Saturday Night Fever


Saturday May 25th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   One thing I don’t think I’ll ever be able to truly enjoy is a Saturday night off. That’s the money night for a comedian, and I would guess any other live performer. If one can’t manage to troll up even a mediocre a booking, the entire week seems like a waste. And it is. I want to be working at my craft, and this is the main night to do it. There are only so many Saturdays in anyone’s life.

   This was mostly my fault, and I regret it. I know it’s a holiday weekend and all, but I should be working somewhere.  It’s also the beginning of the summer season, which is notoriously a rotten time to be a comedian – at least in the North. People want to be outside after a long ugly winter.

   I suppose I should want to be outside too, but I don’t. I want to be on a stage somewhere doing what I love – making audiences laugh. If that were to be outside I’d accept it, but those bookings are not the most desirable as a rule. Trying to fight the sounds of tilt-a-whirls or the Blue Angels flying over one of my punch lines can be maddening. Still, I’d take that over having a night off.

   Sometimes the luck of the draw just comes up blank on certain nights and weeks. I’ll be able to book every other week with no problem, but the one week stays open no matter what I do. That’s how it has always been, and I’ve never been able to figure out why. Other weeks are the opposite in that I’ll get several calls for the same week from various bookers. It’s never been predictable.

   My mistake in this case was that I put all my time and energy into the ‘Schlitz Happened!’ run in Milwaukee in April, and I neglected my bookings for the summer. I’m a one man band, and it only allows so much time to get everything done. I spent my time working on that instead of this, and now it’s biting me in the aspirations. I’m glad I did the Schlitz show, but it’s over – for now.

   I’ll be doing more of those in the fall and hopefully well beyond, but now my summer calendar is wide open and I’m bordering on panic. I did just pick up a weekend in Ann Arbor, MI in June and another in Indianapolis on July 4th weekend – one of the most challenging weeks of the year to fill – so I won’t starve. It could be a lot better though, and I’ve got nothing in August as of yet.

   I’m sure something will pop up between now and then. It always does, but that’s not the way I want to live my life these days. I’ve done that for far too long, and it comes with a price. One can only ‘squeak by’ for so long, and my personal expiration date has passed. I’ve made it this long, but continuing to put myself at the mercy of cancellations and the whims of bookers has passed.

   Most comedy bookings are done months in advance. Every booking agent has his or her way of doing things, and that can be a game in itself trying to figure them all out. I’ve let myself get out of the regular rotation with several of the bookers I used to work with, and that’s been my fault.

   Keeping in touch with everyone is important, and I’ve let it lapse. It’s easy to get forgotten in a business where there are far too many people competing for a limited amount of spots, and now I am paying for it. I’m going to have to reconnect with everyone and start the process totally over.

   What makes it harder is that I want to transition out of the clubs if I can, but I still need to bring in an income from somewhere. There are clubs I’ll always enjoy working like Zanies in Chicago and The Comedy Showcase in Ann Arbor, but I’ll enjoy them a lot more if I have income the rest of the year. This is a delicate time financially, and I’m in a rough stretch right now. I could really use a windfall of cash sooner than later. Hear that universe? Do your thing, baby. I need it now.

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One Response to “Saturday Night Fever”

  1. bdonahueweedman Says:

    Dobes you write beautifully. I love reading your stuff. I know it’s rare for the need to perform to leave a comic, but it left me years ago….I don’t envy you having to compete for those precious few spots that are being given to the younger kids….not nearly as funny or deserving but willing to work for scraps. Like you said, the dates will come….they ALWAYS do….but as we get older living in panic mode is exhausting. My prayer for you is a steady gig where you can do what you do best….you’re a true ARTIST in every sense of the word. One of the best out there for sure. Glad you are still out there representing our Generation…Love you dearly…..Beth

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