Thursday March 27th, 2014 – Mystery Location
Here is a perfect example of why I can’t stand the booking aspect of being an entertainer. I will keep names and locations out of it, only because if word got out with who I am talking about the fallout shrapnel could be devastating. It’s not worth the risk, but I do want to get the point across.
I received a call on Monday asking if I’d be open for a booking tonight in a town roughly three hours from where I live. I won’t say the name of the town or even what state it’s in, but location isn’t the issue at hand. I just want to point out how maddening this business can be - and often is.
I was open and told the person booking the show that I was. I know and like this person, who until now has always been exclusively a performer. Like many of us, this person is branching out to attempt to make more money, and I never fault anyone for that. There are no issues from me.
The booker had sold me to a group for a private function in a hotel – or that’s how it appeared. I got about six emails telling me it was off, then it was on, then it was off again. Then it maybe was going to happen. Then when I wrote it off that it wouldn’t happen. Then I got confirmation.
That’s frustrating enough, but then I was told I was to call the person in charge to get specific instructions of what they wanted me to do and what I couldn’t do. That’s never pleasant, but it’s often a part of the deal in private situations like this. I tried calling four times, but of course was not able to reach him. I left word with his secretary, and also sent an email. What else can I do?
The guy met me when I got to the hotel, and told me they were eating dinner and he’d get me when they were ready. I sat in the lobby checking my emails for half an hour, and then he came and got me and walked me to the meeting room. He didn’t tell me he was going to introduce me right away, but that’s what he did. And of course he forgot my name and that was embarrassing.
I didn’t get to see the layout beforehand, and I had a very difficult scenario. The microphone’s cord was about six feet, and attached to a podium. The podium was off center, and not even near where the lighting was. I was trapped like a Doberman on a short leash, and had to make it work.
What made it even harder was that they were a tight audience. They weren’t mean or dumb or anything negative – but they were very tight. Whatever went on before me obviously wasn’t any comedy, and I had to start from scratch and get them not only to pay attention but then to laugh.
I challenge anyone of any skill level to try and pull laughs out of a group like that. Most were older than me, but a few younger ones were sprinkled in. There were probably 200 more or less, and they had just eaten a big sloppy meal of red meat with gravy and a heavy dessert. That made my job even harder, and I had all I could do to pull off 45 minutes. Oh, and it had to be clean too.
There was no check so I had to wait as the treasurer wrote one. Did I happen to mention the TV was on the entire time? I almost wish they had said no - but I so need the money. This is just one night. Try doing it for a living. I never signed up for any of this. Want easy money? It isn’t here.
|Just like a dung beetle, I get out there and push my wet sloppy ball across the treacherous desert. It's anything but easy.|
|Want easy money? You won't find it as an entertainer - at least not at first. It's a daily grind.|
|Note how easy money and hard work point in two different directions. That's no accident.|