Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Tuesday October 30th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   Hurricane Sandy drives home the unflinching point yet again just how unpredictable life is and how nothing is guaranteed to any of us. Who would have thought a hurricane of all things would cripple New York City and leave millions of people without electricity throughout several states?

   On one hand it’s a total shocker, but on the other I’m surprised stuff like this doesn’t happen on a much more consistent basis. As much as we might not want to admit it as a species Earth is still a wild planet and we aren’t in control as much as we think we are. Mother Nature isn’t our bitch.

   We as humans are basically a few billion fleas on the fanny of a celestial dog, and just a couple of well placed shakes can remove us from the equation in a hurry. We aren’t in the position to be cocky and think we actually call the shots, but we totally are. I doubt if this will change anything.

   Watching television coverage of it all was very surreal – especially since I was able to look out my window and see calm weather and sunshine. I had power, food to eat and life was transpiring as I’ve grown to expect it. It was hard to believe millions of others had their lives in total chaos.

   It didn’t hit home as hard as it probably should have, and I’m grateful it didn’t. If it did, I’d not have been able to watch it on television because my power would be out and I’d be trying to find a way to deal with the situation first hand. It was much better watching it unfold from a distance.

   We of the modern age really are spoiled beyond belief. I don’t think we come close to having a real idea of how lucky we truly are to have the access to the convenience and technology that we do. We take it for granted and assume it’s our basic right, and I’m as guilty or more as anybody.

   This planet has been around a lot longer than us, and will be here a long time after we’ve been evicted for treating it like a rental car. Events of true awesomeness like this serve to remind us in no uncertain terms exactly who’s in charge, and it isn’t us. We’re just along for a temporary ride.

   I heard that only twenty people lost their lives as a direct result of the storm, and that’s nothing less than miraculous. One would think thousands would be vaporized in something so enormous, and in the past that may have been the case. Fortunately, technology has helped make life easier.

   Still, the damage appears to be devastating and it will take years to rebuild what was destroyed in less than a day. It reminded me of the ant hills I kicked over as a kid. Those ants worked really hard to get it how they wanted, and here I come with no concern whatsoever and wipe it all out.

   This is kind of what happened on a much larger scale, and I was sorry for the ants that I messed with all those years ago. This is a mean planet in what probably is a mean universe, and I for one am much more grateful now than I’ve ever been for the things I do have. Nothing is owed to us.

   My heart really goes out to the millions who are without the cushy creature comforts that most of us have grown accustomed to. I’m not laughing, because I know I could be next on the docket at any time. We all could. That sure keeps everything in perspective - and a frightening one it is.

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

The Right Place

Monday October 29th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   I’m in a very positive mindset these days, and I’m loving every minute of it. That doesn’t mean I won’t slide back into the doldrums of a deep dark funk at some point, but for now I’m on top of a big wave and hanging ten. I realize that waves crash and wipe outs can be painful, but that’s not my point of focus right now. I am enjoying this ride and hope to make it last as long as possible.

   I’ve been through so much in life that it would be difficult to spook me at this point. If I got the word tomorrow I was terminally ill, I wouldn’t be upset. If we’re truly put here to learn, I’ve sure done that and then some. I may not have had success in other ways, but I’ve earned a PhD in life.

   I have come SO far from where I started it’s hard to believe I did it in one lifetime. There were all kinds of rough patches and pot holes on the road, but I’m still on it and I finally feel I have an idea of how to navigate my way to where I want to go. It’s taken too long, but I’m on my way.

   On the other hand, the more I learn the more I realize how insignificant I am and how little of a scope my life really has. How many people have I been able to touch in a positive way? Who can say? However many it is, it doesn’t seem like enough. I feel like I haven’t done a whole lot and it both frustrates me and keeps me humble. Will I ever get my moment in the sun? I surely hope so.

   If I do, I’d like to think I’m really ready for it. I would hope to be looked at as one of the nicest and most giving people anywhere, and set the standard for the term ‘class act’. That’s exactly the way I’ve always tried to live, but I haven’t always been in the correct mindset. I’ve really grown.

   Now I’m in the home stretch, and I’m either going to experience the sweetest of victories or an excruciatingly bitter defeat. I feel like I’ve already experienced enough bitter defeats for a dozen lifetimes, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen again. I can do what I can do, and that’s about it.

   The rest boils down to luck, and that’s what really scares me. Mine has been consistently rotten to the point of laughable so far, but again there’s no guarantee it has to stay that way. If I’ve been able to have such unbelievable consistency one way, there has to be a way to reverse the magnet.

   I’ve been a student of successful people for many years, and early failures are part of every one of their lives. If that’s the requirement, I have a big home run coming at some point and I want to make the most of it when it happens. The things I’m doing now are preparing me for that victory.

   I really do think it’s all a mindset, and I’m in the exact one I need to be in right now. This is the way life should be, and I feel bulletproof even though I know I know I’m not. It’s the opposite of how I’ve felt when I’ve been in a funk when I felt like putting a bullet in my skull. This is better.

   That John Mellencamp song ‘Your Life Is Now’ is becoming my personal theme song, and I’m trying to make every single day count. I’ve blown all kinds of opportunities, but that’s in the past and gone. New ones will come, and I want to be ready when they do. If I can keep myself where I am, I like my chances to win. I’ve been all over the place to say the least. This place is the best.

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

Does Fun Count?

Sunday October 28th, 2012 – Burlington, WI/Kenosha, WI

   Does it matter in the big scheme of life that I am having an absolute blast and doing practically all the things I really enjoy? Unfortunately not in the least - but it sure does to me. I might not be rich or famous on a national or worldwide scale, but I’m squeaking by and I’m known enough to be able to keep doing the things I want to do. It might not be perfect, but I am living my dreams.

   I really don’t think it would take all that much to put me into a very good place that would last the rest of my life. My needs and wants are laughingly few, and I’m old enough now ‘the rest of my life’ isn’t all that intimidating. If I had to put away money to live comfortably ‘for the rest of my life’ it wouldn’t put a dent in what most rappers probably spend on jewelry and dental gold.

   A modest living arrangement that meets my simple needs and a reliable car are pretty much all I’d want, and that’s all I want now. I’ve never had extravagant tastes, and if I ever do hit that big money pay dirt windfall I’ve always been waiting for I’d probably end up giving most of it away.

   I truly think that would be much more fun than spending it on myself. I’d love to be able to get up every morning and look for ways to make people’s lives better. I try to do that now, but it can get a little distracting having to constantly worry about if I’ll have enough to pay bills this week.

   Today I didn’t worry about anything other than having fun doing what I enjoy. I took a ride up to the Sci Fi CafĂ© in Burlington, WI to attend the final day of the Burlington Vortex Conference, and it was worth my trip and then some. I got to take in some fascinating speakers including Don Schmitt who has been a friend for years. He’s an authority on the Roswell UFO crash from 1947.

   Don is living his dream, and his book ‘Witness to Roswell’ is one of my favorites. There was a movie made based on it and another one is close to being finalized for production in 2013 which is very exciting. I always love hearing Don speak, and it’s even more fun knowing he’s a friend.

   The final speaker of the weekend was a fascinating lady named Bonnie Meyer. She blew us all away with her presentation, and had some video clips of people’s UFO encounters. Bonnie is one of the most credible people I could imagine, and that’s what makes her story even more amazing.

   She claims to have been visited by aliens thirty years ago, and they still come to see her once in a while. I know it sounds crazy and I can’t prove it’s real, but she sure does tell her story without flinching. She was one of the best guests we’ve ever had on the air, and she was even better live.

   I’ve got her two books ‘Alien Contact’ and ‘Unholy Alliance’, and I recommend you check the both of them out. You don’t have to believe, but I guarantee it will get your brain spinning. I love everything about topics like this, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. It’s outstanding entertainment.

   That carried over to The Mothership Connection radio show on AM 1050 WLIP.  We had been talking about doing a Ouija board demonstration for years, and tonight was the night. It made for a riveting radio bit, and all I could think of was how much fun I’m having with all I’ve got going.

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

Monday, October 29, 2012

Kings For A Night

Saturday October 27th, 2012 – Fond Du Lac, WI

   Some nights it feels like I’m almost there. This was one of them. I don’t know why every night can’t be like this, but it isn’t. That’s what makes this whole game so difficult. I can’t think of any other profession where the circumstances are so consistently different from one night to the next.

   I’d much prefer a bit more stability, but nobody ever said that would be part of the deal. We are all trying to scrape together a living any way we can, and it’s getting tougher and tougher to do it with any kind of regularity. We need to take work when and where it comes, and that’s how it is.

   More and more comedians have to be entrepreneurial and book our own shows. Whatever kind of ‘circuit’ there may have been at one time is now a hollow shell of what it was. Booking agents that used to have several quality weeks of work to offer are down to a few scattered random gigs.

   Survival as an entertainer requires a lot more hustle these days than ever - and it required hustle before. There may have been more work and less competition in the past, but it still took work to rise above the pack that existed then. Now, there are a lot more people fighting hard for scraps.

   Jimmy McHugh is doing the right thing by seeking out fundraisers for his Chicago Comedy All Stars group. He’s got a deep rich pool of experienced talent to choose from and he knows how to put together quality shows. I don’t ever remember there being a bad show whenever I’ve worked with him, and tonight was no exception. This audience got their money’s worth and then some.

   Jimmy, James Wesley Jackson and I were in Fond Du Lac, WI tonight doing a fundraiser for a great cause called ‘Hallow-Ian’. Ian Lock is a high school kid in town who survived cancer a few years ago and is doing very well now. The fundraiser started with him, but was passed forward to others who need it and this is the third year. Any time I can be part of this kind of event I’ll do it.

   The hosts of the show were Marty Schibbelhut from B 104.7 and an old comedy friend named Michael ‘Silk’ Casper who works at ‘The Great 98’ WMDC. Michael is a long time comedian of very high caliber, and worked the road for years. Like me, he dabbled in both radio and comedy but he had a family to raise and opted for ‘stability’. I don’t fault anyone for ever choosing that.

   He was always very funny, and it was great to share the stage once again after many years. We were treated like rock stars, and couldn’t appreciate it more. Jimmy knows what he’s doing when he sets up these shows, and Michael came through because he’s been a comedian his whole life.

   The show itself was a stone cold killer and then some. Jimmy and James are both easy to work with, and we’ve always gotten along very well on stage and off. James is one of the nicest human beings walking the planet, and he always has a calming effect on everyone. It was a super night.

   The only thing wrong is that we don’t have a couple of these every week. If we did, life would be a whole lot easier. Next week it’s back to pounding the turf for work, and I for one don’t have any. I can’t say I’m thrilled about it, but that’s in the future. For tonight we were all rock stars.

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

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Friday October 26th, 2012 – Milwaukee, WI/Burlington, WI

   Again with the crazy schedule. It doesn’t let up. I drove up to Milwaukee today to run a couple of errands which turned out to be more than a couple and take up most of the day. I tried to make the most of my time and get everything out of the way, but by the end of the day I was worn out.

   The first stop was breakfast with my cousin Wendy, which turned out to be a family reunion as her husband Dan, daughter Katie and her husband Doug and their daughter Sofia joined us. I had some miscellaneous donations for the Josh Albert fundraiser to pass along that have been coming in after the fact, and mailing all of it would have been both expensive and a huge pain in the ass.

   All of them were still glowing about the event, and that makes me feel like I spread some good and my time and efforts were worth it. I suggested we go over and bring Officer Albert a meal or something and visit for a little while and they thought it was a fantastic idea. I know how isolated it can feel in a long recovery period, as I went through it myself. A visitor can make a difference.

   Spreading vibes of healing and kindness is all I want to do whenever I can do it with the rest of my life. That’s all that matters, and situations like this show me how much it’s needed. There are a lot of people who can use some positive energy, and I want to be around it as much as possible.

   After breakfast it was off to meet my friend Lynn Miner – another kind soul. Lynn was right in the front row at the benefit, and was on the same page when he suggested we go visit sick people and bring some entertainment. Lynn does comedy magic, and is working on close up tricks to do in situations where people can’t get out of bed. I think that’s great, and I told him I’d play along.

   I don’t know any magic tricks, but maybe I could tell a few funny stories of my own bouts with hospitals or recovery. Almost losing my testicles to gangrene last year is a hell of a story, and for males anyway it’s a great way to put their own injuries into perspective. That’s as ugly as it gets.

   After that it was out to Pewaukee to meet with the event coordinators of an event I’m doing for the American Diabetes Association on November 2nd in Milwaukee. It’s their big annual event to raise funds and they’re having a big auction. I volunteered to pitch in and they took me up on it.

   The people in charge were all nice, and I got the feel they knew what they were doing so that’s always a big plus. I’ve seen all kinds of events flop because idiots were at the helm but it doesn’t appear to be the case here and that makes me feel like it won’t be a waste of time. I hope it raises a lot of money for the cause, and from what I saw today they have some exciting things planned.

   After that it was a meeting with my friend Gary Pansch. Gary is a cartoonist and I want to hire him to do some work to punch up my comedy class worksheets. I want to put them into an ebook at some point as well as a physical work book, and I think it could use some cartoons for flavor.

   Gary wanted to check out the Burlington Vortex Conference, so we headed over there to watch some speakers. It’s going all weekend, so check it out if you can.  

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

Friday, October 26, 2012

Tour De Farce

Thursday October 25th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   It sure would be nice if life would get easier and less complicated as time goes on, but that isn’t about to happen any time soon. I always seem to be working my way through a constant series of complicated situations that are like having to solve some giant puzzle. It can be very distracting.

   One of the many hats a comedian wears is that of schedule arranger. I never enjoyed doing that and I still don’t, even though it’s a high priority. Without work, there is no income. Having to put a schedule together takes time away from actually being funny, and I find it an unpleasant chore.

   Most people not in the business assume there is a ‘circuit’ we work, and our schedules are laid out in some sort of logical order. Oh, how I wish that were true. The truth is, it’s a giant game of musical chairs, and everyone has to scramble for work however and wherever they can find any.

   It would be a breeze if there could be a way to guarantee one night or week in one town and the next in a town that’s not far away. I’d love to do a Milwaukee, Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati Columbus, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Toledo, Detroit, Grand Rapids run just once. I’d be in heaven.

   Instead, I’ve had to do insane mish mash runs like Salt Lake City, Charlotte, Reno, off a week, Duluth and then back to Salt Lake City. I go where the work is, and rarely does it get handed out in convenient and orderly servings. It’s a constant battle to get to wherever there is an opening.

   I’ve got a potentially complicated situation brewing for New Year’s Eve week. That’s the best paying week of the year as a rule, and depending on when the actual date is it can be a good way to start the year with a few bucks in the pocket. This year it happens to fall on Monday and that’s tricky as it can make getting a booking the week before a bit harder. New Year’s Eve is the key.

   Well, I might have a booking in Reno December 26-30. That’s great, and I have a lot of friends there but the gig doesn’t include New Year’s Eve for whatever reason. Maybe they booked some big name, or maybe they’re not even doing comedy. Whatever the case, I am not booked for it.

   That’s where the problem starts. I don’t have a New Year’s Eve gig yet, and often they can get booked on short notice. If I had something, I could arrange my schedule so that I’d be able to fly from Reno on New Year’s Eve day and be wherever I needed to be so I could score the payday.

   As of now, I don’t have any of it in stone and I could really end up in a pickle. If I get the Reno gig, I’ll have to buy a plane ticket ASAP to avoid getting bent as much as possible. But if I’d get a New Year’s Eve gig at the last minute that’s far from Chicago that could end up being a hassle.

   If it were any other week, I’d go to Reno and have fun. The one week of the year when it could mean a big payday it has to work out this way and make me have to stress about how it will wind up turning out. I could catch a break, or I could totally take it in the shorts. I’ll see how it ends up and at this point the Reno gig still isn’t in stone. Having to still be dealing with this kind of house of cards so far into the game is not what I wanted to be doing, but that’s how the game is played.

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

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Knuckling Down

Wednesday October 24th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   Another day of hard work, and I feel like I’m on the right track. I made a point to get organized for next year’s tax return so I don’t have to go through the torture I’m going through now. I don’t ever want this to be a problem again, and even though I’ve said it before this time feels different.

   All of my receipts to date are not only in one place, they’re in order separated into individually marked envelopes. My friend Todd Hunt is a business speaker who bills himself as a ‘recovering anal retentive’. I think I’m getting onset type 2 anal retentiveness, but I’m not going to complain.

   Getting this part of my life straightened out will help free my mind up for more creative things. I’ve still got a ton of ideas rolling around in my head like lotto balls, and I know in my heart one of them will have the winning combination. Before I die I’d like to experience at least ONE hit.

   In a perfect world it would be great to have a string of them. Everything I’m doing is great fun, but I have to believe it would be more fun if it were making a profit. One healthy run of comedy work for six months would change my life around completely. It’s not like I can’t handle the job.

   Working in nice venues for decent money on ONE tour would make my life dramatically better in a hurry. 100 cities with say 1000 people at $20 a head would be what, $2 million? I’d think I’d have to sell some merchandise too, so conservatively that would be another cool million. I’m in!

  And those are conservative numbers. I look at guys like Louis CK or Jim Gaffigan and wonder how they did it. I don’t begrudge those guys in the least, but they’re of my generation of comics and I know I could do very well with their fans. How do I cultivate my own group of loyal fans?

   It’s not a matter of talent or ability. I can do the job on stage, it’s off stage that I stink out loud. I need help with my business, and I’m not too proud to admit it. Who could put me in front of an audience that would like Louis CK or Jim Gaffigan or Brian Regan or any one of a group of guys that is doing what I want to do? I don’t have a clue how to do that, but I’m sure going to find out.

   I want to work in Las Vegas and Reno and Atlantic City. Why am I not doing that? I should’ve been a regular in all those places years ago. Mr. Lucky is a perfect persona for casino gigs, and if I could get a few steady gigs in those places it would help immensely. I’d pay my debt in a jiffy.

   Cruise ships are another possibility. I’d go back out in a second, and a few months at sea would turn my whole world around for the better. There’s a new booker at Carnival Cruise Lines, and if I can catch a break and connect with her I know I’d prove myself all over again. I’d be a lot more prepared than I was the last time when I had no idea what to expect. This time I’d be a lot better.

   These are my prime years, and they’re fading quickly. If I’m going to make my mark in a good way it’s going to be in the next little while or it won’t happen at all. Lighting this fire under me is the best thing that could have happened, and I’m not going to let the opportunity pass without an all out effort on my part. I’ve come this far, why stop chasing dreams? I want to WIN this game!

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

Battle Stations

Tuesday October 23rd, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   Battle stations, everyone. Oh, wait a minute - it’s just me. I’m backed against a wall and I can’t count on anyone but myself to slug my way out. I’d love to get a helping hand from someone but it’s still hard for me to trust. I’ve been scorched so many times in life, I can’t help being a cynic.

   This has to be the time to develop a new approach and a better attitude. I’ve been stuck in mud too many times to count, and it’s not like this is the worst I’ve ever had it. Yes, I owe a chunk of coin to the IRS but I’m surely not the first person to be in this position. It’s how I choose to deal with it that counts, and I’m choosing to take the high road and handle it with class and dignity.

   If nothing else, it will get me to break my current pattern of behavior which hasn’t been giving me the results I really want. I’ve been barely squeaking by, which is not what I think life should be about. I want to surf the big waves, at least for a little while to experience what that feels like.

   It really does boil down to a matter of money, and this is the perfect opportunity to improve my life dramatically. I am uneducated and inexperienced when it comes to money matters, and that’s totally my fault. It’s been a constant source of pain and misery, but that has to change in a hurry.

   I have made up my mind to not only pay what I owe to the IRS, but completely transform how I handle my finances from now on. I’ve had enough of how I’ve mangled it for so long, and I am frustrated to the point of taking immediate action to insure it doesn’t happen again. I’m not going to sit back and feel sorry for myself, even though sometimes that seems like the easy alternative.

   Today I circled my wagons and tried to come up with my smartest plan of action. I’ve got a lot of possibilities, but I can’t be farting around with long shots right now. No more Ralph Kramden or Lucy get rich quick schemes for me – at least not for the next little while. It’s time to bet safe.

   I wouldn’t be above getting some kind of a ‘stable’ job for the next year or so, but just doing it to do it will be a guarantee of pure misery. I don’t mind working, I just want to do something I’ll be able to enjoy. A lot of people don’t have that luxury, but I’ve been able to do it for a lifetime.

   No matter how many times I get screwed over in entertainment, I still love doing the actual job. Being on stage as a comedian or on the radio or teaching classes are all great fun when it’s going well – which after all these years is more often than not. If I have trouble, it’s with management.

   Comedy bookers and radio management can be absolutely maddening to deal with, and I often say what’s on my mind and get myself in trouble. Still, there are others that think I’m one of the easiest people to work with anywhere. Those are the ones I’m going to gravitate to from now on.

   I made a list of my best contacts, and I’m going to rattle their cages and let them know I could use some quality work right about now. I’ll do comedy clubs, cruise ships, corporate work, teach classes, do holiday parties or whatever else I can go make some money and rebuild the nest egg I had to fritter away last year when I was laid up. I’m going to find a way to come back and win.

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Hammer Drops

Monday October 22nd, 2012 – Mt. Prospect, IL

   It’s hammer time, but not in the rapper kind of way. When the hammer drops in my world, it’s usually of the sledge variety and the location it drops is the base of my skull – numerous times. I am experiencing one of my legendary ‘Mr. Lucky’ streaks, and it’s not pleasant. I’m used to it.

   First, I got a ticket on the way home from my radio show in Kenosha, WI for allegedly running a stop sign on a country road. I don’t think I did, but it’s my word against the officer’s. Doesn’t it make a difference that I just put together a huge benefit for an injured officer in Milwaukee? No.

   This wasn’t Milwaukee, and I could tell the guy had a major bug up his ass when he got out of his patrol car. I felt it immediately. It was 1am, and apparently he had nothing better to do. I shut my mouth and took my ticket. Arguing at 1am with a pissed off cop isn’t my idea of a fun time.

   This morning I had an appointment with my tax accountant who finished the returns I had been late on filing. It turns out I’m going to owe about six grand. Yikes. That totally rocked my world, but what can I do? I made some money on the cruise ships over parts of both years, and although I put some away for tax purposes I had to end up living on it as I recovered from my health mess.

   I couldn’t work for several months in 2011, and had to use that money for dumb stuff like food and rent and other frivolities. That’s how it is, and it caught me at the worst possible time. I have to pay what I owe, but I don’t have the first nickel right now. I’m going to have to make a plan.

   Nobody cares that I had some rough times, and the government wants their money. It will be a mammoth challenge to get it paid, but I have a choice in how I’m going to handle it. I could bitch about my unfortunate situation and be angry at the world, or use this as an opportunity to grow.

   I’m going to choose the latter, and find a way to get it done. It will cause me to pay a whole lot more attention to my finances, so I guess that’s a good thing. Money has never been a priority in my life, but it’s going to have to be at least until I get this paid off. I’ll have to use my creativity.

   Actually, this couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m in a pretty good place in my head these days, especially after doing the fundraiser show for Officer Albert in Milwaukee. It puts life into a much better perspective, and I realize I don’t really have any problems. Would I prefer to be in his situation or my own? I’d have to say mine is better, and I’ll take my lumps and shut my yap.

   Nobody had any benefits for me when I was in the hospital, but that’s how it is. I could’ve lost my genitals, and I think about that every single day when I wake up. I can walk, I can think, I’ve got a fantastic group of friends and I have the ability to make people laugh. The rest is up to me.

   For the next little while, I’m going to have to make decisions differently than I have in the past. Money is going to be more important, and like it or not I need to take responsibility and turn this situation around. I got myself into it, and I am the one who has to find a way to get out. I haven’t committed a crime, and I’ll fix this. Oh, and my ‘check engine’ light came on today. Lucky me.  

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

Disturbing Developments

Sunday October 21st, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   What is wrong with this planet? Yet another psychotic wackadoo flipped out and walked into a beauty salon in the Milwaukee area with a gun today and went on a shooting spree. He ended up killing his wife and two others who worked there, wounded a few more and then killed himself.

   This really disturbs me on so many levels I don’t know where to start. First off, why did it have to happen in the Milwaukee area? They just had another horrible killing spree at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek a few months back, and that was painful enough for the city to have to go through.

   Whether I live there or not, Milwaukee will always be my home town and nobody wants to see their home town’s image tarnished with such ugliness. It’s bad enough we had to have the scar of Jeffrey Dahmer upon us as Milwaukeeans for twenty plus years. I still get that thrown in my face on the road constantly, and I can’t believe how fresh it is in people’s minds all these years later.

   That was an especially extreme case, and it got worldwide attention. For whatever reason, what he did and how he did it captured people in such a way it stuck with them forever. They knew his name immediately, and they know it now. He’ll be infamous for generations like Hitler or Lizzie Borden or Jack The Ripper, and that’s how it is. The victims are forgotten but the scum lives on.

   This particular case doesn’t appear to have that kind of media staying power, and that disturbs me in a different way. It’s not that I want a publicity campaign for the son of a bitch, but we as a nation have seen this kind of thing so often in the last twenty years it’s hard for it to have impact.

   We see it on TV constantly for a few days, and then it’s replaced by another horrific story that gets milked dry. It takes the humanity out of it all, especially with the victims and their families. I heard this maniac and his wife have a daughter, and that really bothered me. What about her?

   I wish I could find her and give her a hug and tell her it’s going to be alright – but it isn’t. How is she supposed to ‘just get over it’ and build a life? Nobody ever talks about those who have had to endure situations like this, and my heart totally aches for them. They’ve got big time baggage.

   What’s even worse are the innocent people who just happened to be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. How is anyone supposed to protect themselves from that? It’s just a matter of someone’s number coming up, and it could come up for any one of us at any time. That’s scary.

   What frustrates me most is that the lowlife pukes who pull these stunts always off themselves in the mix so they don’t have to face the consequences of their actions. If they want to blow their heads off, fine. I don’t have a problem with that, but why take out innocent people? It’s a waste.

   I couldn’t help but think about this all day today and it makes me sick to my stomach knowing I’ve tried to get known for making people laugh and I have to fight and scratch for any little bone of publicity I get but this kook bag flips out and gets on national television. This world is wacked and getting wackier by the day. My heart goes out to the innocent ones who were victims today.

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

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Swedish Day

Saturday October 20th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   Sometimes the funniest comedy happens naturally. I had a situation take place today I wouldn’t have thought of on my own in six lifetimes of writing jokes, and I’ll stash it safely in the archives for use in the future. I don’t know where I’ll use it or maybe I’ll give it away, but funny is funny.

   I was at a restaurant and couldn’t help overhearing two teenage bus boys discussing what today was on the calendar. Apparently one of them thought it was ‘Swedish Day’ instead of ‘Sweetest Day’, and wanted to know why Swedish people would have a day named after them. No kidding.

   They went on for several minutes, and the more they talked the funnier it got. It was something right out of an Abbott and Costello bit, and I could see a few other people pretending not to listen but they totally were. I didn’t hide it in the least, and openly gawked as they worked this all out.

   Sweetest Day is a manufactured holiday, but I’m fine with it. I’m a romantic at heart, and love an excuse to make a woman feel special. I live for it. Too bad I haven’t found that special one to share my life with on a long term basis. I’m losing hope, but I know I’m not alone. It’s a fantasy I’m not sure exists for the vast majority of humans – or at least those that I encounter regularly.

   Sure, there are people that stay together for a long time but are they happy? I realize life is one big roller coaster ride, but finding someone to hang in there for the whole thing is extremely rare. It would be great to have assurance that someone is ‘the one’, but there are never any guarantees.

   Looking back at my tumultuous life, I just wasn’t ready to be married although I probably had the chance a few times had I really wanted to pursue it. I’m SO glad I was smart enough to keep myself out of that mix, as surely I’d have a much more complex set of problems than I do now.

   Throw an ex wife, wives or children into the equation and life goes from simple addition to the most difficult kind of algebra. I always knew that, and was deathly afraid to take the giant plunge because I didn’t want to enter into something I was not ready for. I sure didn’t want to perpetuate the unhappiness and dysfunction of what I saw around me growing up, and I chose to go it alone.

   It wasn’t the easiest choice, but I know it was the correct one. It’s funny to me how often there have been rumors that I’m gay, but nothing could be further from the truth. If I were, I’d be able to dance and I’d dress a lot better. It doesn’t bother me if someone is gay, but it surely isn’t me.

   In fact, it’s just the opposite. I love being around women, and would love to hook up for a long term relationship with a sweetie but the chances are pretty slim. I’m pretty set in my ways at this point, and I can’t see myself giving up the creative freedom I have enjoyed for an entire lifetime.

   I’m a big time flake to say the least, and I totally admit it. It would take a special woman to put up with all my quirks, and I have serious doubts she exists. It looks like I’ll be flying solo the rest of this trip, even though I still enjoy dating women and will continue to keep as many around me as possible. Maybe I’ll eventually find that special honey and take her out next ‘Swedish Day’.

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

Friday, October 19, 2012

An All Star Friend

Thursday October 18th, 2012 – Rockford, IL/Schaumburg, IL

   In a perfect world, it would have been great to have the entire day off to sit around and veg out after the big event last night - but nobody ever said this world was perfect. I received a call to fill in on the afternoon show on WNTA in Rockford, IL and as I do more often than not, I said yes.

   A big reason I did is that I like the Operations Manager Jim Stone and everyone in the building at Maverick Media and would gladly help out anytime I can, but the main reason was to hang out on and off the air with Jim McHugh and celebrate his birthday a day early. I thought he’d like it.

   There is no harder worker than Jim McHugh. He’s a rock solid comic on stage, but he’s putting all kinds of shows together with a group he calls ‘The Chicago Comedy All Stars’. He’s thrown a lot of quality work my way of late, and I couldn’t be more grateful. He’s as loyal as they come.

   Jim and I go back probably twenty five years. We always got along, but we started really doing a lot of work together in the last several years as we were both in another group of comics called ‘Chicago Style Standups’. Like a band, there were some problems with one of the members (who still owes me $500 I will likely never see) and both of us eventually moved on to do other things.

   Jim started up this new entity and made a few modifications. He uses handpicked comedians to do a variety of mostly fundraiser shows in places that aren’t necessarily traditional venues. It can be a lot more difficult than going to established venues, but there’s a big market to be cultivated.

   It would be great if we were doing shows every week, but it’s just not that easy. He puts a huge amount of work into these events, and so far every one we’ve done has been a killer as far as the shows go. He knows what he’s doing, and it’s always a pleasure to be a part of one of his shows.

   I thought it was very important to take Jim out for a birthday meal to at least show him he’s not completely unappreciated. It’s difficult to always say thanks to people for their efforts, especially when things go like they should. It’s easy to assume that it will always be that way, when it isn’t.

   Jim is such a detail oriented person he spends WAY more time making sure the other acts have what they need before thinking of himself. He puts in a ton of hours nobody sees, and I know he is conscientious to a fault and would trust him in any situation – and I have big time trust issues.

   After last night’s overpowering emotional experience, I am totally sold on focusing my energy on spreading as much good will as I possibly can for the rest of my days. Letting Jim tag along to be on the radio meant nothing to anyone but him, but I know he had a great time so that’s enough for me. The memory we made will always remain, and that’s worth more to me than any money.

   We drove back from Rockford and ate dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse in Schaumburg, IL. It’s Jim’s favorite restaurant and I can see why. We had delicious filet mignons, and hung out talking about how much fun we’ve had over the years. It was worth every penny I spent, as the memory will last far longer than what I had to spend to get it. I think I’m finally starting to figure life out.

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

The Best Revenge!

October 17th, 2012 – Milwaukee, WI

   “The best revenge is massive success.” That’s one of my very favorite quotes of all time, and it comes from Frank Sinatra. If there was ever anyone who got his revenge, it was him. Who else is even close when it comes to showbiz legends? Elvis? Michael Jackson? Okay, but that’s about it.

   By all accounts, the Josh Albert fundraiser at Shank Hall in Milwaukee this evening turned out to be a massive success on many levels. I couldn’t be more thrilled and honored to be a part of it, and I was proud beyond words of everyone who came together to pull off such a fantastic event.

   There was definite electricity in that room I don’t think I’ve ever felt before, and when Officer Albert entered the room in his wheelchair it was like the Pope showed up. A hush throughout the club was immediate as cameras from every television station in town captured a magic moment.

   It was very emotional, and I knew right then we didn’t even have to do a show for this to be an overwhelming home run. This alone would have been enough, but there was a lot more positivity in store for everyone as Mayor Tom Barrett and Chief of Police Edward Flynn presented Officer Albert with a mayoral proclamation declaring it ‘Joshua Albert Day’ in the city of Milwaukee.

   The audience gave Officer Albert a well deserved standing ovation, and emotions were running high as people were wiping away tears as he spoke from his heart. I totally lost it, and was crying like a baby. Knowing that I had even the slightest pinky of a hand involved in helping make this happen gave me a feeling of accomplishment like I’ve never had. This was the right thing to do.

   But I don’t take credit for anything other than bringing together an all star cast of giving people to do what they do. Everyone did their part to perfection, and watching it all come together lit my fuse of hope that good people actually can make a difference on this planet infested with morons.

   So many amazing people stepped up I don’t even know where to start. Drew Olson was simply magnificent as the host of the event as I totally knew he would be. He held the evening together, and knew how to keep things moving and put a balance between the serious and funny. Honestly, I don’t think I could have done as good a job myself and I’ve got experience. He really nailed it.

   Peter Jest really came through as well. He’s the owner of Shank Hall, and we’ve always had an excellent working relationship.
He’s a very funny guy, and also good friends with Drew. It was a perfect fit all around, and we all knew it. Peter generously donated the space, and I appreciate it.

   Chris ‘C.P.’ Peppas is another pillar of generosity who has supported everything I’ve done for at least twenty years. He’s a talented writer, and wrote a great piece for The Examiner which was greatly appreciated, as was his bride Mary Lynn’s donation of her signed Cecil Cooper baseball.

   I can’t forget Ted Perry of Fox 6 either. He’s another one who has done more than expected on several occasions, and I couldn’t be more grateful for his support not only tonight but through all my trials and tribulations of many years. He’s got a giant heart, and I owe him about fifty favors.

   The comedians on the bill showed up to support the cause as well, and I appreciate every single one of them. Russ Martin was a former Deputy Sheriff, and went to all the police stations and put up posters. Jason Evans is the creator of and also helped spread the word.

   Phil ‘Ziggy’ Dunham schlepped in all the way from Detroit at his own expense to be part of the evening, and he didn’t have to do that. All these guys are rock solid and golden in my book and I was proud to have them participate in a big event like this that spread so much uplifting energy.

   I wish I could bottle the vibe from tonight and pass it out in the world where it’s needed. I’d do it for free, as the results produced would be worth far more than anything money could buy. I put the word out to my best connections, and they came through and made this a night to remember.

   My friend Mike Staral came out with his wife and we’ve known each other since kindergarten. He saw the event mentioned on TV and the company he works for is going to make a donation to the cause. I hadn’t seen Mike in years, but he’s always been yet another good hearted kind soul.

   There are far too many people to list who pitched in to contribute to this night, but images keep popping into my mind and I don’t want to exclude anyone. John O’Brien drove all the way from Wilmette, IL as he has done so many times before so support anything I’ve done, success or flop. There were more than a few flops in there, and I’m delighted he got to see one that worked well.

   Marilynn Mee from WKLH showed up unexpectedly, and auctioned off an hour on the air as a guest DJ. That was very nice of her to do that, and it brought in $750 which was more than all of us expected. I’ve always liked and respected Marilynn, and I think she is very talented on the air.

   My cousin Katie and her brother Andy and her mom Wendy were all a big part of it too. I said I’d take care of the comedy part, but they did their share from a police angle. I don’t know about that world, and they came through and we were a very effective team. Katie thinks the world and more of her partner, and anyone would be lucky to have a work relationship that runs so deeply.

   It was a huge thrill to finally meet Josh Albert as well. I’d heard nothing but great things about how good of both a person and police officer he is. He had people around him all night, but I did get a chance to say hello and when I did his eyes lit up and he thanked me profusely. He gripped my hand with a tight squeeze, and I could feel his gratitude. I hope this will inspire him to heal.

   I would do this all over again and then some in a heartbeat. This is the kind of vibe that makes life worth living. It’s pure, vibrant and completely untouchable by anyone who continues to be a detractor of mine despite my attempts to make peace whenever possible. I’m sorry that everyone can’t get along, but after one or sometimes a dozen apologies all one can do is just let things go.

   This wasn’t about anything other than doing something that I think anyone should do who has the opportunity. This time it was my turn to pitch in, and I did the best I could. Anyone who isn’t a fan of me personally has that right, but nobody can say this evening wasn’t about helping out a fellow human being. I got my revenge by spreading good energy, and that’s the best kind of all.

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Media Frenzy

October 16th, 2012 – Milwaukee, WI/Milwaukee, WI

   What a hectic day – but totally in a good way. I had a TV interview scheduled for 6:15am this morning on CBS 58 in Milwaukee to promote the Josh Albert fundraiser tomorrow night but my timing was thrown off by a traffic detour. There was some situation near my house that rerouted us all, and it put me several minutes behind schedule and cut it way too close for my preference.

   I really can’t stand being late, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. Situations occur out of nowhere and this was one of them. Could I have left earlier? Maybe, but who would expect traffic trouble at 4:45am? I assumed I’d be able to make it and I assumed wrong. It really threw me for a loop.

   Television has rigid time constraints. I understand that, and did all I could to make sure I let the producer know I was on my way. I gave him updates as I sped through the last few miles going a lot faster than a Chevy Cavalier should be going at 6am. I didn’t want to blow my commitment.

   I ended up making it by about 6:10, but I was a frazzled mess. The staff was very friendly, but I still apologized for cutting it so close. Apparently they’re used to it, because nobody was angry. They wired me up with a microphone, and I walked in the studio to be on with Tom Durian and Jennifer Tomazic. They were also friendly, but I was really thrown off by my traffic nightmare.

   Normally, I’m right there with a quick funny line and can play off what anyone says. Today it felt like my tongue was in a lower gear, and I couldn’t get it together like I usually can. I wasn’t as sharp as usual, and I know what caused it. I know they didn’t notice, but I certainly did. What could I do but smile and say thanks? I wasn’t happy with what I did, but none of this is about me.

   I was able to get the event plugged on television, and that’s the idea. I hope I didn’t blow a shot to come back in the future with my bumbling mumbling interview, and it should be a huge lesson not to do this again any time soon. If leaving extra early will avoid it, that’s what I intend to do.

   I made a few other stops to pick up silent auction items, and then drove home to get some work done there. I received a call from Ted Perry at Fox 6 asking if I’d like to be interviewed by Jenna Sachs for the news and of course I said yes. It would totally be worth another drive to Milwaukee and I appreciated the plug. Ted has always been one of my biggest supporters. He’s the greatest.

   All kinds of positive energy is coming out of the woodwork from every direction for this event, and it feels like it will be a smashing success. I can’t help but think of the other events that I have spearheaded in the past that have exploded in my face but this doesn’t feel like those. We’ll see.

   I swung by Drew Olson’s house to make sure we’re covered there. Drew is another person who has always been in my corner, and he was the perfect choice to host this event. He’ll be fantastic, and his father was a police officer for 25 years. Everything is coming together without a hitch, or so it seems. I have done all I can do, and so has everyone else I’ve recruited to help. All anybody can do now is wait - and that’s the part that kills me. Will anyone show up? I hope so, but there’s never any guarantee. If it tanks it this time, it won’t be for lack of effort. Here goes...everything.

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

Crunch Time

Monday October 15th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   It’s down to crunch time for the Joshua Albert benefit fundraiser this Wednesday at Shank Hall in Milwaukee and I’m feverishly working to check and recheck every last detail hoping I haven’t forgotten anything major. There’s too much to do in too little time, and I can’t help but be a little gun shy after all the disastrous flops I’ve been part of in the past. I don’t want this to be another.

   I want this event to be a major success for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it’s just the right thing to do. Period. Someone is hurting badly due to the carelessness of some drunken idiot, and can use some help. Human to human, this is the correct way to respond – at least I think so.

   I wish I couldn’t relate to Officer Albert’s plight, but in many ways I absolutely can. I was in a similar situation in 1993, and a drunk driver was the cause of that as well. I was extremely lucky to survive a crash where my Mustang convertible flipped completely upside down, and I can see it in my mind’s eye like it was yesterday. It was one of the most intense experiences of my life.

   Everything changed in a split second, and there were months of painful rehab before I could go back on the road and earn my living. I was getting food sent to me from a shelter, and times were about as low as I had ever seen them – and I have seen some pretty rough times. Or so I thought.

   Then I see this situation and it makes mine look like a stubbed toe. Officer Albert has injuries I don’t even want to think about. I also think of Officer Brian Murphy in Oak Creek, WI who took a double digit amount of bullets in the Sikh Temple shooting a few months ago. I may have had a few bad days at work in my time, but no heckler anywhere could top what these people endured.

   No matter how hard I think my life gets, I’m not even close to being at the bottom of the barrel. I want to help however I can, and if doing a comedy show will make that happen then sign me up immediately. I’d do one of these every week if I thought it would do some good for somebody.

   Another reason I want this event to be a success is because my extended family is involved. I’d be happy to do anything I could to help anyone who might need it, but family makes it a lot more meaningful. It’s been such a sore spot with me my whole life, I couldn’t turn down this request.

   Quite honestly, I don’t know Officer Katie all that well. We only met a few times actually, and we were never close growing up or anything like that. Her mom and I go way back, and she’s the one who made this happen. She asked on Katie’s behalf if I would do this benefit, and I said yes.

   I know there are termites in every family tree, but not like ours. We come from a freakish crew of particularly nasty parasites, and precious few have tried to break that chain. The odds haven’t been with us, but we try anyway. Katie’s mom Wendy has always been a sweetheart, and she did her best passing that down to her children. Katie is the result of that, and I’m proud of them both.

   It’s important to me to show solidarity to that whole side of the family, who have taken it upon themselves like I have to not follow in the footsteps of the rest of the people who share our DNA.

   Another major leap I had hoped to make with this event was to patch up some old wounds that have been festering for decades. One of them was with a local comedy club that I had a big blow out with when I had my car accident in 1993. They held a ‘benefit’ allegedly in my honor, but it was a major fiasco and the owner back then ended up keeping the cover charge fees for himself.

   He said there were ‘expenses’, and they ended up passing the hat at the end of the night and got $23 and some change. I was insulted and embarrassed to receive that in my hospital room, and it started off a chain of events I’m not proud of that eventually amputated our working relationship.

   I haven’t darkened the door of that place in twenty years, and quite honestly I didn’t miss it and they didn’t miss me. But Milwaukee will always be my hometown, and I like to work there when I can. I would have killed at that place and been one of their top acts. We both lost out from this.

   That owner is thankfully out of the business now, and I went through the proper channels to try to hold this event at the club to hopefully mend some fences and move on. It was about the event first, and I didn’t want to bring anything personal back into it after twenty years. They apparently don’t see it that way, and I was rejected in less than thirty minutes. At least I know where I stand.

   I’m sorry they feel that way, but look at all the publicity they’ll miss by saying no. We’ve been getting all kinds of interest by most of the media in town, so I guess Shank Hall will get the press instead. I tried my best, and it didn’t work. But at least I tried. I can’t force anybody to like me.

   The other comedy club in town could have had this event too, but the manager and I have some heat from when he bounced a check on me a couple of years ago when he owned another club. It was a huge mess, and then he ‘banned’ me from the new club he manages. Well, his loss as well.

   I never claimed to be perfect, and I freely admit when I’m wrong. My goal is to always make a sincere effort to be above board and make things right, but sometimes people just clash. I always heard that a man is nobody unless he has a list of people that hate him, but that’s not my desire.

   It’s ok if people don’t like me – and there are a vocal few – but I don’t want to perpetuate it if I don’t have to. I’d rather make peace or at least agree to disagree and end any hostilities. Looking at the situation Officer Albert or Officer Murphy and so many others are in, what really matters?

   Another fence I had hoped to mend was with some radio people in Milwaukee. Bob and Brian and Dave Luczak were my competitors when I was on 93QFM years ago. I used to go on the air and bash them openly, much like pro wrestlers do. In fact, that’s where I got the idea so I did it.

  Apparently, they didn’t like it and took it personally which it never was meant. I’ve been blown off by those guys for years, and I’m sorry that happened. I meant no harm, but it’s apparently not how it was taken. The fact is, they have had successful careers for twenty years, and I salute their success. Again, I’m sorry we weren’t able to work together, and it’s not my intention to hold any grudges against them or anyone else. If they are still angry at me, I can’t help it. I don’t consider myself important enough for that. I want to focus on good energy for the event and from now on.

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

Tin Foil Hats Off

Sunday October 14th, 2012 – Kenosha, WI

    I don’t remember when or where I read it or what the exact quote is, but the message is ringing loudly between my ears. It was something about how everything worthwhile we ever aspire to do will take many times longer and cost many times more than we originally think in the beginning.

   Boy is that turning out to be true. There’s no way I ever thought I’d be where I am this far into the game, but the last thing I need to do is quit now. It feels like I’ve run 999 yards instead of 99, and sometimes I think the end zone doesn’t exist. But I’ve come this far so I’m hoping it’s there.

   At one time I was planning on doing a crazy end zone dance and hamming it up for the camera, but I don’t feel that way at all now. I’ve been running so long and taking so many hits, if I should happen to score the big one I’ll flip the ball casually back to the referee with little fanfare and get back to the sidelines to finish the game. It’s far more important for my team to win than myself.

  Personal achievements don’t really mean anything without the ability to share them with others, and I’m more concerned with their well being than my own. I mean it. The real thrill in life is the chance to work with others and build something worthwhile together. That’s what it’s all about.

   I wish it weren’t so difficult to pull off, but it totally is. It does take longer and cost more to put anything worthwhile together, but hopefully the harder something is to build the harder it will be to tear apart. I’ve been in the building process for so long, it would be nice to see the final result.

   I think we’re finally getting close to the end zone with The Mothership Connection radio show on WLIP in Kenosha, WI. We’ve been having consistently solid shows of late, and it’s sounding more and more like a real radio show all the time. We’ve got a top level roster of guests, and I’m feeling extra good about the on air team. After several adjustments, this is the best crew to date.

   There were lumps, bumps and humps to get over and it took a lot longer than I thought, but I’m finally feeling like we’re getting ready to fly. I could easily fill five nights a week with this show, and I think in the right situation there would be a demand for it.
We’re a palatable mix of ‘Coast To Coast AM’ and a fun morning show, and we’ve got a positive energy between the members.

   We’re making top level contacts throughout the paranormal realm from psychic types to ghost hunters to UFO experts – two of which we featured for the entire program tonight. Micah Hanks and Scotty Roberts have a big UFO conference coming up this week in Minneapolis called “The Paradigm Symposium” and they booked some of the top speakers in the field. It’s an all star cast.

   I thought about trying to pull off a similar event, but I wouldn’t have been able to come even a little bit close to what these guys have going. They did it right, and my tin foil hat is off to them. The website is and there are still some limited tickets available.

   I would love to attend this conference, but I have my own projects bubbling that need attention. Still, it’s fun to have all this creative energy around me. Sooner or later, something will pay off.

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

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cross Country Commute

Saturday October 13th, 2012 – California, PA/Wauconda, IL

   No matter how special any particular show might have been the night before, there’s always an inevitable reality the next day of having to get to the next gig. The energy of the night before is a distant memory only one day later, and the process has to start all over to make it happen again.

   That’s the incessant grind that consumes us all as entertainers. We are always chasing that next thing, while that which we are able to catch we can’t keep for very long because we’ve got to get back to the chase. After a while, everything melts into one big blur and it can be overwhelming.

   I don’t know how anyone can fall right to sleep after a killer show like we had last night. I sure can’t. That’s why I often prefer to drive home after shows less than eight hours away. I was wide awake well past 5am staring at the ceiling thinking about anything and everything from tonight’s show to the origin of the universe. My mental rolodex was spinning like a ballerina on cocaine.

   I finally was able to drift off to sleep as the sun was coming up, but then I needed to get up just a few short hours later to start the long drive home. We’d just driven those hard miles less than a day ago, and now we needed to do it again in the opposite direction. The road doesn’t care about how much fun we had last night or where we have to be today. It’s neutral, but it’s unforgiving.

   There’s never any discount in time or miles for good behavior, and the distance is the same for everyone. We did catch an extra hour by changing time zones, but that’s about it. We lost it soon enough with a big patch of bad weather, and it ended up becoming a race to make it back in time to do a show I’d booked in Wauconda, IL tonight. I knew I’d cut it close, and it was a nail biter.

   Luckily, Jim McHugh has been in the exact same position and knew what I was going through. He’s a road warrior like me, and has had to make drives like this just like I have. It was a perk to have each other in the car to talk to, but that didn’t change the fact I was unsure if we’d make it.

   In a perfect world – which it never is – we’d left in enough time to get back to Chicago in time for me to pick up my car at his house, drive home, take a nap, get a shower and be in Wauconda at The Energee Center for my show at 8pm. That didn’t happen. We got caught in a storm front through Indiana, and then in Chicago we got stuck in bad traffic on the Eisenhower expressway.

   I was barely able to get into my car and drive too fast through the rain to make it to Wauconda by 7:56. That stress wasn’t pleasant, but I’ve grown quite used to it over decades of having to get places on a deadline. Sometimes it isn’t in the cards, but most times it ends up being a close call.

   The audience never knows or cares how difficult it was for the entertainer to get there, and they shouldn’t. They’ve got their own problems, and that’s often why they choose to come and take in a show in the first place. It helps them forget their own struggles, and it’s why we’re in business.

   I was completely frazzled by the time I walked in the door, but the audience tonight was also in the mood to see a show and I gave everything I had to make sure they got one. I need sleep now.

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

California Dreaming

Friday October 12th, 2012 – California, PA

   As Jerry Reed said years ago – “When you’re hot, you’re hot.”  I’ve seen it work the other way too, and I sure wish I knew what causes hot and cold streaks but I have no idea. I’ve experienced both, and hot is definitely better. I wish I could control the flow, but I haven’t found out how yet.

   Jim McHugh called about a month ago to ask if I was available for a booking in California, PA tonight with his Chicago Comedy All Stars group. Any time Jim calls with work, it’s a cut above the comedy club grind and I gladly say yes. Even though I’d never even heard of California, PA in all my years of being a road warrior, I said yes immediately. Work is at a premium these days.

   Jim was asked to put together a standup comedy show at California University by a connection he has in Iowa who knew someone at the school who wanted to do a show for their homecoming weekend. That’s how it works, and there’s no rhyme or reason for it. Jim was in the right place at the right time, and he got the call. He called me, and I was in the right place at the right time too.

   How this all breaks down on a large scale in the universe I can’t begin to wrap my marble sized intellect around, but I know it’s cosmic and beyond my control. I was thrilled Jim thought to give me a call at all, as it turned out to be one of the most fun experiences I’ve had in recent memory.

   Also on the show besides Jim and myself were Sonya White and Dwayne Kennedy. That’s one of the most rock solid and diverse lineups I can imagine, and we proceeded to tear the roof off of the gorgeous new facility where we were booked. It was built earlier this year, and it’s beautiful.

   They treated us like rock stars from the second we got there, and we had a dressing room with a deli tray and everything. The people in charge couldn’t have been nicer, and Jim couldn’t have chosen any nicer comedians to work with. Sonya and Dwayne are both sweethearts to work with, and their acts are solid as well. Jim knows what he’s doing, and we all knew this would be great.

   The audience was mostly locals, and they came out to laugh. Jim hosted the show, and the rest of us could see it was a red hot crowd in about thirty seconds. We were each told to do about 25 minutes, which is a night off for all of us who are headliners and used to doing 45 minute sets.

   One by one, we lit that audience up and we all knew what a special night this was and enjoyed every second of it. It doesn’t always work this way, and when it does it’s pure ecstasy. We really knocked it out of the park, and at the end of the show we were all on stage together and received a standing ovation. It was the right people on the right night, and everyone walked out happy.

   After the show, people lined up to get our autographs and we stood around signing the backs of people’s tickets for probably twenty minutes. It was just like the stereotypical dream that most of us have about how show business is before we get brought back to earth with a sickening thud.

   This was one night when we lived that dream, and it couldn’t have been with nicer people. We all have paid our dues and were able to appreciate every bit of it. This is what keeps us all going.

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