Thursday November 12th, 2009 - Orlando, FL
In typical Mr. Lucky fashion, the weather in Florida is absolutely horrendous. Of course it is. I wouldn’t be me unless it worked out like that. It’s chilly and cloudy and drizzly and everyone has been complaining about it since I got here. Cheer up everyone, I’ll be out of here Sunday morning so the sun can show up again. As for me, I‘m not bothered one bit.
I didn’t come down here for sun this time. I had business to take care of, and I did. I had my appearance on The Daily Buzz this morning and it was really fun. It wasn’t thrilling to have to get up at 4am but I didn’t want to be late. I don’t know my way around down here and the last thing I needed was to get lost or hit a wall of traffic. I made sure I got there.
They’re sure not bashful about collecting tolls down here. I thought the Illinois Tollway was a Nazi offshoot but this is worse. Every five minutes they’re shaking me down for all my spare change and if I knew my way around better I’d drive over a swamp in reverse to avoid paying them. I don’t know why I have such a disdain for toll roads, but I do. Period.
Whatever it cost, the experience of being on the show was totally worth it. Everyone on staff is unbelievably friendly and they really have a solid show with a fun chemistry that’s contagious on the air and off. My friend Mitch English is very funny and comes across on camera extremely well. Most TV weathermen are corny or stale, but Mitch has real talent.
I saw that when we were in Salt Lake City. He was doing weather there on a Fox station and worked for the husband of a woman who was on our morning show. He also was on a sister station in our building and I got to know him there. He was very friendly and we hit it off immediately. He wanted to do comedy but he had a wife and kids and a TV career.
God bless the guy. I wouldn’t trade that for a brutal road life of a comic anyway. OOPS, wait a minute, that’s exactly what I did. My bad. I guess Mitch got first choice. He picked a winner. He could have been a comic though, he’s very funny. I’m flattered he asked me to be on the show. He’s been offering it for years, but for whatever reason I never did it.
It was a couch interview with one of the other co-hosts named Andy Campbell, who’s a former touring comic who landed this gig about three years ago. I’d heard his name on the road and he’d heard mine and we exchanged typical comic talk of who we’d worked with and when and where and we hit it off nicely too. He’s smooth on the air and a total pro.
The staff laughed as I jam packed as many jokes as I could fit into my three minute time slot, which turned out to be a lot. Everyone involved with the show put me at total ease so it wasn’t difficult at all. I felt a lot more comfortable because I knew Mitch but it also was much easier than the Craig Ferguson experience because I was familiar with being on TV.
Television is a quick hit medium, and I’m learning to do it better each time I get on. My material and persona are a fit for TV because I speak fast and think on my feet better than most. I enjoy the challenge and hope to get on a lot more times. This was worth my trip.
I absolutely think I’ll be able to get on again in the future because Mitch has been in my corner all along. He knows how difficult comedy is and I can feel his respect whenever he asks me about the road life because I think deep down he’s always wanted to do it. That’s no insult, as he’s carved out a fine niche for himself. Still, the lure of stage is very strong.
Human nature always wants what it doesn’t have, so maybe that’s what keeps us going. If we all had what we wanted, nobody would make any effort to chase any of our dreams and push that envelope all the way and achieve something nobody thought was possible.
I’ve always wanted a family, or so I thought. Maybe seeing my wife come to bed in her flannel jammies and mud pack or having to change poo-poo diapers daily would cure me of all that rather quickly. I don’t know. It would be nice to have love and support but I’ve lived without it for so long I wonder if it’s totally necessary for happiness. Who knows?
What I do know is, I’m doing something with my life quite a few others would also like to do. Entertainers need that spotlight and it becomes everything from a drug to a habit to a way of life to a surrogate family. For dented cans especially, it’s what keeps us all alive.
One entertainer who’s about as UN-dented of a can I’ve ever met is Yogi Mueller. He’s an absolutely wonderful soul I met back in Milwaukee in 1991 when he was at Marquette University and working part time promoting a snack called ‘Screaming Yellow Zonkers’.
He and some other college kids dressed in flaming yellow Zubaz sweat pants and wildly designed costumes and claimed to be from the planet ‘Zonk’. They were going to various radio stations trying to get on the air, and I just had to have these guys on. Anyone who is ballsy enough to dress in full Zonk-galia has my attention. They don’t need anything else.
Yogi’s got some size too. He’s about 6’5” and could easily pass for a pro football player or WWE wrestler and has an even bigger heart. He’s loaded with creativity and is a gentle giant personified. He’s bitten by the performance bug too, and does musical comedy with a partner. They call themselves ‘Token Fat Guys’ and they perform all over down here.
Check them out at facebook.com/tokenfatguys and tell them I sent you. We’ve stayed in contact but haven’t seen each other in person for several years now. He happened to be in town and not working tonight so we hooked up for all you can eat lobster at a buffet joint right down the street from my hotel. It cost a few bucks I don’t have, but it was worth it.
The sting of the price will long be overshadowed by the pleasant memory we’ll share of having an all you can eat lobster buffet. There were crab legs and sushi and some of THE best clam chowder I have ever tasted. If you’re going to go out, go ALL out. So we did.
Yogi’s got a great relationship with his parents and they’re both still alive, and live here in Florida. He’s originally from St. Louis and went to Marquette but now he’s settled here and his parents followed. He can’t relate to any of my dented can stuff and I’m absolutely delighted that someone had a happy childhood. I bet Mitch did too. What a fun day it was.