Archive for May, 2009

Mancow’s Karma Train

May 31, 2009

Saturday May 30th, 2009 – Chicago, IL

Slight change of plans today. I came back from the UFO Conference in Galena, IL to be live in studio with Jerry’s Kidders this morning on WGN. I could have done a phoner but it’s much better when we’re all in the studio and can see each other. The energy is better.

We really are like a band playing. Everyone has a role and that’s what’s so fun about it. We’re learning those roles well and we bounce back and forth and there is a synergy with all of us when it works correctly. Today we had a nice flow going and everyone nailed it.

It’s fun to see the people laugh outside the studio on Michigan Avenue. We’re in a glass fishbowl and lots of people are walking around at that time. They look in at us like apes at the zoo and when we wave at them they love it. We do too because we’re used to crowds.

We added a new angle to the mix today by putting musical sound cues at the end of our news stories. Personally I hated it but I didn’t hate the fact that we’re trying something. If we didn’t we’d never get better so I played along and didn’t say I didn’t like it until later.

This whole thing is a work in progress and we all know it. Putting music cues at the end of our jokes sounded good on paper and we may be able to do it occasionally in the future but not after every story like we did today. It was too much and we all knew it but nobody listening had any clue so that’s the good thing. Nobody knows we were experimenting.

That’s another part of why this is such an attractive project. Nobody was angry but after the show we had an in depth meeting of how we can make the show better. We all agree a more slickly produced show would probably sound better but we also never want to let go of our back and forth banter off the cuff. There’s a fine line and we want to tiptoe on it.

We’re still only a few weeks into this on WGN so we’re still growing anyway but that’s not an excuse for not wanting to improve this whole project from top to bottom. All of us believe in it and we genuinely enjoy hanging out not only in studio but at lunch afterward.

I heard some unsettling news that Bill Leff lost his job over at WLS. Bill is one of a few guys I know who have done both comedy and radio and done it well. I respect Bill both as a comic and a radio personality and I hate to see him lose his gig. I know he has a family.

Things like this make no sense to me. If the station is losing money in piles how does it help to fire Bill Leff? It doesn’t. Bill is a pro and deserves to be on the air somewhere. He was on the Roe Conn show. I don’t know Roe but I haven’t heard he’s a tyrant. I’d bet it’s not a clash of personalities between them but just a budget cut that really isn’t necessary.

There are a lot of nervous people in the radio business and Jerry is one of them. He’s on the air on weekends but not nearly at the salary he was making at WLS. He’s also got kids to feed and he can’t feed them on the fun we have with the Kidders on Saturday morning. Radio should be fun and it totally can be but when the ax drops the laughs fade far away.
I’ve been where Bill Leff is and I feel bad for him. It SUCKS ASS big time and not just any old one. I’m talking a big old ripe, raw, unwashed, nasty, hairy, dragged through a big pile of mud, sweaty, disease riddled pig’s ass. With a boil on one cheek and a wart on the other. And diarrhea. In a closed room. With no windows. In August. At high noon. Get it?

The guy isn’t a particularly close friend but he is a peer and we’ve known each other for probably 20 years or more. He’s paid his dues and worked very hard and I respect anyone who does that, friend or not. Entertainment is difficult but Bill has found a way to make a living for many years and if anyone knows how difficult that is I surely do. Kudos to him.

That being said, why is he off the air but a weasely low life like Mancow Miller still on the air? When I was at the Loop Manclown was VERY mean spirited to us after we were fired the week before Christmas. My partners had wives and kids to feed just as Bill does but that goof went on his low rated ‘show’ and bashed us with venom. We won’t forget it.

At one time he replaced Bill Leff and his partner Wendy Snyder who I think the world of. It was ‘Wendy and Bill’ and they were very good. Wendy is also my age and is very talented and funny and also has a family and was making an honest living doing her job.

Snakes like Mancow are everywhere in radio but he’s the longest slithering serpent of the bunch. He allegedly bought his way onto WLS in Jerry Agar’s spot and now is trying to deny that happened. I have word from more than one source that it’s true and that’s an absolutely horrible thing to do not only on his part but the station’s for letting it happen.

Wendy and Bill were doing fine as was Jerry but somehow demons like Mancow get a halfwit station manager to bite on his hype bait and the results are never pretty. Mancow’s only real talent is his ability to fool ONE idiot at a time who makes decisions in radio. He has never had talent and in fact has vampire-ized many others who do have it. It’s evil.

I think he’s a plain old bully and I never have suffered bullies well. I’ve been around for a long time and have seen a lot of bastards including my father and in my opinion he’s up there with the scummiest of the scum. Or is it down there? There’s no love lost with me.

Now I hear he’s just pulled off a lame radio stunt where he faked a waterboarding so he could drum up some publicity for his ‘show’. The guy is a chameleon and jumps on what is hot but he’s never had an identity. When Howard Stern was hot he tried to play a shock jock but couldn’t pull it off. Now he’s trying to be a talk show host and he’s over his skis.

It’s not often I get so pissed off at someone but he’s always the villain off the air in this kind of situation. I was around pro wrestling and the bad guys in the ring were always the nicest guys out of it in real life. Mancow apparently doesn’t know when the show’s over.

Jerry is out of a job because of a clown like that and so are Bill and Wendy. I’m still not over the nasty things he said about us when we got it. How classless can you get by taking pot shots at the jobless? At Christmas? The karma train has a circular track. Choo-choo!!

Inner Outer Space Circles

May 30, 2009

Friday May 29th, 2009 – Galena, IL

One of the things I’m most proud of in my life is the number of interesting communities I’ve had a chance to become part of. I’m a part of the standup comedy community and the radio community and the pro wrestling community and the sports card dealer community, at least in the Milwaukee and Chicago areas. Now I’m adding yet another one to that list.

I’m really enjoying the people I’m meeting at the Out Of This World UFO Conference and I can totally see myself becoming a part of this community too. I’m very interested in the topic and always have been and everyone here has been very friendly. I feel totally at home with these people and that doesn’t happen very often for me. I like the vibe a lot.

It starts right from the top as it usually does in every good organization. When I first did a comedy convention in Los Angeles back in the ‘90s I knew the Perret family were some of the nicest people I’ve ever met and we’re still friends today. Gene Perret is the head of the family and the convention but the whole bunch are classy people and I saw it quickly.

I’m finding the same thing here in Galena. Sam and Julie Maranto are also some of the sweetest and most sincere people I’ve come across in a long time and so are all the others I’ve met so far. They’ve associated with only top quality professionals and it’s a fun event all around. I’ve learned a lot and can see myself hanging in these circles more and more.

People who are interested in these kinds of topics get unfairly branded as kook bags and I think that really stinks. I’ll be the first to admit I’m a one man wack pack myself but it’s got nothing to do with the fact that I’m interested in learning more about the UFO scene.

I’ve never seen a flying saucer and don’t claim to be an abductee myself but I can safely say it sure is fun to eat dinner and have someone tell me they have. They had my attention from their first words and I enjoyed hearing some amazing stories. Whether or not they’re true isn’t something I can say for sure but nobody was mean and I really got a lot out of it.

I talked with some of the presenters and there is professional jealousy just like we have in comedy and I laughed when I heard about it. People are people and it’s bound to have a place in every field of endeavor. None of the weenies are here this week though and all of the people I talked to had nothing but great things to say about the Marantos. I sure agree.

They’ve got me helping out a little but basically it’s just a chance to schmooze and meet new people to be guests on the Mothership Connection. I’ve found a few already and I am glad I made it a point to come out here this week. Everything about the place is first class. If I had to take a week off of working comedy clubs this was the perfect way to handle it.

The food is wonderful and the accommodations are totally top shelf and the weather has been absolutely perfect. We all had fun today but I came back home to go do WGN in the morning with Jerry’s Kidders. Doing it on the phone makes it harder for everyone and I’d rather just drive in and do it right – but I’ll head right back to Galena for more UFO fun.

Kidders And Saucers

May 30, 2009

Thursday May 28th, 2009 – Chicago, IL/Galena, IL

Lots of running around today. First it was down to WGN in Chicago for a meeting with Jerry’s Kidders to discuss our goals. I don’t mind meeting and I don’t mind discussing but parking is insane. $23 every time we meet is a little steep but for now that’s what it costs.

We’ve got a good solid project here with a lot of potential or at least we think so. We’re a diverse team on the air and we get along off of it so that’s a good start. We’re on one of the most known broadcast entities in North America every week and that helps us as well.

What will really put this over is marketing and that’s what we met about today. Kipper McGee joined us and had a lot to add. He was our program director at WLS and he’s flat out brilliant. He not only likes us he sees the future extremely well. He’s a valuable ally.

He’s the one who suggested we get together and talk about where we’re going with this project. He wants us to be on myspace and facebook and have a ‘Kidder Twitter’ to share with our fans every day. We also talked about a website and things we need or don’t need.

Jerry will make the final decision on all of this and that’s great because the three comics don’t seem to see eye to eye on where we’re going. Ken and Tim and I are not always in a unanimous agreement on what we should do and that can rip a group apart. It did with the Chicago Style Standups because there was no real leader there. It was a lot of bickering.

We’ll keep that to a minimum because Jerry will make a final call and that will be it. As long as we’ve been a group that’s been our rule and it’s worked out very well. We’re all a team and since this is Jerry’s thing we agreed to have his word be the governing decider.

One thing we all agree on is we need to keep doing solid shows and try to improve each time we go on the air. We want to include more production value and make it a package a syndication company would find attractive but that’s down the road a bit. For now we are all on the same page and I hope we stay that way. We all really enjoy being a part of this.

After the meeting I headed out west to Galena for the big UFO Conference at the Eagle Ridge Resort. I always thought Galena was the prettiest part of Illinois but that really isn’t saying much. If Illinois didn’t have Chicago it would be worse than Indiana and Iowa put together. Galena is much like western Wisconsin in that it‘s hilly and pleasing to the eye.

The Eagle Ridge Resort is beautiful. Sam Maranto and his wife Julie are super nice and I’m in a fantastic four bedroom lodge with them and Richard Dolan who is a speaker this weekend. He was also on the Mothership Connection last week and was absolutely great.

He’s about my age and has been in this business for 15 years. Apparently there are a lot of these kinds of conferences and it’s a circuit just like comedy clubs are. He said he does about one a month and also some local stuff in Rochester, NY where he’s from. I learned a lot by listening and he’s a fascinating speaker. This is all new to me and I’m enjoying it.

The Cosmic Comedian?

May 28, 2009

Wednesday May 27th, 2009 – Lake Villa, IL

My head is spinning from all the thinking I’ve been doing lately. I’m trying to carve out a path through the mountain of projects that is piling up in my life and it isn’t easy. When I work on one thing I leave all the others sit idle. I spent today trying to organize myself.

The way to do it in my opinion is to make a list of the things I want to continue working on and then figure out the steps of action to take all the way down to the tiniest detail. I’m at my best when I’m busy but there does come a point of overwhelm. I’m getting close.

Comedy is an example of something on that list. There are a lot of steps involved in the process other than being funny. I’m funny enough to get bookings and that’s dangerous as it doesn’t force me to move ahead. I don’t really have to work on my act other than going on stage somewhere halfway decent and I get enough stage time to not have to hunt for it.

That breeds complacency quite honestly. A lot of comedians fall into that trap and I can totally see why. There are so many things going on offstage and eventually life gets in the way that working on the act gets to be the last priority. I don’t want that to be my excuse.

Yes things are hectic in life but I don’t think there should ever be a growth stoppage on stage for a performer. Not for a good one anyway. I’ve got all kinds of ideas and concepts to polish and I need to get a system down where I can bring some of them out regularly to get started on them. I’ve been doing very strong shows lately but not working on growing.

I also have been lax at booking myself like I should. Like I said I get enough calls to get booked enough to stay alive but I’m really not pushing toward that brass ring of great gigs that I know I can do. I want to work soft seat theatres and Las Vegas and tour constantly.

Before I do that I need to set up an infrastructure of other things first like an online class and a mail order business that can be handled by a fulfillment house when I’m away. This is all stuff that needs to be sorted out and built from the ground up and takes time and lots of thought to execute it properly. It’s like a big puzzle and some pieces have to go first.

Besides all that I’m also interested in continuing the Mothership Connection radio show and all that goes with it. I love the flavor of it and I know I’m able to pull it off. I’d like to fill in on Coast To Coast AM at some point and be known in those circles as a comedian.

This week I’m attending a UFO Conference in Galena, IL put on by Sam Maranto. I met Sam as a guest on the radio show and he asked if I wanted to be a part of the ‘Out Of This World UFO Conference’. With a name like that I had to say yes. I can‘t wait to get there.

There will be some of the top names in that field there including my friend Don Schmitt and also Stanton Friedman who is the dean of that subject. I watched a video of his to get ready and it totally blew me away. I love stuff like this and it could be a whole new group of fans to market myself to. The title of ‘paranormal comedian’ is wide open. I’d love it.

Planning My Execution

May 27, 2009

Tuesday May 26th, 2009 – Lake Villa, IL

What the hell do I do now? I have all kinds of half baked projects lying around undone in various stages of completion and I don’t really have a solid game plan as to how to get myself to change that scenario. Not good. Staying like this will lead to more of the same.

I absolutely have to make a change of how I go about doing things. I thought about that today as I took yet another lap in the Gurnee Mills Mall. Walking is a great way to scrub out the garbage can of my brain and I’m learning to really like it. I use it as private time.

It feels like I accomplished something both physically and mentally at the end of a walk and it builds momentum for whatever else I do that day. I’m finding I can’t always fit in a morning scamper before I start my day but that seems to be the ideal time, at least for me.

The main thing is that I’m at least thinking about it and sometimes actually doing it. I’m still not where I want to be but at least I’m not avoiding it altogether. That would be a big mistake and I’ve made enough of those in my life. How’s about being smart for a while?

As I was walking I realized that I’ve bitten off quite a mouthful with all the projects I’m working on but I do enjoy all of them so that’s the situation I need to make work. I have a limited amount of time but it’s the same amount everyone else gets so I need to use mine as efficiently as humanly possible while still allowing myself to breathe and have a life.

I also realized I don’t really have a solid battle plan written out that I can look at when I get sidetracked, which happens almost daily if not several times a day. I do get work done on a lot of things and I love doing it but having not only no written plans but also no solid deadlines is asking for failure and I don’t want that. I need to totally regroup immediately.

My brain felt like a blender on ‘puree’ as I got idea after idea walking through the mall. I never have a problem getting ideas – it’s the EXECUTION of them that’s been the issue. Ideas are not the key to success as much as many people believe it. It’s pulling them off.

How can I pull off an idea if I don’t have a goal written down or a deadline in place? I’ll keep farting around with this stuff forever if I don’t change that and today I realized that’s exactly what I need to do. I want to have a physical book of things to do that I can look at every day and burn that plan into the inner fiber of my being so I can make it come alive.

I’ve been having a lot of fun lately but I’ve also been drifting. I know in my heart I have a lot more to give and can do way better than I have been and I won’t be satisfied until an exact plan is in place that I can use to make the most of every day I have left in this life.

Another thing I realize is that I can’t do it alone. I need to build several teams that I can be a part of so progress can be made when I’m doing something else. Jerry’s Kidders is a great team and so are the people on the Mothership Connection radio show in Kenosha. If I keep surrounding myself with those kind of people I’ll do great. But I need a battle plan.

A Memorable Memorial

May 26, 2009

Monday May 25th, 2009 – Milwaukee, WI

I’ve said it before and I meant it – one thing I will never joke around about is how I have the utmost respect and gratitude for my freedoms as an American. I know there was a cost paid by countless soldiers who gave their lives in battle. There’s nothing funny about that.

It’s very easy to lose that fact and I almost did today as I was in traffic and some old fart was taking up every lane on the road with his Buick road yacht and pissing everyone off. I was in a hurry and so was everyone else but this dude wasn’t about to let any of us pass.

Finally when I was able to make my way around him I noticed he had Disabled Veteran plates on his car and I backed off from blasting on the horn. He had glasses about as thick as the bullet proof steel in the tank he was driving and his remaining days on earth looked to be in the low single digits. The last thing I need is a war with Wilford Brimley‘s father.

I wondered whether this guy was a war hero and protected several generations with the things he did on the battlefield in WWII or was he some slug who tripped and fell drunk as he was stealing wallets from dead Germans? Either way he was at the end of his line.

I didn’t think it was my duty to blast the horn and flip off someone who may have had a rough life because he had to go fight in a war when he was 18. I support the troops always but I will never support any war. I think it’s stupid and ugly and nobody is ever a winner.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people I’m not fond of and if a few of them took a bullet or sixty I wouldn’t shed many tears. What I’m saying is I don’t want to be the one to do the shooting. I think the best way to ‘win’ any war is to stay away from an enemy.

That may not work in all scenarios but on paper it surely does. If everyone stays in their own country and handles their own situations there would never be any wars. If the Arabs and the Jews would both agree to leave the Middle East forever the bullets would all stop flying and maybe we could focus on living productive lives instead of killing each other.

‘Holy land?’ My ass. Shouldn’t ALL land be holy? If God made the whole planet there shouldn’t be any place holier than the next but that’s my own opinion and evidently it’s a view that isn’t shared by many others – at least not those in charge of the war department.

Think of all the people who would have been able to live good lives who got shot down before they had the chance. I know I sound like a hippie idealist but I mean it. It makes an unbelievable amount of sense to me and if it were so we wouldn’t need a Memorial Day.

All those people wouldn’t have been snuffed out. Maybe that old coot who made traffic a living hell today would have not had to go to war and in turn not been so stressed so as he wouldn’t have had to buy such a big Buick that blocked so many people on a nice day. But I digress. What the hell do I know anyway? I know this is Memorial Day and war is a reality and people did give up their lives so I could write these words freely. Thank you.
The reason I was in traffic was because I was going to the Milwaukee Brewers game at Miller Park against the St. Louis Cardinals. I haven’t been to a game in a while and it was a nice day so I decided to call the woman I like in Milwaukee and see if she wanted to go.

I know she likes baseball and was off from work and she has a six year old son and two teenage daughters who also love the Brewers. She’s been stressed out at work lately and it isn’t easy for her to take the kids to a game so I wanted to spread a little kindness around.

The tickets were pretty expensive but they were excellent seats and I put it on my credit card so the pain won’t kick in for at least a month. Only one of her daughters could go but she was thrilled to be asked and her son brought his glove and was in his own little world. We sat in the sun and enjoyed the game and it almost felt like the family I always wanted.

A lady next to me opened her purse and took out a Tootsie Pop sucker and gave it to me and said “Give this to your son.” She assumed it was my family and I have to say it really felt good to hear her say that. I thanked her and just tried to enjoy the whole experience.

I totally did. Yes it will cost me some money I don’t really have right now but the vibe was very positive the whole day. I bought a program and had us all sign it and they liked that idea a lot. I told them to save it and have something to look at many years from now.

It wasn’t easy sitting at a ball game with a teenage girl and a six year old boy as they did what teenage girls and six year old boys do. The girl was taking pictures constantly of the players she thought were cute and was extremely upset that J.J. Hardy didn’t play as he is her love crush of all time for this week. She’s a sweet kid though and she really loved it.

The six year old boy was bouncing off the walls as all of them do and couldn’t sit still a single inning. He ate snacks the whole day and one of them was cotton candy which shot his sugar level to the moon but again that’s part of being a little boy. I know he had fun.

It tested my patience a little but it also was a lot of fun to just sit and hang out and be in a position I don’t get to be in all that often. I’m not the kids’ dad and I’m not the woman’s husband but I got to play the role for a day and I really enjoyed it. It’s something I’ve had a big desire to do my whole life and I know it’s not all fun and games but for a day it was.

After the game we went to her house and I played catch with the kid for a while as pizza was baking in the oven. The kid couldn’t throw it anywhere near me so it wasn’t really an actual game of catch for about ten minutes but eventually we straightened it out and got a little rhythm going. I showed him how to throw and catch and he caught on very quickly.

The whole scene felt REALLY good. The first time I told him he made a good catch his eyes lit up and I realized we’d already played longer than I ever had a chance to play with my own father who never threw even one ball with me. Ever. I can’t change that now but I can at least say for a day I got to act like a dad and I liked it. We’ll see if it goes farther. The woman and I are just taking it easy and seeing where it goes. So far it’s going well.

Personal Evolution

May 26, 2009

Sunday May 24th, 2009 – Lake Villa, IL

I’m still on a high from this week in Appleton. Everything went like it was supposed to or at least how I thought it was supposed to and I couldn’t be any more pleased. I feel like it was a graduation of sorts because it‘s taken years to prepare myself onstage and off and this was the week where it all came together. Symbolically and literally I really nailed it.

It’s kind of like another chapter in my life is closing and I need to move on. I set out to be a road comic way back when and my vision was to be a strong headliner that would be able to blow audiences away in every situation. I’ve come about as close to achieving that as is humanly possible although it came with a great price. Now I need a new goal in life.

Oh, I’ll still do comedy shows. That will never change. As long as I’m alive I can’t see myself not wanting to perform – especially under circumstances like there were this week. I just need to have a different life objective. I’m evolving in many ways so this is natural.

When I started I was a young punk and an angry one at that. I was looking to prove to a lot of people including myself I had something to offer the world. I wanted to be a comic but I have to admit some of it was for the wrong reasons. I wanted to stick it in the ass of people I thought had slighted me and that’s never the right reason but I’m past that now.

I learned a lot of lessons and many of them well. Many more were learned not only the hard way but a way that had never been tried before. I made some mistakes people STILL talk about to this day so I guess that says something. When I went I went big. Now I need to go in a totally new direction with a new destination locked in my head for the journey.

When I started in comedy there were a lot of unanswered questions. Was I good enough to achieve what I wanted? Would I be able to survive? Did I have the stamina to stay with it and never give up? All those answers turned out to be yes but I didn’t know that then. It was a choppy and uneven trip with a lot of rough spots and I don’t want to do that again.

I want to focus my life on kindness and giving. I know that sounds corny and staged but I totally mean it. I’m not ever going to be all that I dreamed of mainly because it’s too late for that now. I missed a lot of chances through the years for different reasons and now it’s a matter of piecing together a salvaged life from the chunks of wreckage that are all over.

It’s not my main goal to be famous and in fact I’m ok if I’m not. I want to be known by a core group of fans, yes. That doesn’t mean I want to have to rent a theatre like Elvis so I can watch a movie. That’s a curse, not a blessing. I want to make my life shine with those who are on a path to be students of the truth like me. It’s a lot deeper than comedy clubs.

I like to think I’m a lot deeper too. I love comedy and I still enjoy performing but I need to find another passion to take me through the rest of my life. I achieved the comedy level I aimed for when I started and this week was the culmination of that. Fame does not have anything to do with it. I know in my heart I did it. I passed the test. Time for the next one.

Goodbye Mr. Monkey

May 24, 2009

Saturday May 23rd, 2009 – Appleton, WI

What a night. What a club. What a blast. What a relief. Part of me is extremely glad that this week is finally in my rear view mirror. It’s taken too many years to get here but now I can finally put this whole mess behind me and that’s a big victory I never thought I’d get.

This whole week has been a fantastic experience on every level. I have worked comedy clubs all over North America and I’d have to honestly say I’ve never been to a club I liked more than this one. From top to bottom it’s one of the most well run clubs I’ve ever seen.

The more I got to know the owner Cliff the more I liked and respected the guy. He’s flat out smart and an excellent business man who knows what it takes to run his business and he executes it perfectly. This place ROCKS. The audiences are trained well and everyone on the staff is polite and fun and the vibe in the club was upbeat and positive every night.

All the little details were taken care of from the subtlety of the lighting both onstage and off to the pre show music selection to the announcements before, during and after. All the shows started EXACTLY on time to the minute and the checks aren’t dropped until after the show is over. This is a dream club and if every place was run like this I’d be ecstatic.

It was also especially fun to work with Emily Galati and Jim Flannigan this whole week because they are both hungry to get better. We went out and sat for a couple of hours in a coffee shop and worked on their bits this afternoon and that was really fun. I can’t recall a time in recent memory when both other comics actually wanted to go work on comedy.

Tonight’s shows were off the hook once again. These crowds and I click extremely well partially because I’m in many ways one of them. My grandmother was from Shawano and that’s not far from here at all. I could drop local references that blew them away each time but I know this area and it was easy. I let it all go both shows tonight and it was orgasmic.

Giving everything on stage has to be similar to what Vince Lombardi talked about how an athlete feels after giving everything on the football field. Granted, audiences don’t hit back but I was drenched in sweat after both shows and I felt physically drained afterward.

I leaned into it and let it rip and when I do that I’m all over the stage. I like to jump and run and kick and do whatever it takes to punctuate my thoughts and the more they pop the more I want to give them. Tonight they were with me all night and I gave them all I had.

People lined up to tell me I was the funniest guy they’d ever seen and I shook each one of their hands and said thanks. The chance to have them come up to me took years to get so I wanted to enjoy every person that enjoyed my shows this week. I sat there gratefully.

This was more than a monkey off my back. This was King Kong on steroids. I was able to prove to Cliff and myself and even the other guy who hated me so much that I am very capable of working not only this club but any good club in America. I really needed this.
After the late show I went upstairs to the office to get paid as is customary at the end of the week at a club and Cliff and I had some one on one time as I was filling out my forms for the IRS. He was very complimentary and said I did a fantastic job and that he’d gladly have me back in the future. He also said “All that other stuff is water under the bridge.”

I wanted to start crying right there because that’s exactly what I needed to hear. It felt as though someone just pulled a thorn out of my paw after years of having it fester and cause me excruciating pain. I never wanted to have any wars with anyone and to have been kept from a wonderful place like this really bothered me for a long time. Now all that is gone.

Cliff said his partner was the one that put all that stuff out there and he never thought to doubt him and see for himself. I said I knew it was a buyer’s market and he didn’t have to because there are more than enough capable bodies to fill the spots and we both know it.

If there’s going to be a war of clubs in this town my money is on Cliff all the way. I feel badly about the split they had and I really wish I could at least get to meet the other guy so I could put any ill feelings he has to rest as well. He may not book me but that’s not why I want to do it. I want to just end the hostility. If I get booked here it will be at Cliff’s club.

Do these things happen for a reason? Who the hell knows? I missed out on fifteen years of working a fantastic club right in my own home state. Indirectly it’s a result of sending the Crisco package to that cretin in Milwaukee who had the benefit for me and decided to keep the money for himself. I still think he’s a prong but I should have kept it to myself.

I’m not ever going to live that Crisco package down. There was a guy last night in fact who came up to me after the show and sat next to me and got right in my face. I could see he was a little drunk and he looked extremely pissed off. He said “So YOU’RE the prick that thinks it’s funny to send a Crisco package to a guy who just had a heart attack, eh?”

He looked a little greasy and I didn’t want to start anything so I just pretended like I had not heard him and said “Excuse me?” His eyes narrowed and he said “YOU know.” I said I didn’t think I knew what he was talking about and he said “Oh, sorry. I must have found the wrong guy.” Then he got up and left. That was really odd and it made me feel uneasy.

Maybe he really didn’t know it was me. I wear glasses offstage and many times people I talk to after a show don’t recognize me right away. It’s like Clark Kent. Does he look that different from Superman? I don’t think so but everyone else seems to. I get it all the time. That guy had a few drinks so maybe he thought he had the wrong guy after all. Whatever.

He was probably a henchman of that goof in Milwaukee. Let it be. I heard the guy had a stroke recently and everyone was waiting for me to send him something again. No way. It was a huge mistake and I’m still paying for it even though I think the guy is a total wank.

That’s not my problem anymore. I am thrilled to have been able to be here this week to turn a bad situation into good after fifteen years. No more Crisco packages from this kid.

Harvesting Happiness

May 23, 2009

Friday May 22nd, 2009 – Milwaukee, WI/Appleton, WI

Does anyone really know what true happiness is? I think it’s up to everyone to come up with their own personal definition of what exactly that is and then have the guts to try and achieve whatever it is they decide. As for me I’m coming delightfully close to finding it.

These last few days have been absolutely fantastic on a lot of levels. From the gorgeous weather to all the fun things I’ve been doing lately I feel like I’m back in sync with all my positive creative energy. I’m living life as it comes day to day and enjoying every minute.

Today was another grand slam from morning until midnight. I had to get up to do radio on three stations but fortunately they were all in the same building. Cliff the club owner is a very sharp guy and we had a nice visit on the way over there. He’s totally on the ball.

He went into a little bit of the situation he has to deal with and opened up very nicely. It wasn’t strained at all and at the station I ended up telling him the infamous Crisco story to at least let him hear my side of it. He actually liked it and it turns out he wasn’t the one to keep me from working here all these years. He bought into the business after it opened.

Whatever the case we’re getting along fine this week and a mutual respect is developing on both ends. He can see I know what I’m doing on stage and I can sure see he’s got a top notch business acumen that he’s developed into a fantastic club. I totally love this place.

Whether I come back here or not is obviously up to him at this point. I think I’ll have an opportunity to return at some point but even if I don’t I had the chance to get this big long ugly mess straightened out and prove myself to be a quality act and a quality person too.

The radio experience this morning was also very positive. The first station I was on is a husband and wife morning team named Doug and Mary on ‘Kiss FM’. I’m sure they have to put the comedians on because someone told them to and maybe it might not be the best fit for what they do but they were super nice and we got along great. They were genuine.

It’s got to be extremely tough to do a morning show and be married at the same time so I didn’t want to make their lives any more difficult. Neither project is easy but doing both must be like pushing two freight trains so kudos to them both. They have my full support.

The next stop was the Rick and Len morning show on WAPL “The Rockin’ Apple”. If there’s a more laid back and fun morning show to be on I’ve never been on it. They are in a class with my favorite shows of all time like Brother Wease in Rochester, NY and a few others but a very precious few. Not that many people in radio can handle comedians well.

Rick and Len love it and it shows. I was on the show a couple of years ago and we had a great time. Rick was on vacation today but Len took over and we picked up where we left off the last time I was on. They have a strong following and deservedly so. These guys are legends up in these parts and I could tell that when people started to call when I came on.
Several of them remembered me from the last time I was on and I didn’t believe it until one guy started repeating what I was talking about then. It was about my car accident and he related the story back to me better than I can probably tell it now since it’s been such a long time since I told it. It totally blew me away that more than one person remembered.

How can it not be fun to sit in a top rated morning show with a guy who likes comedy? Len was great and set me up perfectly and Rick’s fill in was a guy named Ross Maxwell. It all just fit in perfectly and the hour really went by quickly. This is how radio should be.

I thought I was finished but I spent the 9am hour on “The Razor” with another good guy named Elwood. His show is called “Morning Wood” which is one of the funniest names I have ever heard. He’s totally into radio and in a good way. He loves it and it shows in his delivery. He has passion and I always love to be around people like that. I stayed an hour.

Cliff was saying on the way out that he likes dealing with the stations because there are such good people at all of them and I totally agree. This was one of the most productively fun three in a row radio shots I think I’ve ever done. They treated me like a big star and it sure felt good. I appreciated every bit of it and I especially enjoyed the lack of radio BS.

These were a bunch of real people who happened to work in radio and I would enjoy an opportunity to talk with them whether it was on the air or in the air on a plane. There’s no pressure or big time Hollywood attitudes flying around and I‘d work up here in a second.

Afterward I had already made a commitment to drive down to Milwaukee to be on with my friend Drew Olson on “The D List” on ESPN 540. That’s always fun but today was an even bigger treat because it was ‘Free Food Friday’ where a restaurant comes in and gives a party and then Drew and Dan Needles talk about it on the air. Dan had a day off today.

Too bad for Dan. Too good for me! The restaurant today was a new seafood place that’s absolutely spectacular. They brought a huge lobster and crab legs and ahi tuna and a perch that would make a mermaid blush. What a spread of food and then I got to hang on the air with Drew and a former major leaguer named Paul Wagner who’s also a hell of a fun guy.

This is exactly what I love to do – hang out with good people and have FUN. If it’s on a radio station even better and today I got a chance to really stretch out and let it rip. I can’t remember a day when I’ve had so much fun on air with so many different people on such a variety of stations. I loved every minute of it and I knew as it went on how cool this is.

This kind of thing doesn’t happen every day so when it does I’m very grateful. I enjoyed being with friends and I also got to do comedy shows tonight as well. The early show was a little weird and even Cliff noticed it. They were strange but it didn’t suck. It just was.

The late show was a MONSTER. Wow, what a crowd. It was electric and I could do no wrong. What a feeling! I never get sick of it. It may only be in a limited capacity and only in certain areas but I’m getting to live my dreams and if that isn’t happiness then what is?

No Bad News Today

May 22, 2009

Thursday May 21st, 2009 – Appleton, WI

Good vibes are bouncing off the walls this week and I’m not complaining. I’m enjoying the spring weather and everything else about my experience here in Appleton so far. If the whole comedy business was like this we’d all be in a much better place. They get it here.

The audience tonight was even hotter than last night’s crowd if that’s possible. This was about as fun as it can get because I was in charge from the first ten seconds and I was able to take them anywhere I wanted. I was having fun and so were they and the time flew by.

I relaxed and put it on cruise control but I still punctuated my punch lines and acted out my bits and just had a blast on stage. I felt like a kid doing yo yo tricks and I was totally at home because these people were cheese head Wisconsinites just like me. I’m one of them and I knew what to say and when to say it. On a scale of 1 to 10 I give them a perfect 10.

I’m usually an extremely harsh critic and especially hard on myself but tonight I loved it  and felt great from start to finish. I could tell by the firm handshakes after the show that it resonated with the audience like I thought it did and people asked for autographs and also pictures so I felt like a big star. I shook every hand and thanked them and I really meant it.

Earlier in the day I was ecstatic to see the first draft of my CD cover that Pedro Bell and his crew of artists are working on. It’s exactly how I pictured it to be and I’m thrilled that I spent the money and did this. I realize most people who might like me have no idea who Pedro Bell or George Clinton are or what a Funkadelic album cover looks like but I do.

That’s all that really matters. It surely will stand out even to those who have no idea and I’ll be able to enjoy it as long as I live. WAY worth the investment to me and if I had it to do over again I still would do it. It looks great and this is only the pencil draft. There will be lots of bright colors in the final version and I’m sure it will look even better. I love it.

I’m also loving working with Emily Galati and Jim Flannigan this week. They’re really easy to deal with and the show builds like a comedy show should. Emily is still a tiny bit green but she’ll be fine and she already showed improvement from last night to tonight.

Jim Flannigan is impressing the hell out of me. He’s a close friend of one of my former students Vince Carone who also impresses me greatly. They’re both as hungry to succeed as I was when I was their age and it’s a pleasure to watch them both develop into full time professional comedians. They’re both good people and I’m very proud of both of them.

Jim has a day job in sales and is excellent at it but it’s also helping his comedy develop. I see the huge progress he’s made and he will only get better. He did a fine job tonight as he did last night and we also had a good time hanging out this afternoon. This kid rocks.

All in all this week is low pressure, just like I wanted it to be. Tomorrow I have to be on a couple of radio shows to promote the weekend but that’s fine with me. I’m having fun.