Posts Tagged ‘Art Bell’

The Uphill Journey

November 20, 2013

Tuesday November 19th, 2013 – Rosemont, IL

I have a full week of quality work this week, and I couldn’t be happier. This is how every week used to be, and it was like that for so long I got used to it and assumed it would never end. That’s pretty stupid, but I wasn’t the only one. There are a lot of road comics in the same sinking boat.

It’s getting harder and harder to stay booked every week, and less and less comedians are doing it. I personally know comedians who have been at it longer than I have and have more TV credits and they’re working less than I am. It’s getting rough out there, and having a steady run is sweet.

November has been pleasantly busy, and I have some better paying work lined up in December with a run of “Schlitz Happened!” at the Northern Lights Theatre in Milwaukee along with a few holiday parties that have come up lately. Hopefully a few more will pop up, and they just might.

People book their parties late, and some companies even postpone until January. My January is looking ok, but after that it’s a snow white calendar. That’s never good, but something will come up as it always does. I just wish I could snag a stretch of high paid work that would last a while.

A radio gig would be great, and I’ve been pushing that of late. Art Bell has quit his new show on XM Sirius apparently, and word has it they are looking for a replacement. I know I could hit a home run with a gig like that, but I have to convince someone at Sirius. My old radio ally Kipper McGee happens to know a few people over there, and said he’d at least find out what he could.

The point is that the process of looking for work and keeping income flowing inward is never ending. The last several weeks have been good, as is this week. Next week isn’t so hot, and so it goes. Months are like that and so are years. After it’s all added up, self employment is unstable.

Tonight’s assignment was hosting the ’10 Comedians for $10’ show at Zanies Comedy Club in Rosemont, IL. It’s a lot like the Rising Star Showcase at the Chicago Zanies in that there are a lot of acts trying to work their way up the ranks and make it to that elusive ‘next level’. Not all do it.

It’s not always a matter of talent either. It’s a giant numbers game, and there are only so many spots available. The supply greatly outnumbers the demand, and it becomes a log jam. I’ve been lucky to have been on the right end of this particular version of it, but it’s a game I play as well.

A lot of rejection is involved in this game, so I always try to go out of my way to be friendly to the people showcasing. I give them a larger than life stellar introduction, and get the audience to focus on the stage as much as possible. Not every host does that, and it makes the acts feel good.

It’s really not all that difficult to treat people with respect, and I always find it worth the effort. It’s exactly how I’d like to be treated, but too often am not. It’s the old Golden Rule in action and living proof being nice can make a tangible difference. I find it important to set a good example.

It’s funny how the showcasers look at me like I have some kind of power because I’m ‘in’ with Zanies. I’m out there struggling week to week just like them, just on a different level. I hope they aren’t thinking it gets any easier, as it never does. An entertainer’s journey always travels uphill.

The entertainer's road always travels uphill.

The entertainer’s road always travels uphill.

Mothership Dilemma

March 4, 2013

Sunday March 3rd, 2013 – Kenosha, WI

   Part of the frustration of the entertainment business is that things run hot and cold. Sometimes a project can suffer simply because it’s not the right time for it, and that’s what I’m feeling with ‘The Mothership Connection’ paranormal radio show on AM 1050 WLIP in Kenosha, WI. Next week will be our fifth anniversary, and I’m not sure if I should keep the show running or not.

When I started, paranormal themed shows on TV – especially ghost hunters – were all the rage. There’s also ‘Ancient Aliens’ and a whole slew of others that have been on the air for most if not all those five years, and I’m beginning to wonder if they’ve played themselves out. I don’t know.

I’ve always been interested in offbeat topics like this, and I would tend to think a large number of others are too – but there have been all kinds of outlets to watch and hear about it all in media and I’m not sure there’s room for my little show especially if I’m looking to make a buck with it.

‘Coast to Coast AM’ with George Noory is the undisputed grand daddy of the paranormal talk radio world, and deservedly so. They’ve been around for years, and I’m a fan of the show myself when I can listen. I was a huge fan of Art Bell – the one who put this kind of format over the top. He had unbelievable charisma, and like a Rush Limbaugh or Howard Stern really carved a niche.

George Noory is fine, but he’s a different personality than Art was. He has many if not most of the same interesting guests Art had, and many of those very same people have been on our show as well. There isn’t all that big of a community in those circles, and most are glad to get air time.

‘The Mothership Connection’ is the hybrid cross between ‘Coast to Coast AM’ and a morning show, and it really is fun to do. We’ve got a crew of regulars, whereas George Noory tends to fly solo. He has regular and semi regular guests just like we do, but there’s still a difference in how each show operates. He’s McDonald’s, and we’re the local burger joint. There’s room for both.

I absolutely LOVE doing the show every week, and we’ve got a fantastic crew assembled after five years of constant evolution. This is by far the best crew we’ve ever had, but no offense to all the others who gave of their time to be part of it. Like a band, we’ve evolved in a positive way to the point we are now, and it took the efforts of everyone involved to develop it all to this point.

The question now is what do we do with it? We’re on the air every Sunday, and we get a lot of calls from the same people. That’s great, but we’re not growing and that’s just not going to cut it as far as making a living goes. Kenosha is about 100,000 people, and the station’s signal isn’t the 50,000 watt blowtorch Coast To Coast tends to be on all over the country. It makes a difference.

We do have a following on the internet too, but it’s not where it needs to be to start cashing any big checks any time soon. We do well for what we have to work with, but I have enough hobbies to last me the next six lifetimes. I need to make a buck, and this just isn’t doing it right now. I am going to have to make a decision soon, and I really don’t want to quit but that may be the correct answer. Five years has gone by in a blink of an eye. That’s enough warm up. Time to get paid.