Summer Survival


Thursday August 8th, 2013 – St. Charles, IL

   Christmas came early this week, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I picked up some last minute work in St. Charles, IL at Zanies Comedy Club in Pheasant Run Resort and that will allow me to squeak by and pay yet another month’s bills. That and another last minute add at the Raue Center in Crystal Lake, IL next Friday will get me by. I have survived another summer – but just barely.

   This absolutely needs to stop, even though I have no idea as to how. Comedy in the summer in the North is death, and always has been. This is nothing new, but I should have figured out a way to hedge that bet by now. It’s like a school teacher knowing summer is coming every year. There needs to be a plan in place, but I’ve been too busy surviving all of the other months to make one.

   All I’m asking for is ONE major run somewhere at some point. North America would be great, but I’d settle for anywhere up to and including Helsinki, Hong Kong or the Island of Gibraltar. A successful six month tour of 1000-2000 seat venues anywhere would put me in a far better space financially, but try as I might I haven’t been able to make that happen and it’s frustrating as hell.

   I read where Jim Gaffigan just played a larger venue in Milwaukee tonight, and I have to say it bummed me out. I have nothing against Jim Gaffigan, but he’s of my comic generation and I feel strongly that the people that like him or Louis CK would like me too. But how do I get to them?

   I did a show tonight with Ken Sevara and Vince Maranto at Zanies for maybe 50 people. It was a very solid show and I was glad to get the work on short notice, but it would have been so much nicer to play the venue Jim Gaffigan played. Talent isn’t the issue. This is a matter of marketing.

   Vince and Ken have been doing comedy even longer than me, and we talked about exactly that before our show. They were delighted to get the summer work too, and nobody was complaining about that. We just wanted to know what it takes to get over that hump and be a legitimate draw.

   Jim Gaffigan and Louis CK are big draws, and I take nothing away from either of them. I know what it took performance wise to get where they are, but business wise I don’t know where to get started looking. What do I do, call up managers and ask if they want to handle a potential star?

   I might even be willing to try that if indeed I knew who to call, but alas I don’t have a hint of a clue who that might be. What I do know how to do is give good shows, and I did it again tonight. We all did. I’m hosting this week, and that’s a splendid opportunity to break in some new ideas.

   In reality, I never have to come up with another joke or bit as long as I live. I’ve done that for a lifetime, and can thoroughly entertain most comedy audiences anywhere without a hitch. The rub has been trying to get my name out so at least a percentage of the population will want to see me.

   Jim Gaffigan and Louis CK have their chunk of fans, and it’s enough for them to sell out 2500-3000 seat venues all across North America. I would settle for smaller ones, but that’s still plenty of fan base to provide financial security and artistic satisfaction. How do I make that happen?

   It won’t happen this week, but at least I’m working somewhere and glad to get it. I’ll use every second of stage time at Zanies to improve my act, so if and when my shot at bigger venues does come I’ll be even more ready than I am now – and I am. I may be the only one that knows it, but I definitely am. All I need is just ONE person with power that will take a chance. Who will it be?

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