Stage Withdrawal

Saturday July 23rd, 2011 – Cary, IL

Another Saturday night without a gig and I’m getting antsy. I was supposed to be out in Tucson at Laffs this week, but I didn’t know if I was up for it with my recent health issues so I cancelled. I never like to cancel work, but I wasn’t sure I could bring it with all I had.

If someone pays to see me perform, I take it seriously. I want to be able to give my very best effort at any given time, and I also don’t want to cheat a booker either. I doubted my ability to be able to give my all right now, so I was up front with Gary Bynum who books the club. He’s a very astute businessman, and I respect that. I didn’t want to phone it in.

He was very cool about it, and in this economy it wasn’t difficult to find a replacement in milliseconds so no damage was done. A lot of bookers hold a grudge whenever there’s a cancellation, but sometimes it happens for legitimate reasons. This was one of them and I highly doubt it will prevent me from a future rebooking. I’d love to go back to Tucson.

In a perfect world, I’d book a few clubs in towns I enjoy and do it for the fun of it. I like Tucson a lot as a town, and I also like Salt Lake City which isn’t all that far away. A mini tour of those two cities with maybe a San Francisco, Sacramento or Seattle on the end of it would make a nifty little western junket. There are also a few casino gigs out that way.

Three or four runs a year wouldn’t be bad to do on the road, but only at nicer joints like Laffs in Tucson or Wiseguys in Salt Lake City. I fit in very well in those places, and there is minimal drama because they’re well run. Money has gone down all over though, so it’s important to add on as many casino one nighters as possible to make it worth my while.

It’s getting harder and harder to squeeze a buck out of the road , not to mention the fact it gets to be a brutal grind after a while. Gas at four bucks a pint doesn’t help either. It’s a rough go for the road comic these days, and I have no idea how openers and features hang in there. It’s tough enough for headliners, and I’m living proof. This is not an easy living.

Still, I enjoy performing for quality audiences who are there to see a show. That doesn’t always happen, but after a month on the sidelines, I’m itching to get back out there and do some shows. I might not have been ready for a trip to Tucson this particular week, but I’m sure ready to start doing even some guest sets in clubs around here to get my chops back.

Comedy is a craft, and any craftsperson needs to practice their craft to maintain a level of growth and proficiency that only comes by doing it. The old adage of “use it or lose it” is unfortunately all too true. It takes constant work, and even though I’ve had a nice little break to clear my head and rest up, if I don’t get back on stage again soon I will atrophy.

Most audiences would never know that, but I would. I don’t want to go up there and be off my game and give a bumbling half ass mish mash that passes for a show. I want to be at the top of my game for as long as I can stay there, and that’s not forever unfortunately. It now becomes a race against the clock, and every time on stage becomes significant.


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