Far Northern Exposure

Thursday April 21st, 2011 – Sault Ste. Marie, MI

Totally different circumstances today. If there’s one thing that’s constant in the comedy business, it’s change. Yesterday I drove 443 hard miles in a rainy/sleety mess to entertain about 30 people. Today I drove 43 miles in bright sunshine to entertain about 300 people.

The short drive today will be long forgotten about on the big long nasty one tomorrow. The one today just makes tomorrow’s that much longer because it’s in the total opposite direction of civilization. It will be all I can handle to make it back without flipping out at some point. I hope Kristi McHugh can keep me occupied with interesting conversation.

The facility up here is really nice. It’s called Kewadin Casino as was last night’s place, and everything about it is first class. There’s nothing wrong with the location we were last night, but this one is way bigger and better. They’ve got an auditorium where they book a lot of big name acts, and it’s a fantastic space. I’d love to headline that facility someday.

They’ve got a wide range of acts coming in from Styx to Ray Price to a lot of the newer country acts like Dierks Bentley and Gretchen Wilson. It seems like casinos are becoming the new Vaudeville circuit in America where acts travel and can make a living by touring.

It makes perfect sense in many ways. The casinos can afford both the acts and the ads to draw them in. the accommodations for the performers are way above what they’d be if the shows were at regular nightclubs or even a local auditorium. This is a self contained unit.

I guess I don’t feel so bad about playing up here because a lot of big time acts have and are doing it, but I wish I could work in the big room and be a draw. That would really be a thrill, and make the trip a lot more exciting. Until then, I’ll have to keep my mouth shut.

We did have a completely jam packed house in the comedy room tonight, but I doubt if even one of them were there to see either Kristi or me. They do pack them in at this joint, and always have. Unfortunately, there’s no cover charge and many of them are just there for a drink and don’t care who or what’s on stage. There’s always a crowd murmur here.

The show was hosted tonight by a really nice guy named Allan Gibbs, a radio guy I met at another casino show in Harris, MI which I happen to be doing again this Sunday. Allan is a real pro and has worked in some major markets, but like everyone else in radio he has to take whatever gigs are out there. There just aren’t that many out there, and it’s a shame.

This was his first time hosting the comedy night here, and his bosses were in the crowd so I went out of my way to get the audience to applaud for him. This is his town now, and I want to see him do well and keep his job for as long as he wants it. I know how it goes.

The audience tonight weren’t the biggest laughers, but they seemed to enjoy the show. I gave them my best, but the whole time on stage I was thinking about the long drive home in the morning and dreading it. Fun as tonight was, I’m not sure if the drive was worth it.


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