Posts Tagged ‘Christmas party’

Weather Worries

December 21, 2013

Friday December 20th, 2013 – Island Lake, IL

Hear that sound? That’s my bung hole slamming shut. There’s supposed to be nasty weather on the way, and it’s really scaring me. I know it goes with the territory this time of year living in the place I do, but I happen to have a lot of places I have to be in the next few days and I’m worried.

There are buckets of money in those places, and if I don’t get there live and in the flesh to pick them up I don’t get paid. They’re not huge buckets and they’re not filled with money, but there is enough at stake to make me risk driving through a blizzard to get it. I do hope that’s not the case.

Tomorrow I have to be in LaGrange, IL at 1:30pm to do an afternoon Christmas party show for Marc Schultz. I performed for this group before several years ago, and they were very nice. They hire a comedian every year, and they wanted me back. That’s very flattering, but LaGrange is far from where I’m living and if there’s ugly weather it could be a nightmare getting there on time.

After that I have to be in Milwaukee for two more performances of “Schlitz Happened!” at the Northern Lights Theater in Potawatomi Casino. On paper in ideal conditions there shouldn’t be a problem and I will make it with plenty of time to spare. Life isn’t lived on paper. I’m concerned.

On Sunday I have a booking at The Island Casino in Harris, MI which is near Escanaba. That’s in the Upper Peninsula, and that’s never an easy trip even in the summer. It’s a two lane highway north of Green Bay, and last time I did it it was winter and it was white knuckles the whole way.

The people at Island Casino are very nice to the comedians, and I enjoy working there. I enjoy working at Potawatomi too. They treat us about as well as anywhere I work, and the last thing I’d ever want to do would be to give them less than my very best show. I want to get there on time so I can relax and do what I was hired to do. Right now, I have no idea how the weather will play out.

Allegedly, the nasty weather is supposed to hit Wisconsin in the early evening and last through the night into Sunday morning. The Chicago area’s weather reports say if anything it will be later on Saturday as well. I’m going to be leaving the Chicago area in the afternoon, so I hope I’m ok.

But nothing says the snow can’t show up earlier, later, or even not at all. Usually they can get it halfway accurate that we’re going to have some kind of snowfall, and that’s what’s making me a nervous wreck. I need all of this money very badly, and I don’t want to miss any of these shows.

The biggest risk looks like on the way to Harris, but then I have to get back and start my drive to Tucson, AZ where I’ve got shows on Friday, Saturday and then New Year’s Eve. I have a few days of a cushion to get there, but not a lot. Who knows what kind of horrors await on the roads?

I wasn’t able to get a cheap enough flight to make it worth my while, and ones I did find were in and out of Phoenix so I’d have to rent a car anyway. I decided to rent a car and make the drive across country so I could spend Christmas by myself and not have to bother anyone. Again, that sounded great on paper but there’s not a lot of paper between Chicago and Tucson. There’s road, and about 1800 miles of it each way. I’m hoping I’ll be able to make it by Friday, but there’s not any guarantee. I’ll do my best, but Mother Nature has the final say. I’ll earn every penny I make.

Hopefully this won't be me in the next three days as I have to get to some shows with nasty weather in the forecast.

Hopefully this won’t be me in the next three days as I have to get to some shows with nasty weather in the forecast.

I'm fine with a White Christmas, but this is a little too white for my tastes.

I’m all for a White Christmas, but this is a little too white for my tastes.

Parallel parking is hard enough. Perpendicular parking is out of the question.

Parallel parking is hard enough. Perpendicular parking is out of the question.

These are the only blizzards I want to see for the rest of 2013.

These are the only blizzards I want to see for the rest of 2013.

Christmas Comedy

December 14, 2013

Friday December 13th, 2013 – Antigo, WI

Who says Friday the 13th has to be full of bad luck only? I caught a major break with a comedy fill in Christmas party booking in Antigo, WI tonight, and I couldn’t be any more grateful. Roger Radley is a comedian from Wisconsin, and he originally got this booking but already had a gig.

These next two weekends are ripe for company Christmas parties, but unfortunately sometimes multiple opportunities come up that aren’t doable and need to be passed on to someone else. I’ve been there myself and it’s frustrating to have to leave money on the table, but there’s no choice.

Once in a great while there are two parties in the same area at different times, but that’s pretty rare. Next week I have an afternoon party on Saturday in the Chicago area, and then I do ‘Schlitz Happened!’ in Milwaukee that night. I get a double payday, and life is sweet when it works out.

More often than not it doesn’t, and that’s why Roger passed this party on to me. He’s working a show somewhere else for more money, and that’s great. I am thrilled he thought of me for this one, and hopefully he can come in next year and get the payday here. They were all nice people.

The company was called Volm Manufacturing, and my contact person was a lady named Tami Stueck who couldn’t have been easier to deal with. She was extremely on the ball, and I wish all contact people were like her. She got back to me immediately with any questions I had, and was always pleasant to deal with. She sent me a contract, and every detail was followed to the letter.

Christmas parties can be difficult for many reasons, a major one being that the company is not in the entertainment business. They know nothing about putting on a show, and often conditions can be downright nasty. Tami made sure I had a sound system and a DJ to give an introduction.

The DJ was a great guy too, and took great pains to get my credits so he could give me a solid introduction. Not many DJs will show that kind of respect, but this guy totally did. His name was Brandon Irish, and goes by ‘DJ Irish’. He gave me a stellar intro, and that always makes it easier.

There were several hundred people in attendance, and it was a wide range of ages. That can be an issue, much like trying to DJ a wedding. No matter what song gets played, someone will hate it. It’s a challenge to grab an audience like this and keep everyone for the whole show, but that’s the job so I did my best. In these situations it’s always best to err on the side of clean vs. dirty.

Indirectly I was representing Roger, but Tami was the person at risk because if I got out of line it would bounce back on her. She was such a sweetheart to deal with that I wouldn’t want to put her in that kind of a spot, so I found myself being extra cautious so I wouldn’t put her in danger.

What ended up helping was a lone Minnesota Vikings fan who’d had a few decide to pipe up at me from the bar. I easily put him in his place, but not in a nasty way and that got the audience on my side. I didn’t have to get ugly, and the crowd loved it. I’m there for them, so I’ll do whatever is necessary to please them. These aren’t career gigs, but they are decent money and every penny of what I made tonight after expenses will go to paying off my credit card. I’ll take bookings like this any time, and shut my mouth. I stayed in a nice hotel and got my check. Thank you Roger!

 Friday the 13th doesn't have to be bad luck only. Today Mr. Lucky caught a break and I'm grateful.

Friday the 13th doesn’t have to be bad luck only. Today Mr. Lucky caught a break and I’m grateful.

Wisconsin comedian Roger Radley had another gig tonight, but he recommended me for a Christmas party in Antigo, WI. Thanks Roger!

Wisconsin comedian Roger Radley had another gig tonight, but he recommended me for a Christmas party in Antigo, WI. Thanks Roger! http://www.rogerradley.com

Tami Stueck and everyone at Volm Manufacturing were both easy and pleasant to deal with.  A sincere thanks to them as well.

Tami Stueck and everyone at Volm Manufacturing were both easy and pleasant to deal with. A sincere thanks to them as well.