Thursday February 13th, 2014 – Rosemont, IL
I’m very fortunate right now to be in a great position in the Chicago standup comedy scene. It took a lifetime to get here, and there’s no guarantee how long it will last. But for the time being, I am one of the main go to acts for three Zanies clubs and it’s keeping me booked a lot locally.
This is exactly what I want, and I’m not taking it for granted. There have been a lot of odds and ends random dates that have come up of late, and I’m on the current call list to fill them. I always say yes when those calls come in, and tonight I received one to headline the club in Rosemont.
I hosted the Tuesday night ‘Ten Comedians For $10’ the week before last, and was delighted to get that call as well. Lucky for me I can fill in effectively at any position on a comedy show, and not everyone can or wants to do that. I can see the reasons why, but with Zanies I have a history.
Many comedians wouldn’t accept an opener or feature spot once they achieve headliner status. It’s a long hard climb to get to that position, and they view anything less as an insult. I see why they think that, as often bookers and club owners just want to fill spots and couldn’t care less.
I have nothing to prove with Zanies, and they know I’m one of their top local headliners and it ends up being a win/win for everyone. They don’t have to worry about whether I can get the job done, and I don’t have to worry about my check bouncing or making long drives. Count me in.
Another thing that is helping is that there are several other comedy clubs in Chicago these days and not enough strong local seasoned acts to go around. Comedy clubs can be very territorial and often don’t allow acts to work for rival clubs. That’s a game that has been played since I started.
I’ve been on the wrong side of that game more times than I can count, but for once I’m the one in the cherry spot. Zanies has three full time clubs, and nobody else in town can give me as much work as they can. I’m in the spot everyone else in town wants, and I know how fortunate I am.
When I lived in Milwaukee, I would never get the last minute calls to fill in. I saw the ones that did, and wondered if they appreciated it. They often didn’t act like it, but try as I might I couldn’t ever crack the rotation. Twenty years later I’m the golden boy, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
I have what is supposed to be a tremendous gig at a country club in Rockford, IL tomorrow for a Valentine’s Day party, and I had tonight off. Zanies only needed me tonight, so it was a perfect fit. I was able to pick up some much needed extra cash, and Zanies got a need filled with ease.
The audience tonight was a bit stiff at first, but I reached back and brought all I had. I was able to get them eventually, and there’s a deep satisfaction that goes with that much like being able to solve a difficult crossword puzzle. I had to work a lot harder than usual, but that’s fine with me.
What tonight was was a paid practice session. I had a chance to work on my act, and that’s why I got into the business in the first place. I know I should be working on marketing myself for this year – and I am – but for tonight I was able to get in the gym and work on my craft. That doesn’t happen that often anymore, and I really enjoyed it. Those people got a solid show, and I got paid.
|Zanies Comedy Club has a beautiful new location in Rosemont, IL. I headlined there tonight, and will be back April 4-5. www.zanies.com|