Archive for January, 2012

A Run For The Money

January 21, 2012

Thursday January 19th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

It’s funny how life is a constant series of trade offs. When I was the young punk getting started in comedy, I had boundless energy and the stamina of a Marine. I could drive a car from sunrise to sunset, and still be fresh and ready to do not one but two shows that night.

I ate whatever I wanted that was cheap and/or tasted good, got by on little to no sleep on a nightly basis and didn’t give a second thought to living a gypsy lifestyle. I was always in a new place, constantly meeting new people. It was perpetual adventure, and I loved it all.

The only bad thing was, I didn’t have an act. I stunk severely, like a meadow full of sun ripened moose manure, and I knew it. I was bad for years. Every greenhorn is. It’s why all real comedians need to work the road. It’s the only way to acquire a set of sellable skills.

Some of those skills are what happens on stage, but a lot more are what goes on the rest of the day. Between all the travel and constant acclimation to new situations, clubs, cities, regions, climate, customs, cuisine, protocol, politics and who knows what else, it can be a constant drain on the energy reserves. It’s easier to absorb in youth, but it does take a toll.

Now, like a Navy Seal I can walk into virtually any comedic situation and know exactly what has to be done. I have no fear, and have become exactly what I set out to be from the start. It’s come full circle though, as now I have no desire whatsoever to travel anymore.

If I was told tomorrow I wouldn’t be able to travel outside a 200 mile radius of home, it wouldn’t bother me a bit. I’d welcome it. I could still perform for good audiences, but not have to put all those hard miles on my car and myself. That’s the best of both worlds from my perspective now, but it might not be the smartest choice. I might have one final run.

It wouldn’t take all that much to set me up financially for life. I’ve already survived like a bug for this long, and fortunately my standards have remained ridiculously low. If I ever do hit pay dirt, I won’t piss it away like some moron athlete or rapper that hits it big at 22.

I’d be able to easily settle up what look like insurmountable money mountains now, but after that I’d really be free to do exactly what I’m doing now. I’d work on the same things I’m working on now, and that tells me I’m on the right track. I love what I’m doing, I just have a shortage of time and money. Time shrinks by the day, but money can be acquired.

One hot coast to coast tour would really do it. I could deliver the shows, and they would be the same ones I’m giving now and have been for years. It took long enough to learn my craft, but I did. The price was high, but I paid it and then some. I can’t let that just vanish.

Doing all the things I’m doing now are setting me up for that calculated run. I still have some gas in the tank, and if I had to go out and tour one last time I’d do it for money. I’d also do it for fun, which is what I did it for in the first place. Too bad fun isn’t the type of currency most landlords or creditors accept. If it was, I’d make Donald Trump look poor.

Advertising Anarchy

January 19, 2012

Wednesday January 18th, 2012 – Gurnee, IL

I saw a business card years ago that had ‘OFIT’ written on it in big block letters. Below those letters was written “There is no profit without PR”. How true. If nobody knows of a product, how can they buy it? McDonald’s never lets up on advertising, so there’s a clue. If they keep pounding their name out there after fifty years, I need to start following suit.

There is no question most comedians are painfully under marketed, especially with the public in general. It’s tough enough to keep one’s name out there within business circles, much less the public’s eye. It takes a calculated effort, and most of us fall painfully short.

I surely do, or at least I thought so. I’ve spoken with several booking agents recently to find out who they thought the most well promoted comedians are, and my name came up in the top two or three. BIG red flag. If I’m at or near the top, that’s one truly pathetic list.

Granted, I came up in the generation where comedy clubs boomed. I could make myself a living performing in venues that promoted themselves as an outlet to see comedy. I was able to ride piggyback on a club’s advertising campaign, as did a whole generation of us.

The booking agents were the ones with all the power. The goal was to establish contact with as many as possible, so work would be plentiful. Most of us never thought about any self promotion after that. How stupid and naïve we were, and now there are very talented performers floating around in comedy limbo that nobody knows about. That frightens me.

Now, it’s a different game entirely. It’s a social media world of Face Book, Twitter and You Tube. There is a whole new generation of wannabe comics who are great at hawking themselves in those circles, but have no act. They haven’t paid any dues, but they’re good at drawing attention to themselves. Unfortunately, that’s more important than the product.

This is how it is, and I need to deal with it. It doesn’t matter that I’ve put in a lifetime of sacrifice to attain a master level of my craft. If nobody knows I’m there, they can’t sample my product to see if they like it or not. I don’t want to be a dinosaur like a lot of my peers, and I don’t mean any disrespect toward them. The world has changed, and we need to too.

Not only have I let myself get out of touch with booking agents, my public presence can use a major overhaul. I have contact with several radio shows around the country, but not enough to put me over the top. I thought I was on top of the game, but I’m way behind it.

This morning I went to a networking breakfast in Gurnee, IL to shake hands, kiss babies and forge new contacts. I have to start over with a brand new marketing campaign. I don’t even have current business cards. That’s pathetic and inexcusable, but also motivational.

I should be cranking out monthly newsletters for a calculated list of radio and television shows, websites and fans in general. The old comedy club days are long gone, and we had no idea how easy we had it then. Now it’s everyone for themselves – advertising anarchy.

A Wealth Of Health

January 18, 2012

Tuesday January 17th, 2012 – Gurnee, IL

I know it’s a good problem to have, but there’s just too much going on in my life to sort it all out. I’ve been pounding it pretty hard since the new year, and trying my best to make steady improvement in several areas. One of those is exercise. It’s becoming a good habit.

Right now, I still find walking the most beneficial. My doctor suggested I start running, and I probably will at some point, but for now long walks every day are working just fine.  I’ve been a regular at my old haunt The Gurnee Mills Mall, and I could probably name all the stores in order by now from all the laps I’ve taken in there. I find it comfortable there.

There are some twists and turns in the contour to add some variety, and it’s a nice open course that lets me lose myself in thought as I work up a sweat. I suppose I could sign up for a gym membership, and I still might, but I like the mall for now. I’m a young old fart, and many times when I show up in the morning I know I can kick anyone’s ass in there.

Not that I would, but just knowing I could take down a flock of codgers with a few well placed karate kicks makes me feel like a bad ass just the same. I would never be a bully to anyone on purpose, but let’s just say if a fight breaks out I’ll be able to take care of myself without having to bug the cops. I’ll snag a walker or crutch and use it as a battering ram.

Actually, most of the people I see in the mall as I take my laps are super friendly. They are older and grayer, but they’re there for the same reason I am – to get healthy. Most will wave or nod or even say ‘Good morning’ out loud. I smile and say good morning to them as well, and it really makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something whenever I do that.

The challenge is keeping it up every day. In the summer I was able to walk outside, and I like that too. There are several options of routes to be able to keep it fresh, and I love the feeling of being outdoors and knowing I’m doing something good for myself. I’m finding myself really enjoying it, and I can feel the benefits daily. I’ve made a total life upgrade.

I’ve been solid on my diet too. Once in a great while, I’ll have a teeny tiny treat, but it’s exactly that – a treat. I don’t pound down the horrible things I used to eat on a daily basis, and I’m appalled that I spent all those years not thinking about what I ate. What a dummy I was, and I’m ashamed and embarrassed. This is the correct way to live, and I’m hooked.

People tell me on a daily basis how good I look, and that’s a mixed feeling. I appreciate the fact anyone has noticed, but it also makes me feel like I must have looked like a circus freak before. I know people are just trying to be nice, but sometimes it makes me cringe a little to hear someone go off on how much I’ve improved myself. But I have. I feel great.

I still have a long way to go though. Now I’m going to be fighting the aging process for the rest of my life – however long that’s going to be. Betty White made it to 90. Good for her. Today is her birthday and I have nothing but respect for her. I hope if I live that long I’ll still be taking my laps at The Gurnee Mills Mall – chasing all the 70 year old chicks.

Plan 10 From Uranus

January 18, 2012

Monday January 16th, 2012 – Kenosha, WI

I have begrudgingly resigned myself to the painful realization that I’m never going to be able to come close to enjoying all of the things in life I’d like to experience. I wish I could read more books and see more movies and catch up on all the television shows I missed.

I’ve been working mostly nights and weekends for going on three decades, so my prime time TV watching has been sporadic at best. I know I could have made an effort to record all the big shows, but I didn’t get around to it. When would I find time to watch them all?

People don’t believe me when I tell them I’ve never seen an entire Seinfeld episode, but it’s totally true. I couldn’t name all the characters on ‘Friends’ for a million dollars free in unmarked bills. I think there’s a Joey and a Ross, but I’m not sure. Jennifer Aniston was on the show, but I have no idea what her character’s name was. Courtney Cox’s either.

As a comedian and alleged radio personality, I really should know things like this. It’s a huge part of pop culture, and most audiences know all those references. I happen to know sports to the point of super geekdom, but there are people who have no clue about that. In these times, it’s impossible to know everything about everything. There’s just too much.

The trick is to know a little about everything, but that’s hard also. I don’t care about any sitcoms past about 1980. That’s when I started to discover there was a real world besides the fake one the TV networks were trying to create. I’d rather go out and live life myself.

I don’t fault anyone who likes to watch TV. I used to like it too, and I guess I still do on a certain level. Prime time network TV doesn’t interest me at all, but I’ll still watch sports on occasion and I do find myself watching shows like ‘Pawn Stars’ and ‘Storage Wars’ if they’re on. I also find myself watching ‘American Pickers’ and ‘Lockup‘. That‘s about it.

Then there’s movies. It takes time and effort to cram all this into anyone’s schedule, and I’ve always got my plate full with all kinds of real things, so I can’t find time to sit around wasting two hour blocks of time on movies. Once in a while however, I will treat myself.

Tonight, Mark Gumbinger invited some friends over to watch Tim Burton’s ‘Ed Wood’ from 1994. I remember seeing it and liking it when it came out, but I found myself liking it even more the second time around. I have a lot more life experience and can empathize.

Ed Wood might have been a hack and a kook, but he hung in there and kept slugging to make his vision become reality. Good for him. It’s easy to give up. Where he was able to luck out was having his ‘Plan 9 From Outer Space’ get voted as THE worst movie ever.

I’ve always said anyone in show business has to be the ‘something-est’. It doesn’t have to be the best. It could be the fattest, the loudest, weirdest – even the worst. All that really matters is that people remember it, and that’s what he’s remembered for. Maybe the King of Uranus will be the worst idea ever. Let’s hope so. I could be ‘Plan 10 From Uranus’.

Thank You, Packers!

January 16, 2012

Sunday January 15th, 2012 – Kenosha, WI

Thank you, Green Bay Packers! Thank you for that giant steaming heap of fresh manure you plopped right on top of the birthday cake that is 2012. Thanks for putting your fans in the trick bag and teasing us with one of the best regular seasons ever. That’s all over now.

Now you greedy bastards are going to fight over even more money we’re stupid enough to keep throwing at you, and you’re going to build more seats in that stadium of yours and sucker even more of us in for years to come. You’re cruel, heartless, and I want a divorce.

Not just from the Packers, but the whole NFL. Why do I watch the games and care even a little? Nobody cares about me, and never did. You take my money, and sell me clothing that I pay full retail for and then stupidly wear everywhere defending the honor of a team that breaks my heart completely in two like a karate school breaks boards. It’s miserable.

The Giants weren’t the better team, YOU stunk it up when it counted. So, thank you for breaking the bond we’ve had since I was an innocent little kid wanting something to do to spend more time with my grandpa. He was hooked on you, and passed it down to me too.

I rue the day I ever watched my first game. You were terrible then, and I remember how you made my grandpa yell and scream at his TV screen. Even as a child, I found this to be completely insane. What could possibly become of yelling at a television? Could the team hear him? Were they going to turn things around? No, but now I’m doing it decades later.

I remember how good it made Gramps feel when you won, and I never understood then how a stupid football game could get such a stranglehold on the emotions of an adult that is supposed to have it together. He was upset when you lost, but ecstatic when you won.

Then, over decades of not even thinking about it, I became hooked just like he was and so many millions of others. I found myself screaming at televisions when you lost, and it became obvious that there’s more to this than just a game. This is an actual addiction, and what you’re selling is a drug. By the time any of us realize it, we’re hooked. It’s insidious.

I vowed I wasn’t going to watch the game, and for most of it I didn’t. I don’t need to be in a perpetual state of sphincter lock for three hours, as you’ve been known to put us in on a regular basis. I’m rapidly approaching old age, and my health doesn’t need more stress.

However, as with any addiction, in the fourth quarter I was shaking like a stripper’s butt at a bachelor party and I had to turn on my television to see what was happening. By then, it was too late. You were fumbling and stumbling and I knew the glory ride was all over.

Thanks for making it nice and embarrassing too. Every obnoxious New York wank pole will now stick it in my ass, and I’ll have to pretend it doesn’t bother me when in fact it’s a rusty knitting needle pounded straight up my urethra. Thank you for freeing up next week, and I won‘t have to waste my time on that pesky Super Bowl either. Thanks for that too!

Back Yard Benefits

January 15, 2012

Saturday January 14th, 2012 – Wauconda, IL

Wauconda, IL? Comedy hot bed? Who’d of thunk it? Not me, that’s for sure. My friend Sally Edwards asked me to do a show at a place called ‘The Energee Center’, and I had to say yes for several reasons – the main one being it’s at most ten minutes from my house.

The shorter the drive, the more appealing any gig is these days. The money wasn’t great but it was acceptable, especially with the added perk of the short drive thrown in. There’s a far bigger reason I said yes though, Sally and her husband Bert have been good to me in ways I can never repay. Even if I didn’t get a nickel, I still would have shown up anyway.

Sally and Bert have had me over for Christmases and Thanksgivings and have made me feel like one of their family in a good way. I’ve watched their three children grow up from birth and I feel like their uncle, just as I do with Jerry Agar’s three kids. I’ve seen them all grow into young adults, and I couldn’t be any more proud. That’s how a family should be.

For whatever reason, my dented clan has never gotten the message. We’re full of losers, derelicts and social misfits, and that has resulted in a lifetime of embarrassment for those precious few of us who have tried to extricate ourselves from our family’s gene cesspool.

Every family has a few kooks, but ours produces thoroughbreds. A missing ingredient is and always has been unconditional love, and that’s why it’s such a special feeling when it comes from outsiders. Sally and Bert took me in and made me feel welcome and that’s an especially wonderful feeling to dented cans like me. I would walk through walls for them.

I had no idea what to expect from this gig, and I have to admit I didn’t expect much. I’d heard a few other comics reviews who had done it before me, and they all liked it. I didn’t have reason to doubt any of them, so I went there hoping for the best. That’s what I got.

It wasn’t anything special as far as the room goes, but it was a friendly space that maybe can hold 60 or 70 people. I’d say there were about 50 tonight, but they were right on point the whole night and were there to see comedy. They listened, laughed and made it a blast.

Sally hosted the show herself, and got everyone focused. Michael Issac was the feature act, and we just worked together at Zanies New Year’s Eve weekend. He’s an ideal fit for that spot, as it was billed as a clean show. This was the right show for the right audience.

I pulled it way back and didn’t come on nearly as strong as I’d do in a comedy club. It’s not the same dynamic. These are suburban people who don’t go out much. They aren’t at the same energy level as a comedy club crowd, and they’re not drunk either. It’s different.

I knew what to do and how to do it, and they were with me the whole time. I ad libbed a few things, and felt loose and free the entire time. I didn’t even have to do my big closing bit, as everything else worked just as well. I knew they’d had enough and left the stage to a loud ovation, exactly how it’s supposed to be – a dream gig. And, I was home by 10pm!

Maxwell’s Silver Humor

January 14, 2012

Friday January 13th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

Ah, Friday the 13th. My personal holiday. The perfect day to be Mr. Lucky. That’s when the rest of this insanity infested planet gets to feel what it’s like to be me every single day. I can relax a little and watch everyone else panic for a change. I find it rather refreshing.

Actually, what Friday the 13th should be is a yearly marketing opportunity to generate a bit of media heat for my Mr. Lucky persona. There’s always at least one each year but not ever more than three. 2012 happens to have the three. They’re in January, April and July.

I could absolutely see a manufactured event at some point, where it’s a special show for some venue to promote like New Year’s Eve or Valentine’s Day. I’m just not well known  to enough people to pull that off yet, but I’ve always wanted to do it. I think it could rock. It all boils down to how well known any personality can be to as many fans as possible.

My intention was to start up another version of my email newsletter today, but I wasn’t able to get it done. The good news is, I’m the only one who cares even a tiny bit. Nobody was expecting it, and life goes on with zero disappointment – at least not because of me.

I’m a little disappointed myself though, but I’ll get over it. I’ve been making progress at a steady productive pace on a number of fronts lately, but a newsletter is just not ready to go just yet. I’ve been sorting and compiling names and email addresses, and I’ll be all set to go very shortly. That might mean a week, two weeks or a month – but I’ll get it done.

I used to have a monthly blast that went out on the 13th of every month, and I like using that day as a gimmick. Bills hit at the first of the month, and paychecks might come in on the 15th. I used to get a solid response when I sent mine on the 13th, and after a while I had people expecting it. My ex business partner handled it, and allegedly we had 2800 names.

I can’t confirm that number as I didn’t actually see the list, but I wouldn’t doubt that we were close. Then, when he pulled his little embezzlement stunt he also stole the list along with the money and ended up trying to start his own comedy classes with someone else as the teacher. He pounded that list to the point my personal friends were getting mad at me.

He sent those people relentless reminders of his classes, but he was too stupid to realize not all of them were comedy students. A great deal of them were friends of mine from all walks of life, and had no interest in comedy whatsoever. The whole thing leaves a terribly sour taste in my mouth. I can choose to snivel on about it or I can start a brand new list.

I’m choosing to stop whining and start listing. I will make this list better in many ways than the last one, most notably categorizing them into lists of fans, bookers, students and working comedians. I’m going to call it ‘Maxwell’s Silver Humor’ after the Beatles song ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’. I’m not a particularly rabid Beatles fan, but it fits exactly so why not use it? Nobody can sue me, as I’m not using the song – just the play on words of the title. It doesn’t matter anyway, as I didn’t get it done like I planned. But it’s coming.

Toxic Amputation

January 13, 2012

Thursday January 12th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

Time to relax for a day and catch my breath a little. I’ve got a lot going on, and can only keep the pedal to the floor for so long. I’m getting a cramp in my ankle, and relaxing a bit is a welcome break. Making the video project happen was a major step, and it feels great.

It will be at least a month or so before it’s a finished product, so now that’s on the back burner. I’ve got several other projects that can use some heating up, and it’s time to set up a logical running order that will allow me to progress the farthest. It’s like a giant puzzle.

I love puzzles, but this is my life I’m playing with. Finding a workable order of each of these projects is like putting together a batting order for a baseball team. If I do things out of order, it could easily cause me to lose the game of life, and I’ve come too far to let that happen. I want to squeeze every last drop out of everything I enjoy, and go out exhausted.

I intended to sit back and do absolutely nothing today, but that didn’t happen. I received a text from David Stuart from Improv Playhouse in Libertyville, IL asking to meet up for breakfast and discuss putting together comedy classes and shows for 2012. He tends to be as busy as I am, so I said yes. If not today, who knows when else we‘d find a free hour?

David is very professional, and I know we can help each other. He has improv classes at his facility, and has staked out Lake County, IL as his territory much like I have. We have a solid business relationship, and have proven to each other we’re in it for the long haul.

Teaming up on comedy shows and classes in Lake County is a win/win, as we both live here and so do a lot of potential customers who wouldn’t go to Chicago or Milwaukee for what we are offering. Taking an hour to have breakfast and compare notes was worth it.

After that, I took care of some less than thrilling errands I’ve been putting off like doing laundry and paying bills. My car insurance is coming due as is the yearly rental fee for my post office box. Those things all need to get done, and today was the day to shrink my list of minutia. All the money I made recently is now gone, but at least some bills got paid.

Then there’s the Uranus project. It’s easy to let that slip through the cracks, pun intended of course, but I am training myself to devote some time to that project every single day of my life so it becomes a habit. Eventually, I want that to be my biggest source of income.

It’s all I can handle to think about all these projects much less take action, but I chose to load up my plate like this so it’s up to me to get it done. One wasted day can send me off course even more than I am now, so I’m being careful to calculate how my days plan out.

If nothing else, I’m having an amazing amount of FUN – a not so secret ingredient that has always been missing from the lives of most of my family. I come from a long line of miserable and dysfunctional losers who have not only ruined their own lives, they ended up spilling that toxicity on their children. Fun is like a magic soap to clean up their mess.

I’ve got no time for toxic idiots anymore. Not that I ever have, but too many times I’ve let them get to me and that’s never a smart move. I never end up bringing them to where I am, they always end up bringing me down. I’ve got to just amputate people like that from my life and go around them. The more positive my own vibe gets, the less I need idiots.

I’m going to continue my practice of firing those people from my life. I am willing to be extremely forgiving of someone’s shortcomings, but I refuse to tolerate malicious people and especially bullies. My father was a bully, and I learned the best way to deal with him was to not deal with him at all. He died miserable, alone and nobody misses him. It’s sad.

When I run across someone with a toxic vibe, my patience is at an all time low. I had it happen yesterday, and it took me by surprise. I was at the radio station getting ready to do my video recording when one of the sales people I’ve known for years oozed out from his cubicle and started ripping me in front of his boss. He was rude, insulting and not funny.

Like everyone else who has never actually done anything about chasing their dream, it’s always easier to run down someone else’s. He fancies himself to be a huge fan of comedy and of course thinks he knows everything about it, so he has to foist his opinion on me of everyone who has ever stood in front of a microphone to justify the fact he’s a total loser.

I never care what his or anyone else’s opinions are about comedy if they’ve never done it themselves. It would be like me explaining how painful child birth is. What the hell do I know about that subject? Less than nothing, so I keep my mouth shut. Comedy seems to be something a lot of clueless imbeciles want to babble on about. I don’t need to hear it.

The guy threw one mean spirited ‘joke’ after another at me, claiming to be ‘busting my balls’. Ha ha. I only tolerated him because I had to, and I’m sure he thinks we are buddies when in fact we never were. He’s the kind of leech that only calls me when he wants free tickets to Zanies – to see someone else. I’ve let it slide before, but this was the last straw.

He was acting like it mattered if he stayed for the recording, claiming to have to fly out of town today and it would put a cramp in his schedule. He also ‘scolded’ me for leaving him off my list of invites and not begging him to be part of the event. There was a reason.

After about a dozen attempts at trying to make himself sound important, I got right back in his face and unloaded a verbal barrage of haymakers that would make my father’s biker pals cringe. Enough is enough, and that maggot has never done me any favors in all of the years I’ve known him. He’s a small time pinhead who’s stuck in Kenosha, WI by choice.

There’s nothing wrong with Kenosha, and in fact it’s a nice town and I have a cherished group of people I consider friends there. What I don’t like is the small market attitude of a small minded person who only has negative and destructive things to say. I won’t accept a toxic attitude like that, and I let him know it in no uncertain terms. Now, hopefully he has gotten the message and will stay away from me and continue to piss his own life away for however long it lasts. I don’t have time for him or anyone like him. I’m in a better place.

Video Victory

January 13, 2012

Wednesday January 11th, 2012, – Kenosha, WI

In the words of Hannibal Smith of The A-Team, “I love it when a plan comes together!” I don’t know why it took so long to get one, but I finally have a three camera professional video shoot of my comedy show, and I’m ecstatic. This has been far too long in coming.

There are all kinds of reasons why I haven’t gotten this done up until now, but none are legitimate excuses. I’ve needed a quality video shoot for years, and the longer I’ve waited the more it has bothered me. Now I’ll have one, and it will be a positive on many levels.

Shooting any kind of video is never an easy task. It’s gotten easier with technology, but it’s still difficult to get everything on point because so many things have to come together at one time to make a quality product. Venue, audience and logistics are key ingredients.

In this case, we made our own venue. There’s a performance space that was created for acoustic sets by bands at the WIIL/WLIP radio building in Kenosha, WI where I host The Mothership Connection on Sunday nights, and there is seating for 40 or 50. It was perfect.

My director friend Mark Gumbinger was the one who suggested using that space, and it was a brilliant idea. It never occurred to me, and it totally took our risk factor away. If we had used another location, we’d have had all kinds of other issues. This was ideal because all we had to be concerned about was getting people to show up to be a studio audience.

That was tricky enough in itself, as we didn’t want too few or too many due to the space constraints. We each worked our lists to hand pick people who were either good laughers or good lookers for cut away crowd shots. Mark is a meticulous director, and knows how to shoot and edit with the best of them. It was his call to find ‘eye candy’, and it worked.

Lou Rugani from WLIP was kind enough to host the evening, and he dressed up in his tuxedo and made it an event. He’s got the voice of God, and was the perfect choice. Also, he’s the one who asked for permission to use the building. Technically, I don’t work there even though I host a once a week show. They may have said yes, but Lou sealed the deal.

Another friend Russ Martin showed up and let Mark use his high quality video camera, and he also did a few minutes to warm up the audience. Everything worked out exactly as planned, and I came out and did about an hour and five minutes. I laid out my material in editable chunks so Mark can cut and slice, but there weren’t that many spots to be edited.

I kept it squeaky clean, and that won’t hurt me either. I can send it out to corporate gigs or cruise ships or even churches if necessary. This will open doors I won’t be able to open myself, and I can’t believe it took this long to finally get this done. It was a total success.

Slowly but surely, I’m making some solid decisions. It took me a while, but now I feel a positive momentum building. This was a solid way to begin 2012, and will lead to a lot of higher quality work in the future. It was a giant career leap – even if it was long overdue.

Meetings In Motion

January 11, 2012

Tuesday January 10th, 2012 – Wauconda, IL

Time to dive into the marketing pool with both feet. I need to show major improvement in that department but quick, or resign myself to the fact I’ll be working in toilets and hell holes the rest of my life and I just can’t see myself doing that. I’m determined to evolve.

That evolution needs to include a massive overhaul of my entire professional life. I have already been working on my personal life and physical health, and I’ve been very satisfied with those results. Now it’s time for my career. I’d like to develop one after all this time.

The way to do that will be to associate with quality people who can help me advance to the next level. I can’t do it myself, even though I’ve tried for decades. It’s a team building process, even though I’m the one calling the shots. I’ve helped people, now I need some.

I spent the entire day meeting belly to belly with specific people I know can help lay the foundation of something bigger. Jim McHugh set up a breakfast meeting in Wauconda, IL with his marketing friend Rick Young and Rick’s friend Phil Gayter. Phil has an amazing track record of success in the advertising world, and is reinventing himself like many are.

Jim has been a great help, as he’s a lot more focused than I am. When I drift, as I do on a regular basis, he helps get me back on course. I need that and appreciate it, and for what I’m doing right now he’s a valued resource. Rick has experience in the business world as well, something I’ve never claimed to enjoy. I need a crash course from all these guys.

The four of us kicked around the King of Uranus idea, and sparks flew. It’s all about the marketing, and we were on the same page the whole time. I felt a synergy with these guys, and the more I can delegate to a team, the less I will have to be overwhelmed by myself.

We had a productive meeting, but now follow up is crucial. It’s not easy starting up this big of an idea from total zero, and I admit I need help in establishing momentum. I want a team of people to answer to and create deadlines for myself so things can start to happen.

Then I went to have a lunch meeting with my booking agent friend Marc Schultz to ask him how I can improve my marketing skills for the corporate world. He has a much more accurate assessment of how to get the higher paying gigs, and I value his opinion greatly.

After that, I met up with Tim Walkoe and Bill Gorgo for a brainstorming comedy ideas exchange session. We’ve done it a couple of times before, and want to make it a regularly scheduled part of our week. If someone has an idea, we kick it around and find the funny. The rules are, anything anyone wants to keep for their act has to be claimed. No problem.

Between all these people, I’ve got a lot to work on. If I have people to answer to it will help me focus and hold up my end of the deal. I felt like I invested my time wisely today, and had a good feeling after all three meetings. I’m all about win/win, and intend to make everyone’s time investment in me pay off as well. 2012 is the year of marketing mastery.