Goodbye Mr. Monkey

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.

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