Saturday December 8th, 2012 – Milwaukee, WI
Anytime I get to perform in a first class venue like the Northern Lights Theatre at Potawatomi Casino, I’m in a good mood. No, it’s better than that. I’m ecstatic! I live for places like this, and it fulfills my mental picture of what being in show business is about. This is how it should be.
It’s even better that it happens to be in my home town, and I finally got what I always wanted when I started in comedy – respect. Every performer wants to be recognized in their home town, but ironically that’s the place it’s usually the most difficult to get it. I know all kinds of comedian friends who tell me stories of how they don’t work in their home town due to festering conflicts.
Boy, can I relate to that unfortunately. I’ve had more than my share of unpleasant dealings with slithering serpents and unscrupulous imbeciles over the years, and I thought it would never end. I don’t suffer bullies well and never have, and all too often that’s the type that runs comedy clubs.
They know comedians are hungry to get stage time, and are willing to do just about anything to get it. It’s like crack to an addict, and the club owners know it. They don’t have talent themselves other than being able to sell drinks, and we’re the attraction that brings people in to order them.
Of course there are exceptions, and not all comedy club owners are Satan’s henchmen – but the majority of those I’ve dealt with in Milwaukee over the years are frighteningly close. For reasons I still have never figured out, it’s just never been a town that nurtures the growth of comedians or entertainers of any genre. I hear the same complaint from musicians, singers and most all others.
It saddens me to know my home town doesn’t have a respectable ‘scene’, but that’s just how it is and always has been. Cities like Minneapolis and Boston and San Francisco are comedy towns but Milwaukee just isn’t. That’s why it means so much to perform at such a stellar venue locally.
The sound and lights are fantastic, and there’s a gigantic stage for me to roam around like I like to do. The working conditions are absolutely perfect, and after having to deal with more than my share of squeaky microphones and ‘lighting systems’ that were nothing more than a 40 watt bulb over the years it’s absolute heaven to walk into a situation that has it figured out from the get go.
The people I deal with are also top shelf all the way. The stage manager Steve makes everyone feel at home, and whenever I walk into the dressing room I feel like I’ve arrived. There’s always a refrigerator full of ice cold drinks, and we get a delicious meal either before or after our shows.
If nobody else appreciates these perks, I certainly do. It’s taken a lifetime to earn them, and I’m grateful every time I get to walk out on that stage. Tonight I had two very fun shows, and I had a line of people after each one telling me how much they enjoyed it. Some of them I’ve known for years, but there were also strangers who said they’d heard my name and wanted to see my show.
I totally feel at home working this stage, and I’d love to do my ‘Schlitz Happened!’ Milwaukee themed show here at some point. It would be the ideal location, and I’m ready to try it in 2013.