Perfect Timing

Saturday May 19th, 2012 – Eaton, IN

I wish I knew how and why, but every once in a while life will somehow fall together perfectly for a day and circumstances will line up without a hitch. Why that can’t be bottled up and used in a pinch is beyond me, but I’d love to find the way to control it. Today was one of those rare days.

My friend Darryl Rhoades called this morning to say hello. We’d been playing phone tag a few days, and he happened to be in Indiana for a couple of shows he’d booked on his own. He hadn’t known I was in Fort Wayne, and when I asked him where he was it was less than an hour away.

I really wanted to get home, but I like Darryl and we decided to get a meal since we hadn’t had a chance to catch up in a while. Darryl has been playing music his whole life before transitioning to comedy, so he’s been around the craziness of the business even longer than me. We’re lifers.

We get along tremendously, as neither of us tends to suffer idiots or bullies well. We both have had our share of run ins with less than ideal situations, and after enduring painful decades of that same old same old it tends to get stale. Sometimes it’s just nice to vent with someone who gets it.

I met Darryl at his raggedy hotel room and commented how it looked exactly like almost every other room comics on the road end up getting. It wasn’t a national chain, and had a distinct air of sleaze that could be felt from the road. I could easily picture an insurance fire in the near future.

Darryl told me how he was starting to book more and more of his own shows in smaller towns to avoid having to deal with the frustration of having to jump through the insane hoops too many bookers make us jump through. I can’t say I blame him, and he says it’s been working out well.

He bought his own sound system, and it fits in the trunk of his car. He also sells a lot of t-shirts and CDs, and says money adds up quickly in a one nighter situation as people aren’t bombarded every week like in some of the more traditional rooms. He says for what he does it works great.

I enjoyed hearing about how he’s putting these shows together, and then he asked if I’d like to come and see it all for myself. He said if I wanted to open the show he’d pay me at least a couple of bucks for my gas and effort, and I could see it firsthand. I did want to get home, but I couldn’t say no. Darryl was being nice, and I was at least a little curious as to how the evening turned out.

The hotel was in Hartford City, IN but the actual gig was in Eaton. I’d never heard of either of those towns, and I’ve been around the block a few times. It wasn’t a career move, and it wasn’t a traditional comedy venue – but the people who showed up came to laugh and it was a hot show.

I’d guess attendance between fifty and sixty, and they all paid to get in. I opened the show with a solid twenty minutes to get them warmed up. Darryl knew he was lucky to have an experienced emcee in front of him, but that’s fine. I didn’t mind helping, and was glad to see it work out well.

This was an example of old fashioned hard work, and I was grateful to Darryl for letting me be part of it and earn some gas money home. It was a win/win, and everything came together nicely and without incident. The hotel didn’t seem quite as grimy as I drifted off to sleep a little richer.

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