Friday, December 30, 2011

Delayed Delight

Thursday December 29th, 2011 - Dubuque, IA/Rockford, IL

   I don’t know why it took so long to achieve, but this is exactly how I pictured my life to be. I’m finally in the groove I thought I’d be in twenty years ago, and I see no reason for it to stop any time soon. If anything, I picture it getting even better. I’ve earned my stripes.

   The show last night at Diamond Jo’s Casino in Dubuque was tremendous. That venue is a perfect example of the theatre type atmosphere I want to play on a regular basis. It has a monster sound system and a gigantic stage, and it was packed with a laugh ready crowd.

   Nobody heckled, and they sat back and enjoyed the show. This is the way I have always thought comedy should be, but it’s been far from it. How many nights of hellish pain have I had to endure trying to fend off drunken idiots who constantly babbled through shows?

   Not here. I was able to give them what was billed - a comedy show. And they enjoyed it all, start to finish. The hour went by lightning fast. I was able to dig in and take command, and they trusted me to have an ability to entertain them. This is a very important dynamic.

   A lot of it has to do with how an audience is trained. If any venue does things correctly, they set the scene before every show as to what is expected. There are announcements up front to let people know that heckling is not tolerated and to turn cell phones off. That’s a crucial ingredient to a successful show, as is a competent host. That’s a big part of it too.

   Comedy shows at Diamond Jo’s are hosted by a radio personality named Scott Thomas who goes by ‘Scotty T’ on the air. He’s been hosting comedy shows in Dubuque for years at various other venues, and does an excellent job. I’ve worked with him before, and he’s a fan of comedy so he doesn’t talk down to us or the crowd like a lot of radio wankers do.

   Everything just fell into place, but I didn’t take one second of it for granted. I’ve seen it go the exact opposite way, and it’s not fun for anyone. This was a total gas for everybody involved, and I even sold a dozen CDs after the show. They were lining up to buy them.

   They also put us up in top shelf accommodations at a place called The Hotel Julien. It’s at least six levels above the herpes infested kennels where most gigs end up stashing us to save five bucks a night. This gig was class all the way, and I couldn’t appreciate it more.

   I’m sensing a trend that I really like. Last week it was great working at Donnie B’s, and now this. The rest of the week I’ll be at Zanies at The Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, IL which has been one of my favorite gigs for years. Nice venue. Nice people. Nice life. I don’t see why it can’t be like this every week, but at least for these two weeks it has been.

   The radio show in Rockford has been going very well too. Jim McHugh is fun to work with, and we know each other so well there isn’t any transition of awkwardness period to get through like most radio partnership situations. We hit the ground running, and have a good rapport. For however long this lasts, I’m thoroughly enjoying my life day and night.

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

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sharing The Wealth

Wednesday December 28th, 2011 - Rockford, IL/Dubuque, IA

   All kinds of things are starting to cook exactly the way I want, and I’m excited. I love it all, and not concerned in the least it’s not ‘big time’. That myth has been shattered, so any pressure is completely off. Fun is fun, and that’s what I’m having. To me, that’s success.

   The radio show today in Rockford was an absolute blast. The people at the station could not be any nicer to us, and we’re starting to feel right at home. We had a chance to bring a couple of other comedian friends on the air with us, and they got to shine for a while too.

   Jim Wiggins is a wonderful guy who has been doing comedy forever. He billed himself for years as ‘The Last Hippie’, and actually lived in the Rockford area for a long time. He has been dealing with bladder cancer for the past few years, and it was great to be able to give him some air time to tell that story and also about him being on The Tonight Show.

   Everyone in the Chicago comedy community loves Jim Wiggins. He’s supportive of all the new talents, and was extremely nice to me when I started years ago. He was in charge of a place called Dirty Nellie’s, and he was generous with handing out stage time before I was ready for it. All these years later, it felt good to be able to pay back his generosity.

   We also had a chance to have Tim Slagle on with us. Tim and I are familiar with being on the air with each other because we were on with Jerry’s Kidders for several years, but the Rockford audience doesn’t know any of us. It was a chance to troll for some new fans.

   I’ve never been afraid to share the spotlight on the air. I want others to feel comfortable and know they can say what they think and not have to be anything other than themselves. I don’t have to agree with everything they say, or any of it. I just want it to be interesting.

   A lot of radio and television people aren’t like that. They can’t stand it when anyone is funnier than them, and they try to squelch it at all costs. I want exactly the opposite. I love it when someone gets on a roll, and it’s good for everyone. Johnny Carson lasted decades by letting others come on and have the spotlight. It’s not any secret, that formula works.

   It was great fun to let Jim and Tim have their moment, and I try to let Jim McHugh get his licks in too. I just try to be the conductor, and pass out solos. I follow the same course as host of The Mothership Connection on WLIP in Kenosha on Sunday nights. It works.

   After the radio show, Jim McHugh and I drove to Dubuque, IA to perform at Diamond Jo’s Casino. Wow, what a top notch facility that is. I knocked off a solid hour like it was nothing. There was a packed house, and they were there to laugh. This was a dream gig.

   I love every minute of all of this, even though it’s not necessarily what most performers would consider the big time. The radio show was just as fun as if it were WLS in Chicago and the laughs sounded just as good in Dubuque as they would have in Las Vegas. I love what I’m doing, and the people around me seem to be loving it too. I don’t see a problem.

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

Hollywood Can Wait

Tuesday December 27th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   This is going to be a dream week. What a fun way to close out a tumultuous year. I’ll be doing all kinds of fun things with creative people, and to me that’s what life is about. The only thing that’s missing is big money, but I am getting paid something so I’m not upset.

   If every week could be like this, I would be thrilled to the bone. This is what I‘ve spent my entire life chasing, and I’ve finally caught it! I feel like Wile E. Coyote after catching that pesky little Road Runner. After all that plotting, scheming and chasing, I hit pay dirt.

   I want a chance to savor my victory. I don’t want to gloat, but lot of effort went into the process and it finally has a tangible payoff. Why not squeeze every last drop of enjoyment out of everything, and that’s what I intend to do. Everything I dreamed about is now real.

   When I started, my goal was to become a super solid headlining comedian and perform in quality venues. I also wanted to have an entertaining radio show, working with a lot of fun and creative people I like. That’s exactly what I’m doing all week, and I’m ecstatic.

   My dreams never had a specific location attached to them, and I guess I always assumed all this would take place in California. Hollywood, baby! Right underneath that sign. Isn’t that where all official fantasy show business dreams have to take place to actually count?

   Surely, any place else where good things may happen is a waste of time, right? If it isn’t complete and total world wide domination, how can anyone be satisfied? What a mistake, but far too many feel that way. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big, but reality only has room for a precious lucky few at that tippy top pinnacle of success. It’s an elite club.

   The rest of us have to fight for what’s left, and that’s just how it is. Every kid who plays baseball dreams of hitting that home run in the bottom of the ninth inning in the last game of the World Series. Who has actually accomplished that? Bill Mazeroski in 1960 and Joe Carter in 1993. David Freese did it this year, but it was game six. That’s close, but not it.

     Then, there’s EVERYONE ELSE who ever played the game. Are all those guys failures because they never hit a home run to win the last game of the World Series? That’s stupid to even consider, but all kinds of people in show business seem to think that if they don’t end up as the top box office draw in Hollywood for a decade they’ve wasted their lives.

   This week I’m going to be hosting a two hour afternoon radio talk show with my friend Jim McHugh on WNTA in Rockford, IL. It’s not WABC in New York, but it’ll be a lot of fun and we won’t get any hassles from management. In my world, that’s a fantastic deal.

   Also, I’ll be headlining a comedy show at Diamond Jo’s Casino in Dubuque, IA. That’s not Ceasars Palace in Las Vegas, but it’s a stellar venue that will be full of great laughers. I’ll also get to headline Zanies in St. Charles, IL at Pheasant Run Resort for the rest of the week, including New Year’s Eve. I’m going to savor every second. Hollywood can wait.

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

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Movie Deal

Monday December 26th, 2011 - New Lenox, IL/Kenosha, WI

   December 26th is always one of my favorite days. Christmas is finally OVER, and life is back to whatever ‘normal’ is. Whatever that definition may be, life becomes much harder to plow through with the added pressure of being constantly reminded I’m supposed to be cheerful and festive. That pressure is gone now, and I can do it at my leisure. I like that.

   It feels like a heavy pair of ankle weights have been taken off. I can dance around with a new sense of freedom, and renewed enthusiasm that a brand new year with a fresh start is only a week away. The rear view mirror is ripped off the hinge, and I’m looking ahead.

   I’ve got lots of fun and exciting projects lining up for 2012, and today is the day to kick it all off and start planning everything. I need to be extra diligent about that, as if I’m not I’ll get overwhelmed as I have in the past and not finish anything. A battle plan is a must.

   I’m going to have a full plate and then some, but it’s stacked with things I really enjoy. Exercise will be a priority, and I’m learning to love that and never thought I would. It will unfortunately take up a major chunk of time daily, but I have to invest in staying healthy.

   The King of Uranus is also a priority. I am going to create that character as my alter ego and that will also require a lot of time and energy. I don’t mind, but I have to be careful to not let myself get lost in it and not produce results. Fun is fine, but income has to happen.

   Where I sit now, standup comedy is my main source of income. I’m at my peak as far as production and ability goes, so that has to be the first order of business. That will pay bills for now, and hopefully be able to finance everything in the short run. The King of Uranus is a long term project, and the plan is to use one to lead to the other. It will be a transition.

   I met with my film director friend Mark Gumbinger today to hack out a final battle plan for our recording project in January. He’s going to record my act in a studio environment with an invited audience and a three camera shoot. Our investment is minimal, and it’s an excellent opportunity to get a new current video to send out to bookers for future work.

   Mark is an excellent director, and knows what he’s doing. I’m confident he will be able to at the very least give me a high quality chronicle of my act so far. A good video is rare these days, and I’m grateful to be able to finally have one. This is a worthwhile endeavor.

   We discussed it in Mark’s car as we drove to New Lenox, IL where he was purchasing a 1989 Pontiac Firebird at a car lot. He likes old cars like I do, so I didn’t mind riding along and helping him get the car back to his house in Kenosha, WI. It was a chance to help him out and also help myself in the long run by having a quality video. This was worthwhile.

   We went back to Mark’s house and watched about a dozen DVDs of other comedians to get an idea of what’s out there. We weren’t looking for comedy content, just how they did it technically. I’d never done that before, and I learned a lot. This is going to be a winner.

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

The Christmas Theory

Sunday December 25th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   Another Christmas comes and goes. All that hype. All that decorating. Was it worth it? Are more people on our planet genuinely happier today than yesterday? Will there ever be peace on Earth, good will toward men? Or, is it Hell on Earth and men toward Goodwill?

   I’m sure there must have been surveys done, but I wonder what the exact numbers boil down to as to how it shakes out just who likes the whole Christmas experience and who can’t stand it. I’ve met quite a few of both in my travels, and both camps are passionate.

   Like many ideas, the concept of Christmas is a big winner in theory. So is communism, but a glitch usually comes along and wipes out all the positives. No matter what anyone’s religious beliefs may or may not be, on paper, Christmas has a wonderful ideal for us all.

   In reality, it’s a huge pain in the ass for a large percentage of the population everywhere and it ends up being stressful and unfulfilling. I wish it weren’t that way, but it is. I know kids love it, but can’t there be a better way to celebrate and give gifts? Can’t we just lay it on the line and tell kids there’s a tradition once a year when people like to exchange gifts?

   We won’t have to fabricate the all time whopper of whoppers about some mysteriously appearing fat man in a red and white fuzzy pimp suit who flies around in a giant sled with toys in it, randomly giving them to kids who eat all their vegetables throughout the year.

   Tell the kids the truth from the start, and Christmas could still be a big winner. It would sure take a lot of the pressure off, and maybe relieve some of the tension of having to buy gifts for people we don’t really want to buy for. Let’s tweak the system and do it correctly from the start. Level with the kids up front, and then there won’t be disappointment later.

   I know I would have been able to handle this concept without incident, and I really have to believe most other kids would too. We’re not stupid, just na├»ve and inexperienced. We believe what we’re told, because we haven’t been given a reason not to yet. The adults are in charge and have our trust, and then they choose to tell us a big lie and not back down.

   Most of the goofy traditions we ‘celebrate’ now come from Pagan rituals anyway. It’s a watered down mix of a lot of things all thrown together, including the mythical need for a snow covered wonderland to make everything ‘holy’. That alone creates a lot of pressure.

   I really don’t consider myself a Scrooge, even though the older I get I find myself hating and bashing every facet of what I think is an increasingly stupid yearly event. I may not be fond of the event itself, but it doesn’t mean I don’t like the theory of it all. I absolutely do.

   Sharing, giving and thinking of others first is all something everyone should do anyway. It shouldn’t be narrowed down to one day late in the year. Life itself should be Christmas, and every day a new present not only to open, but to share with those we love. That’s how I want to live my life, and it‘s all I can handle to keep slugging. Today is just another day.

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

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Marketing Motivation

Saturday December 24th, 2011 - Springfield, IL/Lincoln, IL

   I’m still basking in the glow of the whole experience of working at Donnie B’s Comedy Club. Donnie was busy with other things at the end of the night, but when I got my check he had hand written a note on the envelope telling me I did a super job and will be back.

   That’s totally fine with me. This is the kind of place I’d love to work anytime, even if it is in Springfield, IL. I never particularly liked the town itself, I always found it to be kind of run down and redneckish. The only reason I gave it a second thought at all was because of my friend Max. His wife’s family is from the Springfield area and he relocated there.

   Max was doing the morning show at WYMG, and we had thought about trying to hook up and be a team. I was on the air with him for a few days, but after exploring the town it didn’t look promising. I wasn’t impressed with much, and thought I would have hated it.

   I hadn’t discovered Donnie B’s at that time, I had only heard of it. Had I known how he runs his business, I may have had a different opinion. I’m glad I finally got to work there, and now I’ll get the best of both worlds. I can live where I do and visit there occasionally.

   It really is all about marketing. Before I left the hotel, I checked the Weather Channel to see what to expect on my drive home. There are sponsorship logos on screen for the local reports that rotate regularly, and sure enough there was one with Donnie B’s logo on it in the mix. Not many comedy clubs would have the savvy to buy an ad there. It was shrewd.

   Zanies in Chicago has always been well marketed too, and that’s why they have been in business since 1978 and have multiple locations that have also lasted. Rick Uchwat knew how important marketing and advertising was, and he made Zanies THE standup comedy name brand in the Chicago area. That’s exactly what Donnie B. is doing in Springfield.

   Second City sure did it with improv comedy. I still get asked by people in the Chicago area who have no idea about what comedy is if I’ve ever ‘played Zanies or Second City’. Those are two names they’ve heard of, and they try to sound like they know something.

   I don’t know much about many things, but I do know how important name recognition is in business and I know I need to have a lot more of it. It doesn’t matter if it’s Dobie or Mr. Lucky or The King of Uranus. I just need a brand that generates a mass recognition.

   That means I have to constantly promote myself to a customer base and make myself as easy to find as possible, whether it’s a booker for a show or someone who wants to buy a CD or another product - and by the way I could stand to have a lot more of those as well.

   I’m not nearly as well marketed as I could be, and that’s my fault. I take full blame, but also know it’s very fixable. I know I have a good product, actually one of the best around. The problem is, not enough people know about it and think of me first when the need for a comedian comes up. I need to make myself a brand, even if it’s only in the Midwest.

   This is a whole new skill set, and I’m going to master it. I’ve made a decision to make myself a master marketer just like I decided to become a master comedian when I started. I mistakenly thought that a good product alone would be enough to make me filthy rich.

   SO wrong. I did achieve my objective of being a master comedian, but it didn’t get me the results I wanted. Not enough people know I’m a master, but that’s not the issue. They need to PERCEIVE me as being the best, and that means they not only have to know that I exist - they have to be familiar with my work. Some endorsements wouldn’t hurt either.

   Also, a territory is important too. Zanies started in Chicago. They expanded eventually, but Chicago was their first territory. Donnie B. has Springfield, and I think he has a club in Bloomington, IL as well from what I hear. I need a territory where I’m THE comedian, or at least one of the top two or three names people think of when comedy is mentioned.

   I still think staking out the square of Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, WI and Rockford, IL is a smart move. I’ve been working the area forever, and have a lot of media contacts and even some fans. I also have made a few enemies, and they’ll remain pains in the ass.

   Still, I can continue to go around them like I’ve always been doing. They can’t stop me from achieving my goal, they’ll only make a few things inconvenient. They won’t be able to see my bigger picture anyway, so I don’t care. I’m going to dig in and stake my claim.

   I want to be the name people think of for standup comedy in those four places, and have a home base to work whenever I want. There are literally several MILLION people in that squared area, and between clubs, theatres and private parties I can carve out a nice living.

   I’ll still go to places like Donnie B’s and Wiseguys in Salt Lake City and any other club I happen to like, but I’ll go there because I want to. Big difference. There are far too many other old road dogs like me with solid acts but no name recognition anywhere. Not good.

   I stopped for breakfast at ‘Daphne’s Diner’ in Lincoln, IL on my way home and had one of the most delicious omelets I’ve ever had in my life. It was beyond scrumptious. How a simple omelet could taste so good is beyond me, but it did. It was perfect in every way.

   It was listed on the menu as a ‘Hawaiian Omelet’, which I hadn’t heard of before. It had ham, black olives, Swiss cheese and pineapple. I don’t know why it sounded so tasty, but it did so I ordered it. Wow. It was like a flavor volcano erupted in my mouth. Delicious!

   The eggs were cooked perfectly. They were moist and fluffy, and not a scorch mark on them. Sometimes omelets can be dried out or burned at the ends. Whatever. Not this one. I couldn’t believe how good it looked on the plate, and it tasted even better. What a treat.

   On the way out, I took a business card. I looked at it in the car, and it had a local phone number with no area code listed, nor did it even have the town or state listed. A website? Of course not. Daphne has a great product, but nobody can find it easily. Sound familiar?

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

Comedy Club Heaven

Friday December 23rd, 2011 - Springfield, IL

   O Springfield, dear Springfield - where have ye been all my life? Wow, what a fantastic experience all the way around. I’d heard good things about Donnie B’s Comedy Club, but it wasn’t done justice. This is comedy club heaven, and I hope I can come back regularly.

   Actually, Springfield had little to do with the experience. That just happens to be where the club is located. It could be done like this in any city in America, but unfortunately it’s not. The one reason it’s so great boils down to two words - Don Bassford, aka Donnie B.

   That guy is a world class entrepreneur, and after seeing how he runs his business I have nothing but respect and admiration for how he handles himself. This was a total clinic on how a comedy club and a business in general should be run. He knows what he’s doing.

   What was so great about it? Everything. The room itself was done perfectly. The sound and lights were excellent, and as strange as it sounds that’s not always the case. There are a lot of comedy clubs that don’t care, even though it absolutely affects the final product.

   Not only were the sound and lights on point, there was an atmosphere created. There are candles on each table and large mural type paintings of comedians on the walls. It gets an audience in the mood for comedy as soon as they walk in the room. It establishes a vibe.

   There’s upbeat theme music before the show starts, and a light show that would make a disco jealous. It’s a SHOW, and the energy was built perfectly. Then, Donnie B. hosts the shows himself. He welcomes the audience personally, and lays down the rules of what to expect and how to act. He makes it clear that heckling isn‘t accepted, but does it politely.

   Then, he gives away birthday prizes and tells about what’s coming up in future weeks. I have to believe most comedians probably think he’s an egomaniac for doing that, but as a student of the entrepreneurial game I can see why he does it. Who else could promote any business better than the owner? He’ll have passion that some greenhorn newbie will not.

   I thought he did a hell of a job getting the crowd warmed up for both shows. He’s not a comedian per se, but he’s a fantastic host. He’s a big guy with a big smile, and he cuts an imposing but likeable figure on stage. He wears a suit and tie, and sets the scene up front.

   There was a sign on stage that had my name written in large letters, so people could tell who they were seeing. That’s smart business, so if they like a comic they can ask for him or her by name. I’m telling you, Donnie B. knows how to market. I was totally impressed.

   All the details were covered. He puts the comics in a nice hotel just a few minutes from the club, and when I got there I was blown away to find a stack of posters with my picture on it promoting the shows. Why doesn’t every club do all these little details? I wish I had an answer, but I don’t. Top to bottom, this was one of the best experiences I’ve had since I’ve been a comedian. Both shows were red hot, and I had a blast. I hope I get asked back.

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

Dues Paid Off

Thursday December 22nd, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   I’ve got some work this week and I’m delighted to get it. Last night I was in Decatur, IL at a sports bar in what used to be a Holiday Inn Convention Center. That gig has trickled down through several booking agents over the years, but it’s usually not horrible and I’m glad it’s still going on. It’s always nice to pick up a few low pressure week night dollars.

   I chose to drive home instead of staying over and having a long drive this morning. It’s exactly 225 miles door to door, and whatever thrill there might be in staying in hotels has long faded. Even though it’s a nice place, it was nicer to get on the road and start driving. The show was over by 9:30, so I was able to get home by 2am. I made the right choice.

   Tomorrow night I’m in Springfield, IL at a club called Donnie B’s. I’ve never worked it but I’ve heard positive things. I also get a chance to see my friend Max, so no matter how the gig turns out I’ll be fine. I don’t anticipate any problems, and I also hear the owner has a club in Bloomington, IL. I wouldn’t mind working there either, to add to my club list.

   This is a constant process in the comedy world, and I need to greatly improve my tactics and come up with a battle plan in 2012. I want to stay closer to home, and places like this are exactly the gigs I’m looking for to stay sharp. I’m not going to get rich, but that’s not the issue. The objective is to have enough places close by to maintain my comedy chops.

   I’m a solid headliner now, and do especially well in the Midwest region. I would put my show up there with almost all headliners working the road, just because I’ve got so much experience. I’m right at the correct ripeness to be plucked for bigger things, but for now a chance to keep money coming in is important. I’ll give Donnie B. more than he pays for.

   That’s not a problem, because my first few years on the road I was stealing money from the club owners then. I was green, inexperienced and absolutely horrible. Every performer is bad in the beginning, it’s part of the process. At first we steal money, then they manage to take it back over and over again forever after. Welcome to the world of show business.

   I’m fine with where I am now though. I know I’ve paid my dues, and those dues did not come with any half off coupons or employee discounts. I paid full price and then some for all the experience I’ve got, but I’ve got it and I know when I step on a stage I can deliver.

   That’s a very comforting feeling in the heat of battle. I see the ghastly look of unbridled sheer terror on the face of a newbie who has to go up and try to pry laughs out of a herd of drunken meatheads and I know exactly what they’re feeling. I’ve done it way too often for way too long, but that’s the only way to gain any real experience. Shortcuts do not exist.

   Now I need to find a way to make all this experience pay off. If I’m going to be working the road, I want it to be worth my while. I’ll go to Springfield and tear those people a new one tomorrow. I know I can do the shows themselves, now it’s a matter of drawing people in to see them. I’m too deep into this to quit now. I want to stick it out and get my payoff.

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

Friday, December 23, 2011

Entrepreneurial Enlightenment

Wednesday December 21st, 2011 - Schaumburg, IL

   Life really is about who a person knows, and one can never know too many people with whom positive win/win relationships can be developed over time. I’ve always been about that, and still am. I’ve got a larger list of contacts than most, but I’m still looking to grow.

   Tonight I attended a session of the Chicago Entrepreneur’s Meetup Group, an entity my cousin Perry Plotkin suggested I explore. Perry is one of the few in my family orchard of misfit trees to have decided like me not to follow the freak show route to failure most of the rest of our relatives have chosen to take for generations. We’re the real life Munsters.

   Perry is a very sharp guy and eager to break the chain, as was I and still am. He’s in his early 30s, and doing all he can to distance himself from our family tradition of becoming civil service workers and drifting off into obscurity without ever chasing any big dreams.

   Sure it may be ‘safe’, but it’s surely not living. It’s existing, and Perry and I agree we’re not going to accept that kind of life like so many others in our family lineage did. Most of them are dead now, and we’re the only ones who remember how unhappy they all were.

   That unhappiness trickled down into their children, and many of them chose to keep the tradition going. It’s difficult to fight a vibe that spreads so deeply through so many. I have to believe it’s a lot like a sports team. Once losing becomes tradition, the script is written.

   On the other hand, winning is a tradition too. I’m sure there are families that outdo each other in success and achievements, and there has to be a breed out there where love is the driving force. With our dented clan of dented cans, love has always been painfully absent.

   That’s just how it is, and Perry and I both know we’re not the only ones who have had a less than supportive upbringing. We also know we’re able to overcome it by making solid and positive choices over and over again until we’ve gotten ourselves out of that ugly rut. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s the right choice. It’s nice to have others like Perry who get it.

   I enjoyed the program very much, and although it was a small meeting everyone had the similar mindset of wanting to become entrepreneurs to better not only their lives but lives of those around them. I sensed a healthy vibe in that room, and I’m glad I made the effort to attend. These are the kind of people I want in my life, even if they’re not entertainers.

   I’ve chosen to spend most of my life around entertainment, whether it’s been comedy or radio or professional wrestling. There’s a whole other world out there of people who have never been the center of attention, and look at me with admiration for rolling the dice and taking the chance to do what I really wanted to do with my life. That IS an entrepreneur.

   I guess I never really looked at myself in that way before. I’ve been doing that my entire life, but instead of opening restaurants or selling pants - I’ve been the product all along. It shouldn’t have taken me this long to figure it out, but I did tonight. I am an entrepreneur.

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

Three Wise Men

Tuesday December 20th, 2011 - Rockford, IL

   I received an unexpected phone call today from Jim McHugh asking me to join him as a last minute fill in talk show host this afternoon on FM 100.5 WNTA in Rockford, IL. I’m always up for helping anyone out if I can, so I said yes. We’ve hosted before, and had fun.

   Our mutual friend Jim Stone is the operations manager at Maverick Media, and this is a hectic time of year in radio and every other business as far as vacations go. They were in a pinch, and that happens from time to time. Stone contacted McHugh, and then I got a call.

   I wish all operations managers in radio were as easy to deal with as Jim Stone. He’s not a ’radio guy’, and he treats people with respect. That makes it easy to say yes when favors get asked, and I can’t believe others don’t adopt that simple formula. It works every time.

   Most other managers use fear as leverage. They threaten or at least imply consequences will occur if someone doesn’t drop what they’re doing and jump head first through a hoop to please the whim of those in power. It may be effective, but it doesn’t win any friends.

   Radio is full of insecure, power hungry, maniac control freaks who like to show it off at every opportunity. I’ve always had a disdain for that attitude, and that’s probably why I’m not working hard at pursuing a full time radio career. It’s rare to find good guys in charge.

   Kipper McGee was great to work with at WLS. Again, he’s a human being first, and has feelings and a heart. That’s SO refreshing in any kind of entertainment, unfortunately also quite rare. Most people in charge are completely oblivious to the fact others beneath them can be affected adversely and permanently with just one thoughtless decision. It stinks.

   That’s why Kipper is no longer at WLS, and Jim Stone is in Rockford. Both those guys have people skills, and in my opinion should be working for top pay in top markets. They also know the business, and anyone who would hire either of them would get a bargain.

   I also like John Perry who is the operations manager in Kenosha where I do my Sunday night Mothership Connection paranormal show. I’ve known John since our 93QFM days in Milwaukee. He did overnights and I was on the morning show, and we became friends. Over the years he’s thrown many opportunities my way, and I’m grateful for all of them.

   Other than those three, I’d have to look long and hard for anyone in upper management of the radio business I’d even think about crossing a one way street to piss on if they had a brush fire blazing in their underwear. I wish I didn’t have to feel that way, but I do. It’s not a complicated business, or at least it shouldn’t be. Hire the talent, and let them work.

   Kipper McGee, John Perry and Jim Stone all do that, and I’d walk through a brick wall naked for all three of those guys. Not that walking through a brick wall or showing off my pasty white buns would do anything to further life as we know it, but I’d still be willing to do it to show my support of good quality people I respect. Whenever they call, I‘m there.

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

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Let's Cancel Christmas This Year

Monday December 19th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   In the immortal words of Popeye the Sailor Man, “It’s all I can stands - I can’t stands no more.” That’s how I feel about Christmas and all that goes with it, and it’s only December 19th. I’m up to my roasting chestnuts in festive, and I’m ready to kick some Yule tide ass.

   Enough already. Enough with the commercials. Enough with the same six stupid songs being played over and over and over again in every retail outlet, restaurant and elevator in the free world. Enough with those annoying bastards ringing that bell by the entrance of a store who stare at me like I just molested an elf when I don’t make a substantial donation.

   I don’t want to be within six city blocks or forty country acres away from a single drop of that disgusting egg nog, a lick of a peppermint candy cane or even in the same zip code as a fricking fruit cake. My pancreas is quivering at the thought of those repulsive ‘treats’.

   I want to rent a bazooka and take out the biggest reindeer around and fire up the hibachi or a George Foreman Grill and have a barbecue in December. Wouldn’t feeding strangers be a great way to show good will toward men? Oh, and I want to grow a pony tail so I can wrap mistletoe around it so all the off key carolers can kiss my jingle bells. Silent Night!

   And don’t let me get my greasy paws on that little drummer boy. The tune I’ll pound on his coconut won’t be printed in any hymn book. That little punk has a major league fanny kicking coming if he doesn’t put those sticks down. I’m a poor boy too. Enough already.

   Can’t we find a way to cancel Christmas for one year? The world will still spin, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels this way. They canceled the World Series in 1994, and we lived through that. I doubt if one person complained on any of the other six continents and I didn’t hear a whole lot of bitching from Canada or Mexico here. Life will continue.

   I don’t have a problem if someone enjoys Christmas, and in fact I think it’s kind of neat that something so stupid gives some people that big of a kick. Go ahead, have fun. Knock yourselves out, but DO IT ON YOUR OWN TIME. Have parties, decorate your house all you want, kill all the perfectly good pine trees you want - just don’t force me to do it too.

   Restaurants used to have smoking and non smoking sections. Why can’t we have that at this time of year? A ‘Christmas’ or ‘No Christmas’ section. That way if someone wants to enjoy a meal without having to listen to Jose Feliciano’s only hit record, they can do that.

   To many of us, it’s NOT the ‘most wonderful time of the year’. It brings back memories of things we don’t want to think about, but can’t help it because we’re reminded of it on a nonstop basis. And what about Jews, Muslims and others that don’t celebrate Christmas?

   I know, I know. Now I’m a Scrooge, and I need to lighten up, blah blah blah. I’ve heard it all before, and I’ve tried to shut my mouth and press on. Not this year. It’s only the 19th of December and I’m about ready to crawl down a chimney and flip out on somebody.

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

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mediocrity Makes Money

Sunday December 18th, 2011 - Milwaukee, WI

   What an ideal day to not watch the Green Bay Packers game. They had to lose at some point, and today was it. I was busy doing other things and didn’t watch the game, and my life is better for it. Hearing about it was painful enough. I’m glad I didn’t have to see it.

   It’s been almost a year since I’ve had to feel the sting that comes with defeat, and I feel the dark side of my addiction returning. This last year has been a freely flowing supply of high quality heroin, and it’s been the purest and longest lasting buzz imaginable. It ended today, but I can’t complain. Few other sports teams in history have had a streak like that.

   This was a run for the ages, and it doesn’t have to be over yet. They’re still the top team in the league and the favorite to win the Super Bowl again, even though that doesn’t mean they will. It’s been a fun ride, but this was a definite speed bump. They played like bums.

   I wonder how that happens after such a solid year? Is it biorhythms, dumb luck or some mysterious unseen force that plays an equalizer role? It was an unpredictable scenario all around the league this week, and the Packers weren’t the only odds breaker. Indianapolis Colts fans had reason to keep a gun out of their mouths as their team finally won a game.

   This has to be exactly how the NFL wants it - no undefeated teams but no winless ones either. By the time it’s all done, 20 or more of the 32 teams will be hovering somewhere between 9-7, 8-8 or 7-9. All the fans in those cities will have hope until the bitter end, so they’ll keep watching the games. It’s probably great for business, but bad for greatness.

   Mediocrity ruins the quest for excellence, but it’s everywhere. Life itself isn’t fair, and never has been. In the jungle, the slow ones get eaten. Period. They don’t put weights on the cheetahs so they run slower and give the limping gazelles a head start. It is what it is.

   Baseball fans hate the Yankees for one reason - they WIN, or at least they have through history. Have they bought the best players? Many times, yes. But they’re in a huge market and can afford to do that. What’s supposed to happen, six million people move to Seattle?

   It spreads way beyond sports too. Are McDonald’s hamburgers the best? Not even close to the middle of the pack, but they sell the most. Is Britney Spears the best singer? Again, you’d have to be tone deaf and delusional to think she can sing at all. It’s more than that.

   I think it boils down to the fact that the masses really are asses, and the people in charge just want our money. Does the NFL care that the Packers are undefeated or the Colts were winless? Not especially. The Colts had their run recently, and those people will stay loyal.

   Now the fans in Kansas City feel justified for their crummy season because their bunch of rummies beat the reigning Super Bowl champs. All the NFL cares about is that the fans of all the teams keep watching games and buying jerseys. McDonald’s buys commercials to keep us going there and buying their crap. They want us all addicted, and it’s working.

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

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Picture In Motion

Saturday December 17th, 2011 - Kenosha, WI

   Who knew the road to being in movies came through Kenosha, WI? That’s where it did for me, and I’ll take it how I can get it. I appeared in a film a while back called ‘Dead Air’ that was directed by Mark Gumbinger, and starred my WLIP radio cohort Louis Rugani.

   It was a lot of fun, and Mark and I have become good friends. I’m in his inner circle and we have frequent lunches most Mondays along with Lou at a Chinese buffet in town, and we also get together to watch movies and Packer games at his house. It might not be L.A., but it’s a bunch of creative people getting together minus the plastic B.S. of Hollywood.

   Fun is fun, and I’d rather hang with good people in Kenosha than blood suckers in Lost Angeles. Not to say there aren’t good people in L.A., there are plenty. But that scene is so crazy and competitive, they often don’t get to shine and live up to their potential. It’s sad.

   I guess I’m settling, but I’ll take being a big fish in a small pond - at least when it comes to a movie career. I never wanted to be a movie star anyway. I’m a comedian, and staying the course with that keeps me plenty busy. If I can appear in Mark’s movies, it’s a bonus.

   Mark likes to use the same people in his projects, much like Charlie Chaplin used to do and Martin Scorcese does today. We always joke that Lou Rugani is Robert DeNiro and I am rapidly becoming his Joe Pesci. I’m not an actor and never was, but it’s fun to be part of the group. Mark and Lou and everyone who hangs out with us I now consider friends.

   I love hanging out with other comedians, but in this group I’m the odd man out because I’m the only one. Actually, I’m the odd man in because they’ve all seen me and now bring people with them and help spread the word. They’re fans, and it’s nice to be appreciated.

     I’m fans of theirs too. I know nothing about directing or acting, and don’t claim to. The creative process may be similar, but they’re completely different crafts. Mark knows what he’s doing, and we clicked on the set of Dead Air. I took his direction well, and could see he knew exactly where he wanted to go with it. That makes it easy, and we didn‘t clash.

   Mark has been slugging it out with his films as long as I’ve been at comedy. He’s done all kinds of interesting projects from horror films to documentaries, his most recent a very well done and informative one chronicling the 100th anniversary of The Titanic disaster.

   I trust Mark’s creative vision, and he has approached me about teaming up on a comedy project. He wants to film my act in a controlled studio type location, and make it a quality production on HD with several cameras rather than a one camera shot in bad lighting like most comics end up having. I’m thrilled he wants to do it, and I know he’ll do it up right.

   With his technical experience and my comedy experience, I know we can at least have a demo to use for other projects. He wants to do it in January, but I’m ready to go whenever he is. I know we can pull this off, and this is exactly what I need to start off the new year.

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

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Radio Regret

Friday December 16th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   I’m at a crucial crossroads in my professional life, and I need to make some decisions in the next little while that will determine whether or not my years of agonizing struggle will have a payoff or not. Obviously, doing what I’ve been doing hasn’t worked how I wanted.

   Bad breaks and stupid mistakes aren’t in the basic recipe for massive career success, but are an unfortunate reality for most of us. I’ve had more than my share of both, so now I’m ultra sensitive before making my next move. Mistakes can be fixed, but breaks are breaks.

   The break that still stings to the bone is getting blown out of my radio job at ‘The Loop’ in Chicago on this date in 2004. It’s been seven years, and not only does it still boil in my stomach - it riles up both of my former partners Max Bumgardner and Spike Manton too.

   All three of us gave it all up for that gig. We put in a brutal year of trying to settle into a routine of learning our roles, and just when we started to make it cook the station got sold and we were out on the street for no real reason other than those fine upstanding folks that bought the station decided to punt us after they’d promised the old owners they wouldn’t.

   Apparently, we were part of a five year plan for morning radio in Chicago. We’d passed our one year audition, and were in a prime position to have a nice long run making decent money in a major market. There’s no reason we couldn’t have done it, but it wasn’t to be.

   Those fine folks at Emmis Communications were THE coldest reptiles I’ve ever met in my radio life, and are right up there with anyone I’ve met in life in general. We were told until we were sick of hearing it how Emmis was ‘the Hebrew word for truth’. How nice.

   I wonder what the Hebrew word for lying corporate pus bag is? That’s how they treated us, and the three of us will never forget how humiliating it was to have to be walked from the building by security after we were fired. Five minutes beforehand, we were a morning show in a major market. Then, we’re being treated like criminals being led to execution.

   They took us off the station website immediately, and it was like we never existed at all. I don’t think the CIA could do a better job of vaporizing someone so thoroughly, and only the three of us know exactly how painful and humiliating it was. It‘s still a vivid memory.

   We got a large number of calls and emails apparently, and I still have a few of them one of my friends at the station was kind enough to forward my way. I took the time to answer every one, but what else did I have to do? I didn’t have a job anymore, and it still doesn’t make sense they had to be that nasty and heartless. It‘s not like we embezzled from them.

   Our timing was as bad as it gets, as we hadn’t established ourselves all the way just yet. None of us were big names, and we knew it. We risked everything to have a shot to create exactly that, and we all believed we were on a path to do it. After we were gassed, nobody offered us a job or even a bumper sticker. We were all hung out to dry. Merry Christmas!

   That’s why it’s so frustrating. We got caught in no man’s land, and it was nothing more than a classic case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Had Bonneville kept the station, we’d have in all likelihood had our five year run, and still been employed today.

   That company was great to work for. It’s actually the Mormon Church, but they do treat their employees very well I must say. They also owned ‘The Mix’ in Chicago, where Eric and Kathy have been the morning show forever. The company is all about stability, and it would have been the same with us. Our old boss Greg Solk told us that was in their plan.

   The three of us were exactly the kind of people they were looking for. None of us were wild partiers or convicted felons, and if anything we were all pretty boring off the air. We were just regular guys, and that’s the angle the station wanted to highlight. We WERE the typical listeners they wanted, and it totally would have worked. We were being groomed.

   That was a rare instance of true chemistry, and we all knew it. It was like The Beatles or a championship sports team. All the pieces fit together perfectly, and we were all ready to give it all we had. Greg Solk hand picked us, and his track record of success is legendary.

   Why would anyone want to blow that up? We still can’t figure it out, but that won’t get us our jobs back. They ended up bringing in Jonathon Brandmeier eventually, but I don’t think he lit the world on fire like they thought he would. Plus, he cost them a LOT more.

   We would have been a total bargain, and even if we were still there we’d have signed a long term contract for steady money rather than go for the throat like Brandmeier did. He could afford to do that, as he’d had his success and had a reputation that preceded him.

   That’s what radio executives will pay for, as most of them are too incompetent to have any kind of forward vision themselves. They’d rather sign some old dog and overpay him than develop fresh talent that’s home grown. It happens over and over, and Brandmeier is getting yet another chance in Chicago at WGN. His reputation continues to pay his bills.

    Good for Jonathon Brandmeier. I don’t begrudge a guy if he can keep getting gigs, but I don’t see why we couldn’t get one either. I think Emmis could have tossed us some kind of a bone, but they pissed on our heels as we walked out the door and it’s hard to forget it.

   What’s done is done, and after seven years the only ones who still remember any of this and care even a little are Spike, Max and myself. I still talk to both of them, and it’s a sore spot with them too. We laugh and bust balls with each other, but deep down we know we got boned. We’re not the first and won’t be the last in radio to get it - but it really hurts.

   We all agreed that we need to move past it, and we’re all trying. We’ve been trying hard since this date in 2004. We were poised for a nice run, and had it happened as planned the three of us would be in an entirely different world right now that would include insurance and a steady income and my ability to draw as a comedian. It’s all very disappointing, but also very real. Radio is an oozing cesspool. And people wonder why I don’t trust anyone.

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

Back To Business

Thursday December 15th, 2011 - Milwaukee, WI

   Back to the real world, at least for now. Uranus has to wait. As much as I’d love to dive in head first with no time or money limits and make that my primary base of operations, it will take time to develop until it becomes profitable by itself. It’s still an infant in diapers.  

   This is part of the entrepreneurial process, and I willingly accept it. I’m certainly not the first to have to my divide time between making a living and trying to put a dream together in my spare time. It’s been done before, and there have been big successes. I have a shot.

   Several success stories pop into mind. J.K. Rowling did rather well for herself, and she apparently came from humble beginnings. So did Walt Disney. Then there are my heroes in the mail order business Melvin Powers and E. Joseph Cossman. They both started on a wing and a prayer, and transformed themselves into multi millionaires. I want to do it too.

   I feel it’s all finally in positive motion, but I still have bills to pay like everyone else. I’ll have to make a gradual transition into having a full time income from mail order products the same way I had to segue from a day job into standup comedy full time. It took years to make it happen, but I was eventually able to make my full time living as a comedian only.

   I’ve done it successfully for over twenty-five years now, so I must have done something correctly. I could have made some better decisions at times, but I still managed to stay off welfare or not have to work some dead end snivel service job like most of my family did.

   I’ll keep doing comedy, but I’m constantly thinking of this new venture and feeling very good about my chances to not only survive, but succeed to a level I’ve never attained with anything else I’ve ever done. I did it before with my comedy, and I know I can do it again.

   Today I had a very pleasant meeting with the American Diabetes Association staff up in Milwaukee. They wanted to meet me in person after seeing my recent appearance on ‘The Morning Blend’ TV show promoting my show for diabetes awareness month. They loved it, and asked if I’d consider being part of their annual fundraising event next November.

   I told them I absolutely would, but after meeting them all in person I have to believe I’ll be doing a lot of events in the future. They were really friendly, and I felt like I fit in from the second I walked through the door. Getting diagnosed with diabetes wasn‘t pleasant or fun, and if I can help make it easier for others in the same boat I was I‘m happy to do it.

   My contact’s name is Jacalyn Gillis, and she introduced me to Sally Sheperdson who is the local director of the Milwaukee office. Sally’s brother happened to be in the office for a visit, and he’s exactly my age. He was intrigued by my story, and Sally was encouraged.

   Apparently, very few people who have Type 2 diabetes are willing to share their stories. Sally said getting her brother’s attention was exactly the kind of person they are trying to reach. Getting diagnosed wasn’t fun, but if I can make it easier for others, I’ll gladly do it.

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

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Uranus Calls My Name

Wednesday December 14th, 2011 - Antioch, IL

   More work on the King of Uranus project today. It’s all I think about. My inner antenna is pointing me in this direction for reasons I don’t know, but I’m closing my mouth and in full obedience mode. I feel this is exactly what I’m supposed to be focusing on right now.

   The point is, I’m focusing at all. There just isn’t ever going to be enough time for me to get to all the fun things I’d like to explore this lifetime, even if I live to be 100. I haven’t even hit 50 yet, and I’m already sucking wind. I have to carefully manage all of my time.

   I haven’t done that so far, at least not to my satisfaction. Too bad. I have to shake it off and keep going - full speed ahead. And I am. I’m going to work on this project night and day with all my spare energy, but reality still exists and I also have to keep money coming in so I can survive. I have comedy gigs coming up, but in between this will be my baby.

   The first thing I need to do is put a written plan together. I’ve had notes scribbled down on scraps of paper, but I’ve now put them all in a computer file AND BACKED IT UP on three separate thumb drives. I’ve still got more fleshing out to do, but the frame is there.

   The second thing I need to do is get busy and physically make the King of Uranus a real live entity. It won’t be difficult, since nobody knows what he looks like. Not even me. I’ll experiment I’m sure, but basically all I need is a shiny crown, a cape or robe of some sort and a scepter. Since Uranus itself is a light blue, that will be my primary color of choice.

   Eventually, I’d like to get fancy. I picture this to be a cross between the ornate robes Ric Flair wears to the ring and the wild getups George Clinton used to wear on stage. The last few times I’ve seen him he’s cut his multi colored hair and toned it down a lot, but for the longest he was a visual show all by himself. I need to start somewhere, and let it evolve.

   The third thing I need is to solidify my teams, both on camera and off. To do this right it will have to all be recorded and put up on You Tube. I don’t intend to walk around on the street dressed like a gay rooster for no reason. Everything has to be carefully documented.

   Then there’s the whole business side of things. I need to keep immaculate records of all my transactions for tax purposes, and I know that going in. This is a big job with a bunch of little jobs worked into it, not just some goofy costume I put on and expect to get rich.

   There are all kinds of things that will need constant attention, and in no way will I have time to do all of them. I need a team of quality people in place to help this turn from some cockamamie long shot into a profitable entertainment business venture. That’s the goal.

   Today I met with Jay Bachochin who will be my go to guy for printing. He used to be a part owner in an Alpha Graphics business but he’s not now and is looking for work. I like Jay, but also know he’s honest and creative and good at all kinds of things I’m not. He’s a whiz on the computer, and we’ve done business before. He’s a perfect fit for what I need.

   Another thing that’s an ideal fit is our timing. He needs to earn a living, as do I. Neither of us wants to work for anyone else, and we’re painted into a corner. Something HAS to work, and when I laid out the concept at lunch today he let it soak in and then had several very solid ideas I knew were right on the money. We’re a good match, and we both feel it.

   My friend Jim McHugh is another. He’s a no B.S. guy who jumps on me to get going if I lose momentum, as I often do. Whether the reasons are legit or not doesn’t matter. If I’m not moving ahead, I’m losing ground. Jim has been exactly what I’ve needed to press on.

   Jim’s brother in law Mark Huelskamp is my web designer, and he brings his own brand of expertise to the table. He’s good at what he does, and Jim acts as a great go between to keep things moving. One by one, the members of the team are starting to find their place.

   Jim helped find my new artist Jeanie Janz, and she’s been a major upgrade. She’s a fun person, and thinks the concept is hilarious. That’s exactly what I need. She’ll design a lot of products to sell, and I have my contact Marc Mallen in Antioch, IL to print up t-shirts.

   Jay will help create any printed material from flyers to stickers to signs to anything else we might think of. I’ll need all these people eventually, and several more as well. This is an ongoing process, and will take years to build it up to be a workable system. That’s ok. The point is, I’m DOING something and getting my head out of Uranus and into action.

   It’s slowly coming into reality, but it is coming. The 13th of every month will serve as a  point of reference, as Uranus was discovered as a planet on March 13th, 1781 by William Herschel. Old Wild Willie could have named it anything else, but I’m delighted he didn’t.

   I’m going to claim ownership on this concept like David Letterman claimed a Top Ten list. He wasn’t the first person to use a list, but he made it his own. This is similar. I’m far from the first gimoke to cut loose with Uranus jokes, but I’m taking it farther than anyone else, and I’m owning it as my territory starting immediately. I stake my claim on Uranus!

   This means I need to claim it on many levels. My big picture long term vision is to get all my projects in a row so they feed off of each other. I’m not sure if I want to make The King a standup comic, but he sure could host some comedy shows with my funny friends. They’d do an outstanding job. All I’d need to provide is the draw, and that’s my intention.

   Another area to consider is the Mothership Connection radio show. I already call myself The King of Uranus on the air, and nobody has told me to stop. I don’t say what it means, it’s just my moniker. If I can grow the show, it will grow the spectrum of people who hear the name, who in turn will hopefully visit my website, and purchase products. Perhaps.

   It’s all a giant circle, but for once I feel I’m actually going to pull this off. I won’t die if I fail, but I will absolutely NOT accept failing to try. I know there is an audience that will think the entire concept is hilarious. It won’t be everyone, but that’s fine. Nothing appeals to everyone. I just need enough to like it to make me rich. And I know they’re out there.

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

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It's Good To Be The King!

Tuesday December 13th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   Time trickles steadily away for all seven billion of us who share space on this planet, so why would anybody waste even part of one second doing anything that’s not fun? I don’t know, but we absolutely do. Life has a way of draining hopes and dreams from us all, but I’m having a difficult time accepting it. I fall prey to it too at times, but I refuse to give in.

   I’ve come way too far and worked way too hard to just drift off into the abyss and leave this coldhearted crazy world with even half a drop of desire still inside me. If I’m going to find happiness, I have to seek it. And to seek anything, one should have a clue what it is.

   To me, happiness is making other people happy. I know that sounds sappy and right off of a Ziggy Hallmark card, but I really mean it. When other people are laughing, they’re in a good mood. There’s positive energy everywhere, and I get to enjoy it too. It’s a win/win.

   Possessions don’t thrill me, and getting a lot less important. I swear, when I get rich I’ll still buy my cars from an auction. I might buy someone else a new car, just because Elvis started that trend and it sounded fun. It would give me more satisfaction to see somebody else go nuts when they receive a car rather than me getting one for myself. Is that stupid?

   Maybe it is, but that’s how I feel. The whole world is stupid, and getting stupider by the minute. That’s why I’m so fascinated with my King of Uranus concept. It’s right at a level where the masses can grasp it, and it’s totally harmless. In this day and age, that’s needed.

    Tensions are running sky high everywhere, and humor is sorely needed whether anyone realizes it or not. I think they do, but they don’t always know where to get it. I don’t mean just going to watch comedians at a comedy club, even though that’s a good start. I mean a revolution in how humor is both delivered and received. I want to broaden all parameters.

   I’m getting a much clearer picture in my head of who ‘The King’ is going to be. He’s an ultimate outsider - the perfect ‘butt’ of all jokes. Pun totally intended. The King of Uranus has to be an identifiable character both by how he looks and what he says. It’s a character.

   It’s part professional wrestler, part flamboyant evangelist, part standup comic, part nerd, part clown, part goofball and finally a part of me thrown in like a cherry on a sundae. This is something I really want to do, only because I think it could do so much good for people in the long run. Plus, it will be total fun to breathe life into it from the ground up. I love it.

   EVERY SINGLE DAY, someone tailgates me in my car and takes a picture of my plate that says ‘URANUS 2’ and my ‘I (heart) URANUS’ bumper sticker directly above it. It’s a just a nondescript run of the mill Chevy Cavalier, but those two things give it identity.

   People give me thumbs up and waves all the time, and I see broad smiles on everybody from hot chicks to old fogies and everyone in between. I’ve got something here, now it’s a matter of deciding exactly what that is, and what I want it to be. This is a life mission.

      I’ve farted around with this concept way too long - another pun intended. It’s time for a deeper commitment, and today is that day. I like the 13th of the month, as nobody else has claimed it. That’s the day each month I used to send my ‘Mr. Lucky’ comedy newsletters.

   Then my ex business partner did his little embezzling number and ended up skating off with my mailing list, and I’ve been working to get back on track since. That’s part of my point. Life happens, but it happens to us all. I’m not the only one who has had obstacles.

   I’m disappointed that I’ve allowed them to slow me down as much as they have. I admit I’m scattered and going in way too many directions most of the time, but that’s just a part of who I am. Maybe it’s my left handedness, or another reason. But it’s never an excuse.

   I’ve been working on one facet of the Uranus project or another every single day for the past few weeks, and actually making more progress than I have in a while. It keeps me on my toes, as there are a lot of things to work on. There are business duties, and then there’s the whole creative side. Since I’m starting from scratch, (another pun intended) it’s slow.

   There are more than enough other things to distract me, and they have, but then I’ll have someone beep and give me a thumbs up at a stop light or walk up to me in parking lot and say how funny they think it all is, and I know without a hint of doubt I’ve hit the jackpot.

   In a quarter of a century of trying to get famous as me, I’ve failed miserably. I struck out big time, and that’s just how it is. The public didn’t care, and that’s their right. Then, I get a personalized plate and a bumper sticker made and I’m suddenly the hit of the highway.

   I don’t even have the character created yet. It’s just some dorky white guy who drives a painfully ordinary Chevy Cavalier, but I know I’ve hit on something. I have to BECOME The King of Uranus, and I need to do it in a hurry. When it hits, it will hit big, and I need to be ready. I’m not even going to say if, because something inside knows it’s a winner.

   How big a winner, I don’t know. And truthfully, I don’t care. It’s already been amazing to see the reaction of people just in the planning stages. I can only imagine how it will be when I’m decked out in my getup and out in public wearing a long royal robe and a crown on my cabbage. I’m going to carry a scepter too. If I’m going to do it, I’m doing it right.

   I stopped at a costume shop today to look for ideas. When I sashayed in and announced  I was The King of Uranus, the stunned look on the woman’s face followed by a big giggle as I calmly looked at her without flinching made my trip worthwhile. I’m finally living it!

   I know I’m nuts, and I know it’s a juvenile idea that‘s off the deep end, and I don’t care. What’s anyone going to do, laugh at me? That’s my objective, so thanks from the bottom of Uranus to anyone who thinks I’m out of my mind for doing this. Congratulations, you nailed it. I am out of my mind, but so is the rest of this world. If I’m going to have to live with all these other kooks, flukes, flakes and failures, I might as well go down swinging. Everyone else in my family died without living any dreams. My dreams live in Uranus!

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

Comedy With Class

Monday December 12th, 2011 - Chicago, IL

   Some of the most fun times I’ve ever had in a comedy club have come when the club is not even open for business. Read into that statement whatever you will, but this time I am referring to a comedy class. When everything goes right, it’s an exhilarating experience.

   What makes it so enjoyable is the melding together of creative minds with a purpose to create something positive - laughter. Some students are better than others, and all of them are in the beginning stages of what will be a life long journey should they choose to do it.

   It’s a safe environment, because I make it that way. I encourage them to ask questions at any time, and it’s an absolute blast for me to watch them grow. There’s a little switch that goes on in someone’s head when a concept takes root, and I never get sick of watching as a face lights up when someone catches on. I feel like a little league coach and it’s a kick.

   Tonight I gave students a final bonus session for an especially good class I’ve got going at Zanies in Chicago. It was an excellent mix of people from diverse backgrounds, as has frequently been the case. I just finished another class at Improv Playhouse in Libertyville, IL and that was the same thing. I liked them as well, and gave them a bonus session too.

   It’s an added value to the class, and I love it when they get that glimmer in their eye like they’re scamming something for nothing. Nobody has ever complained, but what they fail to realize is that I get just as much or more out of being there than they do. It’s a win/win.

   Being around standup comedy and constantly preaching the fundamentals over and over helps keep my instincts razor sharp for my own act. If I’m constantly thinking about it for someone else, I can’t help but think about it for me too. What I love about class when it’s going well is, the group can watch each other grow, and they experience the same thing.

   Tonight’s class was small but mighty. We only had three students, and each were about as different as different gets. One was an actress and self described ‘former hippie chick’. Another was a musician with OCD who just turned 50. The third was a single dad around 30 who looks 18. They’re very diverse, but all have a similar spark of creativity inside.

   They each went up on stage and went through their act, and that’s never easy in front of three people. I tell them, and it’s true, that it’s good practice at this point in their games to just get up there and plow through it on a real stage. It’s a luxury most newbies never get.

   All three of them did a splendid job, and I had them go through their routine twice. One time I just let them go, but the second I stopped them at certain points and critiqued them gently but firmly so everyone could learn. They needed it, and everyone took it correctly.

   These people got what I was telling them, and I think all three are going to stay with the process, at least I hope they do. They’ve all put in a noble effort, and I’m extremely proud of how each has grown so much in such a short time. If nothing else, I enjoyed seeing it.

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

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Aura Colors

Sunday December 11th, 2011 - Kenosha, WI

   Just when I thought I’d rattled the cage of all topics ‘woo woo’, along comes a new one to thoroughly pique my interest. That’s an advantage of hosting a paranormal radio show on a weekly basis. I am constantly exposed to new concepts, and it broadens my horizon.

   Sometimes I wonder if I should keep doing the show, as it’s been on the air for going on four years now and hasn’t generated a penny of financial income. I forget how much I get out of it educationally, and tonight’s show was a friendly reminder. I love all of this stuff.

   It makes me think, wonder and contemplate all of life on a much larger scale than doing what everyone else is doing. Too few ever venture out of their individual comfort zone to explore what’s ‘out there’, not only on this planet but beyond. We’re just a cosmic speck.

   I have to thank my grandfather for planting this seed in me as a kid. He loved to try new things and see new places, even in his final days. He would frequently take me along with him on his adventures, and then ask me to express an opinion afterward. He said it wasn’t necessary for me to like all of it, but it was necessary to give it a try with an open mind.

   He’d often take me out of school to go someplace for a day trip. Sometimes it was some kind of obscure museum. Sometimes it was an ethnic restaurant where I couldn’t identify a single thing on the menu. Other times it was a live performance like a play or concert.

   One time we went to a polo match. Another time we saw Victor Borge perform. I never knew where Gramps was going to take me, and I never knew if I’d like it once I got there. I often hated it, but all these years later I’m grateful for the chance to have experienced it.

   That’s why I enjoy The Mothership Connection show so much. I get to keep growing in areas that I want to explore. Does Bigfoot exist? Will the world end in 2012? Is there life after death? I don’t know any of those things, but it’s sure interesting to seek the answers.

   I’ve learned a little about a lot of subjects as I’ve done this show, and it’s all fascinating to me. Subjects like numerology and dream interpretation have been around for thousands of years, so I would think there has to be at least a tiny grain of truth in there somewhere.

   Tonight we had a fantastic guest on who talked about aura colors. Her name is Pamala Oslie, and she really knows what she’s talking about. Apparently, all things have an aura and they come in 14 colors. Much like astrological signs, they apparently have meaning.

   Pamala was able to read all of us in the studio and she nailed it. She’s been at it for 27 years, and even has a radio show of her own. Her website is www.auracolors.com and she does readings, has books available and even started a singles dating site based on auras.

   I don’t think this is flimflam. We found Pamala both credible and entertaining. We kept her on the air an hour longer than she was scheduled. Now I’ve got another topic to study.

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

Monday, December 12, 2011

How Now Braun Cow?

the mother lode of booty to match his own mother load of booty, but not in Milwaukee.

   The Brewers had to choose one of the two, and Braun was the one. He was the man and then some. He’s got a restaurant in town and has it going on with the ladies I’m sure. The team is the talk of the town, and he’s the reigning N.L. MVP. All of that is tainted now.

   I’m sorry to see this happen. Milwaukee is my home town, and when I travel around it’s been nice to have people say “Hey, how ‘bout those Brewers?” in recent years. For far too long they were such an invisible non factor, nobody even cared they were in the league.

   I think it was good for the game to have a small market team rise up and have a nice run for a few years, but now it appears to be over in a day. So long playoffs, hello pissed off. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am. It looks like there will be no joy in Miller Park for 2012, and maybe longer. Nobody has ever skated in this situation without a suspension.

   And a whopper of a suspension it is. Fifty games is what the verdict will most likely be. That’s bad for business, both at home and on the road. Fans want to see stars, especially if they’re shelling out good money for tickets. I know I do. This is a no win deal for anyone.

   The initial reports are that he’s denying he ever knowingly took anything illegal, but it’s too late for that now. The toothpaste is out of the tube. Accusation is just as bad as actual guilt, so he can cry a river of crocodile tears and it won’t do any good. Too little, too late.
I’m sure he’ll fight it tooth and nail, but no matter what happens this will leave a big scar.

   I don’t know Ryan Braun, but from all I’ve seen I like him. He’s a hell of a player, even if he is on the juice. Barry Bonds was a hell of a player too, a certain Hall of Famer. Then, he decided to turn himself into a synthetic version of King Kong and he’s tainted as well. I hope it was worth it. The only way he’ll get to see the Hall of Fame now is with a ticket.

   I’m getting more jaded about everything as I get older, and sports is not the sacred altar it was to me as a kid. That’s because I realize people who play them are just that - people. There’s some kind of dent in everyone’s can, and this is to be expected. I’m disappointed as a fan and a Milwaukeean, but too bad for baseball. The Green Bay Packers are 13-0!

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

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Traffic Torture

Friday December 9th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   Horror of horrors. Make that double. It’s an entertainer’s nightmare. For the first time in recent memory, I wasn’t physically able make it to my show on time and ended up losing the gig. Fortunately, the only one who was upset was me. Unfortunately, I won’t get paid.

   My friend and former radio partner Max Bumgardner suggested me as entertainment for his company’s Christmas party in Springfield, IL. Max was trying to help me out, and I’m extremely grateful for him thinking of me. Apparently, someone in his office suggested a comedian for their party, and Max was the only one who knew one. That’s how it works.

   Christmas parties can be a very tricky endeavor for a variety of reasons, but they’re also a great way to close a year out strong financially. Back when the economy wasn’t tanking, a comic could bring home in an hour what it would take a whole week to make at a club.

   Depending on the year, a strong comedian could pick up several parties each December. That, combined with the premium of New Year’s Eve pay made it by far the top financial month of the year. Then, it became a trend for some companies to delay their parties until January. Venues were less expensive, and quite often they also decided to use comedians.

   For a couple of years there, my Decembers and Januarys were gangbusters. Then, it was exactly the opposite. NOBODY had any parties at all. With so much downsizing going on it was difficult to justify the expense of hiring entertainment. I can totally understand that.

   Tonight was just a fluke of nature. I was supposed to go on at 7:30pm, right after dinner and some announcements by the big boss. That’s pretty typical. I’ve had to do it countless times before, and it’s usually awkward. I guess that’s why we get paid more. We earn it.

   After running a few necessary errands, I left Kenosha, WI at 2pm. I thought I’d be more than safe, and was in fact worried I’d be too early. The mistake I made was going through Chicago, and it ended up costing me. Traffic on Fridays is usually bad, but today it was a nonstop bumper to bumper gridlock nightmare. I got sucked in, and wasn’t able to escape.

   Three and a half hours later, I was on I-55 but not even south of I-80 when I called Max in a panic. I kept thinking I’d be able to get through it, but it just wouldn’t break. I’ve had traffic delays before, but I can’t remember anything like this. It was nothing but stress and agony. Not only did I want to make a good showing for Max, I wanted the paycheck too.

   Max called the lady in charge of the party to see if they could delay everything at least a little to give me a chance to show up late, but by everyone’s calculations I wouldn’t make it even close to their time frame. She told Max to just forget it, and for me not to worry.

    Not to worry? That’s all I did was worry for three and a half hours, as I cursed each and every one of the thousands of driving zombies who couldn’t figure out how to press on an accelerator. It was my own fault, and this is why being a road comic can be so frustrating.

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

Annual Maintenance

Thursday December 8th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   Time to think about a ground up total maintenance check of all things comedy for 2012. Onstage and off, I‘m due. Just like a homeowner has a constant list of revolving chores to attend to, the process is never ending. A coat of paint and some TLC can work wonders.

   I don’t know where to start, as I can use improvement everywhere. My onstage skill has always been my strength, but that doesn’t mean I can’t improve. A lot. I have a lifetime of experience in all situations, and I know how to get laughs. Now, I want to craft an act that matches my persona and develop the total package. That’s what it takes to build a career.

   The definition of a career to me is having a base of core fans who show up to see me on purpose, not just happen to end up in a strip mall comedy club with a free ticket they won after dropping a business card into a fish bowl. I want to be an entertainment destination.

   I want an audience who knows what they’re getting when they come out, and that’s why they come out in the first place. A few examples who pop into mind immediately are Lisa  Lampanelli, Jim Gaffigan, Brian Regan, Louis CK, and Lewis Black. And there are more.

   What did all those people do that I need to do too? Management might be an ingredient that needs to be added, and I’ve thought about that before. I’ve had minimal experience in that area, and I think it might behoove me to explore it further in the coming year if I ever want to get past my current level. I at least need to let someone know I’m even out here.

   I also need to get back on national television where it generates some kind of heat with someone who can help me parlay it into something bigger. The Craig Ferguson shot was a helpful showcase and a great learning experience, but I know I can do lot better next time.

   The intimidation of being on national television won’t be a factor, and I’ll have a handle on what to expect so I can properly prepare. I’m already crafting more than one set of 4 ½ minutes so I’ll be a lot more experienced at my next opportunity. There’s no reason to not get another TV opportunity either, other than if I don’t put myself in a position to get it.

      I’m doing exactly that actually. I’m getting myself into physical shape, and mapping out a list of things to do onstage and off should be next. I intend to type it out and make up an actual three ring binder that I can hold in my paws and use as an inspiration to get it done.

   Onstage, I want to go completely over every bit of material I have and see what I’ll keep and how I can punch it up. I also intend to drop whatever doesn’t fit a bigger picture of an entire package, even if it still gets laughs. It’s tricky, but that’s the only way to do it right.

   Offstage, I need even more work. Making a list of places I can and want to work should be the first priority. A new bio, resume and headshot wouldn’t hurt. A website revamping is a must. I need to shake the dust off of everything and polish it up. Reconnecting with as many contacts as I can is also on the list. This should all be done yearly. I’m way behind.

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

Saturday, December 10, 2011

An Infamous Day

Wednesday December 7th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   December 7th. A date which will live in infamy. 70 years ago today, the generation who would become known as our greatest generation had their world turned upside down with Pearl Harbor. It has special significance with me because my grandparents used to always speak of it with reverence and respect. It rocked their world, and never did they forget it.

   It was their generation’s 9/11, or vice versa. Everyone knew where they were when they heard about the attack, but how they heard it was completely different in 1941 than it was in 2001. My grandparents would tell me of how it was a lot of hearsay and rumors at first. Then the President came on the radio and addressed the public, and all hell broke loose.

   My father had just turned four years old, and my uncle was born in January of 1941. My grandparents said life was difficult enough then, not only with two small kids but the hard times that were all still a very recent memory from The Depression in the ‘30s, and then a war started to throw a gigantic monkey wrench into everything. They said it was a shock.

   I bet it was. I can only imagine the horror and added stress it must have been for people who were already struggling to carve out a life for themselves on a cruel planet. Families had to suck it up even more, but they did it. Why? They didn’t have a choice. They either did it, or died. My grandparents said it brought everyone closer together, and I believe it.

   There were all kinds of inconveniences they endured, like gas and meat rationing, but it didn’t kill them, and everyone pitched in and were glad to do it. 9/11 was like that, but for way too short a time. There were American flags everywhere for a while, but that was it.

   I know I’m sounding like my grandparents, but I have to say we’re soft to the core these days as a nation. We’re fat, lazy, stupid by choice and think we are owed a living because we’re Americans and we‘re some kind of royalty. We were just born here, nothing else.

   My grandfather used to say that struggle wasn’t always a bad thing, if it makes someone work hard to overcome it. Hearing the stories of how old people used to walk for miles in the snow uphill both ways to a school where there were no heaters or computers is a joke now, and when I was a kid I was one who laughed the hardest. I’m not laughing anymore.

   I’m wondering. What is life all about? The human animal is such a complex creature to figure out, and I can’t begin to do it. Would any generation have been the greatest if they had to endure the specific obstacles of the World War II generation? I have to think yes.

   Human nature is human nature. I’m sure there were people who sucked it up, but I have to believe there were also whiners and complainers and those who sought refuge in booze or drugs or whatever else was available at the time. Individuals make individual choices.

   I don’t know what to say other than I’m sorry Pearl Harbor had to happen and I send the descendants of the victims positive vibes. We’ve got enough problems to deal with now.

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

Kissing Astrology

Tuesday December 6th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   I can’t help wondering exactly how much significance there is, if any, in astrology. Is it all a load of cosmic crap or is there something to it? It’s been around for thousands if not tens of thousands of years, and it pre dates most religions. There has to be a reason for it.

   I’m not saying I believe every place mat I get at a Chinese restaurant, and I rarely if ever read the daily horoscope in a newspaper, but the whole idea of how date and time of one’s birth has meaning does intrigue me to the point I want to get more information about it.

   Growing up, I was forced to go to a holy rollers church and they poo-pooed astrology as being ‘of the devil’ and ‘evil’ and told us not to go near it or our hair might start on fire or something. I guess they had their own scam going, and were squelching the competition.

   As I get older, I’m having a hard time believing in most things unseen from the God the church told us about to Jesus to heaven and hell to anything else. The stars I can see every night with my own eyes. God, I can’t. I’m not saying there’s not a higher power, but I am saying I never saw or heard Him speak to me, and I don’t think Pat Robertson did either.

   Or Benny Hinn. Or Jimmy Swaggart. Or Oral Roberts. Or The Pope. Or Martin Luther. Or Martin Luther King. Or Joseph Smith. Or Jim Jones. Or David Koresh. Or The Dalai Lama. Or Louis Farrakhan. Or Chaka Khan. Or anyone else who is of human persuasion.

   There, did I piss everyone off? Good. I’m just looking for the truth. Who or what made this beautiful planet, and then filled it with so many halfwits who treat it like a rental car? Everyone seems to think they have the definitive answer, and I don’t believe any of them.

   Maybe we can’t handle the truth. Maybe it’s all random and we’re here as long as we’re here, and then it’s all over. That’s not a popular answer, but it’s a possibility. WE DON’T KNOW, and I for one am not too proud to admit it. I wonder all the time, but I can’t say.

   The reason I’m wondering about astrology today is it happens to be the birthday of two of my favorite people - Max Bumgardner and John O’Brien. Max was my radio partner at ‘The Loop’ in Chicago, and is a fellow dented can. He’s had a childhood of hell to endure and still struggles to deal with it much like I do. Still, he presses on and gives life his best.

   I have more respect for Max than 99.999% of anyone I’ve ever met. He’s brilliant on all kinds of subjects, and his flair for business and being an entrepreneur is way past where it is in my head. Max is a great friend, and one of the few people on this planet I really trust.

   John O’Brien is great in his own way. He’s a former comedy student who has supported me for many years. I couldn’t appreciate it more. He’ll show up at my show unannounced and often brings his wife Gail as well. He’s given me cash when I’ve needed it most, and made it a point to come see me in the hospital earlier this year. Two finer people there are not, and both were born on the same day - today. Is it a coincidence? I just don’t think so.

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

A Blueprint Of Dreams

Monday December 5th, 2011 - Chicago, IL

   Still thinking about everything I was thinking about yesterday. If I’m smart, I’ll keep on thinking and then add the secret ingredient that will make everything work - action. Ideas mean less than nothing on their own, but they are of ultimate importance in the process of success. And that’s another thing - I need to come up with a current definition of success.

   When I started in comedy, my goals weren’t well defined. All I wanted was to find paid work in comedy clubs until I didn‘t have to have a day job. I wanted to eventually become a headliner, and appear on national television and on major radio stations along the way.

   It was all pretty fuzzy and by seat of the pants, but I ended up doing it anyway. It wasn’t easy, but I stayed the course. There were a lot of unexpected distractions along my path to make it a lot more complicated than I thought it should be. But in the end, I hit my mark.

   Now that I’ve done all of it, it’s not even remotely close to anything like I’d imagined it to be. I assumed, very stupidly, that I’d be rich and famous and able to call the shots in all aspects of my life from what top level venues I’d be working to where I’d live, and which smoking hot sex goddess I’d choose to settle down with and raise that family I never had.

   If my act had had the comedic exaggeration of my assumptions, I might have gotten the things I mistakenly thought came with the territory. I thought that since I was going to be a comedian, massive success was somehow guaranteed just by printing up business cards.

   You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I still see the majority of aspiring comedians and all the other performer types from actors to improvisers to radio wannabes that keep on getting sucked into this same mistaken assumption. Dreams need a blueprint.

   American Idol is the epitome of this insanity, and that’s why I’ll never ever watch it for any reason. The message to every run of the mill ham and egger who mops floors or waits tables is, if they’ll just wait in line with thousands of others like them they’ll get their shot at impressing the judges, and from that moment on life will be perpetually problem free.

   Hard work never enters the equation, and it feeds the mass delusion that anybody is able to come off the street and be an instant star. For life. They think they’ll hang on to the top spot forever, and when the fairy dust gets sprinkled and they‘ll all live happily ever after.

   Reality has a not very subtle way of slapping the stupid out of anyone who thinks this is how life works. Yes, there are a precious few that have everything work out the way we’d all like it to, but that’s a lot rarer than finding Obama supporters at a Ku Klux Klan rally.

   Life is hard. Show business is harder. One is either really successful or really not. I have to get a clearer picture of what I think success is TO ME. What I thought it was before did not produce the results I wanted, even though I did end up achieving all I had set out to do when I started. Times are different, as am I. That’s why I need a different plan of action.

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