Friday June 28th, 2013 – Ann Arbor, MI
Back on the road again, and it’s been a while. Part of me missed it, but a bigger part didn’t. It’s a definite lifestyle, and not for everyone. I could tell I’m out of sync, and that’s a place I couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago. The road bug has been in my blood all my adult life, but I’m just not intoxicated by it like I used to be. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but it’s how I feel.
The good thing about this week is that I’m back in one of my very favorite places of all time in Ann Arbor, MI. The club here is The Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase, and I’ve always knocked it out of the park here as the audiences are traditionally intelligent and show up wanting to laugh.
Places like this make being a comedian fun, and I’m bummed there aren’t more of them. It’s a treat performing for an audience that gets it, but that’s not always the case. And it’s not like I do particularly atom smashing brilliant stuff either. My material is relatively smart, but at times that just isn’t what certain audiences want. They want loud stupid filth, but that’s just not what I do.
It’s different here, and I’ve always loved it. Ann Arbor is a very hip town located in the middle of the rust belt, and dangerously close to Detroit. People think I’m crazy, but I have always loved the Detroit area – at least the suburbs. I love the whole car culture, and at one time it was the hub of everything. I know people make fun of it now and with good reason, but Detroit was a giant.
It was a blue collar working class giant much like my home town of Milwaukee, but that’s not the vibe in Ann Arbor. It’s very artsy and eclectic here, and I really like it. Madison, WI has a bit of that kind of vibe too, but not like here. For whatever reason, what I do seems to fit perfectly.
It’s an easy week too. I can’t remember if there were Thursday shows in the past, but now it’s a Friday and Saturday only. There are two shows a night, and the club is located in the basement of a delicious vegetarian restaurant called Seva. I was the first to make fun of vegetarianism back in my youth, but this place won me over. It’s one of the best anywhere. www.sevarestaurant.com.
On the way here, I stopped to have lunch with my friend Dave Rudolf. Dave is booking acts at a smaller club in the far southern suburbs of Chicago, and wants to try a comedy night. He asked if I would mind doing the opening night, and I said I would. I don’t really work the south side of Chicago much, as it’s a long ride from where I live. It’s 90 miles one way to get to Dave’s house.
In contrast, it’s only about 50 miles each way for me to get to either downtown Milwaukee or downtown Chicago from where I live. The only way it’s convenient to visit with Dave is when I pass through on my way to a gig like I was today. Gas prices are making us all plan trips more.
It’s bleeding us all dry, but who has a choice? I could rant and rave about how they could run a car on pickle juice and coffee grounds, but they’re never going to do it. It’s all about money, and those few who have it aren’t about to turn it loose to the masses of us who don’t. We’re screwed.
That’s not about to change any time soon, so we might as well enjoy whatever we can. I have a fun gig this week in a place I really enjoy. I won’t get filthy rich, but I at least know my rent will be paid Monday so that’s a big relief. The shows tonight were both solid, and I loved being back for the first time in two years. I know that because the last time I was here I went to the hospital the next week with my type 2 diabetes diagnosis. That was a fun week too, and I’m thrilled to be back. If I had 52 weeks like this every year, life would be a breeze. I don’t, so I’ll enjoy the trip.