Einstein Was Right

Thursday October 29th, 2009 – Pittsburgh, PA

“Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices, but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence and fulfills the duty to express the results of his thought in clear form.” – Albert Einstein, quoted in  N.Y. Times, March 19, 1940.

I’ve always had an affinity for Albert Einstein, mainly because we share a birthday of March 14th. That may be the only thing we have in common, but this quote rings as true now as it did when I first heard it years ago. Translation: Idiots don’t grasp true vision.

That’s how I feel about this whole demented debacle with Giggles and Funny Business. I’m in a fantastic space in my head right now and who’d have thought a drive through the back woods of West Virginia would put me there? I wouldn’t have thought so, but it did.

Yesterday’s drive was way too long and hectic at the end, but today was completely the opposite. The weather was perfect so I decided to take U.S. Highway 19 out of Bluefield heading north toward Pittsburgh. I wound through the mountains and through a bunch of  secluded Mayberry like towns I’d never seen before. It put a whole new spin on all this.

Not ONE of those people cared about any bounced checks or knew I was a comedian or the fact I was on national TV this year or anything else other than my car is red. I waved to people as I passed and they waved back. Most of them smiled and there was nothing to be angry about. This tiny little flea fart doesn‘t mean jack in the big picture. I‘ll survive.

I was in a very creative mind space all day and stopped a few times to write down notes so I wouldn’t forget them. Trying to write on the steering wheel on those winding roads is a sure recipe for a fiery one car rollover. That would be a shame, because apparently I am aggravating some of the mediocre people with what I’m doing. I’m delighted to hear that.

I never set out to piss people off so much, but throughout my life I sure have succeeded. Those few I clash with usually hang on like pit bulls with lockjaw and that means I made a lasting impression on them. The best way to piss them off even more is to ignore them.

The wife of the Giggles owner is apparently telling anyone who’ll listen how evil I am. Good! She’s doing me a huge favor. Anyone that believes her will hopefully stay away so I can have more time for the quality people. I know a whole lot more of those anyway.

I don’t want to deal with these insects anymore. I got a bum check but that will pass in time. That guy has to wake up next to her every single morning, so I win in the long run.  She’s being a borderline stalker but I just delete all of her incessant emails and texts.

They’re the ones that started it by bouncing the check. NOT acceptable. Then the Funny Business wouldn’t fight for me and that’s wrong too. I’ve goofed many times but not this one. I’m glad to see I’ve managed to get under their skin. It’s about time somebody does.

I don’t wish anything bad on either of them, but I don’t have to. I think they will bring it upon themselves. Bouncing checks is THE cardinal sin in comedy and I’m not at all sorry I stood up for myself. They might not like how I did it but it sure captured some attention. I have special needs too – food, clothing and shelter. The comics need to be PAID. Period.

There’s an old joke I always loved. It says “How do you give an idiot a small business? Give him a large one and wait.” I see how Giggles and Comedy Café and Funny Business have shrunk over the years and it’s no surprise. I predict all three will continue to spiral.

The main reason is how they treat the comics. There is a complete lack of respect and I for one refuse to accept that from anyone who is clueless. None of them ever grasped the concept of what it takes to put on quality comedy shows and in a sense they’ve taken on a role of nothing short of pimps. We comedians are the whores, and we’re all disposable.

For years there was an endless supply of comedians on all levels who needed work from agencies and clubs like these. We’d take any and all abuse they might dish out, thinking it would somehow get us ‘in’ to get those gravy gigs, but that never seemed to materialize.

Instead, we’d get cancelled a week out because somebody like a Tommy Chong could be booked rather than us, and we’d be out of luck. No ‘Sorry’, no ‘Let me pay you for the inconvenience’, no NOTHING – just an empty week on the calendar with zero income.

These kinds of things happen over and over in the comedy world but I don’t think most outsiders really care. Then they wonder why a comic snaps at a heckler. Year after year of being treated like a soggy cat turd will sour almost anyone. I myself have reached a limit.

As I drove in the sunshine today it occurred to me what a favor Eric Yoder did by firing me. Thanks Buddy! Now I won’t have to secretly hope I’ll finally get paid back for all my years of loyalty and get to work a complete run of your rooms for decent money one after the other so I can clear out my financial backlog. Now I know I have to get on it myself.

I always knew it, but I think we as dented cans seem to hope there will be some random phone call from a booker who has treated us like mud for years, suddenly changing a tune that hasn’t changed in decades. It’s like expecting a Nazi to suddenly crave a matzoh ball.

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way in the comedy world, but I am probably one of the few who’ll discuss it. I can’t shut my mouth about it and if I lose work, it’s not anything to build my career anyway. If I have to drive a truck, at least I’ll have my dignity and self esteem, and I’ll know my way around the country from all my years on the road.

We as comics will have to be entrepreneurial and book more of our own shows and just slide past these weasels. How hard can it be? I for one am not going to cower to whims of anyone I don’t respect, and if that means I get fired, I get fired. But, now they have a very experienced competitor who can not only do what they do, but BE the show as well. Let’s see who’s where a year from now. One club or booker does not a career quash. Game on!


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