Adored And Abhorred

Saturday March 24th, 2012 – Wausau, WI/Fox Lake, IL

   Like it or not, I received an unmistakably loud clear message today. It wasn’t one I was hoping for, but it actually helps quite a bit in shaping the decisions for my immediate future. Once again, I have proven to be a polarizing figure with someone who has a degree of clout. Sometimes I am adored, other times I’m abhorred. This time I struck out, but at least he had the plums to tell me.

I sent out my avails to all kinds of comedy bookers in the last few days, hoping to connect with new work sources or reconnect with places or people I’ve worked for before. Everyone and their uncle’s grandmother’s dog is trying to stay afloat these days, and it’s a buyer’s market out there.

I was able to hear back from a few people I didn’t expect, and even squeezed some work out of a couple much to my delight. Then I heard from another I hadn’t had contact with in a few years, and he told me he was glad that I was feeling better but he had NO interest in booking me. Ever.

I have to admit, it did take me by surprise as I thought we were on good terms. I’ve known him for years and liked him fine, even though he’s never given me a single booking. He’s got a lot of quality work at his disposal, and it wouldn’t hurt to go through the proper channels to try for it.

Apparently, he’s still upset about something I wrote in this very diary about a particular booker he was affiliated with who died a while back. I made my opinion known that I didn’t find him to be a particularly nice person, and I didn’t. He threw his power around because he could, and I’m not the only comic who thought that way. Maybe I shouldn’t have written it, but it’s how I felt.

Unfortunately, that’s the way I feel now. Just because someone dies doesn’t take away the facts of how they acted to people when they were alive. My father’s death didn’t wash away any of his nastiness in my memory, so why should anyone else? I looked back over what I wrote, and found it to be quite accurate and not a personal attack. I sent it to several other comics, and they agreed.

I wrote what I wrote then and write what I write now to offer my honest unvarnished viewpoint from where I sit. It doesn’t mean I’m right, and when I’m wrong I freely admit it. I know I didn’t mean anything mean spirited about what I wrote then, but that’s how it was taken by more than a few other bookers who heard about it but didn’t take the time to read it themselves. It’s typical.

Jim Bouton wrote about the truth of the hierarchy and politics of baseball, and he was bounced out of the inner circle of the game for years. I’m sure in some circles he still is, even though what he said was not only true but not all that bad either. People are people, and he wrote about that.

I wrote about how it is to be a comedian and have to deal with a booker who never had to drive across the country and put his soul on the line to entertain a group of drunken meatheads who got in free on a Wednesday night in some strip mall in Des Moines. It’s not easy, but they don’t care. There’s always someone else who will do it if I say no, and they know that. I’m not going to let a comedy booker or anyone else take away my dignity. If I have to go work at a car wash, so be it.


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