Saturday, April 30, 2011

Reading An Audience

Friday April 30th, 2011 - St. Charles, IL

   Two shows at Zanies tonight, and I wish I could have recorded both - if only because of how completely different they were from each other. The early show was a wild fire, with an audience that laughed hard from the emcee’s very first joke to my very last punch line.

   These people were the best, and I wanted to get all their addresses and invite them back for free whenever they wanted to show up. They were hungry for comedy and all three of us gave them what they wanted. They loved the entire show, and that makes it fun for us.

   Audiences can be very unpredictable, much like juries. Sometimes they’ll like an act or two on a three act show, but not another. I’ve both seen it and had it happen and it’s a part of performing life. The tricky part is, it happens at random chance. It can’t be predicted.

  It all boils down to the mix of people who are in attendance. Their personalities mix and it becomes a one time combination of energy which then mixes with the performer’s vibe and that’s why no two shows are ever exactly the same. I’ve been studying this for years.

     Size of the crowd has little to do with it either. I’ve seen large crowds lay there and tiny ones explode with laughter. It all depends on that mix, and we as performers are guessing what they’ll like. The more experienced the performer, the more options and tricks up the sleeve, but it’s all still a guess. The audience is always the judge and they have final say.

   I remember how intimidating it used to be when I was starting out. I only had a limited amount of material, and if an audience wasn’t buying it on any particular night there was nothing I could do except stay up there and eat it until my time was done. Now, I’ve got a lifetime of experience and I have options. Like an NFL quarterback, I can call an audible.

   This process is called ‘reading an audience’, and is a very subtle but necessary part of a comedian’s skill set. It starts by watching them come in and be seated. Do they look to be young or old? Rich or poor? Smart or dumb? Drunk or sober? City or country? The list is endless, but it’s good to have a feel for who’s in the audience in order to entertain them.

   Then, it continues to the actual show. There’s a unique vibe an audience gives off every show, and it takes years of performing to be able to sense it. Sometimes they want it clean and sometimes they want it loud and rowdy. Sometimes they don’t know what they want, and aren’t even there for comedy. Those are the toughest, but it helps develop one’s skill.

   Tonight for whatever reason, they liked all three of us, and I didn’t question it. I gave it my all, and actually had to stop at points to let them stop laughing and catch up. THAT’S a good audience, and we all loved it. A show like that is what makes comedy worthwhile.

   Then, in the late show some boozed up hillbilly chick wouldn’t shut up and interrupted me at least a dozen times. She was asking dumb rambling questions and wouldn’t stop. It was annoying, and I wish people could see how opposite shows can be on the same night.

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Lifetime Flashback

Thursday April 28th, 2011 - St. Charles, IL

   I’m a complainer. Always have been. I’m not sure why, I just do. I try to look for all the positives in a given situation, but sometimes it’s just a lot easier to bellyache, piss, moan, bitch, whine or blow off steam about something. It’s funnier too. There’d no need for any jokes if life was perfect, and I realize that. Still, sometimes it feels good just to unload.

   Today wasn’t one of those times. I had a show tonight at Zanies in St. Charles, IL at the Pheasant Run Resort, and I’ve been in that situation literally more times than I can count. I’ve worked on that stage since the club opened in 1989, and have no idea of the number of shows I’ve done on it but it has to be up into the hundreds. I know it is. I’m a regular.

   As I was on stage tonight, my comedy life flashed in front of my eyes. It was a typical week night crowd at a comedy club, and there were maybe 60 or 70 people in the house. They were a little tight most of the night and not the loudest of laughers. They weren’t a bad group, but they weren’t the kind of dream audience that’s red hot from the very start.

   Maybe I’m spoiled, or maybe my complaining gene kicked in, but when the host Vince Maranto came over after his opening set and joked about how tight he thought they were, I flinched a little. I didn’t want to hear that. I have enough problems in my life right now.

   Sure enough, by the time I got up there I saw he was right. Vince has been a comic even longer than me, and I had no reason to second guess his judgment. He totally knows what he’s talking about, and I’m lucky to have such a competent and experienced host as he is.

   I could have easily phoned the show in, and that thought did run through my mind more than a few times as I watched the show develop, but what would that prove? If I’m going to call myself a comedian, that means working to the best of my ability, even in situations like this. It’s a weeknight in St. Charles, IL but I don’t care. I decided to give them my all.

   I went up there and used every one of my years of experience to establish an energy and rhythm on stage and it took me a while but I eventually pounded them hard enough to get out of their funk and get with the program. By the end of the show I didn’t want to get off stage. They turned into a wonderful group, but it took a lot of hard work to bring that out.

   These are the kind of shows I dreamed about when I started. Taking a dead audience to where they ended up is nothing short of a miracle, and not many people can do it. I know I couldn’t when I started, and it’s only been in the last few years that I really know I’m at a level of competence to be able to do it on at least a semi regular basis. This took a skill that most people aren’t willing to sacrifice themselves to learn. It literally took a lifetime.

   After the show, people were lining up to shake my hand and tell me how funny I was. It made me feel a sense of accomplishment, because I know I earned it. Was it worth all that hard work to achieve it? Sometimes I wonder in the long run, but for tonight it felt like all my efforts came together. This was more than just a Thursday show. It was a life mirror.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

This Is A Recording

Wednesday April 27th, 2011 - Park Forest, IL/St. Charles, IL/Fox Lake, IL

   If nothing else, at least when it’s all said and done I can say I tried a variety of things in this life. Hopefully, it’s not all said and done yet. Today I drove 94 miles one way on I-94 to Park Forest, IL to visit my friend Dave Rudolf. Dave is a musician and has a super nice high quality recording studio in his house where he records CD projects with his band.

   I’ve known Dave for years, and he’s always offered to produce any kind of CD projects I might think of, and I’ve always meant to take him up on it. Today was finally the day we started, and it was very productive. I brought along a few notes and we did a short version of my comedy class which packed in the basic details of how to get started as a comedian.

   I recorded a full length twelve lesson six cassette course with Jerry Agar in 1997 called ‘Be Funny Make Money’, which was quite a learning experience in itself. Cassettes were the norm back then, even though it sounds antiquated now. Times have really changed.

   I’ve been meaning to do an updated version for years, mainly because I’m a much better teacher now, not to mention better comedian. I’ve learned a lot of hard lessons during that time, but it will all be excellent for teaching purposes. I’ve lived what I’m talking about.

   The difficult part is getting it all recorded smoothly. That’s not an easy process, though it would seem to be quite simple to a casual observer. All that needs to be done is turn on  a microphone and talk into a recorder. Not so. I’d forgotten how complicated it can be.

   There are equipment levels to check to make sure the sound quality is consistent and all kinds of other technical stuff I have no interest in whatsoever. I just wanted to get it done, which is what I wanted last time too. It took us about three and a half hours, and we did it.

   This is a no frills recorded version of many of the same things I teach in my beginner’s level classes at Zanies in Chicago. The fundamentals of both writing and performing are stressed, but I don’t go into great detail. This is an introductory course for the beginner so he or she can avoid rehashing the same old mistakes that get made over and over again.

   I threw in few anecdotes and I think it came out pretty decently. Dave said it did, and he has no reason to lie. If it stunk, he’d have told me. He made some excellent suggestions to add to the mix, and we worked together very well. I hope to work with him more, but it’s a major project just getting to his house. He’s closer to Indiana than I am to Wisconsin.

   It was 94 miles to Dave’s house one way, and then I had a show at Zanies in Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, IL tonight. It was like a road trip miles wise, even though I was able to sleep in my own bed. This entrepreneurial stuff is hard work, but it’s worthwhile.

   I now have another product I can sell, and that never hurts. I should have had this years ago, but I just never got to it. Hopefully I can keep recording more with Dave, and have it all recorded at some point. It may be slow, but at least I’m forging ahead. This was good.

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Radio Routing

Tuesday April 26th, 2011 - Rockford, IL/Madison, WI

   Enough with the gas prices already. Every day gets worse, and of course Mr. Lucky has to pick this particular time in recent history to drive a war pig gas drinking 1983 Cadillac Fleetwood that gets worse mileage than the Space Shuttle. But, at least I look cool in it.

   I’ll probably be living in it eventually if prices go any higher, and I can’t see why they won’t. We’d be stupid to think anyone actually cares about us poor working folk who are out here getting the brunt of the pumps right up our gas holes. For me, it’s a total killer.

   That being said, I was asked to make a return appearance on the radio in Rockford, IL this afternoon with my old friends Stone and Double T on ‘The X’. I love doing the show with those guys, but I have to think twice about going anywhere these days. It’s a hassle.

   I’m not really sure if going on with them does anything for my career, but it sure is fun so that’s why I go. I wish I had a relationship with  Bob and Tom like I do with Stone and Double T. If I did, I’d probably be a millionaire by now. I’d be on all the time in over 200 markets instead of just in Rockford, and I have to believe I could turn a buck from that.

   That’s just not going to be right now, so I’m not going to worry about it. That situation is what it is, and I’ve done all I can do to turn it around. I said I was sorry for pissing them of that badly, and I really am. But if they’re not going to accept, there’s nothing I can do.

  Stone and Double T let me go on whenever I want, stay as long as I want, and talk about any topics I want. What can be better than that in a radio situation? If I have to spend a lot on gas to get there, it’s at least worth the trip when I arrive. I had a blast with them today.

   They have a tattoo artist who spends big money advertising on the station, and the guy’s a total character. He’s funny as hell and doesn’t realize it. He’s one of those people who’s got everyone laughing and doesn’t know why. He cracked us up in the studio while songs were playing, but wouldn’t go on the air. His shop is called Euro Tattoo in Rockford.

   If you decide you need a tattoo or want to spruce up the ones you already have, I highly recommend checking this place out. He offered to do a King of Uranus logo on the air for me, but I chickened out. I don’t think tats are my style, but I sure appreciated the offer.

   After the show I drove up to Madison, WI to be a guest on an internet radio show with my friend  Steve Purcell. Steve has been bitten by the radio bug, and is part of a fun show called ‘The Bastard Den’ for whatever reason. It’s a heavy metal rock show they do once a week, but he’s a sidekick and comic relief and does a very nice job. He really enjoys it.

   They have comedians on every week, usually by phone. Steve has been asking me to do it live for months, and I know it meant a lot to him that I came up and did it. He’s a super nice guy and I couldn’t say no so at least I was able to tie in Rockford and Madison in one trip. It might have cost money for gas, but both stops made it worth my while to be there.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Atheist Or Agnostic?

Monday April 25th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   I’m having all kinds of God issues again. Yesterday was Easter, and I’m just not feeling it when it comes to anything pertaining to religion on any level. I think it’s all a mammoth humbug. I don’t know if I’m an atheist or an agnostic, but I fall somewhere in between.

   This has only been an issue in the last few years, but it’s growing. I feel that unpleasant letdown feeling I had when I found out the truth about Santa, only this one scares me. My grandfather was pretty much an atheist, and he told me I’d eventually arrive at this point.

   I remember him taking all kinds of classes in religion at the end of his life, and reading a whole lot on the subject as if he was trying to find some magic answer to everything he had questions about. Then, at the end he poo pooed it all and said he’d take his chances.

   As a kid that really disturbed me because I loved Gramps very much and didn’t want to see him go to hell, whatever or wherever that was. He said he didn’t believe in any pie in the sky heaven or fire belching hell. He said whatever punishment he’d get, he’d accept.

   I also vividly remember my grandmother saying disappointedly in one of her last lucid moments before Alzheimers snatched her brain and never gave it back, how she too had studied religions and concluded it was all B.S. in the end. For her to say that was major.

   Grandma grew up Catholic, but left at age 58 because she said she had enough of a dead religion full of people who went through the motions. She too set out on a journey to find some answers, and hopped from church to church trying to find them but she never did.

   Those two were about as different as two married people could be, and it’s strange that they both came up with the same conclusion on religion at the end of their lives. Grandma held out hope a little longer than Gramps, but she too eventually said she didn’t believe it.

   I really don’t want to think that way, and words like ‘atheist’ and ‘agnostic’ still seem to be cold and sinister sounding even now. I wish there were that kindly old man figure with a white beard in a long robe sitting on a throne somewhere answering prayers for us all.

   I’d love to believe when I die I’ll get my own mansion in heaven and have nothing to do but go to harp concerts and eat at banquets every day. Just as I believed in Santa as a kid, I believed in God too. I thought that Jesus came here to die for me so I could be ‘saved’.

   Saved from what? What a far fetched story it all is, and I fell for it as millions of others did and are. Sorry, I have a whole new take on it now, and I’m not buying any of it. It’s a bigger lie than Santa, and I feel duped. I don’t know what the truth is, but it’s not that.

   I’m not buying Judaism or Islam either. Sorry, there are holes in all of them. What’s the real truth, and why are any of us here? We’ll find out eventually, or there’s no reason and we just die and that’s it. I don’t think it’s that, but I don’t think it’s the other way either.

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One Sharp Kid

Sunday April 24th 2011 - Harris, MI

   The last night of this run, and I couldn’t be happier. These drives are getting to be a lot longer than I need to be making in an old Cadillac with gas at $4 plus a gallon and rising. I’ll bet I barely break even this week after expenses, and that means I lose in the long run.

     One bright spot was the opening act Mike Von. He’s 24 and started doing comedy when he was 16, and this kid is going places way bigger than the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He’s originally from Baltimore but has been based out of Chicago for the past four years.

   I first saw him at the Monday night Zanies Rising Star Showcase a few months ago and thought he stood out. He’s well spoken, very likeable and looks comfortable on stage. He has a lot to work with, and at 24 he’s got more maturity than most comics get at any age.

   A perfect example of that was a mix up in scheduling this week. The booker of this run asked for my confidential opinion of Mike in regard to booking him. I gave him a double thumbs up and meant it. This kid is doing a lot of things right, and I think he’ll go places. The booker asked if I’d be willing to work with him, and I told him I absolutely would.

   Well, the booker has an assistant who fills in the schedules and somewhere in the chain, communication broke down and there was a double booking. It happens. At the beginning of this month, Mike contacted me to get details on our week together. I knew immediately what took place and felt horrible, as I’ve been in that spot WAY too many times myself.

   I explained to Mike what had happened, then I immediately contacted the booker so we could get it straightened out. This kind of thing does happen and there’s nothing to do but try to work it out and reschedule. Unfortunately, the one rescheduled has to lose money in the short run and it rots. It can be devastating, and that’s why I was so sensitive about it.

   The booker took responsibility, and I know it was an honest mistake. Nobody was angry but I wanted to make it up to Mike to show good faith. As it turned out, tonight was open because Kristi McHugh had a show come up in L.A. and had to back out. That would be a hassle in most cases, but this was an exception as it allowed Mike to salvage one night.

   He was professional about it all the way, and I told him he was WAY farther ahead of it than I ever was at 24. I used to take it personally when things like that happened, and had more than my share of run ins with bookers over stuff like that. Is it fair to get taken off a gig at the last minute? Absolutely not, but it still happens. How one handles it is the key.

   Mike not only handled it correctly, he ended up getting a night out of it after all, and the money he made will at least let him pay some bills this week. He’ll also get booked in the future from this booker, and hopefully with me. He was low maintenance and did well.

   Mike is moving to L.A. this fall, and judging by the way he’s handling his business both on and off the stage, I see a very bright future for him. Maybe he’ll let me drive his limo.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Fan Appreciation

Saturday April 23rd, 2011 - Milwaukee, WI

   It’s always nice to come home, even on an off night. Tonight’s stop was at Potawatomi Casino’s Northern Lights Theatre in Milwaukee, always a first class experience. The staff is beyond nice, from security guards to the guy who manages the comedy show Steve. He always has everything under control, and just playing that room makes me feel like a pro.

   There’s a huge backstage area with a giant fridge packed with beverages, and two extra large bathrooms that have showers included in case someone wants to freshen up between or after a show. They also give us a menu to order top shelf food, or a coupon for their big buffet which has shrimp, crab legs, prime rib and a spectacular array of delicious desserts.

   I wish every night was like this, and if I have my say at some point it will be. Of course, who wouldn’t like the perks, but it’s more than that. They just treat people right, and I’ve always thought that’s how it should be. They respect both entertainment and entertainers, and it shows. They have big acts there all the time, and they treat us the exact same way.

   It’s refreshing, and I totally appreciate it. Unfortunately, it was yet another ‘off week’ in terms of attendance with it being Easter weekend and the Brewers in town for a big home stand, but there were still enough people to do two fun shows. I had a blast both shows.

   I might not have many, but I do have some regular fans and I always appreciate it when they show up. Tonight I had quite a few including C. Cardell Willis’ son Ben and his wife Tammy, my former orthodontist Dr. Grace Machi, Cathie Schultz and her family who I’m friends with through the Tom Green Show and their friends Rick and Donna. It was great.

   They come out and see me through thick and thin, holiday weekends or not, and I try to switch material around or have something new for them just because I appreciate all their support. They’re true fans, and no performer should take those for granted. I surely don’t. I just need more of them to please, about 100,000 or so. Until then, I’ll be glad for these.

   I made it a personal goal to do two completely different shows, as I knew some of them would be staying for both as they like to do. Not all that long ago, I’d have had to struggle to pull that off, but not tonight. I did it easily, and I didn’t even have to do my big closing bit which they’ve all heard a zillion times anyway. I thank the cruise ships for that ability.

   Whatever struggles I had on those ships, I’m feeling the benefits of it now. They raised my game to a whole new level, and tonight was living proof. I feel at home on that stage, and I have a lot of Milwaukee material I can go to from my ‘Schlitz Happened!’ show as well, but I was able to feel a good rhythm and slid in and out of bits with seamless ease.

   After everything is said and done, it really is all about the fans. If they keep coming out, I’ll keep getting booked. How do I get more of them? I wish I knew. Those who do come out are great, and I’ll always do my best for them, but the number I have now won’t keep my bills paid on a regular basis. I’m working on it, but for this night I felt like a big star.

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

13 Miles Short

Friday April 22nd, 2011 - Sault Ste. Marie, MI/Fox Lake, IL

   I was wrong about having to do a 500 mile drive today. It was only 487. Silly me, there I go again making situations bigger than they really are. Whatever it was, I’ve had enough of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for the foreseeable future. They can get along without me.

   Actually, I have to go back again on Sunday to do a show at the Island Casino in Harris, about 15 miles west of Escanaba. That’s always a filled up room and we get treated nicely by the staff. It’s not the people of the U.P. I dislike, it’s that long lonely drive to get there.

   I think part of it has to do with childhood memories. My father had a ‘cabin’ in Daggett, a grungy little town maybe 30 miles north of Menomonie on US Highway 41. We used to go there in summers to ’have fun’, but it was more of a forced labor camp than vacation.

   One thing most of my family and I never agreed on was the definition of fun. Having to cut waist length grass, trim endless weeds and cut wood for heat because there wasn’t any electricity, oil or gas stove wasn’t my idea of a getaway dream vacation when I was a kid. That place was a filthy snake pit not fit for human occupancy, but the old man loved it.

   I still don’t know why. There were bugs and critters and it was next to a marshy swamp and everything smelled ripe ass funky, especially after it rained. And to make it an official nightmare, there was no indoor plumbing. There was an old bread truck out back that had a hole cut in the floor with a barrel over it as the commode. It all still disgusts me today.

   That was a ‘vacation’ to my father, but I hated every minute of it. My step mother was originally from Iron Mountain, maybe an hour or so drive from there, and we’d stop there to visit her family, who were actually very nice people. I realize that now, but back then it was torture to go anywhere near Daggett, Iron Mountain, Escanaba or the U.P. in general.

   I can’t help having ugly Daggett flashbacks, especially when I have to drive right past it on my way to some of these gigs. I’d prefer to leave those buried if I could, or better yet, I wish I had a recycle bin in my head and I could empty it once and for all. I don’t want that old childhood pain in my life, but that’s part of being a dented can. What do I do with it?

   All I know is to keep plowing forward, exhausting as that can be. Making 487 mile trips this late into the game is not what I thought I’d be doing, and I admit it’s getting to me. If I had an auditorium full of loyal fans screaming my name and paying top dollar to see me, that would be different. Going there to work my ass off for those who got in free is rough.

  What’s the answer? I wish I knew. I’ve been trying to figure it out my whole life. I know I have talent and have a show that blows audiences away in the right venue, but how can I get to the top paying venues where those people would love what I do? That’s the mystery I can’t seem to solve, and it didn’t help having the entire day behind the wheel of my road yacht Cadillac to dwell on it. Kristi McHugh slept most of the way back, so I was alone in my world with my thoughts. I don’t like my world right now, and I need some changes.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Far Northern Exposure

Thursday April 21st, 2011 - Sault Ste. Marie, MI

   Totally different circumstances today. If there’s one thing that’s constant in the comedy business, it’s change. Yesterday I drove 443 hard miles in a rainy/sleety mess to entertain about 30 people. Today I drove 43 miles in bright sunshine to entertain about 300 people.

   The short drive today will be long forgotten about on the big long nasty one tomorrow. The one today just makes tomorrow’s that much longer because it’s in the total opposite direction of civilization. It will be all I can handle to make it back without flipping out at some point. I hope Kristi McHugh can keep me occupied with interesting conversation.

   The facility up here is really nice. It’s called Kewadin Casino as was last night’s place, and everything about it is first class. There’s nothing wrong with the location we were last night, but this one is way bigger and better. They’ve got an auditorium where they book a lot of big name acts, and it’s a fantastic space. I’d love to headline that facility someday.

   They’ve got a wide range of acts coming in from Styx to Ray Price to a lot of the newer country acts like Dierks Bentley and Gretchen Wilson. It seems like casinos are becoming the new Vaudeville circuit in America where acts travel and can make a living by touring.

   It makes perfect sense in many ways. The casinos can afford both the acts and the ads to draw them in. the accommodations for the performers are way above what they’d be if the shows were at regular nightclubs or even a local auditorium. This is a self contained unit.

   I guess I don’t feel so bad about playing up here because a lot of big time acts have and are doing it, but I wish I could work in the big room and be a draw. That would really be a thrill, and make the trip a lot more exciting. Until then, I’ll have to keep my mouth shut.

   We did have a completely jam packed house in the comedy room tonight, but I doubt if even one of them were there to see either Kristi or me. They do pack them in at this joint, and always have. Unfortunately, there’s no cover charge and many of them are just there for a drink and don’t care who or what’s on stage. There’s always a crowd murmur here.

   The show was hosted tonight by a really nice guy named Allan Gibbs, a radio guy I met at another casino show in Harris, MI which I happen to be doing again this Sunday. Allan is a real pro and has worked in some major markets, but like everyone else in radio he has to take whatever gigs are out there. There just aren’t that many out there, and it’s a shame.

   This was his first time hosting the comedy night here, and his bosses were in the crowd so I went out of my way to get the audience to applaud for him. This is his town now, and I want to see him do well and keep his job for as long as he wants it. I know how it goes.

   The audience tonight weren’t the biggest laughers, but they seemed to enjoy the show. I gave them my best, but the whole time on stage I was thinking about the long drive home in the morning and dreading it. Fun as tonight was, I’m not sure if the drive was worth it.

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Sleet Happens

Wednesday April 20th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL/St. Ignace, MI

   Snow, sleet, rain. Snow, sleet, rain. Keys, wallet, phone. Snow, sleet, rain. 443 miles in a 1983 Cadillac, much of it on two lane desolate highway can be a long enough marathon without having to deal with the elements on top of it. In typical Mr. Lucky fashion, I dealt with the three magic words that have come to personify who I am - ‘worst case scenario’.

   If anyone has a tougher commute to work than today, I’d sure like to see it. I picked up the feature act Kristi McHugh who was staying in the Milwaukee area with some friends of hers, and managed to hit stalled traffic pockets in both Lake County and Milwaukee.

   That was frustrating enough, but I hadn’t even gotten on the real road to head north yet. The temperature was right near freezing and at that annoying temperature where it’s hard to keep the windows from fogging up and it’s a constant battle to keep the defroster at the right setting in order to see outside. Usually it involves opening windows and getting wet.

   The whole trip was one hassle after another trying to find ways to adjust to whatever the kind of precipitation it was that was making life difficult at any particular moment. By the time we reached St. Ignace, MI I was ready for a long nap. This is not what I wanted to be doing at this time in my life, and it made me want to develop my other projects but quick.

   There’s nobody to blame here. I chose to take this gig on this particular week, and I also chose to buy the Cadillac. I could have chosen to work this run just about any other week on the calendar, and I could have bought a gas sipping Honda or Toyota like I’ve done on numerous occasions in the past. It just worked out that on this day life was out of sync.

   I played the odds and I lost. Nothing new there. By all accounts, this should be a springy type weather week and I could have rented a brand new car to save on gas. That would’ve probably come out to close to the same as if I’d just driven the Cadillac anyway, so that’s what I chose to do. It was a little inconvenient driving in the weather, but we still made it.

   The bigger picture is what I’m looking at here. I don’t want to be driving all this way to do gigs for people who aren’t coming out specifically to see me. Period. That’s not ego, it just makes business sense. The audience tonight was maybe 40 people tops. I can get that at a library within walking distance of my house. Why should I drive through a blizzard?

   That’s just it. I shouldn’t. I don’t want to anymore, and gas prices aren’t making things any easier either. Surprisingly, I was wrong about the price of it up here. I thought it’d be $4.50 a gallon or higher, but it’s only $3.99. They’re practically GIVING it away. By the end of this trip I’ll have spent $200 in gas all total. I need a paper route to pay for it all.

   I tried to enjoy the ride and have fun, but it wasn‘t easy because I was so focused on my driving. The last thing I‘d need would be to put my giant rig in a ditch somewhere. That’d really make life miserable. Unpleasant enough, we stopped for a bathroom break and had to use an actual outhouse because that’s all they had. I felt like diving in and ending it all.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Upper Peninsula Angst

Tuesday April 19th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   I’m starting to feel very comfortable with not being on the road so much lately, and I’m not at all looking forward to a long drive to the U.P. of Michigan tomorrow for two nights of shows at the Kewadin Casinos in St. Ignace and Sault Ste. Marie. I’d cancel if I could.

   It’s a week of goofy routing, with two nights in the U.P. and then Friday night off. Then it’s Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee which is always a fun time, but then back up to the U.P. just outside of Escanaba in a town called Harris for a very early show on Sunday. It’s at 7pm but it’s Eastern Time up there so it’s 6pm our time. I’m out of there by 7:30 easy.

   In a perfect world, the three U.P. gigs would get bunched together and then lead into the Saturday night in Milwaukee. That would make all of our lives much easier, but of course it doesn’t work that way. It rarely does. That’s when the shows are, so that’s when we go.

   And to make it worse, there’s apparently a winter storm going through the area which is never fun up that way. Freeway access runs out just north of Green Bay, and it’s two lane hell the rest of the way north and then east to the Mackinac Bridge. It can get pretty ugly.

   And even worse than that, I’ll be making the drive in my 1983 rear wheel drive Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham with onion skin tires, and gas will probably be about $4.50 a gallon after I get north of Green Bay. Welcome to the wonderful world of being a road comic.

   I’ve had to make that drive more times than I’ve wanted to, and it’s a winding maze of danger in very desolate country. I could easily slide off the road and be marooned for who knows how long? It’s undeveloped woods most of the way, and there are maybe three or four radio stations across the dial, mostly playing songs from 1974. It’s a Twilight Zone.

   I always thought the U.P. of Michigan was one of the only places on Earth I could see a UFO, Sasquatch and a werewolf - all in the same day. If I was looking to lay low from the Mafia or disappear from society, that’s probably where I’d go. It’s a great place to escape.

   But, in this day and age and especially economy, work is work and not something to be taken for granted. The run pays pretty well, and the people are always very friendly in all the casinos. The hotel rooms are great and they feed us delicious meals in the restaurants. No, it’s not a career maker by any means, but it is a reliable way to pay off some bills.

   The guy who books this run lets me pretty much pick the weeks I want to do it, so it’s a sweet gig I can usually count on about twice a year. I’m not complaining about any of that part of it, I just don’t feel like making the drive tomorrow - especially in funky weather.

   But, that’s how it turned out. I didn’t think snow would be a factor this late in April, but in Mr. Lucky’s world all bets are off. I’m going to shut my mouth, open my eyes and ears and enjoy the next two days as much as possible. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Monday, April 18, 2011

Biding My Time

Monday April 18th, 2011 - Chicago, IL/Fox Lake, IL

   It’s really time to get down to work, and any excuses are falling on my own deaf ears. It all boils down to maximum effort, and until I start giving that on a consistent basis, I will keep wandering aimlessly like I am now. What will kick me in the ass? I wish I knew.

   Every day I try to get things done, and every day distractions and unexpected situations come out of nowhere to grind everything to a halt. I’ve got a dozen or more projects, each in various states of semi completion or dormancy, and no matter how hard I work on any one of them the more the others feel neglected. It’s your typical 3lbs of beans in a 2lb bag.

   It doesn’t help in the least that all my worldly possessions are still in complete disarray from me unexpectedly having to move last year and now all my phone contacts have been lost with my recent phone situation. 99% of everything I have, am or aspire to is laying in a pile either where I live or in a storage bin. My mind is cluttered and it’s trickling down.

  How do I fix this? I don’t know of any other way but to make a plan of attack and find a way to consistently work on it until the plan is in motion. In theory, life shouldn’t ever get to this point of disorganization ever again, but no law says it won’t. I’m really struggling.

   I’ve left the majority of the big things to wait untouched while I go take care of the tiny things like doing comedy shows around the area. I’ve been doing red hot shows lately but that’s not going to be what makes me financially secure in the long run. I still want to get out and do shows, but I want to have other income from other sources while I’m doing it.

   That means I have to plan them out, set them up and have people around me that are in a position to keep them running while I’m away doing other things. Right now, I’m only out there doing the other things and everything I really want to do is just collecting dust.

   Comedy classes are something I think can really bring in a nice income. It’s something I know I’m good at, and have been working for fifteen years to polish both my syllabus and my teaching skills. It’s a legitimate product that a lot fewer people are doing than being a comedian, even though it seems like everyone and their uncle thinks they’re able to teach.

   I’m still in partnership with Zanies in Chicago, and that’s big time credibility at least in the Chicago area. A new class started tonight and it’s full to capacity which is very nice to see. Bill Gorgo is teaching the beginner levels, and I know the students are in good hands.

   The thing to do now is keep cranking out products and find a way to duplicate the class on line and in other venues. I’ve got a system, much like a restaurant chain comes up with one and then sells franchises. I’m doing the same thing, and now the fun part is starting.

   I have to market my system as the best, because I truly believe it is. It took a lifetime of surviving my own dumb mistakes to come up with it. If I can get more residual income to start coming in, I can relax a little and work on the next thing and do that one right also.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Devastating Disappointment

Sunday April 17th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   If there’s one area of life in which I’m thoroughly well versed, it’s disappointment. I’ve had more than my share of high expectations dashed to the pavement with cruel coldness, so when it happens to someone I know and like I’m extremely empathetic. I feel the pain.

   Mike Preston left a somber message on my phone today that the video footage we shot yesterday with Burt Reynolds is all unusable due to a botched camera setting. I could hear the devastation in his voice as he left the message and I felt like driving over to his house and giving him a big hug. I’ve had that feeling more than I ever wanted, and it totally rots.

   Apparently there’s some sort of manual focus mode that can be deployed on the camera but an idiot like me would never know that. I assumed it was an auto focus, and since I’ve always worn glasses I wouldn’t have caught it. Every time I’ve had to borrow binoculars I always have to adjust them to my nearsightedness. I’d assumed the camera was in focus.

   I eventually spoke with Mike and apologized profusely that I should’ve caught it but did not because of my glasses situation. He said it was left in that mode by a crew member on his Psychobabble TV show staff. It was the one thing he forgot to check, and it cost him a killer interview with a major celebrity. Only he and I will ever know it really happened.

   I had a similar situation happen with me and my comedy idol Rodney Dangerfield when I had my one chance to meet him in Utah in 2001. I’d spoken with his wife Joan who was very nice to arrange a backstage meeting, and I’d brought someone from my radio station to take a picture. It turned out the guy blew the photo, and I still don’t know exactly why.

   What made it worse was that I’d bought a disposable camera as a backup and before we left he told me not to bring it because he’d “handle everything”. Uh huh. I was standing at the dressing room door with Rodney and we were hitting it off very well. I knew some of the people he knew and I even made him laugh a couple of times. It was a dream evening.

   That turned into a nightmare when I heard the picture was lost forever. The one who did it made it worse by not telling me until we were halfway home. I felt the same jolt of pain I bet Mike did when he discovered the interview we did was unusable. I feel bad for him.

   Some moments in life only come once and then they’re gone forever. Rodney is passed, and I’ll never get my chance again. Only three of us know it really happened - the halfwit who blew the picture, Rodney’s wife Joan and me. I haven’t seen the guy since that night and why would Joan Dangerfield care? Rodney was her concern, not me. I knew that.

   That’s why I could totally relate to Mike’s pain when he called. I heard it come from his heart and it made me sad. In the scheme of things, none of it means anything, but it’s very disappointing to have a once in a lifetime situation botch because of a technical screw up. I know I met my hero Rodney Dangerfield and I know Mike Preston did a killer interview with Burt Reynolds just yesterday, but unfortunately my word doesn’t count. What a drag.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Burt Reynolds And James Wesley Jackson

Saturday April 16th, 2011 - Naperville, IL/Bolingbrook, IL

   Today was one of THE most enjoyable days of my entire life. From start to finish, I had a total blast and did a pair of exciting things I’ve never done before. One exciting thing is a day maker, but two is off the charts. This was a one of a kind day I won’t soon forget.

   First, my friend Mike Preston asked me to tag along with him to do a video interview at a place called The Hollywood Palms Theatre in Naperville, IL. It’s a spectacular joint but I’d never heard of it before today. What a moron I am. I should keep up on entertainment trends, etc. This is a wonderfully executed  idea of big gorgeous theatres with good food.

   Seating is like a movie theatre, but there’s a place for a meal in front of everyone like a diner. I’d heard of places like that, but never seen one before today. This was a very well  executed idea, and I was blown away by how efficiently everything ran. It’s a machine.

   The theatre is bringing in celebrities to sign autographs to bring awareness to the public of their existence. I think that’s extremely smart, and this weekend the celebrity was none other than Burt Reynolds. Yes, THE Burt Reynolds of ‘Smokey And The Bandit’ fame.

   Somehow, Mike got access to film an interview with  Burt for his cable television show “Psychobabble”. He’s had celebrities on before, but none this big. Burt Reynolds is a big time move star. Period. I was impressed Mike was able to do it, and happy he asked me to tag along. All I had to do was hold the camera while he got his interview. I could do that.

   He did some funny interviews with people waiting in line to get autographs, and then he interviewed more people who’d been through the line and gotten odd stuff signed from an old CB radio to the glove compartment door of a black Pontiac Trans AM from the ‘70s.

   The whole thing was an unbelievably cool event, and everyone at the Hollywood Palms Theatres couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful to both Mike and myself. I was just the camera dude, and they had no idea I was a total idiot. Well, that’s pretty hard to disguise.

   We had to wait about an hour, but I didn’t mind. We eventually got back into the closed off private area where Burt was taking a break between signings, and got into the office to get a one on one with him. We walked through the door, and sure enough - there he was.

   He looked to be in great shape, and Mike sat down to do his interview. I made sure they were both in camera shot and double sure the ‘record’ button was on. I sure didn’t want to blow Mike’s chances at getting this interview, and I stood as still as possible so as to keep the shot from wandering. I’m not a cameraman by any means, so I wanted to be careful.

   Mike really pulled off a fantastic interview. He asked Burt some great questions and he got some great answers. Burt recognized Mike wasn’t an idiot and responded with a super generous interview in return, and then complimented Mike on doing his homework at the end. He totally had, and it really came off well. It was exciting to be a part of the process.

   After that, we packed the camera into my Cadillac and headed to Bolingbrook, IL for a gig at a place called Asbury’s. It’s in a country club, and they’ve done comedy shows for several years once a month on Saturday nights. I’d done it once before, and there wasn’t a large crowd as I remember but those who did come were there to laugh and enjoy a show.

   I’d asked to be booked back with a chance to produce a recording project for my friend James Wesley Jackson, aka ‘The Enviromedian’. James and I worked together in Chicago Style Standups for several years, and I’d been a big fan of his before that because I knew he had toured with and opened for George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic for years.

   He had a comedy album back in the ‘70s, but has long lost the original recording or the rights to reproduce and sell it. I know he’s got fans from his days with the band and he’s a sweetheart of a person, so I approached him about producing a new project of his to sell.

   Many people have a hard time selling themselves, but can easily sell someone else, and I think I’m one of them. I believe in James, mainly because he’s such a positive soul. I’ve never EVER seen the guy in a bad mood, even when things look bleak and I admire that a lot. Plus, his style of comedy is very unique. It’s quirky and witty and audiences love him.

   I told James I was willing to put up the money to have a recording made and turn it into a quality product for him to sell if he’d let me be the executive producer and put my name on it. I know in my heart I can come up with something we can all be proud of, and sell it to the fans of Pfunk who remember James from the days of the landing of the Mothership.

   I’d also like to do a video interview with him about his memories of touring all over the world with such a unique crew, and put that up on Youtube in chunks to help promote the recording project. I see the whole thing perfectly clear, and I can only wish I was that sure of what I’m doing for my own career. That’s all over the place. This is all crystal clear.

   The audience tonight was about one hundred people and they were scorching hot and on the mark from the start. I did about thirty minutes in front of James, and then explained to the audience what was taking place. They take a break between the acts before putting the headliner up, and tonight it fit perfectly. I went back up and explained what we needed.

   I gave James the very best introduction humanly possible, and he went out and ‘tore the roof off the sucker’, as the Parliament song goes. I was proud of him the entire time and it was a treat to watch him have his day up there. He looked great, and the crowd loved him.

   He must have thanked me for asking him to do this at least ten times. He was like a kid at Christmas, and I thought he was going to cry when it was over. Seeing a guy that happy is contagious, and I was absolutely thrilled we were able to pull it off. James deserves it.

   Mike Preston said he thought it came out great, and I think a DVD will be the way to go with this project. James Wesley Jackson is now a Uranus Records recording artist. I had a chance to live a dream by producing another comedian, and I think it was a big home run.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Wow At The Raue

Friday April 15th, 2011 - Crystal Lake, IL

   Some days everything falls into place. I don’t know what it is or how to make it happen on purpose, but there’s a vibe in sync with whatever’s going on in the universe and things fall into place without effort. If I knew how to achieve that every day, life would be great.

   For whatever reason, I felt it today - even though I probably shouldn’t have. It was rainy and cold most of the day, and tax deadline day too. I always say I’m going to get my taxes done before April 15th, but I rarely if ever do. This was yet another year where I didn’t get to them on time, but I contacted my accountant and filed for an extension. I’ll get to them.

   What made today so fun was a hot show at The Raue Center in Crystal Lake, IL. It’s an old theatre that’s been renovated, and I’ve performed there three or four times before. I’ve always had solid shows there, and tonight was no exception. Everything was firing right.

   In my mind, this is how it should be every night. There’s a volunteer staff that treats us like royalty, and we get a spacious dressing room backstage to relax and hang out before a show. There’s a fridge packed with sodas and cold drinks, and a table of snacks next to it.

   That doesn’t cost much at all, but really makes a difference. It makes us feel wanted and appreciated, and really goes a long way with most performers, as we don’t often get those little extras - or at least I don’t. Not in clubs or hellish one nighters anyway. This is nice.

   They do comedy once a month on the third Friday, and have established a solid core of followers from a subscription list of those in the area who support the theatre. They’re an outstanding audience, and really appreciate the shows. This is what comedy is all about.

   If it were like this every night, I’d sure have a lot less to bitch about. Maybe I just enjoy complaining. I hope not, as I don’t know how much more road torture I can stand. This is exactly the kind of gig I want to be doing as much as possible. It’s close to home, easy to do, extremely well run, and a lot of fun. The pay is decent, and they want me back again.

   That’s a pretty hard combination to beat, and I don’t need to. If I had enough places like this to keep me busy for the year, I’d be all set. I know they’re out there, but how do I find them and get booked? There’s really no circuit per se, every place has a deal of its own.

   Nights like tonight make me feel like I’m almost there. The people lined up to shake my hand after the show and tell me how funny I was, and I thanked them and meant it. I knew they meant it too, as they would quote their favorite lines from the show. That’s flattering, but also lets them feel good by being able to repeat it. These are just plain nice people.

   I know there are MILLIONS of people in America who would love what I do. Most are exactly like the people who came out tonight. They’re not night clubbers or regular party people, these are upper middle class people with lives who came out to be entertained for an evening of comedy. They got it tonight, and everyone went home happy. This was fun.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Friday, April 15, 2011

Cheap Shots Comedy Show

Thursday April 14th, 2011 - Forest Park, IL

   I’ve come full circle. I can remember when I first started in comedy, I used to look out at audiences and think to myself “Damn, they’re old.” Now I find myself looking out and thinking “Damn, they’re young.” I don’t know when that transition occurred, but it did.

   Tonight I worked for a very young audience, and it was an honor. There’s a group that puts on shows above a bar and restaurant called Skrine Chops in Forest Park, IL. They’ve named it the “Cheap Shots Comedy Show” and it runs on Thursday nights at 9 o‘clock.

   I was asked to perform by Pablo Rodriguez, one of the three guys who runs it. The other two are Ryan Budds and Pat Chase, and all three of them are about as classy of people as I’ve ever seen for such young comics. They’re in their 20s, but have the maturity level of being around much longer. I really like what they’re doing and was glad to support them.

   The room is just a tiny space seating maybe 50 or 60 people tops, but they run it really well and the people who were there were there for a show. Most of the people were other comics hanging out, and that’s a good thing. Those guys create a positive atmosphere for new comics to grow, and it’s important to have positive energy starting out. It’s rough.

   I was really flattered that a lot of those new comics had come out specifically to see me. I know I host the Zanies Rising Star Showcase shows on Monday nights, and there were a few of them that were probably there because they thought I had some influence over Bert Haas the booker, when in reality I have none whatsoever. I’m still glad everyone came.

   I’ve always tried to go out of my way to encourage new comics and I mean it very much when I tell them they had a good set, even if they didn’t get laughs. Going up on a stage at all is an extremely difficult thing to do, and getting the approval of a veteran means a lot.

   Pablo and Ryan could not have been any more professional, onstage or off. They sent an email confirming the fact I’d be there, gave very easy to follow directions, and treated me like a king when I got there. They went out of their way to make sure I had everything I’d need, and throughout the show they kept me posted on when I’d be going up. It was great.

   If professional comedy clubs would treat comedians like that, we’d all be thrilled. These guys are doing it right, and it was my pleasure to support them by closing their show. The audience were all in their 20s, and I felt like a dad lecturing a group of his kids’ friends.

   I probably did about a half hour, and I could see the young comics watch with the same look of ‘some day’ that I had when I watched experienced comics when I started. It’s not rocket science, it’s just a matter of getting out there and doing it, which is what they are.

   It takes a while to put it all together, but it comes. It will for them too. I hope I did my part and encouraged those kids tonight. I saw a lot of my own past in those guys, and my hope is that they all keep doing it. Support them at

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Better Than Before

Wednesday April 13th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   Losing all my phone contact numbers is turning out to be a positive turn of events after all. It has forced me to completely regroup and evaluate who the most important people in my life really are by sorting through everyone I know and choosing the best of the bunch.

   The way it happened might have been inconvenient, but the results are already showing. I’ve sent out notices on Facebook and via two email addresses that I lost my contacts, and asked everyone to resend their info. I’ve received an overwhelmingly positive response.

   That makes me feel great, and allows me to reconnect with all kinds of people I haven’t spoken with in years and compare notes. Everyone evolves, or at least I think they should, and it’s smart business to know what everyone is doing to see if we can help each other in what we’re all doing now. It’s like advertising. You have to let people know you’re there.

   I emptied out the archives of two email addresses and sorted out the duds and ones that weren’t really contacts. The computer keeps email addresses from everyone we ever send emails to apparently, and a lot of those were one time shots and not really connections for current business. Asking someone about an Ebay item three years ago isn’t a life contact.

   I erased every email address I didn’t recognize, and also a few people I had no use for in my life like my embezzling ex business partner’s family members. Then I sent out emails to everyone else explaining what happened, giving my new information and asking for an update from them if they still wanted me to be on their contact list. That started the flood.

   Responses came in bunches, and I couldn’t keep up with them all. It was very flattering to get that many responses, but I also realized how many things I must have missed out on because I just wasn’t in steady contact with people when I could have been easily doing it all along. It’s more maintenance than anything, and I’d let my system fall into disrepair.

   I guess I really didn’t have an actual system. I just compiled some people’s info in three different places - two email addresses and my old phone. Some of those overlapped with each other, and most of it was thrown in there randomly. I’m going to be much better now and actually create a real system for staying in contact with people that benefits all of us.

  Most of today was spent sorting out the list of contacts and loading them into my phone by hand, which isn’t easy. It’s a smart investment of time though, as I am now able to put everyone in categories and save their email and phone numbers on my Google account.

   I also hand wrote every number down on my calendar as a backup, and even though I’m hoping I don’t need it, I do have a backup in case this ever happens again. It’s a very slow process, but one that will pay off in the long run - and in the short run too. It already has.

   I reconnected with a bank teller I had the major hots for years ago who is now divorced and wants to get together for a drink or dinner. Bingo. I should have done this years ago.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rockford, Paper, Scissors

Tuesday April 12th, 2011 - Rockford, IL

  Rockford, IL has always been a mystery to me. I’ve performed there a zillion times over the years, and can’t understand why comedy isn’t popular in that town. By all accounts it should be hot, but it isn’t. All kinds of venues have been tried, but they always fizzle out.

   It’s got all the makings of a good comedy town - rust belt, blue collar, dying economy, located on an Interstate, it should be perfect. Michigan has several towns exactly like that that have supported comedy for years. Rockford should have been able to support a club.

   There hasn’t been a full time weekend club there in probably twenty years. I worked it in the day, and it was fine as I recall. But once it closed, that was it. Nobody ever tried to do it again, and it makes no sense. I would think someone could go in there and do well.

       The reason I thought of all this today was I got asked to be a guest this afternoon on the “Stone and Double T” radio show on WXRX, “The X”. I haven’t been on in a while, and they’re always fun to hang out with on and off the air. They’re just down to earth guys on a rock station in a blue collar town, and we have a good rapport. I enjoy doing their show.

   In theory, they should be the ones to bring comedy to town. They are the Bob and Tom station, and could start by bringing in acts that are popular on that show. Unfortunately it wouldn’t be me, but we joke about it all the time. They know the story of how I’ve been blacklisted from the Bob and Tom show, and they’ll bring it up on air to stick it to me.

   It’s all in fun, and I roll with it. I know those guys aren’t mean spirited like many radio people are, and it’s just another running joke on the show. They’re real, and so am I, and that makes good radio. We never know where we’re going to go, and that makes it work.

  We were talking off the air why Rockford has never been a comedy hotbed, but concerts seem to fly there. Stone and Double T used to book an annual mega concert with a ton of bands for years and it was always a success even though it took a ton of work to put it on.

   I don’t think comedy would be that difficult at all, but apparently I’m wrong. We tried a Chicago Style Standups show there a couple of years ago and it was a flaming flop. We’d talked about it on air for weeks if not months beforehand, and didn’t draw flies that night.

   I’d like to make Rockford a regular stop if possible. It’s part of my self titled ‘Squared Circle Of Uranus’ territory which includes Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and Rockford. Between those four cities there are about fifteen million people and all kinds of scenarios from major city to rural and everything in between. It’s also not far from where I live.

   If there’s entertainment money to be made in Rockford, IL I’m going to find it. Maybe I’ll have to sell funny t-shirts at a flea market or take out an ad on Craig’s List. Whatever it is, I’m now looking for it. Why drive to Duluth or Dothan, AL when this is so close?

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Pickers, Hoarders and Sellers

Monday April 11th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   I’m finding myself watching more TV lately than I have in a long time. I’ve had a lot of monkey work to do like sorting through my seemingly endless stack of boxes from when I moved, so I’ve been putting the TV on as background noise to help ease the boredom.

   I’ve been watching the History Channel and getting into shows like ‘American Pickers’ and ‘Pawn Stars’. The first one is where two guys from Iowa scour the backwoods of the nation in a van looking for antiques and collectibles to resell at their shop. It’s addicting.

   It goes perfectly with the second one, which is about a family who owns a pawn shop in Las Vegas and people bring in all kinds of oddball stuff trying to sell it for big bucks. It’s fast moving and well put together, as is American Pickers. Both are on Monday evenings, usually accompanied by past episodes of each show. It’s a night of cheap entertainment.

   There’s also a show on A & E called ‘Storage Wars’ where people bid on storage units full of stuff that has been abandoned by those who stored it. Believe it or not, I really like that one too. None of these shows take up much attention, and they’re all very watchable.

   I think it strikes the same nerve in everyone The Antiques Road Show does. It’s the big hope we all have inside that we can basically get something for nothing. We find a trinket in our garage or at someone else’s rummage sale, and hope to sell it at a ridiculous profit.

   Gambling is the same thing. Everyone dreams of dropping a couple of coins into a slot machine and hitting a major jackpot. Whether it’s unrealistic or not, it keeps us returning. These shows are capturing that spirit and energy, and I bet they’re putting a big time dent into the primie time programming of the networks. Mondays sure do have me hooked.

   It’s a treasure hunting thing. It brings out the adventurer in us all, and then at the end of the show it fits nicely back into the drawer in our minds where we store it. It’s an escape. How many people would really be willing to go out there and do what it takes to actually live that lifestyle? I’m sure it’s a lot harder than it looks, and those guys deserve to make a profit. Both hunting for the actual stuff or owning the shop to sell it come with a price.

   Another show which has caught my attention is ‘Hoarders’. I’m not even sure that’s the official title, but a lot of people have seen it because I hear a lot of people talking about it.
It’s kind of depressing in a way, but I keep watching it whenever it’s on. And it’s on a lot.

   I wonder what the attraction of this show is? Maybe we’re all closet hoarders or at least we’ve known one. Most of my family had that disease to a point, even though it was then known as being a ‘pack rat’. Then, they die and the family has to shovel out all the mess.

   Maybe we could solve everyone’s problems by having the American Pickers visit a few hoarders and pay them for anything that may be worth something, then go resell it. Maybe not. Maybe I should finish sorting my own hoard so I can turn off the TV and get a life.  

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Monday, April 11, 2011

Old Car Aggravation

Sunday April 10th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   Owning an old car can be a lot of fun, but when those little annoying things go wrong it can be a major buzz kill. I’ve been getting my money’s worth and then some from my ‘83 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham, but now some things are starting to go wrong and I’m not sure how much longer I’ll keep it. Old cars can suck big bucks, and it’s just not worth it.

    First off, some turkey neck puke decided it was funny to snap off my antenna. There’s a wire inside it, and now it’s just dangling off the side of the car. If I could catch the little gang banger punk that did it, I’d take the antenna and shish kabob his poop shoot with it.

   I am SO sick of the direction society is going. We’re protecting these little bastards who haven’t had any home training and are running around like monkeys in a zoo. I sound like my grandparents, but too bad. How about a little responsibility for these mongrel hordes?

   My cousin Brett is a union carpenter and really works hard for his living and has done it for over twenty years. He has two trucks packed with tools and a one car garage, so he has to leave one parked on his driveway. Last year some delinquent teenage mutant waste of a sperm cell oozed by and vandalized the hell out of his truck, causing over $3000 damage.

   The cops caught the punk, but he denied it despite witnesses. He was on probation for a list of crimes, so they just extended it and gave him a judgment to pay restitution. He and his family were broke so no money ever exchanged hands. He never was punished, so my cousin came out the loser because he had to pay his own deductible to get the truck fixed.

   If that was me, I’d have a very hard time not finding that punk and taking a golf club to his skull until he was a vegetable. I would feel neither guilt nor remorse as I took whacks to his left ear, and that really scares me. I don’t want to be a violent person, but that’s the climate of the world these days. It’s cold and getting colder, and good people are screwed.

   Now my radio barely works, and AM stations are especially weak. That’s where all the sports talk is, what I mostly listen to. Getting it fixed would cost a lot more than the car is worth, so I’ll try to figure out a way to cheapo rig it until I dump it. It’s an inconvenience.

   Another bit of frustration is the power windows went out yesterday. The driver’s side is still working, but only in front. The passenger side doesn’t work at all, and the front one’s stuck in the down position. I’m not sure if it’s a simple fuse that puked or it’ll take major bucks to fix. Everything worked when I bought the car, but wear and tear are inevitable.

   I’ve had a lot of fun with this road yacht, and hope to pilot it a while longer. I’ll need a set of tires soon, but other than that the motor and transmission run mondo smooth. It still starts at the flick of a key, and rides like a…like a Cadillac. I’ve made my money back in comedy work over twice what I paid for the car, but if it were to hold out for another four or five months through the summer, I’d be thrilled beyond words. Having to mess with a new stereo or drop big cabbage on power windows would turn a bargain into a bum deal.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Theory Loses Again

Saturday April 9th, 2011 - Waukesha, WI

   Once again, in the heated head to head bloody battle of theory vs. reality - theory takes a good old fashioned pillar to post ass whipping and gets stomped on like wine grapes in an unceremonious one sided rout. I thought theory had a chance, but again I took a beating.

   I wish I had a buck for every time I had to play a situation out I didn’t want to. I have an uncanny knack to make the wrong choice, and it’s obvious I did it again by committing to help a hotel in Waukesha, WI get a weekend comedy club started. I totally misjudged it.

   The fact is, Waukesha and the surrounding area has both the population and potential to support a live comedy venue in one form or another. It would take a smart marketing plan and a willing venue, but I truly believe it could be done if everyone was on the same page and working toward one goal. I don’t think that’s the case here, and I’m ready to can it.

   We did two shows tonight, 7 and 9pm. The early show had about a dozen people and its never exciting to do shows for audiences that small. They weren’t bad people, and in fact they seemed to really enjoy both Mike Preston and myself, but neither of us were thrilled. We’re both pros so we did our time and smiled through gritted teeth. What fun is that?

   The 9pm show was much better. We had two large groups of about 20 each, and it was by far the best show of the weekend on all levels. The audience loved both Mike and me, and I even did a little extra time for them because I knew that they were really enjoying it.

   I wanted to give a little extra with hopes they’d come back, but deep down I know this just isn’t what I want to be doing with my life right now. It’s way too unstable to put any major effort into this, as there is never a guarantee I’ll be able to pull down steady money or even be assured the space will be available every week due to wedding receptions, etc.

   A comic friend of mine Sal DeMilio in Detroit runs a similar room and he’s gotten his shows cancelled more than once for other events. I know, I’ve been the one he’s had the unpleasant job of postponing. He’s always felt horrible about it, but I never blamed him.

   Sal is as honest as the day is long, and works very hard at putting his shows together in that venue. When ownership comes along and tells him he’s got to move a date around, it can’t be avoided no matter how much he gets frustrated. I feel for the guy, and there’s no guarantee it won’t happen with this room either. I’m the one who’d be the odd man out.

   My spider sense is tingling and I’m going to listen to it for a change. My other projects have a much bigger potential payoff, and those are definitely where my focus should be. I will do my best to finish out this four week commitment I made, but after that I’m done.

   Live and learn, and that’s what I’m doing. No hard feelings on my part, I tried it. I hope there aren’t any from the hotel. It’s going to take a lot more work than I first thought, but with nurturing it could be a fun little room eventually. In theory. In reality, it’s not for me.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Saturday, April 9, 2011

An Honest Mistake

Friday April 8th, 2011 - Waukesha, WI

   Another mistake. My life has been so full of those, I’m all too well aware when another one has been made. Now it’s a matter of trying to get out of it and move on. This is where it gets tricky. I could easily parlay one boo boo into an all time disaster I’ll never forget.

   I don’t think that will happen this time, but I never know. My problem has always been an inability to say no when I need to, and this was it. Now I’m paying for it, and I want to get away with the least amount of time wasted and feelings hurt. This will be a challenge.

   My situation is I’ve been asked to be the booker of a weekend comedy club in a hotel in Waukesha, WI. I’m very familiar with Waukesha, because it’s right outside of Milwaukee and I booked my first pro wrestling show there at the Waukesha Expo in 1992. It’s a nice town, and close enough to Milwaukee to make it workable but still keep its own identity.

  One of my former comedy students knows the hotel manager and was told they’d like to run comedy shows on weekends. My student called me and asked if I’d meet with the guy and offer a few pointers. I always try to help comedy grow in a good way if I can, and this intrigued me. I always thought the area could support a major comedy club, and I still do.

   The hotel is very classy, and there’s a spare room next to their bar which would make a nice intimate comedy room. It’s not a 350 seat mega show lounge like an Improv or other big time room, but that’s not necessary in a Waukesha. Money could be made with about a 100 to 120 seat space, which this is. The problem now is filling those seats every week.

   After looking at the room, the manager asked if I’d be interested in booking comedians to do a few shows to try it out. We agreed on a month’s worth of shows, and then we will talk after seeing how they went. I told him I really don’t want to be a booker, and I don’t.

   Not of a start up room anyway. There’s a lot of work to getting butts in seats and that’s not what I’m looking to do at this time in my life. I know how to book shows, and I don’t mind helping when I can, but this is turning out to be more of a hassle than I’d thought.

   Word has gotten out I’m booking a room and I’m hearing from everyone and their uncle wanting work. I changed my phone number at exactly the right time, but I still have email and I’m getting deluged with comics wanting gigs. I kind of expected it, but not like this.

   Times are tough, and everyone is looking for work. I want to focus on my own projects, and that sucks up enough time as it is. I thought I’d be able to book these first few shows to get the room started, and then turn it over to someone else. That was my plan all along.

   I should have known better.  My life has NEVER gone according to any plan I’ve come up with at any time. The shows tonight were very slow, even though the people were nice both in the audience and at the hotel. It’s going to take heavy advertising to transform this into a real club, and I’m not sure they’re up for the challenge. Nice alone doesn’t cut it.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Who's Your Top 40?

Thursday April 7th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   Here’s an interesting exercise for anyone at any time throughout the course of life. Who would be the most desirable people to have your life if you were starting it all over again? Make a top ten and work up to one hundred. That’s what I’ve been doing and it isn’t easy.

   I’m not necessarily a social butterfly, but I’ve always known a lot of people. I would say it’s because I have a lot of interests, and have been a member of several groups in my life. I know hundreds of comedians for example, because I’ve been one my entire adult life.

   There are probably several thousand people who call themselves comedians, even if the majority of them aren’t full time. It’s also a transient business and we’re always traveling and working with different people each week. The opportunity exists to meet new people, and it’s almost impossible not to. That alone has made my contact list larger than most.

   I’ve also been involved in radio, professional wrestling as a ring announcer and dabbled in wheeling and dealing sports cards. All those categories have a lot of people in the ranks and I’ve met more people than most. If I don’t have more contacts than the average bloke, it’s my own fault. I’ve had chances to meet a lot of people and I’ve tried to nurture that.

  That being said, losing my phone contact list has been an extra large hassle I wasn’t in a mood to deal with right now, but when is a good time? Never. It happened when and how it did, and like it or not I’m going to have to rebuild my list from zero. Where do I start?

   I’ve got a twenty-five year strong contact base built up of comedy friends, radio friends, wrestling friends and just plain civilian friends I’ve made living all over the country doing radio and living in towns like Lansing, Reno, Salt Lake City, Chicago and Los Angeles.

   I’ve even got a few family members thrown in there and a list of women I know and am interested in. My grandpa always said it’s important to have a farm system of women, just like a baseball team, even if I got married. He did. He said it’s good insurance to stash the numbers and keep in touch with a few women in case things go sour at home. Smart guy.

   Now, take all those contacts from all those sources from all those years, and choose the best of the best, and start a master list from the ground up. Like draft choices for a sports team, who gets chosen first? Wait, not so fast. Think it over and choose a balanced list of both those who can help and those who need help. Who makes life better by being in it?

   I’d never thought of it quite that way before, and it was difficult to narrow down who I chose for my top ten, but I did. Then I made categories and chose some more names and raised it up to a Top 40 list, like records. That wasn’t easy either, but it made me think.

   I’m sure the list will evolve and grow to hunrreds, but I’ll pay attention to it like never before. I don’t want to waste my dwindling time here on dolts, maggots, energy drainers,  or Vikings fans. I think we all should have a Top 40 contact list. It’s a foundation of life.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mercury In Retrograde

Wednesday April 6th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   OK, I admit it. I’m officially overwhelmed. I’m short tempered and pissed off, and I’ve been told it’s due at least partially to the fact that the planet Mercury is in Retrograde. All I know is, I’ve got B.S. coming at me from all directions and I’m about to blow a gasket.

   I’ve heard about the Mercury thing before. Supposedly what happens is the planet starts to revolve in the opposite direction somehow, and apparently that trickles over to us here on Earth and screws up communication between everyone. I don’t know how true that is or if it’s true at all, but I’ve heard it from people I’d have no reason to doubt their word.

   My grandfather would have attributed that theory to ‘moonbeams and stardust’ as he’d call anything to do with astrological events. He didn’t believe in any of it, but I’m not so sure. This would be more of an astronomy thing rather than astrological, and maybe both.

   If a planet reverses the way it revolves, isn’t there a reaction to that somehow? I know it screws things up on Earth when there are sunspots, and that isn’t moonbeams and stardust at all. That’s a physical fact of the solar system. Whatever it is, I’m feeling off right now.

   I feel like I can’t keep up with everything, and things just keep piling up for me to work on. I can’t put the time into any of them that I think needs to be, and everything feels like it’s on the verge of collapsing. I don’t know what to do about it other than keep slugging, but I’m at the end of my patience rope which wasn’t very long in the first place. It’s tense.

   It always seems that people only call me when they want something. I’ve always tried to help as much as I can, and maybe I’m a sucker but I can’t help it. If someone is in need, it bothers me - especially if I feel I can help out. Life is short and I think it’s all about giving but a certain segment of people think it’s all about taking and not giving back. I hate that.

   I’ve been trying to find a happy medium, and I just can’t seem to do it. I have a friend in need right now who’s between jobs and needs to feed a family. I have a few trinkets that I think can be sold on Ebay, but I have zero time to do it. That person came over today and I made time even though I had none, and we went to my storage area looking for trinkets.

   We found a few, but they should bring at least a couple hundred dollars in time of need. Then, that person took a phone call that lasted at least half an hour, and all I could do was sit in the passenger seat and hear my day tick away. I know I’m a control freak, and when I can’t do anything about it I feel useless and helpless and it infuriates me that I’m stuck.

   This is why I always like to drive myself anywhere so I can leave if I want. Today I was trying to help someone else, and put myself in a position of vulnerability and got stung by circumstances. I’m not angry at the person, but I am disappointed I put myself in this spot in the first place. I have my own problems to work on. I am in a rut right now, and I know it because I’m doing stuff like misplacing my keys and glasses frequently. I have way too much going on and I know it. Come on Mercury, turn it around. My head is in Uranus.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Tech No Logical

Wednesday April 5th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   Well, here’s another pain in the groinal region I didn’t expect. Losing my phone contact list is turning out to be a bigger deal than I first thought. Why they couldn’t get the list off of my other phone is beyond me, but so is most of the rest of technology. I’m a dumb ass.

   It hit me head on and hard today that I’ll have to rebuild my entire list of contacts from the ground up. That’s a big task, and one I wasn’t planning on but I have no choice. This is my life blood in the entertainment business, and I’m going to either rebuild it or starve.

   I thought I had it backed up already, but I guess I didn’t. There was apparently a way to protect everything via wireless backup, but I didn’t have that on my phone plan. It’s kind of like getting into a car accident and finding out what isn’t covered. Too late by then.

   It is what it is. I know I’m not the first person to lose all contact numbers and I won’t be the last. I’ve had a lifetime of lost notebooks and computers and wallets and documents I was never able to replace so I’m used to it by now. I’ll just have to watch my back better.

   Who can do everything that needs to be done? I sure can’t. Damn, I’m overwhelmed on all sides as it is. Now out of the blue I get all my contacts taken away? That makes it even harder, but nobody else cares. They’ve got their own problems. I have to fix this myself.

   I sure tried to give it a good start today, but didn‘t get very far. I farted around with my new phone and I felt like a kindergartener looking through a calculus book. I was about as over my head as Obama is running the country and I knew I had my work cut out for me.

   I do have quite a few of my old contacts, and I sent out a mass mail explaining what my situation was and return emails started pouring in. I’ve gotten them from other people and know how it is. They just update the info and some I hadn’t heard from in a while said hi, so that was nice. It’s a super slow process loading names in the new phone, but I started.

   I’m going to build myself a quality list of people I’m working with now, and I was very careful of who I chose to load in there to build that foundation. I looked over the contacts I did have, and picked the top fifty people that I think are the biggest positives in my life.

   I narrowed those down to the top ten, and even though it took way longer than it should have, I loaded them in first. Then I did another ten after that of the best of the rest. This is a great way to build a contact list, and I know when it’s done it will be better than before.

   There’s such limited time in life it’s impossible to hang with everyone as much as we’d like so I’m going to be very careful who I choose to associate with from now on. I wasted enough time on idiots, and here I sit with my education nowhere near where I want to be.

   This is all part of life, and I choose to let this be both a learning experience and a way to improve myself by improving the quality of people I choose to associate with in my life.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cell Hell

Monday April 4th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   As I went to use my cell phone this morning, the screen zapped out and turned white as a blizzard. I wasn’t able to get it to do anything else after turning it off and on quite a few times, and I knew that was the ‘game over’ signal. I’d gotten a lot of use out of it though.

   I am a flaming techno idiot, and don’t enjoy gadgets at all. Some people are first in line and pay extra to get the latest toy as soon as it comes out, but I’m just the opposite. It took me years to even consider getting a cell phone, and when I finally did I hardly used it. The land line I had worked fine, but like the rest of us the cell eventually was my only phone.

   Over time, I’ve lost a couple and had a couple others zap out, and I know I’m by far not the only one that’s happened to. I guess it’s the cost of convenience, but each time I go to get a new one, there’s been a major upgrade in the technology. I was lost six phones ago.

   I don’t think I’ve ever once taken a picture with my phone or used the GPS system. I’m old school when it comes to finding directions. Give me the streets and I’ll find it. That’s the way I’ve always done it, and I’ve survived a quarter century of traveling doing that.

   I know I’m an old fart and poo pooing technology just like my Grandma used to, but all I really want from a phone is to be able to make calls, and send text messages. That’s one thing I have embraced, because it‘s efficient. A well placed text can save a lot of hassle.

   There’s a Sprint store by my house and that’s the brand I’ve had since I first got my first phone back in Salt Lake City. I was working for Clear Channel then, and they had a group discount for all of us in the building who hadn’t gotten one yet. There were about a dozen radio stations in one building, so there were a lot of us who took advantage of the deal.

   I don’t think anyone has ever been satisfied with their cell phone provider, and I’ve had chances to switch companies but I never did. If I was a techno geek I’m sure it would be a major deal, but since I’m an idiot I’m content to stay where I am. Ignorance really is bliss.

   The new phone I upgraded to is absolutely amazing to a monkey like me. It’s loaded up with so much stuff I’ll never use, I should just give it back and buy some walkie talkies to get me by. I’ll at least understand how to use those. This is going to be a learning process, but it would behoove me to make an effort to master it. This is a big part of modern life.

   I watched the people in the store whiz around on it as they showed me how to use it and I realized immediately that the world has passed me by. I haven’t even figured out how to play the video game ‘Pong’ yet, and now I’ve got Mission Control in my hands. I’m toast.

   I wonder what my grandpa would have thought about all this? He wasn’t exactly on top of the technology of his day either. He was HUMAN, and that seems to be the one thing I see missing in all these modern conveniences. How about some imagination? Let’s enjoy life‘s simple things and have fun. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Monday, April 4, 2011

Can't Get It Done

Sunday April 3rd, 2011 - Kenosha, WI

   I don’t think I was born with the organizational gene, and it’s frustrating. It’s a massive struggle every single day to keep things flowing, and more often than not I let myself drift away from whatever plan I may have made and it ends up throwing everything off course.

   If I could change it I would, and I’ve tried, but it’s not working. It’s difficult to play the dual role of planner and executioner of said plan, but I have little choice right now. I can’t hire people and pay them what they’re worth to work for me just yet, so I have to find my own way for the moment. I’ve been trying to do that for years, and I’m not pulling it off.

   Today was a perfect example. My friend Todd Hunt asked me to help him review some new material he wants to use in his speaker presentation. No problem. I enjoy hanging out with Todd, and his birthday was last week and I owed him a meal. He drove up to my part of town to go to the Golden Corral, which made it a lot easier than me going to Chicago.

   We were scheduled for a 1 o’clock meal, but I’d been up in Milwaukee the night before hanging out with comedians there until 4am. That’s what comedians do, and I can’t say it wasn’t fun because it was. That’s why we do it. It sure was a lot easier in my 20s though.

   I didn’t get home until almost 6am, and I tried to get some work done after that and did not get to sleep until about 7:30. I haven’t put in hours like that lately, and it shows. I got to the Golden Corral by 1, but was dragging ass to get there. My youth is painfully gone.

   Todd and I hung out until almost 4pm. We always have something to talk about, and he and I exchange ideas and concepts all the time. Our meetings are productive and fun and I don’t regret doing them, but stuff like that really does cut into a work day as far as time is concerned. My weekly lunches with Marc Schultz are similar. I love them, but they cost.

   In a perfect world, I’d take a few weeks or months off and get everything caught up and start completely over. That’s not practical though. Who can realistically do that? Life is a constantly evolving project, and needs constant attention to keep everything functioning.

   How can I focus on any one thing and keep everything else going at the same time. It’s impossible and I don’t see how anyone does it without hiring someone to help. I suppose some people are better at this kind of thing than others, and I know I’m on the lower rung.

   Tonight I had another Mothership Connection radio show on AM 1050 WLIP, and even though that was fun as well it also takes a lot of time. Four hours on the air is a long time,  fun or not. We had our favorite guests on, the ‘Twin Psychics’ Chinhee and Sunhee Park.

   They’re fantastic guests and have a website that’s got a lot of interesting things to offer including a newsletter. Their readings are dead on, and they fit in perfectly with what we’re doing. Still, after all that effort today it feels like I haven’t done a damn thing productive. I’m letting life play me rather than me take the wheel.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Wade In The Shade

Saturday April 2nd, 2011 - Stevens Point, WI/Milwaukee, WI

   As much as it might crush my delicate male ego, fact is fact. The closest this Caucasian will ever get to participating in professional athletics on this cosmic plane has passed, and I fell painfully short of my dream to be a star player in any sport. Most regular people do.

   The closest I will ever get to living that dream so many others have along with me was  being an NBA ball boy in high school for two years for my home town Milwaukee Bucks. Even getting to do that was something most people never get a chance do, and it was fun.

   What made it especially fun was the great group of guys that was assembled for the two years I was there. It was a well rounded mixture of city and suburbs, white and black, Jew and gentile and just about every other diversion imaginable and we all got along together.

   Usually cherry jobs like that are reserved for coach’s kids or other inside people, but not this time. There was a contest announced on the radio for high school kids who wanted to be ball boys for the Bucks, and the requirements were to write a letter telling why we did.

   I must have spent three days coming up with mine, and I typed it out making sure there were no mistakes of any kind. I honestly thought I’d have no chance because of so many other entries, but I did get a call back and got to have an interview at the Bucks’ offices.

   There were quite a few of us there that day, and we were all giddy because we’d gotten a call back. Everyone was friendly, and we were told there was a limited number of jobs and not everyone was going to be hired. We’d get to win the job with our interview, and the losers would get sent home with a bag of Bucks souvenirs. It was an exciting process.

   I remember getting told I’d made it and feeling like a first round draft choice. In reality, all I was being hired to do was mop up sweat during the game of the real players who fell down on the court, but it was a labor of love and I’m thrilled I got a chance to participate.

  Many of us from that squad of ball boys have stayed in touch for going on 30 years now. One of our group has managed to make a career out of it and still works there today. He’s obviously not mopping up sweat anymore, but he has moved up the ranks in the office.

   His name is Wade Waugus and I think the world of the guy, as did everyone else when we were ball boys. He’s from Brookfield originally, and at first he acted like a very cocky suburban kid. Some of us thought he’d be the odd one out at first, but he ended up staying the longest by far. Wade is well known around town, and is synonymous with the Bucks.

   He’s just a super guy and you can’t help but like him. He plays in a band and loves loud rock and roll. AC/DC is his favorite, and I’m happy to say he’s never grown up. Today is his birthday, and I realized I haven’t seen him in a while and owe him a lunch or dinner or something just to stay in contact and hang out. He’s always come to see me perform over the years and is one of my favorite people ever. Friends like Wade are what life is about.

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