my worth to the national audience and they will accept it and like it. They already have on the local and regional levels. I’ve got the chops and the skills. All I need now is recognition.'

Comedy classes are starting to bubble too. I’m going to teach a one day seminar coming up on Saturday at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. I was asked to do it by the website who caters to college age people and showcases a lot of comedians’ video clips. I worked with them at Zanies when I hosted a contest they ran.

Little by little all these seemingly unrelated contacts and connections are starting to roll into one big contact and I can feel something big about to pop in the near future. I haven’t forgotten about the Jeff Foxworthy people and I hope to meet with them when I’m in L.A. for the television taping whenever that may be. That contact could be my biggest of all.

This is all coming together on a deeper level than I’ve ever had it come together before. I have persevered and recovered from a lot of my stupid mistakes and in other cases I’ve outlasted those who clashed with me and now they’re out of my way. I’m in a good space.

My old friend Ross Bennett called today. He’s a friend and a mentor and I think he’s an outstanding comedian and should be world famous. He had some trouble in his past much like I did. He got kicked off Bob and Tom just like I did too but he didn’t let it stop him.

Ross gave me a great pep talk today that I really needed. He told me I was a great comic and a greater person and how I didn’t need to go to L.A. and be anyone but myself. He’s a lifer like me and has been through the wars and he knows the ropes. His advice is golden.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Hollywood Hiccup

Wednesday January 28th, 2009 - Lake Villa, IL

I hesitated to write yesterday about getting an email from the talent booker of the Craig Ferguson show because I didn’t want to jinx it. I hadn’t heard from her in a while and the thought did cross my mind that I’d been overlooked but she told me a while back that I’d been accepted and would eventually be on the show. I was just waiting for a taping date.

She has been nothing but professional and a very nice lady to boot so there is no reason for me not to believe her. I didn’t want to bother her or keep asking when I would get my date so I just let it go. I know how things can change and there are zero guarantees at all.

Would I like to be on the Craig Ferguson show? YES! Of course I would. It would be a national television credit and I could use one of those right about now. It would add to my credibility immeasurably and would hopefully open doors and lead to other opportunities.

I’m ready for this and I can do four and a half minutes of standup comedy in my sleep. I just want to go out there and nail the set and have it in my arsenal of promotional items to include for future bookings. The material that was approved wasn’t my traditional opener or closer so I won’t be burning my best stuff right out of the shoot. I’m doing it correctly.

I’ve heard a lot of stories of comedians getting television shots and blowing all of their best bits in the first appearance or two and then they fade away because they don’t have a deep arsenal to go to for the long run. I’ve been slugging it out for so long I’ve got a very deep inventory of material I can go to at any time. When I get my shot I’ll be SO ready.

The email yesterday asked if I could do a date in early March. I said I could and she got back to me with the solid date of March 3rd. I said I could definitely do the date and until I heard differently from her I’d mark it on my calendar and start making my travel plans.
Today I heard differently from her. That didn’t take long. I received an email saying that there was a ‘slight hiccup’ in the schedule and the date might not be solid after all. It’s not cancelled but it’s not in stone either. She told me she’d get back to me later on this week.

What can I do? Nothing but wait to see if the date sticks. Am I disappointed? Not really but it would be nice just to get a date and go do the show. I know I can do this and it’s an outstanding opportunity I’ve been waiting for my whole life. I want to prove it to myself.

The best part is I don’t feel the need to prove it to anyone else anymore. It used to be so important to me to show the people who doubted me or blew me off that I could do what I said I’d do but that doesn’t have any appeal to me now. My father’s dead and he never got it anyway. Why do I want to waste my time trying to impress anyone else? This is for me.

It’s finally my chance to start building a comedy CAREER rather than just having a job. It isn’t easy to make strangers laugh but I’ve done it consistently for 25 years. It would be nice to have something to show for my lifetime of effort. I’ll get my TV shot. Eventually.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Class Action

Tuesday January 27th, 2009 - St. Charles, IL

Back in the teaching saddle again. Last night I had a free class at Zanies in Chicago and tonight it was another one at Zanies in Pheasant Run. I need to get some potential student candidates lined up and in the past having a free class worked very well to attract leads.

These past two nights did too. People came out to sample what the classes are all about and once I can get them in the door I can usually sell them on my teaching abilities. I love to teach because I love to learn and I’m also teaching a subject I’m very passionate about.

Last night’s batch was very nice but many of them couldn’t attend this next session so it may have to wait another month or even two. That’s how it goes and I’m not disappointed at all. I remember starting out years ago it was the same way. Some months we did a class and some we didn’t. Then after a while it got to the point where there was a waiting list.

People have lives and I understand that. It’s not that they don’t want to sign up for class but many times it’s on the wrong night or they can’t afford it right now or their work is an obstacle or lots of other legitimate reasons. I just want to offer them a chance to come out and sample what they’ll be signing up for. I find it to be an excellent way to get business.

Tonight’s class was really fun. We had a super mix of people from all walks of life and it all came together perfectly. One of my former students Kathy Romanowski has been an important part of getting me back on track as has Rick Piccolo. Rick is an aspiring comic who offered to help me market the classes if he could sit in and take them and I said yes.

I probably could have done something like this years ago but I never wanted to feel like I was exploiting people. As I now know they don’t feel exploited at all. They LOVE to be a part of the program and I should have figured that out a long time ago. Back when I was starting if someone offered to let me help out with a comedy class I’d have totally done it.

Kathy and Rick are helping me with marketing needs like having a presence on Craig’s List and putting up a batch of posters around the area and lots of other necessary leg work I don’t really want to do but is an important part of letting people know what I’m up to.

They have both been great to work with so far and they are eager to make this work just like I am. They want it so they can sit in the classes and that’s ok with me. I don’t mind at all as long as there are students in the seats when I show up for class. That’s the fun part.

Finding them and trying to keep classes filled every month isn’t fun at all. I don’t like to do anything but teach but if I’m going to continue to grow I have to get the word out to all those who want to experiment with standup comedy. Kathy and Rick have been helpful.

It’s up to me to deliver the goods though. I know what I’m talking about and can keep it interesting or at least fast moving so people can and will get more than their bang for each buck they pay to be there. I take that seriously. I don’t ever want anyone to feel cheated.

Year Of The Ox

Monday January 26th, 2009 - Chicago, IL

Happy Chinese New Year! It sure doesn’t feel like it’s 4706 already, does it? It seems like just yesterday when life was so much simpler back in the 4600s. If only we could go back and revisit those days but alas they’re gone forever. The rickshaw of time rolls on.

It’s amazing what’s so real to some people and so totally unimportant to others. China probably has a rip roaring party going from coast to coast and their version of Dick Clark is in Tiananmen Square waiting for a gigantic wonton to drop at the stroke of midnight.

A billion people on the other side of the world are making resolutions to stop smoking and get to their next degree of black belt level in kung fu but to us it’s just a Monday. We have long broken our resolutions over here and are back to all our old nasty habits again.

The World Cup in soccer is a lot like that too. When Brazil is playing the whole country shuts down to watch and it’s the only thing anyone thinks about. If they lose people jump off of tall buildings but we couldn’t care less. In fact when is the World Cup? Who cares?

The Super Bowl is coming up this Sunday and it’s grown into a holiday over here but in China and Brazil they’ll be doing whatever they do on any given Sunday. In China I’ll bet a super bowl means getting a large egg roll added to your lunch order for a special price.

Apparently 4706 is classified as the ‘Year of the Ox’ in Chinese culture. Well, I grew up in Wisconsin where that would be EVERY year. There aren‘t a lot of anorexics in the old beer, brats and cheese state so I guess the Chinese culture still has a few places to expand.

I decided to use the Chinese new year to start reorganizing my room. I have a bookshelf packed with books I haven’t read in a while if ever so I sorted them all out and picked out the ones I really want to read this year. If I could I’d read them all but that’s just not going to happen. There isn’t enough time in six lifetimes to read every one so I have to choose.

I’ve built up a nice collection of mail order and business start up books and that will get me started but I like all kinds of other books too. I always say I’m going to stop acquiring more but I keep finding them cheap in thrift stores or someone gives them to me and it’s a constant struggle to get them read. If I don’t buy another book ever I’ll still be set for life.

I have about five or six full boxes of other books I won’t have time to get to either and that’s after purging myself of most of my worldly possessions just a couple of years ago. I have slowly built my inventory back up by stopping at book stores, flea markets and thrift stores while I’m on the road. It gives me something to do plus I like the thrill of the hunt.

Now I need to make starting the business the thrill of the hunt. How can I get it running and making a profit so I can make more free time to read all those books? It’s a problem I haven’t been able to solve yet but I’m working on it. I’m working on a lot of things. I just hope I can FINISH something. Maybe I’ll shoot for the Jewish new year whenever that is.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Life Is Truly Precious

Sunday January 25th, 2009 - West Allis, WI

I’m feeling sick to my stomach right now even though I didn’t eat anything sour. Earlier today I learned that my baseball card acquaintance Richard Grayson passed away just last week and it really threw a wet rag on what was otherwise a very fun day. This really rots.

Today was the day for the monthly sports card show at Gonzaga Hall in West Allis, WI that’s been going on for years and years. I decided to go mainly to hang out with my two friends Richard and Dennis who are both my age and very good guys. We usually go for a sub sandwich or something after the show and it’s always fun to look at those old cards.

Richard Grayson was a friend of theirs who lived in Illinois that I met through the other Richard and Dennis. We didn’t actually hook up all that many times but we did on several occasions over the years and he was nothing but fun and a great guy to hang with. He was smart and funny and loved sports and we all just really hit it off anytime we got together.

If there was a big card show in Chicago Richard and Dennis would call me and say they were coming down and then all four of us would hang out afterward and watch a game or talk about cards or just talk about life. Richard Grayson was a year older than us but very much in our wheelhouse as far as the cards he liked to collect and his points of reference.

Our most recent visit was last summer after a big card show in Rosemont, IL. I was not gigging that week and the four of us got together for pizza and really had a blast. He was in extremely good spirits even though I knew he had been dealing with cancer for a while.

The other Richard and Dennis were selling what cards he had left so he could liquidate his collection to help pay medical bills and all that fun stuff that goes with cancer. He was not complaining about it and in fact was very open about his condition and how it all was changing his whole life. It was uncomfortable at first but then it was actually fascinating.

Richard Grayson was fascinated that I was a comedian and liked to ask questions about that. He wanted to come see a show and said he knew by listening to me at the table that I would be funny. I told him I’d be glad to get him tickets anytime he wanted but he said he wanted to ‘wait until I’m feeling a little better first.’ That never came. Now it’s too late.

I heard he’d passed away third hand from another card dealer at the show and it took me to a bad place almost immediately. It had been months since I’d seen him and like I said it wasn’t like we were close friends. I wish we were. He was a super example of what a true winner should be. He was a solid husband and father and liked to spend time with friends.

But we were only acquaintances who hung out a few times. I never got a chance to get to know him better and he never got a chance to see me perform. I never met his wife or any of his kids but even still it made me extremely sad to hear of his passing. It’s just wrong. I don’t understand how this planet works and if there’s a reason for this I sure can’t see the big picture. It sure makes me grateful for the time I spent with him and the laughs we had.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Marketing Improvement

Saturday January 24th, 2009 - Milwaukee, WI

OK, now I’m starting to finally get my head out of my aspirations and it REALLY feels fantastic. I’m walking on air right now and even though that air is about -4 degrees I’m in a high flying space knowing I’m taking concrete ACTION and doing something to change my various scattered pipe dreams into solid realities. Today I took a giant step forward.

It’s no secret that much of my problem in being where I am in comedy is due to a sorry lack of marketing on my part. I can make excuses and sometimes I do but even if there’s a valid reason it still doesn’t hide the fact that I have not sold myself to match my abilities.

I’m discovering by default over the years that I have a whole lot more talent than I ever imagined. I can do this. It doesn’t really take a whole lot of effort either. I’ve always been able to pull off good shows in most situations without breaking a sweat. I’ve had quite the rough ride in other areas but for the most part my performance skill has been very solid.

Had I had a better plan and gone to L.A. and stayed there years ago I most likely would have landed something tangible by now. I lived there for a year in the mid ‘90s and loved every minute of it but the circumstances weren’t very conducive to making the big push.

I was living on fumes and going through my infamous bank robbery accusation hell and I wasn’t able to focus on my comedy like I’d have liked. Still, I was starting to meet some people and my roommate at the time was writing for Grace Under Fire. I was almost in as the backup audience warm up guy and that could have started me up the big time ladder.

Living in L.A. wasn’t intimidating at all and in fact I really enjoyed it. I was around lots of people I’d known from the road and lots of other people from towns I’d played and the energy of Los Angeles and I matched up very nicely. If I had a reason to go back I would.

What amazed me about Hollywood was the vast lack of talent everywhere. Just because someone lives or showcases in L.A. does NOT mean that person has talent. I was amazed to see how little actual talent there actually is out there among the vast numbers trying for a spot in the sun. Many people get by on persistence, fortitude and oh yeah - marketing.

They know how to find the right people who can make decisions and they schmooze all of them until they’re either one of them or get what they want from them. I’ve seen some total zeros in the talent department get hooked up on the Hollywood circuit and kick ass.

Many of the mediocre to piss poor feature acts I saw as I came up in the ‘80s went out to try their luck in L.A. and played the game correctly and won big time. I sometimes see their name flash on the credits of a sitcom and know they found the magic success route.

Not all of them had no talent but many of them had mediocre to sub par natural ability at best. They took what they had and showed it to the right people who could take them to where they were trying to go. I admire their ability to make a plan and work it to the end.

Jimmy Pardo is a great example of someone who played the L.A. game extremely well. Jimmy is originally from Chicago and just a couple of years younger than me. He’s funny and I don’t at all think he’s without talent but instead of spending years on the road scene hacking it out in hell holes like I did he went to L. A. and ran his own political campaign.

Jimmy hung out at the Improv and mingled and met the right people and he made it hip to like Jimmy Pardo. It was a sales job and he did it splendidly. I’m sure there were many nights he was broke but probably stayed around buying drinks to keep the party going and hanging out with the right people. This all takes hard work and I am not poo-pooing it.

I have a huge respect for how Jimmy Pardo handled himself and whenever I cross paths with him I tell him that and I mean it. He pops up on Comedy Central and other places on TV and he’s got a fan base and now I hear he’s parlayed that into a ‘Pardcast’ that puts an extra income in his pocket for talking and hanging out with his friends. Good for Jimmy.

I respect Jimmy Pardo as a brilliant marketer. I happen to think he’s a funny guy but it’s not at all important what I think. I think I’m a pretty funny guy too and in fact I know I’m able to work the same places Jimmy Pardo does but he’s becoming a name and I’m not.

Well today I did something to combat that by driving to Milwaukee to sit and meet with my friend Donna Gurda who was Tom Green’s marketing force for many years. Tom and Donna were a wonderful team and everyone knew it. Tom was the talent but Donna had a knack for off stage things that was uncanny. She always made sure the details were done.

Tom passed away in 2007 and Donna is understandably heartbroken but a person can’t just pine away life and not do anything. She mentioned she might be interested in getting together and discussing if she could possibly do anything for me and my career. I jumped at the chance and it’s been a lot longer than we both thought but tonight was the night.

We went out to dinner at a Chinese place she and Tom loved and she said it was a good feeling to start getting out again. I can’t imagine how difficult it was to go through all that they both did because Tom was ill for a long time. It drained them both and as a friend the first reaction is to leave it alone. I don’t want to pick scabs by asking stupid questions.

After dinner we talked at length about what role she could play with what I’ve got going on right now and we both agreed she could help a lot. She’s a whiz at all the things I can’t stand like spread sheets and contract negotiations and she is extremely competent at all of it. She is a tough but fair negotiator and she always operates with class and good ethics.

She knows I work hard too and I sat there for an hour and she brought up several points that made perfect sense to me that I’m just not doing right now. I need a revamp of every off stage facet of my career from a new website to new pictures to a new promo pack too.

We both saw the potential of what this could lead to and it just felt right. She is a part of show business I’ve never been good at and I know we can be of great help to each other.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wasting Time Productively

Friday January 23rd, 2009 - Chicago, IL/Milwaukee, WI

I’m off this whole week and thought I’d get a lot of work done but I haven’t. I’ve been too busy having lunches and hanging out with friends but that’s an important part of life I have been neglecting too so what can I say? I can’t please everyone so I’m pleasing ME.

I had a great time lunching with Jerry’s Kidders and Harry Teinowitz and Jim McHugh earlier this week and today I grubbed with another old friend Brian Seery. I’ve mentioned Brian before and I’m sure I will again. He has nothing to do with comedy but is one of my all time favorite humans. He’s as solid as they come and I’d sacrifice my life for that guy.

A friend of a friend used to play hockey with Brian years ago and Brian bought a house years later and needed a roommate. I did too. That mutual friend hooked us up and we’ve been tight as a drum since. It’s been about a dozen years now and he’s one golden chap.

Brian Seery is the guy at the top of the short list of people one calls at 3am in a blizzard when the car breaks down and the AAA card is expired. Brian would not only show up to help get the car started but also have some hot chocolate and a sandwich as well. He’s the best and no matter what I ever do in life I’ll always owe him for helping me back then.

He’s one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met and he always has two jobs and a business of his own going and he told me today how it all has fallen apart on him. He had a tanning salon and a burrito store franchise and they both went out for various reasons. It broke my heart to hear about it because I know how hard he works but he was not fazed.

We ate at the strip mall Chinese placed called ‘Wok King’ that we used to like so much when we lived there and it was fun to hang out and catch up. Brian is a regular guy and he thinks I’m one of the top five comedians of all time. I wish the public thought that as well but they just might at some point. I’m not done yet and it only takes one break to make it.

I could have done some work tonight but instead I went up to Milwaukee to have dinner with the woman I’ve been seeing lately. She’s been having a rough week and I wanted her to relax a little and make her feel special. She really is a sweetheart and works her ass off and has a five year old son to raise by herself and that’s never easy. I totally respect her.

We’ve been hitting it off very well and it’s going to come down to a point where we are going to have to decide where we want to take this. Having dinner and lunch dates is fine and we’re both enjoying it but taking it farther is a big decision. She’s still having trouble with her ex who is a maniac apparently but she admits it was a mistake so what can I do?

Everyone makes mistakes and it’s how we all make up for it that determines how life is going to turn out. She and I know each other pretty well and know the faults and baggage so that’s an advantage for us both. She’s a hard worker and smart and funny and gorgeous after all these years. I haven’t met anyone with all of that going on in a long time and if it does go any farther that’s totally ok with me. The Queen of Uranus throne is available.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wild About Harry

Thursday January 22nd, 2009 - Chicago, IL

Had lunch with my old friend Harry Teinowitz today. Harry is one of my all time faves and I hadn’t seen him in a long time. He’s on the air doing afternoons at ESPN radio 1000 but he was a comedian before that and that’s how we met. Everyone knew Harry. He is an outstanding schmoozer and I mean that in a good way. He’s just a friendly easygoing guy.

Harry was in the movie ‘Up The Academy’ years ago with Ralph Macchio and had that credit mocked by many comedians who were just jealous that Harry had a few breaks they didn’t get. Harry’s family is allegedly pretty well off and everyone always mentions that.

Personally I couldn’t care less and never did. Harry is just a great guy and I always have loved hanging out with him for him. Unfortunately it isn’t always like that and I saw how money can be a curse. People always want something and that isn’t fun. Harry doesn’t at all behave like a spoiled rich kid and in fact it was me that bought the lunch for us today.

Jim McHugh came along and he’s also known Harry for years and years. I asked Jim to arrange the lunch because I wanted to get back in contact with Harry for business reasons. One of his on air partners got fired this past week and he was a tyrant and a total ass. I can say that because when I was on the Loop that guy used to fire off nasty emails at us daily.

He was especially mean spirited and cutting and took it farther than the average piece of hate mail that I’ve grown so accustomed to over the years. This was different. Then when I found out it was him I fired back a few nuclear blasts that laid him and his whole family out and the nasty emails mysteriously stopped. He’s a bully and I can’t stand that mindset.

He was a bully to Harry on the air and apparently off too and he was not sad to see that the guy got gassed. I hope he has a new lease on life now and can enjoy his job. Radio is supposed to be FUN but so many times the minutia and idiocy are so thick that gets lost.

I’d love to be a regular guest on Harry’s show just like I am on ESPN 540 in Milwaukee with my friends Drew Olson and Dan Needles on ‘The D List‘. I don’t want anyone to get fired. All I want is a chance to add to the show and sit in and jam once in a while. I love it and hopefully it adds to the show too. The D List is always fun. Those guys both ‘get it‘.

Meeting up with Harry today was a smart move. He’s on a show that’s in transition that is on a sports station in Chicago. That’s my wheelhouse and I could totally contribute to a show like that. If I was on with Jim McHugh or other funny comics who know sports like Tim Walkoe or Larry Reeb or Bill Gorgo or a host of others it could be good for us all.

Either way it was fun to see Harry and hang out for lunch. We all made each other howl with sick and twisted stuff guys talk about and especially comics who are old friends. Jim is hilarious too and he’s the one I asked to set up this lunch because he talks to Harry a lot just as friends. Jim is setting up shows as ‘The Chicago Comedy All Stars’ and that might fit in perfectly at some point for teaming up with Harry for some kind of radio promotion.

A Kidders Lunch

Wednesday January 21st, 2009 - Chicago, IL

Jerry’s Kidders got back together today and the only thing missing was a radio station on which to broadcast. It was still fun to get together though and we spent about two hours at a place called Kroll’s eating deep fried cheese curds and greasy cheeseburgers. Delicious!

So much for the healthy resolutions but it’s the 21st of January and who are we kidding? Are any of us going to try out for Mr. Universe or a gig modeling marble bag underwear? Nope. If chicks are going to dig me now it’s going to be for my money and I don’t have a ton of that yet so I might as well get some small pleasures when I can. This was a big one.

The food was really good but the highlight was getting together with the Kidders. I still say this project was THE most fun I’ve ever had in radio even though I’m having a ton of fun in Kenosha doing the Mothership Connection show. The Kidders was special though.

Getting to work with Jerry Agar was years in the making and we’d always talked about it since we met back in the ‘80s. He had finally landed a gig on one of the biggest stations in America and he was on his way or so he thought. Kipper McGee was also my old radio friend for years and years and he was the program director. He supported us to the death.

The other comedians Tim Slagle and Ken Sevara were also great to work with. All of us are about as different as it can get as performers but we really clicked on the air and it was nothing but fun every week to go in and bust each other‘s stones live on the air with many ears listening in many places. The ratings were going straight up and so were our spirits.

Jerry lost his job first and then Kipper got the ax and then it was all over. We all knew it was a special project and I’m thrilled we got together today to at least keep the connection alive. There’s no reason the brand entity has to die even though we‘re off the air at WLS.

We sat and ate and went back and forth and laughed a lot but before we left I wanted us to decide what we should do with this project. Kipper McGee is one of the smartest guys I know and his forte is being on the cutting edge of technology. He lives for gadgets and all the newest toys that come out and even though he’s on the beach now he’ll get a gig soon.

Jerry Agar is a fantastic talk show host and is also one of the very best as what he does. It was a bad break that he lost this job but he won’t be out of work forever and his hosting ability really adds to our mix. He throws out the news stories and we do jokes about them.

Kipper and Jerry are obviously looking for ways to feed their families right now. That’s a gimme but it doesn’t mean we can’t think about where else to go with our idea to do an ongoing weekly dose of current events jokes and try to build an audience up like we had.

Kipper is still on our side and that will never hurt us. He’s going to be pounding on a lot of doors in the next little while and if we can fit in anywhere he is he will put us on the air or online or wherever he ends up. It was smart business to stay in touch today and fun too.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Presidented Can

Tuesday January 20th, 2009 - Chicago, IL/Milwaukee, WI

The smartest thing for me to do would be to keep my mouth shut about how I’m feeling today about the inauguration but I can’t do it. My gag reflex is going off and I can’t stand it anymore. Am I the only one that’s already sick of him and his first day isn’t even over?

I haven’t been this disgusted since I had to sit through that super obnoxious Super Bowl Shuffle video over and over again when the Chicago Bears won it all in 1985. I still want to launch my lunch when I see it on TV even now but thankfully I don’t see it that often.

I’ll be seeing Barack Obama on TV every day. I already have been. He’s the new Christ figure apparently and he can do no wrong. Now that he’s in charge I’m sure I’ll get chicks flocking to me and my bills will be paid and all my problems will be solved. He’s HERE!

It saddens and embarrasses me to see how flamingly stupid and gullible the vast mass of the American public actually is. I can’t believe how many supposedly educated people are offering their blind allegiance to someone who hasn’t shown he can lead a game of jacks.

Sorry, but he doesn’t impress me. Never did. He’s a slick talking smiler in a silk suit at a time when the masses seem to think they need a manufactured messiah and I for one am not buying into his line of calculated crap. This is all the result of massive white guilt and I think it’s insane. I hope I’m wrong but this will do more to divide the races than ever.

Can a black man run this country? Absolutely. Can it be Barack Obama? Maybe but it’s still evident to me that he is very green and got the job way too early in my opinion. How about paying a few dues first? The only thing he did as a senator was run for president. If he weren’t partially black he NEVER would have gotten the nod. Sorry but it‘s the truth.

I’m probably going to br crucified for saying this but I‘ve been in trouble before. This is my opinion and the last I heard this was still a country where I could state said opinion. It could be changing sooner than later but as of now I am not able to offer my blind support of a person that I don’t think is ready for the job and also has socialist views I don‘t like.

Don’t get me wrong - I’m not a Bush supporter either. I don’t blindly listen to anything he or either political party pipes down my throat. I’m WAY less than thrilled about all the scabs Mr. Bush left us with as a nation. War SUCKS but it’s big business. Nobody likes a war except the people who finance it. Blood spills while wallets fill. It’s all wrong to me.

Yes I’m cynical and non trusting and in many ways a pessimist but that’s how a dented can thinks. We’ve seen so much ugliness and disappointment in our lives that it’s difficult to keep a straight face when all these Pollyanna pie in the sky promises fly like taco farts.

Despite what the drunken stupid pinhead masses think - NOBODY is going to turn it all around. Not Barack Obama. Not the Democratic party. Not the Republican party. Not any other party either including communist, birthday or Tupperware. It’s all up to ourselves.

I’m a comedian. Allegedly. That depends on who you’re talking to I guess but for all of my adult life I’ve been able to eek and squeak out a living by finding enough people who were willing to pay me to ply my comedic trade. I’ve turned my funny into honest money.

That being said, a comedian’s job is to poke holes in theories and make fun of things. It goes with the job and most of us start out in school. We see something that looks like it’s stupid or useless and we comment on it. Sometimes we’re right but sometimes we aren’t.

The fact is that’s how our minds think. We’re trained to look for the flaw and then we’ll exploit that to find where the jokes are. That’s the same process I’m using here. I want the country to run smoothly no matter who the president is and I want that now but I can’t see how that’s on our horizon in the near future. There’s too much back story here to ignore.

My grandfather was a cynic in many ways but an optimist too. He used to tell me quite often that ‘this world is 99% shit. It’s your job to find yourself a peanut.’ I didn’t get what he meant at the time but it makes dead on sense to me now. That’s exactly what I will do.

I don’t hate Barack Obama personally. I truly don’t. Hate is a strong word and I’m very careful with how I use it and this is not that. Truth be told I think he’s a very smart person and he’s got boatloads of charisma. That’s what got him where he is. The public seems to adore him on the border of blind worship and that’s what troubles me. They’re at fault.

Maybe Barack is a good guy. I hope he is. But good guys don’t necessarily matter when it comes to being in charge of our nation. I’m a good guy by most people’s accounts but if you need open heart surgery I’m not the one to see. Nice as I am if I’m doing it you‘ll die.

I see this whole scenario as a Packer fan who had to sit through the Bears glory years. It really isn’t the team I can’t stand so much as the obnoxious fans. THEY’RE why I crave a loss for every game the Bears play. The players get paid but the idiot fans feel the sting of the loss and that makes my whole week. It’s the same thing here. I can’t stand his fans.

Well, I can’t stand their blind acceptance that he’s the new Jesus and all the problems of life will be over now that ‘change’ is here. What the hell change is it anyway? Has he said even ONCE what that elusive ‘change’ is going to be? Hitler promised change too. And it came. I’m not comparing Barack Obama to Hitler but I do want a guy with a track record.

The great part of all this is that I don’t mean a damn thing in the big picture of any of it. I am going to continue to be the dung beetle I’ve always been and every day I’m alive I’ll continue to push the ball of dung I’ve been given across the desert of life hoping the giant lizards don’t catch me and eat me for lunch. I’m just trying to make it back home alive.

But for the rest of the idiots who think the savior’s here - GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS. He’s not going to ‘change’ anything except our country into a socialist state. You want health care? GET A DAMN JOB AND BUY INSURANCE. Don’t let this guy tell you it’s owed to you. NOTHING is owed to us. We all have to get out and work for it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Teeth Or Consequences

Monday January 19th, 2009 - Chicago, IL

What would life in my wacky little world be without starting the year off with another trip to the dental chair? I’ve had enough experience with dentists to last me about twelve lifetimes and today was another dose. I was scheduled to get a checkup and a cleaning.

I’ve had several root canals in the past couple of years and part of the reason for that is I have been lax on going to get checkups. I don’t have insurance so it’s a pain not only in the mouth but in the wallet too. It’s one of those unpleasant tasks of life like income taxes or pretending to be interested in a hot looking woman’s shopping conquests. It’s painful.

I’m trying to do things smarter in my life and it’s a constant struggle but doing stuff like this helps a lot. They called and told me it was time for my six month checkup and I knew it so rather than pretend to forget it I called back and scheduled my appointment for today and got it over with. It was $140 now rather than $3500 later for another nasty root canal.

My dentist is Russian and does high quality work but sometimes the atmosphere can be a little unsympathetic in that office. His wife is a dentist too and she’s also Russian as are most of the staff and many of the patients too. Many times I’ve been in there and not been able to understand anything anyone says and I feel like a total outsider. I felt like it today.

The dental assistant was Russian and didn’t speak much English at all and she sat me in a chair in an office way back in the corner I’ve never been to before. Usually I’m right up front because I’m having some complicated expensive procedure done but today I got put back in the dungeon area for whatever reason. She strapped on my bib and it was go time.

My usual dentist was working on someone else so I got his wife for the first time. She’s a real ball buster and got in there and started poking and scraping and picking with all the pointy little tools that look like they should be used for opening walnuts. It didn’t make a difference to her that I was flinching and grabbing the chair. She just kept on scraping.

I thought this was supposed to just be a cleaning but she went in there like she left some buried treasure in there a few years ago and wanted to get it back. She was definitely on a mission to either clean my teeth or poke every last nerve in my mouth and get even for all the injustices the United States has done to Russia over the years. It was all pretty painful.

I could tell I wasn’t getting any sympathy so I just sat there and tried to absorb the pain until it was over. I know she didn’t mean any harm but Russians have had to absorb a lot of their own pain so I don’t think she considered this anything special. Waiting outside in line for toilet paper in forty below zero weather is pain. A dental cleaning is no big deal.

The good news was I had no cavities this time. Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever had that in my life before today. Maybe it’s because all my teeth are filled now but whatever the case at least I don’t have to keep draining my wallet for a while and can relax until July when I have to come back and get this done all over again. I’ll take this as a gift and be thankful.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cardinal Rules

Sunday January 18th, 2009 - Lake Villa, IL/Kenosha, WI

Today was pretty low pressure mostly because I didn’t have to waste my time doing any of that high intensity stuff like watching a championship football game that I cared about. My Packers got knocked out before the playoffs even started so at least that didn’t distract me like it has in the past. I was calm and free to work on my growing mountain of tasks.

I didn’t watch either one of the games at all although I did watch the highlights. At first I thought it was kind of fun to see the Cardinals make it to their first Super Bowl but then I thought of how cheap and low class I’ve always heard their owner is and it soured me.

I’ve always heard how Bill Bidwell was a cheap bastard and was not fun to play for and then he ended up moving the Cardinals from St. Louis to Phoenix. Then his kid ended up taking over the team and that usually makes it worse. They succeeded despite themselves.

That franchise has long been known for mediocrity or worse but they’re in the NFL and that’s a sweet financial deal for everyone apparently. Especially a team like the Cardinals who have been around forever. No matter who owns them will make millions every year.

There are several pro sports franchises who thrive on mediocrity year after year. I think of the Los Angeles Clippers in basketball and formerly hockey’s Chicago Black Hawks. It doesn’t matter to the owners if the businesses compete to be the best. It’s a money maker.

The Chicago Black Hawks are an example of a team that’s really turning it around. The old owner died recently and he was the son of the guy with the smarts and hustle. He took it from the old man and ran it into the ground and left it there. Now his son is completely doing the opposite and has done all the right things and the team is turning around again.

I’m not a huge hockey fan but I am a fan of the Black Hawks because I see how much it matters who runs a business. They’re really trying to do it right and it’s showing. They are starting to win and I hear people talking about them and there is a real excitement there.

I don’t think the same is going to happen with the Cardinals unfortunately. I think it’s a one year wonder but I could be wrong. The owner probably won’t have to spend any more money now that the team has made it to their first Super Bowl but if they don’t win it it’s probably going to be their last one for many years. But at least there is some new blood.

The same story line runs in a lot of businesses I’m sure. I know it does in radio. When I was working in Milwaukee at 93QFM people wanted to like that station but ownership at the time never gave them any reason to. They couldn’t have cared less about what worked with the listeners. All they wanted to do was sell commercials and strip mine their cash.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make money but they could have made so much more if they’d taken time and done it right. They were always operating on the cheap with no exceptions and after a while all the good employees left and eventually it went under.

I’m taking this all into consideration as I start my own business. I will undoubtedly have to make some difficult decisions as time goes on and I will surely think twice about it as I do. Being thrifty with a buck is a lot different than being a flat out cheap ass and I want to never be known as the latter. Nothing positive ever came out of that. Money needs a flow.

I’m not saying I have to be stupid and spend lavishly on unneeded things but squeezing everything so tight that it can’t even function is not the answer. I remember back at QFM when the equipment to produce commercials broke down and the parent company would NOT fix it. No matter how hard we tried to get help we couldn’t get them to fix it for us.

Tempers got short around the station because we were all sharing what precious few of the pieces of equipment that did work and it made it a tension filled powder keg. Nobody meant to be mean but it was all because management wouldn’t maintain their property.

The stupidest thing was it was only hurting THEM. Why did we need to have all of that equipment fixed? It was to make commercials to run on their station to make them lots of money that they sure weren’t going to pay us. But they were too stupid to see that point so they clamped the screws down even tighter and watched us all fight like caged animals.

I ended up meeting the genius who owned the station eventually and he was very typical of the prototype idiot son of the guy who started the business. This goof wore a big stupid cowboy hat and liked to drink and go to strip joints rather than attend to the station needs.

He was a yahoo from the word go and eventually it cost us all our jobs. But did he care? Hell no. He just switched formats and continued to suck money out of a mismanaged cow and his lifestyle didn’t change a bit. He was born in the lucky sperm club and that’s that.

I don’t know why I thought of all that today just from seeing how the Cardinals won the football game but I did. I guess it was festering inside all this time and had to come out. It was very frustrating back then because 93QFM was a real powerhouse in it’s day. It was a true legendary station but you’d never know it by the way it was run when I worked there.

Points well taken all. I want to run my business right and have others use it as a perfect example of how to do it correctly. I want to treat people fairly but also be able to operate at a fair profit too. I don’t need to rape people but I do need to eat so there has to be some kind of a middle ground in there somewhere. I’m going in looking to operate with class.

There are some sports teams that operate that way. I always thought Bob Harlan was as classy as it gets when he ran the Packers. I wish he’d still be there. The Steelers also have classy ownership apparently. It can be done but it just isn’t. Why? Because it’s not easy.

Nothing worthwhile is easy but I guess then it’s not worthwhile. I don’t want to half ass anything in my life and that’s probably why it’s taken me so long to get to even this point in my journey. I’ve gotten sidetracked for many reasons but now I am in my best position ever to make a touchdown run. I’ve started my turn up field and am headed for my goal!

Crystal Lake Persuasion

Saturday January 17th, 2009 - Crystal Lake, IL

No backlash from the debauchery that went on in the U.P. on Thursday. Whew. That’s a can of whoop ass I don’t need to be opening right now and hopefully it’s all blown over. I didn’t mean to rustle up trouble. All I wanted to do was get through my time and get paid.

I’ve heard a few stories of comics whipping out their wangs on stage in various states of drunken bravado and I don’t want to be grouped in with them quite frankly. Those stories have a tendency to have legs and stay around for a while. I’ve got my own batch of stories I’m trying to live down that I really didn’t intend to have to deal with that keep me busy.

Being the guy who started a ‘flash off’ in the U.P. isn’t one I need to add to the archive. Yes I’m writing about it here but only because that’s what really happened. If it happened to leak out like my other stories did there would be all kinds of untrue embellishments.

My infamous ‘Crisco story’ is still making the rounds after all these years and it will not die. The owner of a club in Milwaukee had a ‘benefit’ for me when I had a car accident in 1993 and then kept the donation money. I was in intensive care and couldn’t fight back.

I was at my very lowest point in life and it was a painful and humiliating insult so when he had a heart attack I sent him a care package of Crisco, Cheez Whiz, mayonnaise, lard, bacon and a nice big greeting card that said ‘paybacks are a bitch - see you in hell.’ It was meant for him only but everyone heard about it and now it’s a tale I’m stuck with for life.

Had I to do it over again I wouldn’t have done it. Do I still think that ape is an evil prick bastard? YES. He’s proven it time and time again in how he treats comedians but it was a mistake to lash out that way. I lost a lot of business over the years and it wasn’t worth it. I should have just let it go and hoped nature would take it’s course but I wasn’t that mature.

On the other hand there are a lot of people who find that story very funny and now it’s a badge of honor in a warped sort of way but back then it was a scarlet letter. Everyone who heard my name had an opinion about it whether they knew me or not. It got out of hand.

The same thing happened with my Bob and Tom fiasco. I got kicked off the show and it got around to comedians and that was the topic of conversation for a long time. I still hear about it from people I haven’t seen in a while and that was a couple of years ago now. I’ll run into someone and they’ll immediately ask me ‘What happened with Bob and Tom?’

I don’t even want to get into that story anymore. It still amazes me how that whole thing played out and I still can’t figure it out. They were flat out rude and mean and I would not treat a guest that way but that’s how they did it. I tried to apologize but they ignored me.

They still do. What kind of professional handles things like that? I think it rots but they have the power in that situation and there’s nothing I can do. I said I was sorry and I really meant it but they treat me like a leper to this day. That’s the reality of show business life.

I always say it and it gets truer every time I do - PERCEPTION is the important thing. It doesn’t matter who’s right. It matters who’s perceived to be right. If I was a big name star and put money in people’s pocket I could have gotten away with all the things I just spoke of and nobody would have flinched. Criso pack? Ha! People would have laughed about it.

They still laughed about it but there were those in power who still cancelled work even if they may have found it funny. It was the P.C. thing to do. The same with Bob and Tom. What I did wasn’t even close to being naughty or controversial. All I did was relay a story I had printed about me in a book called ‘I Killed’ which chronicles comics’ road stories.

I had one about a nightmare in Tuscaloosa, AL and Tom asked me to tell it on the air so I did. He didn’t ask me beforehand what it was about and I didn’t know they had a rule to not bash any regional places and especially the south so I ended up breaking a rule they’d not even told me about. Is that fair? Of course not but their perception is that I’m the ass.

If Jay Leno had told that story on the air it would have probably been chopped up into a promo spot that ran the rest of the day that said something like ‘Did you HEAR what was on Bob and Tom this morning?’ Bam. It would have been repeated once an hour all day.

But instead I got physically removed from the building and not only that kicked off their live tour too. It probably cost me fifty grand or more and I can’t do a damn thing about it. If I could change it I would and go back in there and kick ass on the air and live as well.

I see some of the comedians they’re using for those tours and quite frankly I’m a whole lot stronger. I’d blow those crowds away and probably make big coin selling t-shirts and cds and electric toenail clippers and anything else I could come up with. Those tours can be very lucrative from what I hear and I would love to be on one but for now that’s over.

That’s why I was a little concerned over this last little incident. I love breasts in my face as much as any heterosexual male who’s ever lived but not at the cost of losing my pay or future bookings with this booker or having yet another story to live down. I have enough.

Tonight I did a show with Tim Walkoe in Crystal Lake, IL at a beautiful theatre called The Raue Center. It’s an older place that’s been remodeled and it’s really nice. Jerry Agar and his wife Ann brought some friends and we went out to eat afterward and it was a lot different than Sault Ste. Marie. This audience was very quiet and attentive. They loved it.

Nobody flashed anything other than a smile and the show went extremely well. I opened with a very solid 45 minutes on the head and then they took a break to sell drinks like at a play. I’m not a fan of that for comedy but that’s how they did it tonight. Then Tim did his usually solid job and they got way more than they paid for. This was a very strong lineup.

Doing places like this is what I want in my future. It wasn’t the 500 mile drive over the icy two lane luge run highways of the frozen U.P. and I can sleep in my own bed. The pay was pretty decent too. This was a good way to end a busy week. Now it’s back to Uranus.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Keeping Abreast Of Trouble

Friday January 16th, 2009 - Sault Ste Marie, MI/Lake Villa, IL

I think I might be in trouble but I don’t know who to ask. This is a delicate situation and I hope it will just blow over and drift away but logic and experience tell me it won’t. I had a couple of incidents during last night’s show in Sault Ste. Marie and I fanned the flames.

I’ve been to this gig before more than once and I’ve found everything to be of top notch quality except the actual show. The hotel is really nice and they feed us as much as we are able to hold down without our hearts bursting from overwork and the staff is wonderful.

One of the times I was here before I had a rotten show and didn’t think I’d ever be back. The audience is mainly college kids who are really drunk by the time I get on and that has never been my crowd even when I was that age. I remember wanting the time to just end.

Then for whatever reason the booker asked me back and I had an open date so I took it and it went splendidly well as I remember. This was the tie breaker and it was one for the dark side again. The house was packed full but it was loud and chatty and I could feel my work was cut out for me in the first few minutes when my normal openers layed an egg.

I’ve been around the block a few times and know how to adjust to most situations but it took a lot of work to get these people to even quiet down enough to listen to me. Nobody told them to be quiet and it’s no use fighting that situation because they want to sell beer.

Most bar managers in a casino aren’t trained in comedy or any other live entertainment so it’s not fair to expect them to know what ideal conditions are. In a perfect world there would have been some announcements made at the top of the show and then when some babbling idiot got loud they would have been bounced immediately. Ha. No such luck.

What made tonight’s situation so tricky was there were two full tables in the front with younger people having a birthday party for a woman named ‘Trixie’. She had a friend of hers named Mindy come up and ask the emcee if she could get me to announce that it was Trixie’s birthday and then Trixie would get up and get a birthday shot and do it on stage.

I was fine with that because it’s their show and I could tell I wasn’t going to change any minds anyway. Mindy was determined to do it and at this point in my life I just don’t care anymore. I would be getting paid no matter what so if they wanted to do a shot let it go.

Well Trixie got up on stage and she was quite the looker. She downed the shot in about a tenth of a second and then turned to the audience and lifted her blouse and flashed them. Of course the guys went nuts and I had my head turned for a second as of course is always my luck but I knew this was where the show was going so I knew I had to make it work.

I acted like I was angry that I missed it and demanded that she come up and show them to me before I could continue the show. It fit in perfectly for Mr. Lucky and the audience was now really into it. I ad libbed some big laugh getting lines and it was going very well.

Finally Trixie came up after I offered $20 to see them and she snatched the bill from my hand as fast as anyone I’ve ever seen. Then she lifted up her blouse and pulled my head to her chest and gave me a ten second face wash with her dangling meat pillows. How fun!

The crowd went beyond nuts and I must say I was pretty surprised myself but I know an opportunity for laughs when I get one and I was all over it like mud on a pig. I cranked as many lines as I could and it was really killing but I knew I’d have a hard time following it so I tried to ease out of it and go back to doing my show but they weren’t going to buy it.

I could feel them getting a little more out of control and I slowed down to make time go slower as I knew I didn’t want to have to do more than I needed to on this night. Just then Trixie’s partner Mindy who had a nice pair herself started talking loud from her seat so it begged to try and get her to do it too so that’s what I did. I pulled out my last $20 bill.

She didn’t even wait for me to ask her. She came up on stage and lifted her top and they were right in my face too. I told her she wouldn’t get the money unless the audience could see them too so she let them fly and everyone got a peek. Two for two. Forty bucks gone.

I didn’t mind at all and in fact now I was starting to get into it. I knew this wasn’t art and I had to finish my time and all I was being paid to do was entertain an audience which had been exactly what I was doing. It was all going over like gangbusters until ‘she’ came in.

‘She’ was the female head of security who was not at all pleased at what was starting to go down just steps from her office. Waitresses were apparently getting upset too and they must have called security and then I could see the staff motioning for me to shut it down.

I could sense the tension and I did shut it down because the last thing I need is to get in trouble with the booker or worse yet not get paid from the casino. I don’t know what they can and can’t do in Michigan and I may have been committing a felony and didn’t know it. I steered away from the flashing and went back into comedy and finished off my time.

After the show there was huge mixed reaction. Guys lined up to shake my hand and said it was THE best live entertainment show they’ve ever seen in their lives. There were even women who said I handled that delicate situation better than anyone else they’d ever seen.

All that was flattering but I could see the staff was ignoring me and I sensed that I made someone angry by doing what I did. I don’t know what did it or who it was but I’ve been in trouble in my life enough times to be sensitive to the feeling that someone is upset with me for something I said or did. I’m used to it even though I don’t enjoy it and this was it.

I didn’t want to upset anyone any more so I left after the show and didn’t want to start a fight with anyone on staff who was offended or insulted by what I did. But hey, it was an entire room full of college students from Sault Ste. Marie. Like none of them have seen a woman flash her rack by now? They’ve never seen a Girls Gone Wild video? The sad part is none of this matters. PERCEPTION is what matters so I wonder if anyone else is upset.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

On Top Of The World

Thursday January 15th, 2009 - Sault Ste. Marie, MI

I’m getting spoiled. Yesterday I had the day off to get work done and today it was only a 50 mile drive to get to the next gig in way above average accommodations. I can get used to this. Tomorrow will be a marathon of battling the elements but today was a snap.

I feel like I’m on top of the world right now both literally and figuratively. This is as far north as it gets in America and symbolically I have made the climb all the way to the top. This is the very end of I-75 which is a highway I’ve traveled many times in my life. I have been to both ends of it and everywhere in between. Today I feel like I’m starting all over.

When I started out in comedy I was totally green with no clue of what to do and nobody to teach me so I started experimenting and stumbled my way up the ladder. I made lots of mistakes along the way and looking back on it now some really stupid ones. Still I figured it out and never gave up until I mastered the craft I set out to do so long ago. I’ve made it.

I made it on my terms that is. I did exactly what I set out to do and I did it well. I have a lifetime of sacrifice paid in to the dues bank and it has rewarded me with experiences that most regular people will never get a chance to enjoy. I earned my way up this long road.

The places I’ve stayed over the years haven’t always been as nice as where I am tonight. I have slept on couches and floors and in beds that have been fornicated on by whores and sailors and a whole host of derelict subspecies. I’ve even had to sleep in my car at times.

Still, comedy has been the one true love of my life. I’m still hooked after all these years. I love being on stage when it’s going well and that happens way more often than not these days. Even the bad shows aren’t always that bad even though the travel is getting very old very quickly. I still love the challenge of getting a group of strangers to laugh every night.

I’d love to make more money at it and do less hard traveling but I sure don’t ever want to have to quit doing shows because that’s been the highlight of my life. Last night a guy came up to me and said he was an aspiring comic in the ‘60s but never followed through. I could sense the regret in his voice and also the admiration he had as he shook my hand.

Money can’t buy that and never will. I have truly EARNED it and it’s a fantastic feeling of accomplishment. I feel like a ninja warrior or Navy Seal or something. It’s an elite crop of people that are few and far between and it’s an honor to walk proudly as a comedian.

I have no idea what’s going to happen with Jeff Foxworthy’s management people. I will do my very best to make a solid presentation of who I am and what I do and what I’ve got to offer. If they like it great. If not what can I do? I will focus on what happens if they do.

SOMEBODY with power is going to like me and see my ability at some point. I have to believe that and I do. Maybe I’m wrong and they won’t see it until I’m gone. At least I did this diary for a while so hopefully some other aspiring comic can be inspired to press on.

A Smart Start

Wednesday January 14th, 2009 - St. Ignace, MI

One of the wiser choices I’ve made so far this new year was making the 504 mile scoot up here to the U.P. yesterday instead of today. The booker said they’d put us up for free if we wanted to do that so as to make sure we’d be here in plenty of time. I took them up on it and today I was SO glad I did. I was relaxed all day and heard it was nasty back home.

We didn’t have one snowflake all the way up here yesterday even though I left a bit late and we got up here at around 11pm. I rode with Mark Shilobrit from Milwaukee and he’s a licensed airline pilot. He agreed it would be smarter if we gave ourselves the cushion.

Driving 500 miles in any weather and having to perform that night isn’t something I am looking forward to ever doing again. It’s not saying I wont do it but I really don’t want to if I can avoid it. There comes a time in a performer’s life when that totally loses it’s luster and I am totally there. Being able to relax today and even get some work done felt great.

Today I worked on building up my team for comedy classes at Zanies in Chicago. I will offer a couple of free classes at the end of the month to reestablish myself in the teaching game and let potential students sample my style. Whenever we did free classes in the past it produced a new crop of paying students and it also really added to the mailing list too.

My goal is to take the classes farther than I ever have and part of that will be morphing into different arenas. I still love to teach at Zanies and hope to for a long time to come but I would also like to expand to continuing education departments of universities and many new places nobody has tried before. I’d love to expand into prisons, hospitals, wherever.

I received an email from Linda Perret wanting t finalize a deal to do an online course of study with her and I’m thrilled about that. Teaming up with Gene Perret’s reputation is an unbelievable credit for me and will earn respect from anyone who understands comedy. It means a lot to be in the same sentence with one of the best comedy writers of all time.

I’m not putting myself in that category by a long shot but being associated with Gene on any project is instant credibility for me. He teaches a writing course while mine goes into the entire process of becoming a comedian from ground zero. I know I can help people on the start of their journey into the comedy jungle. I have many hard earned lessons learned.

Tonight’s show was actually very fun. There weren’t that many people in the joint but it was extra cold and nobody wondered why. The whole casino was a little sparse but those who did dare to come out were rewarded with a rocking show. Mark opened well and was very loose and easy and I went up and brought my energy and got in a nice solid groove.

I’ve been whining lately about coming too far for too little money. This was a long haul too but I did it to pay my bills next month. This gig pays better than the runs to Minnesota so I won’t bitch because it made financial sense. I took this for the money but I still didn’t shirk my duties on the show. I gave those who came my very best plus I did some work.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mail Pattern Boldness

Tuesday January 13th, 2008 - St. Ignace, MI

Up way too early this morning but I needed to get things done before leaving for my gig in the U.P. of Michigan. I needed to stop first at my web person Shelley’s house to unlock the mysteries of what my ex business partner did with our old mailing list. Actually that’s the same list he’s pounding now trying to get students for the ‘class’ he’s trying to steal.

At this point the whole thing makes me want to violently upchuck and I’m just sick of it all. I don’t want to deal with it but the smart thing is to do exactly that. Those emails were difficult to come by and I earned every one of them. Some were long time fans and others were from past classes that had nothing to do with that leech whatsoever. It’s frustrating.

Still others were my personal friends and that’s what hurts the most about him doing all of this. They’ve been asking me why they’re getting emails out of the blue to sign up for a comedy class from some halfwit they don’t even know taught by another unknown goof.

I don’t even want to get into the story with anyone anymore but people keep asking and I try to keep it as short as possible and avoid the subject. That guy is bothering my friends just like he bothered me when he stole my money. I just wish it would all go away quietly but it appears to be doing anything but that. I’m too busy to worry about minutia like this.

Shelley found the mailing list embedded in a disc he’d sent a while back and she said it was hidden somehow and very difficult to find. I’m not very good at that kind of stuff and I admit it but it’s not my field of expertise. She said she thought he deliberately made it as difficult as possible and I don’t even want to go there in my head. I want this to be over.

He’s going to do what he’s going to do but whatever that is he’s following my lead. I’m the one who came up with the idea of a comedy class and he didn’t. I’m the one that did it successfully for fifteen years at the biggest comedy club in Chicago and he didn’t. He had a hand in helping me market it but that’s it. The passion and innovation came from me.

Now I have to build a new team of people to help market and execute the classes that is better than before. I’ll admit the two of us had a nice system going there for a while. He’d market the classes and sign people up and I’d show up and teach them. That’s how I want it but I paid a huge price for that convenience. I gave him free reign over all of the money.

If that’s not 100% pure and uncut stupidity I don’t know what is. Maybe there’s a touch of naivety thrown in there too for flavor. Whatever the case I should NEVER have thrown the keys to the vault to my partner without checking in once in a while. I got scorched in a way I didn’t expect but it sure was a painful lesson and continues to be one now. It stings.

But I don’t think that way. I wouldn’t steal money from anyone else because I couldn’t. I have an ultra sensitive conscience and it would really bother me knowing I had property I didn’t rightfully own whether it was money or anything else. I don’t want that feeling. If I have to steal from someone else to get ahead it‘s not real success to me. I want to earn it.

I heard a story just recently about Dane Cook getting ripped off by his manager that was a step brother or something. Dane Cook isn’t particularly funny to me but I feel for him in that regard. He’s a brilliant marketer and for that I respect him totally. He found his group of people to build a nation wide fan base and he put together a multimillion dollar career.

That’s not easy to do. I know, I’ve been trying to do it for over twenty years and I barely make enough to have one comma in my yearly earnings total. Dane Cook consistently had packed houses coming to see him in basketball arenas and out earned my yearly total in a single night. I’m sure it was fun and I’m sure he didn’t have time to monitor his finances.

I’m not sure how much got stolen from him but I’m sure it was a lot more than my total. Percentage wise it might have been similar but I’m sure Dane Cook felt the same emotion cycle I felt and am still feeling now. First there’s disbelief. Then comes anger. Then it’s a matter of just wanting it to be over with and move on. Bitterness is thrown in there too.

It really hurts because it’s so unfair. Dane Cook built himself into being that huge draw, not his step brother or whomever it was. It doesn’t matter if I think the guy is funny. He’s found a large group of paying customers who do so good for him. They seemed to like it.

Jeff Foxworthy did the same thing. He found his audience. I happen to think Jeff is very funny and always did. Just because I was too stupid to jump on the redneck bandwagon at the time he thought of it doesn’t mean I didn’t think he was funny. He was and still is. He is also a smart business person. I never heard any stories of Jeff getting embezzled from.

Still, whether he ever did or didn’t have problems with that it’s difficult to watch all the money closely and still watch the career too. If anyone else can do it I admire that person more than I can put into words. I haven’t been able to do it but I sure will get better at it.

Everyone and their dog’s grandma’s best friend’s babysitter is giving me advice on how I need to handle this situation with Jeff’s management company. I appreciate a kind word of well meaning advice but I’ve been getting way more than I bargained for. I guess there are a lot of people who have aspirations of being Dear Abby or something. I’m amazed.

It’s very flattering to know so many people are following this but it’s funny to see all of the conflicting advice I’m getting. Fly out there and storm the office. Lay low and look to have them come to me. Send the lady flowers. It doesn’t quit. But I appreciate the effort.

The bottom line is I need to do what she told me to do. I called Marc Schultz today and he is going to put together a DVD package of my best stuff. I have some decent video that will showcase my comedy but that’s probably not what they want. A lot of guys have that.

They want to see what else I’ve got that can make them money. I totally get that concept and I think I can deliver. No, I know I can deliver to someone. Now I have to find out just who that someone is. I hope it’s these people because I’d love to work on Jeff’s team on a regular basis just because he’s such a class act. I’ll make my pitch and see what happens.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Biggest Adventure Begins!

Monday January 12th, 2009 - Chicago, IL

I opened my email today and there was a hefty new batch as there usually is. There was one that stood out a lot more than the others though. I noticed I’d received one from Jeff Foxworthy’s management people and my whole hand quivered as I slowly clicked on it.

Jeff said he would make a call and I never doubted he would but seeing this email in my inbox made me shake with nervousness for some reason. Why is that? I wish I knew but I felt chills up my back before I clicked on it. It was like I’d been nominated for an Oscar.

It was from a woman named Maggie who was very pleasant and asked me ‘if I wanted’ to send her out a promotional package of what I do. IF I wanted? I felt like asking if she’d let me fly out and put it on her desk in person tomorrow morning at 9:01am. But I didn’t.

I politely answered and thanked her for getting back to me. I told her I’d gladly send her a package as soon as possible and she’d probably have it by the beginning of next week. It was the first step of what could either be my biggest break or my biggest disappointment.

Either way I am going to follow through and do whatever Maggie tells me to do. This is a very delicate situation and I have never had a chance like this before. I don’t want to get off on the wrong foot with anyone and the best way to do that is to not follow directions.

The other thing I don’t want to do is over think any of this. Jeff is a great guy and is one of the classiest people I know in the business. He recommended me so that has to mean a lot to Maggie or anyone else he passes my name to. If Jeff didn’t give me the thumbs up I have to believe I wouldn’t have gotten this email today. Now it’s up to me to make good.

I am a very strong comic and if they want me to showcase for them in L.A. or anywhere else I will blow the room away. They’ll be smart enough to spot my experience but what I don’t know is will they have a place for me in what they’re doing? That’s not my call and beyond my control. All I can do is present myself to them and then hope they can use me.

I’m SO ready for this. I’ve been waiting my whole life to have a chance to get myself in front of someone with clout who can make something positive happen and this just might be it. All I need is one person that has the power to like me and I’m on my way in a flash.

But this is where the dented can in me can come out at the wrong time. I talked to Max in Springfield recently and he said the same thing. It’s not always easy to focus on a good situation when there have been so many not so good ones in the past to draw memories.

Sometimes we think as dented cans maybe we deserved those bad things we got but it’s absolutely not true. I don’t believe that now and I need to focus on the good. I absolutely do think I deserve this shot right now. I’ve paid my dues over and over for years and now it’s time to get paid back. I’ve worked and struggled and sacrificed everything to get here and I won’t let a dented can past steal this from me. Maggie WILL receive that package!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Mothership Is Flying

Sunday January 11th, 2009 - Kenosha, WI

If there’s one thing I’m not guilty of it’s lack of projects. If I get bored with one there’s always two or three others sitting around waiting for me to pay attention to them. Tonight it was another ride on the Mothership Connection radio show on WLIP in Kenosha, WI.

I’m finding myself really having fun with this project and tonight we had another killer show. I asked my Elvis impersonator friend John Lombard to come on since it’s the week of Elvis’s birthday and put to rest whether or not Elvis is actually living or dead. That’s a pretty safe conclusion but we had to add a paranormal angle to it to make it fit our format.

Actually I don’t have to do anything at all. I have freedom to basically kill two hours of air time on a Sunday night but I want to make it a good show. When the new Batman film came out we had a Batman expert on who was very entertaining and it made good radio.

Elvis rumor and hearsay is always good radio and John is a great guest. He’s funny and sharp and knows Elvis trivia inside and out and he came through like I knew he would do. I’m finding myself feeling very much at home as an interviewer and this is good practice should I ever get into a radio or TV situation where I need to be the host. I can handle it.

I’m building a nice list of guests and I hope I can keep the show going for a while. I am very familiar with how radio can work and every week I go in the station half expecting a new person to be sitting in my chair doing a bowling show or a polka music countdown.

I’m much better able to focus on this show now that the Jerry’s Kidders segment is over on WLS. I had a blast doing that too and it was heard by a much bigger audience but to do both back to back was getting quite hectic. Then going to Zanies to host that showcase on Monday night made it all a big blur. By Tuesday morning my brain was a big pool of goo.

I guess it’s a big pool of goo anyway but all that going on made it gooier than I intended it to be. It’s more manageable for now and I can feel growth happening steadily. I love the fact that I’m able to arrange the topics and guests and pull off two hours of weekly jabber.

I’m a tough critic and if it sucked I’d complain about it but this doesn’t suck at all. I can feel a nice flow happening between myself and the co-hosts and guests too. This is a very encouraging sign and if we continue this development there is no limit to our potential to take it a lot farther than two hours in Kenosha, WI. I really think this show has some legs.

But even if it doesn’t it’s still fun to do for now. I love creative freedom and this is one of the most fun things I’ve ever been a part of. It’s wild enough to keep my interest but in touch enough with the public to keep them listening. This could be my gateway to them.

Before now I haven’t been able to break through to the masses for whatever reason. I’ve done my comedy and been able to make a living at it but never achieved any kind of fame on a national basis. Maybe the Mothership Connection has a one way ticket for Uranus.

Twenty Years Of Elvis

Saturday January 10th, 2009 - Milwaukee, WI

Twenty years already? It sure doesn’t seem like that long but I’ve been hosting the Elvis birthday celebration shows at Serb Hall in Milwaukee since 1989. My friend Tom Green asked me to do it back then because Elvis always had a comedian open for him and Tom thought it would be a good idea to do it here too. He was right. It worked from the start.

Tom’s concept was to have a show every year in January to celebrate Elvis’s birthday. It was a revolving cast of other Elvis tribute acts and him but he was the obvious star. If you never saw Tom Green perform you missed one of the best entertainers to step on a stage.

He really had ‘it’. He got pigeon holed into being an Elvis act but he was a lot more and then some. He sang with the Bel Canto choir and a lot of other places that had nothing to do with Elvis. He was just a talented musical genius who happened to be a big Elvis fan.

Tom was a real treasure and when he passed away from cancer a couple of years ago we were all shocked. He kept it to himself and now looking back on all the outstanding work he did as sick as he was it’s even more impressive. I have nothing but respect for him and I am very honored he asked me to be part of not only his shows but his circle of friends.

Tom loved comedy and he and his girlfriend Donna would come and see me perform on many occasions. They would always laugh the loudest and Tom appreciated good humor and good entertainment. We also shared a disdain for the idiots of Milwaukee who didn’t share our passion for quality. For whatever reason Milwaukee sucks as a showbiz town.

This show started in 1989 and every year after it was on the Saturday closest to Elvis’s birthday of January 8th. I was always invited to be part of it and even though I did have to miss a few over the years I’d have to say I did about 14-15 of the 20 years. I’d dress in my tuxedo and make it a special occasion and it was. It was a once a year special night of fun.

It wasn’t about me at all but being part of such a fun spectacle was a thrill. Tom’s band was always tight and there would be three or four other Elvis guys like John Lombard and some others who revolved in and out who were all great guys and Tom would be the glue that held it all together. The people really got their money’s worth and more. It was great.

Obviously without Tom it will never be the same but tonight was a fantastic show. The audience wasn’t as big as in past years but it was still several hundred people and we took pride in giving them a killer show. The band was on the all the guys were in Elvis mode.

This little clique of people are some of the nicest humans I’ve ever met. Being part of a crew like this once a year for twenty years is a real highlight of my life. Tom Green was a marvelous entertainer and a true friend too. He was the showbiz big brother I never had.

After the show people came up to the guys and me and asked for autographs and told us how much they loved the shows all these years and it made us all miss Tom even more.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Fine Line Blurs

Friday January 9th, 2009 - Lake Villa, IL

Cruddy winter weather returns as we got pelted by several inches of new snow. It could have been much worse though. This could have happened yesterday on the drive from the show in Duluth. Even though it was a long drive at least it wasn’t a sloppy snowy mess.

I looked around my office area today and I see that I am once again sliding into disarray and confusion. Things are piled up haphazardly in random stacks as I’ve had to search for something and I haven’t had time to go back and organize it like I should. I need to get to that immediately or I’ll really be in a pickle. The fine line is starting to get a little blurry.

Ambitious undertakings are one thing but idiotic overwhelm is something else entirely. I need to back up a few steps and start over so I don’t have everything I own in one huge disorganized mountain of chaos and nothing ever gets done. That’s my ultimate fear now.

I’ve managed to chip away at a few of my projects so far this year and I’ve made some decent progress too. Going on this last trip to Duluth sucked out a little of my momentum and I can feel the backlash today. I felt like I had to start all over pushing the freight train.

Emails are backing up and that’s a constant problem. I try to catch up but they come in a lot faster than I can answer them even though I have pretty decent typing skills. It’s just too much for me to handle right now so I let it pile up and try to get to all the other things.

I haven’t even started making booking inquiries for this year and that’s a borderline sin. I’ve been working on getting Uranus Factory Outlet going and all kinds of other things so bookings kind of fell through the cracks but that’s cutting off my lifeline now. Not good.

I did drive into the city to pick up my mail and on the way back I had a lunch with Marc Schultz. I told him how I really liked the baby boomer comedy show idea and he said he’s willing to offer whatever advice he could and try to make suggestions from his experience in dealing with bookers of fairs and conventions and I know he will. He will add to this.

Still, it all takes time. Marc has been putting me in as many of his sales DVDs he sends to any of his clients who might even remotely buy a comedian and I totally appreciate it. I have earned his trust onstage and off and he knows he can count on me to do a good job.

Marc is great and I appreciate that status but now I need to be on that status for a whole lot more bookers too. I’m on Marc’s radar and that’s great but now I need to spread that a lot farther and get on the good list of agents all over North America. That’s where money is a lot bigger than clubs even though gigs can be very sporadic. I’m getting better at this.

This is the part of show business that has always been the toughest for me. I really love the show but haven’t been very interested in the business. Until now. I’m not going to let myself get into a situation I’ve seen far too many other comedians allow themselves to be tricked into. Things won’t just ‘all work out’. It’s ME that has to take charge of all this.

I Need A Push

Thursday January 8th, 2009 - Duluth, MN/Lake Villa, IL

Time to pay the piper. Last night’s show was red hot and really fun but it didn’t change the fact I was still 500 miles from home with no gig today. The opening act J.T. Newton lives near me so we rode together but he overslept and we didn’t get on the road until an hour later than the 8:30am deadline we’d set the night before. That put us behind already.

I could have been a stickler or jumped in his face or called his room but what would it prove? I chose him for the opening spot and he was glad to get it and I understand how it goes. He doesn’t do the road much and stayed up too late and overslept. Not a major deal.

It didn’t make the drive any shorter. It just put us behind in getting started. It wasn’t my place to be a knob about it and if it were up to me I’d have probably left either right after the show last night or 5 or 6am in hopes of getting back early. Or I may have wanted that but overslept myself and ended up leaving at noon. Whatever the case we left at 9:30.

I decided to head down I-35 to the Twin Cities rather than backtrack all the way through Superior, WI and come down US Highway 53. I don’t know why I did that other than it’s a different route with new snow drifts and road signs to look at. It was still a long drive.

We stopped in Hinckley, MN to have lunch at another casino because I’ve stopped there before and it was delicious. Cheap too. Today was the same and we both knew in one bite that we’d made the right decision. It’s much better to stop for a nice lunch than to have to eat a greasy bag of colon clogger fast food in the car on the way. This was a better choice.

At lunch I told J.T. about an idea I had years ago to do a comedy show aimed especially at baby boomers. There are a ton of them at most casinos and they have money. J.T. loved the idea and we talked about it at length. He actually would be a perfect fit for the show.

He’s 52 but looks 40, dresses well, speaks well and happens to be black. I also have my friend Mark Shilobrit from Milwaukee who is 50 and does some really good impressions.
His Bob Hope is one of the best impressions I’ve ever seen anyone do. He really nails it.

I really don’t need another project to work on but this one could make some serious big money if done right. The casinos could book it in their big room and stress it as being for the baby boomer generation. I picture a four act diverse show that has different features.

It would be like putting together a band. There should be impressions along with music thrown in there somewhere and it wouldn’t hurt to have a black guy and a woman too. In a perfect world a nice mix of diverse people on the poster would make it really sellable.

I don’t even think I have to be on the show. I am at the very tail end of the baby boom but I’m still a member and I could light up that crowd. J.T. is a cancer survivor and that’s a major issue for baby boomers so it would add substance and Mark could blow them all away with his impressions. Talking about all this made the long drive seem a lot shorter.

Still, it didn’t hide the fact that it was a long drive and cost me another whole work day. I really have to be more careful of how I route my gigs because this won’t help make me a successful business man any time soon. This is how I’m used to living but as I get older it makes less and less sense. Even though it was a great show I’m still losing money today.

Maybe it was worth it in the long run by resurrecting this baby boomer comedy idea but it sure was a long way to go to get it. It ended up being a few miles longer taking the way back that I did and it was 522 miles total after I dropped J.T. off and drove home. Tired.

This is a transitional time for me right now and after careful thought I really don’t think it was worth taking this one single show for this low of money. On the other hand I’m at a crossroads in comedy because I’m really at my peak right now. I can feel it. All my shows have been on fire lately and I’m in a great groove. Now I just need to make that pay more.

At some point Jeff Foxworthy is going to call me back and I’m going to fly out to L.A. to meet with his management people. They may love me or not but that’s the kind of push I’m going to need from somebody. I can’t do it myself and I know it. I’ll need some help.

I want to put that request out in the universe and acknowledge it when it comes back to me. I have truly done my very best over the years to help as many other people as I could even when they didn’t ask me to. I’ve had my share of radio shows and all kinds of other things and when I could throw someone a bone I always tried to do it. Now it’s my turn.

Jeff is a wonderful guy and very kind and I know at some point I’ll hear from him and I will get my chance to pitch myself to his management. In a perfect world they’ll plug me in to the things they’ve got going and I’ll be the ‘hot new guy’ even though I’m anything but new. I’ll be a hero to the same people who love Jeff, Bill Engvall and Ron White too.

Larry The Cable Guy is a perfect example of what can happen. Jeff sure did help to put him in a new tax bracket. It was good for both parties though. ‘Larry’ is a guy named Dan Whitney who was a road comic just like me. I know Dan and we’ve crossed paths several times over the years. He always worked hard and was a nice guy and I’m glad he made it.

But I’m a nice guy too and I worked just as hard for just as long and I think it’s my turn to get my shot in the spotlight. Dan has done extremely well and I would bet if you asked him even he didn’t expect it to get that big. Larry The Cable Guy was a character he came up with for a radio show down in Florida and it ended up becoming what put him over.

Will Mr. Lucky be my hook that puts me over? I don’t know. How about The King Of Uranus? That could be it too. Or not. How about ‘The Dented Can’? Who the hell knows what the public will latch on to? I bet Dan didn’t expect Larry to be what would launch.

These are all things to be ready for because I can’t keep doing what I’m doing. I am not being smart and losing money in the long run. My show is TIGHT. I can light up a room and when I get a chance to do it on a big scale the only one who won’t be shocked is me.