Returning To Reno

Thursday July 12th, 2012 – Reno, NV

   I’m back in Reno, NV this week headlining Harrah’s new comedy room run by my friend Rick D’Elia. Rick is one of my all time favorite comedians and people, and I’m flattered he would ask me to be part of his new venture. This is the fifth week he’s been open, but I think he’ll do fine.

He’s taking a big gamble by starting a club in these turbulent times, but I clearly see the reason he’s doing it. Like me, Rick has been a road warrior for way too many years and eventually that just plain gets old. Gas prices alone are killing most of the road dogs off, but it’s more than that.

This is not a life for anyone who wants to have a family or any shred of stability whatsoever. It can be fun in one’s youth, but after a while it becomes a grind. Nobody ever plans for that, and it sneaks up on everybody. Some of us can handle it longer than others, but eventually we all tire.

If nothing else, we need a substantial break at some point. I’ve tried radio as my break, and that was a giant mistake I kept making over and over. I thought I’d find a little ‘stability’, but that’s a bigger joke than I could ever come up with in comedy. Rick went to L.A. to play that game for a while, and he was doing pretty well at it but like all of us he had to cover his bills every month.

For a comedian that usually means going back on the road, and that’s a vicious cycle because it keeps the comedian out of L.A. where the connections are. I tried that game too, but only for one year. I saw where it was headed and reluctantly moved back to Chicago where I could get work.

I can think of probably fifty other good people and competent acts like Rick who are facing the exact same decision. I’m one of them. What do we do to reinvent ourselves? Rick is far too good of a comic to quit entirely, and if I had power he’d be a lot farther than he is – and in no way is it a slight to what he’s done. He’s a competent headlining act and is one of the nicest guys around.

Unfortunately, nice doesn’t usually go very far when it comes to career advancement. Nobody really cares if a person is nice or not, at least the powers that be don’t seem to. I can think of a lot of flaming peckerheads who have gotten big breaks, and I’d name them but I’ve gotten myself in enough trouble for my opinions so I’ll keep it to myself for a change. You can guess for yourself.

One who is anything but mean is Rick D’Elia. He’s a total sweetheart, and I hope he’s a winner with this roll of the dice. He’s with Harrah’s which is a beautiful property, and the comedy room is an ideal size and in an excellent location. It’s not too big or small, and I can see it catching on.

A special treat tonight was a guest set from a comic named Dave Mencarelli. He’s now running the Catch A Rising Star club at the Silver Legacy, but he was just starting as a comic back when I was living here in 1997. I had a radio job for about six months, and it ended horribly. I was in a bad place in my life then, but he was a kid starting out and I remember his youthful exuberance.

He’s thanked me over the years for my encouragement, but I really didn’t do much other than tell him to say with it. He did, and it was a pleasure to watch him have a very solid set tonight.


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