A Night Up Nort’

Thursday October 6th, 2011 – Manitowish Waters, WI

Just when I’ve decided I don’t want to pursue my vagabond hobo lifestyle much longer, out I go for another three day road run. It was almost four, but I wasn’t able to work it out with the booker. It’s a prime example of why this kind of lifestyle can be so exasperating.

The weekend booking is at a casino/dog track in Dubuque, IA. I’ve done it before and it was a nice gig as I remember. The staff was friendly and the accommodations were above average, as they usually are at casino gigs. It came up again and I gladly accepted the job.

Then, another booker offered me the gig tonight in Manitowish Waters, WI. That’s way up there near the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, but it’s extra scratch and a chance to self manufacture an extended run. That‘s getting much harder to do these days, and it stinks.

There was a third booker who had a gig last night in Eau Claire, WI I tried to snatch up, but someone else aced me out. I tried to explain how convenient it would be, but it fell on deaf ears of course. The other comic may well have been able to switch the date easily but the booker wouldn’t hear of it. Most of them couldn’t care any less. They just plug holes.

This makes it that much harder to make a living doing comedy – especially for opening acts. Bookers don’t think twice about calling comics to cancel a booking on short notice, but if we should happen to need to move a single date our entire booking future is at risk.

I got to bring my opener this week and I chose a very funny kid named Carlos Valencia. I met him at Zanies in Chicago at a Monday Rising Star Showcase, and then we worked a very enjoyable week together in Memphis later on. It just so happened we hooked this up.

He’s in his late 20s, and I predict a bright future. He’s naturally funny, but also realizes comedy is a craft and works extra hard to be a student of the game. I liked his style when we worked in Memphis, and I‘m glad we were able to cross paths again on this run. He’ll do a solid job on stage, and not be a pain in the ass to be trapped in a car with for the trip.

Not only that, he volunteered to drive. Jackpot! It was a welcome treat to not have to get behind a steering wheel and just relax and get to enjoy the spectacular colors of autumn in northern Wisconsin. He showed up at my house within two minutes of when he said he’d be there, and that was impressive as well. This kid has a spark, and I’m glad I could toss a few shows his way. They may not be dream gigs, but he’ll pay his bills for another week.

Tonight’s show was well received. It was held in a hotel lounge with a homemade stage setup, but the lights and sound were good and people piled in from all over the area to see us. The couple that own the hotel enjoy comedy and wanted to bring shows up this way.

Carlos was grateful for the work, and I was grateful for an opener who was professional, funny and didn’t dig a deep dark desperate ditch for me to have to crawl out of to win the crowd back. We did our duty and bagged our booty. Down to Dubuque for a double dose.

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