Tweaking Uranus

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.

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