Posts Tagged ‘Caddyshack’

Harold Ramis Respect

February 26, 2014

Monday February 24th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

It was all over the news today that Harold Ramis has passed away. I wasn’t aware he was sick, and I am deeply saddened to hear of his passing. There aren’t many that can hold a candle to his list of accomplishments, and by all accounts I have ever heard he was an extremely nice person.

Where does one start with an industry giant like this? If I could score just ONE of the huge hits he had, I’d be on easy street for the rest of my life. He either wrote, co-wrote, starred, co-starred, directed or acted in several of the biggest and most impactful comedy films of the 20th Century.

The list of his successful projects is staggering, including “Animal House”, “Groundhog Day”, “Caddyshack”, “Ghostbusters”, “Back To School”, “Stripes”, “Meatballs” and quite a few more. Those are all films of my generation, and until I saw the list I had forgotten how impressive it is.

It’s a shame that it takes a person’s passing to get a comprehensive list of all the achievements they managed to attain, but that’s how it works. I knew he was a giant in his field, but until I had heard he passed I never looked at his entire body of work so closely. The man was an all timer.

What I didn’t realize was that he’d moved back to Chicago in 1996. I knew he was from there, but had no idea he came back. I totally should have known that, and I would have loved a chance to meet him even once. I bet he wouldn’t have been difficult to track down, and I wouldn’t have been anything but polite and told him how much I admired his work. I bet we’d have hit it off.

Any time I’ve met someone truly creative, I have always been able to connect instantaneously. That’s who I am too, and it just clicks. Everyone I’ve met from George Carlin to George Clinton to Rodney Dangerfield to any number of others has always been a pleasant experience. I wish I’d had even a few seconds with Harold Ramis, as I bet it would have been a memorable experience.

He might not have remembered it, but I sure would have. I remember meeting Tim Kazurinsky years ago when I opened for his friend Bobcat Goldthwaite. They’d done a couple of the “Police Academy” films together and stayed in touch. Tim was unbelievably nice, and complimentary of my show to boot. Bobcat was great too. I find myself very comfortable around all creative types.

If Harold Ramis was around Chicago all these years, it’s my own fault that I didn’t take it upon myself to cross paths and meet him. It’s not a matter of asking him for anything or pestering him to put me in one of his films, it’s just a matter of professional respect. The man was legendary.

It’s my own fault I didn’t seek him out, and there are all kinds of others that I could have been in contact with as well. Second City is barely a block from Zanies in Chicago, and I’ve worked at Zanies since the late ‘80s. I could have made time to network with those people, but I never did.

I have nothing against improv comedy, but I had all I could handle with doing standup. Still, it would have been smart business to hang out after shows and schmooze with the Second City cast through the years. I was right there, but I blew it. Maybe Harold Ramis would have looked at me as a major schmucko, or maybe we’d have been friends. If nothing else, I would have enjoyed an opportunity to say hello just once. He enjoyed immense success, and I am a huge fan from afar.

There aren't many that can touch the massive success of Harold Ramis.

There aren’t many that can touch the massive success of Harold Ramis. What a run he had!

Momentum Shifts

July 17, 2013

Tuesday July 16th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   The life of any entertainer always boils down to the constant shifting of momentum. The tide is either in or out at any given time, but it doesn’t stay there forever no matter what direction it may be headed. I was in a particularly lengthy out tide for a while, but now I feel it coming in again.

   My phone is ringing all over the place, and I can feel good things headed my way. I have some interesting and different opportunities on the table I wasn’t expecting, and I’m going to seriously focus on making the most of them. New opportunities with new people are exactly what I need.

   One thing I wasn’t expecting was this movie role I auditioned for last week. I received word of getting the part, and shooting is this week. I only have a few lines, but I appreciate the fact I was considered and will go in and give it my very best whether it leads to anything else or not. It will only add credibility to everything else I’m doing, and I’m sure I’ll meet some new connections.

   A standout role in a popular film would sure come in handy right about now. Look at what the role in ‘Caddyshack’ did for Rodney Dangerfield. He nailed it, and it put him over the top with a whole new generation of fans. I was one of them, and it still makes me laugh whenever I see it.

   This isn’t going to be that kind of a role, but I get to play a clueless security guard and it looks like I’ll be able to have fun with it. It’s great practice if nothing else, and it just may open me up to get a shot at my own Rodney type role in some other movie. ‘Mr. Lucky’ is a solid character.

   Another area I feel some heat happening is in the corporate market. I’ve traditionally not had a lot of bookings there, but now I feel it’s a much better fit. I can not only perform a squeaky clean comedy show or after dinner speech, I can also create comedy workshops for training purposes.

   I always tell my classes and it’s true – doing standup comedy is THE most difficult task to pull off consistently in all of the entertainment business. If one can be successful at it for any amount of time at all, anything else appears easy. That’s where I am now. Bring it on, and I’ll handle it.

   I’ve also been working on updating my personal website. It’s long overdue, and today I met up with my web guy Mark Filwett. He’s really talented, and he does what he says. I’m thrilled with my www.schlitzhappened.com  site. He’s mark@lakecountygeeks.com if you need a web guy.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

   I’m spending my days working on as many things as I can get done. One of these days one area will get hot, and I’ll focus my energy on that. Right now, I’m still trying to find out what it might be. I’m rattling cages in different areas, but they’re not all that far off from what I’ve been doing.

   I’ve always been performing and teaching comedy, I’m just looking to do it in a different arena than I’ve been used to. Comedy clubs have never been where the big money is, and I find a lot of those who book them not to my liking. They can be shady, and it’s getting worse. Why not move up the trough and drink a little closer to the main teat? I’ve been hanging out at the wrong end.

   Tonight I was invited to a delicious dinner with my magician friend Dennis DeBondt. His Aunt Boots just turned 90, and she lives just a few minutes from me on a gorgeous lake. Dennis owns a cottage next door, and whenever he’s up here he gives me a call. Boots is a sweetheart, and she invited some friends over to celebrate one of their birthdays. The food and company were of the highest order, and we sat around and had a lot of laughs. This is exactly how life should work.

A Nation Of Spauldings

July 8, 2013

Thursday July 4th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   It’s the 4th of July, but I don’t feel much like celebrating. The United States of America is on a horrific downward spiral, and I have serious doubts as to if we’ll ever pull out of it. A once great nation is seeing everything its forefathers visualized go down in flames because the generation of current pampered imbeciles that never had to struggle is pissing away what earlier ones died for.

   I don’t often get political as a rule, but this whole scenario makes me puke. The world is going more insane by the minute, but too few seem to be concerned about it. I don’t claim to have any answers, but I didn’t think that was my job. Isn’t that what our leaders are supposed to be doing?

   I’m sorry to say, but I have absolutely zero faith in our current pack of corrupt scumbags in the positions of power that are supposed to be representing “we the people”. We aren’t being served, and in fact I think we’re not even in the equation. Greedy scoundrels have pushed us to the side.

   There’s a sense of brazen entitlement everywhere that the world owes everyone a living, when in fact nothing that could be further from the truth. It’s out of control from the very top, and there isn’t anyone to mind the store that has any experience. I think we’re in for some painful lessons.

   Being raised by my grandparents was not always pleasant, but now I see with crystal clarity all the things they used to preach until I was sick of hearing it. I admit I laughed at the time, but they were dead on with everything they said. They lived through hard times, and it made them tough.

   Today’s generations – mine included – are clueless candy ass wimps that never had to confront any true hard times. Those before us made some gigantic sacrifices, hoping we might see a better life from it. For the most part we did exactly that – but instead of being grateful we’re snivelers.

   There’s a hilarious character in the movie ‘Caddyshack’ named Spaulding who is the grandson of Ted Knight’s character Judge Smails. He’s a nose picking dolt that doesn’t have a clue that he was born into the ‘Lucky Sperm’ club, but he still has everything he could ask for anyway. All of the caddies in the movie are fighting hard for a few scraps, but Spaulding has his ticket punched.

   America has unfortunately degenerated into a nation of Spauldings, and I couldn’t be any more embarrassed. We’re pissing away in just a few years what took a lot longer than that to build, and the masses don’t seem to be upset in the least. This disturbs me greatly, but I think it’s too late to turn it around. Human nature is playing out the poker hand, and it was inevitable from the start.

   This happens in business all the time. The grandfather starts the business and builds it from the ground up. Maybe a son or two or even a daughter joins in and pushes it over the top. Then they leave it to the grandchildren who never had to work for it – and that’s when everything unravels.

   I don’t see a reason to celebrate America quite frankly. We are in BIG trouble, but that doesn’t seem to be of concern to our esteemed President. He’s taking his family to Africa on our dime to the tune of MILLIONS, and doesn’t seem to care. I don’t think our forefathers would approve.

   Don’t think I was a big fan of George Bush either. Check out their family history and you’ll be just as disgusted as I am. They’re not our pals either. Nobody in power cares about the rest of us, and it’s that way around the entire cruel world. This human animal we are has a lot of flaws, and I wish life were different. Maybe it is in a parallel universe, but in this one we’ve got problems.

The prototype of our country today.

The prototype of our country today.

America Is Dead

November 7, 2012

Tuesday November 6th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   After a long, slow steady decline, I do believe America as we know it is finally dead. Gone is a mass population hungry for success with a work ethic beyond belief, and replacing it is a crew of arrogant, stupid lazy fat cats who think they’re entitled to everything just because they were born in a place they were always told was “the greatest country in the world.” Those days are OVER.

However it happened, it now seems to be locked in place with the reelection of the incompetent boob that personifies the generation in which we live. He’s an amalgamation of the Kardashians, American Idol and Honey Boo Boo rolled into one. It’s lack of substance with no basis in reality.

Nobody wants to face the cold hard facts of how life really is. They’re all looking for the latest Ralph Kramden or Lucy get rich quick schemes so they don’t have to work very hard or struggle for anything. I suppose we are all at least a little bit guilty, as that’s how human nature operates.

Our whole existence has been a constant process of lessening our work load and making things easier or at least more efficient. Progress and technology have evolved over centuries to the point things are now, and I’m not sure if we’re better off as a species. Struggle can be a useful process.

Having a large problem to solve tends to focus one or a group’s energies into getting it solved. There’s no free time to bitch or complain as all available energy is thrown into what needs to be done to solve the problem. I look at the building of this country as exactly that. There needed to be railroads and roads and cities built, and we as a country knuckled down and made it happen.

Immigrants came from all over the world with a similar mindset and all they wanted was a fair chance to build a better life for their children. They were willing to work their butts off for it, and work hard. They built the greatest country in the world because they paid the price to achieve it.

They sacrificed their time and effort knowing that’s what it took to get what they wanted. They had goals and aspirations, and were thinking of their children and children’s children. They were an amalgamation of races and nationalities and they proved that the human spirit can be GREAT.

They handed our generation world dominance on a silver platter, and here we are screwing that up worse and worse by the minute. We should be ashamed of ourselves, but instead we continue to boast and gloat like we actually had something to do with any of it. “U-S-A! U-S-A!” My ass.

We’re like the character Spaulding in the movie Caddyshack. He was the spoiled oafish second or third generation clueless offspring of wealth, and he didn’t know how to function properly in a world where he never had to work for anything. We are now a society of pampered Spauldings.

I’m not saying Mitt Romney was the answer, but he at least had some practical experience with actually running something successfully. I lived in Utah when he fixed the Olympics mess and it was a remarkable accomplishment. What did our esteemed figurehead ever do besides be elected to Congress so he could run for President? This whole scenario makes me puke. America is dead.