A Ten Week Tease

Friday June 15th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   A bit of disappointing but not unexpected news came today as the internet outlet on which our podcast ‘The Unshow’ ran weekdays for the last ten weeks has completely ceased operations as of yesterday. I received the mass email from the program director thanking us all for our efforts.

It’s not the end of the world, but it does bum me out a little. I thought we were on to something fun and different, and I was hoping to build a fan base. My partner Jeff Schneider and I have fun doing the show, and we’ve gotten some very solid reviews from quite a few people, mostly in the comedy world. It’s great to know one’s peers enjoy what one does, but I wonder who else did?

I know not everyone liked it, but that’s the risk that’s always taken with anyone who tries to do anything different. We were like jazz musicians riffing together, and we had no idea where we’d end up on any particular show. Some were better than others, but there was usually at least some worthwhile listening in every half hour episode. We thought so anyway, and we enjoyed doing it.

Those that I got the most negative feedback from were those who are in more traditional circles and I don’t discount their input. Yes, admittedly sometimes we swore a little and crossed the line on some topics a traditional audience wouldn’t enjoy. But that’s also why a lot of people dug it.

One person I talked to told me it’s not smart to do a show like that if I want to get bookings in a corporate environment. I never really thought about it, but I think he’s right. All I’d need is one person to hear something I said as a joke on a podcast and it could lose a highly paying booking.

Personally, I don’t think it should make any difference to anybody what I do with my free time, but I know that’s not going to be the way things work. It’s like a political campaign when mud is being slung and every single parking ticket a candidate ever got is brought back into the picture.

I just want to entertain audiences. Is that too much to ask? I like being a comedian and I like to do radio shows and podcasts. I don’t want to hurt anyone or go off on any tangents that have any agendas other than entertaining an audience. That’s it. I don’t think doing it should be this hard.

I’m in a slump right now, and I’m more than a bit concerned. These are difficult times for all of us, but in entertainment it’s especially rough. We’re a disposable income product, and there’s not much of that to go around these days. And the internet isn’t helping, with so much on it for free.

Times like this make me think of Kenny Rogers. I got to meet him when I worked in Salt Lake City, and he was a down to earth nice guy. He said he had been up and down so much throughout his career that he never let himself get too high or too low. No matter which position he was in, it didn’t matter because he always knew the other was just around the corner. I never forgot that.

I’ve been down before, but I can’t remember too many droughts like this. I was usually able to find a way to bring some cabbage in from somewhere, but it’s really getting snug out there these days. Entertainment is what I really enjoy, but will I have to mop floors to pay bills? I hope not.


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