Wednesday, April 29, 2009

100 Days

Wednesday April 29th, 2009 - Lake Villa, IL

Everyone in the media was yammering on today about how it’s Barack Obama’s 100th day in office. Personally I couldn’t care less. I’ve got my own problems. My feelings for politicians in general aren’t very favorable so why go off on the big cheese? Is life in our country better than it was 100 days ago? It depends on who’s asked. I’m still hanging on.

My lifestyle doesn’t change much no matter who the president is. I’m out here trying to turn a buck and survive. I’ve been able to do it so far but that’s about all I’ve been able to pull off - survival. I’ve never been able to put it over the top and build any kind of secure life. As I get older that really is starting to appeal to me but will it make me truly happy?

Of course not. Nothing can ‘make me’ truly happy. I have to make myself happy. Doing what I love to do is a great start but having to be concerned about how my bills are going to be paid is a major distraction and in fact takes away some of the joy of what I’m doing.

I kept hearing about the ‘100 days’ today and it got me thinking every time I heard it. If I were really to bust my ass and have a plan of focus and work that plan I’ll bet I’d make a ton of progress in 100 days. I guess anyone could. The question is WILL anyone do it?

Scraping along in life isn’t always pleasant but it doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. Money doesn’t buy anything other than freedom to make more choices. It doesn’t actually do the things it takes to make dreams come true. Most of the real fun is in the doing of all the things it takes to be successful. Money can’t buy that but it can make the journey fun.

If I’d been a rich kid I’d still have had to struggle for years to learn my craft properly. It might have meant I wouldn’t have stayed at it because hanging in there was very difficult. I didn’t always enjoy it as it happened but looking back on it staying with comedy was the best thing I have ever done with my life. I’m SO glad I did it. I don’t ever want to quit.

I went to get my new old Camry registered and that’s always a pain in the ass. At least it got done and I’m all street legal now other than the fact one of my headlights is out. Other than that it runs great now. I made an investment in the future and upgraded my situation.

Sam Walton supposedly drove the same old ratty pickup truck he had for years and I am totally not opposed to driving this tin can as long as it runs. Why not? It looks clean and it runs smoothly and that’s good enough for me. Sam Walton was thinking of other things.

I need to do that too. I think this car will be running in 100 days but what about me? I’m responsible for what goes on these next 100 days. Am I satisfied with the last 100? Nope. I did some good things but not enough for my high standards. I can do much much better.

I guess that’s my personal challenge for the next 100 days. It’s August 7th, a Friday but not any special one. It’s just a day. I can change my whole life around in these 100 days if I want to. Now the question is do I want to? I mean REALLY want to? Let’s find out.

Surviving During Construction

Tuesday April 28th, 2009 - Lake Villa, IL

Things are getting hectic. I’m taking several steps backward in many areas of my life so I’ll hopefully be able to make a giant leap forward. It’s like buying a piece of land with an old rickety house on it and plowing it over and starting from scratch. Until the new house is built there’s a lot of living out of boxes and making due and that’s never comfortable.

I haven’t done many shows in the last couple of weeks and on one hand it’s a welcomed break but on the other I’m feeling very rusty and out of my groove. Comedy is a craft that needs to be practiced regularly. Like music or dancing or acting or any other skill it’s ‘use it or lose it’. I’ve always been one to use it but this is just a time when I need to lay low.

I’ve got enough work to keep me alive but that’s not what I want. I want a CAREER for a change and not just a job. I’ve been harping on that forever now but it’s true. I have had a job for years but never a career. A career would entail customers coming out to see ME. It happens occasionally but not nearly enough to affect my pay. I want to be a major draw.

Even a mediocre draw would tide me over for a while. I want to put butts in seats and if they’re there I can more than bring the goods. Jeff Foxworthy is a perfect example of how to do it right. He’s such a smart business mind and he pulled off what I envisioned since I started. I had the chance to be part of that team at one point but I was too stupid to see it.

I wasn’t ready then. I was just starting and hadn’t paid any dues or learned my craft yet. I eventually did it the hard way and learned it well but now I’m in a situation where I’m at a crossroads in my life and what should be a career but is nothing more than still a job. In a perfect world I’d be able to hop on that train bound for the big time but it doesn’t exist.

Jeff was very nice to recommend me to his management team but I still haven’t sent the package out. I was hoping to get my Craig Ferguson DVD by now and intended to have it in a slick package and send it to them but it still hasn’t aired yet for whatever reason. Part of that reason would probably be that I’m not a big name yet and that’s the circle I’m in.

How can I get known if I can’t get on TV? I have to break through at some point but it’s not how I thought it would be. I have faith I’ll be on the Late Late Show at some point but until then I’m still just another schmuck-o on the circuit trying to avoid driving a forklift.

I live in a basement and even though it’s a very nice basement that you wouldn’t have a clue was a basement if you didn’t have to walk down the stairs it’s still not what I wanted to be doing at this time in my life. I do it voluntarily because it saves money and in many ways it’s a good situation but again in a perfect world I wouldn’t be living like an insect.

I have a chance to move in with a friend of mine who just bought a house. She received some money from her grandmother and wants a roommate she can trust and isn’t a party animal. I’ve known her fifteen years and it would be a major step up living wise but again it’s way out in the sticks even farther than where I am now. I’d be living in Hooterville.

Moving isn’t exactly what I want to be doing right now but it’s coming up on two years of living where I am. I have no problems here and everyone gets along fine mostly due to the fact we never see each other. Everyone has our own schedule and I maybe cross paths once every two or three weeks for a minute or two and that’s it. It works great that way.

Another thing I’m moving back on is my car situation. I didn’t need to buy the Camry I just bought but I thought it was an upgrade even though it’s a year older than the one I’m already driving. It looks very nice and today I had it tuned up and had the brand new tires I just bought for the other one switched over. It has new brakes and the exhaust is quiet.

The mechanic at the shop I took it to said he thought it was a beautiful car and that I got a great deal on it. Even with the $800 extra I put into it plus the cost of the new tires it’s a solid car at a fair price and if I don’t wrap it around a pole or another carload of gang rats blow a red light and t-bone me I should be able to drive this one trouble free for a while.

But I don’t want to have to worry about cars anymore. I juiced up my credit card to pay for all this but I thought it was a solid investment for my future so I did it. For now it’s an unexpected expense but in the long run it hopefully will turn out to be a big money saver.

The whole sports card situation is another thing I’m doing that’s taking a step backward right now. I have thousands of cards in all conditions and in theory I can probably make a few bucks selling them but not in their current state. I have to sort them and package them and either do card shows or find someone to help me sell them on Ebay. That takes work.

Meeting up with my friend Rich last night was a smart move. He taught me some things but I’m still going to have to find a way to actually execute what he said to do. I’m not the computer whiz he is and it will be a long slow build unless someone does it for me. I have a lot of things to keep track of and now these cards are another but I like them so I did it.

In the long run I should be ok with the cards. In the short run it took out my emergency fund and now if I bust a tooth or break a leg I’m in a bad way. That’s a risk I took and it’s too late to turn back now. In theory it all sounded great. Now I’m face to face with reality.

My taxes still aren’t finished even though I did put some work in on them and they’re in a box. They’re still scattered around and not sorted so that’s another unpleasant job I need to tackle before my accountant starts to call and bug me to get it done. I need to finish it.

Everything is up in the air and unfinished and in piles. My living space looks like Oscar Madison’s room and that needs to change NOW. I don’t know if it’s my feng or my shui but something’s out of whack and I feel like I’m living in a trailer park after a tornado.

It takes a pair of bulbous gonads to rip everything up and start over again but if I don’t I will continue to get the results I was getting and I wasn’t satisfied with that. I want to take it higher and this is what I need to do to get there. It’s the longer way there but I believe it will be worth it because I’ll have done it correctly. But for now everything’s in disarray.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Back In The Card Game

Monday April 27th, 2009 - Milwaukee, WI

Usually I’m either hosting the showcase or teaching a class or both at Zanies in Chicago on Monday nights but tonight it was neither. I like hosting those shows and I like teaching too but it felt good to take a little break. I have no shortage of things to keep me occupied.

I’m trying to be smart and set myself up for the future by making good decisions now. It has boiled down to a constant issue of trying to manage my time and make the best use of every day. There’s just too much I want to do and not enough time to do it. It’s frustrating but it’s also reality so I have to pick and choose carefully what I allow myself to focus on.

Sports cards have been a notorious distraction for me but I still love them. I always have and I probably always will so I’ve decided to allow them into my life but will use them to help me where I really need it. The trick is making them profitable and productive for me.

There’s a guy in Milwaukee who used to have a card shop at one time and still sets up at shows who mentioned he wanted to sell out and move on. He’s a nice guy and we have talked about making a deal for a while now but haven’t done it because we’re both busy.

He wants to get out of it because he works a third shift job and the hours are killing him to have to be up early to set up at the card shows and the time had passed. The deal was a fair one for both parties and I didn’t think his price was outrageous but it was a hefty little chunk to be doling out for cardboard pictures of steroid users. Still, it was an opportunity.

The guy called me today and asked if I wanted to still do the deal. I thought about it and decided I wanted to do it so I went to my bank and drew out my emergency savings that is reserved for dental emergencies or a car breakdown and drove up to Milwaukee to get it.

My gut feeling told me to do this deal and I always try to listen to that little inner voice. In theory now is not the time for me to be doing this but when I got his call I had the inner feeling that said to do it so I did. I got to his house and gave him the money and we had a deal in a few minutes. He helped me load my car and I wondered why I said yes to this.

My friend Richard Caan lives in Milwaukee and he’s a full time card dealer. He sells on Ebay and has been doing it for about ten years. He’s always been very generous with what he knows and said if I wanted to learn about Ebay or sales tricks he’d be glad to help me.

I called Rich and told him what I’d done and he invited me over to his house to give me a run through on some of the basics of what to do. I was glad to learn so I headed over for my lesson. Wow, what a worthwhile trip. Rich knows is stuff and turned me on to a lot of ideas I hadn’t thought of before. He’s at a whole other level than me but I still grasped it.

He puts his time in and is very professional and up front about the way he handles all of his transactions. He has a 100% positive feedback rate and is not looking to rip off any of his customers for a quick sting. He prefers to build long time relationships and he does.
The whole process takes a lot of work and it’s not as easy as it looks. I didn’t think that it would be but seeing him go through it showed me just how difficult it would be for me to do it on my own. There are too many things involved for me to be a one man business.

Truth be told I don’t really want to be in a room all day scanning pictures and doing all it takes to make it a full time job like Rich does. I want to be part time and delegate it out to people who can do that stuff for me and pay them a commission. I have several people who I could do that with and it would be a win/win. That’s going to be how I’ll handle it.

My friend Spike Manton’s son Mickey loves cards and Spike said he and Mickey would list cards on Ebay for me if I want. I told him I need to get my investment back but when I did I’d be willing to work out a deal that would be good for both parties. I wouldn’t touch the cards and would just keep getting checks every month. They would do all the listing.

I could also work something out with my computer person Shelley and also a few other people I know who fart around with this kind of thing. What I’m looking to do is get my name out there a little and explore the possibilities of having a steady part time income.

I looked at the cards I bought and there are a lot of good ones in there that should bring back my original investment in a few months if they are broken up and listed in smaller lots. They are newer cards and I don’t have any interest at all in those but it’s exactly the kind of thing Mickey Manton would love. He and Spike can bond and I can make a buck.

Spike is willing to do it and is thrilled I put up the money to get it started. He can’t do it right now because he’s got his money tied up in dumb stuff like food and clothing and the survival of his family. He can put some time in and help sell the stuff though and also get to spend time with his son. All I’m interested in is getting my initial investment returned.

Once I do that I’ll be set. The real goal is not to sell sports cards. The real goal for me is to become known to people who would never have crossed paths with me otherwise. I am interested in learning about marketing because that will allow me to sell them on what I’d really like to sell - comedy. I will develop a good reputation and in turn win comedy fans.

Richard Caan is a very generous and giving person as I try to be as well. He knows what I am trying to do and he said he’d help me any way he could. And he will. He already has. He knows cards way better than I do and he dropped some nice inside hints on me tonight that took him years to learn. That’s exactly the kind of thing I do with my comedy classes.

I really thought about this hard the whole way back from Rich’s house. I’m going to get good at marketing because that’s what it’s about. Comedy, cards, whatever. I like the fact that sports cards bring pleasant memories to people. There is also salesmanship involved.

And the best thing I can think of is that they are relatively light weight and portable. It’s a lot easier to transport 10,000 baseball cards than it is 10,000 comic books or records or many other collectibles. This is my hobby and I enjoy it. Now I want to make it pay off.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Radio Times Two

Sunday April 26th, 2009 - Chicago, IL/Kenosha, WI

All radio all day - and all night too. Just when I thought Jerry’s Kidders were history we were called upon once again to be on with Jerry Agar on WLS. Jerry has been filling in at the station from time to time and it fit his schedule to have us on so we all gladly said yes.

It’s really fun to hang out with the guys and whether or not it ever leads to anything else doesn’t matter at all. Since we’re not doing it every week anymore it’s not a drain on time for anyone and is in fact a special occasion of sorts. We all get a chance to hang out on air at a legendary radio station but the big fun is hanging out after the show in a restaurant.

There’s a positive history with us and we’re all comfortable with each other so it makes for a relaxed fun time. There’s something about being on the air with someone that forms a bond but I can’t explain exactly what it is. I know it’s there though. Everyone feels it.

It’s not only with this group either. I feel a very strong bond with both Max and Spike from the Loop and that was several years ago now. The three of us don’t get together that often but when we do there is definitely a synergy there and we all have talked about it.

Jerry and I have been friends for many years but we’ve never had a job together. We’ve both been on each other’s shows as guests or callers on occasion but this is the first time we’ve had a regular bit. Tim Slagle and Ken Sevara are also great to work with and we’ve gelled together kind of like a band. We all know our roles and we’ve never clashed at all.

We hadn’t been on the air in a while but everything was clicking today and we all felt it. We were very loose and comfortable in the studio and the half hour zoomed by. We were in the groove as a team and when that happens it makes not getting paid worth our while.

None of us mind not getting paid but obviously we’d all love to find a way to turn all of this fun time into paid fun time. I was able to get a perk out of it today though as after our lunch Jerry and I went back to the radio station to record a half hour interview for use at a later date. I can put it up on my website or slice it up and use it as a bonus track on a CD.

If I have one thing in life it’s a lot of interesting stories. Jerry has known me for years so he asked me some questions and I answered them. It flowed really well so there shouldn’t be any problem posting it somewhere with not a lot of editing. I just thought it would be a chance for someone who might be my fan to have a little extra at some point so we did it.

After dropping Jerry off at home I drove straight to Kenosha, WI to be on WLIP for our weekly Mothership Connection show at 9pm. That’s another group of people who are fun to hang out with and that show went well too. We were all relaxed and the time flew by.

Again, nobody’s getting paid but still we all enjoy doing it. So we do. Money is nice to think about and hopefully it will start to flow soon but even if it doesn’t fun days like this are what keep everyone going. Good times with good people are what a good life make.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Wheels And Deals

Saturday April 25th, 2009 - Waukegan, IL

Cruddy weather today. April showers are supposed to bring May flowers but this kind of nastiness only brings head colds and the flu. What really rots is driving in this kind of slop because the temperature is just right so car windows get foggy and nobody can see.

Everyone is trying to get the defroster to blow the fog off the windows and when I try to do it with my sleeve it smears and makes it worse. Then if I try to open a window my arm gets soaked from rain so it’s a constant battle to keep the windows clear enough to see out of so when there is a head on collision I can see the look on the oncoming driver’s puss.

I really didn’t have to leave the house today because I had plenty to keep me busy but it didn’t stop me from taking a lap at the car auction in Waukegan. I enjoy it and I wanted a little break so I’m not going to apologize to anyone. It was fun and I ended up buying yet another Toyota Camry. I wasn’t planning on it at all but the deal came to me and I took it.

I’ve been through this scenario so many times I lost count. A nice car comes along and I see dealers bidding on it and when they stop I bid once more and get a good deal. They all know what they can retail it for so if I bid one more time that’s cheaper than I’d be able to get it for at their lot. I’ve bought a bunch of nice cars that way and today I did it yet again.

The reason I bought this one is that there are only 60,000 miles on the odometer and it’s an obvious upgrade. Someone kept it in a garage and the interior is much cleaner than the one I have now. If I have to keep one of my tin cans for a while I’d much rather have it be this new one so this was the correct decision. I‘m not looking to keep on horse trading.

The title is listed as ‘rebuilt’ and that can mean a lot of things but I’ve had that situation before and the car turned out to be a cherry. It was an older Acura Legend and I drove that thing all over North America. The only reason I got rid of it is that the computer inside of those malfunction if it sits for a few days. It became a hassle when I would fly to do gigs.

Toyota Camrys are really starting to win me over. The first one I had was a solid car but I sold it to Jim McHugh because he needed something reliable for his family and gigs too. It still purrs and looks good and Jim hasn’t had any problems at all. Then I ended up with a second one but that got wrecked in December in Milwaukee. Then I bought a third one.

That’s the one I’m driving now. I did have to stick money into it for brakes, tires, a tune up and a new radiator but it runs really smooth. The only thing that worries me is the loud crunch every time I make a left turn. I’m sure there has to be some front end work done at some point and the radio doesn’t work very well because some ass broke off my antenna.

Other than that it’s been reliable and it doesn’t look horrible but whatever luster it may have had is now long gone. It’s transportation. Period. I really don’t want to stick money into fixing the front end and the muffler is starting to dangle so that will need attention at some point as well. Plus I need to get the antenna fixed on the radio. It’s driving me nuts.

These are all little things that don’t mean a damn thing in the scheme of life so I’m not going to worry about any of it. I nabbed a (hopefully) decent new old car and I’ll do what I need to do to get it running as well as I can and then I’ll either dump the one I have now or take it over to Jerry Agar’s house and let him use it as a second car to haul kids around.

The one I bought today was $1675 plus a $200 auction fee plus a $60 paperwork fee the auction tacks on every car that’s sold. Still, for right around two grand I wound up with a nice looking car that will need more work but still end up being a lot cheaper than buying a new one or even a late model used one. This one is a ‘94 but it really looks immaculate.

I could run the one I have now through the auction and I’m sure I’d probably get around $1200-$1500 so that would bring my price down significantly but I’m not going to be in a hurry to do that. I’d much rather have a spare at Jerry’s and take my time and get it up to a level where I can depend on it. I need a reliable car and in the long run I made a good buy.

One of the things I’ve learned over the years is to immediately get an oil change the day I buy anything from the auction. Unless I see a sticker on the windshield that says it was a month or less since the oil was changed I take care of it on my own. That’s smart business and I did it today. They said the transmission fluid needs changing and that’s a red flag.

If the title said ‘rebuilt’ it was probably in an accident and someone had it fixed. I know a car that old doesn’t have 60,000 miles on it so it’s anybody’s guess what the story is on it. I guess I could look it up online but now I almost don’t want to know. It looks like new and I’ll suck it up and have it fixed even if it means dropping a different tranny into it.

My credit card was down to zero so I juiced it up again but I’ll figure out what needs to be done and finish the work and start paying it down to zero again. This was a smart thing to do in the long run. I fully realize there was risk involved but I wanted to upgrade while an opportunity presented itself and when it’s all said and done it won’t cost me my shorts.

On a very positive note I got a call today from Pedro Bell. He’s the Chicago based artist who did the cover art for many of George Clinton’s Funkadelic albums and I want to hire him to do the cover art for my upcoming CD. I’d love to have him do several but for now I will focus on one and see how it goes. He has a very distinct style and his fans love him.

Most of my fans would have no idea who Pedro Bell or George Clinton are so that’s an even better reason to hire him to do it. My product will stand out and be unique in comic circles and those who are hip will think it’s neat that I hired ‘Captain Draw’ for my CD.

This doesn’t please anyone but me but that’s all I care about. I’m a huge fan of Pedro’s and of George’s and all of Funkadelic’s albums too. To have the same artist draw one up for my project makes me feel like I’ve made it. It will be something I won‘t ever forget.

It’s going to cost me a chunk of cash but like with the car I won’t worry about it. This is a once in a lifetime chance to do something I find very cool. That’s what life is all about.

Sound Decisions

Friday April 24th, 2009 - Milwaukee, WI

It’s all about taking action. That’s what I did today by driving up to Milwaukee to meet with my friend Donna who’s helping me edit my raw CD recordings. She’s really helping me because I absolutely HATE listening to myself. Hate is a very strong word and I rarely if ever use it but in this instance it fits. I couldn’t stand having to listen to hours of all me.

A lot of artists are that way I’m finding out so I’m glad it’s not only me. Donna was the person who produced Tom Green’s music CD projects and they sounded fantastic so I am thrilled she’s willing to work with me. Since Tom passed away two years ago she has not done much and this is a good way for her to get back in her own groove. She’s talented.

The best part is she’s talented in everything that I’m not. We were talking about that as we were laying out a battle plan for how to do this project right. She’s good at math and I never was. I’m good with words and she never was. She told me Tom and I are very alike in many ways and she can already see how my mind works. I’m glad SOMEBODY can.

We’ve got a lot of raw material to work with as I recorded a whole week of shows back in 2007 at Zanies in Chicago. Or was it ‘08? I don’t even remember anymore but I think it was ‘07. Either way there’s a lot of stuff there and she was having a difficult time sorting it out. She was worried that I’d be upset if she switched the order or edited out some of it.

Upset? I laughed out loud when she said that and she was totally relieved. I’m thrilled a person is willing to even consider doing it for me. She’s a fan of entertainment in general and one of mine personally so she knows my act as well as anyone. I totally trust her to be my ‘neutral ears’ and put it together so it flows well from a fan’s point of listening to it.

As far as I’m concerned I’m done with all those recordings. I entertained the audiences with it that week and they were satisfied. I laid down as many bits and variations of those bits that I could think of assuming my ex business partner would wallow through all these recordings and pull out something marketable. I have total faith Donna can do it better.

I’ll have to listen to the final cut for approval and to name the tracks but that won’t be a problem at all. The real torture for me is listening to the raw recordings and pulling it out from there. Donna will take care of that for me and we both agreed on what bits to search for so it can be stretched out into at least two if not three separate CD projects to release.

We’re going to do one first and use the money from that to pay for the next one (or two) and in the mean time keep working on other products to sell as well. Now that I’ve got an up and running website why not pack it full of as many products as I can? That’s the plan.

I’ll be learning a lot of entrepreneurial lessons in the next few months and probably the next few years. I’m willing and eager to learn and when I do succeed at something it’ll be that much sweeter when it actually hits. It’s even more fun knowing I started from scratch and built it up the hard way. Every dollar I make will be earned and that’s how I want it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dates In Two States

Thursday April 23rd, 2009 - Deerfield, IL/Milwaukee, WI

Lots of running around today. First it was off to see my friend Todd Hunt speak for two different groups of administrative professionals at Baxter Labs in Deerfield, IL. I had not seen Todd work for at least a couple of years and I wanted to watch and learn from him.

Todd isn’t a comedian but he does have funny lines in his presentation. He bills himself as a ‘business speaker’ and is a hybrid between a comedian and a motivational speaker. It all boils down to marketing and Todd is one of the best there is. He knows how to work it and that’s why I wanted to watch his presentation. He has everything calculated precisely.

He has gone over and over his material literally thousands of times and he practices it at every available opportunity so it’s razor sharp and totally seamless. The audience never is in on the fact that his ‘ad libs’ and ‘mistakes’ have been well rehearsed and structured.

I’ve talked about it before but Todd has probably THE best press kit and sales package I have ever seen anyone have from radio to comedy to anything else I’ve ever been around. It’s excellent because he spends time on it and knows how important that stuff really is. If you want to hire Todd to speak or check out his promo go to www.toddhuntspeaker.com.

From Todd’s event I went directly to Alpha Graphics in Vernon Hills to get some of my printing stuff started for Uranus Factory Outlet. Jay Bachochin owns the shop but also is a regular guest on the Mothership Connection radio show with his ghost hunting group he’s the leader of called Wisconsin Paranormal Investigators. I like to be loyal whenever I can.

Jay has done some printing for me before and I want to keep the ball rolling and build a long term relationship. My friend Melvin Powers in L.A. said he’s had the same printer in his mail order business for over forty years. He said it’s smart to pick a guy and show him loyalty so when times get tough the favors go both ways. Jay is the choice for my printer.

I showed him Todd’s great promo stuff and told him I will need a package of my own in a short time and I also wanted to get some bumper stickers printed. I’ll be doing two short print runs of 250 stickers each with two slogans. I have to start somewhere and this is it.

After meeting with Jay it was up to Milwaukee for a dinner date with the woman I have known for years. I hadn’t seen her in a while and she was looking better than ever but I’m not sure where we’re going with this. I really do enjoy her company. She’s a sweetheart.

She’s smart and funny and really good looking but I just don’t feel it clicking right now for whatever reason. She’s got a lot of things going on with her job and kids and ex who’s a nut job and that keeps her quite busy but it doesn’t feel like I have a high priority rank.

I can’t make anyone like me or love me or anything else they don’t want to do. I’m who I am and she’s either going to take it or leave it. I’m not up for the old ‘friend’ thing right now. I’ve got plenty of those. I want a partner, but it doesn’t feel like I’m on her radar.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Solemnly Swearing

Wednesday April 22nd, 2009 - Lake Villa, IL

Time to lighten up a little. I’ve been in one of my dark and brooding moods for the last couple of days and I don’t want to stay there. It’s not so much a depression funk as it is an overwhelming feeling of frustration. It feels like I’m on the wrong planet and I’ll never be able to fulfill my true potential. The good news is the only one who cares even a bit is me.

Nobody else even thinks about it. I’ll take that as a positive. The bar of accomplishment is set ridiculously low in this life so it doesn’t really matter what goals I have. I’ve already accomplished more than both my parents combined just by finishing high school. They’ve made it easy for me to out achieve them but that’s not enough. I want to be MY very best.

I look around at all the idiots sharing my ride on this planet and it makes me recall what my Grandpa used to drill into my head over and over as a kid. It didn‘t make any sense to me then but I sure can relate to it now. He said “The world is 99 percent shit. It’s your job to sift through it to see if you can find any peanuts.” Gramps had an earthy vocabulary.

So did everyone else in my childhood. My father rode with a motorcycle gang and they all swore like…well, a motorcycle gang. They dropped the ‘F’ word like a Kawasaki title and used it as a noun, verb, adverb and modifier. The only person I ever knew who could out swear the Outlaws was my grandmother. She could turn the air vivid blue in a hurry.

That’s one of the reasons I haven’t used any of that language in the time I’ve been doing this diary. My grandfather’s quote two paragraphs ago is the first time I’ve used any word stronger than damn or hell or maybe a bitch or bastard once in a while. I’m not at all upset if someone uses profanity but I didn’t want to make it a distraction with what I’m doing.

What I’m trying to do with this diary is firstly just have some daily discipline in my life. I wanted to make it a daily project and so far that’s worked out amazingly well. It’s now a regular part of my life so that part has been accomplished. The second thing I’m trying for is a daily peek into the world of entertainment so it can be studied by the up and comers.

Thirdly I wanted to hopefully gain a following of those who aren’t in any form of show business at all but wonder what it’s like. Sometimes I wonder if I’m in the business at all myself but that’s who I am and what I do. I want this to chronicle my journey through the jungle of life and entertainment and at the end maybe somebody can learn a lesson or two.

Or not. Hell, I’m just trying to survive like everyone else. I’ve got some uncommon life situations to deal with but I never thought I was the only one with problems. I want to put mine out there so they help others. Either that or I hope they’ll entertain other strugglers.

Life is exactly that too…a big old ugly struggle. It’s hilarious to watch others sweat out a solution to a problem but when we have to do it it’s not so damn funny, is it? That’s the ingredient of comedy that’s so important. It’s OTHER people’s problems. That’s where it all happens. If problems were bullets I’d have enough to sponsor the next six world wars.

A Mangy Man Fan

Tuesday April 21st, 2009 - Lake Villa, IL

I was pleasantly surprised to get a call from my friend Mark Krueger today. He’s one of my all time favorite people as is his wife Amy and he was exactly who the doctor ordered on a drizzling dreary day like today. ‘The Mangy Man’ is one of a kind. A true original.

He’s one of the funniest humans I know but he’s never done comedy on stage. He’s also a fantastic radio talent should he have chosen to do that but instead he uses his personality to sell ads for the alternative newspaper in Milwaukee. They’re very lucky to have him.

Mangy Man is a perfect example of everything I’m not. I’ve known the guy over twenty years and he just refuses to let anything bother him. I’m always sniveling about one thing or another and I admit it but not the Mange. He just keeps going and doesn’t let it eat him.

We met way back even before I worked at 93QFM. Mark already worked there and was the promotions director of all things but he had a Sunday night show where he would play import rock from all over. It was a once a week show but he was still voted the best loved personality on the station and that says a lot because in the day ‘QFM was a powerhouse.

I was there too eventually and it was full of great talents and greater people including David Lee and Tim The Rock and Roll Animal and Mark the Shark and Debbie Dalton and Downstairs Dan and John Perry and Suzi Austin. That was an all star radio lineup.

I remember bitching to him about the things at the station that were going wrong (and there were many) but he’d just shrug his shoulders and look at me and say “Well, if you don’t like it, quit.” The bastard was right. I should have quit and kept focused on comedy but I thought it would turn around. It never did. Radio is radio and he understood that.

Mark and Amy always support me when I’m performing in or near Milwaukee and they couldn’t be any nicer about it. Amy has been sick for a long time and has had a lot of ugly medical procedures to go through but neither one of them ever complains one word. Ever.

My problems are nothing compared to Amy’s medical hell and I’m embarrassed to have anything to complain about at all. Hearing from the Mangy Man cheered me up and even though he only had a few minutes for a quick lunch we had some laughs and then he went right back to selling ads for his job. A small dose of the Mangy Man lasts the whole day.

He’s a perfect example of a great spirit with natural talent who isn’t recognized for how good he really is. Not only is he funnier than most professional comedians I know he’s an excellent radio talent as well. And he plays a mean guitar and is always in a band. Or two. And he’s good at his sales job also. That’s a multi talented person if I ever heard of one.

Mark and Amy Krueger are the kind of people I really cherish. They’re both very funny and always cheer me up and I would do anything for them if they needed it. I try to be like that myself and when I see it come back it gives me hope. I’m glad I got that call today.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

An Emotional Enema

Monday April 20th, 2009 - Chicago, IL

I’ve always been a freak. Even from my earliest memories, there was always everybody else and then me. One of the very first memories I have is of both my grandparents sitting me down and trying to explain to me why I was living with them and what would happen if I didn’t behave myself the way they wanted me to. It made me feel like a total outsider.

I still do. From that uncomfortable meeting until this very day I’ve had to struggle to fit in and way more often than not I ended up the lone wolf. Worse than that many times it’s been me against everyone else. At least by myself nobody’s around to create any tension.

What made me think of that is it’s April 20th - “4-20”. I assume everyone knows what it means but if not it’s a slang term dope smokers use to signify a joint hanging out of one’s mouth at the angle a clock’s hands would occupy at 4:20. That’s as simple as I can say it.

I’m sure there are all kinds of parties going on and Frito Lay probably loves it because it has to be the second biggest day for selling snack chips behind Super Bowl Sunday. I was at Zanies in Chicago tonight hosting the rising star showcase and someone mentioned that fact right at the top of the show. It got applause and the crowd knew exactly what it was.

It was an inside joke that most of the people in the room were in on. I knew what it was but I’ve never been in on it. Without sounding pompous I’ve never smoked a single joint in my life. Ever. I never had a single puff. Nor have I had a brownie. Not even a nibble.

I’ve never done a line of coke either. Really. I came of age in the ‘80s when everybody and their grandma was snorting lines off of any mirror they could find but I never ever did it even once. I wasn’t even curious about it. It’s just something that never appealed to me.

I never drank alcohol either. Not even one beer. And I grew up in Milwaukee where that statement is probably at least a misdemeanor. That never interested me either. I didn’t like the way people acted when they were drunk and I saw at an early age I didn’t want it to be me so I never started. It wasn’t a hard decision at all. What was hard was everybody else.

So many other people put such a priority on all those things that I really feel like I’m the outsider. I don’t bring it up unless it comes up but when people find out I’m not a drinker and never have been it’s usually awkward. They either try to get me to join them or worse yet offer up justification as to why they do it. I want neither. I just want to find a groove.

I don’t really care what anyone else does as long as it doesn’t hurt me and I’m certainly not trying to tell anyone else how to live their life but it does get kind of lonely when I‘m on the road after a show and everyone else is blasted but me. I never liked that feeling.

All this goes a lot deeper than a few people snickering at a pot joke in a comedy club on 4-20. That’s what makes it so maddening. It reminds me of how lost I feel in life and how cruel a joke it seems that I have fought my way through this insane world without a buzz.
Sometimes I wonder why the hell I was even born at all and why I’m still here drifting through so aimlessly and trying to survive and find myself all these years later. I thought I’d have figured it out by now or at least have a lot more concrete answers than I’ve got.

I know everyone else has problems but they’re not like mine and I have precious few to talk to when I’m feeling low. There are lots of people who’ve had drinking problems so it isn’t difficult to find an AA meeting in any city. Try to find a ‘Never Did It’ meeting. It’s not an issue that needs to be dealt with. Do I wish I drank? No. I wish I wasn’t so alone.

This is really starting to bother me as I get older. I always used to think I’d find my way eventually and everything would just work out in the end. I don’t think that anymore and I can feel myself losing my inner spark of hope that used to be all that kept me going in my very darkest times. I used to feel that there was a reason for me being here. I don’t now.

If we’re here for a purpose I have yet to find out what mine is. Try as I might to turn my life into something worthwhile and useful I feel like nobody hears my inner screams and I continue to drift down that river with no oars in my boat. It doesn’t even feel like I have a boat at this point. I can feel the water getting choppy and I can hear those rapids up ahead.

What happens then? Going over the rapids is usually a sure sign of demise and I’m fine with that. We all have to go at some point and that’s not a problem. I’m having a problem with why I had to come. What the hell made me think I needed to win that sperm race and hit that egg so fast? All it’s caused is a lifetime of frustration and it’s getting pretty stale.

I’m trying my best to stay positive but today is one of those days when I’m not thinking Norman Vincent Peale thoughts. I’m thinking Vincent Price thoughts of how life can be a big horror movie and I’m at the end where it’s just me and the killer. I’m sick of running.

I had a younger comic at Zanies come up to me recently and say “I read your blog a lot. I like that it’s not funny.” I shot him back a scowl that made him back up and try to say it in another way but I started laughing and then he did too. I knew what he meant. I think.

After talking with him further he said he liked the fact that I wasn’t afraid to put all my innermost feelings out there for anyone to see. I feel that’s how everyone should be but it sure isn’t like that from my experience. At least I’m able to say what I think even if it has no punch lines attached. I know how to be funny when I need to be. This isn’t that time.

This is my daily dose of drainage to my mental colon. It’s an emotional enema and I am not doing it for anyone else but me while I’m doing it. The reason I put it out there is so it hopefully helps other dented cans who might have the same feelings I do. I know I’m not alone in having problems dealing with life - I just have problems not many others share.

All that being said, I feel pretty good right now. I still don’t know why I’m stuck on this insane planet surrounded by so many idiots but that’s nothing new. I’ve wondered that all along ever since I was a kid. As I get older I know it won’t be forever. I’m one day closer.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Mothership Flies On

Sunday April 19th, 2009 - Kenosha, WI

The Mothership Connection is still connected. Even with all of our growing pains we’re still on the air and tonight we had one of our best shows yet. The energy was flowing well between us in the studio and with the guests and callers too. Everyone was on their game.

When that happens it makes radio fun, even on a small station. WLIP doesn’t have a big blowtorch signal that goes from the north pole to the equator but it’s been on the air since the ‘40s and in Kenosha it’s an institution. Being on a station like that makes us credible.

I’ve been on some of the biggest stations in America like the Loop in Chicago and WLS too and that was fun but this experience is in a class by itself. The creative freedom to talk about anything we want is almost intoxicating. Most people never get a chance to do that.

Another good thing is that I’m in the right place at the right time for once. There are all kinds of paranormal shows on TV now and Coast to Coast AM is the grand daddy on the radio so all that paved the way for our little weekly two hour session but ours is unique.

Our show is sort of a cross between Coast to Coast AM and a morning zoo. We have an eclectic mix of interesting co-hosts and regulars who are very different but also interested in all of the topics we discuss. We don’t always agree on those topics and that makes it all the more interesting on the radio. I keep it real and let the other people have their say too.

This is great practice for me as a host. I’m in charge and drive the show. I decide who to have on as guests even though I’m very open to suggestions and there have been all kinds of fascinating people who have been on that have made it totally fun. Even those few who weren’t the best guests were good for me because it allowed me to become a better host.

That’s the advantage to being on a smaller station. No offense, but it doesn’t matter if a Sunday night talk show in Kenosha, WI has a few dud interviews. The world won’t cease to spin and the FCC won’t fine anyone and life will go on. It wouldn’t be like that if I was on a big station in drive time. I’d have to sit in an office and get bawled out by a moron.

The only moron who gets in my way here is me. John Perry is the program director but he’s also the program director of 95 WIIL and has an air shift there. That keeps him busy plus he’s a new father so I’m pretty much free to do whatever I want on the air other than swear or sacrifice a goat. He trusts me and leaves me alone. That’s VERY rare in radio.

I know I always complain about being too scattered and needing to focus and I’m right about all of it. I really do have a lot of things going and most of them don’t make a dime but they sure are fun to play with. This is one of them. It’s not big time but it’s a blast.

We get some outstanding guests and there are a lot more on the way. I’m going to keep slugging and tonight gave me some positive feedback. We rocked it. Check us out if you like. It’s Sunday from 9-11pm CDT. www.wlip.com or www.mothershipradio.com.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Backed Up And Buckled Down

Saturday April 18th, 2009 - Hoffman Estates, IL

Whew! Dodged a major bullet with my computer situation but I’m not getting cocky. If I don’t back myself up more often I’m asking for trouble and if there’s one thing I will not be needing in the next fifty or sixty years it’s that. I’m still trying to undo past boo boos.

My friend Shelley helped me narrow down what my problem was and she figured out it was something to do with Internet Explorer. I’m no whiz kid when it comes to computers to say the least. To say the truth I’m one step away from a monkey dropped on his head in transit from the jungle to the petting zoo. I‘m an idiot and I need help. All this bores me.

I have no desire to learn the inner workings of a computer. I want the computer to work so I can create things. Period. I suppose I should learn more about it but for now Shelley’s expertise is much appreciated. There are a lot more people who know how to fix what I’ll need fixing than for me to take a course in it myself. I’m behind enough on my own stuff.

One good thing that happened was it caused me to review a lot of old files I hadn’t seen in a long time and it really gave me hope. I have an overwhelming amount of ideas I have done nothing with except store in a computer file. I’ve got comedy material by the metric ton that I won’t be able to get to for quite a while. But it’s there. And now it’s backed up.

I have ideas for comic strips and movie scripts and books and audio recordings and I’m SO glad I didn’t lose them or I’d really have been screwed. I made three copies of all this stuff and they’re now in three safe separate places. I worked very hard coming up with all of it and after not looking at it for quite a while I was very pleased with what I’d saved.

It all boils down to that old nasty issue with time management and that’s going to be my enemy until they click the lid on my coffin. Even then I bet they’ll have to haul me out of the funeral home in a hurry because some bigwig died after me and they need the room.

I’m doing what I can with what I was given and that’s all I can do. But is it? Am I doing something wrong that I could change and get more out of my time? I don’t see how but it doesn’t mean I can’t improve on my time management. Every hour of every day counts.

Today I was off and my old radio partner Spike Manton called to see if I’d be able to be the host of a drum and bugle corps show of all things. It paid a few bucks and I was off so I said yes. I had no idea what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised when I showed up.

Wow, what an event. It was held at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, IL which is an absolutely gorgeous facility. They had a ton of great acts like the United States Air Force Drum and Bugle Corps and the Naval Academy Band and lots of other acts from Irish and Scottish folk dancers to a Canadian marching band. I was really impressed by everyone.

A lot of work went into all of this and I was honored to be a part of it. If I’m not doing a comedy gig this was a nice substitute for the night. I would gladly be part of this again.

A Waste Of A Sunny Day

Friday April 17th, 2009 - Lake Villa, IL

I wanted to really take some time and focus on goals today but I had to deal with a lot of other little annoying things instead. My computer is giving me all kinds of trouble and it’s not copying and pasting things so I’m screwed for the moment. I hope I’ll be able to get it fixed quickly and cheaply but I highly doubt it. I just hope I don’t lose all my documents.

I’m overdue for a backup and I’m going to get it done ASAP no matter what it will cost. My friend Shelley said she’d help me but can’t do it today because she’s busy taking care of her kids. She and her husband are pretty good with computers so they said they’d help me tomorrow morning. I hope I can last until then. If I lose my documents I’ll be hurting.

I’m paranoid because I’ve been in this situation before. The computer takes a dump for whatever reason and I lose a lot of hard work that I really can never fully replace. I have a ton of things I’ve been working on lately and if I lost them I’d drift off into a deep funk as I’d feel my time and effort was wasted. This is a wake up call and I’m hearing it loudly.

It’s been about a year since I bought this current computer and that seems to be the time when things start going wrong. I should know better and I was too busy working on stuff to take that short time to back it up. I am an idiot when it comes to computers and I really need to be more meticulous or I’m in for another major catastrophe. Already done that.

Next was my car. Some smart ass snapped off my radio antenna a few weeks ago and I can’t stand it anymore. I can’t get AM stations at all and FM is pretty weak too. I’ve been listening to cassettes and cds but I’m getting sick of it so I took it in to get an estimate so I can hear radio again. Of course it was a power antenna and it’s going to cost me a bundle.

It was broken off at the worst possible place and the guy at the garage said it would be a hassle to fix it but they could do it. Now I have to decide if I want to do it or not. I stuck a lot of money into this pickle so I need to keep it for a while to make it worth what I put in it. It runs fine but I’ll go nuts if I don’t have radio to listen to so I might as well just do it.

I also noticed my exhaust is starting to dangle a little too. That won’t be cheap and I am hoping it will last a while longer but it could go any day. One pothole and it’ll break right off and it’ll sound like a Cessna. I’ve had that happen too many times to count and I see it happening again here. Not only that my front end makes crackling noises on all left turns.

On top of that I had an appointment to go to WLIP and take a crash course on operating the control board. We’ve been having some technical glitches on Sunday nights and I had set up the time to go through the procedures to see what I was doing wrong. It turns out it wasn’t so much what I was doing wrong, it was the equipment itself. Welcome to radio.

These kinds of little things have nothing to do with comedy or radio or fun or adventure or anything else I enjoy. It’s the little every day pains in the ass we all have to deal with to take away our attention from the good stuff. I’ll have to focus on my goals another day.

Happy Birthday Kareem

Thursday April 16th, 2009 - Milwaukee, WI/Lake Villa, IL

Today is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 62nd birthday. He was an icon when I grew up back in Milwaukee and I still remember when he and Oscar Robertson and the rest of the Bucks won the NBA title in 1971. It was right when my interest in sports was starting to explode and it was a very exciting time as I followed the Bucks and Kareem’s career religiously.

Oscar Robertson was a superstar but Kareem was the MAN. Actually he was known as Lew Alcindor then but whatever his name was he was still amazing. Like Andre the Giant it was his size that made him the center of attention and I remember going to a game with my grandfather and seeing him walk past me in person for the first time. I totally froze up.

To watch him score 30 points a night with his soft as silk ‘sky hook’ shot is a treat I had no idea how special it really was as it was happening. When he got traded to the Lakers it felt like part of my childhood innocence was over and it hurt to hear him say things about not wanting to live in Milwaukee because he didn’t like it there. Later I agreed with him.

When I was in high school I was lucky enough to get a job with the Bucks as a ball boy. I was assigned to the visitor’s locker room and I hated it at first but then I realized I got to interact with every other team in the league and I eventually got to meet all the superstars.

Some were very nice and some were total asses. I’d heard that Kareem was a total ass to deal with and my boss told me to not even think about interacting with him unless he said something to me first. We were all told to just do our jobs and not approach the players so that’s what we did. All the ball boys got along great and we were just thrilled to be there.

As luck would have it I was in the locker room doing some work and there was Kareem Abdul Jabbar just sitting by himself. He was putting his shoes on and then he read a book but it got to be ten minutes and it became apparent he wasn’t busy. I was standing a few feet away so I mustered up all the guts I had and started talking to him. And he answered.

We actually had a nice conversation as I remember and after a few minutes I disobeyed my boss and asked for an autograph anyway. I sincerely told him how much I enjoyed his play when he was with the Bucks and how I knew it was probably a pain in the ass to sign autographs for so many people but I would really appreciate it and he said he’d be glad to.

I had a pennant and he signed it ‘Abdul Jabbar’. I thanked him and he said ‘You’re very welcome.’ To this day that was one of the biggest thrills of my life and I’ll never forget it. He was a very intelligent person and soft spoken and he didn’t talk down to me at all. We had a conversation between two people for a few minutes and I will always remember it.

Of course he doesn’t remember me nor would I expect him to. He went on to have a lot of great moments and a lot of troubles too from what I read. He had a fire that wiped out a house he had in L.A. and I think he also was ripped of by a manager and had to play a lot longer than he wanted to. Still, his career is right up there with anyone who ever played.
But now he’s 62 and not in the limelight anymore. I wonder how his life is now? I hope he’s healthy and happy and in good spirits and financially secure but there is no guarantee of that unfortunately. He was THE guy for a long time but now that time has passed him.

He doesn’t remember being nice to me thirty years ago but I sure do remember him and it still brings a smile to my face to think about it even now. Maybe he was an ass to a few or even more than a few people. I don’t know, but he never did it to me so I’m still a fan.

I’m such a big fan that I remember his birthday when not a whole lot of others do. I saw it on the back of his basketball card as a kid and I never forgot it. ‘4-16-47’. It stuck in my brain as a kid and it’s still there today. Happy birthday Kareem. Thanks for the autograph.

I sure hope I can bring some happiness to people in my time. If anyone is remembering me on my 62nd birthday whether I’m living or dead it will be a huge honor. I try to always be courteous and approachable with fans after shows and I’ve heard very nice things later from people saying ‘You really made us feel special.’ I’m not faking. They ARE special.

That has never been something I’ve forgotten and I hope I never do. Yes, there are those very few idiots who don’t know how to act but by and large most people are unbelievably nice when they come up after a show and I’m getting to the point now where I’m signing a lot more autographs for some reason. If someone asks I’ll always try to accommodate.

It’s not the autograph that means so much as the time spent with the person signing it. It is a chance for a mini one-on-one meeting and hopefully it will have lasting meaning like meeting Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did with me. I think of that every time I sign an autograph.
I may never have the fan base of a Kareem but whoever is my fan is much appreciated.

Finding and pleasing fans needs to be on my priority list and it totally is. I am hoping to use my new website to build a fantastic fan base and serve them well. I went to Shelley’s house today and made some more adjustments and tweaks and improvements and it’ll be a work in progress for a long time until we work the bugs out but it’s worth all the effort.

All of this is a very important part of being a working comedian in the 21st century. It’s something we all need to learn to embrace or we’ll be out of the game in a hurry. Being a funny comedian doesn’t mean anything if nobody knows about it. There are a lot of funny guys who are not nearly as famous as they should be in my opinion. And I’m one of them.

There’s no excuse for me not to be spending much of my time marketing myself. I have an opportunity to use the internet to put myself on the map and I have to be intelligent and plan my attack. Having a website is a good start but now I have to fill it with content for a fan base to enjoy. Then I have to seek out a fan base to go to the site to be able to enjoy it.

I took a break and went up to Milwaukee to have dinner with my cousin Brett. He made me laugh like he always does and it was a great battery recharge. I’m ready to sink myself into my projects and make them come to life. My 62nd birthday will be here all too soon.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Taxes Tornado

Wednesday April 15th, 2009 - Lake Villa, IL

Tax day. Again. And did I happen to file my return on time this year? Uh…no. Again. Damn. Why do I find myself in this situation? Again. This has been real mental block for me and I’m sick of it. Every year I say I’m going to stop farting around and get my taxes done before April 15th but every year I never do it. I don’t know if I’ve ever done it once.

Part of the problem is that a lot of the places I work throughout the year don’t send me a 1099 form by January 31st like they’re supposed to. That’s a pretty lame excuse though. If I kept better records I’d know exactly how much money I made and where I made it and it wouldn’t make a difference if the form was there or not. I just haven’t been able to do it.

Another part of the problem is I have too many other things going that I enjoy and taxes get pushed to the side. I don’t think I’m alone in not enjoying filing taxes but exactly how stupid can a guy get to think that doing the same thing every year will change the results? It won’t. I avoid it as long as I can and then rush to file at the last minute. That’s stupid.

I usually don’t owe much if at all and my biggest expense is paying my accountant to do it for me. I have a good relationship with him and I discovered him on my own so I’m not at the mercy of the infamous ‘friend of a friend’. That’s burned me very badly in the past.

There really is no excuse to keep doing this but I’m not going to make any half ass vow to not do it again next year because in all honesty I probably will. What would really help though is to keep on improving which is something I’ve been doing for quite a few years now. I am getting very good at keeping my receipts but organizing them is another story.

At least I’m keeping them though. I used to not even do that. Over the years I’ve gotten into the habit of saving every receipt and putting them all in a single container and then at least when I do attack them at tax time they’re in the same place. It’s a huge job to sort all of them into their separate piles but at least I have them in my possession to sort through.

Here’s an incoming call on the clue phone…WHY NOT SORT THEM OUT AS I PUT THEM IN THE CONTAINER ALL YEAR LONG? Gee, there’s a novel thought. What’s to stop me from doing exactly that now? Absolutely nothing, but I need to shut my mouth and DO it. I even bought a leather bound organizer last year but it’s been gathering dust.

I’m not going to beat myself up too badly because I know for a fact a lot of other people are way worse off than me. They haven’t filed in years and have no receipts at all to begin sorting through and they don’t even think about how they’re going to catch up on all of it. I was behind on filing for years but that’s ancient history. I’m getting a lot better at this.

I still could use major improvement though. The one good thing about struggling is that I won’t owe a huge wad like Sinbad apparently does. However he got in that mess is what I want to avoid. I feel bad for him but he had his chances to avoid that and I want to get a grip on my own situation before the real money starts flowing. This is a fixable problem.

A Welcome Site

Tuesday April 14th, 2009 - Lake Villa, IL

It’s been way too long but www.dobiemaxwell.com is up and running. Finally! I know I could have done it a lot sooner and I’m probably the only one who cares it’s even up at all but that’s ok. I needed a website and thanks to my friend Shelley Hernandez I have one.

By her admission and mine it’s not going to turn any heads or drop any jaws…yet. It’s a simple but functional site which is still a work in progress but at least it exists and we can start to tweak and improve and experiment immediately. Shelley did a nice job of making the best of the information I gave her and I’m grateful for her help. I’ve really needed this.

I’m glad the club I’m working in Appleton, WI in May requires their headliners to have a functioning website or I probably wouldn’t have addressed this for a long time if at all. I probably would have kept making excuses or ignoring it and it would have gone undone.

Part of it is the pain associated with the ugly situation with my ex business partner. He’s the one who handled my site before and I never questioned it. I was told it was a good site but I really didn’t check it that much if at all. I was too busy working and creating and I’m still like that now but you can better believe I’ll be a lot more hands on with this project.

I wanted to have a nice website before because I thought it was the wave of the future at the time. Now it’s a given. When I first had one I was ahead of the game. Most comedian friends of mine didn’t have one and most didn’t have a desire to have one. Now it’s a fact of life and most working comedians on all levels have some kind of an internet presence.

Myspace was all the rage for a while and Dane Cook allegedly built his career by using it to network with millions of people but it appears to be dead now or at least cooling off. Facebook was the flavor of the week after that and it was pretty hot but now it’s Twitter.

I don’t even know what the hell that is but I hear everyone talking about it. Supposedly it involves mass texts several times a day. I’m not excited about it but that seems to be the latest flavor of the week. I can’t keep current. By the time I get to that it will be old news.

I have a hard enough time answering my emails without worrying about Twittering or a person I don’t know ‘writing on my wall’ on Facebook. It’s getting out of hand faster than I can even learn the terminology but I better embrace it or I’ll be in the dinosaur pile soon.

This is all over my head and I admit it but I have two choices - ignore it or embrace it. If I ignore it I’ll be out of the game sooner than later and people with less talent than me that didn’t pay nearly the dues that I did will get my payoff. I’d really hate to see that happen.

Instead I need to embrace new technology in all it’s forms and use it to my advantage. I am willing to learn and also to defer to those who know more than me (which is any child four years of age or older) and that will at least keep me in the game. Getting a website up was a crucial step but by far not the last one. Now I need to get some people to look at it

Regroup Therapy

Monday April 13th, 2009 - Chicago, IL

Time to take a break and regroup. Eight nights in a row at Zanies in Chicago is enough for a while. I really do love working there but that’s enough even for me. Tonight was the Rising Star Showcase and I had all I could do to keep myself focused until it was over.

I’m starting to feel a little burnout after working very hard these last few weeks and I’m looking forward to some time away from both performing and traveling. I need some time to rest up, catch up and draw up an action plan so as to best utilize the rest of the year. It’s halfway through April already and I feel like I could have done more than I have so far.

These last two weeks of performing have been rather harsh. Kansas City wasn’t an easy frolic and neither was last week at Zanies. That last show on Saturday with the wank pole who quacked like a duck and interrupted the show really left a sour taste in my mouth for working clubs. He’s the tip of the iceberg but if I keep doing this it will NEVER change.

Working comedy clubs is the best way to pay my bills, at least for now. It’s taken a long time to acquire the skills necessary to do what I’m doing but I’m at a crossroads right now and unless I can find a way to become an attraction I think I’ve maxed out my opportunity and need to look elsewhere for something to provide some security for the coming years.

Club work is what it is. WORK. Getting the booking and getting to the town and having to fight dirty or green opening acts and also drunk stupid crowds who get in free isn’t my idea of fun anymore. Performing for smart audiences who want to be entertained is what I live for and that never gets old but lately I’ve not been getting many of those. It gets old.

Zanies has always been good to me and I can work for them whenever I need to but they don’t look at me as a draw or a special event. I doubt if they ever will either. I noticed that they put their quarterly flyer out on the tables and I was the only headliner that was not on the list. That really hurt. I appreciate the work but it would also be nice to be recognized.

Maybe it was an oversight and I didn’t bring it up but it was a giant red flag to me that I really need to keep branching out and not rest on my laurels, either real or imagined. I am not cocky or delusional enough to think just because Zanies has thrown me a lot of steady work over the years that they owe me anything. Nobody does. I have to earn my own way.

That’s what I intend to focus on in the next few weeks. I see a need now more than ever to really throw myself into the entrepreneurial game with all I’ve got. I have some books I need to read and some CD and cassette audio packages I need to listen to and start to look for opportunities to build streams of income that don’t depend on me working the road.

I’ve got enough connections built up now that I should be able to at least earn enough to survive for the next few years if nothing breaks. I’m at the risky point now where it could happen any time but I could have health problems at any time as well. Which of these two will hit first - major break or major heart attack? My luck both will come the same day.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Does A God And/Or Jesus Exist?

Sunday April 12th, 2009 - Lake Villa, IL

Easter Sunday. What does it mean? I’m not sure anymore. As I get older my belief in all I was taught as a child about God and Jesus and religion is fading fast and I have to admit it scares me a little. I wish I didn’t feel this way but I totally do and I won’t lie about it. In my heart of hearts it doesn’t make sense to me and looking back I think I’ve been had.

I don’t think the God concept I once believed without question actually exists. Is there a super powerful all knowing being that lives in heaven that sees everything everyone down here on Earth does and then after we die decides if we can live up there in heaven or not?

Did that all powerful being miraculously impregnate an Earth chick without having sex with her and then that kid went around telling everyone what to do and how to live better and eventually get to party forever up in the same heaven where that super being lives? If I accept this story I get to party forever but if I don’t I have to fry like a pork chop instead.

I have to admit that’s a pretty far fetched story and the more I think about it the less I’m buying any of it. I’m not trying to be blasphemous or rebellious or anything other than the way I truly feel - very doubtful. It’s the same feeling I had when I found out Santa wasn’t real and also when I found out pro wrestling was fake. This is the final leg of the trifecta.

I would love nothing more than to have assurance of a heavenly being who knows all of what’s happening down here and eventually there will be justice for those who do good. It doesn’t look good for that though and I’m not going to count on it. I think we’re all in the trick bag and everyone is on their own. The good we do is because we want to. Period.

I have been around religious teaching my whole life as have millions of others. I used to really believe it and take solace in knowing someday I’d be in a better place where things are all peachy and I wouldn’t have to slug it out on this wacked out planet where evil is in charge. Now I’m wondering how I was ever na├»ve and stupid enough to believe any of it.

It’s not that I’m turning against God, I just don’t see that the one they told me about is a real entity. I’m having a hard time with Jesus too. Was there a real guy named Jesus? I am not really sure. The Bible talks about it but who wrote the Bible? Men. Who’s to say what anyone should believe? I for one think it’s not bad to question authority so I’m doing it.

People get very touchy on this subject and I’m sure I’ll step on some toes. I know of one comedy booker who said he ‘couldn’t in good conscience book an atheist.’ I’m booked to work for him later this year and writing this might cause me to lose the gig but I won’t lie and be a hypocrite to get work. I’m not going to push the issue but that’s how I’m feeling.

There are a few people I’ve met in my life who really live their religion. My friend Jerry Agar’s wife Ann is a perfect example. She is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met and she is very big into her church. She doesn’t inflict it on me and respects my space and has class in doing it. She’s never talked down to me about it and I respect her greatly for that.

My comedian friend Preacher Moss is another one. He converted to Islam years ago and I have never met anyone who has lived his faith more diligently. He truly believes in what it stands for and he makes it the most important thing in his life. I can’t argue with that so I don’t but at least he’s respectful about it and again doesn’t force feed it down my throat.

My grandmother dropped out of the Catholic church when I was a kid and started going to all kinds of other churches to comparison shop. I was dragged along against my will so I got to experience quite a few church situations and most of them were pretty hard to get excited about, especially as a kid. There was bad music and speakers that spoke too long.

Then my father stopped being a biker and found Jesus instead. That made me wish he’d have lost Jesus because it made him an even bigger evil snake bastard than he was before. He’d go in and out of ‘church mode’ and say flowery prayers in church and pretend to be God’s number one biker buddy and then come home and beat on us all like rented mules.

I remember how he bought a ring that had ‘Jesus’ engraved on it and was very proud of it. Then he would beat my brother or step mother while wearing it and I always thought of how ironic that was. He was anything but a ‘Christian’ and the more he forced us to go to church the more I questioned why we were there. We didn’t have a choice but to attend.

As a kid I went back and forth a few times between my father’s insane world of forced religion to living with my grandmother who also fell for it. She sent me to a ‘holy rollers’ church that really knew how to put on a show. I saw some amazing performers and some of their entertainment skills were influential on what I do today. They worked that crowd.

I will say I met some very sweet people in those years but there were also some total oil can slime balls who used the church for their own gain. This is how real life is too. There are some very nice people and then there are the snakes. It doesn’t take a church for that.

If someone finds peace of mind and spiritual satisfaction from believing in God or Jesus or any other religious offshoot then far be it from me to shoot them down. That’s what we should have the freedom to be able to do and it’s what our country based itself on when it started. On the other hand I don’t think it’s smart to just blindly accept what we’re told.

I did that for a while and just assumed that it would all work out according to the master plan but now I really don’t know what to think. I think we all need to be seekers of what’s true no matter how different that may be from what we thought before. That takes guts.

There’s a very interesting website I was turned on to called www.zeitgeistmovie.com. It has a couple of movies to watch and I really didn’t feel like watching them but I started to watch one to see what it was like. I ended up watching both and they shook my head up.

I think some force had to make the universe and all the stars and planets including this little cosmic speck we live on but it doesn’t appear to be the white robed old guy we hear of in churches, synagogues or mosques. What’s the truth? God only knows. Or does he?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Quack Like A Duck

Saturday April 11th, 2009 - Chicago, IL

Another week of shows in the books. It seems like I was just in Kansas City but that’s a week ago now. Ancient history. There are different comics there this week and they finish up their week tonight too. Then we all move on again. It’s a big game of musical chairs.

It really does get to be a grind after a while. Pack. Unpack. Check in. Check out. Rent a car. Return the rental car. It’s always something and it never stops. Then every week there are new faces to match with names. That’s always a challenge because they all know each other and only have to remember one name but I have to try and keep all of them straight.

I absolutely think everyone who works at a comedy club should wear a name tag. It’s an overwhelming task to even attempt to remember the names of everyone but we have to do it anyway. It’s good business but it’s still very difficult. Every week there’s a fresh batch.

Zanies in Chicago is my home club and I still don’t know everyone’s name there. They are always hiring new box office people or wait staff and they come and go so fast I can’t keep up with everyone. And they don’t know who I am either. It sure keeps me humble.

Tonight we had three shows at Zanies. That’s a throwback to the old days when most of the big clubs did three on Saturday and some even did three on Friday too. That was back when most of the staffs and comics too were heavily into cocaine. Coincidence? Maybe.

Cocaine is an insidious drug and I am SO glad I never got into that scene. It ran rampant when I was starting out not only in comedy but in people my age in general. I saw nothing to gain from it so I stayed away from that and booze too. I may not have made the correct decisions in some facets of my life but those were two smart choices I won’t ever regret.

Three shows in one night is no easy task. I can’t imagine trying to do that high or drunk. It requires full mental concentration and it’s physically draining as well. By that last show I have to really be on the ball so I don’t end up repeating my material. It all runs together.

The first two shows tonight were pretty good but not great in my estimation. Again, I’m pretty picky so I won’t get into the details but they were still solid shows. Both audiences were a little on the quiet and conservative side but that’s Saturday night in Chicago. They paid top dollar to see a show so they can do whatever they want. It wasn’t a train wreck.

The third show was one of the oddest situations I’ve ever had to deal with. Some drunk moron tried to heckle me by literally quacking like a duck. No joke. At first it seemed like he may be choking on food or something but then he kept it up whenever I tried to speak.

The audience started yelling at him to shut up but he wouldn’t. This went on for at least ten full minutes. I nailed him with some lines but he wouldn’t stop. It was just goofy and I didn’t really know what to do after the first five minutes but stand there and try to keep on going but when I did he’d start up again. A quacking duck. A drunken schmuck. My luck.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Way Too Picky

Friday April 10th, 2009 - Chicago, IL

I’ll be the first one to admit I’m a nut. A kook. A flake. A wack job. A temperamental ’artiste’. I’m in my own world when it comes to my creativity and I see or don’t see a lot of things nobody else does. To get the good you have to take the odd. It’s a package deal.

I really think any true artist type is like this to a certain degree. If someone is a creative being there are all kinds of ingredients required to bake that cake and sometimes it gets a little bit messy in the kitchen. The bigger the cake, the bigger the mess it took to bake it.

I’m trying to keep my own personal mess to a minimum but it’s still there. I know that I rarely see what the public does as far as my act goes and I have to accept it even though it isn’t always easy. Sometimes I tend to forget I’m up there to make them happy before me.

Tonight was a perfect example. I did two shows at Zanies in Chicago and hated one but loved the other. The early show was totally sold out and they were turning people away at the door. Even though it’s a smaller club that rarely happens on a Friday so I was excited.

I started out extremely strong and felt like I was going to totally rip the roof off the joint but then about ten minutes in I made a wrong choice of material and lost my groove. I had them around the throat and they slipped out for some reason and I couldn’t figure it out.

It’s not that the material I chose was bad or didn’t get laughs or anything like that. It got solid response but not the war whoops I got right up front. It was something only I would be able to notice but I did and it bothered me. I wanted to keep that gas pedal to the floor.

I hung in there and kept ‘playing the hits’ the rest of the show. I didn’t vary much at all and did my tried and true bits word for word. To me that’s BORRR-inggg, but that’s what needed to be done in this situation. I had some guests come out to see me and I wanted to give them the best show I could so I wasn’t willing to take chances like I normally would.

The late show was completely different. It was pretty full but not sold out and they were a little chatty but not in a bad way. They talked during the show but to me so I could react to it and they weren’t mean at all. I was able to work with it and build a unique show with the ingredients they added and I actually had a lot of fun doing it. I was in a good groove.

It wasn’t a career maker show and had I recorded it I would have erased it right away so why did I like it so much? I liked the all around vibe. The audience wasn’t mean or drunk beyond coherence and they were there to be entertained. For the circumstances I felt I was able to squeeze all I could out of them and that’s very satisfying. I gave my best effort.

I know in my heart when it’s going well and also when it isn’t. When it’s right it’s great and when it’s not it’s torture. I guess it’s like prison sex. It’s a matter of perspective. One party is usually having a lot more fun than the other even though both are involved in the same act at the same time. After it’s over each party gets to decide if it was good or not.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Out Of Site

Thursday April 9th, 2009 - Chicago, IL

I need a new website. Badly. I also need several other things but the site was my priority for today. My old one has been down since Mr. Embezzler decided to do his little deal but that’s ancient history now. Nobody else cares about that and I just want to move past it all and start over and be bigger and better than before. He’s out of my life and I feel relieved.

He did put me in a difficult spot with the timing of it all but when exactly is a good time for a guy to have his business partner clean out the bank account? I guess that time never comes. I learned a very valuable lesson here. It cost me a few grand but it sure did sink in.

Actually it cost me more than just the money. That was bad enough but then it got nasty and personal and he tried to trash my name to the people who mean the most to me. I still can’t believe it happened like it did but it seems to be cooling down now. He’s a lazy oaf and always was and never had any passion or drive about anything so hopefully it’s over.

Dane Cook had to deal with his half brother or whomever the guy was who cleaned him out for a whole lot more than I had taken so I guess it could have been worse. Still, it’s no fun to get betrayed like that for any amount of money. It’s absolute torture because it’s so personal. It really is like a professional divorce. I trusted that snake with everything I had.

That being said, there are a lot bigger snakes than him plotting to attack a lot bigger guys than me with a lot more money to steal so my little scab isn’t even worth picking. It won’t change the situation and if I stay bitter about it I’ll never be able to achieve my dream life.

My friend Shelley has been helping me with web stuff and she’s been doing very well at it so far. She’s got her own life with two kids and a husband but she’s not working at the moment and has time to help me so she’s who I will use for now while it works out for us both. I paid her what I could afford and she was thrilled to get it and we’re on our way.

She showed me what she designed and it’s a nice looking simple but effective site. I am so busy with other things I really don’t have time to fart around with a website nor does it interest me. I want to be out doing shows and teaching classes, not stuck in some cubicle trying to figure out how to change a font or cut and paste pictures. I don’t enjoy that at all.

That’s probably what kept me from getting a site back up this long but now I can’t wait any longer. I need one yesterday. I have a booking in May at a club in Appleton, WI and it was part of the requirements of getting booked. They require headliners to have a working website and rather than complain about it I will take it as a sign to get one and move on.

I always thought it was important to have a website in the past and I invested in it a long time ago when not everyone had one. It got me a nice amount of work for quite a time but then everyone else hopped on that bandwagon and it wasn’t unique anymore. It was never my responsibility to manage the site however. That was all handled by my ex partner. His job was to make my ideas realities. It worked out well for a long time and I got used to it.

That’s why it hurt so much when I had to sever ties and fire him because it left me with nobody to turn to immediately. He handled everything and it was amputated overnight so I had to deal with it and move on. Now it’s time to regroup and re-launch a new version.

Shelley is a good person and works very hard. I do trust her but she doesn’t have access to my bank account like the other guy did so that makes it a whole lot easier. She can’t do what he did and I won’t let anyone have that kind of free reign again. I learned my lesson.

I’m also going to back myself up and have other people work with me too. Donna up in Milwaukee who handled Tom Green’s website will be part of the team and hopefully I’ll be able to work with Kerri Coates down in Louisville who works in Tom Sobel’s office.

These are three good people who are competent and honest and understand the business very well. I will see how it all works out and hopefully I can include all three in one facet of this or another. I want to have a backup plan so I don‘t get stranded like I did last time.

Shelley will have www.dobiemaxwell.com up very shortly. I need to get her my full list of bookings and also some one liners she can have flash on and off. I gave her my bio and resume and she’ll transfer that onto the site and so far it looks very professional. It’ll be a work in progress all the time but at least I’ll have one up and that’s a huge step right now.

I need to do several other things too like revamp my press kit and promo materials. I am in dire need of new pictures in color and put some audio and video on the site so I can get some bookings with it. I’ll also start offering merchandise on it and a newsletter and use it as my business base. I’ve been needing to develop new products to sell for way too long.

I’m still working with Donna in Milwaukee about getting a new CD product out. She’s busy with her own stuff and still has to make a living for herself but she’s been helping to get this project moving. She produced or co-produced Tom Green’s CD projects and they are all of excellent quality. I think we can get at least one and maybe two out this year.

Then after that I need to work on my comedy classes and get them on a site so I can use the web to reach students all over the world I can’t reach from Chicago. I’ve needed to do that for several years but for whatever reason it never got done. Thankfully it didn’t or I’d have probably been stung for a lot more money than I was and I would’ve been furious.

Now I’m not really furious so much as disappointed. What a knob shine that guy turned out to be and I feel like I wasted a lot of years of what I thought was a friendship but that wasn’t the case at all. He was never my friend and I feel used and that’s not how it should be. Life should be fun and exciting and I’m setting my sights in precisely that direction.

Tonight was an absolutely killer show at Zanies. Wow, what a kick ass audience. I love life when it gets like this and I enjoyed every second of it. My friends and former students Tony Talley and Ken Rosenbaum came out and we had a dinner at Flat Top Grille before the show and that was fantastic too. I love days like this when so many things get done.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Business Of The Business

Wednesday April 8th, 2009 - Chicago, IL

Most people have no idea just how many different facets it takes to be successful in the comedy business. And that’s exactly what it is too - a BUSINESS. It isn’t just a matter of being funny and in fact I’ve always said funny is one of the least important requirements.

There are a lot of very funny people who never make it past a certain level because their business skills are lacking. There are also many others who aren’t very funny at all but are whiz kids when it comes to doing what’s required to put them out in front of the public.

Being a comedian requires wearing a lot of different hats. We’re performers yes, but we are also writers and sales people and promoters and travel agents and marketers too. That puts everyone in the trick bag because nobody is good at everything and something out of all those things is usually sorely lacking. That’s why most comedians seek representation.

There is a myth that once a comic is signed by a management company all the problems disappear. I don’t know why people think that way but I’ve seen it over and over. I hear a comic say ‘If I can only get a manager I’ll be on my way.’ I don’t think that’s the answer.

Colonel Parker may have helped Elvis in a lot of ways but I think he hurt his career too. Having management is like a professional marriage. It’s a partnership. There has to be an understanding that both parties need to come together and agree on a shared action plan.

I’ll be the first to admit my business skills have been pretty horrible. I’m not at all alone in that department unfortunately. There are a lot of people I know personally that are even worse than me and in fact look up to me for my ‘business acumen’. That frightens me. If I am the role model of someone’s business plan the whole business is in a very sad state.

I’m really trying to get better at it as I get older and I’ve made great strides from where I started but I still have a long way to go. At this point I am too busy working to plan career moves and it’s a common problem for many of us. We’re wearing too many hats at once.

One of the things I am going to do as a part of my comedy class is come up with a solid blueprint of what to do business wise in addition to the comedy part of the business which is an entirely separate thing. Most of us never think about it at all until it’s way too late.

If I had the knowledge I have now when I started I’d be in a way better position but that is part of life in general. A lot of ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’ situations face us all. I am still in the game though and the most important thing is that I am attempting to make a change of direction. I know I’m weak at the off stage end of this business and I need to improve.

A big part of show or any other business is networking. I’ve been painfully weak at that over the years so today I made an effort to begin changing. I signed up to be a member of the Lake County Convention & Visitors Bureau for a year. It cost me $300 but it‘s a good networking opportunity so I risked it. Now I have to get some work and make it pay off.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Eddie Brill Audition

Tuesday April 7th, 2009 - Chicago, IL

I can feel I’m making progress. I had yet another audition tonight in front of Eddie Brill who books the comedians for the David Letterman show and I totally took it in the shorts. Absolutely horrible. Six minute set. Five minutes of silence. To make it even worse I had a big brain blip and forgot my order and some new bits too. After all that I still feel great.

THAT’S progress. At one time having a set like that would have sent me into a funk but not tonight. Not in the least. I’m in a fantastic mood right now and realize the reasons that I didn’t have a strong showing were mostly out of my control. I also realized that I’m just not that good at auditioning. I’ve been too busy headlining to develop a solid audition set.

It’s kind of like the major league baseball player who can’t bunt. He may hit home runs in droves but a seemingly simple skill like bunting gets overlooked. Why? It isn‘t sexy to bunt. Chicks dig the long ball. Bunters make minimum wage. That’s how it is and there’s a similar formula in comedy. Headliners get paid. Auditions are for trying to get paid.

I make a living as a headliner in comedy clubs. Way more often than not I’m able to get laughs out loud from a room full (or sometimes not so full) of strangers several times in a minute for 45 minutes or more. That’s a skill level precious few people will ever achieve.

I’m not bragging about that, I’m just saying. There is a completely different energy that is put out in a headline club set than is required to be successful on television. I just went through a lot of this as the Late Late Show scenario unfolded and I’m familiar with how it works now. Some comics translate well on TV. Some don’t. Do I? It remains to be seen.

When my set airs I’ll see what my reaction will be but the fact is I’ve experienced it and nothing else can compare. I’ve auditioned for Eddie before tonight and he’s one of the big reasons I think I was able to pull off a good set on the Late Late Show. I am not too proud to take criticism and Eddie took time to lay some golden nuggets on me. I chose to listen.

I try to be the same way with my students. I don’t talk down to them and I try to offer an idea or two that will hopefully help them immediately. I’m like the sports coach that helps an athlete by pointing out mistakes the athlete doesn’t see. Many times newer comics who open for me can be rather green so I try to patiently offer them up some helpful insights.

That’s what Eddie did the first time I auditioned for him and I totally appreciated it. My audition skills are shaky at best and I really had no idea what I was doing but he sat us all down and if we chose to hear his critiques he gave them. Some of the other comics didn’t like it but I could feel that it wasn’t done out of anything other than wanting to help us.

I took what he said to heart and used it to shape my set for the Late Late show. It helped give me an idea of how to structure what to include and what not to. I never had to do the same audition process to get that show and if I did I might not have gotten it. This is a bit late in the game for me to be learning how to audition but it’s a weak point and I admit it.

I absolutely WILL get better at it though and I already have. Tonight’s show was not my best showing but at least I was not nearly as nervous as I have been in the past. I was a bit tight because Eddie Brill was in the room but then I thought of how I’ve heard quite a few of my former students tell me they get that way when I’M in the room. That shocked me.

That’s the last reaction I want. I’m there to cheer them on and I want them to go up and inflict punishment on the audience in a good way. I believe it’s the same with Eddie Brill. His job is to FIND comedians, not ignore them. He wants us to be good. I think too many comics get the idea he or anyone in a similar position is out to be an obstacle in their path.

The exact opposite is true. Eddie Brill is very encouraging and it really helps that he’s a comic himself. It’s not necessary though. Celia Joseph is the talent booker I dealt with for the Late Late Show and she was a sweetheart of epic proportions and super to deal with. I could feel she really cared and was very nice. What Celia and Eddie both share is warmth.

Eddie made it a point to come over to me tonight and shake my hand and say how much he appreciated me sending him a thank you letter after my taping. I told him I meant it all and I totally did. His face lit up and he said it made his day and that in turn made my day. He gets hundreds if not thousands of comics sending him stuff and he remembered ME!

That really made me feel good and I knew right then that I’m starting to arrive. Whether I get on David Letterman doesn’t matter at this point. Yes, I’d love to. Who wouldn’t? He is a TV icon and I’d cherish the opportunity but in reality it really doesn’t matter at all.

What matters is that Eddie remembered me and made it a point to come over and say hi before the show. He is also friends with my good friend Ross Bennett who I have always thought the world of and if he and Ross are friends that says it all. He‘s gold in my book.

Tonight’s audition wasn’t for the David Letterman show per se. There’s a festival going on in Johnny Carson’s home town in Nebraska and Eddie is out looking for comics to put in it. I’d love to do it and I’m grateful Bert Haas from Zanies gave me a shot to audition.

If I was going to have a rough audition set tonight was it. Bert knows me about as well as anyone and I’m the headliner at Zanies this week. He knows what I can do and he said I didn’t do as badly as I thought I did. I’ll take his word for it but I felt like I ate a bullet.

If Bert didn’t know me I’d be worried. But he does. And he’s still going to book me as a headliner. Eddie Brill is starting to know me. This won’t kill me with him. He knows how it is because he’s a comic too. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if I got a booking but even if I don’t I still respect the guy. He‘s a pro and he has a heart. That‘s rare. I try to be the same.

It’s never fun to have a bad set but this one is already history. I know what I did and it’s totally fixable. I will continue to develop a strong four to six minute set that I’ll be able to use for both auditioning and a future TV set too. It’s only been a little under a month so it was stupid of me to even think about trying to pull it off. Live and learn. I‘ll bounce back.