Friday, August 31, 2012

Comedy Casualties

Thursday August 30th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   There’s sad news all over the place in the comedy world this week. I was stunned today to hear of the passing of ‘Wild Bill’ Bauer, a pillar of the Minneapolis comedy scene and someone I was extremely fond of. Our paths crossed years ago, and we stayed in touch. This is really a downer.

   Bill was one of the few comedians who would just call to say hello. That’s very rare for several reasons. Most comedians are constantly trying to lock down future bookings, and having to be on the phone is a necessary evil. I’ve never been a phone person, and sometimes I’ll not even turn it on for several days because 99% of the calls that come in are leeches looking to suck out a favor.

   Wild Bill Bauer was never one of those people. He would call to find out what was going on in the Chicago or Milwaukee scene, and compare notes with what was going on in Minneapolis. He was also a fan of ‘The Mothership Connection’ radio show as was his wife and we’d often take a detour in that direction. He was just a laid back nice person, and I always enjoyed our exchanges.

   Only a few years ago, Bill booked me for a really fun New Year’s Eve gig in Eau Claire, WI. It was very nice of him to do that, and he told me I could work for him any time I wanted. He had a list of favorites he liked to work with, and I was quite honored to be on it. He treated me great.

   Unfortunately, I never got to see his act in person. We often would laugh about that, but we met in Indianapolis years ago in a situation when I was coming and he was leaving and we ended up having lunch with several other comics. Bill was a big Bob and Tom radio show favorite, and they had him stay over an extra day so they could have him on their show. I’m glad it happened.

   It’s always been a random process of how comedians cross paths, and although most of us who are road comics have at least heard each other’s names there are no guarantees we’ll ever meet each other in person. Bill and I crossed paths by chance, and remained friends for twenty years.

   Earlier in the week, a Milwaukee comedian named Byron Beck also passed away. I’d heard he was only 41 years old, and that makes it even sadder. I didn’t know Byron all that well, but I did cross paths with him a few times and he was always polite and friendly. He ran a showcase in the Milwaukee area, and I worked it a couple of times. It was a surprise, as I never knew he was ill.

   On top of all that, a very talented Chicago comedy magician named Ken Mate had a stroke not long ago, and that shocked everyone who knew him. He wasn’t a smoker or out of shape and had no prior history of health problems. I got to know Ken through my booker friend Marc Schultz and had several lunches with him through the years. He was a student of his craft just like I am.

   According to Marc, Ken is out of the hospital but nobody knows the extent of his injuries. He’s a very good guy, and hearing of this combined with the passings of Bill and Byron really disturbs me and again makes me question the existence of God. How come filthy scumbags like Charles Manson and Fidel Castro and so many others get to live long healthy lives but comedians who help make life better for those who really need it drop like flies? I just can’t understand the logic.

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

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Pleasurable Pickle

Wednesday August 29th, 2012 – Burlington, WI

   How does one decide on just one flavor at Baskin Robbins or just one hottie to approach at the Playboy mansion? Maybe other people can, but I can’t. I might not like them all, but I sure enjoy more than one. What fun is life if one can’t explore all of it? It’s exciting, but also excruciating.

   I’m finding myself stuck in the same old situation I’ve been in for years, and I don’t know how to change it. It’s a problem on one hand, but pure pleasure on the other. What a productive pickle to be in – and that’s why it’s so difficult. I love all that I’m doing, but there’s too much going on.

   If I could find it in my inner wiring to focus on just one of my backlog of projects, I’d probably have had some significant success by now. I’ve done alright in several areas, but haven’t had that big grand slam home run that everyone dreams about. Could it still happen? I do believe it could.

   The problem is I’m not exactly sure which one of my list of projects is the right one to go after. I love them all, and if I would pick just one I’d feel bad about neglecting the others. I feel it now. I enjoy the constant stimulation of having a lot of things going at once, but it’s hard to maintain.

   I work all the time and I love it, but I do admit my organization skills could stand a significant upgrade. I need to make a master plan, then cut it up into smaller ones and pay closer attention to details like time, money and building a team around me. Did a one man band ever hit the charts?

   If one did – and I can’t think of any - it was the exception rather than the rule. The Colonel was part of Elvis’s team and Brian Epstein was integral in the rise of The Beatles. When he died, they went off in four opposite directions and I have to believe that was the beginning of their demise.

   But then there are the Rolling Stones. I’ve read that Mick Jagger has served as their business manager for decades, and they seem to have done rather well. They focused on one thing though, and that’s being a rock and roll band. They put on concerts and made recordings, and did it well.

   Mick Jagger didn’t host a paranormal talk show he didn’t get paid for and teach classes on how to be a rock star. He was too busy BEING one himself. I get that, but it doesn’t change the actual fact I absolutely love each and every one of my projects. When I’m doing them, they’re all great.

   Being on stage performing standup comedy when everything is going well is still the purest fun and energy rush I have ever experienced. I’ve always loved it, and always will. I’m not very fond of the offstage insanity, but once I’m up there everything else fades and that becomes my focus.

   But I also love to teach classes, be on the radio, wheel and deal sports cards, read books, watch movies, hang out with friends, watch sports, spend time with women - in other words have a well balanced life. Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough time to get to everything I want to explore.

   Today I had lunch at the Sci’Fi Café in Burlington, WI. Mary Sutherland and I discussed a plan on how to promote her upcoming conference on the radio. Productive? A little. Fun? Absolutely.

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

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Live Rounds

Monday August 27th, 2012 – Milwaukee, WI

   Living where I do puts me right in the middle between Milwaukee and Chicago, and it’s almost exactly equal in distance to the mile to get to downtown in either city. I have friends and contacts to maintain in both places, so no matter which direction I need to go I’m already halfway there.

   Today it was north to Milwaukee to rattle the cages of a few of my favorite people. It’s good to maintain contacts, but gas prices have made it necessary to squeeze as many meetings as possible into each trip these days. I used to be able to shoot back and forth on a whim, but not any longer.

   It’s a minor inconvenience, but not the end of the world. It just makes me have to plan my trips more, and that’s actually a good thing. It makes the most productive use of my time and gives me a goal and a deadline – two of the most important ingredients of getting any task accomplished.

   My first stop was breakfast with my cousin Wendy. She’s one of a precious few relatives I can think of that aren’t from the dark side of The Force. Her father and my grandfather were brothers so that makes us second cousins. She’s a total sweetheart and completely down to earth, and does what she can to not only make the best of her situation but make life better for those around her.

   She’s a great mom and now grandma, and one of the few people I can talk to about how totally insane our family situation was and is. I know we’re not the only ones in history to have endured family craziness, but ours is a special kind of warped. We’re both trying to let it go and move on.

   After that it was a meeting with my friend Lynn Miner. Lynn is a fantastic person, and we help each other on many levels. He’s a master magician, and took one of my very first comedy classes in 1994 to punch up his magic act. We hit it off immediately and have remained in contact since.

   Lynn was also formerly in a high position at Marquette University, and is now one of the very top grant seekers in America. He travels the globe giving lectures on how to get funds, and is the author of several bestselling books on the subject. Lynn doesn’t fool around. He’s the real deal.

   We always have productive brainstorm sessions, and today’s was no different. He comes to my situation with logical input and I put a little craziness and excitement into his. It’s a perfect fit for our natural tendencies, and we always come away with a fresh perspective on what we’re doing.

   After that it was a lunch with my old friend Drew Olson from 540 ESPN Milwaukee radio. It’s been way too long since we hung out, and he’s another one I can safely exchange new ideas with on a mutually beneficial basis. We’ve been able to help each other quite a bit through the years.

   I also met up with Russ Martin to scout out potential locations for both regular comedy shows and ‘Schlitz Happened! An Old Milwaukee Blatz From The Pabst.’ That’s another win/win if we can find a place to do it on a consistent basis. It has to be the right fit for everyone, and that’s the reason I made the drive. I wanted to get a feel for each place, and the only way to do that is show up in person. Since I was in town I thought it would be wise to make some rounds. And it was.

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

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rewarding Radio

Sunday August 26th, 2012 – Kenosha, WI

   It’s taken more than four years, but I’m starting to really feel The Mothership Connection radio show on AM 1050 in Kenosha, WI take shape. We had another super solid show tonight, and the vibe is getting stronger every week. This is the right team, and it feels like the right time as well.

   When the show started, we were on for two hours on Sunday afternoons. I still can’t believe we did that, but that’s when the station had an opening. I think it was from 2-4pm, and it wasn’t easy to fill those two hours as I recall. There were plenty of rough patches, but we stumbled through.

   My partners then were Jimmy Novack who is now part of the ‘Jimmy and Jen’ morning show on sister station 102.3 WXLC in Waukegan, IL and Stu James who works at 95.1 WIIL which is literally in the next room from WLIP. He’s the promotions director and a solid air talent as well.

   We had a lot of fun for a few months, but life got in the way and eventually both of those guys had to move on and make a living. Stu’s commitment to WIIL took too many hours and he didn’t want to tie up his only day off working for free at the smaller sister station. I totally understood.

   Jimmy needed a gig, and the full time morning show came up at WXLC so I didn’t blame him either. I would have done the same thing, and there weren’t any harsh words exchanged by any of us. That’s how the radio game works, but I wanted to keep the show going so I stayed with it.

   We evolved from an afternoon show to an evening show, and that was absolutely necessary. It just isn’t spooky talking about werewolves and ghost encounters when the sun is up. Moving into the evening slot needed to happen, but I still was very shaky as a host and two hours felt like two months on certain nights. It took a lot of effort to stay with it through the rough spots, but I did.

   Several people have come and gone through the years, but that’s to be expected on a small show on a small town station. No offense to anyone, but it is what it is. That doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to do the show, because it totally is. That’s the main ingredient that kept us all coming back.

   Now I feel it’s time to make a run for some money. Fun is great, and I love to grab as much of it as my legal limit, but that doesn’t pay any bills. We took fun as far as possible, now it’s time to get paid. I think I’ve definitely earned it. The show has evolved from two hours of hoping we could fill the time to four hours of solid programming where we can’t fit everything into the mix.

   What a fantastic problem that is. We have to work hard to squeeze everything we can in each week but we still have plenty left over. I’ve grown to become a much better talk show host, and my partner Greg DeGuire has a geek quotient that’s off the charts. That’s a very good thing, and he is THE perfect co-host for a show like this. After years of trial and error, it’s coming together.

   That’s exciting, and I really feel a positive energy brewing with people who are associated with the show frequently like Mary Marshall, David Lee Hendrickson, Karen Uchima and quite a few others. I feel like the conductor of a big band, and we’re finally starting to put out quality music.

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

A New Fan In New Hampshire

Saturday August 25th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   One aspect of being an entertainer that’s rarely discussed is how a performer should handle fan interaction. This is something everyone who makes a living on stage will have to deal with at one time or another and probably a lot more than that - but I’ve seen it mangled time and time again.

   I’ve always chosen to look at approaching fans as customers, and treat them accordingly. I was the one who chose to be an entertainer, and I knew going in that this was part of the game. It’s an extension of the stage, and if someone makes an effort to approach me I won’t chase them away.

   I would have to say from my experience probably 90% or higher of people who make an effort to come up to me after a show or anywhere else have something to say that they at least intended to be positive when it left their tongue. It doesn’t always come off that way, but I have thick skin.

   A lot of times someone will say something like “I didn’t think you were going to be that funny when you first got up there” or something similar. They don’t mean anything bad when they say it, and depending on the situation I’ll try to play off whatever they say and make a joke out of it.

   It’s very easy to make or lose a fan for life in a one on one situation, and I’ve seen quite a few performers really blow it. They come off extremely cocky, or they won’t pose for a quick picture or sign an autograph. I’m sorry, but that goes with the territory. I think it should be an automatic.

  Granted, there is that 5-10% who are a tad unstable but I’ve learned over time they’re not at all difficult to deal with if they’re just acknowledged as being alive. Asking them a simple question like their name or where they’re from usually makes them feel important, and they mellow out.

   There are the scary stalker/felon types, but fortunately I’ve never reached the level of having to be taken back to my hotel via police escort. I’m sure that’s a special kind of scary, but that’s not the kind of fame I’m talking about. I’m talking about your regular old professional entertainer of all genres and all levels below Michael Jackson or Elvis level fame. That’s a whole other issue.

   Another issue is the actual situation when the fan approaches. If it’s after a show, that’s not out of line in my opinion. In a restaurant, that’s where I’ve seen people flip out. Someone will go up to an entertainer and ask for an autograph and the performer will shoot back something nasty and then not do it. I think this is a huge mistake. How much effort is required to sign an autograph?

   I bring this up because today I received a very nice email from a fan in New Hampshire who’d heard a clip of me on Sirius/XM radio and wanted to tell me he thought I was hilarious. He made the effort to look me up on the internet and send me an email. The least I could do was thank him for his time, but I always want to do more than the least I can do. That extra mile is so important.

   I got his address and sent him a CD as my gift. I personalized a signature to him, and told him I would gladly get him tickets should I play New Hampshire any time soon. And if I do, I sure will follow up on my promise. I might not be world famous yet, but I try to collect fans one at a time.

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

Friday, August 24, 2012

J.Medicine Hat

Friday August 24th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   I was unpleasantly surprised to learn of a fellow performer’s untimely passing today. His name is Jent Monk, but he was better known for years as a hypnotist by his stage name of ‘J. Medicine Hat.’ I always thought that was a kick ass stage name, and he carved a profitable niche with it.

   He was originally from Iowa and we first worked together in October of 1988 in Kalamazoo at the Hilton Comedy Club. I know it was October of 1988, because the World Series was going on and Jent and I went to watch it after our show. It was the game where Kirk Gibson hit his classic home run off Dennis Eckersley to win the game in the bottom of the 9th inning. It was a classic.

   For some inexplicable reason, right before the pitch on which Gibson would hit the home run a hushed moment of silence fell over the sports bar where we were watching it. I turned to Jent and said out loud “He’s going to hit it out right here.” Sure enough, two seconds later he did just that.

   Jent and everyone else looked at me with quizzical eyes as Gibson was rounding the bases with a pronounced limp, and I just shrugged my shoulders. I have no idea why I knew he was going to hit it out right then, but I totally did. It’s a moment that’s still very vivid in my mind even now.

   We crossed paths a few more times after that on the comedy trail, and we’d always refer to that moment because it was just so memorable it was difficult not to. I won’t lie and say we hung out all the time and were close friends, but every time we crossed paths we got along extremely well.

   Part of the comedy business that I’ve always enjoyed is the meeting of a wide variety of others from all over the place. It’s a random process, and there’s no rhyme or reason to it. Sometimes it occurs that two comedians will be matched up one time and one time only. I’ve had a number of those pairings, and so has everyone else who works the road. It’s strictly a luck of the draw deal.

   Sometimes people click, and other times they clash. Very rarely have I clashed with comedians on the road. I’m about as easygoing as it gets, and I don’t bother anyone. If they want to hang out with me, fine. If not, that’s fine too. I never push myself on anyone, and have rarely had an issue.

  Bookers and club owners are a little different, but that’s not the focus here. I’m speaking about comic on comic matchups, and how random they are. There are other comics I’ve been matched up with several times in various locations all across America. Like I said, there’s no set pattern.

   That being said, there’s no official way to keep in contact with everyone. Facebook makes it a lot easier now, but back when I started there was no way to keep in touch with everybody I made contact with on the road. Most times we’d exchange phone numbers, but that’s about as far as it ever went. That’s no disrespect to anyone, we were all out on the road trying to make our living.

   Many snob comics look down upon anybody who uses props or is a ventriloquist or hypnotist because they think it’s a cheap gimmick. All of those things done well require talent and ability, and Jent really did it well from what I hear. I’m sorry to hear of his passing and send him peace.

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

Good Vibrations

Wednesday August 22nd, 2012 – Burlington, WI/Milwaukee, WI

   Life is a continuous series of ups and downs, and the ups are the times to relish and enjoy. I’ve had more than my share of downs and undoubtedly more are on the way, but that’s not the focus right now. I can feel a definite upswing coming in my life, and I’m delighted. I am SO prepared.

   One thing that’s really starting to find a groove is The Mothership Connection radio show. I’ve tinkered with it for years and been able to devote varying degrees of energy into it, but it’s really starting to come together. I’m getting fabulous guests on a consistent basis, and am plugging and replugging into sources of positive energy that just feel right. This is how I pictured it all along.

   Today I had lunch at the Sci’Fi Café in Burlington, WI with Lou Rugani from WLIP. I’ve been a fan of that place since I first visited it when the show started in 2008 but I’m ashamed that I’ve never been back. I’ve had full intention to return, but the time was just never right - until today.

   Mary Sutherland and her husband Brad have been having an annual October event called “The Burlington Vortex Conference” where they bring in speakers from the UFO field since 2008. It’s an outstanding event, and I really enjoyed it when I attended that first year. For whatever reason, we never connected after that and I can’t explain why. There was never a falling out or anything.

   Today we reconnected, and I’m thrilled. Their 2012 conference is going to be the last weekend in October and they’ve got another stellar lineup of speakers. More information about the event’s details are at and I plan on plugging it on the air as the date gets closer. This will be an absolute win/win for all of us, and it felt right as soon as I walked in.

   I don’t know why life works the way it does, but I truly believe vibe has a lot to do with it. I’ve been learning a lot from hosting the radio show, and I’m still sorting all of it out. I don’t claim to have any concrete answers to anything, but my mind has surely been opened up to new concepts.

   Sending out a vibe is definitely one of those concepts. A lot of sources mention it from religion to astrology to numerology to self help books like ‘The Secret’ or ‘The Power Of Believing’ that Phyllis Diller claimed to have changed her life. Whatever it is, vibes have an effect on all of us.

   It really does feel like the vibes we send out attract other things to us with a similar vibe. Good vibes out, good vibes back. Bad works the same way. I must have been sending some horrid ones out to get some of the things I’ve received, or maybe a lot of it is random after all. Who knows?

   I surely don’t, but I’m still investigating all possibilities. My vibe is good right now, and I feel a very good one coming back. I don’t know what I’m doing any differently, but I do feel it and I want to acknowledge it so it keeps coming. These are the results I want, and I’m totally in sync.

   Tonight I drove to Milwaukee to participate in an open mic run by Brendan O’Day held at the Miramar Theatre on Oakland and Locust. I went up to support the new comedians coming up the ranks and hopefully gave them a little wisdom. That was my goal, to pass the good vibe forward.

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

Phyllis Diller

Tuesday August 21st, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   Any time words like ‘icon’, ‘legend’ or ‘star’ are used in the same sentence with ‘comedian’, it captures my attention as it happens so infrequently. Phyllis Diller was all of the above, and sadly she passed away yesterday at the age of 95. If there ever was a comedy success story, she was it.

   It’s not as if the news itself was a total shocker to anybody. Ninety five years is an outstanding run for anyone. She brought much needed laughter to tens of millions over several generations of American history in 20th Century, and her place of exalted prominence was sealed decades ago.

   I’m not sure if the average person realizes just how remarkable her career actually was. She put it all on the line, and overcame tremendous odds to achieve success in a field that was dominated by men. She not only carved out a place for herself, but paved the way for other women as well.

   She didn’t start in comedy until she was 37, and had five kids and a shaky marriage. Comedy is hard enough under ‘normal’ circumstances, even though they rarely if ever exist. Most stories of how comedians start are more similar to mine, with the performer beginning much earlier in life.

   People like Milton Berle and Charlie Chaplin were noted child performers, and Woody Allen’s career started as a writer of jokes when he was a teenager. Rodney Dangerfield started out young as well, even though he took a break for quite a few years to sell siding while he raised a family.

   Phyllis Diller’s story was completely different, and very inspirational. She had a dream and put everything she had into it and succeeded. She frequently cited a book by an author named Claude M. Bristol called ‘The Magic Of Believing’ as the root of her success, and would pass out copies.

   One of those who received a copy was my writing mentor Gene Perret. Gene is another icon to many in the comedy business, as he has authored several books on comedy writing that show the nuts and bolts techniques of structuring jokes. I first read one of his books called “How To Write And Sell Your Sense Of Humor” before I ever stepped on a stage, and I’ve been a fan ever since.

   I met Gene’s daughter Linda when I was living in Los Angeles, and ended up meeting Gene at an annual comedy conference they put on called “The Round Table”. Gene has always been very supportive of all comedians, and he started by writing for Phyllis Diller in the ‘60s. She was the one who inspired and encouraged him to move to Hollywood, and he freely gives her the credit.

   To his own credit, Gene took the initiative and actually did it. He loaded up his family and did what 99% of people never do – he took ACTION. Phyllis bought jokes from him on a consistent basis, and then he ended up meeting Bob Hope and he never looked back. He was the head writer for Bob for more than twenty years, but he never lost contact with Phyllis. It’s a fantastic story.

    I found a link to some video interviews with Phyllis that ooze passion. Anyone who isn’t a fan after watching these is dead.   Gene Perret’s website is a place to go for anybody who wants to learn more about comedy writing.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Is Walmart Hiring?

Sunday August 19th, 2012 – Michigan City, IN/Kenosha, WI

   Whether I like it or not, I’m at a crucial crossroads. I’ve been at one for a while, but it’s getting more crucial with every passing day. I have to make something positive happen, or I’ll spend the rest of my days in squalor. That or I’ll die. At this point, it feels like part of me is already dead.

   I’m sad to say I’m really losing my will to fight. It’s been a lifetime of slugging, and I can’t see a whole lot of progress for my effort. The future is very cloudy. John Lennon or Elvis were dead way before they reached my age, and Rodney Dangerfield’s TV star was already starting to rise.

   It’s all about getting in front of people, and I haven’t been able to do that nearly as much as I’ll need to if something big is ever going to pop. Doing one nighters in the Midwest barely pays my bills, and I live like a cockroach. I wish I knew what the right moves were to get myself in gear.

   My friend Jerry Agar got himself in gear by discovering talk radio. He was in the right place at the right time, and really launched himself to the top of his field. I knew him when he was doing a music based morning show like most other radio people aspire to. He kept getting blown out of one town after the next as is the norm in that hideous business, then he chanced upon talk radio.

   He shot up the ladder in just a few years, and went from Huntsville, AL to Raleigh, NC where he made his first splash. Then he went to Kansas City and eventually WLS in Chicago and WOR in New York. He had two jobs at the same time on two of the biggest talk stations in America.

   That’s no small accomplishment, and he did very well on both jobs until the radio meat grinder got a hold of him like it seems to with 99.999% of us all. Now he’s in Toronto doing very well as he usually does, but the station has been sold and new owners are coming in before the end of the year. Gulp. As my grandmother often said, “I’ve heard ducks like that fart underwater before.”

   Jerry and his son Cooper drove from Toronto to Michigan City, IN because Jerry needed to get his green card updated in case he ever needs to come back here and work – which could occur at any time. Radio is a highly volatile game, and getting more unstable by the week. It’s a jungle.

   That being said, Jerry doesn’t have much choice but to stay with it. Like me, he threw all of his chips into the pile and he’s either going to hit the jackpot or bust. I drove to Michigan City for a lunch with Jerry and Cooper, and we talked about how uncertain the future still is or all of us.

   Who has job security these days? Maybe prison guards and Walmart greeters. Crime won’t be stopping anytime soon, and who’s going to fire a Walmart greeter? They’re all close to checking out of the ranks of the living anyway. Let them wear their smock and drool on some teenagers. It will all be over soon enough, but for the rest of us the future is pretty scary. Few of us see any.

   I’ve paid way too many dues to be stumbling through life like a beach comber. All I need is for one little spark to catch fire, and I’ll be on my way. But what is it? I have no idea, and it’s killing me trying to find it. There are too many questions and not enough answers. Is Walmart hiring?

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

See Ya Later Alternator

Monday August 20th, 2012 – Kenosha, WI

   Today’s detour on the docket of daily disaster is…car trouble! It’s been a while since I’ve dealt with that one, but it’s an all too familiar scenario. Car part pukes. Replacement part is completely overpriced. I have no choice but to pay it. That’s a formula I’ve been familiar with far too long.

   On my way home from WLIP after The Mothership Connection radio show last night, an idiot light popped up on my dash I’d never seen before. It was a picture of a battery, and I had no idea what it meant. Sometimes idiot lights pop on for no reason, but more often than not it’s trouble.

   The car was running fine, and there didn’t seem to be anything wrong with anything electrical. The lights worked fine, and the radio was playing without an issue. It was 1am, so there weren’t a whole lot of options other than to get home and deal with it in daylight. Maybe it was a fluke.

   This morning I got in the car and it started right up. No idiot light. I drove it for a few minutes and the light popped back on. Trouble. I hoped it was only a loose contact or slipping fan belt or something, but that’s never been my fate. This was going to be something bigger. I could feel it.

   Mondays are a traditional lunch day with my Kenosha friends, and it’s usually very enjoyable. It’s the movie crew of Mark Gumbinger, and usually includes Lou Rugani from WLIP and Russ Martin who drives down from Milwaukee. Depending on the week, others slide in and out also.

   Mark and Lou are car guys, and know several places in town that work on theirs that have done them well in the past. It’s always a gamble to take a car into a strange garage, and I’ve been bent to my ball joints way too many times to count. We’re at the mechanic’s mercy, and they know it.

   After lunch Lou had me follow him to a gas station he knew of to get my car looked at, and on the way I felt all power fade and immediately knew what it was – the alternator. I’ve had several of those puke in my day, and on a Chevy Cavalier I didn’t expect it to be a major deal to replace.

   Of course, my 2003 model had to have THE rarest alternator in automotive history, and it was impossible to find any used or rebuilt ones within a 2000 mile radius of Kenosha, WI. I would’ve had to have been in the original Louis Chevrolet family bloodline to receive even a 1% discount.

   Several hours later, after spending my afternoon sitting on a folding chair in a Mobil station in Kenosha, WI that wasn’t near any place I could relax comfortably, I received my final bill. $402. Ouch. In the big scheme of life, I suppose it could have been a lot worse. But in my itty bitty life, this was a huge hassle I didn’t need. I hadn’t planned for it, and it kicked me in the wallet - hard.

   There’s never an opportune time for car trouble. Nobody has ever said “Hey! The sun is bright and life seems to be trouble free. I sure hope my car takes a big steamer on me today!” That’s not how it happens. Something or other seizes up out of the blue like it did today, and it’s yet another bill that needs to be paid. Nobody cares, and the world doesn’t cut any slack. And there isn’t one teeny weeny tidbit of an implied verbal guarantee something else couldn’t go wrong tomorrow.

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

Monday, August 20, 2012

Funny Isn't Enough

Saturday August 18th, 2012 – Libertyville, IL

   I was talking with another comedian recently about just how small of a percentage of the entire process that’s required to survive in the comedy business that actually pertains to one’s act and it is shockingly small to the point of being microscopic. Actual stage ability has little if anything to do with the big picture of show business success as a whole - and the smart ones learn that early.

   I was a flaming halfwit unfortunately, and placed emphasis on funny first. What a mistake that was, but it was all I was interested in. It still is. The only part I enjoy about comedy is the process of making a room full of strangers laugh as hard as any human being can. It’s the greatest feeling I’ve ever felt, and I never get sick of it. What I get sick of is wrestling with all the other insanity.

   That part is nothing short of maddening, but there are those who play that game extremely well and can manage to carve out a comfortable living if not an actual career. If when I was beginning my journey someone would have offered me one attribute that I could count on, I would’ve taken being funny hands down. It turns out, that’s about the only thing I had and it didn’t mean a thing.

   I’m not bragging, but I have a natural gift to make people laugh. I’ve had it since I was a kid in school cracking up the other kids with my smart ass answers to teacher’s questions. I didn’t have to even think about what I was going to say – it just came out. I developed my game after a while but the natural chops were always there. I may have failed at almost everything else, but not that.

   If someone is born with a natural gift for music or athletics, they tend to be revered. Comedy is rarely that way. It’s usually reviled at first – at least by authority figures. If a kid can throw a ball farther than everyone else, he can be an illiterate lout and still get to attend the finest schools and date the prettiest girls. Sports ability is at a premium. If someone is funny, it can be a detriment.

   I’m not going to lie and say this doesn’t stew my prunes. It totally does. I really thought I’d be able to coast by and make an above average living by now, but I’m struggling more now than my early years because my will to fight is fading fast. I no longer have anything to prove to anyone – especially the idiots. And this is a business and planet packed to the rafters with idiots aplenty.

   Sorry, but it takes intelligence to enjoy well written standup comedy. It’s a subtle art form, and requires the one seeing it to have some depth of knowledge and perception to fully appreciate the product. Monkeys at the zoo might enjoy a mime or a juggler, but they’ll never get a standup act.

   I thought about all of this as I sat around with no work tonight. I haven’t been actively seeking bookings as much as I probably should be, because quite frankly it bores me beyond tears. Why do I need to try to capture the attention of some pencil pushing pinhead who doesn’t know funny from foot fungus and beg him or her to let me work their hell hole at a strip mall in Kalamazoo?

   I’m just not up for that anymore, and it’s a real problem. I have to find something else to do or suck it up and play the game better. That’s a harsh reality, but it’s a harsh business. And I’m too far into it to learn how to be a plumber. I better learn something, but quick. Funny isn’t enough.

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Stranded Passenger

Friday August 17th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   Sometimes I wonder where my home planet really is. It has never felt like Earth was it, and it’s like I’m a stranded passenger killing time waiting for the connecting flight to my real home. I am stuck here against my will, and no matter how hard I try to blend in I just can’t make it happen.

   Today was a perfect example. There’s a Facebook group of Chicago comedians that somebody asked me to be a part of, so I signed up. I’m a member of several of these groups, and most are a forum for new comics to get information about new places to perform and to exchange contacts.

   I probably should pay them more attention, but I don’t. Most of those who spend valuable time making three dozen posts a day aren’t making a living at comedy, they’re only complaining why they aren’t. Once in a while a topic comes up that I feel I can offer some solid information about, so I do. I do it because I know a lot of young comics read it, and I want to help them get better.

   I don’t know why I feel such a compulsion to do this, but I do. There weren’t a lot who helped me when I was starting, and those who did surely didn’t volunteer any information. I had to seek it out myself, and I did. Those who did help were few and far between, but I sure appreciated it.

   There really isn’t any reason why I need to be so free with my dispensing of information, other than I feel it’s the right thing to do. I’m not getting paid for it, and I am not looking for anything other than the opportunity to help some kids coming up the ranks looking to learn about comedy.

   I would have loved to have the lifetime of knowledge of a veteran comedian at my disposal as I was starting out. I wanted to learn all I could about anything having to do with comedy and show business in general, and there were precious few places I could go to get it. That’s why I made so many stupid mistakes on my way up - some of which I’m still paying for. Nobody educated me.

   One would think some kid starting out would be grateful for the gift of someone’s hard earned experience laid out in bite sized chunks for them to digest, but that’s not always the case. There’s a faction of young punks who have taken it upon themselves to start mocking my posts, which is their right I guess, but they’re very mean spirited and try to make it personal. I find this needless.

   Disagreeing with what I say or choosing to ignore it is fine, but why the need to make personal attacks? I am about the last person on the planet to go toe to toe with in an insult contest, and I’m more than able to defend myself either in person or in print. These idiots have no idea what they are doing or who they’re doing it with, and I don’t really care to waste my time dealing with it.

   I happened to shoot back with a little kick recently, and it ignited all kinds of response from all directions and really rattled some cages. Everyone thinks they know everything about everything when it comes to comedy, when in fact none of us do. I certainly don’t, and I admit to it freely.

   All I wanted was to pass my knowledge forward, not make myself a source of mockery. I don’t get how this planet works, and I hope my connecting flight gets here soon. I’m ready to go home.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Schmucko Elite

Wednesday August 15th, 2012 – Des Plaines, IL/Libertyville, IL

   My grandpa had what seemed like an endless supply of catchy phrases and bromides that I still think of today. One he used frequently was “What you get for nothing is good for nothing.” That pretty much summed up my experience at the Dan Kennedy seminar, but I don’t regret attending.

   It wasn’t entirely what I was expecting, but it was still valuable to check out how they chose to structure the program. I’ve put events together, and I know how difficult it is to coordinate all the smaller pieces into one big machine. There are always glitches, and nobody can predict them all.

   To their credit, they did manage to get people in a room. I’d estimate there were about 300-350 in a space sized to fit not many more than that. I found a seat in the back row, and there weren’t a whole lot of others to be found. Getting that many people in a room for any reason is a challenge.

   They promised Dan Kennedy, and they delivered. I walked into the room at precisely 9:02 and he was already on stage. He spoke for an hour, and then gave way to a person I’d never heard of who was a representative of the software company who was responsible for setting up the event.

   I had expected a sales pitch, but I expected it from Dan Kennedy. At least I’d heard of him and wanted to see him at work. I’d never heard of this other guy, and he was less than stellar. He was on about an hour and fifteen minutes, which seemed like a month of Sundays. I tried to pretend I was interested, but he lost me in the first ten minutes and never got me back. He had no presence.

   I wasn’t angry, and in fact I was encouraged. This guy hadn’t spent the decades of paying dues I have, and no matter how hard he tried he just didn’t grab the audience. Dan Kennedy was much better, but I know I could have held their attention for that hour just as well or better than he did.

   That doesn’t mean I don’t respect who he is and what he’s done, but I could step in and do this too. Dan Kennedy focuses on business and sales training, and he has for years. He’s got probably a dozen books, and they were all available in the back of the room. That was an important lesson.

   Most of these guys have their own product line, and that’s the first thing I need to have. Even a single book will set me apart from being the average schmucko off the street and propel me into the world of schmucko elite. If I learned nothing else, I definitely need to do that in a big hurry.

   About the only thing I’m an authority on is standup comedy. I could write several books about it and not run out of things to say. It’s my passion, and I know I could sell it to an audience better than the guy today did. I didn’t even stay for the promised ‘free’ lunch. I couldn’t endure the guy any longer even if it was filet mignon and caviar. Gramps was right. It was worth the admission.

   Tonight I had a comedy class graduation show at Improv Playhouse in Libertyville, IL. I never get sick of doing those, and tonight was a stellar evening. The students shined and the crowd was into it, and it went exactly how it was supposed to. It was a busy day and night, but worth all the effort. I’m going in the right direction, and I can feel it. I may just have a chance at success yet.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

James Wesley Jackson

Tuesday August 14th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   Just what I need, more projects to complete. I’ve got a plate so full I need to find another plate to hold the first one. If I could just find a way to add three or four hours to each day or shrink my project list, I’d be ok. Neither of those seems to be an option so that means it’s still a major issue.

   I’m trying my best to make the most of every single day, but the more I try to get done the less I feel I accomplish. Time has been flying extra quickly lately, and racing the clock doesn’t make it easier. I can do what I do, and that’s it. But it’s never enough, and I feel like I’m wasting life.

   Today is the birthday of some of my very favorite people. I don’t know why they were all born on this day, but there is a bumper crop of sweet people I know who have birthdays today. One of them is my friend James Wesley Jackson aka ‘The Enviromedian’. We have unfinished business, but not in a bad way. I produced a comedy DVD for him in 2011 before I went into the hospital.

   That slowed everything down, but especially this particular project. I wanted to get it done and available for sale for his last birthday a year ago today, but it didn’t happen. I’ve been so focused on trying to recover and survive myself that it’s still sitting a year later, and I feel bad about that.

    James is a hilarious comic and an even better person. I can’t think of a more gentle soul on this entire planet, and it was my pleasure and privilege to work with him on this DVD project. I hired Pedro Bell of Funkadelic album cover fame to design the DVD cover, and he did a fantastic job.

   In theory, all I should have had to do was make some minor edits to the DVD master and make some copies and I’d be ready to go. I could do a press release and hopefully start getting a couple of media nibbles for publicity purposes and we’d be on our way. If it were that easy, we’d all get famous and rake in the big bucks. This is going to be a lot more leg work than I’d ever imagined.

   I still think it’s very possible, but I have no idea how I’m going to find the time to do it, not to mention the money to get the units printed up. I won’t need all that many to start, but I do need at least a few to send to media outlets to get James on. Tom Joyner’s morning show would be ideal.

   I also want to go after the audience who would remember his days touring with George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic during the heyday of the Mothership years. I am in contact with a few people who used to also tour with the group like Dawn Silva of ‘The Brides Of Funkenstein’ and Judie Worrell, wife of Bernie. They have been extremely positive, and I know they’ll both help.

   This is exactly what James deserves. He’s such a wonderful soul, his positivity is contagious as soon as anyone meets him. I think he’d be perfect for a lot of gigs most other comedians couldn’t do, and if I can help pass along the word, I’d be honored. Producing others is something I enjoy.

   If I could find about a dozen people to produce, I’d gladly get off the road and put my time into building their careers. I’m a fan of so many, and James is right up there with any of them. I really hope we can make this happen for a lot of reasons. But if it is to be, it’s up to me. Time ticks on.

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Building Better Business

Monday August 13th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   I’m making a concerted effort to improve my business acumen, and I hope it’s not too late. I’ve just never been interested in that side of things before, and it’s painfully obvious. It has created a big imbalance, and I need to develop it to at least a respectable degree or I’m never going to find what I’m looking for. My time is already strapped, but I have to squeeze this in. I really need it.

   It’s kind of like a basketball player who only has a move in one direction. Developing the weak hand opens up all kinds of positive scenarios. It keeps the defense honest and it makes total sense to have a balanced attack. I think this will be the same with me, and I’m willing to pay the price.

   The immediate price was $150 to sign up for an online marketing course designed to help artist types improve their business. It’s specifically aimed at comedians, and was put together by a guy who is a marketer by trade but loves comedy. He couldn’t have picked a better group to market a course on marketing skills to. It’s like selling ice water in hell. The demand is definitely there.

   Not only that, I signed up to attend a free seminar put on this Wednesday by a well known guy in the marketing world named Dan Kennedy. He’s been around for years, and I’ve read some of his materials over the years and really enjoyed them. He’s coming to the Chicago area and I have reserved a spot and will see what he has to offer. I’m going with an open mind to check it all out.

   Another course I’m going to take is by a guy named J.F. (Jim) Straw. He’s been in business for more than 50 years, and I have been turned on to his website and free newsletter. He wrote a new book called ‘How To Succeed Using Your Physio-Psychic Power’ and we just had him last week as a great guest on The Mothership Connection radio show. His website is

   People like Jim Straw and Dan Kennedy and so many others are who I am going to be studying and modeling for the rest of my life. I’ve always been interested in the creative aspect of life, but these people are totally creative. They think about business and money and marketing and I have chosen to avoid most of those subjects or when I have tried I have been an unbelievable failure.

   I mentioned this to Jim Straw on the radio, and he assured me I wasn’t the only one, and indeed some of the biggest successes ever have flopped countless times. He swore it’s not some mystery or natural gift, but you sure could have fooled me. I feel lost around business things, but I’ve put it in my head that I’m going to improve myself and be the best that I can be. That’s all I can do.

   I will never be Donald Trump or Jim Straw or anyone else but me. I’ve been able to survive for decades as a comedian, and that’s no easy undertaking in itself. That’s a business, and although I made a ton of mistakes I’ve still hung in there and that gives me at least a tiny ray of hope for the future. I have to believe that surrounding myself with quality mentors will improve my game too.

   It will also help make me a better teacher. I see comedy students come to me all the time and it takes about ten seconds to tell if they have any desire or not. That’s a key ingredient, and I never had it before as far as business goes. Times are changing, and so am I. I really need to improve.

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Stu Sutcliffe Syndrome

Sunday August 12th, 2012 – Kenosha, WI

    Joy and pain. Sunshine and rain. Yin and yang. Life is filled with polarity whether we like it or not. It’s easy to like the ups, but the downs can be a deal breaker. I’m experiencing this first hand with the Mothership Connection radio show on AM 1050 WLIP in Kenosha, WI and it’s not fun.

   The fun part is the radio show itself. Who wouldn’t enjoy having a radio show that is centered around one’s most favorite topics of discussion? Not only that, there’s creative freedom allowed and within reason that host can discuss virtually any topic at all? That’s rare as to the radio norm.

   We’ve had some very solid shows, even though we’re on a small radio station with a mediocre signal that barely reaches the city limits of Kenosha. It does stream online, and we’ve developed a loyal fan base all over North America and beyond. From where we started, we’re doing great.

   But if we’re ever going to take it to a real level of success, a few changes needed to be made in order to have even a remote chance for that to happen. Fun is fun and nice is nice, but those don’t cut it as far as the real world is concerned. To play with the big boys, we have to raise our game.

   Part of that includes having a functioning website that archives our past shows and offers some additional content like blogs or interviews or whatever else is available on bigger show’s sites. It doesn’t matter if nobody is getting paid just yet, we have to appear bigger so we can get bigger.

   Another part is the content of the show on every level. We need to have consistently interesting and diverse guests from a number of areas of the paranormal. The hosts are also a key ingredient. There’s a chemistry involved like a band or theatre ensemble, and all of the parts need to blend.

   I’ve known one of the parts hasn’t been blending for a while, but I didn’t want to address it out of respect for feelings. I don’t want to crush anyone’s dream, especially on a show where there’s no pay involved. This has been a passion project, and I made it clear to everyone from the start.

   Well, it’s time to either take the show to the next level and play with the big boys or put away a fun little toy that everyone loved for a few years. My choice was to attempt to take it higher and I have been asking the opinions of some of my highest radio contacts. The comments I received in return said the same thing I’d sensed on my own. There was one person who didn’t fit in the mix.

   I’m sure this was the same feeling the Beatles had when they had to move on from Pete Best or Stu Sutcliffe. They were on their own level, and the other guys weren’t. That didn’t mean Pete or Stu were bad people, or that they weren’t talented. It just meant they weren’t a fit with the group.

   That’s the same scenario here, and I had to tell that person it just wasn’t a fit if we’re intending on trying to make it work on a bigger stage and get paid. It was truly nothing personal, but that’s how it was taken unfortunately and I feel really bad. But the truth is it was exactly the move that needed to be made, and we’ve been soaring ever since. We’ve had rock solid shows since it took place, with more on the way. I wish life didn’t have to be so cruel, but it is. It sure kills the fun.

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dreams On Hold

Friday August 10th, 2012 – Cuba City, WI

   If I ever do manage to experience even the tiniest taste of success, one cliché I won’t use is that it was “beyond my wildest dreams.” I don’t think it’s possible. I’ve got some pretty wild dreams, but they were put on hold tonight in Cuba City, WI as I did a show at a place called ‘The Depot’.

   This wasn’t about fulfilling any dreams. This was about paying bills. Most of the entertainment business and life in general boils down to either paying dues or paying bills, and nobody can ever skip the first part. EVERYONE has to pay their dues - no exceptions. But then it’s reward time.

   I’ve been paying my dues and then some for decades now. It’s time for my payoff. What that is exactly I can’t say for sure, but I know I’ve got a lot of credit on my account. At some point, I’ve got to believe the slot machine of life will throw me some sevens and my jackpot will finally hit.

   It sure would be a cruel joke if it didn’t, but it could happen. There are no guarantees for any of us, and I don’t take anything for granted at any time, especially these times. I was grateful for the gig tonight, as it’s my last one on the books all month. I’ve been so busy working the last several weeks I haven’t had time to look for anything else. Again, it’s just too hard to keep track of it all.

   Someone could call with available work at any time, and my chances are more than decent. It’s been happening consistently for years and it’s not like I think I’m going to be shut out for the rest of my life - but I can’t count on it. Sometimes work flows, and sometimes it ebbs. This is an ebb.
   Tonight’s show was typical of literally thousands I’ve done over many years across the country in bar rooms that aren’t really equipped for fulfilling showbiz dreams. They’re not equipped for a lot of things other than keeping the red in the noses of drunks.

My dreams are not part of the mix in these scenarios. A bar owner wants to get more drinkers in his bar, and a booker plugs me in.
I need money, so I do it. Period. Simple formula. That scenario has been played out for decades if not centuries in comedy, music, stripping and prostitution. You name it. We’re the whores and they’re the pimps, but none of them are forcing us to do anything. We do it of our own free will.

   That’s what I did tonight. I knew this wasn’t going to be Carnegie Hall, and the guy who books it is also a comedian and knows the game. He books on the side and I’ve always had an excellent working relationship with him. This was a chance to make a few needed dollars and nothing else.

   The scheduled opening act’s car broke down, but my friend Russ Martin rode with me to get in a guest set. He’s still paying his dues, and needed the stage time. He didn’t expect to have to do a full set, but it was great experience for him to be thrown into the creek and have to sink or swim.

   He swam, but only for about fifteen minutes. I had to cover the rest of a show scheduled for 90 minutes, which I easily did. What wasn’t easy was shutting up the drunken woman sitting in the front row that would NOT shut up. I got through it, got paid, got out and got home. No emotion. I’ve played this game before, and have a thick skin because of it. Back to the wild dreams chase.

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Botched Business

Thursday August 9th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   For someone who is allegedly funny for a living, I sure do have some serious problems when it comes to the business end of things. I’m in big trouble, and a lot of it is my own fault. No matter who or what put me in this pickle, it’s completely up to me to find a way to get myself out of it.

   I won’t be able to do it myself, but it sure does start with me. I have to find somebody who has some pull in the comedy industry to take a liking to me, or at least realize that I have a product to sell that can make them money. I can hold my own on a stage with the best of them, but I need to find more stages to work and bigger audiences to entertain. My show is there, my business is not.

   It’s SO hard to keep up with both sides of the game, but it’s absolutely crucial or someone ends up like me – toiling away in obscurity with a razor sharp product. Some people focus the bulk of their energy on the business side, but then their act suffers. They get seen, but they can’t deliver.

   I know I can deliver, and I’ve been proving it in front of small audiences in even smaller towns for my entire adult life. I’ve worked so hard trying to learn my craft and survive, I never polished up my business acumen. If anyone could use a quality manager, it’s me. But it might be too late.

   I recently submitted my Craig Ferguson video to a comedy festival that’s coming up some time in September. I don’t really enjoy festivals, but in theory that’s a place to be seen by some people with clout who are allegedly there to scout talent. I’m in need of a break, so I thought it would be wise to give it a shot. There’s a charge to watch the entry videos, but that’s how it is these days.

   I’m old school, and it irks me to no end to have to pay some faceless moron to reject me, but if I don’t I’ll never have a chance to show what I can do. It’s like buying a lottery ticket, and that’s the way most festivals do it these days. I sucked it up, paid my fee and sent them my submission.

   Today I got an email telling me I wasn’t accepted, and it came with critique from the “judges”. They noted that I was “polished but not unique” and “did standard old guy humor”. Well there’s a Tony Robbins self esteem builder at 9am. Some twenty something nobodies told me I was old.

   I guess I am old, especially for an undiscovered entity. I’ve been doing it so long I would think I’d have caught some kind of  break by now, but it just hasn’t happened. Part of the reason is my lack of pursuing it. As much as anyone thinks, it doesn’t just come knocking. One has to chase it, and chase it with all one’s might - and there’s a long line of others chasing the exact same thing.

   I don’t enjoy that chase, and never have. I highly doubt many actually like it, but with some it’s a consuming obsession. They have a need to get famous that’s beyond my comprehension. I love being on stage, but the game never mattered to me. That’s where I’ve really screwed the pooch.

   One rejection does not take me out of the running, but it sure was an ugly wake up call. I’ll get a lot more of those before I’m done, and I’ll need to have rhinoceros thick skin or quit and drive a turnip truck. Those are my choices. For now, I’ll keep trying. Truck driving doesn’t sound fun.

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

The 'D' Word

Wednesday August 8th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   I’m tiptoeing through treacherous tulips these days. Each and every choice I make is crucial to the big picture, and there are no clear cut answers.  Part of being a one man band is keeping it all together and moving forward, but therein lies the problem. One misstep can stop a whole parade.

   I shouldn’t have taken the two days off to go to Green Bay this week. It was fun to hang with a friend, but it came at exactly the wrong time. These are prime productive days to work on all my unfinished projects, and nothing got done as I left everything to sit yet again. I’m disappointed.

   If I had to choose one word to sum up my entire life, I think that would be it – disappointment. I have this gigantic idea factory in my brain box full of grandiose dreams and ideas, but what I’m actually able to accomplish is not even close to what I picture in my head and that takes the wind out of my sail. It’s difficult to balance all those ideas, then my time gets scattered and it all stops.

   When it stops, I tend to get depressed and take it even further off course. That’s the path I’m on now, and it’s an all too familiar one. Without a system in place of others who share similar ideals it all comes to a screeching halt, and that brings major disappointment. My self esteem is a mess.

   I’ve been here before, and I’m here again. What will allow me to avoid having to return? I will surely cycle through again if I don’t make some kind of major change, but what? There’s nobody to tell me what to do, but I’m the one who asked for that. I wanted creative freedom, and I got it.

   Maybe it’s a little too much freedom. Obviously, I’ve not been able to achieve what I thought I wanted so the failure and blame has to lie directly within me. That’s where success lives also, but it’s up to me to draw it out. That’s the real trick - one I sure am having a hell of a time learning.

   A big part of it seems to be a lack of discipline. I let things distract me, and it takes me way off course – and the course wasn’t all that well defined in the first place. If some radio fill in work is available, I take that. If comedy gigs come my way, that’s where I go. I teach classes when I can, but there’s nothing in stone there either. I go with the flow, and that’s just not scratching my itch.

   What really set me off today was looking around at the people I share this planet with. It scares me quite frankly. The masses really are asses, and I see how politicians can shear us like sheep. I don’t think I’m better than anyone, but at least I have some kind of vision. Most people are lost.

   I looked around in Green Bay at the Packers practice, and most of the people I saw were totally clueless. Myself included, we all should have been out doing something productive and working to better our own lives. Football is entertainment, and there’s way too much emphasis put on it.

   Even scarier was walking through the Wisconsin State Fair. It was a sea of human waste in my opinion, with most of those people going absolutely nowhere. The overwhelming majority were fat, drunk, pierced and tattooed with no hopes and dreams in their eye. I don’t want to be around people like that, but they’re everywhere. That disappoints me even more. Why should I even try?

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