Friday November 20th, 2009 – Milwaukee, WI/Chicago, IL
Any day I get a chance to go on stage and at least attempt to make an audience laugh is a good day in my book. That’s the number one thrill of my life and what I enjoy the most, bar nothing. Second place is probably being able to mentor or at least encourage someone on the way up the comedy ladder. Third place goes to being on the radio. I love that too.
Getting to do even one of those on any given day makes that day a whole lot better, but today I pulled off the hat trick. That’s as good as it gets, and today was good from start to finish. I not only did the top three things I love, I also cleared up some other stuff as well.
I’m booked for a gig in December at the Great Lakes Naval Base where I have to host a version of American Idol they’re doing. I’ll have to wear a tux and it will be a very tricky situation because a lot will rely on my ability to ad lib and know when to jump in and out but I took it as a challenge, in addition to a paycheck. That’s where the trouble comes in.
The government has a system of how they pay outside contractors, which is me. I had to provide the contact person with my banking information so she can direct deposit my pay into my account after the gig. I had to go to my bank and get the form filled out and fax it back to the Naval Base, who in turn put my info into their computer. Now I’m in the mix.
It seemed pretty complicated for one not so large check, but that’s how they do it. With this kind of procedure, it’s no wonder we’re trillions in debt and everyone is in a panic. If I was in charge it would be different, but I’m not. With that in mind, I did what they said.
Little piddly stuff like this is annoying, but it still needs to get done. It was a hassle with my bank because there was a line in front of me and then the teller got busy and it took an hour before it was all done, including fax time. At least it’s done now and I’ll get paid for a couple of hours of work and move on. Still, it seems like a big waste of time to do this.
The whole drawn out procedure made me late for a radio appearance on ‘The D-List’ up in Milwaukee on ESPN Radio 540. I hadn’t been on in a while and Drew Olson asked me to come on so I could promote my show in South Milwaukee on Saturday. I always enjoy being on with those guys, and it’s never anything but a blast. It’s how radio should work.
Drew and Dan Needles are getting better and better in my opinion, and the vibe around the station is always very positive. I have nothing but respect for Craig Karmazin, who is always upgrading everything from the signal strength to the studio facilities to the lineup of programs. That guy is on the ball and it shows. I love being able to see all the growth.
The station used to be located out in a tiny little shack in Waukesha, WI for many years. When I had my pro wrestling organization I used to promote shows in Waukesha and had a few of my wrestlers on the station as guests. There were different people in charge of it then, and they were nice and all, but Craig came in and took it all to a new level. He made it into a real radio station and moved it into facilities in downtown Milwaukee as a start.
That upgrade was dramatic but it didn’t stop there. My friend Steve “The Homer” True jumped over from WISN and I like to think I had something to do with that. I introduced Homer to Craig when Drew arranged a station event party to come see me perform of all places at Giggles, when it was located in Germantown, WI. Craig and Homer met then.
Obviously they cut their own deal and I had nothing to do with that, but I feel like I was the matchmaker and I’m thrilled to be able to have a part in that. Homer is a good person and excellent broadcaster and he’s still on the air today as a solid anchor in the afternoon.
I can’t say enough good things about everyone at that station. For whatever reason they all seem to be on my wavelength and I feel at home whenever I walk in the door. There’s now a new door to walk through because the station moved yet again. It’s in the big blue federal building in downtown Milwaukee, right across from the Grand Avenue Mall.
The old facilities were a major upgrade from Waukesha, but these are even better. They are highly visible and the studio has windows and is right on the street. It smelled of new as I walked in and we riffed and had fun until the show was over at 2pm. It was worth the drive not only to be with the guys but also hang out with the other guest, Caitlin Morrall.
She’s a former Miss Wisconsin USA and a total stunner, but she’s really intelligent and funny too. She just got a TV job on the morning show at TMJ 4 and I can see why. We’ve been on the D-List before and she really gets it. She’s no talking head, she’s the real deal.
Someone like Caitlin is truly one in a million million. She’s got network star written all over her and I hope she gets it. She’s fun to be on the air with and she shoots right back at all of us with quick, funny, dead on answers. Her beauty is intoxicating, but she’s a super sweetheart to go with it. She’s dating a surgeon and I see why. She is as good as it gets.
After the radio show I took care of some errands in Milwaukee and headed right back to Chicago to do a comedy show at a place called Pressure Café on Clark Street, not very far from where I used to live in Andersonville. She show is run by Bubba Muski, one of THE nicest guys I’ve met in a long time. He just did his first Zanies set with me very recently.
Bubba runs a showcase for the comics and Pressure is a nice facility for it. It’s tiny but a very cozy setup, even though there’s no microphone at all. Young comics come out to get stage time but young audiences come out to listen. There was a very friendly vibe in there mostly due to the fact that Bubba is a really good guy. He asked me to do it so I said yes.
There were quite a few young comics in the room and I knew some of them from all the Zanies showcases, but many more I didn’t. It was really flattering to see the reverent look in their eye when they found out who I was. I guess my name doesn’t stink everywhere.
I didn’t get paid in money but that’s ok. I knew the deal when Bubba asked me. I felt as old as I ever have in front of those kids, but they laughed and it was really fun. Hopefully I encouraged a few of them but it encouraged me knowing the next generation is growing.