Posts Tagged ‘Chinese Buffet’

Jingle Bowels

December 26, 2013

Wednesday December 25th, 2013 – Rolla, MO/Amarillo, TX

And what did I get for Christmas this year? Diarrhea! How does one gift wrap that? In my case it was in underwear, and it was the gift that kept on giving for most of the morning. I stopped for a Chinese buffet lunch in Normal, IL yesterday, and something I ate gave me the old rocket ass.

I could feel my stomach gurgling a little before I fell asleep, but this morning is when it kicked in and hit the jackpot. It was a bizarre morning all around actually. I was awakened by the sound of cops knocking on the door of someone down the hall. Apparently, an escaped felon was at the motel holing up and someone turned him in. There were four cops at his door with pistols drawn.

I’ve had some unusual Christmases in my day, but I must say I’ve never had this. They tried to get him to come out, but at first he wouldn’t. I was only a few doors down from the action, and it occurred to me that bullets could start flying at any moment. I was trying to think of where I’d be the safest, and I thought the bath tub would be best. Before I could go there, the guy surrendered.

I’d parked right in front of the motel office, and I was concerned about my rental car. It would be absolutely my luck that bullets would fly and I’d have to pay the deductible out of my pocket. It ended up ending peacefully, and no damage was done to anything other than the guy’s record.

I don’t know what he did, but by the look on the faces of the cops it was pretty serious. It took two pairs of officers in Rolla, MO to get it done, and I have to believe there aren’t many more on the entire force in a town that size. I bet none of them had expected that on a Christmas morning.

I wasn’t able to go back to sleep after all that excitement, so I packed up and began driving but had to stop every few exits to find a bathroom. Only Mr. Lucky would get a green apple splatters attack on the ONE day of the year when 99% of businesses are closed. It would be very funny if I didn’t have to live it. I don’t need any more jokes. I’ve got enough to last for multiple lifetimes.

Eventually the volcano stopped erupting, and I settled in and just tried to get some miles in the rear view mirror. I haven’t been to this part of the country in a while, and it brought back a lot of memories. When I first got bitten with wanderlust, I came this way several times in my travels.

Back then it was a thrill to set foot in places I’d never ever been before. It felt like an explorer discovering a new world. It was gritty adventure. Now it’s just more hours behind the wheel of a car, but at least it’s a much better car than I’ve had in the past. I used to take beaters on the road.

I’ve left several dead cars in several states through the years, and it’s a good thing I was young and full of piss and vinegar then. I don’t know where the vinegar went, but the piss is still here. I have to stop a lot more frequently because of it, and that’s another reason I’m not thrilled by this lifestyle anymore. It was new and fun in the day, but I can feel that I’ve matured a lot since then.

Now I’d like to have a different kind of adventure. I’d like to settle SOMEWHERE, and allow some roots to grow. Whatever I was running from or trying to catch all those years is not what is my priority now. I’ve been through the buffet line a few times, and I’m not hungry anymore. It’s time for dessert, and that would be a family and steady source of income. This is a farewell trip.

Diarrhea is HILARIOUS...when someone ELSE gets it.

Diarrhea is HILARIOUS…when someone ELSE gets it.

I would have been delighted to get this for Christmas this year. I'd have put it to good use today.

I would have been delighted to get this for Christmas this year. I’d have put it to good use today.

Fame? No Thanks

August 19, 2013

Sunday August 18th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   Should I ever be given a choice as to what torture to inflict upon my worst enemy, I’d seriously have to consider the curse of massive fame. I can’t imagine how anyone could live in peace with having to bear that burden. Some are better suited than others, but it still has to be a constant hell.

   I have a difficult enough time dealing with it on a part time basis. I’m always friendly to people who approach me, and 99% of the time there’s never a problem. They’ll usually say they enjoyed my show, and then maybe ask for an autograph or to have a picture with them. That’s totally ok.

   It happens more often than not at the venue where I’m performing, but once in a while I’ll have someone approach me in public. It’s mostly in small towns, but not always. One time I was with some friends who weren’t comedians when I was in the San Francisco Comedy Competition. We were hanging out in downtown San Francisco and out of the blue someone yelled out my name.

   “Hey, it’s Mr. Lucky! That guy is HILARIOUS!” It made everyone stop and stare, and the guy who yelled it came over and shook my hand and told me he had seen my show the previous night and loved it. That impressed the hell out of my friends, even though I knew it was a lucky fluke.

   A situation like that is an ego stroke more than anything. It was fun, but then it was over. What must it be like to be Michael Jordan or David Letterman or Oprah or anyone that has been known to the public for decades? They couldn’t walk down any street in peace. That’s not what I want.

   There’s a Chinese buffet not far from where I live that I really enjoy. They have a wide variety of good food, and it’s very reasonably priced. Most Chinese buffets tend to serve low grade dog food, but these guys are a definite cut above. I find myself going there often and I went today.

   It’s a giant place, and I’ll bet it seats several hundred. It was a lot fuller today than I’m used to, as I tend to go at off times as a rule. I was led to my seat by my hostess, and then I went up to the buffet to fill my plate. There were a lot of people milling around and I didn’t think anything of it.

   Out of the blue, some guy I didn’t know shouted out loud across the egg drop soup vat “HEY! You’re a COMEDIAN! I’ve seen you. You’re FUNNY!” It stopped traffic, and everyone around the soup vats turned to stare at me. I turned around to pretend I was looking for somebody else.

   The guy wasn’t buying it and pointed his soup ladle at me. “No…YOU! I saw you years ago.” I smiled and said thank you, and then complimented him on his memory. He remembered me from years ago while I barely remember what I had for breakfast. I thought our contact was finished.

    I thought wrong. He came around the soup vats and saddled right up next to me and informed me he’d been heckling the night he saw me and that I’d ripped him apart in front of everyone he knew. Apparently it was a big gathering of some sort, and all his friends and family were there.

   Of course I didn’t remember it in the least, but I played along like I did. After a full ten minute monologue, I knew I was in trouble. There was obviously some mental illness here, and he didn’t get the fact that he’d outstayed his courtesy time and was now in the red zone. I couldn’t escape.

   Finally I told him my soup was getting cold, and thanked him for saying hello. On his way out, he brought his wife to my table and started in again. This was ten more minutes I won’t get back, but I was polite and took it. Dreams of fame and fortune are misinformed. I’ll settle for fortune.

Comic Camaraderie

May 12, 2013

Thursday May 9th, 2013 – Gurnee, IL/Fox Lake, IL

   My friend Russ Martin and I hung out for a while today and had a delicious meal at a Chinese buffet in Gurnee, IL. Hanging out with comedians is one of the best parts of the business, as it’s about the only time we truly feel at home. The public doesn’t always get what we do or more so why we do it, but when we hang out together it’s often as much or more fun than actual shows.

   I remember coming up the ranks as a beginner at the Funny Bone Comedy Club in Milwaukee in the ‘80s where I was a seater, janitor, answerer of phones and all around gopher in addition to getting random stage time thrown my way from time to time. Hanging out was part of the deal.

   There was a group of us who would hang out every night we were in town, and after watching the shows we would reconvene at a diner called Ma Fisher’s to continue the process. We’d learn from what we saw, and often headliners would join us and impart pearls of wisdom on us as we ate our food and soaked it all in. To this day those are some of my favorite memories of all time.

   One week Robert Schimmel was in town, and it was before anyone had heard of him. He ate it at the club all week, and I remember feeling so sorry for the guy knowing he was going to go up and have a rough set every night. For whatever reason, Milwaukee was just not ready for what he was doing and it was a painful week. We got to be friends at Ma Fisher’s hanging out afterward.

   I remember seeing him years later as he was starting to hit it, and I went up to him and asked if he remembered his week in Milwaukee. Not only did he remember, he sincerely thanked me for taking time to hang with him after the shows. The pleasure was mine, but he thanked me because his daughter was sick at the time, and he was feeling very low. He said I made his whole week.

  These are the memories that keep getting sweeter as time goes by. Robert Schimmel had a lot of obstacles to overcome to say the least, but he did and had a remarkable career. He stayed with his vision, and refused to back down no matter what. I wish everyone could have seen how he took it in the shorts that whole week, and how those same jokes later made him a star. It’s so inspiring.

   Russ mentioned at dinner that he’d just watched a You Tube biography of Rodney Dangerfield and how it had reminded him of me in many ways. He’s not the only one who has said that, and I ended up going home and watching it myself. I had seen it before, but I enjoyed it all over again.

   What really stood out was how much Rodney struggled, and how brutal his childhood was. Just like so many others, comedy was his escape. Robert Schimmel had some nasty struggles too, and I doubt if fans of either of those guys knew or cared. They both made audiences laugh like crazy, but when the show was over who made them laugh? Quite often it was hanging out after shows.

   I’m a huge fan of Rodney’s and always will be. Schimmel too. I wish I couldn’t relate so much to what they were about at their deepest core, but I totally relate to both of them. They made their inner pain become joy for others, but inside that pain was still there. They were both dented cans, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t successful. I hope both of them are in a much happier place.

   As a rule, comedians are both extremely sensitive and intelligent. We hurt easily, and often are from horrific backgrounds that ‘normal’ people can never comprehend. Comedy is our only way to mask that pain, and that’s what keeps us coming back to that stage even in the most difficult of stretches. It’s a moth to a flame – we can’t help it. Hanging with each other helps soothe our pain.

There’s Life On Uranus!

February 4, 2010

Wednesday February 3rd, 2010 – Chicago, IL/Milwaukee, WI

I’m in a splendiferistic place in my head right now and I never want to leave. Things are falling into place in many areas and I can feel that I’m in the prime of my life. That might end before the weekend, or last for thirty years. Either way, I‘m feeling at peace TODAY.

Maybe this is the manic part of manic depression, but I don’t feel that way. I’ve had ups and downs my whole life, but this is different. There is just an inner energy that is pulsing through me that is completely engulfing me in a feeling of confidence, direction and dare I say it – love. That’s a powerful word, but that’s how I’m describing what I’m feeling.

What really put me in a good frame of mind this morning was getting an email from my web guy for the Uranus website Mark Huelskamp. We’ve been going back and forth for a couple of weeks now, and he’s taken control of this project from my friend Shelley who’d been helping me before. Shelley has been great, but I needed to take it to a higher level.

Shelley has a job and family and was doing it to help me as a friend. I totally appreciate that, but if I’m going to make a dream happen, I have to dive in all the way. Mark does it for a living, and he’s the brother in law of my comedian friend Jim McHugh. I don’t trust a lot of people, but Jim I do and he’s the one who set us up. Today I was thrilled he did.

Mark sent me about 2000 different fonts to look at and a few mockup website templates and we went back and forth on it for a while. Today he sent me the final product and it hit me right between the eyes. He nailed it and I just about started crying. It was exactly what I wanted. It has great eye appeal and is what I had pictured all along. It lit up my being.

This whole project has taken a lot longer than I expected and cost a lot more money that I don’t have to pay for things I didn’t want to buy. I first thought of it all the way back on September 1st, 2007 at the Baymont Inn in Salt Lake City. It’s taken over two years to get it this far, and I still haven’t sold the first product yet. That being said, I know it’ll work.

I’ve experimented a little with the concept and have gotten an overwhelmingly positive response from everyone who has seen it. Uranus is funny. Period. It always has been, and I don’t care if they try to change the pronunciation for the kids today. It’s a giant butt joke and there are endless ways to get to it. Now it’s my job to find as many of them as I can.

I didn’t invent Uranus jokes, but I’m going to claim them for my own. David Letterman didn’t invent the top ten list, but he made that his own. He claimed it, and it became what most people know his show for. Good for him, a trademark is not easy to acquire. It’s not something someone sits down with a pen and pad and makes up. It just kind of happens.

That’s how this idea came about. I was in the shower and it hit me out of nowhere but I was smart enough to listen and get out and start writing it down. Ideas kept flowing and I kept writing, and I still have all those notes today. I just haven’t done as much with them as I should have, and I wish I knew why. I’ve been very inconsistent, but not anymore.

Looking at that website template sent electricity through my veins. I actually got to SEE it with my own eyes, and I knew right there I was going to make it happen. I have no idea how I’m going to do it, and/or why I’m so confident, but I just know. It’s a great feeling.

I’ve got a ton of work ahead of me and I’m sure there will be crisis situations and every problem I never expected, but I’m not worried about any of that. I’m GOING to do this, if for no other reason than because it’s fun. I thought of it, I like it, and I’m doing it. Period.

That’s totally what life is all about, or at least I think it should be. Whether I ever make a nickel or not, it’s already been a success. It’s made a ton of people laugh who’ve heard of it and nothing else. I had a Uranus bumper sticker on the car I wrecked and all kinds of people beeped and gave me a thumbs up and even took pictures of it with a cell phone.

What I have to do is create an entire world around Uranus. See? That’s funny just to say out loud. Try it. And guess what? I’m the KING! How cool is that? What does a King Of Uranus exactly do? I haven’t figured that out yet. Why is there a King? Beats me. What’s so great is that nobody else knows either. I get to make it up and decide on all of it. Cool!

I guess I’m getting the chance to be a kid I never got when I was that age. There was all that ugliness and dysfunction going on that I had to grow up before I got a chance to blow all this juvenile poo out of my system when I was nine like I should have. It’s still in there all these years later, and it’s taken root in my soul. I’m having fun just thinking about this.

I had lunch in Chicago today with Marc Schultz. He saw how excited I was, and he said he’s never seen me so giddy about anything, even being on The Late Late Show last year. I have to admit, he’s right. This is THE most fun I’ve ever had in my life, and it isn’t even an actual entity yet. It’s getting there, and today was a big step. But, it’s still not a reality.

I drove up to Milwaukee to have dinner with my cousin Brett. We don’t get time to just sit and talk so tonight was a treat. He saw how much I was glowing and I tried to figure it all out with him. He’s known me his whole life, and has seen the ups and downs. He’s an amazingly creative guy and we’re on a similar wavelength. He sees what I’m trying to do.

The one thing we agreed on was that anger toward the past and especially our fathers is not the answer, and never was. Maybe that’s what’s gone from my life and I’m finally in a position to enjoy the good things of life rather than be consumed by bitterness as I was for a lot of years. I missed out on a lot of good things, but I don’t feel I’m missing them now.

We had a Chinese buffet and it was delicious. Then we went to Leon’s and had sundaes and they were even better. I am realizing that the journey IS the happiness, and chasing is where the fun and adventure in any project is. I’ve now got the best chase I’ve ever had!

I’ve still got bills and rent and troubles and clutter and everything I had before I had my revelation today or whatever it was. The thing is, I don’t care about any of those things at all. I care about bringing this concept to life. My creative energy has an outlet in Uranus!