The Biggest Night Of My Life!

Wednesday July 22nd, 2009 – Chicago, IL

The dented can has landed! What an emotion packed experience today was and it took a lifetime of hellacious struggle to both achieve and appreciate it. Had I known back when I started it would be this difficult I have to say I may not have made it to tonight’s payoff.

But I did. And I’m thrilled. I feel like I knocked out the champ and climbed Mt. Everest by myself all in one day. I feel emotionally and physically drained right now but it’s not a bad feeling at all. It’s what Vince Lombardi talked about when someone gives their all at something and there’s nothing else left to give. After all these years I’m finally legitimate.

I really wasn’t 100% sure my segment was going to air on The Late Late Show even if I did hear from the talent coordinator yesterday. They’d switched it around a few times and I must admit I was a little apprehensive about it airing at all. Unfortunately that’s how the dented can mind thinks. We’ve been disappointed so often in life we come to expect it.

That’s not an easy pattern to break especially when it’s drilled into the very fiber of our beings as children but this wasn’t the day to think about that. I was told it would air and if it didn’t, life would still go on. I did have an appearance on CBS 2 Chicago this morning to promote the later appearance so at least I’d get to be on a local station. I was excited.

Rick Gieser is the publicist for Zanies and we’ve been friends a long time. He got me in with a phone call and I wanted to take advantage of my big night, if indeed it was to come off after all. I was on with Roseanne Tellez who is a Chicago TV icon and a total stunner.

She was even more gorgeous in person than on TV but she was also friendly, intelligent and down to earth too. This was no propped up news bimbo. She came prepared and even asked me about comedy classes, which I totally didn’t expect. I thought she was a real pro and I see why she’s stayed on TV in Chicago this long. But how does she stay so young?

It cost me $20 to park but it was an investment in my career. I received several calls that I didn’t expect from people who were watching and that alone made the trip worth a drive into the city in rainy weather and road construction. This was my day to enjoy so I wasn’t upset at all. Tomorrow I may be a schmuck again but this was my “King For A Day” day.

After the TV shot I was too late to head up to Milwaukee to be on ‘The D List’ with my friends Drew Olson and Dan Needles. I really wanted to but I couldn’t make it in time so I went home to check emails to see if I’d heard anything as to whether the show would air or not. I didn’t receive any emails from CBS so I ended up going over to the car auction.

My one Toyota Camry sold and I plan on selling the other ASAP. I need a new vibe all around in my life so I wanted to see if there was anything that might interest me. Since it was scheduled to be my network TV debut and also George Clinton’s birthday I figured it would be a good day to pick a different car and start over, which is what I did. I bought an extremely clean one owner ‘96 Toyota Corolla. It’s cherry red and very clean and I like it.

After the auction I went to have .15 chicken wings with my friend Sheri who used to be a Zanies manager in Vernon Hills. She just bought a house out in Island Lake and there is a great place there that has wing specials and they’re delicious. Sheri is fun because she’s into show business stuff and knows about comedy. She was excited about the whole deal.

I won’t deny that part of me was really afraid that it wouldn’t air at all tonight. Yes, it’s hilarious that Mr. Lucky would get bumped on his network TV debut but there’s part of a dented can’s deepest darkest brain that really does expect it. I think back to all the broken promises of my father and being abandoned by my mother and it really does bother me.

It wouldn’t have been the end of the world if they bumped it to Friday but it’s been four months since the taping and I just wanted it OVER with. I nodded out for a while just as I saw it was probably time for it to air if it indeed was going to and when I woke up I saw a pile of emails and my phone had a pile of messages and texts and I cried like a little baby.

I read email after email and text after text of congratulations and support and dare I say it…love? Damn…I don’t think I’ve ever felt love in my life and it overwhelmed me in an extremely positive way. Tears flowed down my cheeks as they kept coming and coming.

I always dreamed of this day and quite honestly I was probably ready as a comic several years ago. Mentally and spiritually this is coming at a perfect time, even though it’s a late start as far as TV debuts go. I won’t blow it though. I’m SO ready for some opportunities.

I used to dream of getting on TV only so I could ‘stick it in the ass’ of my father or that club owner in Milwaukee who to this day owes me $400. That was the wrong reason and I know that now. Are the people I’ve clashed with total bastards? A few maybe, but that’s not even something I want to think about. I want to use this achievement to spread good.

I want to inspire other dented cans to never EVER give up and acknowledge those who are great souls but may never get to experience the thrill of standing on that stage with the TV cameras rolling. It really was a tremendous thrill and it took my entire life to attain it.

This high is going to be hard to beat but I want to try. I also want to dedicate this whole experience to my grandfather, my comedy mentor C. Cardell Willis and also the funniest comedian of all time in my opinion – Rodney Dangerfield. This day was for them as well.

I also remember my friend Jimmy Miller who died of leukemia at 37 in 1993. He was a Milwaukee comic who would have LOVED to see this. This is not a time to gloat or give any attention to those who think I’m a wanker. This is a time to pay respects and be very gracious and humble and just enjoy the moment. It’s been way too long in the making.

I’m always going to be a dented can but this is a major milestone in my life. From the place I came from to the thrill of tonight is flat out miraculous. Nobody expected it and I was beginning to doubt if I’d ever get here myself but this isn’t the end. It’s a beginning. The real work can start now and that’s exactly what I intend to do for as long as I’m here.

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