Almost Show Time

Friday April 20th, 2012 – Milwaukee, WI/Fox Lake, IL

   The big weekend for the C. Cardell Willis tribute show is finally here, and I have to admit I am more than a little apprehensive about drawing enough people to see it to cover my expenses. No, that would be the wrong choice of words. FEAR would be much more accurate. I have no idea if anybody will show up, even though I have spent months trying to get the word out to everybody.

Without a doubt, this is THE hardest I’ve ever worked on promoting any one single show in all my life. It’s a one time chance to honor someone who meant a lot to me, and I want to pull it off with style and class. I’m going into it as how I would like it if someone was doing this for me.

Unfortunately, Cardell is the last person I need to worry about. He’s already done his part, now it’s a matter of setting everything up correctly on both sides of the microphone. I have a fantastic lineup of comedians, and I couldn’t be happier everyone I asked agreed to be part of this event.

It really is a solid mix of local talent from the old days, and I have no doubt they will all put on a killer night of entertainment. People are coming in from Philadelphia, Phoenix and Portland for this and I want to make it worth everyone’s while. There are no second chances. I have to nail it.

Getting people in the room is what worries me more than a little. I’ve been trying to get people to fill all kinds of rooms for comedy or charity shows since I started performing in 1983 and I’ve been painfully unsuccessful the entire time. Some nights have been better than others, but I can’t think of one show that really blew the roof off of anywhere. But that’s what I want for Sunday.

Just ONE night I want to have a full house of people who want to enjoy themselves, and have a killer show that’s recorded and able to be passed on for the ages. If I can do that, I’ll feel as if my life has had at least a little bit of worth and wasn’t a complete waste of time. This is my big shot.

I know I’m probably setting myself up for major disappointment, but I’m going to roll the dice and take the chance anyway. This is just the right thing to do on so many levels, and if I lose my ass, shirt and everything else – I still think it’s worth doing. It’s a culmination of my life’s work.

I was supposed to be on the radio this morning at 7:20 to promote Sunday’s show, but I was up so late working that I slept right through it. I never do that, but I did it today. Steve DeClark set it up for me, and he’s one of the comedians on the show. I texted him in a panic, and he handled it.

I don’t care that I wasn’t on the show, as long as word gets out. I did drive up to Milwaukee for a breakfast with my cousin Wendy who also said she’d help spread the word. She slipped me $20 to donate to the cause, and that’s exactly where it will all go. I also stopped at ESPN Radio to see Drew Olson, who had plugged it on the air during ‘The D List’. I’m grateful to all for their help.

In my eyes, I’ve done about all I can do with the resources I have. I’ve emailed everyone in my circle of contacts that might have a chance knowing anyone near Milwaukee, and asked if they’d help spread the word. I’ve also begged the comedians to help, but that’s not how most comedians are. That’s what scares me. We’re performers, not promoters. I hope this works, but who knows?


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