A Real Deal Meal


Friday April 5th, 2013 – Florence, IN

   One of the benefits of spending a life on the road is getting to sample some of the finest food at places I would never have visited had I chosen a ‘normal’ lifestyle. My home turfs of Milwaukee and Chicago are both stellar chow towns, but I’ve had outstanding grub all over North America.

That being said, I can’t remember when I have ever enjoyed a more delicious or well presented meal than I had tonight after my show at the Belterra Casino in Florence, IN. WOW, what a treat of epic proportions, and I wasn’t even expecting it. Surprises like this make life worth the effort.

I’ve worked at the Belterra Casino before, but it was years ago. I remember doing a private gig for some kind of corporate holiday party and it was extremely difficult. The place itself is one of the most beautiful facilities I’ve ever worked though, and I didn’t mind going back to try again.

This was for a completely different booker, and a completely different situation. Last time was a private party. This time the casino itself wanted to book a comedy show for the public. It’s not the same thing, so I said yes. One thing I didn’t recall was how difficult it was to get to the place.

It’s located right on the border of Kentucky and Indiana, and it’s an easy drive from Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Louisville. It’s a brilliant location in that regard, but getting there is a huge pain in the ass because after Indianapolis it’s a lot of two lane highways and small town slow roads.

I also thought Indiana didn’t participate in Daylight Saving Time, and I lost another hour I was planning on. I didn’t get to the show until five minutes before, and I really don’t like to cut it that close but everything lined up and that’s how it worked out. It was pure stress those last two hours of what is already a long drive, and to make it worse I had been given the wrong contact number.

I thought I was leaving messages for the show manager, and couldn’t figure out why he would not return my calls. Finally, the booking agent’s office called and scolded me for not checking in when in fact I had been trying to for hours. We straightened it out, and I got there just in time for opening act Dan Ronan to go on stage while I parked the car. It’s a good thing we rode together.

Dan is a funny kid, but he’s very young and the audience was a bit older. He did the best with what he had to work with, and I’ve been there myself. I knew exactly what those people wanted, and I let them have it with both barrels. I kept it clean, but also kept them laughing until they had enough. The casino wanted a 90 minute show, so I had to do an hour and five minutes and I did.

The person in charge seemed very pleased as he came to our dressing room and told us we had a complimentary meal coming at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse. Dan and I had thought about a possible return trip, but the offer of a free meal quickly killed that stupid idea. We were in for the night.

This was a major treat for me, and I’ve been around the block before. For Dan, he died and was loving his first day in heaven. He ordered a New York Strip and I had the bone-in filet and it was off to the races. Our waiter Ronnie was a big fan of comedy, and he couldn’t have served us any better if his life depended on it. Top to bottom, this was one of the best meals I’ve ever enjoyed.

That’s the key part too – we ENJOYED every last bite of it. I had a seafood appetizer that was also spectacular, and it was one of those nights that made me happy to be alive. Jeff Ruby isn’t a name I’d ever heard of before tonight, but I’ll never forget it now.  This was a world class meal.

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