Down Home Folk

Tuesday January 25th, 2011 – Somewhere At Sea

Two more rock solid shows tonight, a great way to end this run. These people were very friendly, and I had a way better time than I expected. No offense, when I heard I’d be on a ship based out of Galveston, TX I was concerned to say the least. It had hell gig written in blood letters all over it, but I was wrong and I‘m glad. These audiences have been red hot.

Not only do they love the shows, they wait afterward to come and tell me that and ask if I’m coming to their town any time soon. I’d say about half are from Texas and the rest are from Oklahoma or Kansas and all the way north to the Dakotas and into central Canada.

These are down home folk who enjoy being entertained, and I totally enjoy entertaining them. These aren’t the drunken slob types who so often frequent comedy clubs, especially in smaller towns. These are regular people who are on vacation and are out seeing a show.

BIG difference, and I felt it all week. How many years have I spent driving hundreds of miles to get to some piss ant half ass two bit little town to entertain 50 drunken yahoos or less? Too many. If I never have to drive ten hours to a gig it will be too soon. I’m done.

I come back here in three weeks, and I need to have some kind of pass out to give them at the end of my shows when I return. I know I can build a mailing list, and make fans out of these people. They’re exactly who I want as fans – friendly people from the heartland.

There are literally MILLIONS of people like this in America who would love my show, I just haven’t found a way to reach them en masse. This could be a start. Every ship is an audition in front of varied audiences of people from all walks of life who could hire me to come to their town and do a show I book myself. I don’t need that many to do very well.

The first crowds I worked on the ships were from New York and Miami. They were not ‘my people’. They weren’t bad people, they just weren’t for me. These people are from an entirely different background, and I match up with them very well. Now I need to use that to my advantage and make fans out of them. That‘s part of the business of show business.

Working on mailing lists and fan bases is only one part of the business. I also spent a lot of time this week working on off stage improvements. Mark Hawkins was extremely nice about sharing tips on how to best go over with the ship audiences. He’s been both a comic and a cruise director, and I can’t think of anyone else who’s successfully done both jobs.

Mark has a tenacious work ethic, and we spent many hours exchanging ideas and doing what most veteran comics think can’t be done – improve. Mark is a solid writer, and does it every day. He also makes a set list like a baseball batting lineup and sticks to it rigidly.

I must admit he’s won me over to that way of thinking. I’ve NEVER used a set list, but I sure am thinking about starting after listening to Mark’s reasons of why to have one. He   made a lot of valid points, and I respect his tenure. This has been an outstanding week.


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