One Sharp Kid

Sunday April 24th 2011 – Harris, MI

The last night of this run, and I couldn’t be happier. These drives are getting to be a lot longer than I need to be making in an old Cadillac with gas at $4 plus a gallon and rising. I’ll bet I barely break even this week after expenses, and that means I lose in the long run.

One bright spot was the opening act Mike Von. He’s 24 and started doing comedy when he was 16, and this kid is going places way bigger than the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He’s originally from Baltimore but has been based out of Chicago for the past four years.

I first saw him at the Monday night Zanies Rising Star Showcase a few months ago and thought he stood out. He’s well spoken, very likeable and looks comfortable on stage. He has a lot to work with, and at 24 he’s got more maturity than most comics get at any age.

A perfect example of that was a mix up in scheduling this week. The booker of this run asked for my confidential opinion of Mike in regard to booking him. I gave him a double thumbs up and meant it. This kid is doing a lot of things right, and I think he’ll go places. The booker asked if I’d be willing to work with him, and I told him I absolutely would.

Well, the booker has an assistant who fills in the schedules and somewhere in the chain, communication broke down and there was a double booking. It happens. At the beginning of this month, Mike contacted me to get details on our week together. I knew immediately what took place and felt horrible, as I’ve been in that spot WAY too many times myself.

I explained to Mike what had happened, then I immediately contacted the booker so we could get it straightened out. This kind of thing does happen and there’s nothing to do but try to work it out and reschedule. Unfortunately, the one rescheduled has to lose money in the short run and it rots. It can be devastating, and that’s why I was so sensitive about it.

The booker took responsibility, and I know it was an honest mistake. Nobody was angry but I wanted to make it up to Mike to show good faith. As it turned out, tonight was open because Kristi McHugh had a show come up in L.A. and had to back out. That would be a hassle in most cases, but this was an exception as it allowed Mike to salvage one night.

He was professional about it all the way, and I told him he was WAY farther ahead of it than I ever was at 24. I used to take it personally when things like that happened, and had more than my share of run ins with bookers over stuff like that. Is it fair to get taken off a gig at the last minute? Absolutely not, but it still happens. How one handles it is the key.

Mike not only handled it correctly, he ended up getting a night out of it after all, and the money he made will at least let him pay some bills this week. He’ll also get booked in the future from this booker, and hopefully with me. He was low maintenance and did well.

Mike is moving to L.A. this fall, and judging by the way he’s handling his business both on and off the stage, I see a very bright future for him. Maybe he’ll let me drive his limo.

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