Posts Tagged ‘93QFM’

High Hopes And Daring Dreams

April 13, 2014

Friday April 11th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

I read a fascinating interview with Mel Brooks a long time ago where he said that every one of his movies was a major source of disappointment to him. He told how whenever he’d begin each project he’d have grandiose visions of what it would be, but what came out was always a lot less.

I wish I couldn’t relate, but I feel exactly the same way. I feel like I have worked so hard to get where I am, but have painfully little to show for it. In my mind I should have accomplished a lot more, but it doesn’t matter now. Here I sit with what I have, and a clock that keeps ticking faster.

It sure would have been nice to have a career mentor the whole way through. I would have had a lot more successes, and a lot less headaches. I would love to be the career mentor of somebody just starting out, as I could totally offer them a lot from an experience perspective. I’d be able to save them a lot of time and heartache, and point them in a positive direction early and stay there.

What brought this all on today was running across yet another old stash of notes I had forgotten I made years ago. It was from 1991, and I was just going to work at 93QFM in Milwaukee at that time. I was 28, and full of high hopes and daring dreams. Coincidentally, that was right when life really started to get hard, and I’ve been in recovery mode since. Seeing the notes made me laugh.

I wrote that I wanted to have the first comedy album of all the comedians in Milwaukee, and it would be done by my 30th birthday. Actually, I was only ten years late, and it ended up being on CD instead of vinyl. And like Mel Brooks, I was disappointed with what eventually came out.

I remember seeing an interview with Bruce Springsteen talking about wanting his albums to be life changing experiences for those that heard them. He wanted the listener to be blown away and not be able to contain themselves. I have to admit, that’s what I wanted too. Does it ever happen?

How many times does something come along and really change the game with anything? It’s a very rare occurrence, and only a few ever experience it. I haven’t come close, even though I have had a lot of positive feedback on not only my CD, but my comedy as well. Still, I can do better.

Also in my notes from back then were pages of sitcom scene ideas and a dozen movie outlines I came up with for feature length films. Many of the ideas held up surprisingly well, and I could still see someone fleshing them out today. I’d love it to be me, but who has time for all of that?

I’ve got all I can handle and then some working on the King of Uranus idea. Even that’s had an extra long germination period, and I am terribly disappointed. I only hope to salvage a fraction of the grand vision I had with the initial idea, and hopefully it will provide a little bit of a retirement where I won’t have to sleep under a freeway bridge and bum change from exit ramp motorists.

I did catch a few bad breaks along the way, but everyone does. The hard part is to keep looking ahead rather than bitch about the shortcomings of the past. The sitcom and movie ships in reality have sailed. It stings, but that’s life. At least Mel Brooks had some hits. I’m counting on Uranus.

Mel Brooks has grandiose visions before he starts a movie project- but he is always disappointed with the final results. I can relate.

Mel Brooks has grandiose visions before he starts a movie project- but he is always disappointed with the final results. I wish I couldn’t, but I can relate.


Morning Maestro

August 13, 2013

Sunday August 11th, 2013 – Chicago, IL

   I’m starting to get the “radio Jones” again, and it scares me. I’ve been involved in radio almost as long as I’ve been a comedian, so there’s some history there. It started with me doing a comedy bit on a morning show in my home town of Milwaukee in the ‘80s when Miami Vice was on TV.

   It was on the Reitman and Mueller show on WKTI, and the bit was a two minute feature called “Milwaukee Vice”. A comedian friend of mine and I each played cop characters, and used lots of local flavor and references. It was probably a good idea in theory, but the bit was pretty terrible.

   I was in my early twenties then and nowhere near comedically competent or radio experienced enough to know how to pull it off, but it was a great education and I’m glad I did it. The program director was Dallas Cole who I really respected – one of the most creative minds I’ve ever seen.

   We got along great, as he saw the raw potential in me. I wish I could’ve stayed with him longer to develop my skills but he left for a better gig and the new guy and I butted heads. That’s been a much too common storyline throughout most of my radio adventures, and it leaves a bitter taste.

   Like most creative types, I have a distinct vision of what I’m looking to do in a situation. Stay the hell out of my way – especially if you’ve never done it before – and we’ll never have a cross word between us. Sit me down and force feed me your stupid ideas and we’ll fight like roosters.

   It really isn’t that difficult, but I’ve had to fight this scenario constantly and it takes the breeze out of my sail in a hurry. I get brought in a situation by someone who gets it, and then he leaves and in comes some pinhead wannabe who never got past reading pork belly futures in Nebraska.

   Under the right circumstances, radio can be unbelievably satisfying creatively. I’ve had flashes of it, and it was enough to make me want to keep coming back. For what it was, ‘The Mothership Connection’ on AM 1050 WLIP in Kenosha, WI was a wonderful experience. I had a total blast.

   One of the main reasons I did was because nobody told me what to do. John Perry is the person in charge, and he and I have known each other since our days at 93QFM in Milwaukee. We have a very good relationship, and he knows what I’m about. He gave me free reign from the start and never ONCE has he told me how to do the show. Over five years it has progressed tremendously.

   Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to turn a single buck with it. Fun is fun, but we all have bills to pay. If I could just squeak out a living wage, I’d be thrilled. I’ve grown immeasurably over the five year run as a talk host, and like in comedy I’m at my creative peak but it won’t last forever.

   In a perfect world, I’d be able to get one last shot at doing a morning show somewhere. I have paid my dues and then some in radio just as I have in comedy, and I finally feel I’d know what to do if I got the shot. Milwaukee Vice was horrible, but I knew I was green and had to work it out.

   I’m ready now. I could start tomorrow, and build a fun morning show that would showcase my talented friends and sound smooth from day one. Johnny Carson used to bring people on to shine for a few minutes, and then bring on someone else. That’s a proven formula, and I would borrow it from the start and everyone would win. If I have any one talent at all, it’s recognizing talents of others and putting them in place to shine the brightest. I’m the maestro, but they’re the ones that play the actual music. It worked perfectly on The Mothership Connection, and it will work again.

Schlitz Times Six

April 22, 2013

Saturday April 20th, 2013 – Milwaukee, WI

   Tonight was round three of the ‘Schlitz Happened!’ experiment, and things are still looking up in every direction. Both shows were once again well attended, and audiences tonight were better than last week’s by far. These people were exactly who the show was meant for, and they got it.

   A big part of the reason was that I had a lot of friends come out to each show. I’m flattered and grateful they came to support, but unfortunately I can’t depend on that for the long term. If this is going to fly with eagles I will have to find a way to get strangers to come and keep coming back.

   That’s not to say strangers didn’t show up tonight – they totally did. They were into what I was doing, and it gave me hope that I actually do have a winning product that has some legs. I have a very long way to go though, and I know it. But at least I feel all my sweat effort will be worth it. 

   These shows were only numbers 5 and 6, but I could feel significant growth and improvements from the other four and I’m sure I will next week also. There are all kinds of ingredients required to create a finished product of anything, and this is nowhere close to being a finished product yet.     

   This is the time for trial and error and refinement, and that’s what I’m doing. My friends aren’t going to be the ones to put this show over, but unfortunately they’re the ones who have to watch the baby’s first steps. They’re usually not smooth, even though it can be fun to watch it firsthand.  

   I’m still very much in the baby steps phase of this project. I see a clear vision in my mind’s eye of where I want it to go, but I’m nowhere close to that now. Right now I’m just trying to increase my stage wind to be able to do a consistently entertaining hour and twenty minutes at one stretch. That alone is a challenge, not to mention trying to establish a well fitting running order for it all.

   I have said it each week so far and I will continue, I am NOT about to get cocky any time soon even though I am very encouraged with the direction it’s all going. All I had to do with anything is come up with the initial concept. I’ve had help from everyone else, and that’s why it’s working so well. Everyone at Potawatomi has been super supportive, as have all my Milwaukee friends.

   Tonight’s shows were especially packed with friendly faces, and I was happy to see every one of them. My godmother Anita Baumann brought some people, and she’s always been supportive of everything I’ve done. She always sent birthday and Christmas cards when I was a kid, and I’ll never forget her for that. How many godmothers and godfathers keep it up for an entire lifetime?   

   Vicki Quade drove up from Chicago to attend, and brought a friend of hers who is in charge of another theatre in the Milwaukee area. Vicki is very successful with her own shows about being Catholic like “Put the Nuns in Charge” and “Late Night Catechism”. Vicki has been there from the start to offer encouragement, and I know she’ll have ideas to make the show that much better. 

   If I start naming all the others who showed up, I’ll leave someone out and I’ll feel embarrassed. I felt like I was at a wedding after the show as I was shaking a long line of hands from David Lee and Mark Krueger and their wives from my old 93QFM days to a lot of people I’d either worked or gone to school with and every one of them was grinning from ear to ear with nothing but great things to say about the show. I really think they meant it too, but even if they didn’t I was glad to hear it all. This is what any performer dreams of, but even though it was a fantastic experience it doesn’t change the fact I’ve still got a lot of work ahead. Six shows in, I’m just getting started.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

The Highest Vibe

April 10, 2013

Tuesday April 9th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

    I can’t help but think about how good I’ve been feeling of late. It’s a feeling of contentment on a deep level that permeates my entire being. It’s actually a bit scary in a way, but it feels like I’ve finally hit full stride in life on a cosmic level and my possibilities of positive growth are endless.

   I don’t know why I know this, but I do. I feel it. I’ve felt the other side of the spectrum too, and this isn’t it. Maybe it’s just the opposite side of bipolar, but I don’t think so. I’ve always pictured life to be exactly like this, and it finally is. I don’t know why it took so long, but it’s here now.

   When I was working on the morning show at 93QFM in Milwaukee in 1991, I felt like I was in the same position then. All I ever wanted was to have an outlet for my creativity, and I thought it was going to be that. I was doing comedy and on radio, and knew exactly what I wanted to do.

   I wanted to create a local empire, and in a way it was the early version of ‘Schlitz Happened!’ I had guests on the air who were local celebrities, and I could feel it was going to be a winner back then. Unfortunately, management didn’t and it all came crumbling down before I could set it up.

   My friend Drew Olson was one of the few who shared that vision. He wanted to build a strong local network of contacts, so he could get anything he needed at any time whether it was tickets to a ball game or his car worked on. He was willing to give too, as was I. We both saw it clearly.

   Drew is now doing exactly that working on ‘The D List’ on 540 ESPN Radio in Milwaukee. It took a while, but we’re both in a pretty good position locally. He’s always been a great friend for years, and we’ve helped each other countless times. He gets it, and it gives me hope to continue.  

   It isn’t just about being on a local level though. Being the King of Milwaukee was something I wanted then, but now it’s not my priority. It would be a kick if ‘Schlitz Happened!’ catches on to enjoy a long successful run, but if it doesn’t I’m still ok inside. This feeling is deeper than local.

   I’m just in a groove that I know is the right way to be. I’m grateful for every day, and all that’s in it. My food tastes great, and even the car that’s been such a pain in the ball joints is not giving me any hassles. If it blows up tomorrow – and it might – I have a better one waiting in the wings.

   That’s just it. Nothing overwhelming is bothering me right now. Sure, I have little frustrations any busy person has but it’s not deeply rooted in the anger I used to have toward who knows the number of sources. I was pissed off at a lot of things for a long time, but now I’m not letting any of it get to me. I feel a layer of cosmic insulation around me and I’m focusing on what I need to.

   For whatever reason, I feel an air of confidence about me I can’t say I’ve ever had. I am going to be successful no matter what I do, and it’s my choice of what it is. If ‘Schlitz Happened!’ is a flop, I’ll come up with something else. If I move from Chicago, I’ll be fine. If they find a tumor the size of a Cornish hen in my brain pan and I check out in a week, even that’s ok. I can take it.

   I feel like there’s a whole new vibe coming out of me, and it’s the exact one I have wanted to have forever. Whatever dents in my can caused me to make the many stupid mistakes I did aren’t hurting me now, and I don’t know why. Is it just because I’m maturing? Is it something that I did knowingly or unknowingly? That’s a good question. I have no idea why I’m in such a high place, but I know I belong here. I’ve pictured it since I was a kid, and I’m here. NOW it’s time for fun!  

Crunch Time

October 17, 2012

Monday October 15th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   It’s down to crunch time for the Joshua Albert benefit fundraiser this Wednesday at Shank Hall in Milwaukee and I’m feverishly working to check and recheck every last detail hoping I haven’t forgotten anything major. There’s too much to do in too little time, and I can’t help but be a little gun shy after all the disastrous flops I’ve been part of in the past. I don’t want this to be another.

I want this event to be a major success for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it’s just the right thing to do. Period. Someone is hurting badly due to the carelessness of some drunken idiot, and can use some help. Human to human, this is the correct way to respond – at least I think so.

I wish I couldn’t relate to Officer Albert’s plight, but in many ways I absolutely can. I was in a similar situation in 1993, and a drunk driver was the cause of that as well. I was extremely lucky to survive a crash where my Mustang convertible flipped completely upside down, and I can see it in my mind’s eye like it was yesterday. It was one of the most intense experiences of my life.

Everything changed in a split second, and there were months of painful rehab before I could go back on the road and earn my living. I was getting food sent to me from a shelter, and times were about as low as I had ever seen them – and I have seen some pretty rough times. Or so I thought.

Then I see this situation and it makes mine look like a stubbed toe. Officer Albert has injuries I don’t even want to think about. I also think of Officer Brian Murphy in Oak Creek, WI who took a double digit amount of bullets in the Sikh Temple shooting a few months ago. I may have had a few bad days at work in my time, but no heckler anywhere could top what these people endured.

No matter how hard I think my life gets, I’m not even close to being at the bottom of the barrel. I want to help however I can, and if doing a comedy show will make that happen then sign me up immediately. I’d do one of these every week if I thought it would do some good for somebody.

Another reason I want this event to be a success is because my extended family is involved. I’d be happy to do anything I could to help anyone who might need it, but family makes it a lot more meaningful. It’s been such a sore spot with me my whole life, I couldn’t turn down this request.

Quite honestly, I don’t know Officer Katie all that well. We only met a few times actually, and we were never close growing up or anything like that. Her mom and I go way back, and she’s the one who made this happen. She asked on Katie’s behalf if I would do this benefit, and I said yes.

I know there are termites in every family tree, but not like ours. We come from a freakish crew of particularly nasty parasites, and precious few have tried to break that chain. The odds haven’t been with us, but we try anyway. Katie’s mom Wendy has always been a sweetheart, and she did her best passing that down to her children. Katie is the result of that, and I’m proud of them both.

It’s important to me to show solidarity to that whole side of the family, who have taken it upon themselves like I have to not follow in the footsteps of the rest of the people who share our DNA.

Another major leap I had hoped to make with this event was to patch up some old wounds that have been festering for decades. One of them was with a local comedy club that I had a big blow out with when I had my car accident in 1993. They held a ‘benefit’ allegedly in my honor, but it was a major fiasco and the owner back then ended up keeping the cover charge fees for himself.

He said there were ‘expenses’, and they ended up passing the hat at the end of the night and got $23 and some change. I was insulted and embarrassed to receive that in my hospital room, and it started off a chain of events I’m not proud of that eventually amputated our working relationship.

I haven’t darkened the door of that place in twenty years, and quite honestly I didn’t miss it and they didn’t miss me. But Milwaukee will always be my hometown, and I like to work there when I can. I would have killed at that place and been one of their top acts. We both lost out from this.

That owner is thankfully out of the business now, and I went through the proper channels to try to hold this event at the club to hopefully mend some fences and move on. It was about the event first, and I didn’t want to bring anything personal back into it after twenty years. They apparently don’t see it that way, and I was rejected in less than thirty minutes. At least I know where I stand.

I’m sorry they feel that way, but look at all the publicity they’ll miss by saying no. We’ve been getting all kinds of interest by most of the media in town, so I guess Shank Hall will get the press instead. I tried my best, and it didn’t work. But at least I tried. I can’t force anybody to like me.

The other comedy club in town could have had this event too, but the manager and I have some heat from when he bounced a check on me a couple of years ago when he owned another club. It was a huge mess, and then he ‘banned’ me from the new club he manages. Well, his loss as well.

I never claimed to be perfect, and I freely admit when I’m wrong. My goal is to always make a sincere effort to be above board and make things right, but sometimes people just clash. I always heard that a man is nobody unless he has a list of people that hate him, but that’s not my desire.

It’s ok if people don’t like me – and there are a vocal few – but I don’t want to perpetuate it if I don’t have to. I’d rather make peace or at least agree to disagree and end any hostilities. Looking at the situation Officer Albert or Officer Murphy and so many others are in, what really matters?

Another fence I had hoped to mend was with some radio people in Milwaukee. Bob and Brian and Dave Luczak were my competitors when I was on 93QFM years ago. I used to go on the air and bash them openly, much like pro wrestlers do. In fact, that’s where I got the idea so I did it.

Apparently, they didn’t like it and took it personally which it never was meant. I’ve been blown off by those guys for years, and I’m sorry that happened. I meant no harm, but it’s apparently not how it was taken. The fact is, they have had successful careers for twenty years, and I salute their success. Again, I’m sorry we weren’t able to work together, and it’s not my intention to hold any grudges against them or anyone else. If they are still angry at me, I can’t help it. I don’t consider myself important enough for that. I want to focus on good energy for the event and from now on.

Radio Blood

September 16, 2012

Saturday September 15th, 2012 – Kenosha, WI  

   No matter how many times it screws me over, kicks mud in my face or bites me in the ass, I’m always going to have a soft spot in my heart for radio. Not only is it intensely fun to be on the air and get paid for talking, the people who gravitate toward that career field and I get along nicely.

I’ve worked at or been associated with more than a dozen radio stations in a variety of formats all over North America since the mid ‘80s, and I maintain contact with people from every single one of those places without exception. I might not see or hear from everyone every week, but we do cross paths on occasion and it was radio that brought us together. I cherish each one of them.

Tonight there was a 20th anniversary reunion and get together for everyone who ever worked at 95.1 WIIL in Kenosha, WI. Other than having the most appropriate call letters in radio, (it stands for ‘Wisconsin’ and ‘Illinois’) it has been a place I have been associated with for the long haul.

I never worked all that much for WIIL per se, but I was on the air there. I did weekend and fill in work on and off for years and also worked as the morning guy at the country station that used to be in the same building. WLIP is also there where The Mothership Connection originates, and in fact it’s in the very next room. I’ve been associated with the building in some way since 1992.

Even through numerous ownership and staff changes as is common in radio, there has been an outstanding sense of family maintained in that place. Most of us have come and gone more than once and/or worked at more than one station or job title, but the sense of community remained.

I was brought into the fold by John Perry, who used to do overnights on 93QFM in Milwaukee when I was on the morning show. There’s another station with a wonderful sense of community, but that’s another story for another day. I’m telling you, radio talents as a whole are sweethearts.

John Perry has had an amazing run at WIIL, and we talked about that tonight. He’s survived in the volatile mine field that is the radio business, and that’s no small feat. We have always gotten along very well, and have helped each other out many times. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

It was great fun to reconnect with a lot of the old faces I hadn’t seen in a while, and I marveled at not only how much I liked them personally but how much big time talent came out of there to go on to bigger and better things. It really was a launching pad for a crop of gifted individuals.

Brian Sherman was there, and he’s a prime example. He was at Q101 in Chicago for a solid 11 year run until he was unceremoniously blown out by those fine folks at Emmis Communications, the same group of slithering serpents that showed me the door at The Loop. That’s radio. Yuck.

Brian is very talented, and a good guy to boot. We talked about how many people who worked at WIIL advanced in the business, and there was never a sense of jealousy when someone moved on to bigger things. It was more of a feeling of hope like someone else was next. It was healthy. I was always happy for Brian, and he has nothing whatsoever to be ashamed about. He did well.

Another big time talent and total sweetheart is Mindy Novotny. She’s been up in Milwaukee at 102.9 ‘The Hog’ for years, and I have always been a fan of hers on air and off. Like Brian and so many others who worked at that place, she fit right in and did the job. She deserves her success.

She’s very smart, and we talked about how little security there is in that big radio meat grinder. I think that’s part of the reason the on air people tend to get along so well. We all know we could be the next one to get the ax, and we tend to cling to each other for support. Whatever the case, it was great to see Mindy. She talked about going back to school, which is never a poor decision.

Nothing ‘stable’ is a poor decision, but all of us in radio have that side of our personality that is only satisfied by walking on the wild side. Being on the air is what makes us feel alive. It’s a fun rush, just like a comedian feels on stage – and I’m hooked on both. I need to go to double rehab.

Brian Sherman has a family now, and he’s going to be selling cars. There’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of by doing that, but it’s still not radio. Even with all the insecurity and insanity, it gets in a person’s blood and stays there for life. Everyone in that room tonight had ‘radio blood’.

Steve Perks was also there. What a funny and talented guy he is. He and I stay in touch as he’s a web developer now and is helping me get my ‘Schlitz Happened!’ website together. I’d love to do a morning show with that guy, but jobs are just not there like they used to be. It’s depressing.

We didn’t get to visit much, but I see him quite regularly so we’ll catch up later. Tonight was a chance to reconnect with people I hadn’t seen in a while, and there were many. People like Mike Sweeney and Cliff Johnson were there – again just fantastic people all around. Mike worked his way up to being a program director in Dectatur, IL, but got gassed on a whim by a total halfwit.

Everyone in the room has these tales, and that really pisses me off. The imbeciles who do the firing in radio have never been on the air themselves and wouldn’t know talent if they bought a ten pound box of it at a rummage sale. Like the clueless bookers in comedy, radio management monkeys are cold hearted and clueless to the fact they adversely affect the livelihoods of us all.

The thing that really burns me most is that both in comedy and radio none of the talented people are looking to harm anyone or do anything but entertain others and make the world a better place for everyone. I don’t think that’s so bad, but way too often the turds in charge just can’t see that.

Terry Havel was there too, another person of whom I am a huge fan. He’s not only a passionate radio guy, but a mentor to many. John Perry credits him, as do many others. I’ve always enjoyed Terry’s passion for music and radio, and he’s a huge sports fan too. Even though he’s a Cubs and Bears fan, we still had a great conversation. If I owned a radio station, he would be my first hire.

But I don’t own a radio station, and unfortunately none of us in that room did. If somebody did, we’d all have jobs and hopefully be able to scratch our creative itches. We all have them, and we all understand the feeling of needing to be on the air. It’s a passion, and I love to be around those who are passionate. It was a well spent evening reconnecting with friends I respect and admire.

Trudeau Or False

March 19, 2010

Thursday March 18th, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL

Kevin Trudeau is an interesting character to say the least. He’s always on late night TV with some book he’s pitching, claiming to have all the answers people need to solve their various problems. He’s been around for years, and I have to admit his pitch is persuasive.

I’ve been studying marketing for a long time, and he’s been a lightning rod for all kinds of controversy for several years. He has a super slick rap, but apparently it’s too slick for some as it’s wound him up in prison. Still, I can’t help but find the guy to be fascinating.

I saw one of his new infomercials a few weeks ago when I was in Pittsburgh and wasn’t able to sleep because of the pain in my knee and I have to admit I ordered his books about free money from the government. It claims I’ll be able to get my money back and a whole lot more by tapping the sources he lists in government that have money to send to people.

There’s another guy who has books on this theme named Matthew Lesko, and I got the chance to meet him years ago when he was a guest on a radio show I was doing. I think it was at 93QFM in Milwaukee, but it doesn’t matter. He was a very nice guy off air and the vibe I got from him was that he was just trying to feed his family by selling his products.

He must be doing OK because I still see him on the air occasionally wearing those suits with the question marks all over them making him look like The Riddler from Batman or something. I remember he gave us one after his interview but I don’t think I still have it.

I wish I did so I could see if his methods really work. I’m not stupid enough to think it’s easy to get free money in big hunks, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was some around for the asking and maybe even a poor shlub like me might qualify for a couple of bucks.

The thing I like about Kevin Trudeau is that he markets himself extremely well. He’s got books and a newsletter and website and has well produced infomercials that get people to order his stuff. They are packed with interesting content and make it easy to make orders.

The thing I don’t like is that he’s always bouncing around from product to product. That is a big red flag in my book, as it seems like he’s insincere and not passionate about what he’s selling that week. I remember him selling a course called ‘Mega Memory’ in the ‘80s and then branching out into weight loss. Then it was miracle cures. Now it’s free money.

I took a chance on his free money from the government books and they arrived today. It was a lesson ordering them because they were always upselling me on something else, but that’s one of the reasons I wanted to order. I wanted to learn for my own sales purposes. It isn’t illegal to sell more products, I just don’t want to rip anyone off. That’s not my style.

The books came with an audio CD and I have to say it was excellent. I’ll read the books and see if I think it’s a ripoff or not. If so, I’m out about $40. It’s a lesson, and I bought it with that in mind. If it works, I’ll admit that too. I have to say, the guy is a good salesman.


January 22, 2010

Thursday January 21st, 2010 – Alsip, IL

It never hurts to have a new place to work, especially in the Chicago area. Zanies is my home base for comedy club work, but they don’t have a club on the south side. There was a rinky dink room I used to work, but that wasn’t worth the drive. It never paid very well.

Chicago is a huge market and there are literally millions of people who might like to see a comedy show, but there are way too few clubs to serve them all. Zanies has been around forever but there’s a lot of territory that doesn’t have anything. The south side of Chicago has been wide open for a while now, and I’m glad to see someone has finally claimed it.

Riddles Comedy Club is where I’m working this week. They used to be open for a long time but the owner sold it and then it closed. They’ve reopened in a new location and the original owner is back in charge. The website is and the room is really gorgeous. It’s nice to be working for competent people who love comedy.

I only worked at their old location one time. I was driving to and fro from Milwaukee as I remember so I was probably working at 93QFM doing mornings. It was a long drive and at the time the shows ran from Tuesday through Saturday. That’s a lot of time on the road and I just never went back. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the room, I just had other options.

I’d heard the original owner Ken Stevens decided to reopen in a new location and he’s a good friend of Ken Sevara, one of Jerry’s Kidders. Ken Stevens asked Ken Sevara if there were any strong acts in the area he might be able to use that he may have overlooked and my name came up. I got a call from Ken Stevens and got a booking. That’s how it works.

I’m very grateful to get the work, and it taught me a lesson. I really do need to get better at keeping my name out there in front of potential bookers. I could have had tons of work through the years at the old club, but I just never went after it. Zanies has always been my home base in Chicago, but since there’s no south side location they’re fine with Riddles.

How many local weeks of work did I blow by not staying in touch over the years? I had as much road work as I wanted, so I guess I never thought about it. Ken is a very nice guy and I’m sure we would have gotten along great but it just didn’t work out that way. Now, with clubs closing and the economy the way it is, I’m going to be smart and stay in touch.

There are quite a few other places I’ve made the same mistake. I’ve either worked there in the past, or they know my name well enough for me to approach them and at least be in the mix of possible people to book in a fallout situation. I’ve been very lax at my duties of staying in touch with those who could possibly book me and it needs to stop immediately.

This is a wake up call. I need to start reconnecting with everyone and stay in touch on at least a semi regular basis. I hadn’t talked to Ken Stevens in about 20 years. That’s just not smart. Even if I didn’t work for him, I should have kept in touch. Who knows what I may have missed? This is yet another area of life in which I could stand a major improvement.