Tuesday November 24th, 2009 - Chicago, IL
Today was an example of how time gets sucked up. We’re working the bugs out on our Jerry’s Kidders play “You’re On The Air” for our performance at the Beverly Arts Center January 16-17. We scheduled an hour rehearsal and it ended up consuming the entire day.
I don’t think the average person knows or really cares how much of a grind the business of entertainment actually is. Most outsiders only look at the time spent on stage during an actual performance and think that’s all the effort that’s required to get paid handsomely.
Hundreds if not thousands of people over the years have come up to me after a comedy show and told me how “lucky” I was to “only have to work 45 minutes a day“. I’ll usually smile and nod and try to be polite, but once in a while I’ll get in somebody’s face about it.
Usually it’s some drunken slug with a hot chick who gets to go home with her while I’ll be alone in a funky motel room that smells like Lysol, 800 miles from home with a family reunion of loud foreigners playing their annoying music in the room next door until 4am.
The time on stage in fact is NOT what we’re paid for. It’s those 23 hours and change we have to spend waiting for the next chance to go on stage. That’s what we’re being paid for and many times we get the short end. By the time every hour is added up and divided into how much we actually get, it’s often less than minimum wage. Not many think about that.
In fact, many people get into show business with the express purpose of avoiding a day job and the grind that goes with it. How surprised they are to find out there’s still a lot of work involved to be good at it, and sometimes they end up quitting. None of this is easy.
Jerry called about 10am and offered to drive to the rehearsal which was scheduled to be held in downtown Chicago at 1pm. Tim Slagle and Ken Sevara both live on the far south side so we try to meet in the middle whenever possible. They usually drive together as do Jerry and I, only to save money on parking in Chicago. Getting together is a major effort.
Jerry and I stopped for a quick lunch because neither of us had eaten and then we got on the road and were marooned in heavy traffic for the next two hours as we got stuck in the vortex of road cleaning. There were crews cleaning the highway and nobody was moving faster than 25 miles an hour for most of the way into the city. No escape, we were stuck.
The other guys called and were a bit upset that we were late, but we weren’t too thrilled about it either. We ended up getting there about 2pm, rehearsing until 4, and then had our return trip take even longer because of rush hour and a rain storm. It was a full day shot.
The rehearsal was good, but we’re still not finished yet. We’ll have several more before our actual performance, and there’s no guarantee we’ll sell even one ticket. We’ve all got a lot of time and effort invested in this project and we’re crossing our fingers it’ll pay off. It better. We’re paying a heavy price. This ‘one hour rehearsal’ ended up consuming nine.