Archive for June, 2010

Catching My Drift

June 30, 2010

Tuesday June 29th, 2010 – St. Charles, IL

Here comes that old drifting feeling again. I wish I knew what the hell I was doing with my life, other than trying to survive the summer. I’m not thrilled with how a lot of things are playing out, and I can see a big change in the near future just to shake things up a bit.

Doing what I’m doing doesn’t seem to be working, and I’m losing faith and patience at an alarming rate. These next three months are going to be a big turning point of both how and where I’ll spend the next few years. I don’t want to live like a spider in a basement at this time in my life, and something needs to change. I can feel this chapter ending. Soon.

Time is running out on having both enough energy and desire to move somewhere else to start all over yet again. I’ve done it too many times to count, and every time has ended with me moving back to Chicago with my tail between my legs. One more time wouldn’t mean the end of the world if I failed, but it sure would be a kick in the balls of my heart.

It already has been. I’ve already moved back from Lansing, Reno, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City and I’ve spent smaller chunks of time in several other places like Albuquerque, Ft. Wayne, Kansas City and Ft. Lauderdale thinking I may have radio jobs that never did materialize. If I’ve done one thing in life, it’s roll the dice. It would be nice to win once.

I did see the country and meet new people and it was an adventure to say the least. Now I have different needs, and adventure isn’t necessarily one of them. Security would be the one thing I’d like more than anything, but is that ever an option? I’m not the only one that doesn’t have a retirement fund, but that doesn’t mean I have to accept it. I need to fix that.

The reason I’m thinking of all this is that I got an email from a cruise ship talent booker asking what my available dates were for the rest of this summer, and where I was located. I have a feeling I’m going to get a test run, and if I do I have total confidence I’ll nail it.

If that happens, there might be a possibility of a chunk of bookings but it could depend on if I’m willing to move to Florida to be near where the work is. That would mean a new start and having to leave behind some of the things I’m working on here in the Midwest.

Could I come back if it didn’t work out? Yes, but that would take a lot of energy and it wouldn’t be pleasant. None of the last times were either, but at least in my mind I was on the trail of chasing the big dream. This isn’t it. Cruise ships aren’t where stars are made.

But neither was Reno or Salt Lake City or any of those other places I was except for Los Angeles, but when I was there I wasn’t ready to be there. I’d love to go back, but this is a young man’s game and that ship may have already sailed. I really don’t know what to do.

I’ve still got the ‘Schlitz Happened!’ one man show, comedy classes and the mail order Uranus Factory Outlet business ideas, but none of those are raking in cash yet. This could be a chance to get out of my financial doldrums and if an offer comes I’ll have to take it.

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Bad Audiences Do Exist

June 29, 2010

Monday June 28th, 2010 – Chicago, IL

On occasion, every single live performer who ever steps on a stage has to face a horrific audience. It’s part of the game. Eventually the odds dictate that the majority of people in a particular gathering just aren’t going to be a good match. It happens to everyone on every level, even though it usually gets farther apart the longer someone has been performing.

Sometimes the reason for a bad show is the fault of the performer. I’ve had awful shows in front of decent enough audiences over the years, and it was usually my fault. Part of the reason may have been legitimate, like I was tired from traveling or maybe even physically ill with a cold or the flu. Other times, I was just off. My head wasn’t in the same room.

Then there are the times when the full blame falls on the audience. They’re just a bunch of flaming imbeciles, and no matter who’s in front of them they’re not going to be able to break through the brick wall of group stupidity. It’s a bad mix, and that’s that. It’s over.

That’s what happened tonight at Zanies in Chicago. There was no Rising Star Showcase show as per usual because of 4th of July week, one of the slowest of the year. Clubs across the country either close for this week or piece together a low budget show with local acts.

Zanies’ headliner this week is a very funny guy named Tim Clue. Tim is not only funny on a comedy stage, he’s also a brilliant writer, actor and director. He’s a very experienced entertainer, and he knows his way around audiences. He’s my age and has been doing this probably as long as I have. That being said, we both agreed that this audience was a dud.

The format of the show tonight was that I was to open the show with 15-20 minutes and then bring up Tim, who would do about 40 minutes. Then, I’d come back and close it out with 20-30 minutes, depending on how they were. Tim and I are both veterans, and didn’t really care what the format was. We’re both able to handle just about anything by now.

I could tell they were a bad audience in the first five minutes. There’s just a certain vibe that’s in the room, and it was there tonight. I had to work way harder than usual to get any kind of laughs, and when I did there was never a roll. They judged each joke like a jury.

Tim went up and did exactly 40 minutes. He was funny, professional, but hated them as much as I did. He did a fabulous job under the circumstances, and came off stage without letting them know he wasn’t enjoying himself. Only he and I knew how difficult that was, but that’s part of being a professional. Sometimes it’s like this, and it needs to be handled.

Then I had to go back up and close out the show. It wasn’t fun, but I wish I would have taped it so newbies could see how to handle a bad crowd. There was a group of four loud Canadians of all things right up front, and they talked through the entire show. The whole room was out of towners, and keeping them in focus on anything was a chore. We earned our pay tonight, but after the show we weren’t complaining. We were both glad to get the work, especially on 4th of July week. This was a small glitch, but it’s over. On to big stuff.

A Class Act Cousin

June 28, 2010

Sunday June 27th, 2010 – Kenosha, WI

There are only a few members of my family who I’ve ever felt close to, and one of them was born on this day in 1957. His name is Jef Parker and unfortunately he died a slow and painful death from cancer in 2001. He was only 44. That still seems so unfair, even now.

Jef’s father and my grandfather were brothers, so that made us second cousins. Jef had a very unpleasant childhood because his old man was also a lout and a cold hearted ass and in fact his father and my father were very close throughout their lives. It totally figures, as they were cut from the same cloth. Both were horrible fathers and never felt bad about it.

Jef had to endure the torture of bouncing around to different foster homes and was also a ward of the state for a while. He used to tell horrific stories of getting ganged up on, and like me, he didn’t suffer bullies well. Sometimes he’d have to wait weeks or more to pull off his revenge, but he did. Jef was a total dented can, and we were able to bond quickly.

We didn’t meet until I was in my early twenties, when a mutual friend introduced us for the first time. Jef started Collector’s Edge Comics in Milwaukee from scratch. He busted his ass to make it happen, and he did it with ZERO help from the family. I can totally but sadly relate to that feeling. Our blood line is loaded with small timers, goofs and losers.

Jef and I grew very close very quickly, and we hung out often. He was a big brother at a time when I really needed one. He encouraged my show business pursuits, and offered his well thought out advice whether I wanted it or not – but I always did. Jef was on top of it.

We had a mutual admiration society. Both of us knew how our family operated, and for both of us to get where we did despite that was nothing short of miraculous. Jef loved that I wouldn’t accept the fate most of the rest of the kids did, because he wouldn’t either. The fact that even one other person had the guts to buck the system gave us both some hope.

Then his cancer showed up. He fought it to the end, and not only was he courageous, he kept his dignity and class the entire time. We had detailed, in depth, no holds barred talks about life and it’s meaning or lack thereof, or whatever else popped into our heads. I wish we’d recorded them, because they’d usually get pretty deep. I miss those talks, even now.

Jef told me he would send me a signal from beyond if he could. He told me I’d know it was him because he’d make it funny and something special that I’d recognize right away. So far, I haven’t seen anything and that takes wind out of my sail. I know he’d absolutely do it if he could, as would I. So far, nothing. I sure thought I’d have gotten it before now.

I miss Jef more the longer he’s gone. He’d be 53 now, but he still had the heart of a kid. He was older than me by a few years, but we still got along famously. He showed with his own life that dented cans can indeed overcome obstacles, but the dents never go away. He was hurt by his father’s ignorance just like I was, but he pressed on. Jef Parker is my hero. How he’s dead and reptiles like Bernie Madoff and other maggots still live mystifies me.

Doubt Of The Benefit

June 28, 2010

Saturday June 26th, 2010 – Milwaukee, WI

Stage fright has never been part of my world, for whatever reason. I have a healthy dose of other problems to keep me occupied, but not that. Going on stage is something I enjoy, not a source of fear or anxiety like I’ve seen it be with others. It’s the highlight of my day.

What does scare me half to death is the fact that I have no health insurance, and I’m one procedure away from total indigence. I share that with many people, not just other comics or performers. It’s a dark cloud hanging over a lot of heads, and I’m sensitive to it daily.

I was scheduled tonight to perform at a benefit show for a comedian I’ve known a long time named Mark Reedy. He’s originally from Cleveland but lived in Chicago for years. I always got along well with Mark, and I’d heard he was having some severe health issues.

Unfortunately, most comedy benefits are complete disasters. They just are. I’ve tried to run them in the past, and lost my ass. I didn’t even make enough to break even much less raise any money for any causes, and no matter how hard I tried to avoid it, someone had a problem with someone else and there ended up being a fight at some point. What a hassle.

That being said, I was originally off and my heart goes out to Mark and everyone else in his position, including me. I’m not immune to having some big issue that needs a medical solution so I wanted to show my support, even though the chances of raising any real cash to help him were slim. I hope I’m totally wrong, but from past experience I’m totally not.

I was all set to commit to the benefit when I received a phone call telling me there was a last minute fallout at the Northern Lights Theatre at Potawatomi Casino up in Milwaukee. I just got bumped from there with a double booking a few weeks ago, and I sure could use that money right about now. Plus, it would help the booker and I love playing that venue.

I contacted the other comics on the show and said I had to take the Milwaukee gig, even though I had committed to being part of the benefit. Guaranteed money vs. a random shot in the dark is exactly that – guaranteed. I’ll donate part of my check to Mark to support his cause, and I hope he’s ok with that. I meant no disrespect, but situations pop up at times.

This isn’t the greatest week to be booked for any comedy in or around Milwaukee. This is the week of Summerfest, only the largest continuous music festival in the world. It’s an institution in the Milwaukee area and has been since I was a kid. It’s THE draw in town.

Still, there were people at both shows at the casino, and both audiences were absolutely delightful. Those who were there were there to laugh, and it really was a lot of fun. I love to work this venue, and varied a lot from my normal routine. I wanted to riff with them.

Hopefully, everyone wins here. I helped the booker who was in a pinch, but recovered a week that was double booked recently. I will donate some money to Mark Reedy and was also able to work on material for two audiences of nice people. I don’t see any losers here.

These Kids Today

June 27, 2010

Friday June 25th, 2010 – Round Lake Beach, IL

Some things are best left unsaid. I sure wish I could have grasped that concept years ago as I’ve screwed myself more than once with something I blurted out, just because it’s how I really felt. That may be true, but it’s not always a good idea to actually speak it out loud.

From some of my earliest memories, I can recall letting my thoughts come flying out of my mouth unvarnished, and seeing people’s facial expressions change drastically. I don’t mean any harm by it and never did. In fact, I always thought it was a form of respect to be able to tell someone something with no B.S. attached. I guess I was wrong. I’m learning.

Tonight was an example of a situation that came up where I kept my mouth shut, and it was a conscious choice on my part. I could have said something, but I chose not to. That’s something I’m getting better at, even though I still think what I think. I kept it to myself.

There was a comedy show at the Round Lake Beach Community Center in Round Lake Beach, IL of all places. Funny they should name it that considering that’s the name of the town. The show was put on by Dan Morris, a young comic who lives in the area and who I was able to take with me to open the shows in Champaign and Freeport, IL last week.

I like Dan. He’s serious about comedy and wants to get better. He’s looking for comedy venues to book in Lake County, and I think it’s great. He found the Community Center on the internet and approached them about doing shows. This is his second attempt and there were maybe 35 people, 40 tops. It wasn’t a huge crowd, but they all came out to have fun.

Dan asked if I wouldn’t mind closing the show, and of course I didn’t. I was off the it’s literally a five minute drive from where I live. He booked some of the younger generation of comics to do it, and although I like the people he booked, a few of them were throwing around a little attitude backstage. I know comedy is difficult, but it’s hard for everyone.

A couple of the comics were moaning a little about the lack of audience, and they were a little cocky for my tastes. It reminded me of a time when I was about that age and I had a similar outburst. I whined about a small audience one night and a veteran comic named T.P. Mulrooney got in my face in front of everyone and told me to shut up and pay dues.

He snapped at me pretty good, and at first I didn’t know how to take it. Then, I knew he was completely right and I apologized to both him and the other comedians in the room at the time, most of whom had been around a lot longer than I had then. T.P. told how being a real comedian does involve doing shows for small audiences and learning to enjoy it.

I wasn’t angry at any of these kids tonight, but I thought about pulling a T.P. and going off on the ones who were bitching in front of the others so everyone could see it and have the benefit of learning a lesson. Comedy IS a struggle, and one has to earn the right to get in front of a sizeable audience. It’s not a birth right. They were indeed lucky to be in such a plush venue as it was. Do your best show for who’s there. But I didn’t. I shut my mouth.

Drifting And Drafting

June 25, 2010

Thursday June 24th, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL

Boy, do I have a lot of work to do. The more I get done, the more that needs to be done. I sure wish I’d had better vision years ago, I’d be a powerhouse by now. But I didn’t. And I’m not. On second thought, my vision was ok. It was my follow through that was weak.

For whatever failings I may have experienced in life, looking back on it I think it was an absolute lack of leadership that really caused me to drift. My grandfather was a wonderful mentor, but he died six months after I graduated high school. That’s probably the time for the most need for a father figure, but I was all alone in the world and made weak choices.

Granted, sooner or later the blame has to stop about where a person came from, and I’m not going to harp on it any more than I have to. Yeah, I had a few bad breaks, but I had a big hand in blowing a lot of other opportunities all on my own. Part of it was because of a burning inner rage I really didn’t know was there until years later. It affected my choices.

I was always trying to get back at someone or show someone I was good for something, and all that was a gigantic waste of productive time. Nobody cared. Had I been smart and spent my time focused on good things rather than sticking it to others, I’d be a big success rather than sitting here wondering what went wrong. I know I’m not alone in that either.

A lot of people screw up in life, but I think the real trick is how to bounce back and get a second chance. Maybe that’s all part of what we’re here to learn, and if it is I think I am finally discovering my purpose. I really AM learning, even if it comes with a major price.

The only thing that concerns me is if I have enough time left to make any real difference in anyone’s lives. I sure hope so, but I keep seeing all the time I wasted trying to figure all of this out and it crushes my hopes. I feel like I’m just getting started now, when in reality I should have been at this point about twenty years ago. I’m starting the race way too late.

I thought about that as I watched the NBA draft on ESPN tonight. I’m a sucker for those things no matter what the sport. I see all these young kids with high hopes and dreams get their name called, knowing they have NO idea what’s in store for them in the real world.

Most of them have been pampered since grade school, and think the pro career is going to work out without a glitch and they’ll be happy ever after. There have to be thousands of stories of kids that lost it all in just a few years or fizzled out and never made it at all.

Pro sports is probably the only thing even more brutal than show business. Well, it IS a form of show business but it’s different in that once the skills are gone, they’re absolutely gone forever. Comedy and music and acting at least have a little more margin for error.

Some of those kids tonight will get cut or traded or have to play in Europe or get caught up in drugs or booze or who knows what and look back when they’re my age and wonder what they should have done differently. I wish them well, but I‘ve got my own problems.

I thought about that too as I sat around sorting out boxes I’ve been meaning to sort for a long time. I’d been planning on this night for a while, knowing I needed some time alone to just think my life through. I tried to throw as much away as I could, and I’m glad I did.

A lot of it was paperwork and notebooks with unachieved goals written in them. I threw all kinds of papers out that had headers like ‘Goals for 1997’ with ambitious projects that I never got to, and part of that really made me feel like a failure. That time is gone forever and whatever I did instead sure didn’t make up for me not achieving what I had intended.

Part of the reason was that I was either getting fired from radio stations across America or having to testify against my best friend in a bank robbery trial. All of that put a damper on life and clouded even more what was already a blurry vision of what life was about. If I had the clarity of thinking I have now back then, I would be in a totally different place.

But I’m sure a lot of other people say that too. Too bad. We didn’t have that clarity then and that’s why we all did what we did. I for one regret it horribly, but what can I do? Who do I blame besides myself? I can’t blame my grandfather, I’m sure he didn’t want to die.

In a perfect world, he’d have been my mentor through my turbulent twenties and helped me get a grasp for what both the real world and show business were all about. I needed an experienced guide to coach me through the difficulty of getting established, knowing that I had some actual talent that could go to a higher level. I would have had a different life.

C. Cardell Willis was a wonderful showbiz mentor, but no offense to him he wasn’t the big time guy I needed. He gave me all he had and I appreciate it beyond words, but as far as helping me take it to the big time, he couldn’t help me after a certain point. I was once again all by myself, and there’s no way anybody can do it alone. I lacked a higher mentor.

It’s extremely disappointing to think about all this, but it’s true. The only good I can see coming of it is that I’ll hopefully get to be a super mentor to some bright kid coming up in a new generation. I know now what to do, but it took way too long to learn it. Some kid is out there in the same position I was, and if I can offer even a bit of wisdom I‘m happy to.

That kid may not even be born yet, OR, he or she could be reading it right now without me even having a clue. I surely hope so, even if I never know it. That’s the right thing for anyone to do – pass good energy forward. If I can help someone else, I’ll always make it a point to do so. That’s what real giving is all about. I hope others can avoid my mistakes.

I would LOVE to have had the chance to be drafted by any big time pro sports league so I could have felt the thrill of hearing my name called by the commissioner and walk down the aisle smiling from ear to ear with camera lights flashing and TV analysts touting me.

That’s not going to happen, at least in this life. Maybe in a parallel universe I’m a Hall of Famer with a drawer full of championship rings and a fat bank account, but in this life I’ve got to worry about paying rent every month. I hope I learn whatever lessons I need to.

Potawatomi Payback

June 24, 2010

Wednesday June 23rd, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL

I’ve been flapping off a lot lately about how much I need to establish a workable system for staying booked, and I’m finally starting to implement it. The main objective is to have top of mind awareness with as many booking agents as possible, so they think of me first.

It’s very difficult to stay in everyone’s face without being a pest. There are probably too many comedians all trying for the extremely finite amount of work available, and it’s like an online game of musical chairs to get a booking almost anywhere these days. It’s tough.

It was a different kind of tough in the old days, but the numbers game was different too. Back then the hard part was getting a booker on the phone. Once you did though, it could mean a whole chunk of your year was booked, as several bookers had many full weeks of work to pass out. Plus, there weren’t as many people as now all trying for the same work.

There was no internet back then, and that really ended up changing the whole process of booking when it eventually hit. I know I sound like a senile toothless old grand pappy, but it’s true. The internet has turned the booking process into a game of who can answer back an email the fastest when a booker offers open dates. It’s very hard to stay on top of it all.

Also, the amount of work that each booker has to offer has shrunk dramatically so that’s all the more times I have to worry about finding a match. If I could hook up twelve weeks of work with one email, I wouldn’t need to make that many contacts. That’s not how it is anymore, so I have to constantly keep trolling my emails for one week or even one night.

The smart way to do it would be to make a list of every single booker I work for and put together a list of avails and send it to them so they can know when I’m open. That’s not a bad idea nor a complicated one, so one would think I’d have made it a regular part of my life by now, but I just haven’t. There’s no excuse for it, and I’m ashamed I’ve been so lax.

I’ve decided I can’t fix it in one fell swoop, and I can’t. It’s going to take some work to lay a foundation first and build and rebuild relationships with bookers. There are the ones who call me, but they’re not the ones I need to impress. It’s the ones I don’t work for on a regular basis, if at all. They’re the ones I need to let know I’m available without pestering.

A perfect example was the booker of the Northern Lights Theatre at Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee who called me today. I sent him my avails when we had our schedule glitch a few weeks ago and I ended up getting bumped. I wasn’t angry, and just sent him my list of avails and asked him politely to keep me in mind if he had any fallouts. They do occur.

Today I got the call asking me to fill in this Saturday because of a last minute change in someone else’s schedule. Bingo! I lost a week unexpectedly, but I got it right back in just a few weeks simply by letting the booker know I was open. Why don’t I do this with each and every booker I’ve ever worked for? That sounds like a great idea, I should have been doing it years ago. One of these days I’m going to finally get smart. When I do, look out.

Kipper And Kidders

June 23, 2010

Tuesday June 22nd, 2010 – Kenosha, WI

Jerry’s Kidders are back together…even if it was only for a single lunch at the Brat Stop in Kenosha, WI. We hadn’t seen each other in way too long, and even though Jerry Agar wasn’t able to join us, it was still great to see the Kidders. We still have a solid chemistry.

The reason we chose the Brat Stop is because it’s in between Milwaukee where Kipper McGee lives and the far south side of Chicago where Ken Sevara and Tim Slagle happen to live. I’m right in the middle so I had the shortest drive of all, and of course I was late.

The guys started busting my chops before I even got a chance to sit at the table, and that reminded us all of why we had so much fun for two years. We enjoyed being on the radio but the lunches and hanging out were always a huge part of the deal. It was our own little tree house, and everyone felt welcome. We all knew immediately how much we miss it.

Kipper McGee was our program director at WLS, and I told the guys then we’d never have such a supportive situation as far as radio goes. Kipper was in our corner and still is. He gave us the chance to grow as a team on the air, and he never squelched the creativity like way too many other clueless control freak program directors love to do. He got us.

It’s such a shame that radio is so trigger happy to fire competent people and allows the goof balls to remain employed. Kipper McGee is a brilliant radio programmer with a soul to boot, and he gets blown out the door of WLS while the corporate honcho named Farid or Farouk or Farout or Feng Shui or whatever his name is continues to ruin the company.

That story is WAY too common in radio, and I’m sick of it as are Kipper and the other Kidders as well. We got booted off the station when Jerry did, and there’s no reason that he shouldn’t still be there. Now he’s had to split up his family and go work in Toronto.

We didn’t dwell too much on the negative though. We knew we don’t get the chance to see each other in one place much anymore so we spent most of our lunch looking back at the fun times we had and laughing uproariously. There were some real moments with us.

We also talked about how we can keep the project going. It’s a lot of fun to sit around a studio and fire off lines about news stories of the week, and when we were on our game it was pure electricity. None of us want it to end like this, but what do we do to reignite it?

Jerry is going to be in Toronto for the foreseeable future, and that’s just how it is. We’re not angry, we all know he needs to turn a buck. We all do. How can we do it with a show that does current events jokes for an hour each week? That’s a tall order and we know it.

Still, there’s no reason we can’t reinvent ourselves and that’s what we bounced around the table. Kipper knows a lot of people in radio, and he still believes in us as a team. He’s of the opinion we should try to stay on in Chicago, and we all agree. But where? WGN is the logical choice, but Jerry hasn’t been on so neither have we. Still, it was a fun lunch.

Tweaking Uranus

June 23, 2010

Monday June 21st, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL

Ask and ye shall receive. I discovered a listing website where radio talk show hosts are able to troll for guests that match the format of their show. It only took a few hours of me having listed The Mothership Connection show on WLIP to get deluged with requests for interviews from Bigfoot hunters to a dentist who claims he chats regularly with aliens.

I received 35 emails in about twelve hours, with no end in sight. One after another, I got pitched by authors and publishing houses and managers all trying to get their clients some air time. I’ll give it to them too, but not only that I’ll make solid connections I can use for future reference. I love talking about all these topics and I need to carve myself a niche.

Having a Sunday night show for four hours isn’t a bad start, but it isn’t the end all be all either. What I need to do is find a way to combine my comedy skills with my radio skills, and then create a network of people who will pay me for both. I think it’s totally possible.

I know what I’m doing on the air, and I know what I’m doing on stage. I’ve got years of hard earned experience in both areas. Now, the trick is to create my own unique show that allows me to shine at what I do best. That doesn’t mean I need to be the main focus all the time, but I do want to be in the position where I’m driving the bus…or the Mothership.

I’ve talked about doing this before, but it’s not as easy as just deciding to and then it’s a done deal. It would take a lot of calculated changes, and I’m not so sure it’s the right time for that just yet. I need to still be versatile for at least a little while so I can stay employed by mainstream bookers. That’s where my work is right now so why should I put it at risk?

Sending out promotional material to comedy clubs as ‘The King of Uranus’ could be an unbelievably stupid move, or it could be the most brilliant marketing tactic of the 2000’s. Personally, without any media hype I think it would be completely stupid. This has to get attention before any shows see the light of day, and that’s a lot different than just comedy.

The whole point of everything is that I’m getting a strong message it’s time to reinvent myself (or at least part of myself) as The King of Uranus and let it start growing. It won’t be without lumps and bumps and wrinkles and glitches, but what isn’t? I need to just get off my asteroids and DO this project. It’s a calculated crapshoot, but I think it will work.

I already see it working. People beep and wave and give me a thumbs up for my Uranus bumper sticker and license plate on my car, and it’s not even that great a car. It’s a big old tub of rusting Toyota, but I see smiles light up people’s faces in my mirror each and every day. Kids get it. Adults get it. Even cops get it. Now I need to just let go and let it happen.

This is a point at which all entertainers tend to lose confidence. It’s a whole new way of doing things, and old habits die hard. But, some entertainers realize that what they’d been doing for years isn’t going to get any bigger, and the only way to fight it is to reshuffle the deck and play a new hand. That’s where I am now, but I really don’t know how exactly.

What I do know is that some ingredients are in place. I have a gimmick in The King Of Uranus, even though it’s not fully developed. I also have a radio show with a growing line of strange and unusual people asking me to be on it. That alone seems to be a major plus.

I really enjoy doing the radio show, because it’s exactly what I want to be talking about. I’m in charge, and everyone knows it. Like Johnny Carson though, I encourage everybody to have their moment in the sun, and I’m secure enough in myself to let it happen. I really want people to shine, because in the end we all win. That’s what makes a show stand out.

Coast to Coast AM is the real Mothership as far as shows like this go, and I’m a big fan. I’m not trying to take over or compete or do anything like that. I’d love to be a guest on it at some point, maybe even a fill in host, but that’s about it. Our show is a cross between a morning show and Coast to Coast AM, and has a different feel. We‘re an ensemble show.

In a perfect world, we’d be on every night as a warmup act for Coast to Coast AM and I think it would be a perfect fit. We could be a little lighter in spirit and prepare listeners to go all the way off when the big show comes on. I’d love to have comedians on and people like George Clinton who would be fascinating to talk to on the air. That would be a kick.

Is there a demand for an every day show like this? I don’t know, and right now I’m just trying to fill the four hours a week I’ve got with as many interesting people as I can locate on a shoestring budget. So far it’s been very good but now I think I’ve hit the mother lode and we can take it to a whole new level. I’d love to develop a world wide cult following.

The key is to mix everything together though. I can’t afford to keep all these projects as individual entities, or I’ll not have enough time to do any of them. If I’m going to be The King of Uranus, that has to be both a comedy character and my persona as the host of the radio show. It also has to be a spokesperson for Uranus Factory Outlet and all that entails.

That will hopefully involve funny commercials selling funny products from t-shirts to greeting cards to whoopee cushions to joke items of all kinds. It will be the 21st Century version of Colonel Sanders, only instead of selling fried chicken it will be rubber ones.

Colonel Sanders became a walking brand name, logo and spokesman all rolled into one. He had a killer slogan and a unique look and everything fell together. He always wore his white suit with a black string tie, and everyone knew him. What will I wear as the King of Uranus? A cape? A crown? A cod piece? Who knows? I don’t. Not yet. But I’ll find out.

Part of this is scary as hell, but another part is the most amazing adventure I could ever think of. Building something out of nothing has always been of interest, and it still is. I’ve never really had any major success, but the few things I did do have been very satisfying.

I’m starting to see the big picture in my head with all this. The radio show will feed the King of Uranus character, which will boldly find comedy where no man has gone before. Even if this whole thing is a flaming disaster, I’ll have great stories to tell for many years.

Questioning The Big ‘G’

June 22, 2010

Sunday June 20th, 2010 – Kenosha, WI

I’m in another one of my ‘What the hell if anything at all does life mean?’ moods again. It’s still a mystery why the human race exists, and the more I think about it the more I am baffled to the bone. There HAS to be some kind of meaning to all of this, doesn’t there?

Nope. There really doesn’t. Who said any of this has to make any sense at all other than random old chance that has come together to make all of our lives a living, breathing ugly ride for as long as we’re stuck on this water drenched pebble drifting through the dregs of the universe, hoping to cross paths with a cosmic clue. So far, I don’t think we found one.

I know I haven’t. I look around the world, or at least the one I’m in, and see nothing but injustice, insanity and incredible stupidity. Nobody seems to be figuring anything out, and I can’t understand why if there is anything close to resembling what God may be won’t be so frustrated that He doesn’t wipe us out, come up with a better blueprint and start again.

But here we all are, floating through this life plane without a hint as to the why of it all. Personally, the longer I float the farther away from any kind of God presence I seem to be feeling. I wish that weren’t so, but it’s true. I have serious doubts as to the existence of an  all seeing, all knowing single being that keeps track of how many times I break His laws.

If God made us all in an image of Himself, then He must be imperfect too. Wouldn’t it make sense? It seems like there are a lot of holes in the God story, and as I get older I feel like I’ve been had. I believed it with all my heart as a kid, but that doesn’t make any of it true. I believed in Santa Claus with all my heart too, and also pro wrestling. I’m a sucker.

So are millions and billions of other humans, and I have to believe if there was a God as we were taught, wouldn’t all this be cleared up by now? We’re all supposed to believe the story that a random guy named Jesus came here via miraculous birth only to eventually be killed in place of every other human who ever lived because we all broke laws He didn’t.

Doesn’t that sound a bit far fetched? Sorry, it just does. I never thought to question any of it as a kid, I just believed it. They always lay the whole “Just have faith” line on us and that’s supposed to be enough. Well, it isn’t enough anymore. I guess I’m either a budding atheist or a strong agnostic, and those were hideous words back when I was growing up.

I want to know the truth, as most of us do. What’s the deal? Why are there so many bad things happening to good people if God is supposed to be in charge? Why can’t any of us see Him during this lifetime? One glimpse would make everyone believe without a glitch. I’m not trying to be blasphemous or anything else but telling the truth of what I’m feeling.

I’m sorry, ‘Just have faith’ my ass. I wish I did, but I totally don’t. What does that say of me? Am I a bad person for thinking that? I try very hard to be a good one actually, but it’s just not clicking with the God story after thoroughly examining it objectively over my life and trying to make heads or tails of it all. If I have to fry in hell for it, then I guess I do.

But that doesn’t seem right either, does it? Supposedly according to many sources hell will be packed full of unbelievers, infidels, evil doers and those that fall short of a loving God who likes to pass out free passes to an eternal party if we only do things the way that a certain group of people says to do it. IF we do that, then we get a pass to the big party.

If not, we’re destined to spend the rest of a never ending eternity chained up in a big old barbecue pit getting tortured by fire along with the opposite of God, a spirit who’s got lots of power himself, but just short of the power God has. It sounds like a big sibling rivalry.

It also sounds like a major crock now that I think about it, but this story line has been a big part of scaring people in line for thousands of years. It’s worked great for Christianity, Judaism, Islam and all the rest. The masses believe blindly in something they never think to question, to the point of killing other people over it. What a great job of salesmanship.

It’s almost a bigger version of Ford vs. Chevy or Coke vs. Pepsi. Our invisible being of assumed power and omnipotence who’s all about love and peace is greater than yours, but if you try to dispute it – we’ll kill you and your whole damn generation. That’ll prove it.

We’ve all got a whole lot of learning to do, myself included. Hopefully at some point it will all make sense, just like the end of the old TV show ‘To Tell The Truth’. All kinds of BS was thrown around on that show from several sources, but in the very end the real one finally stood up and we all found out the real story. I sure hope that happens in this life.

Hopefully, when we die we get to learn the real reason for all of this and hopefully get a chance to laugh about it with someone like one big episode of Punk’d or Candid Camera. Mean bosses and psychotic ex spouses would come out from behind a curtain laughing as they winked and said “Hey, GOTCHA!” Then we’d all hug and go on about our business.

All that brings me right back to my original question – what the hell IS ‘our business’ of being here at all? It all seems so random and unplanned. We get here and don’t even have a clue of what life is until it’s almost over. Then, we start thinking of how good we had it when we didn’t know we did, but by then it’s too late to go back and take advantage of it.

Then, I look around at the beauty on this planet and think some kind of a plan had to be in place to create all of that with such precision. The mountains and oceans and animals are all spectacular creations of breathtaking beauty, but I want to know or what made us breathe in the first place in order to take that breath later. Why are we experiencing this?

Of course, I won’t get my answer until after I die, if at all. Maybe this is one stretched out nightmare, and I’m the only one feeling it. If nothing else, it sure makes me a better radio host on ‘The Mothership Connection’  radio show on AM 1050 WLIP in Kenosha, WI. We had a strong show tonight with all four hours packed up with interesting guests.

What’s the absolute unvarnished real truth? I still don’t know, but at least I’m trying to make an attempt to find it. Here’s hoping it’s all one big joke and I’ll laugh at the end.