Saturday November 10th, 2012 – Ottumwa, IA
The vision of what I always pictured being a comedian to be like is getting closer and closer to becoming reality, and I couldn’t be more delighted. It’s not every night unfortunately, and it took a whole lot longer to achieve it than I ever thought – but it is happening and that’s all that counts.
Tonight was as close to perfect as it gets, and I loved every second of it. Jim McHugh booked a Chicago Comedy All Stars show in Ottumwa, IA at a gorgeous venue called Bridge View Center through a contact he’s known for years named Larry Gawronski and it was a big time home run.
Larry is Executive Director of the venue, and is about as on the ball as anyone I have ever met when it comes to putting an event together. He and Jim have worked together for years as Larry has moved around the country in his career, and fate happened to relocate him to Ottumwa, IA.
His last stop was Vicksburg, MS and I got to be on a show with Jim there years ago. I had a lot of fun then, but it didn’t come close to tonight. This one rocked on every level, and it was all due to the hard work and vision of Larry and Jim. They put their heads together and made it happen.
All I had to do was show up and be funny – which is all I ever wanted to do in the first place. It all worked according to plan, and everyone was in a great mood. The venue is brand new and it’s absolutely spectacular. The sound and lights were world class, but more importantly it was full.
Larry and Jim worked for months to make this happen, and there were local sponsors involved as well. Without all of their hard work, the event couldn’t have happened and I knew that as soon as I walked in the door. There were banners with our pictures on it throughout the venue, and our names and pictures were on a marquee outside of the venue. It felt like I was finally in showbiz.
Besides Jim and me on the show, Tim Walkoe and Patti Vasquez rounded out the lineup. It was like a night off, as we all were asked to do was a total of about 25 minutes each. That makes for a lot of creative freedom to be able to go with only the very best material, and that’s what we did.
The audience was really into it, and we all fed off of their energy. I could tell it was going to be a killer show about thirty seconds into it, and when that happens it’s pure electricity. We all have a lot of experience, and that makes it even easier. We’d all worked with each other before, and at the end of the show we were all on stage together like The Rat Pack to close it out with a bang.
After the show, Larry invited us over to his house where his wife put out an amazing spread of food that blew us all away. The sponsors and some local VIPs were there, and they couldn’t have been nicer. They all said how much they enjoyed the show, and it was just first class all the way.
Larry put us in the Americinn Ottumwa, the nicest hotel in town. They treated us like stars too, and everything about this event was stellar. This is how I always pictured it, and just because it’s in Ottumwa rather than Las Vegas doesn’t take a thing away from it. Fun is fun, and this was one of the most fun shows I’ve ever been a part of. Larry and Jim put together a night I won’t forget.