Posts Tagged ‘Brian Hicks’

Friday Fun With Friends

January 25, 2014

Friday January 24th, 2014 – Frankfort, IL

Tonight was another fun night working with long time friends. If I accomplish nothing else in my life, I’ve put together a stellar cast of characters that make me laugh and are fun to be around. There are a lot worse ways to make a living, and we all know it. Tonight was a true team effort.

Ken Sevara has booked the comedians at CD & ME in Frankfort, IL for seven years now. He’s a comedian himself, so he understands the process. I’ve become a regular there, and love to work in front of the audiences there. They come to be entertained, and they have always been friendly.

The staff there always treats us like royalty, and if nobody else appreciates it I surely do. It’s an extra perk that doesn’t happen everywhere, and that’s a shame. It happens here, so I look forward to coming back. Dean the owner is into comedy, and the tone has been set from the top on down.

Tonight it was an extra special treat to work with my good friend Jimmy McHugh. The two of us together on one show is hard to beat, and to top it off hosting the show was Brian Hicks. He’s another of Chicago’s best, and doesn’t live far away. The three of us together made it a big night.

The weather was nasty all day, so Jimmy and I rented a car and got a hotel room not far away. I live almost 100 miles one way from Frankfort, and I didn’t want to be dealing with driving home in a snow storm. Jimmy and I are working tomorrow night in Indiana, so this was the right call.

Right before the show started, Tim Slagle walked in. Tim, Ken and I were the original “Jerry’s Kidders” on WLS radio with our friend Jerry Agar. It was nice of Tim to pop in, and I knew we had to find a way to get us all on stage. This was too good of a group in one place not to do that.

I cut my show a few minutes early, and brought up Ken, Tim, Jimmy and Brian for a close out round robin version of “Chicago Style” standup comedy. We each took turns at the microphone, and the audience loved it. The energy in that kind of setting is electric, and we all plugged into it.

The audience got far more than they expected, and everyone had a fantastic experience. I enjoy being able to make things like this happen on the spur of the moment, and it was my call entirely. No matter what problems any of us may have, being on stage together for those few minutes was an escape. It was like we were our own version of the Rat Pack, and the audience came with us.

After our show, we hung around a TV and watched Pat McGann’s debut on David Letterman. I was delighted that there was a crowd there to support, and we were all rooting for him to knock it out of the park. He did exactly that, and spontaneous applause broke out when his set was done.

I’m telling you, that guy has got it. He looked completely at home, and was able to get several applause breaks throughout his set. David Letterman came over to him after he was done and had very complimentary things to say before they went to the commercials. I’d say he hit a home run.

There wasn’t any jealousy among the group of us watching, and I thought it was a great tribute to the character of the people in the room. Pat deserved the shot, and he nailed it. Good for him. I couldn’t be happier for him, or more pleased to have gotten to perform with such a classy bunch.

Jimmy McHugh is always one of my favorite people to hang with on stage or off. He's a great pro and an even greater friend. www.comedianjimmymchugh.com.

Jimmy McHugh is always one of my favorite people to hang with on stage or off. He’s a great pro and an even greater friend. http://www.comedianjimmymchugh.com.

Brian Hicks hosted the show tonight, and is another example of a solid professional. www.funnybrian.com.

Brian Hicks hosted the show tonight, and is another example of a solid professional. http://www.funnybrian.com.

Tim Slagle dropped in, and of course we made him be part of the show. He nailed it as I knew he would. www.timslagle.com.

Tim Slagle dropped in, and of course we made him be part of the show. He nailed it as I knew he would. http://www.timslagle.com.

Ken Sevara books the comedians at CD & ME, and also hosts his radio show 'Fly By Night' on AM 560 WIND in Chicago. www.kensevara.com.

Ken Sevara books the comedians at CD & ME, and also hosts his radio show ‘Fly By Night’ on AM 560 WIND in Chicago. http://www.kensevara.com.

All of us took a back seat to Chicago comedian Pat McGann who made his debut on the David Letterman Show tonight. Congrats Pat! You made us all proud. www.patmcganncomedy.com.

All of us took a back seat to Chicago comedian Pat McGann who made his network TV debut on the David Letterman Show tonight. Congrats Pat! You made us all proud. Way to go! http://www.patmcganncomedy.com.

Indy Excellence

July 8, 2013

Saturday July 6th, 2013 – Indianapolis, IN 

   I can’t say enough good things about the booking I have this weekend. Everything is absolutely outstanding, and I want to give credit where credit is due. These people are making an effort that I have rarely seen, and I hope they get paid off handsomely for their investment. They deserve it.

   Somebody stuck a LOT of money into this business. They have other locations in Jacksonville, Pittsburgh and soon to be in the western Chicago suburbs from what I hear. I’m not sure if that’s all the locations they plan to open and it’s none of my business, but they’ve put out a lot of cash.

   They’re promoting a concept of a one stop entertainment center, and it’s totally top shelf. They have an amazing variety of video games, a first rate bowling center, a sports bar with a delicious food menu and world class video system, and a live theatre setup where the comedy shows are.

   They also have live bands, and an excellent one was playing as we left the venue tonight. They recently booked Kelly Clarkson in the comedy room, and she drew extremely well from what the G.M. told us. This is no rinky dink setup, and I respect those who took the risk. It’s very gutsy.

   They’re doing it right, and it shows. They’re getting some very solid comedy acts such as Carl LaBove who was best friends with Sam Kinison. I love Carl both as a person and performer, and I see he’ll be here in a couple of weeks. I’m flattered to be booked at a venue of this high caliber.

   This doesn’t seem to be the time to launch a mega venture like this, but then again maybe it’s a perfect time for it. I’ll be the first to admit I’m a clueless pinhead as far as business acumen goes, so if I can’t see an idea clearly it probably means it will be a big time success. I hope this one is.

   Everyone to a person that we dealt with this weekend treated us like big stars from the General Manager Michael Curatolo down to the bus boys in the restaurant where they provided meals for us each night. The entire staff couldn’t have been nicer, and that made it a treat to perform here.

   Brian Hicks is an easygoing laid back chap just as I try to be, and together I can’t think of two more low maintenance comedians anywhere. Still, it felt great to be treated like this and we were not about to abuse it. We went out of our way to say thank you and leave tips when appropriate.

   Indianapolis has always been one of my favorite places to perform, but I haven’t been here in a long time. There has been a bumper crop of excellent comedy venues here since I started, and the town as a whole has been supportive of them all. I’m grateful to get an opportunity to come back, and I hope it’s not the last time. A booking like this makes being a comedian the best job around.

   What isn’t so great is trying to string them together and flesh out a whole year. If it worked like this every week, life would be peachy. It did for a long time, but not anymore. I wish I could find a way to clone gigs like this one, the Zanies clubs in Chicago and Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase. 

   This week and last week in Ann Arbor really helped to bail out my summer, and I hope to keep the momentum going and hit the ground running into fall. Two weeks in a row is a nice little run, and having them in quality places like this makes life fun again. This is how it should always be.

   Because it isn’t, I’m going to be extra thankful for all the perks this week from the luxury hotel to the delicious meals to the state of the art sound and light system. www.latitude39indy.com.