Monday, October 31, 2011

Still Not There Yet

Sunday October 30th, 2011 - Kenosha, WI

   I’m having all kinds of mixed emotions. One part of me is still riding a major high from a spectacular weekend filled with fun and adventure. Another is in severe panic mode due to my embarrassing lack of direction and support from anyone who can move me forward in my career. I feel like I’m storming the beach at Normandy in an old ratty canoe. Alone.

   I’ve been on a roll lately, by far the best one I’ve ever been on for an extended length of time. People I’ve known for years are noticing it, and liking it. I feel their positive energy, and that makes me want to keep improving. It’s a cycle, but it isn‘t vicious. It‘s vivacious.

   Improving my physical health has also improved my mental outlook, and I’m surfing on top of a major wave of productivity. I’m really enjoying everything I’m doing, and there’s a lot of fun stuff going on almost every day. I’m enjoying my life like I never have before.

   That being said, I also know I’m nowhere near where I feel I could and should be. I’m a lone wolf, drifting through life trying to survive from hand to mouth. I feel like I’m a total non factor, having spun my wheels for too many years with nothing solid to show for it.

   As much fun as I had doing that show in Munster, IN on Friday, I’d bet my pancreas not more than maybe 1% could recall my name right now. I could be in a police lineup, naked except for a beekeeper’s hat and clown shoes and nobody would know or care who I was.

   Personally, that doesn’t bother me. I’ve been rejected by people way more crucial to my self esteem than comedy club patrons. If my own mother walks out of my life before I can remember meeting her and my siblings stop talking to me for reasons I still am not able to understand, nobody else can hurt me. When it comes to public rejection, I’m bulletproof.

   Professionally is where I’m feeling the panic. I know I have some talent, but getting that elusive core following is harder than I ever imagined. I don’t need everyone to like what I do, just enough who know who I am and come see me when I come to their town. Why is that so difficult? I don’t know, but it is. I need a major career break to upgrade my status.

   Comics who are doing what I’d like to be doing and I totally think I can are people like Brian Regan or Kathleen Madigan or Lewis Black. There are others on that list, like Lisa Lampanelli or even Frank Caliendo. They’ve established followings, and they serve them.

   They work quality venues for solid money, and have bodies of  respectable work people have heard of. They have cable specials and DVDs and have a career. I’m still working in towns nobody’s heard of for low money trying to hawk my CD like Amway soap. It’s not the same game, and it wouldn’t take any extra effort to play the better gigs for better cash.

   I’m putting out a plea to the universe: I NEED A BREAK! Can anyone hear me? I don’t feel like anyone has yet, and I’m the worse off for it. Dented cans find it difficult to trust and let go, and I admit that I do too. I’ve come so far, but I need to go a little bit farther.

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

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Old Dogs Barking

Friday October 28th, 2011 - Munster, IN

   Ah, what sheer delight it is when everything about a comedy show goes exactly the way it’s supposed to - on stage and off. That’s exactly what happened this evening as I worked in Munster, Indiana of all places for my friend Nick Gaza. He lives there and is starting to book shows at an outstanding venue called The Center For Visual And Performing Arts.

   Everything was right about this whole event, and I wish comedy could be like this every night. It was a dinner show, and the joint was packed with polite friendly people who paid a significant cover charge and wanted to see comedy. They were a scorching hot audience and stayed that way from the introduction right through to the last joke. It was a pleasure.

   It was a two headliner show, and I went on first in front of John Knight from Pittsburgh. I’ve known John for probably twenty-five years, and he and Nick have been friends since they lived close to each other in Los Angeles years ago. Nick knew John and asked him to be on the show. I hadn‘t seen either one of them in way too long, so I took the other slot.

   Nick, John and I are road warriors from the old days, and know what we’re doing as far as putting on a show goes. Nick didn’t perform, but he made the opening announcements and made sure everything ran smoothly. He also made sure the room was set up correctly.

   We started exactly on time at 8:15, and I did 40 minutes to open the show. It took about ten seconds to realize it was going to be a hot crowd, but I had a strong hunch it would be because of the buzz before the show. Everyone looked happy as they were eating dinner.

   This is one we should have recorded. John’s style is very different than mine, and that’s a good thing. The audience loved us both, but if someone didn’t happen to like one of us there was a good chance they’d like the other. Afterward, there was a line to shake hands and take pictures and tell us how much fun they had. THIS is how comedy should be.

   We got a chance to hang out after the show too. That’s another highlight of comedy that seems to be a thing of the past. Most comedy clubs in the ‘80s had a ‘scene’, where every night a group of the local comics would hang out and bust balls. It was a sacred fraternity.

   John, Nick and I all have a lifetime of stories, and Nick brought two of his buddies from childhood along who are really good guys. One of them played minor league baseball and between the five of us we kept each other entertained and laughing hard until almost 3am.

   What a fun night all around. Great dinner, great show, great hanging out afterward. This was a treat for all of us, and we knew it. It just isn’t like this every night, especially on all levels. Even the hotel was wonderful. They put us in the Fairfield Inn not far from the gig.

   Comedy is a lifelong passion, even in those who drop out of doing it. Between the three of us, we must have come up with more than 100 names of comics we’ve known over the years who aren’t doing it anymore. It’s not easy, but nights like this help keep us going.

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

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cards And Cardinals

Thursday October 27th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   Another productive day. I can see tangible progress from all my hard work, and it’s very encouraging. I’m doing a lot of tedious tasks that aren’t pleasant now, but I know if I keep doing them it will help ensure a positive future. I’m looking to develop productive habits.

   Little by little, I’m throwing out the things I don’t need in my life and organizing what I do. For example, I’ve been sifting through boxes and finally putting my scattered array of business cards I’ve collected for years into a single box and sorting them into categories.

   Why I didn’t do this years ago is beyond me, but I didn’t. I have cards from contacts all over the country from the many places I’ve lived and visited, but I’ve never actually made one organized master file I can use as a reliable go to source whenever I need to have one.

   A lot of the cards are from people I’ll never need to see again, like a home repair guy in Salt Lake City who cleaned out my basement when I had some nasty sewer problems or a transmission shop in Colorado that kicked me in the ball joints when my car broke down on a hellish western run. Those are getting thrown out, but they’ve served their purpose.

   Some of them are from people that passed away. I remember meeting Mitch Hedberg at a showcase show in Minneapolis at the comedy club in the Mall of America. I was on my way somewhere and passing through town, and he was living there. I thought he was very funny, and he was very complimentary of my set too. We hung out for a while afterward.

   He didn’t have a business card, so he tore off the flap of an envelope and then tore it in half again and wrote his name and phone number on it. I never called him, but it brought back a pleasant memory of a guy who left the planet way too early in my opinion. What a nice guy he was, and very funny too. I totally forgot I even had this until I found it again.

   This is the reason I need to dig through all the boxes I’ve moved so many times, but I’m hoping to never have to do it again. I’m paring down to the bare minimum, and that’s fine with me. The next time I move won’t be nearly the hectic hassle it’s been the last dozen.

    I was flipping through the TV channels as I was sorting through boxes and happened to catch the last few innings of the World Series game. I wasn’t intending to watch even one pitch of it because my heart still ached from my Brewers getting humiliated, but it looked like the Cardinals were going to lose and I wanted to watch the pain on their fans’ faces.

   I know, that’s probably not good karma, but that’s why I left it on. Well, I didn’t get my wish but what a game. From an objective baseball standpoint, that was probably one of if not THE most exciting games I’ve ever seen. I have to admit, the Cardinals hung in there.

   OK, my Brewers lost and it still hurts. The Rangers have to be hurting more. They were one strike away from winning it all - TWICE - and still lost. I can’t see them coming back from this one. It was a deflating loss, and a big lesson was in it for us all. Never give up.

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

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ancient Aliens Affinity

Wednesday October 26th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   I have a new favorite television show of all time. It‘s “Ancient Aliens” on The History Channel. I watched a couple of episodes tonight, and was glued to my TV. I had it on as I was folding a load of laundry, but after a while I put the laundry down and just watched.

   That show really hits home with me. They have fascinating guests dissecting topics I’m interested in, and I never walk away without learning something new or having fodder to ponder on my exercise walks. The more I watch, the less significant I feel in the universe.

   Still, I find all of it so fascinating. For example, tonight they were talking about how the pyramids in Egypt are set up in direct accordance with the solar system. The big one is the sun, and the others perfectly represent the planets. Wow! That blows my miniature mind.

     Not only that, apparently Stonehenge in England is set up the same way. Amazing! I am constantly finding out new tidbits that make a lot more sense to me than religion ever did. Could what we refer to as ‘God’ be some sort of space being or race? I say absolutely yes, and it’s a lot more digestible to me than the bunko burger most of us are fed as children.

   Something somewhere is bigger than us. That might not be easy to accept with our egos on this planet, but it sure seems to be true. The more we find out, the less we know, but it makes me want to keep digging. This is way deeper than our pea brains are used to going.

   The sheer vastness of the universe alone can keep me mesmerized for hours, like a baby looking at a penny. I’ve spent my life traveling in one country on one continent on a small planet that isn’t even a tiny speck in the big picture of our galaxy, much less the universe.

   I remember driving through the most barren highways of Wyoming, Montana, Utah and especially Nevada where US Highway 50 is known as ‘The Loneliest Road In America’. I thought that was what enormous was, but in the bigger scheme of everything it’s all a big zilch. Our whole planet is a pathetic pebble, and I’ve only seen a minimal amount of that.

   All the people I’ve ever met personally don’t add up to even 1/100th of 1% of everyone who exists, and I’ll be long dead before I get the chance to put even a small a dent in that sorry statistic. I could go on like this all day, but after a while it makes my brain bubble.

   Human life is no more than a cramped collection of six billion rats in a cosmic cage. No matter how beautiful some parts of this planet may be, we’re stuck here with no way out - at least for now. Were we put here for a reason? If so, who put us here? Are we visiting or were we made here to stay here? I don’t have any solid answers, but I sure like exploring.

   This is why I love being part of “The Mothership Connection” radio show on AM 1050 WLIP in Kenosha, WI. I know I’m not the only one who likes to talk about these kinds of topics, and the popularity of Coast To Coast AM proves that. I’m open to a lot of schools of thought, but the key word is THOUGHT - and that’s what ‘Ancient Aliens’ provokes.    

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

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Stephen King System

Tuesday October 25th, 2011 - Mequon, WI

   Today I tried to rattle as many cages as I could, and that’s a good thing. Way too often, I only manage to work on one or maybe two of my projects, and everything else sits around gathering dust. Then I’ll work on some of those, and whatever I just did loses momentum.

   I know I should drop something and focus more, but I happen to really enjoy everything I’m doing and I’m a stubborn bastard so I’m going to keep trying to squeeze everything in until there’s absolute proof I can’t do it all. So far, it’s just been a matter of organization.

   My management of time is getting more efficient, even though I still have a long way to go until I would call it mastered. I’m learning how to pack more things into each day, and also plan my days better. Things still get off track, but not nearly as badly as they used to.

   I’m finding that compartmentalizing projects into planned out time segments helps give structure to my days. If I allot myself an hour or two or even three on a given task, it helps to make it appear less overwhelming. I know I won’t finish today, but I’ll make progress.

   It also helps to get positive energy going, so I can do the same on other projects. I wish I could locate what I read about Stephen King’s work schedule. Supposedly, he would get up in the morning and start work on a particular project. Then he’d have lunch, and work on a completely different project. Then he’d have dinner, and begin work on yet a third.

   I don’t know how true that is, or how long he did it if it is, but I would bet some of it is fact as his body of work speaks for itself. He cranks out one successful book project after the next, and they’re not dime thin comic books either. If anything, they are over sized.

   That’s the system model I’m going to work on employing in my own life. One of those ‘projects’ is going to be daily exercise, but I needed to do that anyway. I haven’t a clue as to what Stephen King did or does to stay in shape, but that’s his business. He’s a success.

   I think I have the potential to be a success, but if I don’t become more efficient with my time all I’ll ever be is a dead almost was. I don’t want that, but unless I find a way to do it all that’s exactly where I’m headed. I don’t want to miss out on a payout for all my effort.

   This morning I got up and had an email conversation with the artist for Uranus Factory Outlet on t-shirt designs. She sent some updated examples, and we’re almost there. Then, I sent out some availabilities to a few booking agents and planted some seeds for comedy work. After that, I worked on the outline of my comedy class notes for a future website.

   I spent a couple of hours on each project, and felt like I at least made a dent in the huge pile of tasks I need to get to. Then I drove up to Mequon, WI to host and headline a show for a newer comedian named Dave Simon. He’s getting started and I’m trying to help him learn the ropes of comedy. I also went early to search out locations to perform my ‘Schlitz Happened!’ one man show. It was a full day of work, but everything I did had a purpose.

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

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Book Smart

Monday October 24th, 2011 - Libertyville, IL

   Time to get started on 2012. It was probably time to do that a couple of months ago, but I was too busy catching up on a backload of other years that still had unfinished business. I’m still mopping some of that up, but at least I’ve made significant progress. It’s moving.

   One project that’s been festering way too long is the infamous bank robbery story. I met for lunch with my writing partner Rick Kaempfer today to talk about how we can move it forward. As painful as it was to live through, it’s a hell of a story and everyone I’ve told it to has agreed. I’m not nearly talented enough to come up with a tale like that on my own.

   It’s a true story, and the more time passes the more it feels like it was someone else who lived it - but it was me. One of the few smart things I ever did was write down everything I remembered about what happened, warts and all. I didn’t try to make it a book or movie script, I just chronicled everything I could recall as close to how it happened as I could.

   That turned out to be a great call, because Rick used it to map out a very well structured screenplay. We’ve gone back and forth on it several times now, and each time it becomes smoother and flows better. I need Rick’s input to make it a good movie, because I’m way to close to it having lived through it. He shaped it into something that can be marketed.

   Unfortunately, there’s no law that says a true story has to be documented to the letter to be made into a movie. We’ve already conceded the fact that if it ever does get made, odds are overwhelming that all kinds of creative liberties are going to be taken by the studio.

   That’s how it usually goes, and we accept it. Rick said he read my initial raw version of the story over again just recently and with a little restructuring he thinks it could easily be a book project. He’s starting up a publishing company, as he’s sick of dealing with all the foibles of the book business. He’s had several books published, and he gets things done.

   I hadn’t thought about the story in a while, but putting it into a book would finally allow me to get it out of my system once and for all. People who have heard me tell it ask me to tell it again for their friends, and I’m to the point I don’t even want to go down that road.

   The fact remains, as a story it’s a page turner. The twists and turns are dramatic, and the characters are complex and compelling. Having to testify in federal court against a person I thought was my closest friend in the world is a situation right out of the Twilight Zone.

   It wasn’t pleasant then, and it isn’t nostalgic to think about now. The difference is, now I can look at the situation a lot more objectively. It still hurts to have been put in that ugly predicament, but others will see themselves as me and that’s where the entertainment is.

   Our goal is to have the story released as a book by November 1st, 2012. Even if we can’t sell a single copy, at least I’ll never have to retell it again. I’m sorry it ever happened, but it did. All these years later, I still don’t know what lesson I was supposed to learn from it.

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

Monday, October 24, 2011

Weekly Reading

Sunday October 23rd, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   In addition to everything else I’ve got going, I’m also trying to find time to read books and listen to audio programs as much as one human can without throwing up or flipping out. I try to plow through at least a book or two each week, and listen to audio in the car.

   I’m starting with some smaller books first, just to get in the habit of finishing them on a weekly basis. I’ve got enough reading material for the next six lifetimes, or sixty gazillion trips to the bathroom. Now it’s a matter of choosing stuff that will do me the most good.

   This week I was able to read Harvey Mackay’s book on networking called “The Harvey Mackay Rolodex Network Builder”, which I enjoyed. It gave tips on making and keeping contacts, and how ultimately important they are for success to have and constantly update.

   It talked about how a network can make someone’s career, and it’s a lifetime project to keep building one’s list of personal contacts. I totally agree, and even though I’ve been on board with this concept for years it’s still good to bone up on ways to improve my system.

   I think I’ve been in the upper percentile as far as staying in touch with people goes, but I can still use a complete overhaul. Social networks help maintain a connection, but there is  also a point of overwhelm. Face book can get to be a little much for example. Do we need to see constant updates of what everyone in America had for lunch or 49 new cat photos?

   There’s a fine line between networking and personal privacy invasion, and there’s an art to being good at it. I tend to only keep in contact with people I like, and that’s probably a big mistake business wise. I should be getting in front of everyone who could book me.

   Unfortunately, networking correctly takes a significant amount of time and effort - two things that aren’t as plentiful for me as they once were. I’m spread pretty thin already, so finding time to stay in touch with people I’m not enamored with doesn’t sound appealing even if it might lead to future work. It’s smart business though, so I should consider it.

   My choice of audio this week was Russ Whitney, a real estate infomercial guy who has an elaborate marketing package I bought at a thrift store recently. It was interesting, but I don’t intend to get into that business any time soon. I bought it to study his packaging.

   It was divided into three sections with books, videos and audio included. I got it all for ten bucks, which I’m sure is below what it cost to manufacture all that stuff. There were two six CD programs, one two CD program, four books and two VHS tapes. That’s a lot.

   It was extremely well constructed, and pleasing to the eye and ear. It didn’t look like an amateur attempt at publishing, and Russ Whitney is a very good speaker. He talked about a lot of universal topics like goal setting and human nature, and I found it well worth both my time and the ten bucks. I’m glad I listened to it, and now I’ll give it away as a gift to a friend who has some rental properties. Now it’s a new week. Time for some new content.

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

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Frankly Speaking

Saturday October 22nd, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   The Riverside Theatre. That’s the place I first felt like I was in show business, even if it was only for a few minutes. The Riverside is a beautiful theatre in downtown Milwaukee that used to show movies but now hosts live events and has for years. I was asked to open a show there when I first started as a comedian, even though I was totally not ready for it.

   I was in my early twenties and had only been doing comedy a couple of years, but I still said yes because I was too stupid to know I wasn’t ready then. That’s a huge mistake way too many newbies make, and I did too. Still, it was one of my absolute favorite moments.

   The headliners were the husband and wife singer/songwriters Ashford and Simpson. It’s still a mystery why anyone in charge would choose me for that particular show, but I was delighted they did. I remember walking back stage and being blown away by how big the place looked, and wondering if I’d be able to walk on stage without crapping my pants.

   The energy of a large audience is rather intimidating, especially to a rookie like I was at the time. I was handed a wireless microphone and told to do twenty minutes. I wasn’t sure if I had twenty minutes, but I wasn’t about to let that secret out of the bag. I knew I had to act the part, and told the stage manager it would be no problem. Then it was show time.

   I still remember walking out on that stage and seeing the bright lights that looked like a space ship was hovering over my head. The big booming sound system made me feel like I had the voice of God, and it was pure intoxication as soon as I got that first big laugh.

   I did quite well for the entire set but had to slow down my normal pace to let the laughs die down before I started the next joke. I didn’t have much back then, but I gave all I had and the audience loved it. I received a big applause pop at the end, and I was hooked for life at that moment. I floated off that stage, and would have sold my soul then and there.

   The stage manager shook my hand and told me I did a nice job, and I thanked him with enthusiasm and told him I wanted to do it again. That night. He laughed, but I was serious as an IRS audit. I’d never felt that kind of energy and wanted to return to it immediately.

   The funny part was, I distinctly remember going to an open mic night somewhere right after that experience, and going up again in front of about a dozen people. I was still on a major high, and all the other comedians commented that I was in a groove they had never seen before. They were right. I could have done ten shows that night, and I wished I did.

   Moments like that are what keep us going as performers, especially when things start to unravel. I had WAY more shows in front of a dozen people than the couple thousand that were at the Riverside Theatre that night, but that’s the one that sparked the fire that’s still burning today. I must have done a good job, because I received another call about a week later to open the show for a soap opera guy named Jack Wagner who had a hit song at the time. I had a pretty good set that night too as I remember, and that’s the last time I did it.

   I moved to Chicago not long after, and ended up losing that connection. Why I didn’t stay in touch with whomever my contact was, I have no idea. But I didn’t. I was a dumb kid trying to find my way in the world, and deep down I also knew I wasn’t really ready.

   Well, I’m sure ready now. I know I could go back on that stage and rock that house way longer than twenty minutes. I would destroy that room. The problem now is finding a way to put butts in seats. After all this time, I still haven’t managed to work that situation out.

   The reason I’ve been thinking about the Riverside Theatre is someone sent me an email informing me Frank Caliendo will be headlining there soon. A lot of people in and out of the business ask me what I think of Frank, because we’re both from the Milwaukee area.

     I think most of them do it thinking I’m going to flip out with jealous rage and go off on one of my infamous rants about how he ‘stole my spot’ or whatever. Far from it. I have an enormous amount of respect and admiration for Frank and all he has done. He‘s amazing.

   Not many people realize and I’m probably the only one who cares that Frank’s first time on stage was opening for me at a bowling alley in Waukesha, WI. A mutual friend of ours put together a fundraiser for his son’s little league team and he knew Frank from working at a batting cage and said he did some impressions. Against my will, I said he could open.

   He wasn’t polished as a performer, but nobody is their first time up. I watched his show and could immediately see he had a spark with the audience. They loved his impressions, and he nailed one after the next. He had a lot of natural ability, and not everyone has that.

   After the show I remember Frank coming up and telling me how much fun he had doing the show and what an honor it was to open for a professional comedian like me. I thanked him and said “Kid, if you play your cards right, two years from now I won’t be able to get you on the phone.” He laughed, but I wasn’t that far off. That guy has had a fantastic ride.

   Frank and I stayed in touch for a while as he started to make his rise, and I would advise him like I’ve done many others who have asked my opinion. I feel it’s my duty to pass the torch to the next generation as it was passed to me by comics in the generation before me.

   As he made his rise, I was no longer able to help him and that was it. He found his way to L.A. and got a high powered manager and things started happening for him that don’t happen to 99.999% of anyone who ever steps on a stage. That‘s not easy. Good for him.

   We are nothing close to the same. He does impressions. NOBODY was doing the ones he did, and he was in the right place at the right time. I’m just another white guy trying to tell jokes. Big difference. He’s unique, and that’s just how it is. How can I be jealous?

  He’s headlining the Riverside, and I’m still struggling to pay my rent. That’s life, but it’s no accident. He made the right moves, and I didn’t. Was he lucky? Sure, but anyone who makes it is lucky. He has a great work ethic too. His show and business are phenomenal.

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

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Moammar No More

Friday October 21st, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   Same story. New names. Same results. It took a while, but the karma train finally pulled into Moammar Gadhafi’s personal station with a prodigious payload of payback and there isn’t a wet eye in the house. Another tyrant has tasted turf, and trick has turned into treat.

   This same repulsive scenario has played itself out over and over and over for thousands of years. There doesn’t seem to be any shortage of scumbags who seize power by bullying their way into a position of authority and then using it to make life hell for everyone else.

   Gadhafi is just the flavor of the week unfortunately. This kind of thing happens way too frequently. There was Osama Bin Laden before this, and Saddam Hussein before that, and the Ayatollah Cockamamie in Iran before them, and then there are the super famous slime sucking scum buckets of all time like Hitler, Mussolini, Amin, Pol Pot and Mao Tse-tung.

     But wait, there’s more! Russia had a hell of a pedigree with Stalin and Lenin and all of their underlings and Castro in Cuba is on that list whether he’s still alive or not. This isn’t even close to being a complete list either, and I don’t want to dig deeper because it would only make me even more disgusted. And it doesn’t stop there. It’s not only nation leaders.

   How about the corporate world meat grinder? That’s a little closer to home for most of us. I know I can relate. How many hard working honest people have lost their jobs for no real reason other than some power grubbing pud with daddy issues comes along and pulls the trigger without thinking? How many of those pukes get to dismantle countless lives?

   It all boils down to bully issues, and I admit I have them. It started with my father, and I still have a hard time backing down if someone does it now. I’ve gotten my nose bloodied more than once, but at least I stood up for myself when I thought I was getting picked on.

   Life is not supposed to be like that, at least not how I see it. You live your life your way, but if you try telling me what to do we’re going to lock antlers. The Gadhafis of the world don’t seem to get the fact the world doesn’t revolve around them, and it must bother them to the point of having to force their way into power so everyone will live in fear of them.

   This is exactly how my father operated. He wanted everyone to fear him, and he’d make life miserable for anyone and everyone he could bully including his kids, dogs and people who weren’t strong enough to think for themselves. He was the dictator of a tiny empire.

   Then he died, and nobody cared. There wasn’t an obituary in the paper and nobody took time to make even one phone call saying “Hey, I’m sorry your dad died.” It was but a tiny blip on the radar of life, and now it’s over. Gadhafi made a far bigger splash, but it wasn’t a positive one. I don’t see too many articles with people he helped coming to his defense.

   I want to go on record as saying I for one am absolutely delighted that bastard is finally DEAD - toupee and all. May the souls he tormented get justice - somehow, some way.

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

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Kindness Machine

Thursday October 20th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   I’m still making progress on all my projects, even though it’s slower than I’d like. There is always something to work on whether it’s comedy bookings or comedy class lessons or making progress on Uranus Factory Outlet. I’m chipping away at all of it, and also putting my time in to go through all my boxes that were in storage for so long. It keeps me busy.

   I’m throwing stuff out, and also finding nuggets and tidbits I’d forgotten I had. I found a stash of pictures I’d lost track of for years that included some shots of my grandfather and me that opened the floodgates of memories. There was also an article about him talking to a classroom of kids that was written in some little newspaper that I’d forgotten all about.

   Gramps was a true giver, and was always helping someone whether they appreciated his efforts or not. Most times it was not, but he did it anyway. As I get older, I see with clarity that it’s the only way to really live. Existing and living are not the same. I want to LIVE.

   I want to make a difference in people’s lives like Gramps did. It’s going on thirty years since he died, and he still lives on in me every single day I’m alive with his kindness and mentoring. Not only that, I’ve passed it on to others and they got a little taste of him too.

   Other special souls like my comedy mentor C. Cardell Willis or Marceline Roberts, the librarian at the North Milwaukee Public Library who hired me to do a ventriloquist show when I was a kid have showed me the secret ingredient of really living. It’s kindness.

   Unfortunately, none of them were famous and I doubt if any had much money - but they still found time to do something nice for someone else and one of those someones turned out to be me. If I don’t turn around and pass it on to as many others as I can, I’m a failure.

   Seeing that article put a fresh slant on everything. Nothing matters but the good I can do for as many as I can do it for. I’ve dodged an amazing number of bullets in my life and by all accounts should be dead by now. Surprisingly I’m not. Maybe the reason I’m still alive is to put this principle into practice. Or, maybe there’s no reason at all for anything in life.

   Even if there isn’t, something deep inside tells me I’m on the right track. I intend to stay the course for as long as I can. I realize how little I’ve done to make a positive difference during my bug like existence, and it shames me. I have work to do, and I intend to do it.

   I know it sounds corny, but I want to be a kindness machine. I want to make people feel good about life and themselves and laugh and smile and not choose to live the lives most of my relatives chose. They lived by example, but not in a good way. I want my life to be the polar opposite, and when I’m gone I want people to say “THAT one was different.”

   I want that now. The article about Gramps really hit home. He was different from most of his family, but he stayed the course and was true to himself. He enjoyed life and didn’t let anything stop him from his mission of generosity. In my book, that’s a life well spent.

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

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Parental Discretion

Wednesday October 19th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   I can feel myself growing as a person at an amazing rate, and it feels fantastic. It’s all on target, and what used to be major roadblocks are now little glitches. I used to feel like life was a perpetual plunge into the abyss, with an occasional nugget of good despite myself.

   Now it’s flip flopping, and I couldn’t be more delighted. Life is a daily adventure, and if something does happen to misfire or I have an off day it’s just a glitch and I’m back in my groove the next day. This is how I’ve always thought life should be, but somewhere along the way I lost my bearings and veered way off course. I’m making up for lost time now.

   I did a few things right, like avoiding drugs and alcohol altogether. That would’ve made things a whole lot harder, and I don’t regret leaving them alone. Another smart call was to not put a wife and especially children through my tumultuous ride. That would’ve made it not only hell for me, but by now I’d have had kids who would hate me for not being there.

   I wasn’t ready for marriage or children, and thankfully I knew it. Too many others miss that hint, and end up creating more problems for everyone as they pound out dysfunction machines that don’t get properly nurtured and prepared to handle life. Then, the rest of us pay for it the entire time they’re alive. Prisons and strip joints are full of bad parent jobs.

   This life thing is NOT easy, and unless a kid gets some love and attention and nurturing from at least a parental figure if not the real thing, the chances of figuring it all out on his or her own are about as slim as Stephen Hawking’s chances of getting drafted in the NFL.

   I’m a late bloomer to say the least. Hopefully, I’m not too late and I miss my window of opportunity to make a positive difference in someone’s life. It was hard enough to survive and make it as far as I have, much less be able to help anyone else - even through I tried.

   Being a nice guy has gotten me nowhere, but that’s who I am. I laugh at the people who think I’m this flaming wank pole, and there are more than a few. If they’d only take a few minutes to get to know me, they’d find I’m generous to a fault. I’m not that mean spirited ogre some people think I am, including my siblings. I’ve tried to make peace, to no avail.

   Too bad for all of them, because I’m a good person and getting even better all the time. I didn’t say perfect mind you, just good. Improvement has been steady, especially the past few months since my diabetes diagnosis. That has turned out to be a wonderful blessing.

   Now, here I sit still single and wondering if I’ll ever find someone to share all this good energy with. It took way too long to get here, but I’m here and don’t want to have to keep going it alone forever. I’ve been casually dating several women lately, but no keepers yet.

   I’m scared, but if I don’t get out there and kick some tires I’ll never find anyone. Maybe I won’t get my chance to be a parent, but I’d make a hell of a step dad. I know how to talk to kids, especially dented cans. What is love? I really don’t know, but I’d like a taste of it.

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Brewers Backlash

Tuesday October 18th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   I needed a couple of days to cool my jets and distance myself from the horror of having to sit helplessly and absorb the agony of the Milwaukee Brewers getting their aspirations handed to them, by the St. Louis Cornholes no less. I’d rather have had a Tabasco enema.

   What an unpleasant experience it was to say the least, and I feel emotionally raped. I’ve been waiting since 1982’s unbearable loss in the World Series to these same Missourians, a state full of inbred genetic mutants that makes Alabama look like the Harvard campus.

   Milwaukee may not be braniac central either, but we’ve paid more than our fair share of dues as baseball fans and losing like they did snapped something in me that’s permanent. I’ve wasted enough of my life cheering for a bunch of losers, and that was the last straw.

   There were no moral victories, and winning the division means nothing. Nyjer Morgan was the hero for one game, but that will now be overshadowed by his juvenile mistake of tweeting his taunts toward the team that ended up pounding them right back up his bilge.

   I’m sorry, I’m pissed. I was pissed watching it happen and I’m still pissed now. I had to endure the tortures of Rene Lacheman to Franklin Stubbs to Bryan Clutterbuck and all the other vast array of jamokes, jabronies and ham and eggers that have worn a Brewer jersey in the years since the fizzle of 1982. Chuckie Carr. Derrick Turnbow. It just doesn’t quit.

   I don’t care about the Cubs not making the World Series since 1945. Too bad. That’s no excuse. The Florida Marlins didn’t even exist until 1993 and they’ve already won not one but TWO World Series titles. It’s evidently doable, but the Brewers couldn’t make it pop.

   Their pitching was brutal at the end, but so was their hitting. They couldn’t whip cream with an egg beater, and they got spanked by the underdogs. At home. And, they were flat out out-managed by that boozed up old coot with the foppish hair style that nobody seems to like but those who play for him. This was a big deal, and the Brewers crapped the bed.

   Sorry, that was it for me. I gave them my heart and emotional support since my earliest baseball memories, and I’m sick of playing the role of head chump. I’m declaring myself a free agent fan, just like Prince Fielder is going to declare himself a free agent player in a few weeks. I’ve played out my option with the Brewers, and I won’t keep getting stung.

   Why am I even caring about any of this anyway? This is the same argument I have with the Packers, but at least they came through with a Super Bowl I could enjoy before I’m at a nursing home getting my diaper changed by a burly Samoan male nurse with a hangnail. They’re undefeated and having another stellar season, so they’re building brownie points.

   The Brewers just lost all of theirs. Fire them all. Trade them all. Screw them all. I’m SO done with them, and as a paying fan of going on forty years, I’ve bought that right and I’ll do with it what I want. It feels like an old couple getting a divorce. Enough is enough.

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

Suicide Isn't Painless

Monday October 17th, 2011 - Libertyville, IL

   I can’t stop thinking about this whole Don LaPre situation. I never met the guy and had zero personal interaction whatsoever other than having bought one or two of his products in the past. But, for some odd reason his death really disturbs me. It seems very wrong.

   Suicide is a big decision - probably THE biggest one a person ever makes. I know I was a mess and a half inside when I was at that point, and I can’t believe anyone else has their head together at that moment either. It all seems so final, like it will never get any better.

   I’m living proof that it absolutely can get better, and in my case it has. I’ve really turned a major corner since my little hospital incident in June, and I can’t imagine offing myself now. I’m not in that mind set thankfully, and have a hard time even picturing it - which is fine by me. I’ll taste dirt soon enough, but until then I have dreams to chase. And catch.

   Don LaPre seemed like he had it all together. He was a baby face looking guy and had a beautiful wife and kids, something I’ve always wanted myself. Not having them is one of the major reasons I’ve considered putting an air vent in the back of my head with a bullet in the past. If I’m gone, nobody cares other than my creditors. He had others to consider.

   I was preparing for my comedy class tonight and ran across a work sheet I pass out once in a while in some of my classes. It’s got points from both Tony Robbins and Don LaPre. I don’t pass it out all the time, but when I have I‘ve noticed people like it. It‘s memorable.

   These are Don LaPre’s  “11 Secrets To Success” I copied off of either a book or a CD:

1.    Attitude is 99% of getting there.
2.    Keep your health, it’s worth a billion $.
3.    Stop listening to negative people.
4.    Make life a game.
5.    Take ACTION.
6.    Ask questions.
7.    Stop thinking ‘job’.
8.    Write things down.
9.    Get rid of your ‘ugly’ friends.
10.  Make the most of every day.
11.   Do for others.

   Pretty simple stuff, but I thought it was good enough to use to give to my students, and I gave Don LaPre full credit for it. It may not be earthshaking, but it doesn’t sound like he’s going to take his own life in jail rather than go to trial on a fraud charge. This is upbeat.

   I feel very sad for the guy, and hope he wasn’t a scammer. I also feel sorry for a guy like Richard Jeni, another one with seemingly everything who had enough and checked out on his own accord. Suicide isn’t painless. It has a ripple effect that lives on long after the act.

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

The Death Of Don LaPre

Sunday October 16th, 2011 - Chicago, IL

   I’ve been making a conscious choice lately to avoid news broadcasts, and I have to say I don‘t feel any the less because of it. I don’t know how smart it is for a comedian to be out of the loop on what’s going on in the world, but my comedy isn’t based on current events.

   If anything, it helps people escape from the constant barrage of insanity - at least during the show. There are more than enough competent sources of current events based comedy for those who enjoy it. I for one can use a break from all that bad news, and I’m doing it.

   I’ll take a quick glance through a newspaper if one happens to be laying around, but I’m not going over it with a fine tooth comb looking for sources of humor like I used to do all the time when Jerry’s Kidders were on the radio every week. That was fun, but it’s over.

   Now, all I get is depressed when I watch the news and see the stock market teetering by the thinnest of threads or civil unrest all over or downright war almost everywhere else. I couldn’t care less about American Idol or any of the Kardashians either. It all annoys me.

   I’m sure at some point I’ll probably find myself going back to at least a little news brief every so often, but unless I get a job writing for a network TV show I’m going to cool my nose for news for now and get caught up with my own projects. Peace and quiet would be a much better backdrop to get things done than hearing about crime, violence and hatred.

   One story that managed to slide right past me recently was the death of TV infomercial fixture Don LaPre. He was the over exuberant baby faced pitch man who sold the concept of taking out ’tiny little ads’ in newspapers all over the country and raking in easy profits.

   I’ll admit, I bought a slickly wrapped package or two of his myself over the years. I also ran across a whole lot more for sale dirt cheap in thrift stores, flea markets and yard sales. Apparently I wasn’t the only one interested in trying to find the elusive easy pot of gold.

   I had no idea he was in jail, but evidently he had come up with a new ‘product’ that was supposed to be a miracle vitamin and was arrested for fraud. He was awaiting his trial and decided to take his own life rather than face a long prison term. To me, that admits guilt.

   What a shocking and sad story. With the help of Google I went back and checked some of his personal history and he’d been in trouble for a while for making false claims for his products. Still, he had a lot of people who spoke highly of him being a generous person.

   I’ve always been a fan of successful entrepreneurs, and this story was a stunner. I hadn’t kept up with him close enough to have heard about the vitamin idea, but from what I read it sounded like a scam from the start. He was looking at a lot of prison time because of it.

   I want to make money in my own entrepreneurial ventures of course, but not if I have to bilk the masses to do it. I can’t say if Don LaPre was a crook, but it sure didn’t end well.

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

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Meeting Mark Farner

Saturday October 15th, 2011 - Merrillville, IN

   I received an unexpected pleasant surprise today when Mike Preston called to ask if I’d be available to help him on another camera shoot for his TV show ‘Psychobabble’. Those are always fun excursions, so of course I said yes. The last two have been interviews with Burt Reynolds and George Thorogood. Both were a lot of fun, and well worth my time.

   Today’s destination was a hotel in Merrillville, IN for an interview with Mark Farner of the band Grand Funk Railroad. I vividly remember getting a cassette player for Christmas as a kid along with two cassettes. One was ‘A Question Of Balance’ by The Moody Blues that I didn’t like, and the other was ‘Closer To Home’ by Grand Funk Railroad that I did.

   I was probably nine or ten, but I still remember playing it over and over until every song was etched into my memory. I liked all the songs, and still do today. I also liked the name of the band. At some point I think they dropped the ‘Railroad’ part, but it doesn‘t matter.

   Jefferson Airplane switched to Jefferson Starship, then just Starship, but who cares? It’s  the same music, and if someone is a fan they’re a fan no matter what the name happens to have evolved to. I was looking forward to meeting the guy who sang ‘I’m Your Captain’.

   Mike had also asked Jim McHugh to come along, so we all met at Jim’s house to load the camera equipment into one car and ride together. We had a blast taking turns busting balls and hanging out as both comics and friends. We don’t always have the chance to do that as much as we’d like, and it was worth the trip before we got there for the interview.

   Everyone at the hotel was extremely friendly, and we set the cameras up in one of their meeting rooms and waited for Mark Farner to arrive. We had no idea what to expect, and were pleasantly surprised when he arrived to find out he was pleasant and down to earth.

   He shook Mike’s hand, but then came to where Jim and I were standing by the cameras and shook ours too. He didn’t have to do that, but he acknowledged we were there and it was a classy gesture. I told him how ‘Closer To Home’ was etched into my brain as a kid and how I loved his work. A big smile came to his face and he said “I knew I liked you.”

   Mike did a very solid interview as he always does, and he’d done his homework which made him look great. Mark has a big booming voice, and he was animated and interesting as he answered Mike‘s intelligent questions. I could see he still loved what he did at 63.

   Mark’s son Jesse is a quadriplegic from a fall he took not that long ago, and we were all sad to hear him tell of it. He wasn’t bitter, and spoke with candor about what his family is going through. Life has no guarantees for any of us, and we have to deal with hard times.

   After the interview, I gave Mark one of my CDs and said I hoped it might make his son laugh, at least a little. He was very gracious, and whether he plays it or not I wanted to try to at least show support to a fellow human. I was a fan before, but I’m a bigger one now.

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

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Hughie Award

Friday October 14th, 2011 - St. Charles, IL

   If there has been one consistently worthwhile pursuit I’ve been involved in in my life, it has been teaching comedy classes. Performing it is a thrill, but teaching has a whole other set of benefits that consistently pay me back way more than I give. I never get tired of it.

   The biggest reward has been the long list of wonderful people who I probably wouldn’t have even met much less befriended had I not taught these classes, and that list continues to grow each year. Zanies classes alone have had over 2000 students since 1995, and there have been other classes in other places besides those. I’m lucky to have been able to do it.

   I always try my best to give every student way more than they pay for, but they give me way more in return than I ever give them. The satisfaction of seeing someone have fun on stage or get a chance to cross something off their bucket list brings smiles to all our faces.

   Of all the students I’ve ever taught,  one that truly stands out is Hugh Neary. It’s a long list of some pretty special souls, but Hugh was in a class by himself. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY put forth an all out effort like Hugh Neary. He was an inspiration and still is.

   I wish I could say Hugh had the most raw talent or was the most naturally gifted student in class, but that’s not the case at all and that’s what made him so special. I’ll bet he took my class at least half a dozen times, and I tried my best to give him personal attention and encourage him to stay with it. He loved everything about comedy, and dove in head first.

   Sometimes he’d get up on stage in class and lose his place or forget a joke, but his level of commitment was higher than anyone I’ve ever seen. Wow, what a passion he had for it and to me that’s good enough. He truly gave his best every time he stepped on that stage.

   Where Hugh really shined brightest was his participation in class. He was ALWAYS on time, and would watch every other student in all of his classes, and offer tips and hints for them that were dead on. He probably could have taught the class, even though he wasn’t a great natural performer himself. It’s like a baseball manager that wasn’t a big time player.

   Hugh would always show up to class graduations to support the other students, and he’d always congratulate them after the show and beamed with pride right along with them. He was a wonderful human being, and I told him he was welcome in my classes at any time.

   Hugh Neary was born on October 14, 1975. He passed away on November 20, 2005 and not only do I still miss him, everyone who was ever in a class with him misses him dearly as well. Hugh was simply the best, and everyone loved him. I still do, and want him to be remembered forever so I’m creating an award for outstanding effort called ‘The Hughie‘.

   The idea came from my friend Joey Callahan, another solid human being and comedian from Philadelphia. He knew Hugh from passing through town and suggested I create this award, so I am. Hughie taught me way more than I ever taught him. He was a giant soul.

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

Friday, October 14, 2011

Different In A Day

Thursday October 13th, 2011 - St. Charles, IL

   Now I’m really convinced the older I get, the less I know. Yesterday, I knocked it out of the park with my show on stage while the Milwaukee Brewers lost their game. Today, the roles were completely reversed. My show was far from satisfactory, but the Brewers won.

   I’m not going to waste any more energy on the baseball end unless they go to the World Series. I’m sick of having my stomach in knots as I watch or listen to the game that I have nothing whatsoever to do with other than being born in the same city where this particular team plays half their games. I would like it if they won, but if they don’t I’ll still survive.

   Yes, it would be a rare and exciting treat to have them win the World Series, but all the emotional abuse it takes to watch the ups and downs of the games just isn’t what I want to be focusing on right now. Get it over with already. I can’t stand having to wait any more.

   Tomorrow I’ll be doing two shows at Zanies at Pheasant Run in St. Charles, IL and they don’t have any TV screens in the club so I won’t be distracted. I need to focus on comedy anyway. I’ve been adding all kinds of new material and I want to keep it up all weekend.

   Tonight’s audience wasn’t even close to being the razor sharp batch of red hot comedy starved out loud laughing friendly people we had last night. That moment in time is gone forever. That was the only time in history that particular group was together in one place at one time, and it will never happen again. As wonderful as it was, it’s now in the past.

   The people tonight weren’t horrible, but they were a tad snug and it wasn’t the fun fest last night was. I had to work unbelievably hard to pry any laughs out of them, and it was even more difficult because I was trying to intersperse lots of new material into the mix.

   Different comedians have different ways of adding new material, but I’d say the safest way to do it is squeeze it in between two proven pieces of polished material and begin to shape it there. If it’s not going well, it’s easy to drop it and move into the next bit that has had previous success. The audience never knows that that’s what’s happening, but it is.

   Some comics like to go up on Saturday night when it’s supposed to be the hottest crowd of the week and open with something new and unproven. I’ve never been one to do it like that, but I’m not saying it’s wrong. I just think it’s extra ballsy and not what I’d like to do.

   That doesn’t mean I don’t do ballsy things on a comedy stage. Quite the contrary. I have been known to push the envelope as far as just about anyone at times, but those times are a lot more calculated now than they used to be. It used to be I’d do whatever hit me at any time, but I realized that doing it on a Saturday cheats a paying audience out of their show.

   An audience pays to see the best performance a comedian can give, or at least that what I believe now. I don’t ever want to cheat an audience out of my best, but I also need to get some new stuff polished, and the only way to do that is hone it on a stage. It’s a paradox.

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

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Control Freaking

Wednesday October 12th, 2011 - St. Charles, IL

   I’m a control freak, and I make no bones about it. I try not to be a foaming at the mouth maniacal tyrant, but I do gravitate toward being in charge of most situations. I find it very difficult to trust anyone else to look after my business as well I can, and I’m sure it comes from being scorched so many times in so many ways over the years. I tend to do it myself.

   Sometimes it’s just not possible to be in control, and the results of that situation are out of my hands - good or bad. Today I had an example from both ends of the spectrum. First, I’m headlining at Zanies at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, IL this week. Tonight was the first show and about 50 were there in three groups - but they were tremendous.

   Some nights are just magical, and this was one of them. Wow, what an audience. They loved the entire show, and the host John DaCosse told me before I went up that they were red hot and laughing at anything. Why it happened on a Wednesday night nobody knows.

   I’ve been doing comedy my whole life, and I still can’t figure it out. I’ve seen Saturday nights with a packed house turn into nightmare audiences, and out of the blue week night small crowds like this be fantastic beyond belief. Tonight I could have recorded an HBO special and I totally wish I had. They were long loud laughers and loved every bit I did.

   It almost got to be distracting that I had to wait for them to stop laughing so I could get to the next line. I was bringing out jokes I haven’t done in years, and they were crushing. It got to the point I was making stuff up on the spot, but it didn’t matter. They loved it all.

   A night like this is what everyone dreams being a comedian is like. It was unbelievably fun, and I was in the zone the entire show. It was out of my control, but I didn’t mind this time. They made up their mind they were going to enjoy themselves, and they surely did.

   It’s very frustrating that every night can’t be like this. Every comedian tries, but it rarely goes this well - especially from beginning to end. There were no dead spots, just constant laughs. All I could do was enjoy it, and I did, but I wish I could make it happen at will.

   I was glowing with satisfaction on the way home, and turned on the radio just in time to hear the Milwaukee Brewers lose to the St. Louis Cardinals and my mood flipped like an omelet. What a bitter pill that was to swallow, especially after such a smoking hot show.

   Again, it’s frustrating because I’m not in control. If I was out there playing in the game, I know I’d be trying my hardest to win. I’m assuming the Brewers were, but losing to the Cardinals of all teams twice in a row drives me up the wall. I’ve suffered through almost 30 years of mediocrity to get this chance to enjoy a World Series, and they’re blowing it.

   Too bad that doesn’t mean I’m going to get to enjoy it. There’s no law that says I’ll get my World Series win just because I waited this long. Look at the Cubs. Case closed. I try to be reasonable, but I’m losing faith in the Brewers. And on a wonderful night like this.

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

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

An Uncle Fester

Tuesday October 11th, 2011 - Chicago, IL

   Got a phone call from my cousin Brett in the middle of dinner informing me his father, who is also my uncle, is in the final stages of cancer and not long for this world. Neither one of us showed any emotion, and he said he’d keep me posted on everything. I hung up and finished my dinner, trying to get the bad taste out of my mouth. I wasn’t able to do it.

   I come from an unusual breeding stock to say the least. Most of my family lineage has a piss poor parenting pedigree, and I’ve been extremely careful not to perpetuate that putrid pox on offspring of my own. For some reason, parental skills are pitifully lacking with the majority of my bloodline, but most of them are defiant to the end and never ever cop to it.

   Brett and his father never got along much like my old man and I didn’t. The strange part is that Brett always was able to at least be in the same room with my father, and I was fine with his for much of my life. Problems only came up when it was a father and son thing.

   Apparently, both my uncle and my father never got along with their father, who was my grandfather - and the one person in my life who I credit with keeping me out of prison or dead at an early age. His parenting skills were tremendous with me, but not his own sons.

   What an inbred genetic train wreck this all is and has been for way too long, but now it appears to finally be ending after a lot of ugliness and hurt feelings. My uncle is the final piece of that generational puzzle, as the rest of the players are all dead. It’s finally over.

   The reason Brett and I had no emotions today is that the damage is already done. We’ve both chosen to not accept the way we were treated, and neither one of us considered those who donated sperm to be our fathers. They weren’t. They were sources of pain and agony. Neither of us spoke to our fathers for years, and now it will all end with no feelings at all.

   The whole thing is just a hollow rotten tumor, and I’m glad it’s over. My uncle lived his life in misery, never having the guts to chase his big dream of owning his own restaurant. He loved to cook and was very good at it, but instead he toiled away at a civil service job for thirty years that he hated and stretched out his misery over a lifetime. What a waste.

   I had my own issues with him for a long time. He did taxes on the side, and most of the family used him to file our returns every year. When my grandfather died, I was included in the will as an equal son, since my grandfather raised me as a son. That didn’t sit well at all with my father and uncle, and they were bound and determined not to let that happen.

   I trusted my uncle, and one year he told me to sign some paperwork concerning the will. I did it without question. What an idiot. I was na├»ve and stupid, and doing it cost me all of the money I was supposed to inherit. Years later I looked up the will in public records and took it to a lawyer and was told I was too late. I’d signed away my share and he said I was out of luck as far as trying to get it back. I wasn’t so angry about losing out on the cash as much as I was for the way it happened. It was pretty low class to be such a sneaky snake.

   I stewed over it for years, and lost a lot of sleep. I tried to figure out exactly how much it ended up costing me, and the figure I came up with was $100,000 to $150,000. I could have really used that money then and still could, but alas it wasn’t in the cards. It’s gone.

   Was that a good thing? Maybe it was. I’ve never claimed to be a financial whiz and that might have been a dangerous thing. Nothing guarantees I wouldn’t have pissed it away on ‘Hershey bars and Archie comics’ as Gramps used to say and it would all be gone by now anyway. That’s not the point. The point is Gramps chose to cut me in for an equal share.

   I don’t know the details of how much my father was in on it, by I know he wasn’t happy that I was included in the will. He used to make nasty comments about it constantly and it made its way back to me through the family grapevine. Whatever. It wasn‘t my doing.

   I know I’m not the only person ever to be screwed out of money in a will, and I’m sure I could have been smarter and fought for it but it was all so ugly at the time I didn’t want to deal with it. I wanted there to be peace and happiness for all of us. What a dummy I was.

   Looking back now, what really pisses me off is not the fact that I didn’t get my grubby paws on that money. I fully admit to being a financial pinhead, and that wad would have  probably been used to buy baseball cards, vintage cars or open some kind of comedy club. Any or all of those plans would’ve blown up in my face and I’d be stone broke by now.

   I can live with that, but it sure would have been fun to try. Again, that’s water under the bridge. What pisses me off is that THEY didn’t do anything with it. Ok, say the total was an even hundred grand. Fifty each for my father and uncle. That could have been used for a lot of things, including opening a restaurant. I wouldn’t have been angry if he did that.

   Instead, both of them are going to end up dying broke, bitter and alone. How sad that is. My father was a loser, and never chased any dreams. He had a defiant attitude to the end, and even when he knew he was dying he never made an attempt to change his direction.

   The same is apparently happening with my uncle. He’s on his way out the door, and he isn’t doing anything at the end to even make an attempt to make things right with Brett or me or anyone else for that matter. I always thought he liked me, but the minute I agreed to sign that paperwork he never talked to me again. His work was done, and I was history.

   That was a major source of pain and bitterness for years, and I won’t deny it. It’s all an ugly mean spirited memory, but it doesn’t bother me anymore. It really doesn’t. It would have been nice to have that money, but I survived without it. The wound has healed over.

   What’s really sad is that we were never the close knit family everyone wants and in my opinion deserves to have. If we can’t trust family, who can we trust? I’ve managed to stay alive on my own, and despite all my faults and mistakes I continue to keep plugging at my own pace. Some day I’ll be on my death bed, and I don’t want to have the same memories as those two do. I’m better than that. I forgive you uncle. Good luck. You’ll need it. Soon.

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

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Monday Night Goofball

Monday October 10th, 2011 - Libertyville, IL

   My days are getting busier and busier, only to be matched and exceeded by my evenings and weekends. I’ve got an action packed schedule in the next month or so, and as much as I enjoy that I have to be careful not to get out of the positive groove I’ve been in recently.

   This is the conflict I knew I‘d have, and now it’s here. I’m feeling a super squeeze as far as my daily schedule goes. I wasn’t able to find time for my daily walk today, and I’m not thrilled about that. I’ve been hitting it pretty hard lately and could use a day off to rest and recover, but I don’t want to make excuses in the future. I simply MUST keep exercising.

   Unfortunately that takes quite a bit of time and effort to not only do the actual excercise, but it also makes me sleep more to recover and that takes time away from my schedule as far as work time for other things go. I have to really juggle to make everything fit, and it’s becoming a daily challenge to plan out what I intend to invest my time in on a given day.

   Today it was preparing to teach a new session of comedy classes in Libertyville, IL that were organized by Improv Playhouse. They’ve been very diligent about plugging the class to their in house mailing list, and we had a solid turnout because of it. I always review all my teaching materials before every class session and look for ways I make them better.

   Bill Gorgo was off and came out to be part of the class as well. He and I have a synergy as teachers, and we love to hang out and talk about the nuts and bolts of comedy whether there are students around or not. It’s good to have people like that in any creative pursuit, and we both know that. We’re students of the game 24-7, but that’s too geekish for most.

   We don’t care, and we’re glad to be able to have someone else that loves to talk comedy as much as we do. We love the process, we love the history, and we also love the teaching aspect or we wouldn’t keep showing up. These students are going to get a major bargain whether they know it or not, but I think they do. We had a very solid first session tonight.

   The clientele of Improv Playhouse is not the same as a Zanies or Harper College and we knew that going in. Most of these people have been on a stage at some point, but it wasn’t in the role of a standup comic. They were actors or improvisers, but that’s not the same.

   Standup comedy has an energy and method all its own, and that’s what Bill and I enjoy. Sometimes new students fight it at first, especially if they’ve been involved in some other form of performing. It’s our job as teachers to show them the difference and offer them an opportunity to learn correct methods so they can avoid the mistakes most newbies make.

   Between this class and Zanies and Harper College, I’ll have more than my hands full so having Bill along for the ride will be totally appreciated. We talk about this stuff when we hang out anyway, so why not put ourselves in a positive position to help others who could benefit from our years of experience? This will be a fun class, but also a chance to make a difference in people’s lives. Missing football games on Monday nights is totally worth it.

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

The Fun Factor

Sunday October 9th, 2011 - Kenosha, WI

   I sure hope fun counts for something in life, because I’ve been having a lot of it lately. I may not be rich and famous, but dad gum it I’m enjoying the ride - especially in these last several months. Getting diagnosed with diabetes was the wake up call I didn’t know that I needed, but it sure has been a positive in many ways. It got me to appreciate my life more.

   I thought I was grateful before, but having my trouser berries operated on really drove it home with a sledge hammer just how delicate the whole experience of life on this wacked out little cosmic pebble actually is. It’s short, finite and absolutely nothing is guaranteed.

   It’s easy to get disappointed and break stride, and I admit I’ve been there the last couple of days. It wasn’t that diabolical deep dark dungeon of desperate depression like I’ve had so often in the past, this was just a blip on the radar. I really think the dramatic change in my diet and adding regular exercise are the main reasons I’ve been able to stay the course.

   Granted, working in towns like Manitowish Waters, WI and Dubuque, IA weren’t at all where I imagined my dreams of glory would be located, waiting to jump out of a cake like a stripper to make my heart flutter with excitement - but I have to admit I did have a blast on stage doing all three shows and the people who managed to make it out enjoyed it too.

   It didn’t make me rich, and I doubt if one tenth of one percent of those people would be able to pick me out of a police lineup right now only a few days later, but I had fun seeing all the spectacular fall colors and enjoying the sunny warm weather that wouldn’t quit the whole time. Carlos Valencia and I had a lot of laughs, and it was a laid back atmosphere.

   There are a lot of other people plugging away in obscurity at jobs they can’t stand at all. At least my problem isn’t that. I like what I’m doing, and I do it well. I just need to find a way to do it on a bigger scale for higher pay. Looking at it that way doesn’t seem so dark.

   Tonight was a similar situation. I hosted my weekly Mothership Connection paranormal themed radio show on AM 1050 WLIP in Kenosha, WI and that was also nothing but fun. I doubt if many were listening, but that’s ok. I know those who did received the very best we could give them - an entertaining and informative program packed with solid guests.

   One was more interesting than the next, and the four hours went by so fast it seemed as if we had just gotten started by the time it was over. I hosted a show I would listen to, and that makes it easy. My co-host Shelley does a fantastic job of making sure guests know of their interview times, and she also updates our site at

    Then there’s the cheery cherry high atop the Sunday sundae and that’s the fact both my beloved home state sports teams the Brewers and Packers won games today. None of this means anything, but all of it means everything. Life is supposed to be fun, and despite all the things that may not be going exactly as I want them to, the things I’m choosing to put my time into are at least paying off in satisfaction. Too bad bills can’t be paid with that.

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

Monday, October 10, 2011

Disappointment In Dubuque

Saturday October 8th, 2011 - Dubuque, IA

   The gig in Dubuque this weekend is exactly how I remembered it - above average on all levels but one. Attendance could have been better, but what live event of any kind besides a Wall Street protest rally can get people to show up in one place at one time these days?

   Drawing a crowd for any reason isn’t easy. It just isn’t. No matter how I slice it or try to work around it, I’m still not a household name and until that changes I’m at the mercy of the fates as to whether anyone will show up when I’m performing. It keeps me humble, to the point of wondering if I’ll ever get that elusive rabid loyal fan base I’ve always wanted.

   It wasn’t the venue’s fault. The gig is at a casino/dog track complex and it‘s well run all around as far as I can see. They put us up in a Hilton hotel attached to the facility, so once I check into my room I can get anywhere I need to be without having to step outside for a single second for any reason. I could have laid around for the entire day had I chosen to.

   I didn’t choose that, as the weather was as picture perfect as it gets and I did not want to waste even a single ray of that wonderful sunshine. I know it won‘t last long around these parts, and it was a soothing sun soaked scenario as I took my walk from the hotel into the heart of downtown Dubuque for exercise. It must have been about three miles one way.

   Dubuque is a pretty town, even though I know I’d go completely nuts in about a week if I had to live here. It’s right on the Mississippi River, but there‘s not much to do. It’s not a large city, and there‘s not one nearby. Madison, WI is about 80 miles away, but that‘s not close enough. That’s probably why they built the casino. It gives the people a destination.

   I was drenched in sweat as I found my way to a street I’d recalled from a previous visit that has all kinds of resale and pawn shops on it. I took a lap through a few of them and it was nothing like Pawn Stars on TV. There weren’t any one of a kind priceless artifacts to admire - just shelves of DVDs, used tools, jewelry and musical instruments up the wazoo.

   I walked into one of the second hand shops when a couple in their 50s was walking out who had seen the show last night and reacted as if I was Elvis walking around downtown Memphis. They told me how funny they thought I was, then the husband asked me why I wasn’t famous. I shrugged. He didn’t mean anything by it, but unfortunately he’s correct.

   Tonight was even better than last night, but there were still some empty seats in the 300 seat show room. I commented that only Mr. Lucky could headline a show that didn’t have any cover charge whatsoever, and still not be able to pack the joint. It got a nice big laugh but from a business position I’m not laughing at all. It feels like I missed the career boat.

   What do I have to do to have packed houses with fans who are there to see me? I’ve put forth a campaign for over a quarter of a century, yet I still haven’t managed to find a way to sell any tickets. It’s SO disappointing, but all I can do is keep working. Those who did come out were great laughers. I just wish they would’ve been there to see me on purpose.

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

Saturday, October 8, 2011

'82 All Over Again!

Friday October 7th, 2011 - Dubuque, IA
   I was late for call time at my show tonight, but I had to watch my hometown Milwaukee Brewers advance to the National League Championship Series. I wanted to let as much of it soak in as possible, as it’s been almost thirty years since the last time I got to taste this.
   What a freeze frame in time that whole experience was. I’m sure everyone else who was alive in 1982 has vivid memories of that year just like I do. The whole city was alive with a buzz of pure electricity like I’d never felt before. We all became a single source of civic pride, a unified throbbing pulse bonded by the Brewers. How could anyone not love it?
   Older people then said it reminded them of the Milwaukee Braves going to the Series in 1957, but I wasn’t around for that one. I’d heard about it quite a bit from my grandpa, and he said that was a surreal experience too. I was sorry we didn’t get a chance to bask in ‘82 glory together, as he died in December of ‘81. It would’ve been one of my best memories.
   Even without him, it was still pretty special. I remember everyone in town wearing their Brewers t-shirts and jerseys and caps and jackets, and at the time I was working at a steak house as a grill cook and hating my life. A street vendor came in the restaurant and started selling Brewers souvenirs to customers and staff, and people were buying it up like crazy.
   Nobody kicked the guy out, and when he left we waved and thanked him for stopping in to see us. Would that ever happen in any other situation? If I decided to randomly wander into a restaurant out of the blue and started selling comedy videos or joke books, I’m sure I’d have to spend at least one night in jail. Not that guy. He made money and we loved it.
   I also distinctly remember turning down a chance to see one of the World Series games at County Stadium because the ticket cost $50 at the time. That’s laughable now, but $50 was a lot of money back then to a 19 year old kid who was living on his own and needed money to pay rent. I assumed they’d go back again and I’d see it then. How wrong I was.
   Now it’s almost thirty years later, and I still regret not buying that ticket. I would have long forgotten that fifty bucks, but I’d have the experience forever. People of all ages and colors and backgrounds were only ONE thing - Brewer fans. It was a wonderful feeling of unity and pride and excitement that’s painfully lacking in ‘normal’ life. This was special.
   This year’s team hasn’t made it to the World Series just yet, but the feeling was exactly the same as I watched the winning hit by Nyjer Morgan, who will be remembered forever just like Hank Aaron for his winning home run in ’57 and Cecil Cooper for his famous hit in ’82. I can still picture his hands motioning for the ball to get down as he ran, and it did.
   Memories like this are far too rare for me to let this opportunity pass. If they should get into the World Series again, I’ll sell a kidney if I have to so I can be there and experience it live and in the flesh. Plus, they’ll have beaten the dreaded St. Louis Cardinals and got a sweet payback from that crushing defeat in ‘82. This will be a year to remember forever!

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Night Up Nort'

Thursday October 6th, 2011 - Manitowish Waters, WI                  

   Just when I’ve decided I don’t want to pursue my vagabond hobo lifestyle much longer, out I go for another three day road run. It was almost four, but I wasn’t able to work it out with the booker. It’s a prime example of why this kind of lifestyle can be so exasperating.

   The weekend booking is at a casino/dog track in Dubuque, IA. I’ve done it before and it was a nice gig as I remember. The staff was friendly and the accommodations were above average, as they usually are at casino gigs. It came up again and I gladly accepted the job.

   Then, another booker offered me the gig tonight in Manitowish Waters, WI. That’s way up there near the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, but it’s extra scratch and a chance to self manufacture an extended run. That‘s getting much harder to do these days, and it stinks.

   There was a third booker who had a gig last night in Eau Claire, WI I tried to snatch up, but someone else aced me out. I tried to explain how convenient it would be, but it fell on deaf ears of course. The other comic may well have been able to switch the date easily but the booker wouldn’t hear of it. Most of them couldn’t care any less. They just plug holes.

   This makes it that much harder to make a living doing comedy - especially for opening acts. Bookers don’t think twice about calling comics to cancel a booking on short notice, but if we should happen to need to move a single date our entire booking future is at risk.

   I got to bring my opener this week and I chose a very funny kid named Carlos Valencia. I met him at Zanies in Chicago at a Monday Rising Star Showcase, and then we worked a very enjoyable week together in Memphis later on. It just so happened we hooked this up.

   He’s in his late 20s, and I predict a bright future. He’s naturally funny, but also realizes comedy is a craft and works extra hard to be a student of the game. I liked his style when we worked in Memphis, and I‘m glad we were able to cross paths again on this run. He’ll do a solid job on stage, and not be a pain in the ass to be trapped in a car with for the trip.

   Not only that, he volunteered to drive. Jackpot! It was a welcome treat to not have to get behind a steering wheel and just relax and get to enjoy the spectacular colors of autumn in northern Wisconsin. He showed up at my house within two minutes of when he said he’d be there, and that was impressive as well. This kid has a spark, and I’m glad I could toss a few shows his way. They may not be dream gigs, but he’ll pay his bills for another week.

   Tonight’s show was well received. It was held in a hotel lounge with a homemade stage setup, but the lights and sound were good and people piled in from all over the area to see us. The couple that own the hotel enjoy comedy and wanted to bring shows up this way.

  Carlos was grateful for the work, and I was grateful for an opener who was professional, funny and didn’t dig a deep dark desperate ditch for me to have to crawl out of to win the crowd back. We did our duty and bagged our booty. Down to Dubuque for a double dose.

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

Marking My Territory

Wednesday October 5th, 2011 - Milwaukee, WI 

   Back up to Milwaukee today to keep my contact list warm and shake hands, kiss babies and hang out on The D-List radio show on ESPN 540 with Drew Olson and Dan Needles. If I’m going to follow through with my master plan of making my main base of operation the turf of Chicago, Rockford, Madison and Milwaukee, I’ll need to maintain a presence.

   I still think that’s a viable plan, and I intend to pursue it. I’d much rather have a territory close to some kind of home that I can count on for a solid steady living than have to drive an unreliable vehicle all over the four corners of the North American continent regretably routing rotten runs in reprehensible rinky-dink rag tag rat hole rooms for riff raff rogues.

   I’ve done that for years, and it hasn’t gotten me anywhere - even though I haven’t been able to stop moving. Most of my life has been spent in motion, and I’d like a chance to be in one place for a while. My wanderlust has been satiated, and now I’m ready to take root.

   There are enough people in those four cities and all the little towns in between to make myself a comfortable living and then some. I still admire a guy like Pat McCurdy who has been doing it for decades, and has established a name in the area yet still has a quality life with a family and has the best of all worlds. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

   Everyone dreams of being the biggest world wide superstar in any endeavor, but reality only has room for a rare few. There are the Jay Lenos and Jerry Seinfelds in the comedy world, and there’s everyone else. It’s the same in music, acting, sports, broadcasting and every other entertainment field. Not many of those who enter it end up at the very top.

   The good news is, not everyone who gets to the very top of any field is guaranteed to be totally happy. That seems to be a very popular myth, but I know it isn’t true. Happiness is something we all need to decide on a personal definition, and it’s different for everybody.

   I know I don’t need to be a world wide superstar to be happy. In fact, it would probably be a prodigious pain in the poop shoot to perpetually pass paparazzi perched for pictures on my porch. I’d much rather be creatively satisfied and be able to live my life in peace.

   Milwaukee is my home town, and always will be. I’ve come so far from the angst filled punk kid feeling I had to prove something to the world. The world doesn’t care, and never did. It was me I had to prove something to, and I did. I proved I could do what I set out to do, and now I don’t need it from anyone else. Getting it from Hollywood isn’t a necessity.

   What is a necessity is an income to finance my nasty habits of eating and having shelter to protect me from the elements. I don’t have to have a mansion, but I wouldn’t mind the creature comforts of indoor plumbing and a stove. That’s totally doable, and I don’t need to trample the turf coast to coast to make that reality. I’ll gladly work to establish my little self imposed territory and enjoy the rest of my days to their fullest. I’m the best version of me I’ve ever been, and the vibe is still getting stronger. Happiness is where one makes it.

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

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Small Town Justice

Tuesday October 4th, 2011 - Downers Grove, IL

   I’m in a foul mood. I haven’t been this upset in a while, and I hope it’s a long time until I am again. But I am. I’m going to allow myself 24 hours to stew about it and then I’ll put it behind me and go back to my position as a dung beetle of pushing my ball of poo daily.

   I got pulled over in Warrenville, IL of all places on September 5th. I don’t remember the event I was coming from, but I do remember the police officer being what people in these parts call a ‘jagoff’. I’d never heard that term before I moved to Illinois, but he was a hard core example. There was a giant bug up his ass, dwarfed only by the chip on his shoulder.

   It was rather late, and I was at an intersection that was under major construction. I had a situation where I was mistakenly in the left turn lane, and it would have caused me to turn off the road I needed to be on. I had no idea how I would have gotten back because it was all ripped up with construction so I made a quick switch and got into the right hand lane.

   There were maybe four or five cars at the light and it was no big deal, or so I thought. It apparently was, because I saw the lights from the police car moments later. I could tell by his attitude in the first five seconds that he was going to find something to nail me on, and there was nothing I could do about it. I shut my mouth and let him do what he had to do.

   He took my license and was gone an annoyingly long time, and returned with an almost giddy look on his puss, delighted to tell me my plates were suspended due to an emissions violation. Apparently, I needed to get it checked when I renewed my plates, and I hadn’t.

   That caused my plates to be suspended, and he wrote me up a ticket which required me to be in court this morning to prove that I had it taken care of. I got it done the next day as soon as the emissions place opened, and I thought it would be over. It was an oversight.

   My court appearance was at 8:30am, making for a brutal commute. I left at 6am so as to bypass any potential traffic delays, and there were several. That’s a bad time to have to be anywhere in the Chicago area, and it was megastress for the duration of the 48 mile trip.

   When I got to the ‘court room’, it was a VFW hall with a ramshackle setup that was like something out of Green Acres. They brought in chairs and banquet tables and pieced it all together like they were having a party in their basement. I thought it was pretty half ass.

   It was even more half ass that the judge ‘cut me a break’ and let me off by paying ‘court costs’ of $175. When he said that I just about wet myself. To make it worse, there would be a $5 surcharge if I paid with a credit card, but not if I paid with cash or check. It was a scam from the word go, and I had no choice but to take out my wallet and get it over with.

   Times are hard enough without this kind of chicanery clogging the toilet of justice. This infuriates me, but what else can I do but write about it and get it out of my system? I have better things to do than pacify a zit faced rookie cop in Warrenville, IL with daddy issues.

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

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Dizzy Tizzy Of Busy

Monday October 3rd, 2011 - Libertyville, IL

   It’s a constant struggle, but every day I’m making at least a little more progress working on my various projects. It’s painfully slow and not as steady as I intended, but at least I’m not giving up. I try to work on something every day, and even though I’ve got a long way to go I’ve made significant improvement in the last few months and it needs to continue.

   I have to fight with all my being not to be scattered, and it’s not easy but I’m doing it as well as I ever have. It’s my natural tendency to have nine things going in various states of completion at any one time, but that’s not going to get me anywhere. I need to get at least one or two of these dangling projects done so I can relieve myself of an over full agenda.

   There’s an extremely fine line between an exciting challenge and complete overwhelm, and I’ve been walking it for the last several weeks. I’m trying to pack a whole lot of life into a teeny weeny window of time, and it’s all I can handle to keep myself on a course.

   It’s a great mental and physical exercise, but I better watch myself or I’ll do something stupid and erase this wonderful momentum I’ve been building since my eight day detour in the hospital in June. Worse yet, I’ll end up back in. There‘s a delicate balance to this.

   Right now, I’m working on shrinking down all those boxes I hauled out of storage last month and tossing out everything I haven’t used in at least a year or plan to in the coming one. I’ve hauled away several large loads of trash so far, and that’s great, but there is still a long way to go and I’m going to suck it up and get it finished once and hopefully for all.

   I’m not going to beat myself up about it or do anything else but get it out of the way and move on. It’ll be a huge relief when it’s finally completed, but that will take at least a few more months at the rate I’ve been able to go. It took years to accumulate all of this clutter so why think I can get rid of it all in a day? I could, but I’d be throwing out good stuff too.

   So, here I sit…and sit…and sit some more…dumping out and sorting through box after box and tossing out most of the contents and saving the least amount I can that I think I’ll actually need or want in the next year. It’s not fun, but it is a way to reshuffle my energy.

   I’ve found all kinds of comedy idea notes and notes in general from years ago that I can dust off and use now. I’d totally forgotten about a lot of if not all of this stuff, so that’s the reason I keep going through every box - tedious as it may be. And it is. But it’s necessary.

   That, combined with still trying to walk for exercise every day and eat right and get the King of Uranus idea off the ground and teach comedy classes and get myself booked for comedy work and everything else that comes and goes in life is keeping me on my toes.

   Tonight I taught an introductory comedy class at Improv Playhouse in Libertyville, IL. It was a two hour class and I spent at least that long preparing materials and a lesson plan for it. Nobody sees how much effort this all takes, and nobody cares. These are busy days.

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