Posts Tagged ‘Batman’

Reboot Needed

May 12, 2014

Sunday May 11th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

Happy Mother’s Day – and I mean it. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and Christmas all should be celebrated to their fullest by everyone possible. I just happen to be an exception to a rule I had no part whatsoever in writing. We all get poker hands dealt in life, and it’s up to us how to play.

I happened to get the hand I did, and by now I’m really sick of playing it. I thought I was going to be playing high stakes poker when I sat down at life’s table, but at this point I’ve got a hand of Jokers, Uno cards and the old maid. I don’t even know what the hell game I’m playing anymore.

I wish I could just start over and have a chance to succeed somewhere. A reboot would help me shuffle those cards and hopefully get a hand I can potentially win in life. Right now, I’m circling the drain and nobody hears my cries for help. To me they’re plain as day, but nobody else hears.

All I’m asking for is a chance to work steadily and earn a respectable living at what I was made to do – entertain people. It wouldn’t take all that much to turn my life around in just a few weeks of steady work. Three months on a cruise ship would change my life, as would a tour of comedy clubs in bigger cities or something like a Bob and Tom tour. It’s not like I wouldn’t do the job.

I’m in my absolute prime right now, and every second I’m not using my talents they’re wasting away and soon will be gone. Just because a few people don’t like me personally, I seem to be off the radar of the entire world. The saying “When you’re hot you’re hot” works in both directions.

I have heard all kinds of stories of people getting one break and it turning their life around, but are any of them completely true? Stories often tend to get bent in translation, and a legend comes into play that might not be totally accurate. All I know is I could stand a break right about now.

Everything is piling up around me, and I feel like Adam West’s Batman character being caught in some trap where there looks to be no escape. He and Robin always managed to get themselves free and stay alive at the last second, but that’s the TV version. Real life works quite differently.

I don’t know what else to say other than I’ve tried everything I know how to try and I’m out of ideas as to what to do next. I’m having a hell of a time faking it, and at some point I’m just going to snap and that will be it. I’m trying my best to avoid that, but how? What is going to change?

Last night I opened the show for a very nice and funny lady named Caryn Bark. She is known in the Jewish community, and we performed at her synagogue of all places. That’s fine, and I’m unbelievably flattered that she would ask me to open for her. I only had to do about half an hour, and that’s not very difficult as a rule. That wasn’t the case tonight, and it was anything but easy.

Were they nice people? Absolutely. Was it my crowd? Absolutely not. They were older Jewish people that were there to see Caryn. Caryn does a lot of Jewish material in her show, and she was terrific. They loved her, and well they should have. They didn’t hate me, but I wasn’t their thing.

The fact that I’m even doing gigs like this so far into the game is a major red flag. I should be a draw by now, and have an audience of people coming to see me like they came to see Caryn. She is a very smart business person, and also funny. I don’t begrudge her in the least and I don’t want to sound ungrateful either. I’m the one that is in the line of fire here, and I don’t know how to fix the problem. If I did, I would have done it years ago. Something went wrong, and needs a reboot.

I just wish I knew what it was. There are so many things broken right now, I don’t know where to start or what to look to fix first. The pain about the situation with my mother is not ever going to go away. It may fade into the background for a while, but days like today it will come back to torture me for as long as I’ll be alive. The damage is done, and I don’t see how it can be repaired.

For the longest time I wasn’t sure if she was living or dead, but I did get confirmation from my brother Larry that she is indeed still alive and living about an hour north of Milwaukee. He’s the one that has always been in touch with her the most over the years, but he isn’t thrilled about it.

There are just some people alive that should flat out not breed. I’ve done a comedy bit about it for years, and it lays crowds out. Unfortunately, I happen to be the product of two prime parents that qualify for the list. Both of them should have been spayed, neutered, clipped, trimmed, fed salt peter, sterilized, fixed or whatever other term anyone wants to use. Why was I ever born?

There’s no way life needs to be this difficult. It’s like trying to run a car engine without oil. It’s going to seize up at some point, and that’s where I feel my life is right now. It’s miraculous that I made it this far, but after taking so bad of a pounding for so many years I’m just too banged up to continue under my own power. I need a hand from somewhere, but it’s not coming. I feel so lost.

And to think just a few months ago I was feeling on top of the world. My drive to Tucson and back for New Year’s Eve week was a total blast in many ways. That’s how life should be every week, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why it isn’t. I’ve come so close so many times, but then through no fault of my own I’m out of the groove again off my game. It gets SO frustrating.

A radio job somewhere would be fantastic. Again, it’s not like I haven’t paid my dues or would stink up the joint. I’ve got legit experience at some real radio stations, and my ability hasn’t ever been the issue. It’s always some outside factor I can’t control, and I can’t keep taking direct hits.

If I’m going to keep plugging, I’m going to have to have some stability. Period. If I can’t find a way to do that my life will be over a lot sooner than later. The stress of keeping it together week to week is really starting to take a hefty toll. I feel the life draining from me, and I can’t stop it.

It’s like I’m a plate spinner and all my plates are coming down at once. What the hell do I do to stop it without turning everything into a Three Stooges pie fight? I wish I knew. I’ve been trying as hard as I can to figure that out my whole life, but it’s been especially tough since getting fired from the radio job at The Loop in Chicago in 2004. It’s ten years ago now, but it still haunts me.

I put all my chips on the table for that gig, and it was looking like I would be set for life. There is no reason I shouldn’t be other than some clueless nimrod decided to fire us because “once in a while change for the sake of change is good.” Well, apparently that was one of those times in the confines of his marble sized brain and ten years later here I sit debating whether to off myself.

I really don’t see why I’m alive right now, and I can’t scream out any louder for help. One day I will just pick up a rope and a maid will find me swinging from some hotel room shower head and that’ll be it. I’ll get my picture in their local nose blower – and they’ll spell my name wrong.

Looking back over my life it seems like such a waste. I was given a scoop of talent, and when I tried to develop it I kept getting my legs clipped out from under me. When I asked for help there was nobody there, and there still isn’t today. I’m hurting. Thanks Mom! Happy Mother’s Day.

This pretty much sums up my position in life these days.

This pretty much sums up my current life situation.


Showing Off Uranus

June 24, 2013

Sunday June 23rd, 2013 – St. Charles, IL

   A phone call from Mike Preston usually means some kind of adventure is close behind, and it’s almost always fun. He called yesterday to ask if I’d be available for an impromptu appearance as The King of Uranus for his TV show ‘Psychobabble’. I told him I would help any way I could.

   The assignment today was to cover a comic book show at the Mega Center at Pheasant Run in St. Charles, IL. I was to dress in character, and Mike would follow me with a camera find people to interview for his show. I had nothing else going on, so I hauled out the garb and played along.

   It’s amazing what a strong reaction something as simple as dressing up in a goofy costume gets – even at a comic book show. I felt all eyes on me as I walked, but I’ve done it several times now so I’m starting to get used to it. It was uncomfortable at first, but now I’m starting to play with it.

   Nobody knows what to say, and I just carry on like there’s nothing odd or unusual. Sometimes someone will say a line, and I try to snap off a funny answer if I can. The most common remark people say is “Nice hat!” referring to my Jiffy Pop style “crown”. I don’t know why they would pick that out of the whole wacky ensemble, but that’s the comment I’ve heard the most to date.

   The standard line I now shoot back is “Who’d have believed it was margarine and not butter?” – which almost always gets a solid laugh. I’m getting a whole lot more comfortable in my skin as the character, and even though it’s not all the way there yet it’s getting closer every time I do it.

   Any time there’s a chance to practice, I’ll do it. This was an excellent opportunity to do it with zero risk. What was the worst thing that could happen, I get thrown out of a comic book show for dressing funny? That would be pretty hard to do from comic book shows I have seen in the past.

   One thing that made me feel better was that I dressed in a room with other characters that were walking around as well. I recognized Batman, and there were a few others I didn’t know. It was a funny scene as we all got into our costumes with no fanfare. Nobody made fun of each other, but we all looked pretty crazy walking out one by one in full regalia ready to walk around the show.

   There were plenty of interesting characters to interview, and I’ll bet we did a dozen interviews in an hour’s time. I didn’t so much stress the fact that I was the King of Uranus, but let them talk about what they were there for. I am pretty quick with a joke and have had practice interviewing people, so most of them came off a lot better than I’m sure anyone expected. It was a lot of fun.

    It was a special treat to get rejected for interviews by all the paid autograph celebrities there to sign for fans. The look of fright in their eyes as we walked over with a camera was priceless, and I had a hard time keeping a straight face as they ran in the other direction to avoid talking to us.

   Priscilla Barnes was first, and I wish we could have gotten a picture of her look of disgust. She recovered quickly, and after shrieking “NO!” when asked for an interview she said “But I thank you for asking” to save face with the people around her. I took it in stride and kept on walking.

   Pro wrestlers Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine and Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake were next. The funny thing is, I’d have been able to do great interviews with them with my immense knowledge of wrestling but neither one wanted any part of it. It’s their loss. I know I’m on to something big to get such negative reaction – but I got positive reaction too. We laughed the whole way home.

All hail The King of Uranus!

All hail The King of Uranus!

It's ALWAYS funny when it comes from Uranus!

It’s ALWAYS funny when it comes from Uranus!

Check out Mike Preston's 'Psycho Babble TV'

Check out Mike Preston’s ‘Psycho Babble TV’

A Hectic Schedule

May 6, 2013

Saturday May 4th, 2013 – Palatine, IL/Milwaukee, WI

   What am I, nuts? More than a little, apparently. I drove back from my show in Marion, OH last night for two reasons – one; it didn’t come with a hotel room like most gigs do. Second; I needed to be back in time to host a talent showcase at Harper College in Palatine, IL from 10am to 1pm.

   I knew that was going to be an extra bitchy drive, but I didn’t want to say no to Scott Cashman. He’s the Director of Continuing Education, and a super nice person. He’s gone out of his way to make me feel welcome at Harper and really wants to have my comedy class as part of his regular curriculum. This is a once a year special event, and it’s an honor to be asked to host so I said yes.

   I thought I could make it home by about 3:30, so that would give me at least a few hours to get some sleep in before the event. Of course I hit some weather in Ohio and Indiana, and then some traffic and construction in the Chicago area and I didn’t get home until 5:30. I barely got into my snoring rhythm when it was time to get right back up, take a fast shower and show up at Harper.

   The event went smoothly as I knew it would. It’s a showcase for all the classes that is designed to rustle up new enrollment. They had everything from a live fencing demonstration to an improv troupe to all kinds of live music, and everyone did really well. It was fun to be a part of it all, but by the end of a three hour event I was ready to hibernate like a bear. I couldn’t wait to get home.

   Before that, I had a stop to make to hopefully cheer up one of my former comedy students who   hasn’t been feeling well of late. He was kind enough to visit me when I was in the hospital and it was only right that I support him in return. Sometimes a short visit can do wonders, and I tried to spread at least a few kind vibes. I do try to do the right thing whenever I can, even if it’s difficult.

   I was a refried zombie by the time I got home, and didn’t even undress before hitting the couch with a vengeance for a power nap. I needed to be back up and on my way to Milwaukee to host a charity auction for Milwaukee Montessori School by 5:00, but I desperately needed some sleep.

   The next thing I remember, I woke up and looked at my watch and it was 6:45. I was in such a deep sleep I had forgotten where I needed to be, but I knew I was late and tried to focus on what appointment I had blown. I realized it was the auction, and shot off the couch like a moon rocket.

   I got dressed in record time, and ran to my car like Batman had just gotten the bat signal. I felt horrible about oversleeping, but it was too late now. There’s always a feeling of helplessness that goes with missing a deadline, and all I could do was get there as fast as I could and try not to piss anyone off. I volunteered for this event, and it was my obligation to get there. I had zero excuses.

   I was asked to host this same event last year by Ian Spanic of The Spanic Boys. He and his dad Tom have been huge supporters of mine, and I’ve always been a fan of their music. I was glad to have been able to help a worthy cause last year, and it was flattering to be asked back once again.

   I called Ian from the car and told him I’d be late but was on the way. I told him what happened, that I just had too much going on and overslept. He was cool about it, but I still felt like an ass to have done that. We’d had this gig booked for months. All the other stuff I had came along later.

   In the end, the auction went fine and nobody knew. I was only a few minutes late, even though I was in total panic the whole way there. The crowd was there to support the kids, and I was too.

A Treat From Uranus

November 2, 2012

Wednesday October 31st, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   I’m a big fan of Halloween, but probably not for the same reason most people are. What I love the most is how the acceptance level of the public is raised exponentially, if only for a single day. Individual freedom of expression is not questioned, and is in fact encouraged and even rewarded.

If one should choose to dress in a diaper and nothing else today, nobody would bat an eye. The possibilities are endless. Imagination and ingenuity are placed in high esteem, and people are in a competitive mindset to try and outdo each other in a positive way. I find that vibe very attractive.

I wish every day could have that level of mass acceptance, but unfortunately it doesn’t. Would it not dramatically up the fun quotient in life if we could dress like Batman or a cowboy any time we felt like it just to get a charge out of people? I guess we could anyway, but it would get stares.

That’s why I find the whole ‘King of Uranus’ concept so much fun. Who wouldn’t love to be a king or a queen, or at least treated like one? I love everything about it – especially the amount of attention it gets for just walking in a room. The few times I’ve done it has been a fun adventure.

If I were to put on the getup today, it might not get a second look. If someone asked who I was, I’m sure “The King of Uranus” would fetch at least a tiny chuckle, but it might get watered down by the fact everybody else is vying for attention with their own costumes. I’d have competition.

Doing it next week or next month would allow me to have ALL attention focused on me – and that is exactly what winning the entertainment game is about. This isn’t a new concept. It’s been done to death in the music business by everyone from Alice Cooper to Kiss to Marilyn Manson.

George Clinton is my favorite example. He cultivated a look that turned heads, and he wore his costume all the time. Alice Cooper and Kiss take their makeup off after a show. George made his multicolored hairstyle the attraction, along with long flowing robes. He lived it offstage as well.

I don’t know if I need to dress like The King of Uranus offstage, but if I had to I could get used to it. I like the flowing robes part, as that’s what I’d picture a king to wear. That’s why I love this idea so much. Nobody really knows what The King of Uranus would wear. I’m calling the shots.

If I can pull this off like I picture it, every day will be Halloween. I’ll get to dress up in all sorts of goofy costumes I’d never wear anywhere else for any reason, and it will make people laugh or smile or at least give me a blank stare of disbelief. No matter what the reaction, at least it will be a source of entertainment and that’s what I’m going for. It won’t take much to attract attention.

It’s a good thing that people tend to be such creatures of habit, as I have a wide open canvas on which I can paint this character however I choose. It won’t take long to discover what works and what doesn’t, and before long The King of Uranus will become an actual fleshed out character to use whenever I need it. If I have fun with it – and I already have – it will be contagious. I haven’t put as much effort into this as I had intended, but today reminds me how much fun I’m missing.

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.