Posts Tagged ‘Brian Regan’

A Journeyman’s Journey

April 3, 2013

Sunday March 31st, 2013 – Atlanta, GA/Chicago, IL

   Time to head home. This week was a fun and productive experience even though I didn’t make a nickel, and I’m glad I came. I had forgotten how much I enjoy Atlanta. It’s a super city, but I’d not been here in years. I worked here regularly when I started, and I’d love to return again often.

I’m very much a big city person, but that’s not always where the money is in comedy. There is a lot going on at any one time in a big city from sporting events to concerts to even other comedy shows, and it’s difficult to stand out and be noticed. Playing the sticks is much smarter business.

In a perfect world, I’d work the road once a month in cities like Atlanta, Houston, Denver, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Seattle, Detroit, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Kansas City. Those are twelve towns I’ve either worked before or would like to work my way in.

I’d love to be able to hop on a plane once a month and go do shows in any of those places, then come home on Sunday with a check that has a comma in it. There are a few comics that have that kind of a draw like say a Brian Regan, and it sounds like a fantastic way to make a dream living.

For a long time, Tommy Chong was in that category. He had enough of a draw everywhere that he could pretty much sell out four shows at a comedy club in any major city, and then sell t-shirts on top of that. He could work the road as much as he wanted to, and for years he did exactly that.

The road is a lot less brutal when you’re flying first class and staying in hotels that don’t have a number or an animal in their name. Trying to nod off at the ‘Sleepy Squirrel Motor Lodge’ while some boozed up ex-convict biker is cooking a fresh batch of meth in the tub next door isn’t fun.

I learned a lot this week, but one of the things I already knew was that I need to become a draw SOMEWHERE. After all these years of knocking around, I’m still a journeyman with little to no clout when it comes to putting fannies in seats. That’s a major kick to the balls of anybody’s ego, but truth is truth. There are a lot of guys like me out there, but if we can’t sell tickets who cares?

This was a great week to get myself started in doing exactly that. Steve Hofstetter put together an outstanding seminar that changed my whole way of thinking, as did my great visit with James Gregory. Both of those guys are world class business people, even though they’re aiming for two completely different audiences. Steve is a huge college act, while James now focuses on theatres.

As for me, I’m going to start where I started – at least for now. I’m going to put all I have into the next four Saturdays doing the ‘Schlitz Happened!’ shows in Milwaukee. I’m at a great venue that’s behind me and wants this to work. What I learned in Atlanta this week will serve me well.

I did get a chance to stop on my way out of town and have dinner at my friend Darryl Rhoades’ house. He’s a world class cook and made us THE best lasagna I’ve ever eaten. His wife Suzanne and he are vegetarians, and they take pride in their cooking. Jacob Williams and I enjoyed every bite as we got ready for our twelve hour drive northward. I am in a wonderful space right now.

Knuckling Down

October 25, 2012

Wednesday October 24th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   Another day of hard work, and I feel like I’m on the right track. I made a point to get organized for next year’s tax return so I don’t have to go through the torture I’m going through now. I don’t ever want this to be a problem again, and even though I’ve said it before this time feels different.

All of my receipts to date are not only in one place, they’re in order separated into individually marked envelopes. My friend Todd Hunt is a business speaker who bills himself as a ‘recovering anal retentive’. I think I’m getting onset type 2 anal retentiveness, but I’m not going to complain.

Getting this part of my life straightened out will help free my mind up for more creative things. I’ve still got a ton of ideas rolling around in my head like lotto balls, and I know in my heart one of them will have the winning combination. Before I die I’d like to experience at least ONE hit.

In a perfect world it would be great to have a string of them. Everything I’m doing is great fun, but I have to believe it would be more fun if it were making a profit. One healthy run of comedy work for six months would change my life around completely. It’s not like I can’t handle the job.

Working in nice venues for decent money on ONE tour would make my life dramatically better in a hurry. 100 cities with say 1000 people at $20 a head would be what, $2 million? I’d think I’d have to sell some merchandise too, so conservatively that would be another cool million. I’m in!

And those are conservative numbers. I look at guys like Louis CK or Jim Gaffigan and wonder how they did it. I don’t begrudge those guys in the least, but they’re of my generation of comics and I know I could do very well with their fans. How do I cultivate my own group of loyal fans?

It’s not a matter of talent or ability. I can do the job on stage, it’s off stage that I stink out loud. I need help with my business, and I’m not too proud to admit it. Who could put me in front of an audience that would like Louis CK or Jim Gaffigan or Brian Regan or any one of a group of guys that is doing what I want to do? I don’t have a clue how to do that, but I’m sure going to find out.

I want to work in Las Vegas and Reno and Atlantic City. Why am I not doing that? I should’ve been a regular in all those places years ago. Mr. Lucky is a perfect persona for casino gigs, and if I could get a few steady gigs in those places it would help immensely. I’d pay my debt in a jiffy.

Cruise ships are another possibility. I’d go back out in a second, and a few months at sea would turn my whole world around for the better. There’s a new booker at Carnival Cruise Lines, and if I can catch a break and connect with her I know I’d prove myself all over again. I’d be a lot more prepared than I was the last time when I had no idea what to expect. This time I’d be a lot better.

These are my prime years, and they’re fading quickly. If I’m going to make my mark in a good way it’s going to be in the next little while or it won’t happen at all. Lighting this fire under me is the best thing that could have happened, and I’m not going to let the opportunity pass without an all out effort on my part. I’ve come this far, why stop chasing dreams? I want to WIN this game!