Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Climate Control

Friday July 26th, 2013 – Dayton, OH

   Small victories are victories nonetheless. For the first time in recent memory – maybe ever – it thrills me to know I have a prime booking in a ‘climate’ location at a favorable time of the year. Coming up the ranks we all have to pay dues, and that often includes accepting off season work.

   I can’t count the times I’ve had to make my way to Duluth in December or Austin in August, and had to endure all the consequences that go with it. If one wants to gain experience and stay working early on, that’s part of the trade off. Bookers know it, and they know we’ll jump at it.

   It’s actually useful experience to deal with worst case scenarios, but after a while it gets to be an insult. Rarely if ever is there hazard pay, and the consequences can be devastating. I once had a gig in Laughlin, NV in the summer when it was 114 degrees – at night. I had a Geo Metro with no air conditioning, and it would have been smarter to accept a booking on the surface of the sun.

   Today I received a call to work in Tucson, AZ at Laffs Comedy Club for New Year’s Eve. I’ve always loved that town, but I have traditionally been booked there from April through September through the years. A lot of other people love it as well, so I’ve had to take whatever I could get.

   It’s an honor to be asked to do New Year’s Eve at any club, as it means they think highly of the caliber of the act. It’s traditionally the most important booking of the year, and they want to have a solid act. I’m beyond flattered they thought of me, and I’ll go there and kick ass for six shows.

   There are many reasons I enjoy Tucson. Obviously the climate is great, and I have quite a few friends there because my friend Jerry Agar used to have a radio show there. I got to be part of the show, and we recorded the version of my comedy class called ‘Be Funny Make Money’ there.

   I really love the club Laffs too. I find the crowds to be smart and into comedy, and I get along really well with the staff. Gary Hood is a funny comic who works behind the scenes, and knows what he’s talking about on stage and off. We hit it off years ago, and then he left and came back. He makes it easy because he’s a comic himself and knows the little things that make life better.

   The owner Gary Bynum is one of my favorite club owners anywhere, as he’s a business person first and lets you know it up front. I don’t have to go in there and kiss his or anyone else’s ass, or hang out and make his friends laugh or anything other than what I was hired to do. There is zero fakery there, and everyone knows it’s business. If every club was like that, life would be peachy.

   Knowing I’ve got a sweet gig on New Year’s Eve made my long drive much more palatable as I left early to get to Columbus, GA by tomorrow. That’s a long scoot, and I rented a car so as not to pound miles on my new old Toyota Camry. My days of astronomical miles on a car are over.

   I stopped in Dayton, OH to say hello to Rob Haney who owns Wiley’s Comedy Club. He and I worked together years ago at the Funny Bone in Milwaukee, and I always liked him. He’s a hard working funny comic, and he decided to buy his home town club years ago and get off the road.

   I can’t fault anyone for that, and he’s been at it for years now. He was saying how tough it has been in the last couple of years, as it has for most everyone. He, like me, has few alternatives to fall back on. He’s a lifer, and is in it for the long haul. He’s still funny, and I’m glad I stopped by to say hello. It’s been too long, but we’ve both been busy trying to survive. That’s a full time job.

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