I Give Up


Friday April 18th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

Not that I ever mistakenly thought I knew everything about anything, today wiped out anything and everything I might have thought I knew about the entertainment business. I thought I knew a lot more than I did, but now I realize I didn’t know a blithering thing. In short, I am a total idiot.

I received a phone call this afternoon from the person that booked me into the difficult country club gig I did last Saturday with my friend Bill Gorgo. Seeing that name light up on my caller ID made my tail pipe pucker instantly, because that usually means there’s trouble. There was no real reason to call since we’d been paid immediately after the show, so I was prepared for the riot act.

Private shows like this are always extremely delicate. It only takes ONE person upset to ruin the entire evening, and possibly put an end to comedy shows ever being done again. I have seen a lot of people overreact both on the client side and on the performing side, and I have enough time on the clock by now to know the only thing one can do is one’s best – and that’s exactly what I did.

Was I happy with it? Not in the least. That was a tight audience, and we were under extremely difficult circumstances with the lights and how the stage was set up in the room. Bill Gorgo is an excellent comedian and a seasoned performer. He knew the situation was going to be tough also.

The only thing we had going in our favor from the start was the person who booked us is also a performer – and a friend of ours. That can go either way though, as I’ve seen friendships dissolve like Alka-Seltzer tablets when somebody takes it upon themselves to break the rules agreed upon before the show. This particular show needed to be clean, and that was made clear from the start.

Bill went a little close to the edge, but he’s a pro and didn’t cross it. I’ve learned in my old age to stay far away from the edge line in shows like this, so if nothing else if they didn’t think I was funny at least that’s their only complaint. The number one deal killer is for a comic to work dirty or ‘blue’, and I can’t believe how many acts think that rule does not apply to them. Yes it does!

I don’t work blue as a rule, but once in a while some rants I do can tend to infuriate some folks – especially if they’re some crusading do gooder for the P.C. police. They can and do show up at any time completely at random, and again all it takes is one in a position of power to complain to the booker and it’s my head on a platter. And friend or not, that can mean losing future bookings.

I was going to take my medicine like a man, but I wimped out at the last second and let the call go to voicemail. I wasn’t up for defending myself, and I knew in my heart I really did give them my very best under the circumstances. I sweat all the way through my sport coat, and that should be proof enough. If they weren’t happy with it, there wasn’t a whole lot I could do as a remedy.

I waited a few minutes, but had to play the voice mail back because I didn’t want any problems to fester. If I needed to apologize, I was ready to do whatever was necessary. As it turned out, the call was to give me sincere kudos because the contact person said they loved the whole show, but especially my ending rant. Go figure. I thought I knew how to read audiences by now. I give up.

I thought I could read an audience after all this time, but I guess I can't. I give up.

I thought I could read an audience after all this time, but I guess I can’t. Those people loved me. I give up.

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