Finally Some Fun

Friday October 29th, 2010 – Key West, FL

This week is turning out to be by far the best I’ve had as a whole since I’ve been at sea, and I’m not going to question why. I knew if I hung in there long enough, there had to be SOMETHING about this whole major change in lifestyle that would be worth my effort.

The two main ingredients I’ve experienced from this endeavor to date have been stress and pressure, but precious few can relate in the least. Everyone assumes this is a lazy way to big time easy money but nothing could be farther from reality. It’s a very difficult gig.

Part of what’s so tough is the randomness of it all. Every week there’s a whole new set of variables to deal with, and they’re never the same twice. The audiences are completely different on the various ships, as are the staffs. Also, I’ve had a variety of other comics to work with. I haven’t clashed with anyone yet, but that’ll happen eventually. It just does.

I’ll deal with that when it happens. So far I’ve enjoyed everyone I’ve been matched with and this week is especially pleasant. I’m working with Louis Ramey, a very funny guy out of New York who’s originally from Atlanta. We crossed paths briefly many years ago but neither one of us has been able to pinpoint exactly where or when that was. But we did.

Louis is a real pro and I have nothing but respect for him. He’s had quite a few big time television appearances from The Tonight Show to Last Comic Standing where he was one of the finalists in season six. Even though I’m not a huge fan of Last Comic Standing, it’s a major credit and I take nothing away from anyone who gets it. That’s a lot of exposure.

What I really like about Louis is he’s a student of the comedy game just as I am. He got his start at The Punch Line in Atlanta which is one of the legendary clubs in America. His pedigree is rich, and since he’s close to my age we both have a similar base of experience.

He was an opening act when I was, and we both crossed paths with people who went on to be big time stars like Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Drew Carey and others. Now we’re both headliners ourselves and rarely get to hang out with the people we came up with on the comedy ladder. Today we hung out in Key West and had a great time talking comedy.

There’s a big event in town called ‘Fantasy Fest’, and I’d never heard of it before. It had been years since I’ve been to Key West, but I always enjoyed it. It’s a unique place with a lot of history, plus there’s great seafood. It was fun to have someone to hang with all day.

Louis was taking pictures of some of the wild costumes, and some of them made Mardi Gras in New Orleans look like a convent. There were plenty of topless women to gawk at, some in a good way, others in horror. There was no shortage of entertainment anywhere.

If there’s a better way to spend a gorgeous sunny day in Key West than talking comedy with a guy I like and respect, staring at naked breasts of all shapes, eating raw oysters and enjoying life, I’m hard pressed to come up with what that would be. This is how I like it.

Tonight was my night to do three shows, and I love doing that the first night. Almost all of the other weeks I’ve done so far have had me doing my three show night the final night but I’d prefer to get it out of the way early so it’s not hanging over my head for the day.

Sometimes the early shows can be difficult because of the kids, and tonight was another example. I really don’t think people mean to be difficult, so I don’t get angry or flip out at anyone. This is part of the game, and I know that going in. People are going to arrive late with their kids, and that’s just how it’s going to be. I have to learn to deal with it tactfully.

Many times they come right up front, just as I’m in the middle of a bit. They talk loudly and try to figure out where they want to sit, and often the talk is directed at me. Someone will ask me if it’s ok to sit at a particular table like I’m the head usher, but again it’s not a matter of being rude. They don’t know what to do, so I have to handle it and move on.

Louis is a veteran of the ships and he says he just does his show and doesn’t even think about the kids in the crowd. That’s probably the smart way to go, but I want to find a way to make the best of it because I’ll be dealing with it frequently in the foreseeable future.

I’ve always had the power to adapt, and I’m choosing to make this whole experience on cruise ships improve my whole approach to comedy and turn me into a better performer. I think it already has to some degree. I’m not saying I’ve got it all figured out yet, I don’t.

I do have a much better idea of where my act needs to go if I want to stay out here for a while, and it never hurts to have a skill which brings in money. Louis is very smart and he doesn’t allow himself to get trapped on ships only, and that’s something I won’t do either.

Sure, I’ll take work when it’s offered – especially in the next year or so so I can save up a war chest to fall back on and serve as a cushion in case everything blows up in my face. I also need to keep working during the day and have other projects develop so I can have other sources of income. The more sources I have, the less I’ll have to worry about any.

This week is a shot in the arm on many levels. The lack of stress is allowing me to just relax and enjoy life a little. Constantly having to be somewhere is unnecessary stress that takes away from letting me enjoy the good parts, like today. I had a blast with everything.

When I came back to my cabin I flicked through the channels and caught the tail end of The Tonight Show and saw another comic named Louis I respect – Louis CK. We crossed paths many years ago just like Louis Ramey and I did, but again for a million dollars cash I couldn’t tell you where or when it was. I do remember liking the guy, even back then.

In my opinion, I think he has a fabulous work ethic and has made the most of his ability as a comic. That’s all anyone can hope for, and I think the only true definition of success. I didn’t see him perform, only his face as the show was ending. I was happy for him and it made me grateful to be a comic this week. Damn the future, this week is turning out fine.


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