Posts Tagged ‘Chris Peppas’

The Best Revenge!

October 19, 2012

October 17th, 2012 – Milwaukee, WI

   “The best revenge is massive success.” That’s one of my very favorite quotes of all time, and it comes from Frank Sinatra. If there was ever anyone who got his revenge, it was him. Who else is even close when it comes to showbiz legends? Elvis? Michael Jackson? Okay, but that’s about it.

By all accounts, the Josh Albert fundraiser at Shank Hall in Milwaukee this evening turned out to be a massive success on many levels. I couldn’t be more thrilled and honored to be a part of it, and I was proud beyond words of everyone who came together to pull off such a fantastic event.

There was definite electricity in that room I don’t think I’ve ever felt before, and when Officer Albert entered the room in his wheelchair it was like the Pope showed up. A hush throughout the club was immediate as cameras from every television station in town captured a magic moment.

It was very emotional, and I knew right then we didn’t even have to do a show for this to be an overwhelming home run. This alone would have been enough, but there was a lot more positivity in store for everyone as Mayor Tom Barrett and Chief of Police Edward Flynn presented Officer Albert with a mayoral proclamation declaring it ‘Joshua Albert Day’ in the city of Milwaukee.

The audience gave Officer Albert a well deserved standing ovation, and emotions were running high as people were wiping away tears as he spoke from his heart. I totally lost it, and was crying like a baby. Knowing that I had even the slightest pinky of a hand involved in helping make this happen gave me a feeling of accomplishment like I’ve never had. This was the right thing to do.

But I don’t take credit for anything other than bringing together an all star cast of giving people to do what they do. Everyone did their part to perfection, and watching it all come together lit my fuse of hope that good people actually can make a difference on this planet infested with morons.

So many amazing people stepped up I don’t even know where to start. Drew Olson was simply magnificent as the host of the event as I totally knew he would be. He held the evening together, and knew how to keep things moving and put a balance between the serious and funny. Honestly, I don’t think I could have done as good a job myself and I’ve got experience. He really nailed it.

Peter Jest really came through as well. He’s the owner of Shank Hall, and we’ve always had an excellent working relationship. He’s a very funny guy, and also good friends with Drew. It was a perfect fit all around, and we all knew it. Peter generously donated the space, and I appreciate it.

Chris ‘C.P.’ Peppas is another pillar of generosity who has supported everything I’ve done for at least twenty years. He’s a talented writer, and wrote a great piece for The Examiner which was greatly appreciated, as was his bride Mary Lynn’s donation of her signed Cecil Cooper baseball.

I can’t forget Ted Perry of Fox 6 either. He’s another one who has done more than expected on several occasions, and I couldn’t be more grateful for his support not only tonight but through all my trials and tribulations of many years. He’s got a giant heart, and I owe him about fifty favors.

The comedians on the bill showed up to support the cause as well, and I appreciate every single one of them. Russ Martin was a former Deputy Sheriff, and went to all the police stations and put up posters. Jason Evans is the creator of and also helped spread the word.

Phil ‘Ziggy’ Dunham schlepped in all the way from Detroit at his own expense to be part of the evening, and he didn’t have to do that. All these guys are rock solid and golden in my book and I was proud to have them participate in a big event like this that spread so much uplifting energy.

I wish I could bottle the vibe from tonight and pass it out in the world where it’s needed. I’d do it for free, as the results produced would be worth far more than anything money could buy. I put the word out to my best connections, and they came through and made this a night to remember.

My friend Mike Staral came out with his wife and we’ve known each other since kindergarten. He saw the event mentioned on TV and the company he works for is going to make a donation to the cause. I hadn’t seen Mike in years, but he’s always been yet another good hearted kind soul.

There are far too many people to list who pitched in to contribute to this night, but images keep popping into my mind and I don’t want to exclude anyone. John O’Brien drove all the way from Wilmette, IL as he has done so many times before to support anything I’ve done, success or flop. There were more than a few flops in there, and I’m delighted he got to see one that worked well.

Marilynn Mee from WKLH showed up unexpectedly, and auctioned off an hour on the air as a guest DJ. That was very nice of her to do that, and it brought in $750 which was more than all of us expected. I’ve always liked and respected Marilynn, and I think she is very talented on the air.

My cousin Katie and her brother Andy and her mom Wendy were all a big part of it too. I said I’d take care of the comedy part, but they did their share from a police angle. I don’t know about that world, and they came through and we were a very effective team. Katie thinks the world and more of her partner, and anyone would be lucky to have a work relationship that runs so deeply.

It was a huge thrill to finally meet Josh Albert as well. I’d heard nothing but great things about how good of both a person and police officer he is. He had people around him all night, but I did get a chance to say hello and when I did his eyes lit up and he thanked me profusely. He gripped my hand with a tight squeeze, and I could feel his gratitude. I hope this will inspire him to heal.

I would do this all over again and then some in a heartbeat. This is the kind of vibe that makes life worth living. It’s pure, vibrant and completely untouchable by anyone who continues to be a detractor of mine despite my attempts to make peace whenever possible. I’m sorry that everyone can’t get along, but after one or sometimes a dozen apologies all one can do is just let things go.

This wasn’t about anything other than doing something that I think anyone should do who has the opportunity. This time it was my turn to pitch in, and I did the best I could. Anyone who isn’t a fan of me personally has that right, but nobody can say this evening wasn’t about helping out a fellow human being. I got my revenge by spreading good energy, and that’s the best kind of all.


Warning In The Morning

April 14, 2010

Monday April 12th, 2010 – Milwaukee, WI/Chicago, IL

It’s not too often I end up in the downtowns of both Milwaukee and Chicago in the same day, but today was one of them. I had business in both places and it all ended up on a high note. I’ve been known to complain about living in the sticks as I do, but on days like this I catch a little break. On this day I happened to catch a big one and I’m extremely grateful.

I had a lunch scheduled with my old friend Chris ‘C.P.’ Peppas in Brookfield, WI and it saves a few miles if I take US 45 north instead of going all the way east to I-94. I’ve made the trip countless times and I know the route extremely well by now. It does go through a few towns where the speed limit drops considerably, but in the long run it’s a shorter trip.

Today I had a lot on my mind as I drove through the Milwaukee suburb of Muskego on my way to meet C.P. in Brookfield. Right off I-45 and Highway 36 there’s a road that’s a shortcut, even though I can’t think of the name of it offhand. I do know it saves me time.

I was zipping along and saw a cop parked in a lot where I don’t usually see one. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a police car on that road before. I saw a speed limit sign of 40 MPH about a quarter of a block past the police car and I hit my brakes to slow down right away. I saw the squad car turn around and start following me and I knew I was in trouble.

He ended up following me for almost a mile before firing up the lights. It’s never fun to drive with a cop in the rear view mirror, especially when he won‘t flash any lights. That’s a great way to induce paranoia, and when they did finally flash I actually felt some relief.

I was in an upbeat mood and enjoying the beautiful weather but those lights put me in a foul mood in a hurry. The last thing I needed today was a speeding ticket, especially with my new comedy CD on the way I need to pay for. I saw the cop get out of the car with his cop mustache and slow cop walk, and it didn’t look good. He didn’t appear to be jovial.

One thing I’ve learned to do over the years is always hold my hands up to show that I’m not carrying any weapons, which I never do anyway. I’ve got my license and insurance in my left hand with my right one up in full view right under the rear view mirror. I’ve heard this is a good way to show there’s no surprises, and it’s a sign I’m not looking for trouble.

He asked me if I knew how fast I was going and I really didn’t. He snarled “55 in a 40” and took my license back to his car and sat there for a good twenty minutes. I was late for lunch and getting more pissed off by the minute, and really thought I only deserved to get a warning. I might have been going fast, but I saw him and slowed right down after that.

I watched him get out of the car and do that slow cop walk to mine with no expression at all on his face. I bit my lip and prepared for the worst when he asked for my telephone number. I resisted the urge to make a smart ass comment and I told him. He then gave me a document which he said was a warning, and told me to watch my speed next time. That put me in a jaunty mood in a hurry, and I thanked him and drove away feeling like a king.

I’ve always thought it would be hilarious to yank my license back in that situation and totally spin the tires and lay rubber right in front of him as I flip him the bird. It would be stupid, but still hilarious. Maybe if I find out I have a terminal disease and can’t do a long sentence I’ll think harder about it, but for now I’ll just let it remain my deep inner fantasy.

I caught a break today, and I know it. Mr. Lucky’s stage character would NEVER catch one like that, and it felt good to separate the character from me as a person. There are way too many times when I haven’t, and it’s been torture. For whatever reason, today I had my mojo working and I lucked out. It could have been a number of reasons, but I don’t care.

Maybe it was the fact that I held my hands up. Maybe it was because I didn’t have any outstanding warrants. Maybe he saw my personalized ‘URANUS1’ license plate and had second thoughts about calling it in. Maybe he recognized my name from somewhere and cut me a break. Whatever the case, I want to put a sincere thank you out into the universe.

Life is SO unfair, but this is a situation where I win out. I’m a dorky looking white guy who looks about as far from being a gang banger as humanly possible. I speak clearly and am not intimidated by police officers. I treat them with respect answer questions honestly, and more often than not I end up driving away without a citation. Today was another one.

I really do think it was the right call. There are times when I was speeding and probably do deserve the fine, but not today. It doesn’t mean I couldn’t have got it, and I’m not at all trying to tempt the fates. I caught a break, and was only a few minutes late for my lunch at The Emperor’s Kitchen with C.P. He was understanding about it and life goes on. Again.

C.P. ordered a DVD off of Public Television about Milwaukee things that are no longer in existence. He thought it would be a good resource for ‘Schlitz Happened!’ and I totally agree. I offered to pay but he said it was his gift to me. I paid him back with lunch but I’ll take care of him more than that. At some point I’ll be able to hire him for something paid.

C.P. is a talented writer and a super nice guy and he grew up in Milwaukee so he knows exactly what I’m going for with this. He’s a few years older than me so his references dig a little deeper, which is good. I want to include him on the team somewhere, and he could be a major asset. I can’t pay him right now, but he knows it and said he’d work with me.

I watched my speed on the way home and arrived just in time to shower and crawl right back in the car and drive to Chicago to host the Zanies Rising Star Showcase show. What a great night it turned out to be. The audience was medium in size but large in appetite to see comedy and they couldn’t have been any better. The lineup of comics was stellar too.

That doesn’t happen every time, but when it does it’s a blast to witness. It makes my job a lot easier, and it’s basically a night off. I bring up the comics who kick ass, and I tell the audience who the next one is. It’s a little deeper than that, but not al that much. I watched the show and was impressed by quite a few of the people tonight. Everything fell together perfectly and I got paid in the end. What could be any better? Avoiding a speeding ticket.