A Piece Of Pittsburgh

Saturday August 29th, 2009 – Pittsburgh, PA

I’ll always have a place in my heart for Pittsburgh. This was where I was booked for my first real road gig in January of 1986 and it was very special. I remember the date because of all things it was the week the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up. I wasn’t so hot either.

I was only an emcee and was paid $150 for the week. I rode out from Milwaukee with a guy named Kyle Nape and it felt like I was really in show business. We stayed at a hellish rat hole called The Brentwood Inn and I had to share a room with Kyle or I wouldn’t have gotten the gig. Our room smelled like moth balls and the elevator smelled like stale urine.

Not that fresh urine would have made it any better, but I loved the fact I was doing what I always wanted to do. I was no more ready to host a show then operate that Space Shuttle but that’s the only way to learn. Pittsburgh is where my education started and I fit in here.

We’re both a little rough around the edges but basically have a good honest heart inside. It’s a beautiful city in many ways but a real pain in the ass in others. Traffic is always bad and construction is nothing short of a nightmare with all the hills and tunnels everywhere.

It’s really amazing to see how full circle I’ve come since that first time in. Then I was a weak opening act and stayed in a weaker hotel. Now I’m a strong headliner and we stay in a really nice hotel. It’s the Radisson Green Tree and I highly recommend it. It’s a fantastic place and the staff is wonderful from top to bottom. A good hotel makes road life easier.

I decided to get some lunch and I don’t have a car so I walked to an Olive Garden about a mile and a half from the hotel. There are so many steep hills here it felt like I was going to have a massive heart attack halfway there. Whatever walks I’ve taken in the past are no match for this one. I was in a full sweat when I got to the Olive Garden and out of breath.

Of course my waitress was absolutely gorgeous and I was a sweaty pig from walking up the side of a mountain to get there. Her name was Kelly and no matter how hard I tried to get her to laugh I couldn’t do it. Usually I can get most servers to crack but she just didn’t have it in her. She probably thought I was a wackadoo but so what. I don’t care anymore.

Life is supposed to be fun and if I’ve learned one thing through all my struggles it’s that I’m in charge of deciding what fun is. It’s not the same for everyone and I don’t care what anyone else thinks at this point. I do what I like and I like what I do and even though I am not where I thought I’d be after all these years, I’ve still made some incredible progress.

That kid that first came here in 1986 was clueless and angry at the world and looking to find some answers and show everyone he belonged. The guy now is completely different. He’s laid back and confident and realizes he has beaten the odds and done well after all.

Whatever happens now is a bonus. I’m going to enjoy every minute of every show I do and that includes the two tonight. After that it’s back to the airport to make a 6am flight.


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