An Idea Comes To Life

Saturday November 21st, 2009 – South Milwaukee, WI

One small step for me, one giant leap for my one man show idea. I was booked for a gig in South Milwaukee, WI tonight with and by my friend Steve DeClark. He’s always had a knack for putting comedy shows together in non traditional venues and tonight we were at the Performing Arts Center of South Milwaukee High School, a place I‘d work anytime.

It’s exactly the kind of space I pictured working since I started in comedy. It’s a theater with auditorium style ‘soft seats’, a giant stage with a big red curtain, stage lights that are bright enough to light up the whole stage and a wireless microphone that doesn’t run out of juice halfway through the show. This was way better than working at some dive bar.

Steve has always tried to book more toward a theatrical audience and I couldn’t be more thrilled to work with him in venues like this. The show tonight was a benefit for Veterans and that’s never a problem for me. All armed forces people and Vets got in free and quite a few showed up. We weren’t sold out, but it wasn‘t empty either. It was a decent turnout.

I decided to let loose and test my theory that a whole show based on Milwaukee and the local flavor that goes with it would indeed work. It was exactly the right place to do it and I nailed it. I talked about anything and everything I could remember, and threw in a lot of names of people and places and things that have significance to life long Milwaukeeans.

I could hear not only waves of laughter, but also applause and oohs of recognition as all the tidbits I could throw at them were eaten up hungrily. I knew within minutes I have the winning formula with this idea, and they reacted exactly how I wanted them to. Afterward people lined up to tell me how much fun they had and especially loved all the local talk.

I ended up doing about an hour and fifteen minutes, even though they were a bit tight as an audience. I opened them up after a while but they were pretty snug at first. Maybe they didn’t know what to expect, but after a while I had them going. A big part of that was my ability to talk to them where they live. Literally. I know Milwaukee just like they all do.

These people were a little older than the average comedy club crowd, but they were able to understand what I was doing and they bought into it big time. I was delighted to hear it in their voices afterward. There is a market for this show, the question now is “How big?”

It’s by far not a finished product yet, but for working off the top of my head and making it last an hour and fifteen minutes, I had to be doing something right. I will go over all the notes I have and put together a running order and start filling it in with jokes immediately. It’s not like I’m starting from total scratch. All this requires is a little cutting and pasting.

There’s no reason I can’t be working this by the early part of next year. This is a bit of a risk, but not huge and totally calculated. The worst that can happen is I’ll get a little press, and that’s never a bad thing. Even if it gets grilled by critics, there are a number of people who will find it funny. They did tonight, and it was satisfying to see my idea come to life.


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