A Thrill And A Drill

Tuesday July 21st, 2009 – Chicago, IL

Got the magic word today from the new talent coordinator that my spot is scheduled for tomorrow night, July 22nd. She asked me for intro information and said it still my change but as of now that’s when it was scheduled to go. This is the first time I heard from her so I’ll take her word and plan accordingly. At this point I’m just thrilled it will finally be on.

I’m trying to line up my ducks so I can hit the ground running when I get the DVD. I’m hoping the show will send me one but if they don’t I’ll be prepared anyway. I bet I’ll have at least fifty or more people recording it for me so I’m not worried about getting a copy.

I had lunch with Marc Schultz today and he’s as or more excited about all of this than I am. He wants to get a copy of the set so he can send it out to people he’s been telling so it strikes while the iron is hot. Hopefully it will lead to more corporate work and I know it’s never going to hurt to have a current national TV credit to sell to bigger paying buyers.

Marc thinks he can start selling me to places that have booked older acts and want to try some new blood. I’m the youngest of the older comics and am at a point in my life where I can start doing higher paying gigs I never could before just because I wasn’t in the same age demo. That’s one of the good parts about getting older, there’s more money involved.

After meeting with Marc I went to meet with one of my former students Bob Williams, aka “Wilbur”. Bob is a comedy lifer even though he stopped performing years ago to be a husband and father and live a ‘normal’ life. Like all lifers, he kept returning to comedy in one way or another over the years and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that at all.

I’ve taught a lot of closet comedy lifers over the years and I always tell them it’s totally fine to be one. Many times spouses or parents or siblings or children can be the worst for providing support of a comic’s dream. In a way it’s not their fault because they just don’t get it. On the other hand it can be cruel and painful so I always try to encourage the lifers.

Wilbur is flat out FUNNY. He really is. I’ve known the guy for many years now and he lives, eats and breathes comedy. He loves everything about it, maybe too much. I’ve had a lot of students that really love comedy and I enjoy being around them but unfortunately in the real world most people don’t get that deep into the inner workings of the laugh game.

I can sit and talk with Wilbur about comedy because he’s studied it and even though it’s more of a hobby than a career it doesn’t mean he isn’t passionate about it because he sure is and that’s what we talked about over one of the best hamburgers I’ve had in a long time at a place called Brandt’s in Palatine, IL. It was very enjoyable on many levels as we met.

Wilbur has been contributing jokes to the Jerry’s Kidders bit on WGN and has been one of our strongest writers. Many people have been sending stuff and I appreciate all of them but a few have really stood out like Mark Matusof in Washington D.C. and Tony Boswell in North Carolina. Wilbur is another one. These people have been consistently hilarious.
I want to hire a guy like Wilbur to not only write for Jerry’s Kidders but also for Uranus Factory Outlet too. He thinks funny and can crank out lines that could be bumper stickers or t-shirts and he’s done it for other companies in the past. I really have a solid respect for the guy’s talent and I wanted to meet up with him and start putting together a solid team.

This is my one secret weapon that nobody can ever take away. I can spot the funny in an instant and know how to squeeze the most out of it. George Clinton talked about having a talent for working with the craziest musicians around and getting the most from them. I’m able to nurture comic talent and Wilbur is a guy I want on the team. We can both benefit.

I had time to meet with Wilbur because I had to be in the city for my latest dental ordeal and didn’t want to drive all the way home and turn right around a couple of hours later for another trip. I used my time wisely and showed up dead on for my 7pm torture treatment.

I can’t lie, I absolutely DESPISE sitting in that dental chair. I’ve done it all too much in my life and I’m WAY over it at this point. I dislike everything about it from that blinding light shining in my eyes to the sharp metal walnut picker the dentist uses to poke around my gums like he’s trying to pop the yolk on a sunny side up egg to the sound of the drill.

That’s where the real torture comes in. First it’s the needle that ‘might bother just a bit’ which feels like a vaulting pole being rammed into my jaw. Then it’s the feeling of being poked like a potato about to be put in the microwave. Then that drill just adds the whole feeling of what hell must really be like. How ‘bout that smell of burning teeth? Mmmm.

Better yet, how’s about that feeling of when the drill goes all the way into the cavity so deep that it gets stuck? The vibration goes all the way down through every single nerve in the body and it stays there for the rest of the appointment. And who hasn’t felt that stinger when the Novocain hasn’t quite taken full affect yet? I felt it today and it made me flinch.

My dentist really is a good guy though. I like him personally and he’s a total pro who is very respected in his field. Since he and his wife are Russian he has a few others working there too. The dentist who worked on me tonight was a Russian woman who was actually very friendly even though she didn’t tell me her name. She was competent but it still hurt.

I broke the filling right at the gum line and have to go back on Monday to get it looked at again to determine the extent of the damages. Tonight I just had it cleaned and refilled so it wouldn’t hurt anymore but I cringe at the thought of what it’s all going to cost me.

Jerry Agar called as I was driving home and we met up for a hot dog to discuss ideas for Jerry’s Kidders. I had a hard time eating the hot dog with half my face frozen and it might end up being a funny scene in a movie someday but for now it was yet another big hassle.

Lots of things are bubbling and brewing right now. I can feel it all rumbling and it’s still overwhelmingly positive. Getting on national TV is a big step and I’m very grateful for an opportunity this late in the game. Most people never get it at all. Now the fun really starts.

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