Back To The Desert

Thursday April 12th, 2012 – Tucson, AZ/Oracle, AZ

   I haven’t been to Tucson in a while, and it brings back plenty of memories. I spent a bit of time here in the 1990s when my friend Jerry Agar was on a morning show and I lived in Los Angeles. Then he got fired, and we were both stuck thousands of miles from home without any income.

Those weren’t the best of times for either of us, even though we were in desirable locations we both enjoyed. Had we found reasons to stay, I think we’d both still be in one place or the other to this day. We both like the warm weather, but who in their right mind doesn’t? It’s gorgeous here.

I was right in the middle of my infamous bank robbery fiasco then, and had to check in with the FBI to let them know where I was going. I was preparing to be a witness in the court trial and my stress level was at an all time high. Still, I needed to make a living as did Jerry so we recorded an audio program of my comedy class called ‘Be Funny Make Money’. I don’t know how we did it.

We pulled it off on a wing and a prayer, and both Jerry and I knew it was a long shot. We had a lot of time, but not a lot of money. Under the circumstances, it turned out great. It’s not fancy but it is packed with useful information that could be used by someone starting out in comedy today.

I hadn’t thought about that project in a long time, but it immediately came to mind today when the aroma of the desert hit my nose. I can’t explain it in words, but there is definitely a sensation the body feels in this climate. It’s partly smell, but it’s more than that. I noticed it immediately as I walked around today, and it took me right back to that time I spent here recording with Jerry.

Tonight I had a show in a small town about 40 miles outside of Tucson called Oracle. It used to be a copper mining town apparently, and it’s been going since the 1860s. It’s not a big place, and it feels like the old west driving out to get to it among the cacti. I expected to see Wile E. Coyote in hot pursuit of Road Runner as we drove up the lonely two lane highway on the way to the gig.

Gary Hood is a comic I met when I was here in the ‘90s. He was born in Chicago but moved to Hollywood when he was a kid and did some acting then. I find him very funny and I really enjoy hanging out with him off stage too. I hadn’t seen him in years, but he’s in charge of the show this week. He now works for Laffs in addition to doing comedy, and it’s a sweet deal for everybody.

Gary knows the business inside and out, and is a very smart guy. He books a semi regular show at a steakhouse called ‘The Oracle Inn’, which is where we worked tonight. The people line up to see the shows, and there was a full house tonight that came out to be entertained. They were a bit older than the average comedy club goer, but my experience on cruise ships prepared me for that.

I slowed down and talked TO them but not at them. I got them into my groove and they were a fine audience. Gary was very nice to add this show to the weekend at Laffs, as it will really help lighten my expense nut of having to buy the plane ticket. They could have asked somebody else, but I got the call. I was delighted to get it, and now I’m looking forward to the weekend at Laffs.

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