Old Friends Are Best


Friday February 5th, 2010 – Milwaukee, WI

Up to Milwaukee today to jump start the one man show idea. I want to do this correctly so I set up meetings with old friends who can help. Ron Lee used to produce shows when I first started and wants to do it again. He loves this idea and has some contacts for places he thinks it could work. Ron and I met up with my old friend Mark Krueger to discuss it.

Mark is an icon in Milwaukee and I bet he knows more people than the mayor. He has a lot to contribute to this project because not only is he well connected, he’s hilarious and a savant when it comes to local references. He could probably do a show like this himself.

We sat around firing off ideas and came up with some good ones. Ron and Mark can do a lot of favors for me and they will. I’ve known them both forever and if they were doing a project like this, they know they could count on me to help. It pays to have old friends.

After our productive brainstorming lunch I went to visit another valuable asset in Drew Olson. He’s another good friend I’ve known forever and knows everyone in Milwaukee’s hierarchy who’s anyone. Between Mark and Drew, that covers everyone I need to know.

Drew had some great ideas too as he always does, but one in particular was outstanding. He knows John McGivern, the Milwaukee actor who does one man shows that have been very successful. I’ve never met the guy but I keep hearing how well known he is in town.

I have nothing but respect for the guy, and am not looking to ‘compete’ or anything like that. When I’ve told some people about my idea for a one man show about Milwaukee the first thing they say is “John McGivern does that.” That’s fine, but why can’t I do one too?

I congratulate John for cracking the Milwaukee market. That’s no easy task. He came at it from a different angle than I did in standup, and he found the secret. Kudos. He proved an audience does exist for local entertainment, but it sure wasn’t in clubs where I started.

Drew suggested I contact John and offered to make it happen. That’s a brilliant idea. I’ll gladly tell him what I’m doing, and hopefully we can team up and make more work for us both. He probably turns down work I’d love to have, and if we’re on the same team I’ll be able to not only get those gigs, but work my way up the ladder and pay him back as well.

I’ve often done shows for groups who’ve asked me to suggest other comedians for their shows in the future. I’ve gotten a lot of shows that way too. John is way ahead of me with this and doesn’t need my ‘help’, but at some point I’m sure we’d be able to trade leads for shows and both end up getting more work out of it. That’s how I’d like to see it play out.

I look at it as healthy. Coke and Pepsi might not like each other, but they make the other one better. Also, how many gospels are there? Four. Is one better than the other? Who can say? They’re different, but it’s the same story. This is similar. John McGivern has his take on growing up in Milwaukee and so do I. We’re different people. I think we can coexist.

It was very nice of Drew to make the gesture and I appreciate it. No matter how it turns out, I will treat everyone with the utmost respect. This is like that scene in the Godfather where Marlon Brando says “Good luck in your new business.” He put a disclaimer in the mix saying something like “As long as it doesn’t interfere with ours,” or however it went.

In theory, I don’t need to ask anybody’s permission to do a one man show or any other show I want to do. I just want to show respect. John McGivern has earned it by making a name for himself doing something nobody before him was able to do. I know how hard it is to put butts in seats anywhere, much less Milwaukee. I don’t want any hard feelings.

I’m trying to follow the Golden Rule too. When I started comedy classes in Chicago, it was something I started from scratch. Then my ex business partner pulled his embezzling stunt and went behind my back and started trying to do it in the same town, and it turned ugly rather quickly. Then a bunch of other ‘classes’ started up and it spun out of control.

Had someone come to me and asked, I could have helped them get started, and we may have been able to grow a business together rather than be rivals. That didn’t happen, and now it’s everyone for himself. I don’t want to have a similar situation in Milwaukee. I’ve been on the other side of it and seen it blow up. Hopefully, that won‘t happen this time.

It’s out of my hands now. Drew sent an email to John, and I’ll either hear from him or I won’t. If I do, I’ll approach it with the attitude that he’s in charge. If I don’t, I’ll do what I do and see how it goes. In my mind, there’s plenty of room for everyone. I’ll make it go.

I had dinner tonight with my old friend Greg Chadwell and his girlfriend Nancy. Greg is a true friend, and I’ve known him since 1982. We worked together cooking at a restaurant called Rustler Steak House on the south side of Milwaukee, and have been friends since.

Greg is a dented can, but never EVER complained. He’s one of the hardest working and most honest people I know, and no matter what life does to him, he just keeps going. I am a whiner and complainer and I admit it, even though sometimes it can be funny when I go off on something that pops my cork. Greg has the right attitude. He shuts up and works.

I needed a place to live in 1984 and Greg turned me on to a room for rent by his former father in law. I ended up staying there for a couple of years, and those people were so nice to me I still consider them the family I never had. They had me over for Christmases even after I moved out, and in fact I’m even a godfather to one of Greg’s kids. I love them all.

He works at a bank now as a loan officer, but he sold cars for many years after escaping from the restaurant business. Greg helped me get a loan approved for my first brand new car in 1988 and I’ll always appreciate him for that alone. Greg Chadwell is a great friend.

People like him make America great. He works hard and doesn’t bitch about wanting to get a bailout from the government or anyone else. The least I could do was buy dinner for a guy like that. I owe him a lot more though. Old time friends are the best. I have several.

Advertisement

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: