Thursday, January 9, 2014

Boxcars Bonanza

Wednesday January 8th, 2014 – Clinton, WI

   I had my first comedy show of 2014 tonight, and it was as close to perfection as it gets in every way and on every level. If it were like this every night, I’d have all my needs met and then some. It painfully isn’t, so I savored every second. It was a clinic on how a comedy show should work.

   Everyone involved in the show did their jobs correctly, and the results were outstanding. It was a prime example of how good standup comedy can be when it works well, both as a business and a show. Everyone had fun, and there was enough money to go around at the end of the evening.

   Jeremy Danley aka “The Mighty Jer Dog” is a comedian from Iowa that lived in Chicago for a long time. He’s always been able to find out of the way venues that have not tried comedy, and I commend him for his resourcefulness. Some of his venues are brutal, but sometimes they’re hot.

   He found a true gem in Clinton, WI at a place called ‘Boxcars Pub & Grub’. I’ve worked there three times now, and every time has been better than the last. That’s due to the owner named Tim Pogorelski. He truly loves comedy and was in a band for years so he understands entertainment.

   I can’t say enough good things about Tim or the venue, and he absolutely does it right. He does his shows on the first Wednesday of the month, and keeps them to once a month to make them a special event. He has a side room that’s set up with good sound and lighting that seats about 60.

   That’s enough seats to make it worth his while, but also few enough so it always sells out. It’s a pleasure to work in a sold out room, and all the posters in the place had ‘SOLD OUT’ over my picture. How many times have I seen THAT in my career? Not nearly as many as I’d have liked.

   Jer Dog trusts me to bring along any opening acts I may care to, or he said I could do all of the time and take all the money. That’s a great option, but I wanted to give stage time to people that I like and respect, and know could use it in front of a hot audience. I’m happy to share the wealth.

   I chose to have two acts tonight, and both of them knocked it out of the park. Trevor Burke was first up, and he nailed it. He’s 12 years old, and his dad Joe had asked if I could get Trevor up on stage whenever possible. I’m always happy to help, and it was a fun adventure for them to have a show - on a school night no less. How cool would it have been for me to do comedy at that age?

   Next up was Caryn Ruby. Caryn works as hard as anyone I know to polish her chops as both a comedienne and an actress. She lived in LA for years, but is back here helping her father with his real estate business. She really appreciates the stage time, and I like working with her whenever I can. She handles her business impeccably, and I learn from her every time we talk. It’s win/win.

   The show was at 7:30, and that meant we were done just after 9pm. The crowd was as red hot as I remembered, and I hosted the show and brought up special guests Trevor and Caryn. That’s how they do it in Boston, and I always liked that format. Tim was all for it, and it was a big hit.

   Absolutely everyone was happy at the end of the night, and we all got paid an amount we could live with – especially for a Wednesday night in January. This was a super way to kick off 2014.

Few would believe Boxcars Pub & Grub in Clinton, WI would have one of the best one nighter comedy shows anywhere, but it totally does. Owner Tim Pogorelski is on the ball and does everything right. What a gig!
Jeremey Danley aka 'The Mighty Jer Dog' is a comedian from Iowa who finds his own venues to promote shows. He's a hustler in the best possible way and a terrific marketer. I love working for and with him anytime.
Twelve year old comedy sensation Trevor Burke got to do comedy on a school night. How many twelve year olds can say THAT? He did great too. I'll be driving his limo someday - hopefully soon.
Caryn Ruby was on the show too. She works as hard at the business as anyone I know. Her national success is overdue, but on the way. Watch for her.

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