Just How I Like It


Wednesday September 19th, 2012 – Rosemont, IL

   To a hungry man, a cold can of beans can taste like filet mignon. To someone full, the thought of even one more bite of anything is thoroughly disgusting. Situations have a way of providing a unique perspective depending on the individual circumstances. Tonight I had some filet mignon.

I picked up a night filling in as the headliner at the new Zanies Comedy Club in Rosemont, IL. I love working for Zanies, as these kinds of randomly scattered bookings come up often, and I’m one of their main go to guys. It’s a position every comedian in Chicago would like, and I’m very grateful to be in it. Local acts like Larry Reeb, Tim Walkoe and I are known as Zanies regulars.

Are there others who could do the job? Of course, but we’re in the mix at Zanies and that’s the way it is. I’m sure quite a few comedians in town are less than thrilled with that arrangement, but there is little alternative other than to keep showing up anywhere there’s comedy and carve out a spot of their own somewhere. Every club has their set of favorites, and nobody works them all.

This can be a very random and illogical process to the point of becoming maddening. Bookings rarely have much to do with ability, as there are plenty of acts to go around to fill any open spots. It’s a total buyer’s market, and everyone knows it. I couldn’t be more grateful for my status with Zanies, and quite honestly I wish I had it a lot more clubs. I’m still at the mercy of most of them.

Then it becomes a matter of networking, hanging out and also a certain percentage of plain old luck of the draw. I happened to be at the right place at the right time years ago, and Zanies chose me as one of their regulars. We’ve maintained that relationship for decades, and it’s still working out well for both sides. It’s that way at other clubs with other comics, and it works how it works.

When I lived in Milwaukee, there were often two clubs at war with each other and I was never able to get hooked up with the one that everyone wanted to work. That’s just the way it happened to play out, and I’ve often tried to figure out why but came up blank. I’ve given up trying to put a logical meaning to anything in the entertainment business. After decades in it, I am still clueless.

I may be clueless offstage, but when I get in front of a live audience I know exactly what to do. Tonight was no exception, and I had a fantastic time with an audience that was there to have fun. Mike Preston and Ralphie Roberts were also on the bill, and they are both competent comics and people I like personally. When everything lines up like that, there isn’t too much that bothers me.

To make it even better, my friend Jerry Agar happened to be in town with his radio station and bought me a delicious dinner at the new Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, IL. It was short notice, but we were able to work it out and managed to hook up for a meal and then headed over to Zanies.

Jerry and I have been friends since the Zanies in St. Charles opened in 1989. We’ve both come an amazingly long way since then, and I’m glad we’re still in contact even though we once again aren’t living in the same town anymore. He watched the show and I drove him back to the city to his hotel. On the way home, all I could think of is this was all I ever wanted to do. And I still am.

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