Posts Tagged ‘CBS’

Craig Ferguson BLOWS…

May 6, 2014

Sunday May 4th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

A few days ago, I happened to write an entry in this very diary about Craig Ferguson. Not that it matters, but I happen to be a fan and I wrote some nice things. I meant them all, and I really do think he is a talented and funny fellow. Appearing on his show was truly a highlight of my life.

I didn’t think much of it, other than I wished him well in his new endeavors. I was sorry to hear he didn’t get the David Letterman slot, and again not that it matters what I think I do believe he’d be the natural choice. The guy is second to none in my opinion, and would have been ideal for it.

Part of me wanted him to get it for my own agenda. He likes to work off the cuff as do I, and it has always been a fantasy for me to pair up with a talk show host that I can shoot lines back and forth with like Rodney Dangerfield had with Johnny Carson. They were a tremendous TV team.

Rodney appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny a whopping 70 times, and it helped make his career. I vividly remember looking forward to it as a teenager, and they always delivered the laughs. I would love to have a national TV outlet to do the same, and Craig Ferguson would have been a great pairing. He doesn’t know that, but I would have been able to keep up with his wit.

I only got to do my standup when I was on, and it was a frightening experience in many ways. I made a lot of mistakes I totally wouldn’t do again, but everyone needs to have their first slot on national television to get the experience over with. It’s very intimidating, but it didn’t kill me.

I’d be MUCH more relaxed and prepared a second, seventh or seventieth time, and I’d love to do it. In all likelihood, it won’t be on the show as it sits. The talent coordinator that booked me is not there anymore, and I don’t have any in. It’s not like Craig and I were buddies beforehand, I only opened for him at Zanies in Vernon Hills, IL and killed time when his plane was delayed and the CBS liaison saw me and told me I was hilarious. That started the process of me being on the show.

When I finally did it, he left the room before I went on. That must be their policy, and I think it is to give the comedians the floor and let them work. Personally, I hoped he’d be in the room and call me over to the couch like Johnny used to do. Still, we crossed paths as he was leaving and I was about to go on and he shook my hand and wished me well. I sensed a genuine spirit in him.

What really blew me away most is when I wrote my recent diary and saw how many loyal fans he has. Wow! I’ve never seen anything like it, and I was beyond impressed. I wrote entries about Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld the two days prior, because it happened to be their birthdays. I didn’t get even ONE response to either of those entries – but when I wrote about Craig I was deluged.

And a persnickety lot they were. They corrected me on my facts and informed me of all he had coming up. I could only dream of having such dedicated fans, and that’s why I’m writing about it now. I’m assuming they are going to find it as they seem to scout out anything that happens to be written about their hero. I do know his birthday is coming up on May 17th, so don’t correct me.

I would LOVE a fiercely loyal fan base like Craig Ferguson has, and I am totally fine with it if a lot of them happen to overlap. I’ll take second place, as long as I’m on the radar. Check out my appearance on the show. It’s on You Tube, but it’s not my best work. I have a DVD and a CD as well, and if you’d like a copy send me an address and I’ll ship out whatever you like. Hopefully you will become my fans too. Craig Ferguson blows…everyone else’s fan base away. Kudos!

Craig Ferguson has THE most loyal fan base I've ever seen. If I could have half that much support I'd be doing more than well.

Craig Ferguson has THE most loyal fan base I’ve ever seen. If I could have even half that much support I’d be doing more than well. PLEASE…be my fans too!

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Craig Ferguson

May 2, 2014

Wednesday April 30th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

Craig Ferguson is stepping down from his job as host of “The Late Late Show” on CBS after a ten year run. For some reason, quite a few people took it upon themselves to seek me out because they couldn’t believe anyone would do that. Why they asked me, I have no idea. Maybe I’m their closest conduit to actual show business – even though I’m light years away from Craig Ferguson.

I guess because I was on the show they thought I’d have some inside information. Far from it. I wasn’t in on any staff meetings, and I was only on one time for 4 ½ minutes in 2010. Still, I have some educated guesses why he would quit, and it’s no surprise at all. Show business is a vampire that sucks blood from everywhere and everyone. The higher the level of it, the sharper the teeth.

About as close to corporate show business as I have come would be working in radio. That was a stench ridden ugly nightmare, and dealing with the idiot brigade of management was a draining of dignity. Nobody cares anything about anyone as a human being, and it can be a soulless grind.

I can only imagine how insane it must be to have to deal with the network serpents, and I’d bet Craig Ferguson had more than his share of head butting sessions with all of them. He’s a creative guy and very funny in my opinion, and he knows what he’s doing. The suits don’t like to have to deal with anybody like that, because they’re a threat. They want robots that do what they’re told.

Any creative mind has a vision of how things should run, and often there’s a clash with people that aren’t creative at all. I’ve had those clashes all my life, and it can be ultimate frustration not to mention an incredible energy drain. Being distracted by all these fleas gets under the skin fast.

I would bet that Craig had his fill, even though I thought his show was far better than all of the others of that genre. I don’t watch a lot of those shows, but from what I’ve seen his was the most unique and consistently funny whenever I saw it. I’m not just saying that because I was on it. I’d think that even if I wasn’t or had done another show. I really am a fan of him and what he does.

Another sticking point that may or may not be a factor is that he was bypassed for Letterman’s slot. According to an interview I read he said it wasn’t an issue, but who knows? I thought it was a no brainer to give that job to him, but again I’m not in that circle. Mr. Colbert may do just fine.

I think the public assumes that big time show business runs smoothly, and the people in charge are all competent and benevolent souls that know what they’re doing. They have no reason to put any thought into it, because they have their own problems dealing with their own crop of morons in whatever career path they’re trying to pursue. The fact is that halfwits in charge are universal.

Craig Ferguson is a talented guy and I wish him only the best. He was very genuine when I met him the few times I did, and he had a fabulous run with his show. Ten years is a terrific ride, and I’d have to think he’s ok financially at this point. I’m sure he’ll regroup and come back when he has a new project of some sort. I’d love to cross paths with him again, and being on his show was one of the highlights of my life. I had a blast, and he could not have been nicer. He’s not done yet There’s too much talent there.

Why would Craig Ferguson walk away from a network TV job? One word - IDIOTS. He had a great run, and I wouldn't count him out just yet.

Why would Craig Ferguson walk away from a network TV job? One word – IDIOTS. He had a terrific run. I wouldn’t count him out just yet.

Three Thousand Pages

June 13, 2013

Wednesday June 12th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   I’ve been cyber scribbling my daily ramblings now since March 14th, 2006. I can’t believe I’ve stayed at it this long, but I haven’t missed even a single day’s entry. Sometimes I do fall behind a couple of days, but I always catch up. It has now become a part of my life, like taking a shower.

   I try not to fall behind a couple of days on showering, but I think the point is clear. This is now a part of my life, and I don’t even think about it. I originally started by wondering if I could write a page a day about what it’s like to be a comedian for thirty straight days. I aced that and more.

  The reason it crossed my mind at all is this is my 1,500th post on wordpress.com. That’s one of the places I’ve been posting for years, and it keeps a daily count. I went back and counted to day one, and all totaled with leap years added in it’s my 2650th post of all time. That’s a lot of work.

   Most days the entries are a single page, but many times they have been two depending on how much I had to say on a given day. I won’t go back and count those, but it’s safe to say I’ve gotten to 3000 pages. They might not be good, but that’s not in the equation. I’m focusing on numbers.

   If anybody was asked to write 3000 pages about their life, it would seem like an overwhelming task. Looking back, it was no big deal at all. I invested a small amount of time almost every day, and now I’ve got tangible product up the wazoo. What to do with it, who knows? But I have it.

   A lot has happened in my life since this started. I traveled the country performing comedy, and I appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS. I got to meet one of my all time entertainment heroes George Clinton in Houston and I survived a nasty surgery on my genitals of all places. There have been ups and downs just like in any life – but mine is recorded for the ages.

   I have no idea who will ever read it, but there’s still something that feels good about doing it as long as I have. I look at my daily writing time as an exercise – and an enjoyable one at that. I like anything that stretches my brain from crossword puzzles to trivia games. This fits that category.

   I sit down when I do, and let my mind open up and do its thing. What can I write about today? Some days are harder than others, but I’ve never drawn a blank and not had anything. Not once. I’m not claiming to be a great writer or even good, but I sure have gotten better over the years.

   One thing I’m just now coming to admit to myself is that I’m a writer at all. I never considered myself one. I am a comedian who writes a daily diary, but when I saw that big ‘1500’ staring me in the puss it slapped me into reality. I guess I am after all. That and a dollar will get me a greasy cheeseburger at a drive thru window, but nobody can take away those 3000 pages. I worked at it.

   The good thing about it is I still have everything I wrote. Standup comedy isn’t like that. Most if not all my hard work is gone immediately after I get off stage. I’ve left little pieces of my soul all over North America since I’ve been doing standup comedy, and had some spectacular shows.

   But once the show is over, I’ve got nothing to show for it. The special moment is gone forever. In writing, I can go back to any page and look at it indefinitely as a piece of my personal history. I have no idea what to do with any of this, but at least I have something to do it with. Most of the best comedy shows I’ve ever done only live on in my head. To succeed in business, one needs to find a way to duplicate one’s self. I’ll never get those shows back, but I have what I wrote about.

Back On Television

January 29, 2013

Thursday January 24th, 2013 – Indianapolis, IN

This year could just end up being my best one after all! I caught a totally unexpected but highly appreciated break this evening by being asked to participate in a television taping just outside of Indianapolis in the town of Danville, IN at a gorgeous historic venue called The Royal Theatre.

Tom Sobel from Louisville, KY suggested me for this gig and I’m thrilled he did. I have a very good relationship with Tom, and I’m flattered he thought of me when he heard there was one last spot available. He asked if I wanted it, and although it didn’t pay I took it to update my resume.

Any time it’s possible to get on a TV show I need to take it. That’s how people get discovered, not only by fans but other TV shows. When I was on ‘The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson’ on CBS it was seen by the producer of Byron Allen’s ‘Comics.tv’ and I got on that show as well.

Tonight’s show was a winner all around, and an absolute joy to be a part of.  It was a taping for Comcast and apparently will be for On Demand viewing. There were nine acts on the bill and we each did an eight minute set along with an interview. There were no weak acts and it was a blast.

It was one of those nights where the right crowd was in the right venue for the right acts and all of us knocked it out of the park in perfect order. Everything went exactly how it was supposed to and when that happens standup comedy can be a wonderful experience. This was worth my trip.

The show was produced by a guy out of Indianapolis named Mark Craycraft. He’s been doing comedy since the ‘80s, and we crossed paths early on. I didn’t think he’d remember me from that long ago, but he did and couldn’t have been nicer to not only me but everyone else on the show.

There were no divas on this night, and everything just fell into place perfectly. We all got along splendidly, and I wish I could bottle up the vibe and spread it around the comedy world. This put me in a great mood, and gave me hope for other great things happening this year. It’s about time.

This was a perfect practice run for the Laughing Skull Festival in March, and if it’s any hint of things to come I’m more than ready to be seen by someone who can make things happen. I had a killer set, and Mark put me last because Tom Sobel knew I had experience and could throw heat.

I have a high energy level and it turned out to be the perfect order, but there were some quality veteran acts on the show including Scott Long, Mo Alexander and BT who also brought it home. Even the newer acts were well received. This was just one of those magic nights we all dream of.

It was an extra special treat to get to meet Mack Dryden, formerly of the super successful team of Mack and Jamie. They had a highly rated TV show, and had quite a remarkable run. I’m a big fan, and now Mack is doing corporate work. It was a thrill to hang out and talk before the show.

Mack stayed for my set when he didn’t have to and told Tom I was a ‘force of nature’. What an outstanding endorsement from someone I totally respect and admire. This was a great evening of fun all around, and I wasn’t even planning for it. If this is how 2013 is going to be, I’m loving it.

The Luck Of The Germans

July 23, 2010

Thursday July 22nd, 2010 – Milwaukee, WI

One year ago today, I made my national television debut on “The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson” on CBS. Tonight I made my featured festival debut in my hometown of Milwaukee at German Fest in front of three people, and then it rained so hard the festival closed and the grounds were evacuated. This was a downpour of epic biblical proportions.

All I could do to retaliate was laugh, and the crescendo came when the ominous tornado sirens started going off. At least I had the only covered stage at the festival, and it came in quite handy tonight. Here I stood in my home town in front of an empty seating area made for at least a couple thousand people, in the rain, talking over a tornado siren to just three.

“Hello, Craig? Yeah, it’s Dobie. Dobie MAXWELL. Mr. Lucky, you know. Yeah, I did your show exactly one year ago today and I was wondering…uh, do you think there might be any chance of getting back on soon? I’ve got no shortage of great stories to tell you.”

Actually, I found Craig Ferguson to be a genuinely nice person. I think he’s very funny, and every interview I’ve heard or read makes him come off like a down to earth good guy in every way. That’s fine for him, now I need to get some of that for me too. A good start would be to get an actual interview somewhere. I haven’t had one of those in a long time.

I’m not looking for minute details to nitpick about, or bellyache about my poor, woe is me life. Not at all. Actually, things are going pretty well right now. This last year has not been bad at all. I’ve worked constantly, doing interesting things I really enjoy. I’ve gotten many accolades for not only my appearance on The Late Late Show, but others as well.

I had a nice ‘mini run’ by doing Byron Allen’s “Comics.TV” show after the producer of it saw me on The Late Late Show. Then I got to do “The Daily Buzz” with my old buddy Mitch English who I knew from Salt Lake City. All in all, this has been a land mark year. I think it’s important to stress when good things happen, not just complain about the bad.

I just wish it would have happened fifteen or twenty years ago so I could build on it the right way. It was a nice start for sure, but unless I find a way to keep it growing, this may well be all I’ll ever do in the big scheme of life. When the Packers won the Super Bowl in 1997, their GM Ron Wolf called it ’a fart in the wind’, as that’s the only title they won.

Everyone picked them to do much greater things and have a dynasty but the one trophy is all they could manage. They lost the next year’s Super Bowl and that was it. They still had good teams for a while, but eventually it all played out and then to make it all uglier, Brett Favre had to turn heel and start up his whiny little diva act. And that’s where it sits.

Was my one little five minute appearance on national TV all I’m ever going to do? I’m extremely grateful for that opportunity, but I know I’ve got a lot more in me than that – or at least I think I do. I’m sure those Green Bay Packers including Brett Favre thought they had more in them too, but it didn’t happen. Disappointment has a way of dousing fires.

That fact hit me hard today as I stood on that big stage staring at the empty seating area of a festival that’s never had a comedian before. I’m not angry at anyone, in fact quite the contrary. My grade school classmate Robert Deglau went out of his way to suggest me to the board of directors of German Fest, and everyone there couldn’t have been any nicer.

I’m very grateful for all that, and Robert felt horrible there weren’t people at the stage at the time I was supposed to go on. He introduced me, and had to go take care of other stuff since he’s in a position of power at the festival. No worries from my end, and that’s never been the issue. The problem is me. I should be working more on getting back on the tube.

Have I sent out any inquiries? NO. Have I put together a promo package to send out to a list of the top agents in Hollywood? Double no. Well, who do I have to blame but myself for all of that? Nobody else but me. I can’t expect things to just fall into place by accident without planning. I’M the one who controls it, and for whatever reason I can’t get it done.

I guess I could beat myself up forever about it, or just relax and take a step back to see a bigger picture view. Where am I now? Where am I headed? Where do I want to go? That will be what makes the dreams come true, not pissing and moaning about what all failed.

I feel bad for German Fest, as it rained so hard they lost the entire day’s revenue. I have another scheduled appearance on Saturday at noon, but that’s not going to be any kind of career maker either. I’ll go there and have fun with whomever shows up, but what I really need to be doing is keep building on that foundation of the TV appearance. I can do more.

The cruise ship opportunity was fun too, but that’s not the big time either unfortunately. It’s not bad, and I hope I get more, but the real essence of what I want to do is create good solid original standup comedy, and present it to an appreciative audience who pays for it.

That sentence felt good to write, because it’s probably the first time I shaped it into real words, at least recently. I’m getting in there to the core, and that’s where the good stuff is. If I really want to be a success, I’ll get in there and bring my very best up to the surface so I can use up whatever talent and ability there is in there. I don’t want to leave any unused.

George Clinton is a perfect example of someone like that. I think I’m such a huge fan of his because his body of work is amazing. He kept cranking out albums under record deals for the groups Parliament, Funkadelic and a lot more. When that ran out, he kept the flow going under his own name. And he kept touring and still does even now. That’s a career.

I’m sure George has regrets and has made mistakes, but he didn’t quit. He’s a legend in the business, and those who know him give him his due. Today is also his birthday and he is still an inspiration to me to this day. He’s the creative lightning rod for a crew of talent.

I’m not going to let one rain storm stop me from building what I want. I want to have an opportunity to get back on TV and share my comedy with as many people as I can. I have a limited time in my prime, and I’m still in it – for now. Time to get serious about funny.

Gout And About

March 11, 2010

Wednesday March 10th, 2010 –

Chicago, IL

Apparently I have gout. Perfect! That’s exactly the kind of disease Mr. Lucky would get and actually I couldn’t be happier to hear it. For someone with zero health insurance, gout is sweet music to my ears compared to full blown major knee surgery and all that torture.

I talked to the doctor and after reviewing my x-rays she said after hearing a description of how the pain started and looking at the x-rays she came to the conclusion it’s probably an attack of gout and that’s what we’d address. An MRI is expensive and it cut me a huge break by not having to pay for it myself, because I can’t right now. This was great news.

Gout is a buildup of uric acid in the joints, and usually manifests itself in the big toe or even in the fingers. Sometimes it goes to the knees, and when it does it’s only one. This is going to be a lot easier to fix than ripped knee tendons, and I’m already feeling way better than I did even yesterday. I’ve known for a while my diet has been horrible. I deserved it.

Red meat is one of my favorite things on earth, especially bloody rare steak. I love steak and eggs for breakfast, and I’ve been known to have a steak for lunch too. Or dinner. Or a late night snack at a truck stop on the way home from a gig. Red, rare meat is delicious to me and always was. I’m surprised I didn’t get this before, and it’s probably not over yet.

There’s probably enough beef packed in my intestines to start my own cattle ranch. I’ve had small spurts of exercise and health in the last couple of years, but as a whole meat is a way of life in my world. I just love it and always have. Now I’m starting to pay the price.

This is a total wake up call. I’ve been hitting the snooze button for a few years now but I really need to get it in gear IMMEDIATELY. This is a warning signal for a lot of other things that could go wrong in a New York minute. My heart could pop like a zit walking up a flight of stairs, and unless I really start watching myself, I’m going to be a statistic.

The pain I felt was nothing less than excruciating with this. The doctor said that crystals form from the uric acid and cause pressure on whatever joint is near and I learned kidney stones are also a buildup of uric acid and those are also painful. Either way, I need to take the hint and cut WAY back on red meat and I totally will. I don’t want to feel this again.

Apparently, drinking alcohol can make gout flare up too. At least I don’t have to worry about that, and whatever red meat problems I’ll have later in life won’t be compounded a few more times with the havoc alcohol takes on a system. I made that choice correctly to not drink, and that’s one I’ve never regretted. At least I wasn’t a complete and total idiot.

I went to the Old Country Buffet today with Marc Schultz, comedian Tim Walkoe and a comedy magician named Dennis DeBondt who are all great guys. It was very enjoyable to sit and hear great showbiz stories and it didn’t bother me at all to stay away from red meat and eat plates of vegetables. I’ve had a lifetime of eating whatever I want, and it’s time to watch myself. I heard the warning. Gout is a funny word, but the pain it brought wasn’t.

This whole experience really lit a fire under me though. It’s all part of a collective good because that’s how I’m going to choose to accept it. I am going to take full responsibility for getting myself to this point and also full responsibility for getting myself out. If I don’t and my heart does explode, hopefully I‘ll still be able to inspire others to chase the dream.

What a difference a single year makes. Exactly one year ago today I was in Los Angeles filming my first national television spt on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. It’s a memory I’ll never forget, and in many ways it seems like six lifetimes ago. In other ways I feel like it was last week and I want to get out there and do a lot more of them. And I do.

What’s it going to take to make that happen? I wish I knew. The rules of show business have never been cut and dried, but they’re getting even harder to figure out as time passes and technology advances. What was standard procedure just a few years ago is obsolete.

Methods of contacting bookers have changed, as have the outlets for content. Cable TV used to be the goal for standups, like an HBO or Showtime special, but now the internet’s giant presence dwarfs all of that. Youtube is huge, but how can anyone turn a buck with it if it’s always free? These are all legitimate concerns that puzzle me on a consistent basis.

I loved the whole experience of being on The Late Late Show, and if I never get back to do it again, it was still a huge highlight of my life. Celia Joseph the talent coordinator was one of the sweetest people to work with I’ve ever met, as were the whole staff at the show including Craig Ferguson. I’m a big fan and respect his talent immensely. He’s a winner.

But I totally believe that I’m a winner too. I’m happy for Craig Ferguson and I hope I’ll get a lot more chances to interact with him as time goes on, but I have to take my chances and put myself in a position to do that. I haven’t been as good about that as I could have.

Another major mistake I’m making is not following up with Jeff Foxworthy’s help with his management company. I know I pissed off the lady I was supposed to contact, and that really scared me off but it was unintentional. I need to get in there and use that contact.

Jeff is a straight up great guy, and I know he was sincere by doing this favor for me. I’m not going to let a little faux pas keep me from the big time, and I need to go and reconnect with them immediately. I’m SO ready for this right now. I wasn’t sure if I was before, and it turns out I wasn’t, so I’m glad I waited. Now, I’m sure I am and it’s time to go grab it.

My birthday is coming up on Sunday, and I can’t stop it. I’ve had a lot more of them to ponder than I ever thought I would, and after all I’ve been through I really am lucky to be alive and somewhat coherent. A case of gout doesn’t scare me at all, especially after those horrible knee pains have gone away. There was a solution to the problem, and I found it.

Now it’s time to pull out all the stops and keep chasing whatever I’ve been doing for all these years. I can do lots of TV spots, but someone has to say yes, which means I have to keep asking. So I will. Gout won’t take me out of the game. In fact, it’ll bring me back.