A Journeyman’s Journey

Sunday March 31st, 2013 – Atlanta, GA/Chicago, IL

   Time to head home. This week was a fun and productive experience even though I didn’t make a nickel, and I’m glad I came. I had forgotten how much I enjoy Atlanta. It’s a super city, but I’d not been here in years. I worked here regularly when I started, and I’d love to return again often.

I’m very much a big city person, but that’s not always where the money is in comedy. There is a lot going on at any one time in a big city from sporting events to concerts to even other comedy shows, and it’s difficult to stand out and be noticed. Playing the sticks is much smarter business.

In a perfect world, I’d work the road once a month in cities like Atlanta, Houston, Denver, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Seattle, Detroit, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Kansas City. Those are twelve towns I’ve either worked before or would like to work my way in.

I’d love to be able to hop on a plane once a month and go do shows in any of those places, then come home on Sunday with a check that has a comma in it. There are a few comics that have that kind of a draw like say a Brian Regan, and it sounds like a fantastic way to make a dream living.

For a long time, Tommy Chong was in that category. He had enough of a draw everywhere that he could pretty much sell out four shows at a comedy club in any major city, and then sell t-shirts on top of that. He could work the road as much as he wanted to, and for years he did exactly that.

The road is a lot less brutal when you’re flying first class and staying in hotels that don’t have a number or an animal in their name. Trying to nod off at the ‘Sleepy Squirrel Motor Lodge’ while some boozed up ex-convict biker is cooking a fresh batch of meth in the tub next door isn’t fun.

I learned a lot this week, but one of the things I already knew was that I need to become a draw SOMEWHERE. After all these years of knocking around, I’m still a journeyman with little to no clout when it comes to putting fannies in seats. That’s a major kick to the balls of anybody’s ego, but truth is truth. There are a lot of guys like me out there, but if we can’t sell tickets who cares?

This was a great week to get myself started in doing exactly that. Steve Hofstetter put together an outstanding seminar that changed my whole way of thinking, as did my great visit with James Gregory. Both of those guys are world class business people, even though they’re aiming for two completely different audiences. Steve is a huge college act, while James now focuses on theatres.

As for me, I’m going to start where I started – at least for now. I’m going to put all I have into the next four Saturdays doing the ‘Schlitz Happened!’ shows in Milwaukee. I’m at a great venue that’s behind me and wants this to work. What I learned in Atlanta this week will serve me well.

I did get a chance to stop on my way out of town and have dinner at my friend Darryl Rhoades’ house. He’s a world class cook and made us THE best lasagna I’ve ever eaten. His wife Suzanne and he are vegetarians, and they take pride in their cooking. Jacob Williams and I enjoyed every bite as we got ready for our twelve hour drive northward. I am in a wonderful space right now.


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