Saturday, March 31, 2012

Berwyn Backlash

Saturday March 31st, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   I’m still more than a tad disturbed by last night’s little incident in Berwyn. I could have gotten myself very easily arrested, injured or even killed. That Croatian ape was boozed up and fired up and had he reached the stage it could have gotten a lot uglier than it already did. And for what?

   It was my fault for even agreeing to do a show there. People are getting stupider in general, but Berwyn, IL has always been a regional office. It’s a blue collar town full of toothless mooks who wouldn’t know quality entertainment if it sat on their face and wiggled. What was I expecting?

   This all runs a lot deeper than one night in front of a couple of morons. The idiot who thought he was a comedian who arranged the show was exactly what’s wrong with comedy. He thinks in his mind he’s really going to be a big star, and won’t have to work hard or pay dues to get there.

   He didn’t like it that I tossed him a face full of reality, and in fact  was ready to throw down at the end of the night. He shoved me against the wall and wanted to fight, which is the last thing I wanted since it was his home town and he knew everyone in the room. He had a few barley pops in him and wasn’t very big, so I probably could have dropped him with one punch. Maybe two.

   But again, why? What would that have proved? I’d have probably had to spend the night in the Berwyn clink, or even worse a hospital when either those three bouncers or the Croatian pounded a tune on my coconut. This is not where I want to be or what I want to be doing with my life now or ever. If ever there was a single motivating event that made me want to get on track, this was it.

  The $64,000,000 golden question is - on track to what? Or where? What exactly is it that I want or think I want to do, have or be in life? I know with absolute certainty that I positively do NOT want to be dodging haymaker punches in Berwyn, IL after shows I don’t get paid for. That’s out.

   But what’s in? Comedy and radio are what I know how to do, but I’m not opposed to trying an entirely different direction if I thought it would improve my quality of life. I do find it important to help people whenever I can, so maybe some kind of counseling position would fit my needs.

   I’d be very willing and open to work with anyone from prisoners to kids to seniors or anybody else who could use my services. Pitching in to help make the world a better place appeals to me a whole lot more than driving hundreds of miles to attempt to make tens of drunken idiots laugh.

   Then again, there are examples of times when I’ve done radio during the day and had a red hot comedy show at night and went to bed with a total buzz. That’s what I enjoy, and that’s what my perfect life would be. I’d be able to entertain intelligent fans who know who I am before I get on stage, but also have a fulfilled life off of it with a loving family and friends to share in all the fun.

   I’d love to be the King of Uranus and crank out funny videos regularly that get millions of hits and sell enough products to keep me living a decent lifestyle without having to drive across three time zones to make $100. Last night cured me of that for good. I’m going to make some changes.

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

My Final Favor

Friday March 30th, 2012 – Berwyn, IL

   When the cosmos speaks, I have no choice but to listen. Boy, did it speak loudly tonight. I have often said that if comedy ever ceases to be fun, it’s probably time to quit. Tonight the alarm went off, and I think the party’s over. Two nights ago I was on top of the world. Tonight I’m under it.

   I haven’t had one this rough in years. I could have easily ended up in jail, a hospital or even the morgue. I’m happy to be home with all of my faculties intact - everything except my wallet. I did not get paid, and it’s not sitting well at all. I think I can safely say this has been my last ‘favor’.

   I’ve been doing favors for people ever since I can remember. I try to always be a good guy and help out in times of need any way I can. Once in a great while it’s appreciated, but way too often what is meant as kindness ends up being taken for granted or exploited. I’m sick to death of it.

   Tonight I stupidly agreed to do a show in Berwyn, IL at some hell hole dive bar I’d never even heard of. Gigantic mistake. I did hear of Berwyn, but nothing pleasant. I’d been there before, and it’s always been a genetic cesspool. It’s the area of Chicago that’s a local joke just by mentioning it. Channel 26 TV’s horror movie host ‘Svengoolie’ does it all the time, and has for many years.

   Most larger cities have a place like this that everyone makes fun of. Growing up in Milwaukee it was Cudahy. A surefire way to get a native Milwaukeean to laugh out loud is to let it rip with a few time tested Cudahy jokes like “What do you call a 350 lb. woman from Cudahy? Anorexic.”

   Hamtramck is that place in the Detroit area, and East St. Louis jokes are always a hit when I’ve played there. In New York I think it would be either Brooklyn or Jersey, or both. Every city has a punching bag area, and in Chicago it’s Berwyn. To call it an armpit would be a direct insult to all armpits. I can’t think of any body part disgusting enough to compare Berwyn to. Maybe a tumor.

   Back in the comedy boom years, there was actually a full time comedy club there. It was called ‘Wacko’s’, and I can’t think of a more appropriate name. Every Chicago comedian has their own personal Wacko’s horror story involving everything from belligerent drunks to not getting paid.

   Wouldn’t you know it; I had to deal with both tonight. I showed up at the place fifteen minutes before the show was scheduled to start and got the prime parking spot right in front. Red flag off the bat. Then, I went into the bathroom and found it to be wallpapered with laminated porn shots from low rent ‘70s magazines that featured more bush than the White House from 2000 to 2008.

   There was aggressive rock music playing way too loud, and TVs were everywhere with sports on. The waitresses all had caked on makeup, and I knew we were in trouble before the show ever started. This was not a place for a pig rape much less a comedy show, but I’d already shown up.

   The smart thing to do would be to squeeze out enough of a show to get paid, and go home with a few well earned sweat equity dollars for my drive. Dignity and artistic satisfaction would take a back seat once again, but I’m used to that by now. The money was the only reason to stay there.

   The person who set this show up is apparently an aspiring comic himself, at least somewhere in his own mind. He’s from Berwyn, and that’s another big red flag. He was knocking back way too many beers before we started, and I could see the dark clouds on the horizon. This wasn’t pretty.

   Joey Oshey hosted the show. He’s the one who put the deal together with the guy who thought he was the new white Richard Pryor. Joey did a fine job of hosting, and then brought up a funny lady named Caryn Ruby who splits her time between Chicago and L.A. She’s a very professional act, and handled herself like a champ in the situation. She was there strictly for stage experience.

   I don’t fault anyone for that, but that’s not why I was there. I just wanted to get paid and leave. Joey brought up the goof who set up the show and he was absolutely FILTHY. I’m certainly not a prude, and have heard every variation of every dirty joke there is. But this guy was disgusting.

   He did a painful seven or eight minutes, and got off the stage beaming like he’d just knocked it out of the park on The Tonight Show. He asked me what I thought, expecting to hear nothing but kudos and congratulations judging by the smirk on his drunken puss. I told him he was too dirty.

   His demeanor changed immediately, and he slid into a dark place I didn’t want to follow. I had to go on stage for my turn in the meat grinder, so I walked away before he could retort. I’ve been doing comedy a long time, unfortunately in a lot of places like this, so I knew exactly what to do.

   These are situations where you hit them hard and keep moving. I need to establish my rhythmic style up front, and not let anyone get in the way. I know what I’m doing, and it was actually not a bad audience. A lot of them laughed, and I even got on a nice roll after a few minutes. It was fun.

   Out of the blue, some guy walked over from the bar and stood in front of the stage and asked if I liked Croatian people. It took me out of my rhythm so I made mention of it and shot back a line that I thought was directed at him. The crowd laughed uproariously, but surprisingly so did he.

   He went back to the bar and started high fiving with his buddies, and that was another red flag. What had happened was, there was a guy from Croatia who was ugly drunk and wanting to fight someone at the bar for insulting his country. I just poured gas on his fire by insulting it loudly on a microphone and getting the whole room to burst into laughter. This guy did NOT find it funny.

   He came up to the stage area and I knew I was in trouble. He was about 6’4” with a neck like a tree trunk and there was a look of hate in his eye that screamed convicted felon. If he hasn’t been to prison, he’s going there in the future. This was not the guy to mess around with. But I had to.

   I’ve learned in my life that showing fear in those situations is useless. I had a microphone and a room full of people behind me, so I let him have it with one sledge hammer after another until he wanted to rush the stage. It took three bouncers to drag him out, but they finally did. Show over.

   Game over too. I’m too old to be doing hell holes like this anymore. Two short nights ago I had a killer set at Zanies in Chicago. Tonight I almost got killed in Berwyn. This was my final favor.

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

Which Direction Now, Genius?

Thursday March 29th, 2012 – Rockford, IL

   I can see an all too familiar pattern developing in my life, and it is cause for alarm. Last time it happened, I’ll bet it set me back career wise at least a dozen years or more. And wouldn’t I know it - the stars and planets are aligning again. I didn’t see it coming then, but it’s crystal clear now.

   I’m finding myself caught between radio and comedy – neither being the most stable choice of how to make my living. I’m sending out mixed signals apparently, as I’m getting mixed answers. I was in this position twenty years ago, and chose to attempt to pursue both. That was a mistake.

   All that did was kick me in the teeth and a few other more delicate places, and leave me on the outside looking in at both endeavors. The correct move would have been to carefully choose one of the two pursuits and completely focus on that. Had I done that, I think I’d be in a better place.

   The reasons I didn’t do it that way are legitimate, but that doesn’t mean I still didn’t screw the pooch. I thought radio would be ‘stable’, and I kept getting job offers in it so I took them as they came thinking the next one would be better. None of them were, and I ended up stranded in some off the beaten path random town like Reno or Salt Lake City, having to start my life over again.

   Today I was back on the air filling in on WNTA in Rockford, IL with Jim McHugh. I’m doing it basically to help out the operations manager Jim Stone because he’s a friend, but we’ve gotten a lot of compliments both in the building and from callers on how they’re enjoying what we do.

   Granted, there aren’t any full time job openings available right now, but that’s today. It’s radio, and sweeping changes can happen overnight. Someone could quit or move on in a heartbeat, and that would create an opportunity. I really wasn’t looking to get back into the rat race of radio, but at this time in my life even six months of ‘stability’ would really come in handy. I would say yes.

   There’s also an opening in Chicago radio at 100.3 since Robert Murphy just got bounced after about six months. He had a nice run twenty years ago, and they brought him back based on what he did then. Apparently the magic was gone, as he didn’t make much of a splash the second time around. He did make a ton of money in his day, so I doubt he’ll be starving. But I’m pretty close.

   I sent out a feeler saying I’d be interested, and actually got a response. I have no idea what they are thinking, but my inner voice tells me it would be wise to pursue it. Even six months would be a welcome and much appreciated gift right now, and I know I can do the job. I could pull it off.

   However, I’ve also been sending out feelers to several comedy bookers around the country and have gotten some responses there too. This is exactly the same dilemma I’ve found myself facing numerous times before. I line up comedy gigs, then a radio job comes along and I have to cancel.

   Then I get fired in radio, and have to start the whole process over again. I see it happening once again. What’s the smart move? Unfortunately, I have bills to pay like we all do. That’s how all of this got started before. I’m twenty years older now, and I hope I’m twenty years wiser. We’ll see.

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

Friday, March 30, 2012

Walking On Sunshine

Wednesday March 28th, 2012 – Rockford, IL/Chicago, IL

   When things turn out like they’re supposed to, life can be a blast. Today was one of those days, and I enjoyed every last second. Everything I did was nothing but fun, and I felt like I was totally in sync with whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing with my life. I wish every day was like this.

   The weather was sunny and unseasonably warm, and that always starts it off on a positive note. I find it rather difficult to get upset at anything on a picture perfect day. That’s why I loved living in Los Angeles when I did. I was not doing well on many levels when I lived there, but I sure did love the weather. That’s probably what kept me going. I was there about a year, and it was tough.

   Life itself is tough; at least it has been for me. Too often it seems like I’ve been trying to swim up the wrong way of a raging river and getting nowhere. I didn’t have any career luck in L. A. at that time, and in fact had all I could do to survive. It’s kind of like now, but I didn’t have income options there. There are very few paying comedy gigs in the L.A. area, and far too many comics.

   That’s also the holy land of the radio business, and everyone wants to get on the air there. I had zero contacts, so I couldn’t wet my radio beak at all when I was there. No comedy. No radio. No source of significant income. That was my experience in Los Angeles, but I still had a great time. 

   I had a lot of friends there, and every day was 75 and sunny. Nice weather really has an impact. I think if I had been stuck in New York under the same conditions, I wouldn’t have lasted nearly as long as I did in L.A. I’d still be there now if I had even a hint of a reason, but I think that ship has sailed. Show business is a young man’s game, and I spent those years developing my crafts.

   Now I’m at least getting a chance to use my skills, and today was a double delight. First it was back to Rockford, IL for another noon to 3pm shift on WNTA. Jim McHugh couldn’t make it so again I looked through my list of contacts and made a few calls and was able to put together one jam packed program. I had everyone on from comedians to UFO types, and it all came together.

   I could feel everything clicking as I hung up with one guest and brought on the next. I was in a groove, and able to hit all my time cues dead on to the second. I felt very comfortable and able to ad lib at will. For a while there, I actually felt like I knew what I was doing. What a rush that is.
   Tonight I was back at Zanies in Chicago, and the crowd there was on fire. They were ready for comedy, and I was ready to give it to them. I’ve spent my life preparing for situations like this so all I had to do was go up and let it happen. I felt confident and knew exactly what to do and how. It’s pure ecstasy when it’s like that, and it’s not always like that. Tonight it was, and I relished it.
    I’ve given up on trying to figure out why some days nothing goes right but others everything is clicking on all cylinders. Is it moonbeams and stardust? Who knows? All I know is that when it’s like it was today, I feel unstoppable. I wasn’t swimming up any rivers today; I was riding a wave and hanging ten. Location meant nothing. L.A. or not, fun is fun - and today was loaded with it!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Last Minute Times Two

Tuesday March 27th, 2012 – Rockford, IL/Chicago, IL

   Last minute substitute smart ass to the rescue. I received a late night text asking if I could fill in on WNTA in Rockford, IL from noon to 3pm. The news director Ken DeCoster needed a day off as his wife went into labor at 2am, and apparently I was the go to guy. I just wish I had known so I could plan for it. I don’t mind helping out in a pinch, but living last minute is not the way to go.

   I’ve lived a life of doing things last minute, but in the entertainment world it’s a must. One has to be ready when an opportunity arises on short notice - and in fact hope for it. Many times that’s the way careers are made. In sports it has happened frequently. Someone goes down with a nasty injury, and the next guy steps in. Brett Favre filled in for Don Majkowski and never looked back.

   This is a different situation, but the process is the same. I’ve now filled in for three completely different shifts on the station, and they wouldn’t keep calling if someone didn’t think I was doing at least a halfway competent job. Usually my friend Jim McHugh tags along, but today he didn’t because he was in Indiana watching his son’s baseball team in a tournament. I was flying solo.

   Talk radio by myself is a different skill set than I’m used to, and it can be intimidating. I’m fine when I have someone to bounce off of, but sitting alone in a room with a microphone and several minutes to fill is a lot more difficult than it appears. There’s a method to it, like any other craft.

   I don’t claim to be a news junkie, and especially not a Rockford, IL news junkie. I can’t just go on the air and start spouting off street names or commonly known local figures like I easily could in Milwaukee or even Chicago. I haven’t spent much time in Rockford, and I don’t want to insult the locals by pretending I have. It’s a challenge to both fill the time and still make it interesting.

   When Jim is in the studio, we just have a conversation pretty much like we do in real life. He’s a smart guy, and we’ve known each other for years so we have a long history of common events and experiences we can refer to. We’re both long time comedians, but we’ve also been through a lot of other things that can relate to listeners. Being in there by myself takes away that advantage.

   Today I just got out my cell phone and went through my list of contacts to see who I could call that might be interesting on the radio. I had no trouble at all filling the three hours, and could do it again for several days if necessary. I do know a lot of interesting people so why not give them some air time and entertain people in Rockford? I don’t need to always be the center of attention.

   Tonight I filled in as the headliner at Zanies in Chicago. There was a schedule situation where there happened to be three open days this week – tonight, tomorrow and Sunday. I was again the go to guy, and was delighted to get the call. Not a lot of people could do both of these jobs well.

   One would think with a diverse skill set like that I’d be rich by now, and that one would be me. I guess I was wrong, as I’m still struggling to pay my bills but at least I’ve got those two skills so when the phone does ring I can have something to offer. I just hope the phone keeps on ringing.

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

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Reflection And Regret

Monday March 26th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   No major catastrophes today, so that’s a plus. Maybe the storm is over for at least a little while, or it could just be the eye of the hurricane with a second round of insanity coming right behind it. Whatever the case, I’m getting right back to work to get myself out of the vulnerable spot I’m in.

   I’ve managed to paint myself into an inconvenient corner, and there’s nobody to blame but me. Sure, I’ve caught some ugly breaks – but that’s no excuse. I’ve played my cards poorly, and have no choice but to fold this hand and start over. Dwelling on it or bitching isn’t going to change my situation, only well planned and properly executed action will. I refuse to place blame on others.

   The truth is, I have a big mouth and I’m not afraid to use it. I call things exactly like I see them, even if it’s not the popular choice. That tends to sit poorly with some, and it probably should. I’d probably be feeling the same way if the situation was reversed, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

   Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean that I’m right either. Occasionally I am, but that means less than nothing if it alienates people – and all too often it does. I think one of my feet is in my mouth and the other one has about a dozen bullets in it from my own gun. I can’t walk through life like that.

   It’s not smart in the long run to be the loose cannon, but that’s a familiar role I’ve played for as long as I can remember. I’ve won the undying admiration of some, but the total disdain of others. I’ve rarely cared about who didn’t like it, but I realize now that’s a mistake. I have to dial it back.

   Enemies themselves don’t scare me, but they can inflict damage on people who don’t know me by painting an unflattering picture without my being able to defend myself. Perception IS reality, and then I’m either in a hole before I open my mouth or don’t even get a chance to prove myself.

   I’m in that position now as far as some comedy clubs are concerned, and it’s not where anyone wants to be. There are a few bookers who flat out won’t use me, and it has nothing to do with my abilities on stage. Even those who can’t stand me know I can do the job. But that doesn’t matter.

   They’re in charge, and I’m not. If they don’t want to use me for any reason, they don’t have to. I’m having this happen way too much, and I have to change my ways immediately before I blow it completely. Its taken way too long to get to this point, why would I want to waste that effort?

   If we truly are put here to learn, I’m making the absolute most of my time on this planet. I have made some major mistakes, and am learning some major life lessons through all this. They aren’t very pleasant, but they sure are effective. Hopefully, by cataloging my miscues I can teach others what not to do when they’re facing similar situations. I’ve screwed up, but so has everyone else.

   It takes too much energy to be a polarizer, and I don’t want to play that role anymore. I’ve been at it a long time, and it’s not fun being a pariah. I may have scorched a few bridges that I’ll never be able to rebuild, and that’s on me. I regret that, and am moving on. I’ll have to reinvent myself whether I want to or not. Whichever direction I choose, I’m going in it with a mellower attitude.

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

Monday, March 26, 2012

Season Ticket

Sunday March 25th, 2012 – Norway, WI/Kenosha, WI

  OK, now it’s just funny. When it rains, it pours, and when it pours it floods. I’ve been soaked to the bone with a cloudburst of unpleasant problems in the past few weeks, and I’m not seeing any rainbows or sunshine on the horizon to let me know the storm is going to be over any time soon.

   Today’s tribulation was getting a speeding ticket in the booming metropolis of Norway, WI on my way to Milwaukee to attend a baseball card show. I had a few remaining scattered trinkets of sports memorabilia to hopefully sell, and I also wanted to hang out with some of my card friends.

   It’s a whole lot shorter drive to take either IL Highway 83 or US Highway 45 north from where I am in Fox Lake, even though they both go through small towns. It’s probably close to the same amount of driving time as taking I-94, but I often choose to stay on the back roads to save miles.

   I’ve made the drive back and forth countless times since I’ve moved to Lake County, and know most of the possible routes and all the detours by now. Today happened to be the day when I was passing through a small town I’ve been through zillions of times before, and the speed limit went from 55 to 35 in a hurry. There was light traffic, so I slowed down without slamming the brakes.

   The police car was in plain sight as I got into town, and I assumed I had slowed down in plenty of time to avoid a ticket. Then I saw him peel out and turn on his flashing lights and I knew I had a problem. I could just feel it in the air that I was going to get a ticket, and I wasn’t disappointed.

   I don’t think it’s a matter of negative thinking, or the personal vibes I’m putting out like it says in ‘The Secret’. Maybe sometimes it’s that, but this time I think it was just the regular old luck of the draw. It was my turn to get a ticket, and I got it. It wasn’t particularly convenient, pleasant or necessary in my opinion, but none of that was my call. I sat in my car and waited to get my prize.

   Getting angry wasn’t going to change anything, so I didn’t. I didn’t send the cop any bad vibes or any vibes at all. He’s a cop in Norway, WI. How exciting can that be? I’m from that state and I’ve never heard of Norway until today. If his life is better for writing me a ticket, what can I do?

   I’ve managed to hit the Trifecta of traffic turbulence in the last couple of weeks by getting this speeding ticket to go along with a parking ticket in Chicago and a flat tire on the freeway right in the middle of traffic. I guess it’s a grand slam, as I’m always getting nabbed by those photo cams at traffic lights. I am going to be wiped out even more when I pay all these fines, but that’s life.

   I’ll find a way to pay the fines, and keep on slugging. I know in my heart I’m an honest person, and mean no harm to anyone. If the world doesn’t see that, it’s their loss. I’m busy enough trying to survive each day, playing the cards I was dealt in life. That keeps me plenty busy, believe me.

   We did manage to have a very solid Mothership Connection radio show tonight on WLIP. That usually puts me in a good mood, and it did tonight. The smart thing to do is stay focused on what I can control, even though it isn’t the easiest. At least I’m not that cop marooned in Norway, WI.

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

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Adored And Abhorred

Saturday March 24th, 2012 – Wausau, WI/Fox Lake, IL

   Like it or not, I received an unmistakably loud clear message today. It wasn’t one I was hoping for, but it actually helps quite a bit in shaping the decisions for my immediate future. Once again, I have proven to be a polarizing figure with someone who has a degree of clout. Sometimes I am adored, other times I’m abhorred. This time I struck out, but at least he had the plums to tell me.

   I sent out my avails to all kinds of comedy bookers in the last few days, hoping to connect with new work sources or reconnect with places or people I’ve worked for before. Everyone and their uncle’s grandmother’s dog is trying to stay afloat these days, and it’s a buyer’s market out there.

   I was able to hear back from a few people I didn’t expect, and even squeezed some work out of a couple much to my delight. Then I heard from another I hadn’t had contact with in a few years, and he told me he was glad that I was feeling better but he had NO interest in booking me. Ever.

   I have to admit, it did take me by surprise as I thought we were on good terms. I’ve known him for years and liked him fine, even though he’s never given me a single booking. He’s got a lot of quality work at his disposal, and it wouldn’t hurt to go through the proper channels to try for it.

   Apparently, he’s still upset about something I wrote in this very diary about a particular booker he was affiliated with who died a while back. I made my opinion known that I didn’t find him to be a particularly nice person, and I didn’t. He threw his power around because he could, and I’m not the only comic who thought that way. Maybe I shouldn’t have written it, but it’s how I felt.

   Unfortunately, that’s the way I feel now. Just because someone dies doesn’t take away the facts of how they acted to people when they were alive. My father’s death didn’t wash away any of his nastiness in my memory, so why should anyone else? I looked back over what I wrote, and found it to be quite accurate and not a personal attack. I sent it to several other comics, and they agreed.

   I wrote what I wrote then and write what I write now to offer my honest unvarnished viewpoint from where I sit. It doesn’t mean I’m right, and when I’m wrong I freely admit it. I know I didn’t mean anything mean spirited about what I wrote then, but that’s how it was taken by more than a few other bookers who heard about it but didn’t take the time to read it themselves. It’s typical.

   Jim Bouton wrote about the truth of the hierarchy and politics of baseball, and he was bounced out of the inner circle of the game for years. I’m sure in some circles he still is, even though what he said was not only true but not all that bad either. People are people, and he wrote about that.

   I wrote about how it is to be a comedian and have to deal with a booker who never had to drive across the country and put his soul on the line to entertain a group of drunken meatheads who got in free on a Wednesday night in some strip mall in Des Moines. It’s not easy, but they don’t care. There’s always someone else who will do it if I say no, and they know that. I’m not going to let a comedy booker or anyone else take away my dignity. If I have to go work at a car wash, so be it.

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

Starting Over All Over Again

Friday March 23rd, 2012 – Wausau, WI

   Whether I like it or not, I’m starting my life completely over. Again. I’m not anything but tired, but that’s the position I’m in. I’ve been here so many times before I’ve lost count. I’m not afraid. I’m not angry. I’m not out to make any statements or prove anyone wrong. All I’m looking to do is make a peaceful, honest and decent living and bring as much joy to as many others as possible.

   One would think that’s a noble cause, and the world would open up and let me follow my inner vision to the benefit of all parties. I would win because I’d be using my gifts for their most good. The people on the receiving end would win too, because they’d be able to lighten up and laugh.

   Too bad our world doesn’t seem to work that way. Most of us have to claw, scratch and gouge out a living no matter what we do and that uses up a lot of time and energy that could be spent on doing the actual job itself. Having to worry about keeping the bills paid is not productive energy.

   But alas, millions of us in America and dare I say billions worldwide are stuck in this muck of having to try to carve out a living without an ounce of help from anyone. It’s damn hard, and I’m not seeing it getting any easier any time soon. The world plays rough, and there are no tag backs.

   These last nine months have been a major kick in the ass, both bad and good. It was very good in that it caused me to completely change the way I take care of myself physically. I’m feeling as good as I’ve ever felt, and I totally needed that kick. The not so good result was that it caused me to miss several months of work and drained every nickel of savings I had. It has wiped me out.

   That’s part of the risk of being self employed, and I know I’m not the only one that has faced a dire situation like this. It could have been a lot worse, and I know it. At least I didn’t have to put a wife and kids through this, and I know families all over the world are living through some hell.

   I’m a one man band out there in a world that really doesn’t want to hear any music, at least not from me. There are billions more faceless life forms just like me breathing up air and drinking up water for however long we can survive, and then a whole new crop rises up and redoes it all over again. There doesn’t seem to be much improvement on the last batch, but that’s how it plays out.

   That being said, I sat down this morning and made up an attachment with a list of my available dates, and sent them to as many comedy bookers as I could find. I sent them to anyone anywhere I could think of that might have the potential of hiring me to do a live comedy show in the future.

   I’m sure some will answer. Others won’t. Some will book me. Others will not. I don’t take any of it personally, and won’t waste my time anymore with those who don’t choose to use me. I am in a spot I hadn’t planned on being in this late in the game, so clear thinking is a must right now.

   Tonight I had a gig in Wausau, WI in a hotel lounge. It was a few bucks I can totally use right now, but not a career maker by any means. I have to make that career happen myself, or at least make an attempt. It’s not that easy, as life often has other plans. Let’s see how this all plays out.

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

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ron Shock Needs Help

Thursday March 22nd, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   I’ve been getting so much bad news lately, I don’t even want to answer my phone or check my emails anymore. And I sure don’t want to see or hear any broadcast news reports. Life is one big horror story after the next as of late, and I must say it’s really bumming me out. Some happiness or lighthearted fun would be a nice change of pace, but I’m still waiting. Life has been a downer.

   Today it was a very troubling mass email passed on from a booker about comedian Ron Shock. I worked with Ron many years ago at some club in one of the Carolinas. I think it was Charlotte, but it might have been Greenville or Columbia. That’s not important. The sad news is that he has a rare form of cancer and has been going through his own personal hell as of late. How horrible.

   Any comedian who has ever worked with Ron Shock knows he’s one of THE most fascinating human beings in any profession, and also one of the most intelligent. The stories he tells both on stage and off are some of the most unique I’ve ever heard, and he definitely is a memorable guy.

   He’s not a particularly large man physically, but his big booming voice and thick Texas drawl make him larger than life on stage. I remember watching his shows every night and admiring his ability to mesmerize audiences on a consistent basis. It has to be at least twenty years since we’d worked together, but I’ve always remembered him fondly if his name ever happened to come up.

   Comedy can produce such random pairings. Rarely do clubs or bookers think about who’s on a particular bill, and quite often total strangers have to share living quarters for a week. It’s all very random, and that can produce varied results. Sometimes people clash, and it makes life difficult.

   I very rarely have had trouble with any of the other comics I’ve had to share an apartment with for any week of work I’ve ever had. Sometimes it’s only a night or two where two acts end up in a town together, but they’ll both remember it years later. It’s like having a microwave roommate. Good or bad, it’s over in a short time. Sometimes you see the person again, sometimes you don’t.

   Ron Shock and I have never crossed paths again after that particular week of working together. In fact, I have no idea if he’d even remember my name. He was the headliner, and I was just one faceless middle act coming up the ranks like so many others. We shared stories all week and got along fine – but then it was over and we both moved on. That’s how the comedy business works.

   I’m not going to lie and say we were close friends, because we weren’t. We crossed paths for a few nights on the road, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deeply sadden me to hear of his situation. It absolutely does. It’s ironic to me, as Ron lived in Houston at the time and was friends with Bill Hicks. They talked on the phone all that week, and I think Bill was dealing with his own cancer.

   The mass email I received today said that Ron and his wife are in an overwhelmingly stressful financial situation and could use a hand with donations to help pay bills and let his wife get a bit of rest from all the time she’s been spending dealing with this nightmare. Ron has also been very open about his battle on You Tube, and that takes unbelievable guts. I send good vibes his way.

   I wish I could do more, but I’m having my own problems. The best I’m able to do right now is spread the word, hoping people will read this and send even a buck or two to help them both get through this horror. Send donations to: Ron Shock 920 Bonita Avenue Las Vegas, NV 89104.

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

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Four Scumbag Maggots

Wednesday March 21st, 2012 – Kenosha, WI

    Some days I just can’t seem to figure out why things happen the way they do, and today is one of those days. I’m feeling very down today, but it’s not all about me. Yes, I have a few annoying problems right now that aren’t pleasant to deal with, but who doesn’t? Those aren’t unsolvable.

   What I’m upset about are situations beyond my control, and that’s a major downer. They seem so unfair, and I’m powerless to do anything about them. It’s extremely frustrating, and especially so because they involve people who in my opinion totally don’t deserve it. But I’m not the judge.

    Gary Pansch called me today and wanted to take me out for a belated birthday lunch. I’ve been friends with Gary for probably twenty years, give or take a couple. If there’s a more peaceful and laid back person anywhere in America, I’ve never crossed paths. Gary is as mellow as they get.

   He’s a very funny comedian, but he never chose to pursue it full time because he doesn’t enjoy all the insanity that goes with the business part of it. He sees how crazy it all is, and doesn’t want to lose his identity as a person. He performs when he wants, and lives a peaceful life on his own.

   Last night, he was out walking his dog around sundown. It’s a stray he found and adopted, and treats it like a son. The dog’s name is Charlie, and he’s had some health issues lately which have been of great concern to Gary. I see how much he cares for Charlie, and it proves how kind he is.

   Gary and Charlie were two blocks from the apartment Gary has lived in for twenty years, when four lowlife punks came out of nowhere and started beating Gary up for no particular reason. He said they didn’t say a single word or even take his wallet; they just started viciously beating him.

   It took FOUR scumbag maggots to beat up Gary Pansch? Gary wears glasses and is about 5’7”. He might weigh 150 pounds on a good day, before a haircut and after a big meal. Beating on him would be like kicking Woody Allen’s ass. No offense to Gary or Woody, but this infuriates me.

   Gary had a fat lip and a black eye as he told me the story, and said as it was happening the only thing he could think about was protecting Charlie. He said he knew it was a bad situation when a few drops of his blood spattered on Charlie’s face, but he never raised his voice as he told of it.

   I have to admit, this would have sent me right over the edge. I was furious just hearing about it, but it didn’t seem to anger Gary at all. He told the details matter of factly, and said he didn’t even call the police because it took him by such surprise he wouldn’t be able to identify those who did it in a lineup. He said they left just as fast as they came, and he sat there soaked in his own blood.

   What the hell is wrong with this planet? Is anything or anyone sane or fair? I can think of more than a few complete jackass types that could absolutely use an ass whipping session exactly like this, but not Gary Pansch. He’s never hurt anyone, and I doubt if he’s even killed many spiders.

   I thought I had made significant progress in my life when it comes to dealing with anger issues, but hearing of this shows me I still have a long way to go. Gary was barely upset, but I was ready to take a golf club to the left ears of four teenage hot shots who think they’re budding gangsters.

   This really bothers me, and there’s not a damn thing anyone can do about it. I’m sure the punks will strike again, and it’s SO wrong. Sometimes there’s just nothing funny to say about anything.

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

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Financial Foolishness

Tuesday March 20th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   Sometimes I think I’m being smart, when in fact I’m just a big old stupid goof no matter what I do. I bought myself a spare car when I had a little extra cash, and I thought I was backing myself up in case of a problem. Little did I know it would end up becoming a part of the problem itself.

   Storage turned out to be an issue, and I’ve been paying for an outside storage space for the last several months. It’s a little over three miles from where I live, which is a healthy hike but not an impossible one. In a pinch, I can find a way to get there and have a spare vehicle waiting for me.

   Or so I thought. I went there last night to check on my trusty steed only to find it with three flat tires and a dead battery. I don’t know what kept the one tire inflated, but my spirits were about as flat as the other three. My main car is making some grinding noises, and I don’t have any cash in the bank to get it repaired at the moment. I thought I’d drive the spare one for a couple of weeks.

   I went back today with a manual air pump and some jumper cables and breathed some life back into the old jalopy. It really is a sweet little car, but I wish I hadn’t bought it. That money in hand would have done me a lot more good right now, or at least been a lot more convenient. Too late.

   I’m in a financial pickle, as I doubt if I could sell either tin can for what I have in them. Cash is king, and I’m fresh out right now. So is everyone else apparently. There are a couple of deadbeat slippery lowlifes that come to mind who still owe me over $2000 combined from car deals made several years ago, and that would come in very handy right about now. Will I ever see it? Nope.

   I love how people like to tell me to ‘just forget about it’ and ‘move on’, but if it were them that were owed that much money they’d pitch a royal hissy fit. I thought I was more than patient with those two turds, but they just continue to ignore the fact that they stole money and never made an attempt to pay me back what they owed. I shouldn’t have trusted them, but I did. I’M the moron.

   This is an extremely painful and cold hearted lesson that keeps on stinging, but I really do have to ‘just forget about it’ and ‘move on’. I’ll move on, but I won’t forget. I can’t. They’ve both had more than enough time to pay me back, but they haven’t. They have money for dope, but not me.

   I’m the dope for being so trusting, and I feel SO raped. I made both of those deals in good faith at the time, and didn’t get treated the same way in return. How could anyone with feelings not be infuriated? I’ll admit, I’m more than a little steamed - but the problem is much deeper than them.

   It boils down to me not being smart enough with my money. I’ve always been free to give it up when I’ve had it, and I thought it would keep coming forever. I’m in a down cycle right now, and it’s not flowing like it has in the past. I’ve never been rich rich, but I’ve usually squeezed by ok.

   Now the squeeze is on me, and I’m not in a position of power like I’ve been in the past. I’m out of savings, emergency funds and collectibles to sell. I suppose I could unload one of the cars, but it would be at a loss and only a temporary fix. Universe, I could use a break right about…NOW! 

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

Sleepless In The Saddle

Monday March 19th, 2012 – Rockford, IL/Fox Lake, IL

   Sleep? Who needs that? It’s way over rated anyway. I don’t have time for boring activities like that - I’ve got hip, happening places to be like Kenosha, WI and Rockford, IL. I’ll have plenty of time to sleep when I’m dead, which after today seems not far off. Who am I kidding? I’m OLD.

   I was dragging my ass big time as I got home from WLIP in Kenosha at 1am, but I wasn’t able to sleep more than an hour because I needed to pick up Jim McHugh by 3:30 to be able to get out to Rockford to be on WNTA by 5am. Am I completely insane? That depends on when you’d ask.

   When I’m on the air - no. When I’m driving on a lonely two lane country road with not a single other vehicle in either direction – a loud and heartfelt yes. What the hell am I doing with my life? I’ve gone from chasing low paying comedy gigs far from home to chasing low paying radio gigs, but at least they’re a little closer. The downside is the hours. Who wants to start their job at 5am?

   Morning radio hours have always been brutal, and I’m sure they’ve taken a few years off of my life already. I’ve had my share of getting up before the early bird, and it’s never fun. Most people who have ever worked in morning radio hate the hours, but it goes with the job. And it still rots.

    Doing the show with Jim makes it a lot more fun. Radio is still new to him, and he’s not jaded. Yet. It’s hard not to be, but there is a buzz that goes with it that’s similar to being on stage. It’s a lot of fun to be on the radio, and on stage too - but just like with comedy there is a price to pay.

   I said yes today mainly to help out Jim Stone. He’s the operations manager of the four stations in the building, but also does the morning show on WXRX – ‘The X’. He’s been doing mornings for years, and knows what that grind is like. He was doing afternoons for the last couple of years, but just had to get readjusted to mornings when they rearranged the schedule not that long ago.

   Jim McHugh and I had fun playing radio again for four hours, but no way would I want the gig full time. I’m not a current events based talk show host. That’s not what I do. The regular host is a very nice guy named Doug McDuff – a radio veteran. He’s a fixture in town, and good for him.

   There are people who are really good talk show hosts, and I respect that as a craft just as being a comedian is a craft. My friend Jerry Agar is great at what he does, and he works at it. He wants to be a talk show host, and that’s his focus. Mark Belling in Milwaukee is another example. He’s a very skilled talk show host, as is Rush Limbaugh. Like any of them or not, they’re competent.

   I’m just a warm body that Jim Stone could call who was willing to show up at 5am. It’s a really nice opportunity for me to get a chance to practice my hosting skills on a real station, but I’m not fooling myself into thinking I want to pursue it more than a fill in basis. Comedy is my first love.

   But again, love doesn’t pay the bills. This was a chance to make a few bucks, even though I am going to end up spending most of it to fill my gas tank. And I’m having some car trouble too. I’m too tired to worry about it now though. This was a long hard day. I’m not a young buck anymore.

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

Near Death Experiences

Sunday March 18th, 2012 – Kenosha, WI

   Oh-oh. The old ‘time getting spread too thin’ trick again. I’ve seen this one before. I received a text message from Jim Stone at WNTA radio in Rockford, IL politely requesting me to fill in for the morning host tomorrow from 5-9am. I politely refused, as I had a lot of things on my plate.

   An hour later, I got another one – this one a little more urgent. Jim is the operations manager of four radio stations in one building, and that’s never an easy gig. He gets all kinds of headaches at the last minute he has deal with, and apparently he couldn’t find anyone to show up for the shift.

   I really like Jim, and I absolutely know what it’s like to be backed into a corner on short notice with few to zero options. He was in a pickle, and I felt the only right choice was to help him out, even though it would put me in a tight spot myself. My gut told me to say yes anyway, so I did.

   I already had my own prior radio commitment to attend to at WLIP in Kenosha, WI from 8pm to midnight tonight in ‘The Mothership Connection’. I worked all afternoon and into the evening coming up with a plan of attack on how to make that project turn a buck somehow, as it hasn’t.

   It’s been way too much effort to put out every week for this long with no financial return, even though it’s a lot of fun to do when we’re on the air. We have no trouble finding interesting guests from all areas of the unusual, and tonight was no exception. Dr. Raymond Moody was on with us for two full hours, and he’s probably THE top authority when it comes to near death experiences.

   He’s the one who coined the actual term ‘near death experience’, and has written several books of note on the subject. Who wouldn’t be interested in learning more? I’ve never met anyone who isn’t at least the tiniest bit curious about it. I know I am. His website is

   We could have had Dr. Moody on for the entire four hours, and I’m sure he’ll come back again pretty much whenever we ask. We always treat our guests with ultimate respect, but still manage to throw a few jokes in the mix to keep it lighthearted and interesting. It really opens people up.

   Our show is kind of a hybrid cross between ‘Coast To Coast AM’ and a wacky morning show, but it totally works. I’m getting to be a much better talk show host with practice, and I can totally see major improvement since the show started four years ago. I feel we’re ready to take the show to a higher level, but that will mean a total remake from the ground up. We need to get it in gear.

   Where we are now just isn’t cutting it. Yes, we’re on a real radio station. That’s a plus, as most shows of this nature are considered too ‘woo woo’ for mainstream radio. But we’ll never achieve any kind of following just being on in Kenosha, WI. No offense to Kenosha, but we need a much larger audience and that can only come with syndication or on the internet. Or both. It’s just fact.

   Fun is fun and this is, but that’s not enough. Passion projects don’t pay bills, so what do I need to do to get some cash flowing? Sponsorship would obviously help, but how does that happen? It doesn’t just fall out of the sky. I can’t think about it now, I have to be on air in Rockford at 5am.

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

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Airplane Aggravation

Saturday March 17th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   As much as I’d love to keep knocking back free birthday week meals from everyone, sooner or later I knew I’d have to knuckle down and haul myself back to work. I chose sooner, as in today. I didn’t mind at all. I like to work - at least on projects in which I have a passion. I have all kinds of those, and they keep me busy enough for six people. Those I don’t mind. They keep me going.

   What loads me down and really sinks my canoe are all the things I have no desire to do. Those are the true buzz kills in life, yet they come up in some form or another every single day without fail. Sometimes it’s an annoying person or situation, other times a task. All of it is wasted time.

   Today it was switching my flight arrangements for April 13-14 when I’ll be in Tucson at Laffs. I was scheduled there last summer as I was dealing with my diabetes diagnosis, and had to cancel on short notice. The booker was very understanding, and totally professional. I really was unable to fulfill my obligation, and thankfully he gave me another chance. That doesn’t always happen.

   I’m a man of my word, and I said I’ll show up. I plan on it, but getting there is always a hassle. The last thing I care about is hunting down airline tickets online, but what choices do I have? My only other option is driving, but Chicago to Tucson with gas at over $4 a gallon would break me.

   Gas prices are killing everyone, but some of us faster than others. I hadn’t flown in a while and WOW did ticket prices go up. The cheapest I was able to find for the days I need to go was about double what I expected to pay. That didn’t cut it, so I had to do some creative thrift management.

   I was able to score a somewhat reasonably priced ticket on Southwest from Milwaukee, only it had a couple of stops and didn’t land in Tucson until 10:20pm. I had to bump it back to Thursday the 12th so I could make the Friday show, but that would cost a hotel room. Too bad, that was my only option. I bought the ticket a few days ago, thinking I was done. Wrong. There was a glitch.

   The booker sent me an email telling me he had a one nighter on the Thursday and could use me if I could get to town earlier than 10:20. That meant I had to change my flight, which is always a hassle. It’s less of a hassle with Southwest, but it’s still a hassle. I just don’t enjoy stuff like that.

   In a perfect world, I’d hire someone to take care of trivial minutia like that, but that isn’t going to happen in the near future. I’m a one man band, and that’s part of the job description whether I like it or not – and I don’t. It uses up valuable time I could be using to create products I can sell.
   So now, I am flying out on Wednesday the 11th and landing at 10:20. I have the Thursday show added and then the Friday and Saturday is at Laffs. That’s a fun place, and I will tear the roof off. But then I’m stuck in town until Tuesday morning at 6am, as that’s the cheapest flight I found.

   I will worry about where I’ll stay later. For now, this was the best flight deal I could get. It took way too long to get it all hashed out, and it’s for a gig that’s a month out. It took me way off grid for work I was doing today, and I feel like I wasted time. But I had to. Still think comedy’s easy?

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

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Good Times With Good People

Friday March 16th, 2012 – Carpentersville, IL/Kenosha, WI

   The birthday hangover continues, and I’m not complaining. Life is a constant series of ups and downs, and I’m learning to savor every second of the up times. They’ll be gone soon enough, but then they’ll come back again. It’s a streak thing. I’m going to ride this wave as long as possible.

   A couple of weeks ago, I was stuck in a rut where nothing went right. I was losing gigs left and right, my car was giving me fits and I was mired in a slump. One bad thing seemed to build upon the next, and it was miserable. Now it’s exactly the opposite. One fun thing is leading to the next and I’m enjoying every minute of it. I wish it were like this always, but it isn’t. But it is for now.

   It’s much like the amazing weather we’re having. Of course it will change again at some point, but the smart thing to do is squeeze as much pleasure from the sun and warmth as possible before the sleet comes back again. That can last for several days too, but those days pass much slower.

   This streak has been truly remarkable. I can’t remember it ever being this summer like for this long of a stretch in mid-March in Illinois. I’ve seen the weather reports and it’s warmer here now than traditional hotspots like Florida and Arizona. I don’t care if it’s a fluke or not, I’m loving it.

   Today I had three more birthday meals in my honor, and who could be anything but delighted about that? Even one is a special treat, but so far I’ve had FIVE – with a couple more on the way. I’m not going to fight any of this; I’m just going to enjoy it. It will all be over with soon enough.

   For breakfast, I met up with Jerry Agar’s wife Ann and their kids Cooper and Kaelin. They are in town from Toronto visiting friends on spring break and also getting their house in Cary ready to be sold soon. They’re going through a tough time, but that’s how it is in radio. Jerry shouldn’t have been gassed at WLS, and they should still be living there. But it didn’t work out that way.

   That’s radio - and life too. This can be a cruel planet, especially when idiots have a say in what happens to someone’s future. Jerry paid his radio dues and brought his family to Chicago with an intention they’d stay for the long haul. He did his part, and then was booted for no good reason.

   Now the family has to move to another country to survive, and they have no choice. Those kids have a big adjustment, and it’s not fair. They’re dealing with it very well, but that whole situation makes me sick to my stomach. But it was great to relax for a little while and visit with them all.

   Lunch was in Kenosha, WI with Mark Gumbinger. He is working on putting our ‘Dented Can’ DVD project in the hands of people who can sell it to some TV network somewhere in the world. If I’m a star in New Zealand or Guam, I’ll take it. We now have a finished product to place in the hands of people, and that’s what’s being done. We had a delicious meal and a lot of laughs too.

   Dinner was with a nice young lady, and also very relaxed and fun. The food and company were excellent, and again all I could do was enjoy the moment. It doesn’t always work out as perfectly as this, but today it happened three times in a row. Good times with good people can’t be beat.

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

A Sweet Sequel

Thursday March 15th, 2012 – Rockford, IL/Hoffman Estates, IL

   I’m still riding the mighty high of my spectacular birthday yesterday. What a special day it was all around, and I wish I could bottle it up and squirt some of that vibe all over me when I need it. I’m still getting belated wishes today, and it can’t feel any better. It’s like I’m attending my own wake, but in a good way. This is the same feeling I had when I was on the Craig Ferguson show.

   People reached out then just like now and threw in a good word and told me how much I meant to them or recalled something nice I did – mostly things I’d forgotten about. I do try very hard to be a good person, but all too often I feel like I’ve never made even a tiny impression on anyone.

   I guess I have judging by the overwhelmingly positive responses I received in the last 24 hours, even though I still feel like I’ve got a long way to go to really accomplish anything. I’m flattered beyond words to get such wonderful kind thoughts from so many, and I need to learn to accept it.

   It’s really a matter of choosing what to focus on in life. Seeing that old glass as indeed half full needs to become a habit, and I can’t honestly say that it is right now. Sometimes I do let my eyes wander and spend too much time and energy on what’s wrong with life or what I don’t have, and that’s not smart business. Yes, I do have problems, but so does everyone. That’s a rotten excuse.

   What I need to do is make a detailed list of what I want in life and all the positive things I have going for me, and spend every single drop of my energy there. Why would I ever need to use up even one precious brain cell ever again for anything other than achieving my goals and dreams?

   I can’t think of a single reason. People who don’t like me can French kiss my ass. I don’t wish them harm; I just don’t want anything to do with them. I don’t have time for petty tripe. I have a towering stack of fun projects to get to, and time is limited. Life is now a race against the clock.

   Today was a nice sequel to yesterday, and a lot of good things happened. The weather was still spectacular, and I believe a record was set for the highest temperature ever recorded just as it was yesterday. Jim McHugh and I again filled in for the afternoon show on WNTA in Rockford, IL.

   Everyone at the station is extremely friendly, and we’re feeling like we’re part of the team. We treat everyone with respect, and that’s what we get back. After the show, Jim invited me over for a delicious rib eye steak dinner he cooked on his grill in honor of my birthday. It was delicious.

   I’m also feeling positive progress on ‘The Unshow’ pod cast with Jeff Schneider. We’re part of a new website called ‘PKNRadio’ and we’re on twice a week with our half hour of talk. I think it could lead to bigger things, and the time is right to be evolving from terrestrial radio to the web.

   The site is and apparently we’ve already had over 150 downloads after our first appearance. I don’t know what they think, but I think that’s fantastic. I’ve paid my dues and then some in both comedy and radio. It’s high time both of them paid me back – with interest.

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

Friday, March 16, 2012

Yearly Maintenance

Tuesday March 13th, 2012 - Fox Lake, IL

   Tomorrow is my birthday, and today is the perfect day to take a few minutes to examine every aspect of my life in detail with as much objectivity as possible to assess where I am on every level and decide where I want to go. It was a very eventful year to say the least.

   By far and away my diabetes diagnosis was the biggest thing I’ve had to deal with. It’s a life changer, but mostly in a good way. I don’t think I’ve ever had this long of a consistent streak of eating well and regular exercise, at least not as an adult. That has been a gigantic step in a positive direction, as I feel better than I can ever remember. What a turnaround.

   I haven’t had a single soda in going on nine months, and I wouldn’t have believed that’s humanly possible just a short year ago. I was hooked for many years, and I’m sure it’s had a negative effect on my health but at least I’ve kicked it and can’t see myself going back.

   Physical health is important, and I’m finally starting to improve in that area for a lasting basis. I intend to keep that up, and hopefully it will lead to good things in other areas also. One thing I notice is an almost miraculous improvement is my depression spells are gone. I used to get some hellish blasts for many years, but it seems to have totally disappeared.

   That’s very encouraging, but everything else is still a little shaky for my tastes. Earning a living is becoming an issue, and I need to transform myself completely from a nightclub comedian to something else a little more unique. Nightclub comedians per se are way less than a dime for a dozen dozen these days, and I don’t want to get mixed in with the rest.

   Twenty years ago it might have been at least a little different to be a full time comedian, but now it’s getting tougher and tougher for many reasons. The overabundance of horrible acts who will work for pathetic money has cut into the ability for seasoned pros like me to command top dollar, at least on the club level. It’s getting watered down more and more.

   I don’t think radio is the answer either. Radio people are getting fired left and right also, and the one word that gets the biggest laugh when describing a radio career is ‘stability’. I do enjoy being on the air, but there’s just no money in it - not enough to live on anyway.

   All signs are pointing to being an entrepreneur. That’s scary in a lot of ways, as there is not a lot of security in that and zero guarantees of success. I’ve never been afraid to take a risk and roll the dice on wild projects, but that’s going to stop in the near future. I’m at an age where security really does sound pretty good. But how does anyone manage to get it?

   The whole world is changing so fast, it’s difficult to keep up with anything these days. I know I’m not the only one in this position, but I’m in it and don’t know what the solution is other than to keep slugging. I’m trying, but it sure isn’t easy. Life has got a few tricks.

   I’m doing well in some areas, and not so well in others. I’m not the best, but I’m not the worst either. I am above ground, and that’s a plus. Let’s see what this next year will bring.

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