Summertime Blues

Wednesday April 17th, 2013 – Libertyville, IL

   Summer will be here sooner than later, and I’m probably one of the few who live in the climate region I do that is dreading the thought. While everyone else is out barbecuing and camping and having the times of their lives, comedians are scraping to piece together a living. It’s a struggle.

   It can be a struggle all the other months too, but summer is the toughest time of the year by far. Who wants to be inside seeing a comedian when there are baseball games to attend or swimming pools to enjoy? I was born and raised in a place that has nasty winters, so I feel that way myself.

   It’s always been a challenge to stay booked in the summer, and it’s not getting any easier. I’ve managed to squeak through and survive all these many years, but it hasn’t been easy. Some years are better than others, but as a rule summer is the slow time for comedians. I need an alternative.

   Bands can work festivals, and that’s often a solid source of income for them. Comedy does not play well outdoors, even though it’s been tried. I’ve worked many an outdoor gig where I’ve had to talk over a plane flying over or watch someone change a dirty diaper in front of me as I work.

   One of the few places where comedy business carries on as usual during the summer months is the South. They’re used to the hot weather and they deal with it accordingly. Comedy clubs seem to do well year round in the South, and in years past I’ve gone down there to salvage a summer.

   When I was working for Carnival Cruise Lines I had a great summer – probably the best I have ever had. I was surprised to discover people want to cruise in the summer, but apparently they do and it was great for my wallet that year. I’d gladly do it again if I get the opportunity, but I’m not in that loop these days. There’s a new booker in charge, and I haven’t been able to get a booking.

   Part of the reason is that I haven’t tried to get in his face about it. I’ve been too busy getting my ‘Schlitz Happened!’ show off the ground and everything else I’ve got going on. Bookings are the last thing I’m worried about, when in fact they should be the first. Now here comes summer heat and my bookings are ice cold. After I complete my Schlitz run in two weeks my calendar is bare.

   I’ll get some last minute stuff thrown my way as I usually do. Bookers I haven’t worked for in a while will contact me and I’ll be ‘fresh meat’ on their schedule. There’s always a fallout at the last minute for whatever reason, and that’s how I’ve been able to make a living for all this time.

   I don’t want to have to depend on having to wait for other people’s scraps though. I’ve been at this long enough where I should be enjoying the lion’s share of the bookings and not playing the role of the buzzard hovering above a rotting carcass. I’ve earned my place, and I need to claim it.

   Once again, it all boils down to a successful marketing plan. If I can find a way to pack fannies in seats, I’ll work all I want. I’ll have so many gigs I’ll need to clone myself to take them all. It’s not that way now, and I need to change that in a hurry or I’ll be mowing lawns or setting up rides at a carnival. As each year passes, leaving my summer bookings to the fates is not a wise choice.

   Maybe I’ll be able to carve out a summer niche for ‘Schlitz Happened!’ at some point. There is a big church festival market in the Milwaukee area, and that could be a perfect fit. This won’t be the year as it’s way too late, but next year is a definite possibility. As of now, this summer is one of the slowest I’ve had in a long time. I’ll either adapt or starve, and I don’t like the last option.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: