Archive for July, 2009

The Undisputed Tooth

July 21, 2009

Monday July 20th, 2009 – Chicago, IL

What’s THE absolute last thing I want to deal with in my complicated life right now? Is it a violent uncontrollable outbreak of explosive diarrhea? Nope. How about a case of the cooties? Sorry. Maybe it’s a blind date with a transvestite orangutan? Guess again. Of all the things I can’t stand dealing with, dental pain is my worst nightmare. That‘s the killer.

I’ve had enough of that for six lifetimes but it looks like I’m getting another large dose for good measure. I broke yet another filling today and it’s pure and absolute torture right now. It’s broken off right at the gum line and the throbbing pain reminds me I’m alive on a planet I still can’t figure out. I thought I’d be over this by now but it just keeps coming.

I couldn’t get a dental appointment today so I’ll have to wait until 7pm tomorrow when they can squeeze me in at my dentist’s office. I really respect him and would rather he get the business but I have no idea where I’m going to get the money to pay him. This stinks.

No matter how much I whine, moan, piss or complain it isn’t going to change anything. It happened. Now I have to fix it. There’s never a good time for something like this but it is especially rotten timing because of the Craig Ferguson appearance. That’s my focus or at least it was until I heard my tooth snap. That got my complete and undivided attention.

I have no idea how much damage there is but right now it’s as painful as I’ve had in my mouth since the 4th of July last year when I ended up having to have a root canal for more money than I think should be spent for two cars. If it’s that again I’m going to be screwed.

I know I just wrote a few days ago how things were getting positive and I’m trying to be that way now but I have to be honest and say it isn’t easy. I wish all this could be over and done with and I could have a few years of enjoyment but there’s never a guarantee of that.

Then I get an email today from my new friend Juliette that CBS has changed it back so I’m once again on Friday the 24th as it was in the first place. I don’t even want to start my thoughts on that because I just sent out a notice saying it was changed in the first place.

Now I’m going to look like a bigger idiot by switching it back again even though I have nothing to do with it and none of it was my call. My tooth hurts so badly I don’t want it to cloud my thinking and I’m going to let it rest for a while until I get to the dentist and have this taken care of. Whether I ever get on TV or not this is a problem that won’t heal itself.

I remember reading a story where David Letterman’s pickup truck blew a transmission right as he got his television deal. One minute he was worried about how he’d be able to get his transmission fixed and the next he was signing a network television deal. Strange.

Maybe it’ll be that way for me too. Or not. I have no idea right now other than my tooth is throbbing harder by the minute. I’m going to get some sleep if I can and start tomorrow to see if I can actually find out what the true air date is. This sure wasn’t what I expected.

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A Dented Can Reunion

July 20, 2009

Sunday July 19th, 2009 – Harris, MI

The north woods two lane highway tour continues. The weather was picture perfect as we wound our way even farther north on wiggly roads from Manitowish Waters on U.S. Highway 51 to U.S. 2 in Ironwood, MI. Then we turned right and headed toward Harris.

The U.P. of Michigan feels like it’s own country to me. There aren’t any big cities and most of it is connected with two lane roads that wind through thick woods. There are lots of houses that look to be in various stages of disrepair and rarely if ever does one see any hint of a foreign car on the road. It’s very noticeable and I pointed it out to Steve Purcell.

Steve drives a Pontiac Bonneville so we fit right in. There are all kinds of old American hulks rotting in front yards all through the U.P. and I guess it could be best described as a far northern version of Alabama or Mississippi. The necks here would be blue rather than red though because of the cold weather. At least rednecks can wear Daisy Dukes all year.

The gig tonight was at the Island Casino in Harris, MI. That’s about 13 miles outside of Escanaba, which is the second largest city in the U.P. It’s not really a city though, there is only a population of 13,000 so it’s like more like a big small town. I’ve been through here enough to know it’s the place to stop to go to the bathroom and gas up on my way home.

I’ve done shows at the Island Casino several times now and each time it gets better and better. They’re building on to the casino and hotel so they must be doing well and there’s a pretty nice turnout for the comedy nights from what I hear from the staff. It’s not so bad even though the crowds get in for free. Casino gigs pay decent money so I‘ll take them.

I have a cousin named Wendy who I haven’t seen since I was probably seven or eight and we’ve been emailing back and forth of late. She loves the Island Casino and saw that I’d be performing there and wanted to get together. She likes to go up with a group a few times a year. One of those people is her older sister Lynn so we made it a family reunion.

Wendy brought her husband and daughter and her boyfriend and another friend. Lynn brought her husband and we all had dinner before the show. I really didn’t know what to expect but they couldn’t have been any nicer and they totally understood the dented can concept. We talked about how hard it is to break the chain but we’re all trying to do it.

Their father and my grandfather were brothers so we are second cousins. They both told me how my grandfather was their favorite and shared stories of how he was nice to them when they were kids. That made me want to be nice to even more people because it lasts.

The show was very fun and there was a full crowd of good laughers. I also had visitors from my step mother’s family who are from Iron Mountain. That family was always nice too and they didn’t have to be because we were only step kids. It was very flattering that they came out and I tried to spend time with each side so they wouldn’t feel slighted. It’s comforting to know I’m not the only dented can in the world or even in my own family.

Way Up Nort’

July 20, 2009

Saturday July 18th, 2009 – Manitowish Waters, WI

I was born and raised in Wisconsin and I thought I’d at least heard of every city or town or village or backwoods barnyard boil on the buttocks of the state map if not have worked a show there but tonight I played a locale even I never knew existed. Quite the fluke it is.

I’ve inhaled the pungent aroma of fresh Guernsey dung in my home state from Oshkosh to Crivitz to Dickeyville to Wabeno to good old Embarrass. Those are all very real places and I’ve been there in the flesh in all of them at one point in an as of yet not so illustrious career as a traveling minstrel of mirth and merriment. I’ve played places maps don‘t list.

Tonight I added Manitowish Waters to that quasi-illustrious chronicle and that’s not to be confused with plain old Manitowish. Manitowish Waters is a bustling suburb growing out of the overflow of the fives of people who chose Manitowish as their dream hangout.

This gig was tacked on to the casino I’m doing tomorrow night in Harris, MI which is a few miles outside of Escanaba. I’ve been there before and I thought that one was way out in the sticks but this one makes that one look like Ceasars Palace in Vegas. I rode up with my friend Steve Purcell and I’m glad I did. I might have gotten lost if I’d gone by myself.

Steve lives in Stoughton, WI which is right outside of Madison. He took my class a few years ago and has stayed with comedy since. I’m glad he did because he’s a very nice guy and all the other comics like him too. Working with guys like that makes runs like this as bearable as they can be. Long hours in a car are hard enough, but with a knob it’s hellish.

Steve is laid back and easygoing and we had a nice conversation about many things as it got later in the day. We drove up U.S. Highway 51 until we were almost out of Wisconsin and stopped at the pizza joint where we were to perform. We swallowed hard and went in to tell whomever we needed to that we were in town and ready to do whatever it is we do.

The actual gig was outdoors on a patio. There were about 40 people sitting everywhere but near the stage area, which was a wooden structure with a roof that reminded me of an extra wide outhouse that was cut in half. There was a single amp and a wireless mike and two red garden lights on the ceiling of the stage area that didn’t really help light anything.

This was about as unprofessional as it gets but what were the options? Do a show or go home. We were so far north there weren’t any Motel 6s within about 200 miles. Steve did his best and more importantly his time and I went up and had to do even more. I used up a lifetime of experience in pulling off a show but I did and it could have been much worse.

It doesn’t do any good to complain because I can’t see this gig lasting long. It was a few bucks I can really use right now and the people running the gig were super nice. They fed us a delicious pizza after the show and put us up in a huge $600,000 house on a lake right in the middle of nowhere. I sure wouldn’t have put comedians there if I owned it but they did and we didn‘t trash anything. This wasn’t the best gig ever but it did come with perks.

Life’s A Glitch

July 18, 2009

Friday July 17th, 2009 – Lake Villa, IL

Life has never been simple, at least not for me. There’s always been some kind of glitch that shows up out of nowhere to let me know I need to stay humble. Alright already. I get the message. Can’t we move on? Don’t I have more important things to do in this life?

I learned today that apparently now my appearance on The Late Late Show isn’t getting aired next Friday but rather next Wednesday July 22nd instead. Personally I don’t have an issue with it and in fact to me it’s a lucky coincidence because that happens to be George Clinton’s birthday. Supposedly ‘22’ is a power number so maybe it won’t hurt me at all.

What did hurt was knowing I have to retell the people I already told that the segment is going to air on Friday. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel already printed it and now I look like a horse’s ass for getting the date wrong. I also was scheduled to be on CBS 2 here in Chicago on Friday and I had to call the publicity guy back and tell him it’s been changed.

I know none of this is my fault but it’s still uncomfortable to have to go through all this. I feel like a five year old trying to get the adults to watch me and having to pester them all until they do. I really don’t want to bug anybody about this. I just wish it would air and be done with so I can move on and focus on my next one. That’s when the career will start.

I was talking about this with my friend Max. In any entertainment endeavor like acting or comedy or radio or whatever, moving to the next level is never easy and few ever do it. Even fewer still keep doing it. It’s not easy to release an album but a lot of people still do manage to do it. But how many ever do a second one? That’s where the real challenge is.

In comedy, I released a CD in 2003. Since then a ton of people have also done that but I took time and effort and made mine better. I paid extra to make it look nice and I put a lot of effort into putting out the best product I could. Was it worth it? Absolutely. I wouldn’t do it any other way and even now people tell me my CD stands out from most of the rest.

That’s nice to hear but I’m doing a second one. Why? Because I’m better now and I am growing as a comedian. I want to do a third one also and a fourth and a thirteenth at some point if I should be lucky enough to live that long. A true artist keeps growing constantly.

I’m a better comedian even since the TV taping in March. That whole experience taught me a lot of things I could do better and I’m working on improving everything every time I go on stage. Hosting the Zanies shows on Monday nights offers me several opportunities to work on new lines and chunks and I totally do. Next time on TV I’ll be WAY better.

In my mind the first one is long over but it’s important that people see it so I hope it just gets aired on Wednesday and that’s it. Max and I talked about how hard it is to expect the good result because as dented cans we’ve seen it go the other way too many times. Max is one of the few who gets that and I’m glad we talked about it. It could be easy to get down about it but the fact is I know I did it and I do think it will air. Eventually. Well, I hope so.

Chili’s Choices Changing

July 17, 2009

Thursday July 16th, 2009 – Lake Villa, IL

The prevailing vibe of my entire life seems to be changing and I have to say I like where it’s going. There’s a positive rumbling in the distance and it’s getting closer all the time. I have consciously been trying to put out a better vibe and I feel markedly different results.

I’m not saying I’m ‘fixed’ or ’cured’ or anything like that. A dented can is pretty hard to undent unless a major push comes from the inside. I’m pushing hard and it’s working. I’ll always have that dent but at least I’m improving myself and I want to acknowledge that.

Case in point: I had lunch with my web person Shelley and her two daughters today at a Chili’s restaurant in Round Lake Beach, IL. It’s about halfway for both of us and we have met there several times in the last few months. The staff there has always been super nice.

I ordered a Philly cheese steak sandwich and it was one of the worst meals I’ve ordered in recent memory. The bun was like a brick and the meat was greasy and overcooked and pretty nasty looking all around. I happen to love guacamole and the order we got was just plain yucky for whatever reason. It had an aftertaste and I didn’t want to guess what from.

Shelley and I needed to meet up because she is going to start selling stuff on Ebay so we can raise some money. She needs it just like I do and we wanted to get it started. I also am trying to get my website current so when I’m on TV next week hopefully I’ll get hits from all over the place like I did when I did the Bob and Tom show. I got thousands from that.

Anyway, the meal wasn’t the most important thing. We had business to take care of and I always love goofing around with kids so I wasn’t really worried about one bad meal. It’s no big deal and it was my fault for ordering a Philly cheese steak at Chili’s at all. I should know better. The waitress came for my plate and saw that I didn’t eat much of anything.

She asked if anything was wrong and I said “It’s not your fault but this wasn’t what I’d expected. No big deal, thanks for asking.” I really wasn’t angry at all and was thinking of the business stuff rather than the food. The whole thing was a speck and I had moved on.

The manager came over and asked what was wrong and I told him not a thing. I ordered a sandwich and it wasn’t that great and I had some chips and salsa and life would go on. It was very nice of him to do that but he was very concerned and I assured him I had been to the restaurant before and would come back again and told him I wasn’t going to flip out.

We ended up having a laugh about it and he truly was concerned about the service and I have to say it felt great to be treated as a human being by another human being. That’s all I ever wanted in the first place and when I do flip out it’s because I feel like nobody cares.

I’ll go back to that Chili’s and I recommend you do too. The manager is Michael and it feels good to know someone in corporate America is on the ball. The few minutes it took for him to come to the table won my business forever. THAT’S how to serve customers.

I couldn’t help wondering all day what it is that’s putting me in this space. I’ve had a lot of cruddy meals before and sometimes I reacted like I did today and sometimes I didn’t. It could be that but it seems a lot deeper. It just seems like my whole life is starting to turn.

I’m not saying I’ll be whistling ‘Zippity Do Dah’ every day and all my steaks will be as rare as I like them and I’ll hit only green lights in traffic but I feel that I’m starting to walk on ground I’ve never walked on before. Maybe I had to experience the very bottom so I’m able to fully appreciate the top. I’ve struggled a long time but maybe it’s finally over now.

What’s really amazing is the overwhelming outpouring of good wishes I’m getting from everywhere. Facebook is an amazing connector and I put the link to the CBS website that lists the guests for The Late Late Show on it so everyone could see I’m not making it up.

Over and over and over again I’m hearing things like ‘About time!’ and ‘FINALLY the good guy makes it!’ and ‘I’ll tell all my friends.’ I’m getting calls and emails and people I haven’t heard from in years are wishing me well. It’s exactly what I always wanted to feel but who doesn’t want to be appreciated? After a lifetime of work it seems like it paid off.

One TV shot is not going to make me a superstar and I’ll still have to struggle with a lot of the same things I am now but it will be a major milestone and something to look at as a turning point in my whole life. Most people never make it this far. I did. It’s a huge thrill.

It doesn’t mean I plan on getting cocky. Far from it. It means I want to work harder than ever so I can keep going and growing and my main purpose is to give back more than I’ll ever take in this life. That’s what true success is and I know it now. I’m ready for this run.

Part of getting ready is putting a super team together. I’m weeding out the losers and am looking to find winners. I had dinner tonight with a guy named Bryan who approached me a long time ago looking to do some website work. He’s 32 and very sharp and was patient with me for months until we could set up a meeting. Tonight was finally the time to do it.

This is the guy I’m going to team up with to get the Uranus Factory Outlet website up. I had a very good vibe from him and told him what I was looking for and he shot back a lot of good ideas too and it felt right so we shook hands on it and made a deal. We’ll try it for a while and if it doesn’t work we’ll move on but at least we talked it through beforehand.

I also called Ted Perry at Fox 6 in Milwaukee. He’s been a major supporter of mine for many years and I can’t put into words how much I appreciate him. When I’ve been really down he’s always been an uplifting friend by either giving me a book to read or making a joke that lays me out. The guy is a major air talent but he’s also extremely funny as well.

Something told me to call him so I did. I also got a call from Tom Skibosh who used to be the P.R. director for the Milwaukee Brewers. He and I are going to meet up for a lunch when I come to town to play Giggles in Brookfield August 13-15. I also got mentioned in the Journal-Sentinel in Tim Cuprisin’s column. I can feel a positive momentum building.

Tim Cavanagh Is A Genius

July 16, 2009

Wednesday July 15th, 2009 – Lake Villa, IL

Part of the fun of being a performer for me is crossing paths with other performers who have a totally different set of abilities than I do. I enjoy quality entertainment of all kinds and I appreciate it much more than the public because I know how difficult it actually is.

One of the most talented and hilarious people I’ve ever met is Tim Cavanagh. Tim is in a class by himself when it comes to comedy and his style is absolutely his own. I’ve been a huge fan of his since before I ever started doing comedy and I’m even more of one now.

I first heard of Tim from the Dr. Demento radio show. He had a song called ‘I Want To Kiss Her’ which is still one of the absolute funniest songs I’ve ever heard in my life. He’s absolutely brilliant at twisting a phrase and inserting a double entendre and milking it for all it’s worth. I don’t throw the word genius around very often but Tim Cavanagh is one.

What makes it even better is that he looks like a high school English teacher and in fact he was a school teacher for a while apparently. His boyish innocent appearance combined with his wicked sense of humor are like nitro meeting glycerin. What a punch it packs.

When I first started doing comedy one of my first ‘road’ gigs was a dive pizza joint that I think was named Freddie’s but I’m not sure. I do know that I wasn’t ready to be there as a customer much less a comedian but that was the first time I got to meet Tim in person.

I couldn’t believe how a celebrity in my eyes like Tim could be working at a pizza joint but that was way before I understood what anything was really about. I can remember that I was thrilled to be able to meet him and then after the show he asked me to stay and have pizza with him and his wife Chris. I was totally flattered and jumped at the opportunity.

To make it even better Tim paid for the pizza. I thanked him profusely but he corrected me and said “This is not me buying you a meal. This is comedy buying it for you. As you advance and are a headliner I want you buy a meal for the person who opens up for you.”

I’ve never forgotten that and over the years literally hundreds of young comics have had a meal bought for them from comedy. Those who try to thank me get the explanation that I got from Tim and hopefully they’re passing it along as well. Tim Cavanagh is a class act onstage and off and I can’t believe he’s not a major comedy superstar. He is in my book.

I’ve worked with Tim many times over the years as I came up the ladder and every time I did he was never less than a total pro. Even when the crowds were small or drunk or at a venue less than stellar I’ve never seen Tim Cavanagh slack off and give less than 100%.

Today is Tim’s birthday and I called to leave a message thanking him for all the lessons I learned from him over the years not only about comedy but about the business as well. It has always been appreciated and still is. Tim’s website is http://www.timcav.com. Go check for yourself why I think he’s so great. If you have a brain and a sense of humor you’ll agree.

An All Star Cast

July 15, 2009

Tuesday July 14th, 2009 – Chicago, IL/Milwaukee, WI

My life flashed before my eyes today and I wasn’t even near death. This was the kind of day that happens once in a dozen years or maybe more. It was an action packed constantly moving non stop stimulation of all my senses, and the best part was none of it was bad.

The first thing that put me in a stellar mood was checking my spam file and discovering an email from a fan in New York named Juliette I didn’t even know I had. She said she’s been watching to see when my name would appear on the list for The Late Late Show and lo and behold, today was the day! I just wrote about that and suddenly it becomes reality.

I clicked on the link myself and there I was, scheduled to appear Friday July 24th along with Paris Hilton no less. It was a kick to see my name on the list and I don’t think they’d put it on their website if it wasn’t going to happen. Granted, a million things could come up between now and then like a plague, World War III or Bin Laden turning himself in.

Michael Jackson could rise out of the grave with Elvis opening for him or any one of an infinite number of possibilities could happen to knock my little four and a half minute set off the air but I’ll worry about that later. As for now I’ve made the website and I take that as a major victory! After a lifetime of struggle this will validate me in a number of ways.

There are a whole lot of people that attempt to do standup comedy at least once in their lifetime. Most of them never go beyond that and for every level of advancement there’s a large segment of that group that drops out and never advances. That means from opening act to feature and feature to headliner and headliner to a national television appearance.

A lot of people who have never seen me before will get a little taste on July 24th. A lot of them won’t remember me five seconds after I’m done but all I need is ONE person in a position of power to see me and like me to make the right doors open. I’m not going to be naïve and think I’ve made the big time for one little appearance but it sure won’t hurt me.

In my mind I know I didn’t hit a grand slam with my set but I also know I didn’t munch manure off a barnyard floor either. I learned a ton from the experience and watching other people’s first time on national television confirmed to me that the finished product wasn’t there for anyone. Even Seinfeld and Leno and Roseanne and Drew Carey had to develop.

That’s what really encourages me about all of this. I’ll have a DVD to send out to a ton of bookers that won’t be hideous and then I’ll go in and blow them away by being a much better act than anyone expected. Then I’ll keep working on more sets for TV and improve by leaps and bounds every time I go back again. I’m already working on more TV sets.

I then received a call from Marc Schultz to have lunch with him and a very funny comic I’ve heard of for years named George Tracy. He’s an Irish comic who talks with an accent thicker than the Lucky Charms leprechaun and he’s a wonderfully nice man. I always love to meet other comedy performers of all kinds, especially those I don’t always get to see.

George doesn’t do many comedy clubs and now lives in Branson, MO. He’s opened for Bobby Vinton and many others and is really a funny guy onstage and off. Marc is always introducing his acts to one another and I was flattered he thought of me to meet a total pro like George. We had a fantastic lunch and he gave me a CD and a DVD after we finished.

After that I went into Chicago to get my mail and I received a call from my friend Todd Hunt telling me he had some articles for me. He saves comedy articles and I always enjoy meeting with him because he is constantly marketing himself for his speaking gigs. He is a constant source of information and ideas and I help him in return by polishing his jokes.

After meeting with Todd I headed up to Milwaukee to have dinner with my cousin Brett who I haven’t seen in a while. On the way I received a call from my first program director in radio who hired me in Lansing, MI in 1990. His name is Dan Balla and was really a big supporter of me way before I was ready. He has a kind heart and I really liked him a lot.

When I was hired the station was going through a lot of turmoil and he ended up taking a different job and leaving me stranded. I was never angry at him because I knew he was in a bad situation but then we lost touch and that was it. Thanks to facebook we’ve gotten back in touch and it was really great to catch up after all these years. He’s still a good guy.

Dinner with Brett was a delicious plate of ribs from Famous Dave’s but Brett was not in a good mood because a friend of his was beaten to death with a brick to his head in a very ugly robbery over the weekend. He was stunned and sad and I felt bad to hear about it too. That story made me remember my friend Les Sorenson who also died and that felt worse.

There aren’t too many things that could cheer me up from that kind of downer but going to see George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic was one of them. I hadn’t seen the band in a while and I’m always in a good mood when I’m at a P-Funk show. They’re always on my ‘must see’ list and rarely if ever do they disappoint. Tonight was yet another blowout.

You can keep your Green Days and your Creeds and P.U. to U2 too. When George and the boys get the funk cranked up I’d challenge any other music act on earth to match their uncut pure raw energy. I’ve never seen anything like it and when they’re on they’re great.

Tonight they got right into it and played hit after hit after hit and tore the roof off of the Rave. That place is a toilet and I have no idea why George keeps playing there but I have probably seen him five or six times already. Still, it was a power packed funky orgasm.

I love the fact that George is going to have a birthday next week and be the same age of my grandfather when he died. I can’t picture my grandfather standing on a stage with long multi colored hair and blowing away a room full of people who hung on his every move.

After the concert I got a call from Ron Lee, the first guy who ever booked me for a paid comedy show. I made $10 for ten minutes and I ripped him off. I was SO bad. Tomorrow is his birthday so we hung out and talked. What a busy day. It was like my life in review.

Richard Simmons Rocks

July 15, 2009

Monday July 13th, 2009 – Chicago, IL

As I was thinking about what I wanted to accomplish in my life I thought of other people who have done something similar to what I want to do. Rodney Dangerfield pulled off his biggest successes much later in life than most people do. So did Willie Nelson. I’ll be one of those stories too should I happen to finally hit something big. I’ve sure put in my time.

George Clinton was the mastermind of a huge group of musicians that had record deals with several companies and at his peak he was a creative and money machine. He still is a respected and influential force in music even now. He achieved success on his own terms.

Those people have always had my admiration and respect but I was looking through the list of recent celebrity birthdays and yesterday included Richard Simmons. I know people already think I’m crazy but I think that guy is an unheralded American hero. I’m a fan.

Richard Simmons has had unbelievable success. He’s branded himself and transformed into an American institution. Yes, he gets bashed by the media left and right but he’s been great about taking a joke and has never whined or complained at least not that I’ve heard.

He has carved a niche for himself and in my opinion he deserves to be rich but what I’m most impressed by is his kindness to his fans. He has by and large a group of followers no other person has approached the way he has. He helps hurting people build self esteem.

Sure, everyone wants to be a sex machine and in perfect shape but that privilege is only reserved for too small a group for too small a time. The biological clock ticks for only so long and then it’s over. Richard Simmons has helped millions get their self esteem back.

Some of those people never had it at all. I’ve watched his infomercials over the years on the road when I couldn’t sleep after a show and he never failed to keep me interested with his compassion for all those people. I really think the guy cares and wants to help others.

If he’s scamming the public then I respect his acting ability but something about the guy really strikes a positive chord with me. I don’t care if someone is gay or straight or tall or short or Chinese or Bolivian, I care if they have a good heart. I think Richard Simmons is a great humanitarian and I’ll bet there are a whole lot of people who will agree with me.

I want to leave a similar legacy with my comedy classes. Yes, I love to perform and it’s a total rush when it goes correctly during a show but being able to have people come and tell me my class helped them live a life’s dream is right up there with any stage thrill I’ve ever had. Being a part of helping someone else achieve something is a wonderful feeling.

People make fun of Richard Simmons all the time but not me. I think he’s built a super life and not only is he doing good things the people he helps are able to transform into an exciting life they may never have experienced before. What’s wrong with that? I will be a  winner in life if I’m half as successful as that guy. He‘s a hero. Happy birthday Richard.

Red Light Reroute

July 13, 2009

Sunday July 12th, 2009 – Lake Villa, IL

Everything seems to be on hold in my life right now. I feel like I’m waiting for a cosmic red light to change to green so I can advance to my next adventure. Maybe I should smack the GPS and see if it will give me a hint as to where I should go and what path is the best.

I’ve got a lot of projects not really going anywhere and that needs to change. I think I’d rather risk crashing and burning going somewhere than running out of gas at a red light. It involves a lot more risk to be in motion but I’ve never been afraid to roll the dice of life.

One thing that’s fallen off the map is my Craig Ferguson appearance. I can’t figure out a reason why it hasn’t aired yet but I’m sure there is one. I could speculate all kinds of stuff but I’d probably be wrong. Someone asked me out there for a reason and I have witnesses that saw me physically do my set so now it’s a matter of the segment airing on the show.

This is a delicate situation. Do I keep pestering them about it? That doesn’t sound like a wise option but I’ve seen people do it over and over again. Many times the squeaky wheel really does get the grease but that’s never been my style. Maybe I need to evolve that way.

A management deal would be the logical solution to this but that’s delicate too. I’d need a manager I could trust and that also believes in me as an artist or at least a creative entity. The term ‘art’ and standup comedy don’t automatically go hand in hand. I don’t think I’m doing anything that’s going to change the world. All I want to do is make people laugh.

I want to make as many people laugh as possible with whatever talent I’ve been blessed with and that’s not happening to my satisfaction. Nothing against Hannibal, MO but next time I go there I want to make it worth my while or I don’t want to go there. No offense.

Jeff Foxworthy was very generous to turn me on to his management company. I’ve been waiting to get the DVD of my Craig Ferguson appearance to send to the people in L.A. so I can maybe have a chance at getting signed by them to represent me. That’s been my plan all along but the weeks have turned into months and everything seems to be at a standstill.

The lady I talked to told me I could ‘send a package’ but I’ve not done that because I’ve been waiting for the segment to air. At this point maybe it will and maybe it won’t but if I wait any longer I think I’m just wasting time. I have to put something together and send it out and at least make contact. There is a lot more to what I can offer than 4½ minutes.

I know I’m not a 22 year old up and coming stud who looks like Brad Pitt. I’m an aging road warrior who’s loaded with experience and can rock a live room with the best of them but that might not be what they’re looking for these days. Too bad, as that’s all I’ve got.

Hopefully, talent and ability and the paying of dues will be rewarded but I know there is absolutely ZERO guarantees of any of that happening. I have to be the one to make that a reality and sitting around waiting for it won’t get it done. Time to try another approach.

It’s Only Money

July 12, 2009

Saturday July 11th, 2009 – Chicago, IL

July 11th. “7-11“. I’m not sure if it means anything but I took it as a cosmic hint to buy two lottery tickets just to be safe. I’m sure nine zillion other idiots did the same thing so my odds are even worse than usual but that’s ok. At least there’s a chance. I’m all about hope. I’m about out of money too so a nice little wad would come in handy right now.

I know it sounds goofy but I’ve always pictured myself coming into a giant windfall of cash at some point in my life. Even as a kid I always had that vision in my head. I thought it would be from getting signed to a Major League baseball contract but that wasn’t in the cards. I didn’t give up though and over the years I expected it from other places. I still do.

Would it be fun to earn a fortune? I guess so, but I’ve been trying to do that too for a lot of years and it hasn’t panned out to my expectations. I thought for sure I’d be rich and set for life by now and I’m not. Part of it was my fault and part of it wasn’t but I’m in a bind. I made a few smart choices but I also took some risks that didn’t pay off. Here I sit today.

I’ve watched ‘The Secret’ and ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ and even a bunch of the ‘no money down’ real estate snakes and I realize that money is just a tool. It doesn’t buy happiness or perfection but I think it does buy freedom and that’s very precious to me. I like choices.

Then again, I’ve totally screwed up so many of my life’s choices that maybe money is a bad thing to entrust with an halfwit like me. When I’ve had it I’ve spent it freely but I did think of others when I did it and wasn’t a greedy bastard thinking only of myself. I like to spread it around like manure and hope something good grows out of it. It usually does.

At one time I was in my grandparents’ will to be cut in a third along with my father and uncle. They weren’t too thrilled with that discovery and over the years they weaseled their way between me and the money and got it all. My uncle used to do my taxes and he put a paper in front of me and said “Sign this.” Stupidly, I did. I trusted him and I got scorched.

I was young and even stupider than I am now and I didn’t think much of it at the time. It came into play later and as my grandparents both died it became apparent I’d been hosed. I admit I was pissed off about it for a while because I really could have used that financial base to make some different decisions in my life. I could have moved to L.A. and stayed.

Instead I had to slug it out on the road doing comedy and take radio gigs in places that I never would have chosen to live like Salt Lake City and Reno and all these years later I’m still struggling to find my way. I got a ton of life experience but it sure took a major toll. I never had the chance to go to college and I knew it so I had to just move on and continue.

I tried to figure it out and I think my end would have been probably around $150,000 or so. That’s not millions but it’s nothing to sneeze at either. I could have made that stretch a long way and I still could. But it never came. My father died and my uncle is getting close and what did it all prove? Not a damn thing. They didn’t do anything productive with it.

Then there’s my sister Tammy. Apparently she won the lottery for $250,000 years ago. I heard about it third hand and actually when I did I was happy for her. She supposedly was left with $166,000 after taxes from what I heard and she paid off other family members so they wouldn’t tell me about it. I find that funny now but back then it really hurt to hear it.

She knew I was struggling and could have slipped me a few bucks to be nice but even if she didn’t I don’t think she had to tell them not to tell me about it. I heard about it a while after the fact from a couple of different people so maybe it was true. Whatever. Good for Tammy. I know she bought a house with it so I hope it made her happy. It’s only money.

That’s the way I look at it now. It’s a symbol of energy and love and a way to measure a person’s abilities. It’s not always fair but there are some basic skills involved to handle it and I haven’t been very good at it over the years on a regular basis. I’m ready to evolve.

I’m putting a vibe out in the universe that I am ok with money and I will use it for good when it finally does come my way. My needs are so low that my wildest dreams aren’t all that wild and I’ll have plenty left over to use for positive things when the windfall comes.

My father didn’t do anything memorable with his life or money and my uncle probably won’t make any stunning changes this late into his own situation. He could have broken the family chain but he didn’t and I refuse to go down that same path. I want to do better.

The good thing is, even though I’m squeaking by I’ve done it honestly. Every oil leaker car I drive and every bite of greasy food I eat and every out of style shirt I wear are bought with money I went out and EARNED. There is a real feeling of accomplishment in that.

But a little help sure would be nice right about now. Selling the bank robbery script is a distinct possibility but not if I don’t start showing it to people. I also have a ton of ideas to develop as far as books and comedy classes and Uranus Factory Outlet and even one little hit out of any of that would put me in a way better place. I’ve paid my dues. I’m ready.

I bought the two lottery tickets today and I imagined myself winning. I saw the cameras rolling and the news people laughing out loud as I cracked off joke after joke. Having my luck turn around so dramatically would be a perfect end to being Mr. Lucky in a negative way. It would be a whole lot funnier talking about how I USED to have a lot of bad luck.

I want to put it out in the universe that I expect a windfall and I expect it soon. I’ve had a lot of lean years and it’s my time to catch a good break for once. I’m preparing my mind to accept that gift and not have to keep living in a basement like an insect. I’m over that.

On a high note our Jerry’s Kidders segment on WGN radio was a blast today. We were on fire with lines bouncing back and forth and energy percolated from everyone. Whether anyone listening knows or cares about us isn’t the issue. We’re not getting paid so why do it if it doesn’t please us? We could see people on Michigan Avenue looking in at us as we did it and they were laughing so I think some listeners did too. Money sure can’t buy that.