California Dreaming


Friday October 12th, 2012 – California, PA

   As Jerry Reed said years ago – “When you’re hot, you’re hot.”  I’ve seen it work the other way too, and I sure wish I knew what causes hot and cold streaks but I have no idea. I’ve experienced both, and hot is definitely better. I wish I could control the flow, but I haven’t found out how yet.

Jim McHugh called about a month ago to ask if I was available for a booking in California, PA tonight with his Chicago Comedy All Stars group. Any time Jim calls with work, it’s a cut above the comedy club grind and I gladly say yes. Even though I’d never even heard of California, PA in all my years of being a road warrior, I said yes immediately. Work is at a premium these days.

Jim was asked to put together a standup comedy show at California University by a connection he has in Iowa who knew someone at the school who wanted to do a show for their homecoming weekend. That’s how it works, and there’s no rhyme or reason for it. Jim was in the right place at the right time, and he got the call. He called me, and I was in the right place at the right time too.

How this all breaks down on a large scale in the universe I can’t begin to wrap my marble sized intellect around, but I know it’s cosmic and beyond my control. I was thrilled Jim thought to give me a call at all, as it turned out to be one of the most fun experiences I’ve had in recent memory.

Also on the show besides Jim and myself were Sonya White and Dwayne Kennedy. That’s one of the most rock solid and diverse lineups I can imagine, and we proceeded to tear the roof off of the gorgeous new facility where we were booked. It was built earlier this year, and it’s beautiful.

They treated us like rock stars from the second we got there, and we had a dressing room with a deli tray and everything. The people in charge couldn’t have been nicer, and Jim couldn’t have chosen any nicer comedians to work with. Sonya and Dwayne are both sweethearts to work with, and their acts are solid as well. Jim knows what he’s doing, and we all knew this would be great.

The audience was mostly locals, and they came out to laugh. Jim hosted the show, and the rest of us could see it was a red hot crowd in about thirty seconds. We were each told to do about 25 minutes, which is a night off for all of us who are headliners and used to doing 45 minute sets.

One by one, we lit that audience up and we all knew what a special night this was and enjoyed every second of it. It doesn’t always work this way, and when it does it’s pure ecstasy. We really knocked it out of the park, and at the end of the show we were all on stage together and received a standing ovation. It was the right people on the right night, and everyone walked out happy.

After the show, people lined up to get our autographs and we stood around signing the backs of people’s tickets for probably twenty minutes. It was just like the stereotypical dream that most of us have about how show business is before we get brought back to earth with a sickening thud.

This was one night when we lived that dream, and it couldn’t have been with nicer people. We all have paid our dues and were able to appreciate every bit of it. This is what keeps us all going.

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