Monday, May 30, 2011

A Piece For Peace

Monday May 30th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   Memorial Day - or as my grandparents used to call it ‘Decoration Day’. I don’t need any more sadness in my life right now, but how can it be avoided? I’m very thankful for every freedom I have as an American, but I never lose track that it comes with a gigantic price.

   As I get older I find myself really tiring of needless stupidity, and war is at the top of the list. Maybe I’m turning into some retro hippie flower child, but that’s how I feel. I see the brevity of life and how delicate it is, and I feel bad for those who have to lose it in a war.

   Believe me, I’m no pansy ass. There are plenty of people in this world I can’t stand, but I don’t plan on killing them. My strategy has been to completely avoid them and focus on those people I do get along with. So far it’s worked out pretty well, and nobody has died.

   Not at my hands anyway. Yes, there are some idiots I’m not fond of that no longer exist, but I had nothing to do with that. They lived out their days and that was it. Hopefully they discovered whatever it was that made them repulsive to me, and they became better for it.

   That theory goes both ways too. My sister Tammy hasn’t spoken to me in over 18 years now, and no matter how many times I’ve tried to patch it up, she wants no part of it. I get the message, and even though it’s not pleasant both of us are still alive to try to improve.

   I just don’t think any wars should be necessary where innocent people have to die over an argument that’s not even theirs. Why does that have to happen? I know I couldn’t have any more naïve thoughts, but I want answers. Why do we humans like to kill each other?

   I don’t get it. I don’t have anything against anyone in Iraq or Afghanistan. I don’t really care about those people at all. Let them live where they live and do what they do as long as it doesn’t mess with us here. If they want to be religious kooks, fine. But I like bacon. If I want to eat it three meals a day, I should be able to do that and they shouldn‘t care.

   But it’s not like that, and it probably never was. There have been wars as long as we’ve had ‘civilization’, but how civil can it be if we’re slaughtering everyone? I know we have to defend ourselves, but how much? Can’t we just agree to disagree about whatever we’re fighting about and move on with life? No, because it’s all about money, greed and power.

   My German grandmother used to tell me how she had relatives in both World Wars on both sides. She told of meeting her cousin from Munich who was a struggling farmer who was injured by our side and had a hell of a time making ends meet afterward. He wasn’t a Nazi killing machine, he was just a farmer who was called to serve his country of origin.

  Life is hard enough without wars to rip families apart even more. We’ve been doing this killing thing long enough. Wouldn’t a few uninterrupted decades of peace come in handy so we can fix some problems here at home? My utmost thanks and respect to all veterans, but I’m for stopping the need to have them by stopping the wars that use them altogether.

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

Sad To The Bone

Sunday May 29th, 2011 - Chicago, IL/Kenosha, WI

   The sadness train keeps on rolling. Yesterday was painful enough having to say one last goodbye to the whole Vernon Hills Zanies experience and all the good memories that will live forever, today it was remembering and celebrating the life of the owner of the Zanies clubs Rick Uchwat. There was a memorial gathering at the Zanies in Old Town Chicago.

   A big part of me didn’t want to go as I’m just not up for any more sadness, but I knew I had to out of respect to one of the biggest influences of not only my life but most of those who were lucky enough to know him. The guy was a true legend, and a mentor to many.

   Most of the top comedians in Chicago were there like Larry Reeb, Tim Cavanagh, Tim Walkoe, Jimmy McHugh, Mike Preston, Vince Maranto, John DaCosse and a few more I am probably forgetting. There were also comedy people like Chris DiPetta who manages several comics such as Tim Wilson and Billy Gardell from the “Mike And Molly” show.

   Andrew and Brian Dorfman were there, and I owe those guys a lot too. They owned the Vernon Hills Zanies when it first opened along with Rick, and they’ve given me a whole lot of work over the years from the Vernon Hills Zanies to Nashville Zanies where Brian lives now to a ton of work in Florida where Andrew lives and has owned various clubs.

   These people were my bread and butter for a lot of years, and I couldn’t have missed an opportunity to pay respects even if it was uncomfortable, which it was. What does one say in that situation? What am I going to do, walk up to Rick’s wife and say “How ya doing?”

   I tried to make the rounds and shake hands with those I knew, and I noticed quite a few more I didn’t know but that didn’t surprise me. Rick had a wide range of influence in the Chicago area and I’m sure there were all kinds of influential people there I didn’t know.

   It’s all so damn sad. Zanies has been such a huge part of my life for so long, it’s almost easy to take for granted and think it will always be there. Well, obviously it won’t but it’s more than that. It’s a part of comedy history and Chicago history and I’m sad to see all of it happen the way it’s happening. We all have to go, but Rick was such a dynamic force.

   Apparently he didn’t want any kind of funeral or memorial service, but I’m glad we got to have one anyway. We needed it. Rick helped a ton of people, and I heard stories I’d not heard before as I listened to others talk of their memories. Mike Preston was filming them and I got my chance in front of the camera to share a couple of my own. I’m glad I could.

   At least there was a little bit of closure. None of us can believe he’s gone, as he was that much of a larger than life personality. Those that never knew him really missed out, and it sure drove home how little I’ve done with my own life seeing how big Rick’s tribute was.

   I had to be in Kenosha by 8pm to be on AM 1050 WLIP for a ‘Mothership Connection’ program, but my heart wasn’t in it at all. My soul was aching and it still is. I need a hug.

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

Twenty Years And Out

Saturday May 28th, 2011 - Vernon Hills, IL

   Not that it matters, but rarely have I ever been involved or associated with anything that lasts for generations so I can feel part of a tradition or legacy. Every school I’ve ever gone to has either closed its doors, been torn down or is something totally different than it was when I went there for example. Radio stations too - most I’ve worked for are off the air.

   When I was in high school, I worked at a frozen custard stand on the north side of town in Milwaukee called ‘Town Pride’, which was torn down years ago, as was another joint I worked on the south side of town called ‘Rustler Steak House’. It’s a Taco Bell lot now.

   It’s kind of like my entire life history has been erased and I was never even here at all. I feel like a spy, covering my tracks so if anyone looks me up in the future they won’t have a lick of proof that I ever existed. It won’t matter when I’m dead, but it feels hollow now.

   Tonight a major chapter in my life closed, and I cried bitter tears in my car both on the way there and on the way home. Zanies Comedy Club in Vernon Hills had their very last show tonight, and I was the last comic on stage besides the host Mike Preston. It’s poetic justice, as I was the emcee and first comic on that stage when the club opened in 1991.

   SO much has happened between then and now, but that club and everyone who worked there were more than work acquaintances - they were family. Everyone worked there for a long time, and we became part of each other’s lives. It was more than just a comedy club.

   The manager Liz Long was there for the duration, as were many of the wait staff.  All of us have aged twenty years since the club opened, and life has happened for everyone from wait staff to comedians to regular customers. There have been marriages and divorces and babies born and everything else that happens with a real family. I truly love those people.

   I was living in Milwaukee when the club opened, and I remember countless drives to do shows there over the years in all kinds of weather and in all kinds of rattle trap cars I’d try to nurse longer than I should have. I broke down more than once, and it became part of an ongoing soap opera that made things an adventure. I never knew if I’d get to work or not.

   The northern location of that club made it easier for me to get there than many Chicago comedians, so I was called to duty frequently. I worked every position on the bill over the years, and got to work with some big time celebrities from Richard Jeni to Tommy Chong to Craig Ferguson. It was working with him that I eventually got a shot to be on his show.

   It was a huge room, bigger than most comedy clubs. I worked it when it was packed and it was absolutely electric. I also worked it in front of a dozen people and it was painful for everyone. I taught classes there too over the years, and met all kinds of wonderful people.

   Tonight’s audience was full and ready, and many comics went up for one last show. I’m honored to be chosen to go last, but my heart is heavy knowing a pillar of my life is gone.

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

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Schlitz Getting Ready To Happen

Friday May 27th, 2011 - Milwaukee, WI

   Time to make Schlitz happen. After thinking carefully about all the things I’m currently working on, this is the one project that I think needs to be developed first. Everything else can be put on hold, but this one needs to get some attention so I can get it off the ground.

   The ultimate goal is to create a brand with this project, and market it to those who lived in or near Milwaukee before 1990. I’d like to have a website packed with content about as many Milwaukee themed topics as I can, even though Dave Mierzwinski has a wonderful site of his own called Retro-Milwaukee which is located at

   Dave’s site goes way past where I’d even think of going, and is more for historians that want to look back at Milwaukee’s culture. I’m interested in getting laughs, and that’s very different. Dave has been extremely supportive of what I’m doing, and I always want to be respectful and mention his site whenever I can. When my site is up, his will have a link.

   Another person who has my respect is John McGivern. He’s done several shows about his Milwaukee roots apparently, but we’re completely different people and I think there’s plenty of room for both of us. He’s an actor, I’m a comic. He grew up Catholic, I didn’t.

    His take and my take are going to be completely different. I’m not trying to copy what he’s doing and I’m not trying to gun for him to put him out of business or anything at all like that. That’s not the right way to do business. I just want to make room for my show, and doing the best job I can will help do that. Having other shows like it will only help.

   George Webb is a Milwaukee based hamburger chain that has been around since 1948. McDonald’s came along later, but both have been successful for decades. I think this will be the same thing. I’ll go in with respect, and hope to meet with John and tell him exactly what I plan on doing so we’ll all be on the same page from day one. That’s what I’d want.

   There are plenty of potential venues to choose and that’s why I went up there today. In a perfect world, I’d like two or three smaller venues to do semi regular shows on weekends starting in the fall. I need to work all summer to have a solid product when the actual gigs do come in, and I also want to have all the promotional legwork done by the time it starts.

   I also called two major radio stations and asked for a rate card. I will have to let people know somehow, and radio would help. I’ll also hope to buy ads on ESPN 540, because of my regular appearances on The D List. They’ve been great to me so I hope to reciprocate.

   I’m looking at this as a business, but also a labor of love. I had lunch with my long time friend Mark Krueger who sells ad space for the Shepherd Express newspaper. He’ll help me get bang for my buck with ads and coverage, and I hope I can be a regular customer.

   I had dinner at Drew Olson’s house as I hadn’t seen him and his family for a while. We had a blast and also ran some ideas up the flagpole about all this. What a productive day.

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

Friday, May 27, 2011

Finding New Customers

Thursday May 26th, 2011 - Gurnee, IL

   Pissing, moaning or bitching isn’t going to do me or anyone else any good. Neither will whining, complaining, bellyaching or sniveling. It’s a fact that times are tough and getting tougher by the minute, but the way to fight it isn’t with my mouth. It’s with my decisions.

   I still think my ‘squared circle of Uranus’ theory can work tremendously well. I’m in an ideally central location between Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and Rockford, and I think there’s a living to be made in that squared off area. There are MILLIONS of people from every demographic in the square, and if I were to focus on it I know I could be a top dog.

   I’ll still go out on the road, but only places I like and know. No more one night slugfests in far away tiny towns that don’t show up on Mapquest. I’m past that, and not sad at all to put it in my rear view mirror. I’ve got some great stories, but I don’t want to keep doing it now. I don’t need any more stories. I need to build a nest egg, but first I’ll need the nest.

   At least I’m still able to have some options. There are still open comedy clubs out there I like, even though that number is dwindling. I really enjoy Salt Lake City and Pittsburgh, even if money isn’t great in either place. It’s still fun to go there and blow the roof off the joint on a Saturday night and feel like a real live comedian, even if it’s only for a week.

  Right now, that would be enough. I have friends in those towns, and I enjoy visiting like a vacation once in a while Other than that, I don’t want to be out on the road every single week like I used to. I’m not sure if there even is a solid circuit of club work like that right now. That would take a lot of effort to get booked, and probably wouldn’t be worth it all.

   I had a productive lunch today with Jayne Nordstrom from the Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and that’s a very good start. They’re there to help make a connection with other businesses in Lake County so hopefully we can make each other money. That’s why I pay my membership fee, and I don’t feel guilty in the least for asking them to help.

   Jayne has always been fantastic about helping me whenever I‘ve asked for it, as have all the others in the office. It’s a very helpful staff, and they care about people. Now I have to take the time to make the contacts Jayne suggested, and plant some seeds for future work.

   Then, I hope to do the exact same thing in Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and Rockford so I can be a presence in all those areas. I want to get hired to do comedy shows, teach my classes, emcee events or coordinate entertainment for those who may need it. Knowing as many people in high places as possible doesn’t hurt, and that’s where I’m going to focus.

   I had dinner with Karl Newyear ‘The World’s Funniest Lutheran’, another Lake County resident. He’s working on getting booked in churches, and I think that could be a big time up and coming market. The main thing there is to be squeaky clean, which I can totally do if I have to. I wouldn’t mind doing any venue that is hungry to see comedy. It sure isn’t in comedy clubs, which is where one would think to look. It’s time to find new customers.

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

Thursday, May 26, 2011

No World Order

Wednesday May 25th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   Will ANYBODY in the real world as we know it who’s doing well, please stand up? I’d be glad to hear some happy stories for a while, as it sure isn’t anyone in my inner circle of contacts. Everyone I talk to lately seems to be taking it in the shorts, with no hope ahead.

   Why is this? I can’t figure it out, but I do see it happening all around me and it’s getting to be very depressing. Everyone is in a panic, and whatever was ‘normal’ just a short time ago is now ancient history. All things are getting shaken up in every field in every way.

   Comedy is no exception. I see the handwriting on the wall, and if I don’t find the way to reinvent myself in a hurry, I’ll be standing behind a deep fryer with a paper hat wondering whether to dive into the grease pit to end my suffering. It’s getting tougher to survive in a world that’s getting colder by the day. It’s trickling down to the masses, and I’m worried.

   I know it’s not good to worry, but I can’t help it. I feel insignificant and powerless in an insane world that isn’t trying to better itself as a whole any time soon. Watching the news is pure torture. If it isn’t sadness and disaster, it’s stupidity and mankind’s foibles shown.

   Some happy news would really be nice. How about instead of a 20 or 30 something cop getting shot and leaving a wife and young kids, one wins the lottery and is able to provide a great life for a family who in turn all grow up and use that example to perpetuate it into the next generation. Society is rotting at the core, and it seems to be too far gone to fix it.

   My little Pollyanna hopes and dreams seem very unimportant compared to what I see all around me every day. I talk to people in all walks of life who have had to take hits in their professional lives which in turn turns up the stress in their personal ones. It’s not pleasant.

   I’m just not finding things very funny these days, even though that’s allegedly what I’m supposed to be doing for a living. I want people to be happy, even if it would cause me to lose my job. If people were happy and laughing by themselves, they wouldn’t need me or all the others who have sacrificed our own happiness in order to hopefully build a career.

   That’s another part of the problem - there are WAY too many horrible comedians in the way of those precious few that are truly gifted. I’m sure it’s that way with any creative art, but it sure makes it tougher to survive when incompetent mooks smell an easy buck in it.

   Everyone stinks at the start of any creative endeavor, but a process begins where we all build our level of skills through constant working on them and like a flower, it eventually blooms and can be enjoyed by everyone until its run is over. I want my run to be noticed.

   Right now, I’m not sure what to do. I know I have a gift of making audiences laugh, but I’m not exactly sure how to use it to the fullest. What used to be is no more, and clubs are no longer the prime venue for what I do. But, with all these people suffering who has time to come out and see live entertainment? They’re all too busy trying to stay above water.

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Two True, Too Few

Tuesday May 24th, 2011 - Milwaukee, WI

   Today was yet another diversion from my intended path, but it was worth it. I’m already off my targeted work schedule by so much I’m not even sure what it is. The good news is, nobody else knows or cares a flea’s fanny about any of it - so if I decide it‘s ok, then it is.

   My friend Corey Scholtka invited me to a Milwaukee Brewers game and tailgate party, sponsored by GMAR - Greater Milwaukee Area Realtors. His dad Roy hired me to speak for their group years ago and he and Corey have always been great supporters of my work wherever and whenever I’ve appeared in the Milwaukee area. I can’t thank them enough.

     I met Corey years ago at a sports card show, and he’s a wheeler dealer to the max. He’s got entrepreneur written all over him, and we’ve always gotten along very well. He takes calculated risks, and isn’t afraid to have something blow up in his face, which it has from time to time, just like it has with me and anyone else in life who has guts to chase dreams.

   Corey and I have kept in touch loosely over the years, because we’ve both been all over the country working on whatever it is we were working on. I was looking very forward to catching up with him, but his grandfather passed away, and the funeral was tonight. I felt bad, but that’s how both of our timing tends to go. Still, I didn’t want to waste the tickets.

   As luck would have it, I was able to contact another one of my long time valued friends Greg Chadwell. Greg is in a league by himself when it comes to hard workers, and he has been my friend for going on thirty years. We first met up at a restaurant called the Rustler Steak House in Milwaukee where we were cooks in about 1982 and have stayed in touch.

   Greg is like family to me, and I owe him so much I’ll never be able to pay him back. He talked his future in laws to take me in when I needed a place to live, and I lived with them for a few years in my early 20’s when I was just starting out in comedy. They took care of me and supported my dreams and encouraged me like my own blood relatives didn‘t do.

   That whole situation came at exactly the right time, and I don’t know how I would have survived had I not met Greg who in turn introduced me to his in laws who in turn all took me in as one of their own. I always wanted to hit it big just so I could pay them all back.

   That’s not why they did it though, and that’s what makes them such sweet people in my eyes. They did it because it was the right thing to do. Period. That’s how life is supposed to work, and they all know it. Their kindness is still fresh in my mind all these years later.

   I read where Prince had a similar situation when he was a teenager, and he’s taken care of those people as well. I see why. There are times in life when family doesn’t or can’t or won’t come through, so it takes strangers to come along and take up the slack. Thank you.

   Again, I’m lucky to have such magnificent friends. I’m grateful more now then ever for people like Corey Scholtka and Greg Chadwell who like me for me. They’re true friends.

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

Producing Results

Monday May 23rd, 2011 - Chicago, IL

   I’m working every day on projects, and feeling good about them all. Standup comedy as I know it is evolving, as am I. I think I’m headed left on the monkey chart, but at least I’m going somewhere. My knuckles are scraping the floor, my back is getting hairy and I have the strangest urge to get an extra large banana milkshake. I’m getting simpler, but it’s ok.

   I really like what I’m doing, and that’s a major positive. I’m loaded up with trying to do six things at once, but what’s really added new excitement to all of it is my experimenting with producing other people. I’m finding I love it, and I have MUCH clearer direction for them than I do with my own stuff. I have a different perspective, and I feel comfortable.

   George Clinton has produced all kinds of other projects in addition to putting together a lengthy catalog of his own work with Parliament, Funkadelic and his own solo albums for the last thirty years. He’s produced very successful outside projects for The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bootsy Collins, The Horny Horns, The Brides of Funkenstein, Parlet and more.

   If he can find the time to do all that, I can find the time to do what I want to do as well. I’m currently working on a new DVD release for James Wesley Jackson which we’ll call ‘21st Century Enviromedian’, after discussing it at length. James thinks it fits his personal style, and I have to agree. We’re communicating regularly, and everything is going well.

   I’ve hired Pedro Bell of Funkadelic cover art fame to handle the artwork for this project just like he’s done for both my current CD ‘Hard Luck Jollies’ and my next one which he totally nailed called ‘Comedy Skeletons In The Closet’ after George Clinton’s classic CD cover ‘R&B Skeletons In The Closet’ from 1986. It’s all costing a chunk, but it’s worth it.

   I didn’t skimp on the product or the packaging, and that’s never a bad investment in my opinion. James has a very unique style, and has had fans from his days touring with all of the madness that went with the Mothership years. He’s part of the history of a cult band.

   In my limited entrepreneurial experience, that’s something I think I can sell and I’ve put my own time, energy and money toward it to prove I’m right. Maybe I’m not, but it really feels right and the more things I do the more it confirms I did exactly the right thing. I am a fan of James both personally and professionally, and I know we can pull this project off.

   Another project that’s gaining legs is a combination tour with my friends Dan Still, Don Reese and Dwight York. They’re all great guys and very funny, but not necessarily how a majority of the mainstream would picture funny. They’re all very smart, and yes they’re a little dark but absolutely hilarious to the right audience. I’m going to coordinate their tour.

  These are both giant left turns, but I know exactly what I’m doing as far as what to do to start both projects in a positive direction. I already have, and have put minimal effort into either one. It’s incremental growth, but both are sprouting quickly. I don’t mind delaying my own stuff right now, because I’m learning a lot doing all this. And, I can feel results!

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

Friends Without Ends

Sunday May 22nd, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   One thing I’ve been super blessed with in life is a stellar lineup of friends. I can’t be any more grateful for all of them, and I never want to take advantage of their kindness. I know how I try to be kind to people whenever I can, but sometimes there are those that abuse it.

   I don’t want to be one of those people. Lately, my friends have been coming through for me when I really need it, and I appreciate it. I feel like I owe them, but they don’t expect a score to be kept. They do it because it’s in them, just like it’s in me. It’s how it should be.

   My friend Richard Caan has really helped me unload my sports card collection. I bought it at THE worst time, and it was a mistake. I thought I could spin it and turn a buck, but it turned out to be a total waste of time and money. He sells cards for a living, and has taken it upon himself to go out of his way to package the bulk of my stuff and get a return on it.

   He totally didn’t have to do that, and he’s put time and energy into it that’s taken focus away from his own business. He’s managed to get back the most return possible in these times, and hasn’t complained once. Friends like that are special, and I won’t forget this.

   Another friend who has gone out of his way to show kindness to me lately is Bert Haas from Zanies. Bert has always been good to me, but lately he’s been extra kind in booking me to work at all the Zanies in the Chicago area. I’m one of their boys, and I never take it for granted. I’ve been loyal to them, but they’ve been loyal to me in return for 20 years.

   I went over to Bert’s house today to talk about the continuation of comedy classes at the Chicago location. Zanies has made me their exclusive comedy teacher for many years and they didn’t have to do that either. Now that the owner Rick is gone, Bert and I need to get on the same page to see if classes are even feasible, and that’s what we discussed today.

   The good part about Bert being a friend is that I didn’t have to keep selling him on what I’m trying to do. He gets the concept, and wants it to work just like I do. It’s a lot easier to move forward that way than if I’d have to keep trying to convince him of the class merits.

   We mapped out a plan for the fall, and will do our best to execute it. Maybe it will work and maybe it won’t, but at least I have a chance to succeed and backing from management who believes in what I‘m doing. In this day and age, that’s more than most get. I’ll take it, and not complain. I have a chance to make something happen, what more could I ask for?

   Bert and his wife Sally have always treated me like family, and I’ll always owe them for that. They’ve had me for Christmases and Thanksgivings and all kinds of other times they didn’t have to invite me. I love their kids too, and have watched all three grow from birth.

   Jerry Agar and his family are another example of someone who’s taken me in and made me part of the mix. I’ve watched his kids grow up too, and they’re all fantastic. No matter what things I didn’t get in life, good friends isn’t one of them. They’re all special to me.

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

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Macho Man Memory

Friday May 20th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   I heard the news of Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage’s fatal car accident all day today, and it made me sad. Unfortunately, how one dies is often a large part of how one is remembered as a whole. Princess Di also went in a car wreck, and there are still jokes about her today.

   I haven’t heard any Macho Man jokes yet, and I don’t plan on writing any. I did have an opportunity to meet him years ago though, and in the most unusual way. I hadn’t thought about it in years, but hearing of his death reminded me of it immediately. It’s strange how that works. I’m sure when I die, certain people will have isolated memories of my life.

   Some will be good, others will be not so good. That’s how it goes. I really do try to be a good person and treat others well, but sometimes people just clash. All I can do is hope to make more positive impressions than negative. Whatever I do, it’ll be over soon enough.

   My brief encounter with Randy Savage came when I worked at WMMQ in Lansing, MI in 1990. It was my first radio job, and there was a promotion on the station to win tickets in the front row with a limo ride there and back to what was then called WWF wrestling.

   Lansing is a blue collar working class town, and that was a perfect prize for listeners to a classic rock station. I knew wrestling from my days as a ring announcer, and the WWF was trying to push the matches so they set me up with an interview with Freddie Blassie.

   I knew who Freddie Blassie was, so I set him up with one loaded question after another so he could slam the hell out of me on the air and put himself and the WWF over, but also promote the upcoming show. After we were done, he called back and said he appreciated the job I did and wanted to meet me in person at the matches. I was thrilled he liked it.

  The guy who ended up winning the grand prize was the ideal choice. He worked at GM, and took his 11 year old son. Perfect. I rode in the limo with them, and we had a fantastic time. The kid was very nice, and I told the father I’d gladly take him back stage to get an autograph or two, hopefully with the help of Freddie Blassie. We were all very excited.

   As the father stayed in his seat, I took the kid backstage and began opening doors trying to find anyone who could help me find Freddie Blassie. I opened one door to reveal Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat and one Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage relaxing with a card game.

   Unfortunately, those were the two guys in the main event that evening, and they weren’t supposed to be on friendly terms - especially to play cards together. The kid looked at that scene like he just saw Santa Claus raping his mother, and Macho Man himself glanced up at the kid’s horrified look and said “Welcome to the wonderful world of wrestling, kid.”

   I apologized for interrupting them and closed the door, and we never were able to locate Freddie Blassie so we went back to our seats without exchanging a word. We watched the matches and the limo took us home, but that kid was never the same. RIP Randy Savage.

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

Choking For Charity

Thursday May 19th, 2011 -Chicago, IL

   More than any other performing art, standup comedy has the highest risk factor. When a performance goes poorly, and they do, there’s only ONE individual who has to absorb the punishment. The audience may be at fault, but that doesn’t matter. They aren’t on stage.

   On the flip side, when it goes well, that same individual gets to bask in the enormity of  the limelight‘s glory, which is the ultimate ego rub. It’s totally intoxicating. It’s an intense experience either way, and one can’t feel that high without the low. It‘s not for the timid.

   Starting out, the lows are frequent for a number of reasons. It’s part of having to pay our dues, which every seasoned performer has to do - no exceptions. Audiences aren’t usually very large at the beginning, and most of them don’t pay. It’s a challenge to get any laughs.

   As one progresses, what usually happens is as the skill level gets higher, experience lets those times of crashing and burning get fewer and fewer. Still, there are occasional shows when nothing goes right, and there’s nothing one can do but stand there and feel the pain.

   When that happens, it really stands out - just as a good show stands out in the beginning when it’s hard enough to stand on stage for five minutes much less worry about getting an audience to laugh. That first time they do is the shot of pure heroin that causes us to chase that feeling the rest of our lives. There’s nothing like it, and any real comedian will agree.

   That being said, I took one in the poop shoot big time tonight, and at a charity event yet. I’ve been having some of the best shows I’ve ever had in the last several months, and that made the sting hurt even worse. I’ve been on a hot streak like never before, knocking one show after the next out of the park and feeling like a real live big time entertainment pro.

   Not tonight. I couldn’t buy a laugh, but neither could anyone else on the show. This was a typical example of how charity shows often work - nobody was really there for comedy. They showed up to support the cause, and the show was an inconvenience to be endured.

   They weren’t mean people at all, but they just weren’t into the show. They were talking amongst themselves, and quite a few shouted out loud during the show trying to steal the attention from the stage. They were rude without knowing it, and all any of us could try to do was get through our allotted times and politely get off stage. This was not about jokes.

   I feel horrible, but I have enough experience to know it wasn’t my fault. Still, I wanted to give those people a kick ass show to reward them for their generosity to participate in a noble cause. I called in every favor I could think of to get media coverage but it didn’t do a bit of good. Nobody was there to see any of us, and we all struggled to finish our time.

   Elly Greenspahn put the show together and worked her ass off along with Mahoney’s, a quality bar and restaurant with an outstanding staff. Aaron Foster, Cameron Esposito and Brian Hicks all donated their time, as did I. We were there to help, but it sure wasn’t easy.

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

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Have To Try Harder

Wednesday May 18th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   Dreams are great, but without action they’re useless. If I don’t get my fanny in gear fast, I’ll die an unfulfilled loser wind bag like unfortunately most humans who have ever lived end up doing. Who has the actual guts to get out there and chase something they want for as long as it takes to get it? Not many that I’ve seen. It’s much easier to make excuses.

   I’m guilty of it myself. Sure, I’ve had some bad breaks in life, but who hasn’t? I haven’t come close to fulfilling my potential, and I’m very disappointed by that fact. I’ve had a lot of fun doing a lot of adventurous things most others never try, but I’ve fallen a crotch hair short of really putting it over the top. That being said, I have to ramp it up and try harder.

   I hunkered down from 6am to 6pm and tried to crank out as much as humanly possible in one single day. The trick is, deciding exactly what to do and how much to do it. I have so many things I want to accomplish, there’s no way I can get to it in a day or even a year.

   What I need to do is decide what’s important now, write down a workable plan, and DO it. It’s not that complicated. There are no more excuses, my time is limited and if I’m ever going to make great things happen, they need to start happening soon. I’m on the clock.

   I’ve decided to make Wednesday my weekly check in day with my pair of pet projects - ’The Enviromedian’ James Wesley Jackson  and ‘The Pirates Of Comedy’ with three of my favorite comedians and people Don Reese, Dwight York and Dan Still. These are two solid projects I’m really looking forward to for many reasons, but mainly for the people.

   All four of those guys are stellar humans, and the sum of our work will be greater than the sum of all parts. I sent out a ‘things to do’ list to both James and the Pirates, and we’ll keep building upon the things we need to do to start making some money. I’m shooting to create streams of income from both of those acts so I don’t have to go on the road myself.

   Knowing me though, I’ll end up hosting shows for both acts, but I’m not upset about it. This is a lot different (and better) than driving six states away to work some roach riddled liquor pit, following an incompetent opener and pouring my heart out to boozed up rubes.

   James’ project is coming together nicely. I spoke with Pedro Bell today, and he’s going to do the artwork. That’ll be my biggest expense. I know I didn’t need to, but I wanted to. James was associated with P-Funk in their heyday, and so was Pedro. It was the right fit.

   Plus, Pedro’s art style is extremely unique. It’s well known among fans of P-Funk, and that’s the fan base I’m shooting for. I’m one of them. I‘d rather fail taking action than not trying anything, so if this is a mistake I’ll take it standing up. I’m investing in the future.

  The Pirates of Comedy will be a challenge in a similar direction. It’s all comedy, but for a different audience. I want to build their following in comic book stores and even tattoo parlors. I love doing all of this, but I need to turn a buck for all. I’m betting on myself.

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hometown Hooters

Tuesday May 17th, 2011 - Greenfield, WI

   For the third straight year, I was asked to host a bikini contest at Hooters in Greenfield, WI. For a Tuesday night, that’s a dream gig. Nobody makes money on a Tuesday in these times, and all I had to do was host the show and look at women. Talk and gawk. I’m in.

   I’ve always enjoyed working with Hooters, and I’ve done it in a few places with various radio stations I’ve worked for. They always keep things professional and never allow it to cross the lines of decency. I’m not a prude by any means, but it’s better to keep it classy.

   What a brilliant marketing plan they’ve been able to execute for decades now. They’ve become a mainstream part of Americana, and that’s not easy to do in any business. I think it has to be due to a solid vision from the top that’s been well executed through the ranks.

   I probably should know who the top people are at Hooters, but I don’t. I do know I’m as impressed as impressed can get with the guy I deal with in Greenfield, Bob Hall. That guy is one sharp knife, and I love working with him. He’s got both smarts and people skills.

   That’s a combination about as potent and nitro and glycerin in my book. Bob knows his stuff inside and out, and there’s a lot to know to pull off one of these events. First, there’s a large circus tent structure that needs to be set up in the parking lot. I’m sure there has to be a permit of some sort, and he has to go through the city fathers to get all that in place.

   Then, he needs to pick a date, get sponsors, judges, a sound man, a host, and that hasn’t even included one contestant yet. Dealing with 18-22 year old women has got to have the highest pain in the ass stress rating there is, slightly ahead of a cat burglar and not quite at the level of hostage negotiator in the Middle East. I‘ll bet that‘s one crisis after another.

   Sure, they’re great to look at, but working with them on a daily basis has to be pure hell on Earth in a business situation. Every Hooters manager has to deal with how many girls? 30? 40? 50? Whatever it is, I don’t envy them at all. Bob makes it look easy, and each of the three contests I’ve hosted has gone off without a hitch or a glitch. The staff is great.

   I try my best to get the crowd into it, and make the girls all look like supermodels. None of them were ugly, but after five or six hot babes in bikinis walk by, what’s to say without taking it into the gutter? That’s why I get paid, and I did my best to make the show classy.

   Weather wasn’t great this year, and it was flat out cold by the end of the night when the sun went down. Those girls were in bikinis, and I know they had to be freezing. I saw the looks of disappointment on a few that didn’t win, and I felt bad for them. Life isn’t fair.

   Beauty contests are a lot like comedy contests. They’re subjective. Who’s to say who’s more beautiful than another? The judges - but who says they know anything? Life can be cruel, and I felt for those girls. The contest was a big deal to them, but only one could win and that’s just how life is. Still, it was fun to host it, and I hope Bob calls again next year.

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

Monday, May 16, 2011

Celebrity Conduct

Monday May 16th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   As much as it’s hard for me to believe, on a very small level to certain people I can pass for a celebrity. I may be on the ‘Z list‘, and I don’t claim higher, but it’s a fact. I don’t say that for bragging purposes, but for discussion. I think it’s of extreme importance to have a sharp awareness of how one in any form of the entertainment business handles people.

   Business relationships are important enough, but I think the way a celebrity on any level treats the public is the true test of inner character. I for one bust my ass to always try to be approachable, especially in a show setting. When someone comes up to me, I realize it’s a part of the business and I chose to be an entertainer. It’s usually not that hard to deal with.

   Most people are very nice, and more than make up for the psychopaths and wack-a-doo types that come along, and they do too. There are ways to handle them, and there’s never a reason to be mean or nasty. I’m getting recognized a lot more these days, and I’m very conscious of it when it happens. I always smile and sincerely thank people, and mean it.

   I’ve worked with and met more than my share of real celebrities through the years both in comedy and radio, and whenever anyone asks about a certain person, they always want to know of the celebrity was nice or not. They want to hear either one extreme or another.

   It’s funny how that is. People want to hear someone famous was either nice to a fault or a flaming butt whistle but NOTHING in between. If I say so and so was ‘just ok’, people are disappointed. They want either Mother Theresa’s kindness or Hitler‘s temperament.

   Most of the celebrities I’ve met have been on the nice side, but I’m not one to jump in a person’s face and ask for an autograph when they’re eating dinner. I lay back and usually that’s the one a celebrity gravitates to. I try to be a real person, and that’s usually enough.

   On the top of my list off the top of my head of the all time nicest celebrities I’ve met are George Carlin, Jeff Foxworthy, Craig Ferguson, Bobcat Goldthwaite, Ronnie James Dio, Julius Erving and believe it or not, Rosie O’Donnell. Yes, that Rosie O‘Donnell. I worked with her in Florida years ago, and she couldn’t have been nicer. We got along very well.

   Another one who gets special mention is Aisha Tyler. I met her years ago when I judged the San Francisco Comedy Competition when I lived in Reno. She wasn’t famous, but big things were in store for her. She’s a gorgeous well spoken woman who also happens to be black. The world is her oyster. Plus, her act was funny too. She had all the tools to win.

   It would have been easy for her to exploit that and be a raging selfish bitch, but she isn’t anything close to that. I watched her act this weekend and she’s paid her dues and has put a well earned career together. I have nothing but respect for her, and continue to be a fan.

   Plus, she’s been married for 16 years to the same guy. That says a lot, and then I sat and watched her sign autographs and be nice to her fans. That lady is a class act all the way.

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

Show vs. Business

Sunday May 15th, 2011 - Kenosha, WI

   Back on the radio for another Sunday night ride on The Mothership Connection on AM 1050 WLIP in Kenosha, WI. I keep waffling back and forth on whether I should continue doing the show, then a night like tonight happens to remind me how much fun it can be.

   Last night I had a comedy show that blew the roof off a beautiful old theater with a jam packed house, and that was a blast also. Two nights, two home runs in two different fields of endeavor. Most people never get to experience one, so why am I having pangs of panic ricochet all over the inside of my skull? I’m not hauling in money, and that’s a red flag.

   My ‘show’ is finally getting there after years of paying dues, but my ‘business’ is sorely lacking. It’s very imbalanced, much like a basketball player that can only use one hand to dribble. There’s a whole other side that needs to be developed, but if it is it would mean a dramatic improvement for the player’s entire game. My business side needs improving.

   Unfortunately, that’s much easier said than done. Part of the reason I’ve always done all I do is to experience the fun and excitement of being an entertainer. It’s the greatest high I could ever imagine, and this weekend proved it. I floated off the stage in Hobart Saturday, and the four hours on the air tonight went by like four minutes or less. It was pure ecstasy.

   I guess the question here is, what’s wrong with having fun? Not a damn thing, but when it comes without money, there’s a major ingredient missing. I’ve sacrificed my whole life to acquire a skill set in not one but two extremely difficult and competitive fields to have to keep struggling financially. By all accounts, I should be in my peak earning years now.

   I’ve seen what people with less ability than I have make, and they can’t do both comedy and radio like I can. Why am I not getting paid like they are? This is the question that’s at every level of entertainment from sports to music to acting to comedy. The bottom line is, it just isn’t fair. Never was, never will be, isn’t now. I have to find a way to rework that.

   If it’s going to be unfair, why not make it unfair in my favor for a change? I think I need to reinvent myself in a way that will appeal to a certain audience that isn’t currently being addressed. What is that audience? If I knew that, I’d be riding in limos counting my cash.

   Dane Cook is an example of someone who did that extremely well. I don’t have to like his act, and I don’t. I do love his marketing prowess, and he’s the exact opposite of me in that his business is way ahead of his show. He gets people in seats though. Good for him.

   This kid Russell Peters is another. I’ve never seen his act, and probably wouldn’t like it, but he’s filling arenas catering to an audience of Indian people. Again, good for him. He’s got a niche I could never fill, so he’s no competition to me in the least. But how can I find a way to cash in on my own ability? I know there are people who like what I do, I’ve done all kinds of killer shows in the past few weeks alone. I just don’t know how to turn a buck with it. Well, a fair market value one anyway. If I can get an audience, I can ace the job.

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

Hoedown In Hobart

Saturday May 14th, 2011 - Hobart, IN

   If there’s something better for an aching heart than a kick ass comedy set, I sure haven’t found what it is. Nothing, and I do mean NOTHING feels better than going up in front of a packed house of strangers and letting it rip. It turns everything around, and life is good.

   Tonight I was booked for a show in Hobart, IN at a beautiful old renovated facility right downtown called The Art Theater. They did a fantastic job and I always love to play those kinds of places, especially when they’re full like it was tonight. This is the reason I exist.

   Everything about the event was handled extremely well. There were two comedians, an improv troupe and an improv duo on the bill and there was a full house in attendance that thoroughly enjoyed the show. What more could we ask for?  It was the way it should be.

   The guy I dealt with was named Ron Harlow, and he couldn’t have been any nicer. He’s part of the improv troupe called ‘Flash Mob’, and they did a long form improv set after an opening standup set by a funny young Chicago comic named Joe Kilgallon. The audience was there to laugh, and both acts did an outstanding job. Then there was an intermission.

   I went on right after the intermission and blew the dust out of the speakers. It’s so much fun to go out there and crush, especially when nobody but me expects it. I was only asked to do a 25 minute set, and I can do that in my sleep. I was loaded for bear, and that crowd was red hot from the second I stepped on that stage. I just laid back and let them laugh.

  That’s a feeling like none other, standing on a stage waiting for the audience to die down with their laughter so the next line can be said that will set them off again. It’s like surfing and catching one mammoth wave right after another. It’s a feeling no comic ever tires of.

   Closing the show was the improv duo of T.J. Jagodowski and Susan Messing. I worked with T.J. on some recorded comedy bits when I worked at The Loop and know how funny he is. That guy is brilliant, and super nice too. He was one of the featured players in a run of commercials for Sonic restaurants where two guys are sitting in a car making an order.

   He was hilarious in those commercials, and I have nothing but respect for the guy. A lot of standup comics have disdain for improv people, but I never did. They’re two extremely different skill sets, and neither is easy to master. T.J. is a master improviser, and I love his style. Susan Messing is one of the top people in the field as well and they’re a super team.

   I’d love to be part of shows like this anytime they’d like to book me. I think the strategy of combining standup with improv works well and I hope they do it more. The audience’s laughter all night showed that they loved us all. Hopefully we can do more shows like it.

   This was a totally unexpected pleasant surprise. I had no idea what to expect, and I took the gig because I was recommended by my friend Nick Gaza who lives in Indiana. He put the word in, and I got the gig. Everyone was pleased, and we all exceeded expectations.

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

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Still Bumming

Friday May 13th, 2011 - Gurnee, IL/Vernon Hills, IL

   I’m still way bummed about Rick Uchwat’s passing. I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s a shining example of how we don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone, and I can’t believe I’ll never see him again. I’m sad we didn’t get a chance to say a goodbye, even though we never had a cross word between us. There were no fences to mend, we got along superbly.

   Still, I would have liked to have one last time to thank him and share a few laughs with someone I really looked up to. He was a dented can and then some. I thought my life was a circus, but if it was it couldn’t carry a candle to Rick’s. His had elephants and clowns.

   Rick was born in Austria, and his parents were survivors of Auschwitz. He also served in Vietnam and was badly injured there. He came back to Chicago after he got out of the service and settled in Old Town, which was the hippie section then. He got into all kinds of businesses from strip joints to parking lots, and he made good money in his twenties.

   I don’t know if he was a natural businessman or if he learned it because he had to. I’m guessing he was a natural, because he usually made excellent decisions. He was a smart guy, and nobody put one over on him. Plus, he had a likeability like few I’ve ever met.

   The reason people liked him was because he knew how to make everyone feel special, from royalty to stumble bum. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. There was a bum pestering people in front of Zanies on Wells Street in Chicago, and he was a royal pain in the ass.

   He’d guilt people into giving him money, and it was uncomfortable for people waiting in line in front of the club between shows. Rick went out there and talked to the guy for about three minutes, and reached into his wallet and pulled out a bill, and he was gone.

   I have no idea how large the bill was, but you could see the guy listen and nod along as Rick made his points. He had his hand on the guy’s shoulder the whole time, and after he finished we never saw him outside the club again. Whatever Rick said worked perfectly.

   There were constant stories like that, and Rick was a master of putting out fires. He had a knack for cutting through B.S. and making deals with people. I wish I had that talent but I’m sorely lacking in that department. I miss Rick already and it’ only been a single day.

  I stopped at Gurnee Mills Mall for a member expo for the Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau, but I was in no mood to hang out. I talked with my friends there and they understood. I didn’t want to be rude and not show at all, but my heart wasn’t in it. I took a walking lap since I was there, and again was reminded of how  out of shape I truly am,

   I had no shows tonight, which is odd for Mr. Lucky and Friday the 13th. I can’t think of the last time I wasn’t working on one, but not tonight. I hung out at the Zanies in Vernon Hills, IL and the staff there was just as sad as I was. I did get to hang out with Aisha Tyler who was a very nice person, but it didn’t change the fact we were all still missing Rick.

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

Rick Uchwat R.I.P.

Thursday May 12th, 2011 - Chicago, IL

   Rick Uchwat (YOO-aht), founder and owner of Zanies Comedy Clubs has died. He was  by far the biggest supporter I’ve ever had, and it was him that ultimately kept me working steadily at the craft I’ve loved for over twenty years. He was also the ultimate dented can.

   I’m so crushed right now I don’t know where to start. Shock, pain, disbelief and sorrow are words that head in the direction I’m feeling, but they don’t come close to capturing all of it. He was truly a giant in his field, and I am by far not the only one who misses him.

   Rick was THE Godfather of the comedy scene in Chicago, and created an inner circle of solid people around him that became the Zanies family. I have been part of that family for going on 25 years now, and I’m extremely proud of it. It’s a lot more fun than my real one has ever been, and a lot more functional too. Rick was head of it, and took care of us all.

   Everyone loved him too. He didn’t always hang out at the clubs, but when he was there, he never held it over anyone that he was the owner. He talked to everyone and made us all laugh, but he also made us feel important and appreciated. A smile or thumbs up or pat on the back from Ricky lasted a long time, and made all of us want to bust our asses for him.

   The saying ‘A fish rots from the head’ was exactly the opposite of how Rick’s operation worked. We all took on his charisma and worked extra hard for him. Loyalty was without question. There are three Zanies locations in Chicago and one in Nashville, and the staffs have been in place for years. That includes management, wait staff and comedians too.

   It really is a family, and that’s unheard of in the entertainment business. The place I live is indirectly a result of working at Zanies, as that’s where we met years ago. I’ve gotten to spend Christmas and go to sporting events and forge life long friendships with the people I’ve worked with at all the Zanies locations, including Nashville. This is a sad, sad day.

   Rick was loaded with charisma, and he just had a way of winning people over. He was a Pisces, and his birthday was March 19th. I always called him on his birthday and we’d talk about life and what was going on, and I always thanked him for everything he’d done in a particular year - which was usually a lot. He told me I was the only one who ever did that.

   Rick was around when Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld and Richard Lewis started, and they are his peer group. Jay Leno was quoted as saying “Rick was the best.” There aren’t a lot of things to be said after that, because he was right. Rick set the standard for club owners. There are a few club owner headstones I would enjoy pissing on, but they survive. Why?

   When I had my nearly fatal car accident in 1993, Rick made sure a check for $2000 was in my intensive care room a day later. Yes, I had to pay it back, but I got to work it off on stage, and that was another way he supported me on my way back. I’ll never forget Rick’s kindness, and I can’t believe he’s gone. The entire Zanies family is stunned, and nobody’s lives will ever be the same. Thank you Ricky, you truly made a difference for all of us.

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

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Doomy Gloomy Heart

Tuesday May 10th, 2011 - Milwaukee, WI/Fox Lake, IL

   Up to Milwaukee today to jump start things up there. I haven’t been up there in a while and gas prices aren’t helping. It’s killing all of us, but especially us drivers of road yachts. OPEC, you sunk my battleship. I have to make my trips count and really think before I go anywhere these days because it’s a major investment whenever I do. Why is it like this?

   I guess it’s not the end of the world, but I don’t know how long people can survive this pain. I know I’m getting reamed in the gas hole, but I have to believe pizza deliverers and cab drivers are getting it even worse than me. How about letting the little man turn a buck by hustling a little? It worked fine before, and then there’s a nice tax base to work from.

   Now it seems like the powers that be are just hell bent on eliminating the common man, and I don’t know why. Maybe we’ve outlived our usefulness, but we sure aren’t getting a happy sendoff. It’s getting rougher and rougher and pretty soon something’s got to snap.

   I don’t want anyone to snap. Especially me. I want life to be happy, hopeful and packed with pleasant memories for everybody. I want people to live their dreams and be wealthy in all areas from money to health to fulfilling relationships with everyone around them.

   What am I, a flaming imbecile? I’m sure many would concur, but what’s happening out there now is very disturbing. Someone somewhere is pushing some button that is keeping us under some thumb and slowly draining our spirit of adventure. It’s killing all our spirit.

   Am I thinking this way just because I’m getting older, or is the world really changing in a frightening way? Maybe it was always like this, but my gut feelings says it wasn’t. It’s a different world than the one I grew up in, and even though it wasn’t perfect, it had hope.

   Or, was it me that had the hope and now I’ve officially lost it? I really think I have. The future looks very scary, and I wouldn’t want to be a kid in this world now. It was difficult enough when I came up, and even though I had it worse than most it wasn’t like it is now.

  Everything now seems to be morphing into a big corporation which owns everything and everyone. We’ll all have to be at their mercy, and creativity and freedom as we know of it now will be considered dangerous and wiped out at all costs. It‘s like USSR, The Sequel.

   Why am I so doomy and gloomy today? I really don’t know. I’m just writing what I feel and how I see things going. I sure don’t want to be right this time, but it’s hard to deny an ominous tone in the world today and a not so bright future ahead. I sure hope I’m as off as off can be with that prediction. I just want to make an honest living and have a nice life.

   I met with Richard Halasz in Milwaukee and we mapped out a plan to do some ‘Schlitz Happened!’ shows in the fall and also how to get work next summer. For once I’m getting smart and starting to plan ahead. I just hope there will be a world left to execute the plans I do make. I can’t control any of that though. All I can do is keep my eye to my own path.

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

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Mess To Assess

Monday May 9th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   I just finished up a solid three week run of shows, but have precious little to show for it. It feels like I just threw a giant party at my house, but was too busy working to please my guests that I didn’t have time to have fun myself. Now it’s over, and I’ve got a gargantuan mess to clean up, but I don’t feel like it. I don’t know where to start, but I know need to.

   In many ways, my life is a mess right now. Much of it is due to my continued lack of an organized plan of attack, and I admit it. It’s not an excuse, but it is a major reason. I won’t deny that what I’ve been doing and how I’ve been doing it is not even close to my idea of how it should be, and I need to make some major changes. My plans just aren’t working.

  Some of them are, but not nearly consistently enough to make any real progress. I’m in a rut and spinning my tires. There might be some squealing and smoke, but I’m not out of it by a long shot. I need to rethink my whole life and once again return to the start position.

   Those three weeks as a whole were actually pretty good as far as shows go. That part of my life is doing as well as it ever has, but I’m deathly afraid if I neglect it even for a little while, I’ll lose my comedy chops. I’m in a groove right now as far as that goes, but every other facet of my life looks like a tornado went through it and destroyed everything alive.

   I feel like I’ve been gone the last three weeks, and that’s not what I want. I didn’t make as much money as I have in the past with gas prices in the stratosphere, and I also had my hands full with a lot of stressful situations I’m not able to get into now, but will discuss at length shortly. There’s a stressful situation brewing, and when it pops I’ll be worse for it.

   The bottom line is, I had some very good comedy shows recently. None of them had an impact on a career though, and that’s where I’m sorely lacking. I’m bogged down by a lot of projects on my plate and the fact that I’m a one man band trying to play a symphony. It isn’t working, and I need to implement the help of many others if I’m to make it all work.

   Time to back up and start the process over again. I’ve lost count at how many times I’ve done that, but when it doesn’t work what else is there to do? If I’d continue just stumbling along like I am, that would assure I wouldn’t get what I want, or think I want. I need a big master vision which is able to be chopped down into daily, weekly and monthly versions.

   This is not going to be easy, and I’ve always known that. I feel like I make a little bit of progress, then slide back and erase it all. It’s frustrating, but I have to make a living and it sometimes throws a major detour in my path. I’ve got a lot of things brewing now, maybe too many. I’ve got some time now to reassess the big picture and again start a new plan.

   I made a list of the projects I want to work on, and it was a big one. I’ve got the ‘Schlitz Happened!’ show, comedy classes, The Mothership Connection radio show on WLIP, the DVD project with James Wesley Jackson, a comedy tour with Don Reese, Dan Still and Dwight York, and a project I’ve been approached on about sports comedy. That’s plenty.

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

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Mother Of A Day

Sunday May 8th, 2011 - Chicago, IL

   I didn’t expect it, but Mother’s Day really hit me hard this year. I wasn’t thinking about it at all, but I heard a commercial about it on the radio and it tippy toed up and took a hard bite out of my innermost feelings. It drained my energy and took me out of the entire day.

   The situation with each of my parents is rotten for different reasons, but at least I did do the right thing with my father and make my very best attempt to fix it. It didn’t work, and now he’s dead, but I know in my heart I did all I could do from my end. That wound isn’t hurting anymore, because there was some closure. After a lot of years, I think I’m over it.

   My mother is a different story. I never knew her. My father was a mean spirited bastard who liked to bully anyone he could including dogs, children and the mentally ill. He was Darth Father, and I highly doubt if anyone misses him. I sure don’t. He was an evil ogre.

   The few times I’ve met my mother she didn’t seem dark, but I wasn’t overwhelmed by either her warmth or her intellect. I wasn’t even whelmed. She seemed to be just another woman, and had I not known she was my mother I wouldn’t have spoken to her at all.

   She told me she used to do drugs and anything it took to get those drugs. I wasn’t very sympathetic to her plight as a kid, and I really am not now. Sorry, but none of that was my fault. She brought three kids into a world she wasn’t able to handle herself. Why do that?

   I don’t ever remember her hugging or kissing me or telling me she loved me or any kind of mother/child affection. I remember seeing her for the first time about ten years old and how awkward it felt. I almost wish I’d never met her at all. We never had a relationship.

   What’s really a shame is that apparently she’s still alive. I heard from my uncle last fall when I did my ‘Schlitz Happened!’ show at the Schauer Center in Hartford, WI. He came out with his wife and told me that indeed she was still alive but still lost in the cult of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, as she’s been for years. Apparently, my siblings stay away as well.

   My uncle Walter is a very good guy, and makes an honest living fixing cars. He told me that side of the family is just as wacked out as the side I know, and I’m not missing out on a damn thing by not being in touch with them. Even though I wasn’t surprised, it was sad.

   All these thoughts stomped on my self esteem all day, and it felt like someone knocked a port-o-potty over in my head and all that raw sewage polluted my thoughts. It ruined my day and I had no idea how to make it stop. I really don’t want to see her ever again. That’s not the answer, the damage is done. We all make mistakes, but she hasn’t tried to fix hers.

   This was one day when even being on stage didn’t make me feel better. I had a show at Zanies tonight, and the people were very good and enjoyed the show. They even bought a few CDs, and that didn’t cheer me up. I was really hurting, and whatever lesson there is in all of this isn’t making itself known right now. I thought I was over this, but I guess not.

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

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Saturday Night Fervor

Saturday May 7th, 2011 - Chicago, IL

   Today was a full day of work, and I can tell I’m getting older. All I wanted to do was go to sleep when it was over, but it was still fun. Three shows in one night takes a lot of hard work, especially in the headline position. By the time it was over I knew I’d given my all.

   Before the shows tonight I was asked to be a guest on a comedy themed pod cast  called ‘Rye Bread Radio’, which I agreed to do. It wasn’t located far from Zanies, but making it into the city was a nightmare due to traffic. I didn’t expect that on a Saturday afternoon.

   I really can’t stand being late. It bothers the hell out of me, as I feel it’s disrespectful to whomever I’m supposed to meet. If I say I’m going to be somewhere at a certain time, it’s up to me to get there and I try my best to be punctual. When I can’t, it causes major stress.

   It also depends on who I’m meeting. If it’s someone I know, it’s not so bad. This time it was a nightmare because I hadn’t met these guys before, and I told them I’d be there to do the show at 4:30 as they’d asked. I wasn’t able to get there until 4:40, and then it was in a locked lobby situation and I had no idea which number to press to contact anyone there.

   I finally tracked them down about 5pm and apologized profusely, but they were all laid back and not worried about it at all. They were setting up the equipment and we went on maybe 5:10 or so. The hosts are two younger comics named Akeem and Jeremy Solomon, and there was a guest comic hanging out named Eric Oren, and we had a very good time.

   All three of those guys asked very intelligent questions, and we talked about the craft of comedy for about an hour and a half. It was a lot of fun, and they’ve got a good thing with this project. You can check them out at to hear other pod casts.

   Zanies was work tonight. Sometimes Saturdays can be difficult in the city for a myriad of reasons. One is, there are a lot of touristy types just out for something to do in the area. They’re not necessarily comedy fans, but they’ve heard of Zanies and come in to explore.

   Another is their food situation. In three shows, the early one at 7pm usually has people who are waiting for a reservation at one of the area restaurants. They can be tight and not big laughers, only because it’s the early part of their evening. Then, the last one at 11:15 can be an entirely opposite situation. They’ve eaten and drunk their fill and they’re tired.

   Name recognition is another factor. It just is. I know I’m not famous, and for someone to pay a big time cover charge in a big city and then pay to park their car, I have to be an absolute home run to make it worth their while. That can put pressure on me in a hurry.

   I did my best tonight, and all three crowds were happy. I received some nice comments on the mailing list comment cards, and some nice ones in person on the way out too, but I have to say none of these three audiences really captured my fancy. I liked the early week audiences better, but these are the ones who pay the bills. Saturday is the money night.

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Comedy Club Royalty

Friday May 6th, 2011 - Chicago, IL

   As far as comedy goes on the club level, this week at Zanies in Chicago is as good as it gets. First, it’s a legendary club that everyone in the business knows. Like an Improv or a Comedy Store or a Catch A Rising Star, Zanies in Chicago has carved out a name brand.

   Everyone from Jay Leno to Jerry Seinfeld to hundreds of other A List comedy names of the last thirty plus years have performed there, and whenever standup comedy in Chicago comes up the first thing everyone around the country asks is “Do you work Zanies?” I do. Not only that, I headline there and have been for many years. It’s something I’m proud of.

   Unfortunately, I don’t work at the Improv or the Comedy Store or Catch A Rising Star, but as far as Chicago goes I’m right up there with the anyone local. That’s no small feat, as Chicago is the third largest market in America. If it’s not New York or L.A. this is it.

   It means a lot to be associated with Zanies, and I’ve gotten a lot out of it over the years. I’ve been asked to do several corporate events because someone saw me at any one of the Zanies locations, but the Old Town location is the original. That’s the one people know.

   The building itself is no great shakes. In fact, it’s a former strip club that transformed in 1978 to a comedy club and it’s lasted ever since. Now it’s looked at as one of the very top places to work and any road comic would love to put even working there on a resume, not to mention headlining. Not only that, but to be booked back again and again is an honor.

  This particular week is a dream week in that the other comics and I fit together perfectly. The host is longtime Chicago comic Vince Maranto. He’s been doing comedy longer than even I have, and he’s very funny in addition to being a solid host. Zanies likes to use local headliners as ‘house emcees’ so they can have higher quality shows and it totally works.

   There’s an advantage to being a house emcee, and I’ve done it myself. It’s a win/win as it allows a comic to stay off the road, but still be booked every week and make a living at a lower rate. After expenses and wear and tear, the road can take a lot out of anyone. This concept offers a chance to rest up, have a life and still get paid. Vince does a kick ass job.

   The feature is a young woman named Emily Galati. I’ve worked with her before and we also get along well. She has a fabulous work ethic and has made enormous progress since the last time we worked together. She was an opener then, now she’s moved up to feature.

   Backstage on Tuesday Vince commented on how pleasant this week would be, as none of us were high maintenance either onstage or off. We’re all just looking to make a living and not bother anyone. Nothing is more draining than off stage drama. It‘s bad energy.

   Every time I step on the Zanies stage, I know there are hundreds of other comics who’d love to take my place. That makes me give my best effort always, even in a less than ideal situation. Tonight I had two very solid shows, and I wish it could be like this every week.

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

Friday, May 6, 2011

Shows And No Shows

Thursday May 5th, 2011 - Glenview, IL/Vernon Hills, IL

   Today I was part of a true show business lunch which included an agent, a ventriloquist, a magician and me. It felt like Broadway Danny Rose had come to Chicago and we had a blast throwing jokes and insults around the table while everyone looked at us with envy.

   There’s something about people having fun that makes others want to join in, and that’s what made it work today. It was contagious. We eventually got the waiter, bus boys, other customers and  random passers by in on it and before long it felt like a real life sitcom.

   It was all meant in fun, and that’s how everyone took it. I love it when that happens but unfortunately it doesn’t occur nearly enough for my taste. That’s probably why everybody joined in - they felt the same way. With gas prices out of reality’s touch and so much bad news everywhere I think people need a laugh break. I know I do, and today it was a treat.

   The agent was Marc Schultz, my long time friend. The ventriloquist was Chuck Field, a former comedy student who in fact introduced me to Marc years ago. The magician was a really funny guy named Dennis DeBondt who is about 6’7” and really stands out. We had everyone laughing as the insults started flowing and I can’t think of a better way to relax.

   Marc and Chuck and Dennis are as good a people as there are anywhere and I’m thrilled they include me into their group. They’ve all known each other a lot longer than I’ve been in the mix but now I totally feel like I’m an inducted member of their showbiz fraternity.

   Tonight I had a show at Zanies in Vernon Hills, IL while Gilbert Gottfried was working the Chicago club. He’ll be in Vernon Hills for the weekend while I’m downtown, and my hot streak of shows came to a screeching halt. Part of the reason may have been due to the 19 people who showed up in a room that seats 400, and that can make it hard on the ego.

   The toughest part was, about a dozen of those people were there to see me as I’d invited them from my Facebook page and other lists. If it were 19 strangers I’d be fine as I know how to work small crowds - I’ve done it my whole life. The fact that some had seen me at some point adds difficulty because I always want to do some new and fresh bits for them.

   I got laughs, but it was uncomfortable the whole time because I was embarrassed by the low turnout. I know it’s a Thursday night in the suburbs and blah blah blah but why can’t I be a draw, dammit? I’ve been doing it long enough, but all I can get to come out are 12?

   It’s got nothing to do with talent, either. I know I can pull off a great show if butts are in the seats, I just haven’t been able to find a way to do that. If they’re there already, I’ll rock the room 99% of the time. When I have to depend on my name to draw - crickets chirp.

   My friend Russ Martin drove down from Milwaukee to hang out, and he’s always good to hang with because he loves comedy and everything about it. We went out for food after the show and his positivity kept me from really feeling low. I’m grateful for good friends.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Kind Words Mean Everything

Wednesday May 4th, 2011 - Chicago, IL

   If I ever doubted that one single person and their words alone could make a difference, I no longer have to wonder. They absolutely can. I received a forwarded copy of a customer comment review via email today from a show I did last week at Zanies in St. Charles, IL.

   “I brought 8 friends with me to see Dobie Maxwell for my birthday. My husband and I had seen him before and described him as ‘rib-splitting’. Among my guests was my 86 year old uncle who laughed so hard he became short of breath. ‘Mr. Lucky’ appeals to all generations and never disappoints. Thank you for all the opportunities you have provided to enjoy this gifted comedian.” If that doesn’t put a little glide in the stride, nothing will.

   What made it even sweeter was that it came through Bert Haas, the General Manager of all the Zanies clubs in the Chicago area. It had filtered up all the way through the chain of command from the wait staff to the box office staff to the manager all the way to the boss.

   It never hurts to receive positive comments from customers but this one really stood out and I’m extremely flattered to get it. I’ve gotten similar kind words in the past, but they’re far between and each time they’re like a healing ointment that feels good to rub on a soul.

   Who doesn’t need to hear they’re doing a good job, or at least appreciated by someone? I’ve always tried to be the giver of words like this, but when they come back I understand just how much good they do. It doesn’t take much time to do, but it has long time staying power. I’m going to do this kind of thing even more after seeing how much good it did.

   One of my favorite things to do when I get especially good service in a restaurant (and it DOES happen, despite how much I bitch to the contrary at times) is on the way out of the joint casually ask to see a manager. Usually it makes the cashier’s face drain of blood and ask if everything was ok, but I calmly ask again to specifically see a management person.

   The manager always comes out with a similar look of “What did I do now?” expecting an ugly confrontation when I say “I just wanted to tell you in person how totally fantastic my experience was here today. EVERYTHING went right, and so and so was one of THE best servers I’ve ever encountered - and I eat out a lot. You’d better give that one a raise.”

   It’s worth it alone to see the look of relief on the manager’s face. Usually they shake my hand with such fervor I’m worried if I’ll get it back, and then immediately break out in an enormous toothy smile from ear to ear. I’ve done that countless times, and it never fails to make a significant difference. People need to hear when things go right, and it’s a thrill.

  I know it has a very positive trickle down effect, and now the same happened to me. I’m floating on a cloud right about now, and I could tell Bert Haas was very pleased to get this sent his way. It lets him know he’s doing a good thing by booking me, and I’m all for that on a regular basis. I may not be famous, but at least I’m winning people over by emails, if only one at a time. This one act of kindness made my entire day, and I’ll never forget it.

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

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Eyes Have It

Tuesday May 3rd, 2011 - Gurnee, IL/Chicago, IL

   Up early to go get a new pair of glasses. I hadn’t had an eye exam in a while and had no idea what it all would cost. I’ve always paid for my own glasses, and it’s been expensive. I’ve heard that a lot of people have them covered by insurance, but that’s never been me.

   I saw an ad about Pearle Vision having a two for one sale and I knew they had a store in Gurnee so I went there. I guess advertising does pay off after all, as they got my business. I don’t know eye care from jellybeans and I knew there was a discount optical store in the Gurnee Mills Mall, but their doctor didn’t come on duty until 1pm. I wanted it done fast.

  The staff at Pearle were all very friendly and I knew I made the right choice about half a minute after I walked in. They took care of me and I got my exam and first pair of glasses in about an hour. It was a lot more than I expected to pay, but what could I do? I needed it and had to suck it up and fork it over. My second pair will at least offer me some backup.

   The good news is, my prescription didn’t change all that much. It’s a little stronger, but not all that much. The doctor said I’m in good shape, and that’s good news. I’m at the age where physical parts can start to rot off at any minute. I’m well aware of how mortal I am.

   I’m also well aware of how little financial security I have, and it’s got my full attention. I’m happy with the service I received, but it really put a dent in my wallet. I’m sure I paid full retail price, and I just can’t survive doing that. I have to find some kind of insurance.

   I’m overdue for a dental visit and that’s been notorious for draining any and all savings I may have at any time in my life. I’d be driving a brand spanking new Cadillac instead of the rolling relic I have now if I’d been able to save half the cash I spent paying for fillings and root canals and all that go with it over the years. It’s not cheap, and has bled me dry.

   I don’t know what I’d do if I ever needed a major operation, and I’m playing with fire if I think I’m going to make it all the way to the end of my life without needing any medical procedures done. It’s getting to be that time where I have to think about all kinds of nasty things like prostate exams, colonoscopies and new hardware in all kinds of fresh holes.

   It sure does take the fun out of everything. These glasses were twice as much as my last pair, so I guess the two for one really didn’t have that much affect. I’ll have to hope I will be able to make these last as long as possible because I’m not going to get lasik surgery.

   It would be my luck the doctor would sneeze and weld my eye shut, and I refuse to risk anything going wrong with my eyes. I’m sure it’s safe, but so are glasses. I’m grateful I’m able to pay for them and life goes on. At least I’m in my comedy prime right about now.

   I’ve been having my best shows ever, and tonight was no exception. I’m at the Zanies in Chicago this week and we had a rocking show tonight for a full house. On a Tuesday. I’m a man of simple tastes, and that was good enough for me. That crowd was like a Saturday.

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Broken Glasses

Monday May 2nd, 2011 - Chicago, IL

   My brain is still aching from all this Osama Bin Laden mumbo jumbo. What’s the truth and do we really want to know it? It doesn’t add up in my head no matter how I dissect it, and it makes me feel disillusioned about our world in general. Are we rotten to the core?

   I know I’m naïve, but I don’t want to believe that. There are good people in the mix, but it seems like they never get any real power to make a difference on a large scale. Is that it, or do seemingly good people get in positions of power and then switch to the dark side?

   Who can say? I have no idea what’s right anymore and it really bothers me. As kids, we are taught to put our faith in God and country and that’s all we’ll need. Things will work themselves out for the best and good will eventually win - with liberty and justice for all.

   Maybe I got the wrong message, but that’s what it sounded like to me. Just have faith in the man upstairs and the stars and stripes, and everything will be Hershey bars and Archie comics in the end. For a long time, I believed it. Now I feel like I’ve been hornswoggled.

   I do want to love America, or at least what I was taught to believe it was all about, but it feels like that ideal is no longer in place. Was it ever? I sure hope so, because it’s quite an amazing concept on paper - but then again so is communism. It’s being executed in actual time where the glitches happen, and it’s always due to human error. A few always spoil it.

   Who’s got time to sort all this out? Not me. I’ve got more than enough dents in my own can and glaring faults to fix to keep me busy for the foreseeable future and then some. I’m finding it enough of a challenge trying to make it through the day to day obstacles of life.

   One of those happened tonight at Zanies in Chicago where I was hosting the Rising Star Showcase. I had the nightmare situation come up of having my glasses crushed, and that’s a major deal in my world. I’ve always worn glasses off stage, but never on. Before I go up I try to find an out of the way hiding place for them. Once in a great while I’ll screw it up.

   Tonight was the night. I put my glasses on top of my CD case and then on top of a shelf that sits near the sound booth. Zanies is a tiny club and there aren’t many other places I’d be able to put them and feel safe. Plus, I’ve hidden them there before without a problem.

   I don’t think I had ever put my CD case there though, and for whatever reason my specs ended up on the floor with both lenses popped out and the rest mangled beyond repair. I’ll never put them there again, but it’s too late now. I need my glasses for driving, so I pieced them back together the best I could. Tomorrow I’ll have to find time to go get a new pair.

   That’s going to have to include an eye exam, as it’s been a long time since I’ve had one. I’ll probably need bifocals, trifocals and get matched up with a seeing eye dog, but I knew this was coming eventually. I just didn’t plan for it now. It does seem kind of symbolic in a way. Both my inner and outer eyes are getting a check up. I hope I’ll see things clearly.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bin Laden B.S.

Sunday May 1st, 2011 - Kenosha, WI

   Something extremely funny is going on, but not in a comedian way. Maybe I’m turning into a crusty old cynical curmudgeon or maybe I’m already there, but I’m not buying a bit of all the hullabaloo I’m hearing about the death of Osama Bin Laden. I think it’s a crock.

   It’s all too slick for me, and seems very calculated. Why now? I can’t believe anyone is falling for any of it, but apparently I’m in the minority. I think they either got him a week after 9/11 and have been sitting on the carcass like a lab experiment, or he’s still alive on a tropical island compound playing pinochle with Saddam Hussein and Manuel Noriega.

   I’m still not convinced he was the one who perpetrated 9/11, but what do I know? It’s a moot point now, the damage is done and thousands of people are dead who didn’t need to be. I don’t know who or what to believe anymore, but my television is not one of them.

   I will say it was quite an experience being on the radio as a story like this broke. This is right up our alley on The Mothership Connection, and it fit right into our format. We took full advantage of the opportunity and our four hour show ended up flying by very quickly. A lot of us had varying opinions on what was taking place, and that makes for great radio.

   Doesn’t it sound very suspicious to anyone else that the government called a last minute late night announcement from the President on a Sunday? It was timed perfectly to get on Al Jazeera over there as it happened, and all media outlets here Monday morning. Right.

   Then, all these good looking young white people armed with American flags show up at the White House to rally and sing the Star Spangled Banner. Right. That’s just what I was planning on doing. I hear about this out of the blue after he’s been on the lamb for all this time and within five minutes I’m headed down to the White House to start a celebration.

   I’m sorry, it just doesn’t add up. There has to be a reason they chose this particular time to trot this out, and I think it’s to distract us from something else we’d be furious about as a people. That could be any number of things, and I really hope I’m wrong. But I doubt it.

   Maybe I’ve read too many conspiracy theories or listened to Coast To Coast AM a little too much over the years, but I don’t buy any of what’s being jammed down our throats as a people and I’m not as proud to be an American as I once was. I think our time is over.

   I really believed we were the best country in the world, but now I’m not so sure. People as a whole seem to be rotten to the core, at least the ones in charge. Does anyone believe our government has our best interests at hand? With gas at $4.50 a gallon and rising, I’m not so sure. We’re always out ‘helping’ everyone else, what about our own problems?

   I know I sound like I’m ready to buy camouflage pants and a pickup truck and move to Idaho and live in a bunker, but that’s how I feel. I’m not just going to accept what comes on my TV. I got fooled by professional wrestling as a kid, and I won’t let it happen again.

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

NFL Draft Thoughts

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

   Life can be so unfair. I was watching the NFL draft on ESPN and realized most people, no matter what choices they make, will NEVER have the opportunity to experience what those people are experiencing. It’s either in the cards for someone or it isn’t. That’s harsh.

   I think it’s even harsher that there are people who do have the possibility of achieving it but don’t follow through for whatever reason. Maybe their parents didn’t encourage them, maybe they were lazy or maybe they just didn’t like sports. So many key ingredients have to be combined in exactly the right dose at exactly the right time to have any chance at all.

   I was watching the last couple of rounds today, and by then all the big names were gone from the list. It would appear that those left were scrubs, but that’s not true at all. They’re in the top 1% of football players on Earth, and they spent years working hard to get there.

   The NFL draft has 7 rounds, and there are 32 teams in the league. That’s 224 draft picks total every year. How many colleges are there that have football teams? I couldn’t say, but the percentage of players that ever have a chance to get drafted has to be extremely low.

   I’ve always been a sports fan, and would have loved to have had a chance to play even a single game in the major leagues of any sport, but it wasn’t meant to be. Not even close. I not only never played at a college level, I didn’t even play in high school. I was out on my own then, and had to think about trivial things like paying rent and surviving in the world.

   That’s just how it worked out, and I can’t change it now. Am I bitter? Hell yes, but who else cares? Lots of people get disappointed in life and that’s just how it is. I wish it didn’t have to be like that, and that’s another reason I have my doubts about God, or at least the version we’re taught as kids. Why would a God make us to experience disappointment?

   I wish all those kids well who were drafted today, even though many of them will never play a down in the NFL. Some will fall just short of being good enough, others will get an injury and be taken out that way. The final tally of those who make it is a very elite group.

   Stand up comedy is much the same way. I’ve seen hundreds if not thousands of aspiring wannabes come and go, but only a few ever stick it out for any length of time. Even fewer than that are lifers like I am. Even fewer than that get to achieve any kind of notoriety and I’m almost there. I’m in a small minority, but not in that elite class as of yet. I’m trying.

   There are no guarantees I’ll get there, but I do have a solid shot. I’ve made it through all the other levels to get this far, now I have to figure out a way to break through and have a career. I’m never going to be a first round draft choice, but I do have a chance for success.

   It’s always a numbers game, and sometimes talented people get passed by or just aren’t at the right place at the right time. I don’t know what else to do except keep slugging, and that’s what I intend to do. I had solid shows this week, now it’s on to Zanies in Chicago.

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