Mentor Health

Sunday January 29th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

Being a mentor is extremely important to me, but I can’t put my finger on exactly why. I tried to figure it out, but the only answer that made sense was that it doesn’t matter why, only that I follow through and do it. I know how much in high esteem I hold my mentors, and they really made a difference. I want to be that same source of inspiration to others.

My grandfather was THE most influential mentor I ever had, but he was a father figure for life lessons at an early age. All of my adult life has been in and around entertainment, so those mentors were more specialized and shaped me professionally. I needed them all.

There was Gary Kern and Kyle Nape, two great guys who helped me cut my road chops and learn how to be a professional entertainer. But without a doubt, the big one for me by far was C. Cardell Willis. He hosted the show the very first time I ever stepped on a stage.

Cardell was my comedy father, and also the rest of Milwaukee’s comedians at that time. He took time to run shows and help any and all who wanted to learn the craft. He gave of himself freely, and I learned things from him that I still use today. He was a giving soul.

He was born and also died in the exact same years as my father. He would have turned 75 on April 20th of this year, and I think it’s only right I pay him a proper tribute. He was never famous, and in my opinion never got his due for all the people he helped – like me.

I have put the wheels in motion to have a tribute show at Shank Hall in Milwaukee this coming April 22nd. The room was booked on the weekend, but Sunday is appropriate for a show like this because that room used to be Teddy’s, and they had Sunday comedy shows there for years. In fact, that’s where I did my first ever paid comedy show. It has history.

It was also the Funny Bone in the ‘80s, so that’s the perfect place to have the show. I’ve arranged to rent the room for the night, and am contacting a list of Milwaukee comedians from that era who are still around. I’ve gotten a terrific response, and I can’t wait to pull it off. It will be my own personal tribute to a mentor, but also a chance to let others join in.

I’m working on getting some sponsors to cover costs, and will also make it a charitable event and hopefully raise some money for at least one worthy cause if not more. I know it doesn’t do anything for my career, but that’s ok. I feel I have to do this, and I’m going to.

Today I went to Milwaukee to take part in a ‘Comedy Conclave’ I was invited to attend via Face Book. It was a last minute thing, but I felt compelled to go. There’s something in my deepest DNA that tells me to help those people, or at least show them some support.

There were new faces and some that I knew, and it was odd to now be in the role played by Cardell when I was starting. They were looking to me for advice and guidance just like I looked to Cardell. I didn’t hold back, and told them my unvarnished opinion. I wonder if anyone heard it? I do know they were glad I showed up. I felt it. Mentors do matter. A lot.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: