Way Off Schedule

Saturday May 29th, 2010 – Milwaukee, WI

One of the toughest things to keep on track as a comedian is a booking schedule. It’s an endless effort to coordinate dates, as every booker has their own way of operating and it’s extremely rare when it all ‘just works out’. There are always a few glitches, switches and changes that occur, and it’s wise to write all bookings down on one’s calendar in pencil.

Right now I’m in the middle of one of the worst booking periods of my life. Everything is in turmoil, and I really need to get things back on track. I was supposed to be working a gig tonight in Michigan for my friend Tim Marszalkowski, but that fell through and we’re still not exactly sure what caused it. That’s not a very good way to ease into the summer.

Summer is comedy’s off season, but comedians still have to eat. It was always harder to get summer work, especially in the north, but now it’s getting down right nasty. Clubs are closing en masse, and it’s like a giant game of musical chairs nobody wants to play. It’s a tough enough nut to stay booked as it is, much less having to deal with all this other stuff.

Since I had an unexpected night off, I drove up to Milwaukee to visit my friend Darryl Rhoades who was working at the Northern Lights Theatre at Potawatomi Casino. We met on a hell gig years ago and stayed in touch. He’s from Atlanta and does musical comedy, and he had a bit part in the movie ‘Crazy Heart’ with Jeff Bridges. He’s a hard worker.

We often exchange stories about troubles with bookers or ideas of how we can get past having to get a day job, which both of us know we’re not qualified to do. Darryl was in a lot of bands before he got into comedy, and he’s a very good marketer. He has a dozen or more cds and also sells t-shirts, and he does very well for himself. I’m not good at that.

I’m getting better, but I’ve got a LONG way to go. Darryl works many of the same gigs I do, but I bet he makes quite a bit more money because of his marketing savvy. He’s also married to a woman who works for an airline so he can fly on standby for next to nothing. Hey, good for him. I wish I had that advantage. Any little thing helps in the big picture.

I love working the Northern Lights Casino for many reasons. The venue is spectacularly set up on all levels, onstage and off. The staff is fantastic, and it’s first class all the way. If all gigs were like that well run, comedy would be pure heaven. I always enjoy being here.

That being said, I discovered a glitch in the schedule that made my blood run cold. I had thought I was booked to be there next week, June 5th. Apparently, the booker wrote down the week after, and that’s when I was listed. I’m in Louisville at the Comedy Caravan that week and can’t get out of it. It looks like I’m going to lose out on a whole week of work.

I called the booker immediately, and sure enough there was a snafu. It’s hard to tell who was at fault, but it doesn’t matter at this point. I know it was unintentional, but now it’s a problem, and I was counting on that money. Fortunately, this booker isn’t a maniac and it will work itself out. I’ll get a rebooking, and life goes on. Still, I need a major revamping.

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