Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lunch With A Bunch

Tuesday November 17th, 2009 - Niles, IL/Lake Villa, IL

A big part of why I love being an entertainer so much is crossing paths with others who share the same passion. Nothing is more fun than performing, whether it’s comedy or any other skill. There’s a kindred spirit among performers and I love to share that when I can.

My friend Marc Schultz puts together an annual lunch get together of all his clients, and that covers the gamut from circus performers to magicians to ventriloquists to comedians. I’ve attended several in the past and they’re always a chance to shoot the breeze with a lot of really fantastic people. I’ve had to miss a couple because I was working, but not today.

Marc has really grown to become a friend first and booker second. He’s a great guy and very good hearted and we hit it off on many levels. He loves sports and old time wrestling and is a student of the entertainment game too, not just comedy. He’s a few years older as most of my friends have always been, but I really have grown to think highly of the guy.

Bert Haas at Zanies in Chicago is the same way. I consider him a friend before a booker and actually I’d prefer it if he didn’t book Zanies so people wouldn’t keep asking me for a good word. He books who he books and that’s his business. Even if he didn’t book me I’d still think he was a good guy, and he is. He’s a great family man and has a generous heart.

It’s funny how people hit it off in life. Some mesh and some clash, and it’s random how that shakes out. I know people who think Bert is an ass and mostly it’s because he doesn’t book them at Zanies. He’s the first one to admit that just because he doesn’t book an act it doesn’t mean that act isn’t funny, it’s just a matter of if someone fits in the scheme or not.

For whatever reason, I’ve fit in at Zanies for 20 years now. Onstage and off, I’m in their wheelhouse and it’s been much appreciated. I feel the same way with Marc, even though I haven’t gotten as many bookings from him. That’s changing though, and we’re starting to hook up for more things since my Craig Ferguson appearance. He thinks I’m on my way.

We met at a Chinese restaurant with a spare banquet room on Golf Road in Niles, IL. It was another great experience, even though there have been more in past years. There were still about 30 people there and the conversation was very upbeat and positive despite what may be going on in the economy. Everyone’s struggling, but nobody dwelled on it today.

Tonight I had a meeting with a younger comic named Dan Morris. He did a set a while back on a Monday at Zanies and he asked if I would mind letting him pick my brain about comedy a little. That was very smart of him to do, and I told him that. I was glad to help if I could, and he’s a hungry young kid who wants to improve. I totally respect him for that.

I was like that when I started and now it’s my turn to pay it forward whenever I can. I’m very grateful for all I’ve gotten, even if I never get rich and famous. I’ve had a blast doing what most people only dream of, and if that’s all I get I’ve already won the game. Hearing Dan’s enthusiasm pumped me up, as did going to the lunch. I still love this comedy thing.

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