Archive for April, 2009

The Mothership Flies On

April 20, 2009

Sunday April 19th, 2009 – Kenosha, WI

The Mothership Connection is still connected. Even with all of our growing pains we’re still on the air and tonight we had one of our best shows yet. The energy was flowing well between us in the studio and with the guests and callers too. Everyone was on their game.

When that happens it makes radio fun, even on a small station. WLIP doesn’t have a big blowtorch signal that goes from the north pole to the equator but it’s been on the air since the ‘40s and in Kenosha it’s an institution. Being on a station like that makes us credible.

I’ve been on some of the biggest stations in America like the Loop in Chicago and WLS too and that was fun but this experience is in a class by itself. The creative freedom to talk about anything we want is almost intoxicating. Most people never get a chance to do that.

Another good thing is that I’m in the right place at the right time for once. There are all kinds of paranormal shows on TV now and Coast to Coast AM is the grand daddy on the radio so all that paved the way for our little weekly two hour session but ours is unique.

Our show is sort of a cross between Coast to Coast AM and a morning zoo. We have an eclectic mix of interesting co-hosts and regulars who are very different but also interested in all of the topics we discuss. We don’t always agree on those topics and that makes it all the more interesting on the radio. I keep it real and let the other people have their say too.

This is great practice for me as a host. I’m in charge and drive the show. I decide who to have on as guests even though I’m very open to suggestions and there have been all kinds of fascinating people who have been on that have made it totally fun. Even those few who weren’t the best guests were good for me because it allowed me to become a better host.

That’s the advantage to being on a smaller station. No offense, but it doesn’t matter if a Sunday night talk show in Kenosha, WI has a few dud interviews. The world won’t cease to spin and the FCC won’t fine anyone and life will go on. It wouldn’t be like that if I was on a big station in drive time. I’d have to sit in an office and get bawled out by a moron.

The only moron who gets in my way here is me. John Perry is the program director but he’s also the program director of 95 WIIL and has an air shift there. That keeps him busy  plus he’s a new father so I’m pretty much free to do whatever I want on the air other than swear or sacrifice a goat. He trusts me and leaves me alone. That’s VERY rare in radio.

I know I always complain about being too scattered and needing to focus and I’m right about all of it. I really do have a lot of things going and most of them don’t make a dime but they sure are fun to play with. This is one of them. It’s not big time but it’s a blast.

We get some outstanding guests and there are a lot more on the way. I’m going to keep slugging and tonight gave me some positive feedback. We rocked it. Check us out if you like. It’s Sunday from 9-11pm CDT. http://www.wlip.com or http://www.mothershipradio.com.

Backed Up And Buckled Down

April 19, 2009

Saturday April 18th, 2009 – Hoffman Estates, IL

Whew! Dodged a major bullet with my computer situation but I’m not getting cocky. If I don’t back myself up more often I’m asking for trouble and if there’s one thing I will not be needing in the next fifty or sixty years it’s that. I’m still trying to undo past boo boos.

My friend Shelley helped me narrow down what my problem was and she figured out it was something to do with Internet Explorer. I’m no whiz kid when it comes to computers to say the least. To say the truth I’m one step away from a monkey dropped on his head in transit from the jungle to the petting zoo. I‘m an idiot and I need help. All this bores me.

I have no desire to learn the inner workings of a computer. I want the computer to work so I can create things. Period. I suppose I should learn more about it but for now Shelley’s expertise is much appreciated. There are a lot more people who know how to fix what I’ll need fixing than for me to take a course in it myself. I’m behind enough on my own stuff.

One good thing that happened was it caused me to review a lot of old files I hadn’t seen in a long time and it really gave me hope. I have an overwhelming amount of ideas I have done nothing with except store in a computer file. I’ve got comedy material by the metric ton that I won’t be able to get to for quite a while. But it’s there. And now it’s backed up.

I have ideas for comic strips and movie scripts and books and audio recordings and I’m SO glad I didn’t lose them or I’d really have been screwed. I made three copies of all this stuff and they’re now in three safe separate places. I worked very hard coming up with all of it and after not looking at it for quite a while I was very pleased with what I’d saved.

It all boils down to that old nasty issue with time management and that’s going to be my enemy until they click the lid on my coffin. Even then I bet they’ll have to haul me out of the funeral home in a hurry because some bigwig died after me and they need the room.

I’m doing what I can with what I was given and that’s all I can do. But is it? Am I doing something wrong that I could change and get more out of my time? I don’t see how but it doesn’t mean I can’t improve on my time management. Every hour of every day counts.

Today I was off and my old radio partner Spike Manton called to see if I’d be able to be the host of a drum and bugle corps show of all things. It paid a few bucks and I was off so I said yes. I had no idea what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised when I showed up. Wow, what an event. It was held at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, IL which is an absolutely gorgeous facility.

They had a ton of great acts like the United States Air Force Drum and Bugle Corps and the Naval Academy Band and lots of other acts from Irish and Scottish folk dancers to a Canadian marching band. I was really impressed by everyone.

A lot of work went into all of this and I was honored to be a part of it. If I’m not doing a comedy gig this was a nice substitute for the night. I would gladly be part of this again.

A Waste Of A Sunny Day

April 18, 2009

Friday April 17th, 2009 – Lake Villa, IL

I wanted to really take some time and focus on goals today but I had to deal with a lot of other little annoying things instead. My computer is giving me all kinds of trouble and it’s not copying and pasting things so I’m screwed for the moment. I hope I’ll be able to get it fixed quickly and cheaply but I highly doubt it. I just hope I don’t lose all my documents.

I’m overdue for a backup and I’m going to get it done ASAP no matter what it will cost. My friend Shelley said she’d help me but can’t do it today because she’s busy taking care of her kids. She and her husband are pretty good with computers so they said they’d help me tomorrow morning. I hope I can last until then. If I lose my documents I’ll be hurting.

I’m paranoid because I’ve been in this situation before. The computer takes a dump for whatever reason and I lose a lot of hard work that I really can never fully replace. I have a ton of things I’ve been working on lately and if I lost them I’d drift off into a deep funk as I’d feel my time and effort was wasted. This is a wake up call and I’m hearing it loudly.

It’s been about a year since I bought this current computer and that seems to be the time when things start going wrong. I should know better and I was too busy working on stuff to take that short time to back it up. I am an idiot when it comes to computers and I really need to be more meticulous or I’m in for another major catastrophe. Already done that.

Next was my car. Some smart ass snapped off my radio antenna a few weeks ago and I can’t stand it anymore. I can’t get AM stations at all and FM is pretty weak too. I’ve been listening to cassettes and cds but I’m getting sick of it so I took it in to get an estimate so I can hear radio again. Of course it was a power antenna and it’s going to cost me a bundle.

It was broken off at the worst possible place and the guy at the garage said it would be a hassle to fix it but they could do it. Now I have to decide if I want to do it or not. I stuck a lot of money into this pickle so I need to keep it for a while to make it worth what I put in it. It runs fine but I’ll go nuts if I don’t have radio to listen to so I might as well just do it.

I also noticed my exhaust is starting to dangle a little too. That won’t be cheap and I am hoping it will last a while longer but it could go any day. One pothole and it’ll break right off and it’ll sound like a Cessna. I’ve had that happen too many times to count and I see it happening again here. Not only that my front end makes crackling noises on all left turns.

On top of that I had an appointment to go to WLIP and take a crash course on operating the control board. We’ve been having some technical glitches on Sunday nights and I had set up the time to go through the procedures to see what I was doing wrong. It turns out it wasn’t so much what I was doing wrong, it was the equipment itself. Welcome to radio.

These kinds of little things have nothing to do with comedy or radio or fun or adventure or anything else I enjoy. It’s the little every day pains in the ass we all have to deal with to take away our attention from the good stuff. I’ll have to focus on my goals another day.

Happy Birthday Kareem

April 18, 2009

Thursday April 16th, 2009 – Milwaukee, WI/Lake Villa, IL

Today is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 62nd birthday. He was an icon when I grew up back in Milwaukee and I still remember when he and Oscar Robertson and the rest of the Bucks won the NBA title in 1971. It was right when my interest in sports was starting to explode and it was a very exciting time as I followed the Bucks and Kareem’s career religiously.

Oscar Robertson was a superstar but Kareem was the MAN. Actually he was known as Lew Alcindor then but whatever his name was he was still amazing. Like Andre the Giant it was his size that made him the center of attention and I remember going to a game with my grandfather and seeing him walk past me in person for the first time. I totally froze up.

To watch him score 30 points a night with his soft as silk ‘sky hook’ shot is a treat I had no idea how special it really was as it was happening. When he got traded to the Lakers it felt like part of my childhood innocence was over and it hurt to hear him say things about not wanting to live in Milwaukee because he didn’t like it there. Later I agreed with him.

When I was in high school I was lucky enough to get a job with the Bucks as a ball boy. I was assigned to the visitor’s locker room and I hated it at first but then I realized I got to interact with every other team in the league and I eventually got to meet all the superstars.

Some were very nice and some were total asses. I’d heard that Kareem was a total ass to deal with and my boss told me to not even think about interacting with him unless he said something to me first. We were all told to just do our jobs and not approach the players so that’s what we did. All the ball boys got along great and we were just thrilled to be there.

As luck would have it I was in the locker room doing some work and there was Kareem Abdul Jabbar just sitting by himself. He was putting his shoes on and then he read a book but it got to be ten minutes and it became apparent he wasn’t busy. I was standing a few feet away so I mustered up all the guts I had and started talking to him. And he answered.

We actually had a nice conversation as I remember and after a few minutes I disobeyed my boss and asked for an autograph anyway. I sincerely told him how much I enjoyed his play when he was with the Bucks and how I knew it was probably a pain in the ass to sign autographs for so many people but I would really appreciate it and he said he’d be glad to.

I had a pennant and he signed it ‘Abdul Jabbar’. I thanked him and he said ‘You’re very welcome.’ To this day that was one of the biggest thrills of my life and I’ll never forget it. He was a very intelligent person and soft spoken and he didn’t talk down to me at all. We had a conversation between two people for a few minutes and I will always remember it.

Of course he doesn’t remember me nor would I expect him to. He went on to have a lot of great moments and a lot of troubles too from what I read. He had a fire that wiped out a house he had in L.A. and I think he also was ripped of by a manager and had to play a lot longer than he wanted to. Still, his career is right up there with anyone who ever played.
But now he’s 62 and not in the limelight anymore. I wonder how his life is now? I hope he’s healthy and happy and in good spirits and financially secure but there is no guarantee of that unfortunately. He was THE guy for a long time but now that time has passed him.

He doesn’t remember being nice to me thirty years ago but I sure do remember him and it still brings a smile to my face to think about it even now. Maybe he was an ass to a few or even more than a few people. I don’t know, but he never did it to me so I’m still a fan.

I’m such a big fan that I remember his birthday when not a whole lot of others do. I saw it on the back of his basketball card as a kid and I never forgot it. ‘4-16-47’. It stuck in my brain as a kid and it’s still there today. Happy birthday Kareem. Thanks for the autograph.

I sure hope I can bring some happiness to people in my time. If anyone is remembering me on my 62nd birthday whether I’m living or dead it will be a huge honor. I try to always be courteous and approachable with fans after shows and I’ve heard very nice things later from people saying ‘You really made us feel special.’ I’m not faking. They ARE special.

That has never been something I’ve forgotten and I hope I never do. Yes, there are those very few idiots who don’t know how to act but by and large most people are unbelievably nice when they come up after a show and I’m getting to the point now where I’m signing a lot more autographs for some reason. If someone asks I’ll always try to accommodate.

It’s not the autograph that means so much as the time spent with the person signing it. It is a chance for a mini one-on-one meeting and hopefully it will have lasting meaning like meeting Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did with me. I think of that every time I sign an autograph. I may never have the fan base of a Kareem but whoever is my fan is much appreciated.

Finding and pleasing fans needs to be on my priority list and it totally is. I am hoping to use my new website to build a fantastic fan base and serve them well. I went to Shelley’s house today and made some more adjustments and tweaks and improvements and it’ll be a work in progress for a long time until we work the bugs out but it’s worth all the effort.

All of this is a very important part of being a working comedian in the 21st century. It’s something we all need to learn to embrace or we’ll be out of the game in a hurry. Being a funny comedian doesn’t mean anything if nobody knows about it. There are a lot of funny guys who are not nearly as famous as they should be in my opinion. And I’m one of them.

There’s no excuse for me not to be spending much of my time marketing myself. I have an opportunity to use the internet to put myself on the map and I have to be intelligent and plan my attack. Having a website is a good start but now I have to fill it with content for a fan base to enjoy. Then I have to seek out a fan base to go to the site to be able to enjoy it.

I took a break and went up to Milwaukee to have dinner with my cousin Brett. He made me laugh like he always does and it was a great battery recharge. I’m ready to sink myself into my projects and make them come to life. My 62nd birthday will be here all too soon.

Taxes Tornado

April 16, 2009

Wednesday April 15th, 2009 – Lake Villa, IL

   Tax day. Again. And did I happen to file my return on time this year? Uh…no. Again. Damn. Why do I find myself in this situation? Again. This has been real mental block for me and I’m sick of it. Every year I say I’m going to stop farting around and get my taxes done before April 15th but every year I never do it. I don’t know if I’ve ever done it once.

   Part of the problem is that a lot of the places I work throughout the year don’t send me a 1099 form by January 31st like they’re supposed to. That’s a pretty lame excuse though. If I kept better records I’d know exactly how much money I made and where I made it and it wouldn’t make a difference if the form was there or not. I just haven’t been able to do it. Another part of the problem is I have too many other things going that I enjoy and taxes get pushed to the side.

   I don’t think I’m alone in not enjoying filing taxes but exactly how stupid can a guy get to think that doing the same thing every year will change the results? It won’t. I avoid it as long as I can and then rush to file at the last minute. That’s stupid.

   I usually don’t owe much if at all and my biggest expense is paying my accountant to do it for me. I have a good relationship with him and I discovered him on my own so I’m not at the mercy of the infamous ‘friend of a friend’. That’s burned me very badly in the past. There really is no excuse to keep doing this but I’m not going to make any half ass vow to not do it again next year because in all honesty I probably will.

   What would really help though is to keep on improving which is something I’ve been doing for quite a few years now. I am getting very good at keeping my receipts but organizing them is another story. At least I’m keeping them though. I used to not even do that. Over the years I’ve gotten into the habit of saving every receipt and putting them all in a single container and then at least when I do attack them at tax time they’re in the same place. It’s a huge job to sort all of them into their separate piles but at least I have them in my possession to sort through.

   Here’s an incoming call on the clue phone…WHY NOT SORT THEM OUT AS I PUT THEM IN THE CONTAINER ALL YEAR LONG? Gee, there’s a novel thought. What’s to stop me from doing exactly that now? Absolutely nothing, but I need to shut my mouth and DO it. I even bought a leather bound organizer last year but it’s been gathering dust.

   I’m not going to beat myself up too badly because I know for a fact a lot of other people are way worse off than me. They haven’t filed in years and have no receipts at all to begin sorting through and they don’t even think about how they’re going to catch up on all of it. I was behind on filing for years but that’s ancient history.

   I’m getting a lot better at this. I still could use major improvement though. The one good thing about struggling is that I won’t owe a huge wad like Sinbad apparently does. However he got in that mess is what I want to avoid. I feel bad for him but he had his chances to avoid that and I want to get a grip on my own situation before the real money starts flowing. This is a fixable problem.

A Welcome Site

April 15, 2009

Tuesday April 14th, 2009 – Lake Villa, IL

    It’s been way too long but www.dobiemaxwell.com is up and running. Finally! I know I could have done it a lot sooner and I’m probably the only one who cares it’s even up at all but that’s ok. I needed a website and thanks to my friend Shelley Hernandez I have one.

   By her admission and mine it’s not going to turn any heads or drop any jaws…yet. It’s a simple but functional site which is still a work in progress but at least it exists and we can start to tweak and improve and experiment immediately. Shelley did a nice job of making the best of the information I gave her and I’m grateful for her help. I’ve really needed this.

   I’m glad the club I’m working in Appleton, WI in May requires their headliners to have a functioning website or I probably wouldn’t have addressed this for a long time if at all. I probably would have kept making excuses or ignoring it and it would have gone undone.

   Part of it is the pain associated with the ugly situation with my ex business partner. He’s the one who handled my site before and I never questioned it. I was told it was a good site but I really didn’t check it that much if at all. I was too busy working and creating and I’m still like that now but you can better believe I’ll be a lot more hands on with this project.

   I wanted to have a nice website before because I thought it was the wave of the future at the time. Now it’s a given. When I first had one I was ahead of the game. Most comedian friends of mine didn’t have one and most didn’t have a desire to have one. Now it’s a fact of life and most working comedians on all levels have some kind of an internet presence.

   Myspace was all the rage for a while and Dane Cook allegedly built his career by using it to network with millions of people but it appears to be dead now or at least cooling off. Facebook was the flavor of the week after that and it was pretty hot but now it’s Twitter.

   I don’t even know what the hell that is but I hear everyone talking about it. Supposedly it involves mass texts several times a day. I’m not excited about it but that seems to be the latest flavor of the week. I can’t keep current. By the time I get to that it will be old news.

    I have a hard enough time answering my emails without worrying about Twittering or a person I don’t know ‘writing on my wall’ on Facebook. It’s getting out of hand faster than I can even learn the terminology but I better embrace it or I’ll be in the dinosaur pile soon.

   This is all over my head and I admit it but I have two choices – ignore it or embrace it. If I ignore it I’ll be out of the game sooner than later and people with less talent than me that didn’t pay nearly the dues that I did will get my payoff. I’d really hate to see that happen.

   Instead I need to embrace new technology in all it’s forms and use it to my advantage. I am willing to learn and also to defer to those who know more than me (which is any child four years of age or older) and that will at least keep me in the game. Getting a website up was a crucial step but by far not the last one. Now I need to get some people to look at it.

Regroup Therapy

April 15, 2009

Monday April 13th, 2009 – Chicago, IL

   Time to take a break and regroup. Eight nights in a row at Zanies in Chicago is enough for a while. I really do love working there but that’s enough even for me. Tonight was the Rising Star Showcase and I had all I could do to keep myself focused until it was over.

   I’m starting to feel a little burnout after working very hard these last few weeks and I’m looking forward to some time away from both performing and traveling. I need some time to rest up, catch up and draw up an action plan so as to best utilize the rest of the year.

   It’s halfway through April already and I feel like I could have done more than I have so far. These last two weeks of performing have been rather harsh. Kansas City wasn’t an easy frolic and neither was last week at Zanies. That last show on Saturday with the wank pole who quacked like a duck and interrupted the show really left a sour taste in my mouth for working clubs. He’s the tip of the iceberg but if I keep doing this it will NEVER change.

   Working comedy clubs is the best way to pay my bills, at least for now. It’s taken a long time to acquire the skills necessary to do what I’m doing but I’m at a crossroads right now and unless I can find a way to become an attraction I think I’ve maxed out my opportunity and need to look elsewhere for something to provide some security for the coming years.

   Club work is what it is. WORK. Getting the booking and getting to the town and having to fight dirty or green opening acts and also drunk stupid crowds who get in free isn’t my idea of fun anymore. Performing for smart audiences who want to be entertained is what I live for and that never gets old but lately I’ve not been getting many of those. It gets old.

   Zanies has always been good to me and I can work for them whenever I need to but they don’t look at me as a draw or a special event. I doubt if they ever will either. I noticed that they put their quarterly flyer out on the tables and I was the only headliner that was not on the list. That really hurt. I appreciate the work but it would also be nice to be recognized.

   Maybe it was an oversight and I didn’t bring it up but it was a giant red flag to me that I really need to keep branching out and not rest on my laurels, either real or imagined. I am not cocky or delusional enough to think just because Zanies has thrown me a lot of steady work over the years that they owe me anything. Nobody does. I have to earn my own way.

   That’s what I intend to focus on in the next few weeks. I see a need now more than ever to really throw myself into the entrepreneurial game with all I’ve got. I have some books I need to read and some CD and cassette audio packages I need to listen to and start to look for opportunities to build streams of income that don’t depend on me working the road.

   I’ve got enough connections built up now that I should be able to at least earn enough to survive for the next few years if nothing breaks. I’m at the risky point now where it could happen any time but I could have health problems at any time as well. Which of these two will hit first – major break or major heart attack? My luck both will come the same day.

Does God And/Or Jesus Exist?

April 13, 2009

Sunday April 12th, 2009 – Lake Villa, IL

    Easter Sunday. What does it mean? I’m not sure anymore. As I get older my belief in all I was taught as a child about God and Jesus and religion is fading fast and I have to admit it scares me a little. I wish I didn’t feel this way but I totally do and I won’t lie about it. In my heart of hearts it doesn’t make sense to me and looking back I think I’ve been had.

   I don’t think the God concept I once believed without question actually exists. Is there a super powerful all knowing being that lives in heaven that sees everything everyone down here on Earth does and then after we die decides if we can live up there in heaven or not?

   Did that all powerful being miraculously impregnate an Earth chick without having sex with her and then that kid went around telling everyone what to do and how to live better and eventually get to party forever up in the same heaven where that super being lives? If I accept this story I get to party forever but if I don’t I have to fry like a pork chop instead.

   I have to admit that’s a pretty far fetched story and the more I think about it the less I’m buying any of it. I’m not trying to be blasphemous or rebellious or anything other than the way I truly feel – very doubtful. It’s the same feeling I had when I found out Santa wasn’t real and also when I found out pro wrestling was fake. This is the final leg of the trifecta.

   I would love nothing more than to have assurance of a heavenly being who knows all of what’s happening down here and eventually there will be justice for those who do good. It doesn’t look good for that though and I’m not going to count on it. I think we’re all in the trick bag and everyone is on their own. The good we do is because we want to. Period.

   I have been around religious teaching my whole life as have millions of others. I used to really believe it and take solace in knowing someday I’d be in a better place where things are all peachy and I wouldn’t have to slug it out on this wacked out planet where evil is in charge. Now I’m wondering how I was ever naïve and stupid enough to believe any of it.

   It’s not that I’m turning against God, I just don’t see that the one they told me about is a real entity. I’m having a hard time with Jesus too. Was there a real guy named Jesus? I am not really sure. The Bible talks about it but who wrote the Bible? Men. Who’s to say what anyone should believe? I for one think it’s not bad to question authority so I’m doing it.

   People get very touchy on this subject and I’m sure I’ll step on some toes. I know of one comedy booker who said he ‘couldn’t in good conscience book an atheist.’ I’m booked to work for him later this year and writing this might cause me to lose the gig but I won’t lie and be a hypocrite to get work. I’m not going to push the issue but that’s how I’m feeling.

   There are a few people I’ve met in my life who really live their religion. My friend Jerry Agar’s wife Ann is a perfect example. She is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met and she is very big into her church. She doesn’t inflict it on me and respects my space and has class in doing it. She’s never talked down to me about it and I respect her greatly for that.

   My comedian friend Preacher Moss is another one. He converted to Islam years ago and I have never met anyone who has lived his faith more diligently. He truly believes in what it stands for and he makes it the most important thing in his life. I can’t argue with that so I don’t but at least he’s respectful about it and again doesn’t force feed it down my throat.

   My grandmother dropped out of the Catholic church when I was a kid and started going to all kinds of other churches to comparison shop. I was dragged along against my will so I got to experience quite a few church situations and most of them were pretty hard to get excited about, especially as a kid. There was bad music and speakers that spoke too long.

   Then my father stopped being a biker and found Jesus instead. That made me wish he’d have lost Jesus because it made him an even bigger evil snake bastard than he was before. He’d go in and out of ‘church mode’ and say flowery prayers in church and pretend to be God’s number one biker buddy and then come home and beat on us all like rented mules.

   I remember how he bought a ring that had ‘Jesus’ engraved on it and was very proud of it. Then he would beat my brother or step mother while wearing it and I always thought of how ironic that was. He was anything but a ‘Christian’ and the more he forced us to go to church the more I questioned why we were there. We didn’t have a choice but to attend.

   As a kid I went back and forth a few times between my father’s insane world of forced religion to living with my grandmother who also fell for it. She sent me to a ‘holy rollers’ church that really knew how to put on a show. I saw some amazing performers and some of their entertainment skills were influential on what I do today. They worked that crowd.

   I will say I met some very sweet people in those years but there were also some total oil can slime balls who used the church for their own gain. This is how real life is too. There are some very nice people and then there are the snakes. It doesn’t take a church for that.

   If someone finds peace of mind and spiritual satisfaction from believing in God or Jesus or any other religious offshoot then far be it from me to shoot them down. That’s what we should have the freedom to be able to do and it’s what our country based itself on when it started. On the other hand I don’t think it’s smart to just blindly accept what we’re told.

   I did that for a while and just assumed that it would all work out according to the master plan but now I really don’t know what to think. I think we all need to be seekers of what’s true no matter how different that may be from what we thought before. That takes guts.

   There’s a very interesting website I was turned on to called www.zeitgeistmovie.com. It has a couple of movies to watch and I really didn’t feel like watching them but I started to watch one to see what it was like. I ended up watching both and they shook my head up.

   I think some force had to make the universe and all the stars and planets including this little cosmic speck we live on but it doesn’t appear to be the white robed old guy we hear of in churches, synagogues or mosques. What’s the truth? God only knows. Or does he?

Quack Like A Duck

April 12, 2009

Saturday April 11th, 2009 – Chicago, IL

   Another week of shows in the books. It seems like I was just in Kansas City but that’s a week ago now. Ancient history. There are different comics there this week and they finish up their week tonight too. Then we all move on again. It’s a big game of musical chairs.

   It really does get to be a grind after a while. Pack. Unpack. Check in. Check out. Rent a car. Return the rental car. It’s always something and it never stops. Then every week there are new faces to match with names. That’s always a challenge because they all know each other and only have to remember one name but I have to try and keep all of them straight.

   I absolutely think everyone who works at a comedy club should wear a name tag. It’s an overwhelming task to even attempt to remember the names of everyone but we have to do it anyway. It’s good business but it’s still very difficult. Every week there’s a fresh batch. Zanies in Chicago is my home club and I still don’t know everyone’s name there.

   They are always hiring new box office people or wait staff and they come and go so fast I can’t keep up with everyone. And they don’t know who I am either. It sure keeps me humble. Tonight we had three shows at Zanies.

   That’s a throwback to the old days when most of the big clubs did three on Saturday and some even did three on Friday too. That was back when most of the staffs and comics too were heavily into cocaine. Coincidence? Maybe.

   Cocaine is an insidious drug and I am SO glad I never got into that scene. It ran rampant when I was starting out not only in comedy but in people my age in general. I saw nothing to gain from it so I stayed away from that and booze too. I may not have made the correct decisions in some facets of my life but those were two smart choices I won’t ever regret.

    Three shows in one night is no easy task. I can’t imagine trying to do that high or drunk. It requires full mental concentration and it’s physically draining as well. By that last show I have to really be on the ball so I don’t end up repeating my material. It all runs together.

   The first two shows tonight were pretty good but not great in my estimation. Again, I’m pretty picky so I won’t get into the details but they were still solid shows. Both audiences were a little on the quiet and conservative side but that’s Saturday night in Chicago. They paid top dollar to see a show so they can do whatever they want. It wasn’t a train wreck.

   The third show was one of the oddest situations I’ve ever had to deal with. Some drunk moron tried to heckle me by literally quacking like a duck. No joke. At first it seemed like he may be choking on food or something but then he kept it up whenever I tried to speak. The audience started yelling at him to shut up but he wouldn’t.

   This went on for at least ten full minutes. I nailed him with some lines but he wouldn’t stop. It was just goofy and I didn’t really know what to do after the first five minutes but stand there and try to keep on going but when I did he’d start up again. A quacking duck. A drunken schmuck. My luck.

Way Too Picky

April 11, 2009

Friday April 10th, 2009 – Chicago, IL

   I’ll be the first one to admit I’m a nut. A kook. A flake. A wack job. A temperamental ’artiste’. I’m in my own world when it comes to my creativity and I see or don’t see a lot of things nobody else does. To get the good you have to take the odd. It’s a package deal.

   I really think any true artist type is like this to a certain degree. If someone is a creative being there are all kinds of ingredients required to bake that cake and sometimes it gets a little bit messy in the kitchen. The bigger the cake, the bigger the mess it took to bake it.

   I’m trying to keep my own personal mess to a minimum but it’s still there. I know that I rarely see what the public does as far as my act goes and I have to accept it even though it isn’t always easy. Sometimes I tend to forget I’m up there to make them happy before me.

   Tonight was a perfect example. I did two shows at Zanies in Chicago and hated one but loved the other. The early show was totally sold out and they were turning people away at the door. Even though it’s a smaller club that rarely happens on a Friday so I was excited.

   I started out extremely strong and felt like I was going to totally rip the roof off the joint but then about ten minutes in I made a wrong choice of material and lost my groove. I had them around the throat and they slipped out for some reason and I couldn’t figure it out.

   It’s not that the material I chose was bad or didn’t get laughs or anything like that. It got solid response but not the war whoops I got right up front. It was something only I would be able to notice but I did and it bothered me. I wanted to keep that gas pedal to the floor.

   I hung in there and kept ‘playing the hits’ the rest of the show. I didn’t vary much at all and did my tried and true bits word for word. To me that’s BORRR-inggg, but that’s what needed to be done in this situation. I had some guests come out to see me and I wanted to give them the best show I could so I wasn’t willing to take chances like I normally would.

    The late show was completely different. It was pretty full but not sold out and they were a little chatty but not in a bad way. They talked during the show but to me so I could react to it and they weren’t mean at all. I was able to work with it and build a unique show with the ingredients they added and I actually had a lot of fun doing it. I was in a good groove.

   It wasn’t a career maker show and had I recorded it I would have erased it right away so why did I like it so much? I liked the all around vibe. The audience wasn’t mean or drunk beyond coherence and they were there to be entertained. For the circumstances I felt I was able to squeeze all I could out of them and that’s very satisfying. I gave my best effort.

   I know in my heart when it’s going well and also when it isn’t. When it’s right it’s great and when it’s not it’s torture. I guess it’s like prison sex. It’s a matter of perspective. One party is usually having a lot more fun than the other even though both are involved in the same act at the same time. After it’s over each party gets to decide if it was good or not.