Posts Tagged ‘Comedy Cafe’

Luck And Timing

March 7, 2013

Monday March 4th, 2013 – Chicago, IL

   The pendulum of fate swung in my direction today, and I received the last minute call to host a showcase at Zanies in Chicago for The Great American Comedy Festival. That’s an annual event held in Johnny Carson’s home town of Norfolk, NE at where else – The Johnny Carson Theatre.

I’m always grateful whenever Zanies calls, and I happen to be on their list of go to people in an emergency. I’ve been able to help them out time and time again over years, and they’ve done the same for me. There’s really no reason for it other than that’s the way it worked out. I was lucky.

I’m by far not the only comedian in Chicago who could do a competent job, but I have been on Zanies radar for years. I’ve learned that that’s how a lot of show business works. There are a few cherry positions available, and those who have them rarely give them up. It’s a numbers game.

The main reason I moved out of Milwaukee in the ‘80s was that I was never on that go to list at the clubs there. Everyone wanted to work at the Comedy Café at that time, but I was never on the ‘A’ list there at any time no matter how hard I tried even though I had as much ability as anyone.

Raw talent and ability are NOT the be all and end all in the entertainment business. It’s nice to have it, but it’s not the main requirement. I know a lot of people with a lot of talent who struggle to stay booked, while others who are ‘funny enough’ but know how to play the game get ahead.

It’s a giant puzzle for everyone, and we all need to find where we’re a fit. Sometimes that’s an unbelievably frustrating process, while other times it just falls into place. I happened to fall into a situation with Zanies that has been a fit for years. I do have ability but so do a lot of other people. Trying to figure out reasons why certain people get chosen and others don’t is a waste of energy.

It was a lot of fun to host the show tonight, and I tried as I always do to get the audience into it and let them know important their participation would be. I made sure the energy was focused on the stage whenever I brought up another act, and I made sure every act got a proper introduction.

The talent booker of the Great American Comedy Festival is Eddie Brill – formerly the booker of comedians on Late Night with David Letterman. Eddie is a total sweetheart, and couldn’t be a more friendly and supportive guy. I’ve come to really like that guy, and so does everybody else.

It’s always good to cross paths with Eddie personally, but professionally it doesn’t hurt to have a chance to be seen one more time. I’ve auditioned for him in the past, but I’ve never nailed a set like I know I can and have done thousands of times in clubs when he wasn’t around. That’s often how it works unfortunately, but Eddie gets that. He’s a comic himself and has been in that place.

There was a lot of talent on the showcase tonight, and there could have been a solid case made for just about all of them to be included in the festival. But Eddie has been seeing acts from coast to coast and there are precious few spots available. That’s how it is, and just because someone is not chosen doesn’t mean that person is without talent. Luck and timing are also main ingredients.

A Lesson In Showbiz

September 1, 2010

Monday August 30th, 2010 – Chicago, IL

I’ve got two days back on dry land to pack in about a week’s worth of errands, then it’s  back on the ship for a full week run. Then I return to Chicago late on Tuesday September 7th to pick up my car and start driving to Michigan for a two night casino run in the U.P.  starting on the 8th. My schedule feels like a blender with the farthest right button pushed.

I’m glad to get the gigs, but sooner or later I won’t be able to keep up this pace. At least on the ship my travel is taken care of for me. Airline tickets purchased in my name and all I have to do is make it to the airport on time to sit in the seat. That’s not always been easy either, but at least the hard part is done by someone else. Now I need someone to drive.

That’s one thing that has really lost it’s luster in a big way. I don’t care if I ever have to drive an automobile again. I still need to get places, but someone else can drive. I’ll relax and enjoy the ride as a passenger, or maybe just nod out and sleep. Whatever the case, it’s not my goal to keep making marathon cross country drives to do gigs in remote locations.

The pay will be decent for the week though, and on Saturday I’ll be back in Milwaukee at the Potawatomi Casino. Normally I’d be in the Northern Lights Theatre, but apparently they’re remodeling it and the comedy will be somewhere else. That’s ok, they are always on top of it there and I’ve never had any problems. I’ll work wherever they tell me to go.

Tonight I was back at Zanies in Chicago hosting the Rising Star Showcase. I probably should have taken the night off, but I really do enjoy doing it – especially when the shows are how it was tonight. The audience was razor sharp and the lineup of talent was dead on and it was a joy to watch it all come together. I keep the flow going and it’s a fun night.

It doesn’t hurt that I get paid either, and I stand by my old school axiom that it’s always a good bet to accept the gig as not many comedians anywhere on any level are able to turn a buck on a Monday night. Any money is found money, and the gig itself is pretty easy.

A flaming example happened tonight of what NOT to do in a showcase situation. Some goofy wannabe bastard had his ’manager’ contact Bert Haas to arrange the showcase date, as is the protocol. Bert really does try to squeeze as many people on as he can, some that I probably wouldn’t if I were in charge. That’s his option, and I don’t tell him what to do.

He gave the ok for this ham and egger to get his tryout, and the guy brings about fifty or more people into the club to see him. There was a line out the door. Well, Bert insists the showcasers show up by 7:30pm SHARP. 7:31 and it’s a done deal. That’s his rule, and he enforces it fairly to all people. I’ve seen him throw a lot of experienced people off shows.

Well, the ’manager’ flips out and decides he’s going to pull every one of those people in the audience out to ’stick it to Zanies’. Bert didn’t panic a bit, and in fact helped clear out the room so the waitresses could clean the tables and get them ready for the next group of people who would take them, which is exactly what happened. That guy screwed himself.

This is a VERY important lesson for all performers to learn, even though it’s not at all a pleasant one. Unfortunately, life will go on with or without YOU, no matter who ‘you’ is. I know exactly what that feels like, as I’ve had my share of scuffles with clubs myself.

The sad thing is, it doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right. It just doesn’t. I’m sure both of those guys thought they’d made their point and sent Zanies scrambling because Bert has a rule he won’t budge for anyone. Not true. They were all totally forgotten about before the show even started. Other people came in, filled those seats and it was a spectacular show.

This is a very humbling fact to swallow, but a fact nonetheless. I remember my own tiff with the ape who used to own the Comedy Café in Milwaukee. I ended up not only being stiffed out of $400 for shows I did, I’ve never been back since. This happened in 1994.

It doesn’t matter that I was right, it burned a bridge. There were plenty of others to take my place, and over the years it became like I never existed, at least not there. They didn’t close without Dobie Maxwell, and I didn’t starve because I didn’t work their grease trap.

Was that smart business? No, it really wasn’t. That place was by all accounts a haven of all kinds of debauchery and skullduggery, and I’m glad I never had to work for that puke, but burning that bridge took me out of the mix there forever. I gave them the power, and that’s my mistake. It would have been much better to be the one to decide if I work there.

The Zanies example is going to be very similar. I didn’t catch the guy’s name or see his manager, but I know Bert knows it, and you can bet it will be a dark day on the sun when they get a chance to audition again. That’s just how it is, but none of this needed to be.

It always baffles me why the greenest newbies with the least amount of promise always think it’s a good idea to pack the house on an audition night with their buddies. That’s not EVER going to get anyone booked, at least by anyone who’s been around the block. They can see through it, and know the only real way to be a comic is to make strangers laugh.

Hopefully, that kid will learn his lesson. He needs to gas the ‘manager‘ dork, unless he plans on going into the pro wrestling business, and start over again. He needs to find him and only him in charge of making contact calls, and he needs to patch it up with Bert.

If that guy really wants to work at Zanies, he’ll apologize to Bert and start over again at ground zero, minus Mr. Manager. Bert is very fair, and I believe he’d be open to throwing the kid another shot, but not under current circumstances. Rules are rules, follow them.

After the show, Bert and I talked about the incident in the office as I was waiting for my check. He was reminded of something he once heard when a club owner brought out a big bucket of water and told a comic to stick his hand in up to the elbow. Then he told him to take the arm out and asked him “Notice any difference in the water?” Of course there was none. The place where the arm was filled in in less than a second, and now it’s a plain old bucket of water again. Any one person can be replaced. Fast. This is a lesson for all of us.

Golden Rulebreakers

August 10, 2010

Monday August 9th, 2010 – Chicago, IL

The longer I walk this sorry excuse for a planet the more I am acquiring an utter disdain for at least 90% of the humanoid life forms walking here with me. I am not feeling like I belong, and it’s getting worse. If any aliens are reading this and would like to bring a new friend to your home planet, please come find me. I have a passport and I can leave today.

I usually don’t get this pissed off for very long, but today I’m not in the mood to take an ounce of poo from anyone. I’ve had it with the human race, and I’m cheering for a big old mushroom cloud to wipe out a few million so maybe some of these halfwits will wake up.

Here’s an example of the kinds of things that are chewing on my fanny. My web person Shelley lost her job at a restaurant chain. She’s got a husband and two really sweet kids at home, and like a lot of people she needs to work to put the family over the hump. She has a huge heart and works like few others, but she keeps getting screwed out of menial jobs.

She worked at a chocolate store in a mall, but that went sour. Then she found a job at an all night restaurant. That wasn’t her dream gig either, for many reasons. Then, she got this last gig and threw herself into it. She showed up and did her job just like she always does.

Then, yesterday she tells me not only did she get fired – they made her open the joint up by herself so the manager could sleep in. THEN, they took her to the office and dropped a bomb on her head. That’s about as brutal as it gets, and I can sure see why people flip out.

I hear story after story of this in all kinds of scenarios. Radio isn’t much better and there is a list of cold hearted devious bastards who’ve fired me over the years for no real reason that I would have not one ounce of guilt urinating my first and last name, mailing address and Social Security number on their open coffin, headstone or urn of cherished remains.

Inhuman people and actions really irritate us humans who are out here trying to play by some set of rules where everyone has at least a chance at fairness. It feels like life’s now a Road Warrior movie where everyone is for him or herself, and nice ones get rubbed out.

I’m really getting sick of it, and I know a lot of others are too. I’m trying to clear up my business before I head out on the ship and one of the things I did today was pay up on my credit card which is juiced up to the hilt. Most of it is from my dental pain of the last few years with all the root canals and crowns I’m still paying for, but not all. It’s a giant mess.

I got to thinking of all the times I’ve lent people money and it hasn’t come back, even if I politely ask for it. Paul Kelly owes me $500 for a car I sold him several years ago. I also sold Will Clifton another one of my auction rats so he could surprise his son with a car.

The waterhead kid got drunk and wrecked it within a month, and I haven’t seen a nickel of the money. It’s $1000 and I could sure use that and Kelly’s $500 right about now. The worst thing is if I owed both of those pukes half a buck they’d sue me on People’s Court.

The fat bastard who used to mismanage the Comedy Café in Milwaukee J.D. owes me a $400 debt for shows I did in 1994. I asked for it many times over the years, and he smiled and said “Prove it.” This is not what human beings do. This is how monkeys behave right before they start grabbing their genitals and throwing handfuls of dung. We’ve devolved.

My ex business partner who I trusted with my life embezzled $8000 and also laughed at me when I went after him for it. He grudgingly paid me back $1400 with checks that said ‘Loan Repayment’ when they should have said ‘Theft Restitution’. Then he sent one final one that said ‘Final Payment’. And it was. That’s the one thing he did tell the truth about.

I’m not the first person to get screwed over and neither is Shelley and neither is anyone else, but my question is why does it have to keep happening to people who are absolutely trying their hardest to be on the up and up? Bastards and criminals seem to get a free ride.

And don’t give me this ‘God’s will’ BS either. I’m having a major problem with that as well. Where is this ‘God’ guy, the one in the white robe with the long beard who rewards Cub Scouts for helping little old ladies across streets? Why isn’t He making things fair?

I’m losing it, man. I’ve had it up to my pasty white arse with the same old excuses that let bungholes slide time after time. If it were the opposite, good people wouldn’t get half the leniency the scumbags do. They wouldn’t. Liberty and justice for ALL? Not a chance.

But then there are the silent group of those who don’t bitch and complain, but just keep on slugging. They don’t wail about how the government owes them and they aren’t trying to get a free ride from anyone and they just want to make a decent life for themselves and their families. These people are mixed in randomly with the scumbags, and it’s a travesty.

The good ones come in all colors, sizes, shapes, locations, distinguishing characteristics and ages – and they’re left to fend for themselves against a world full of non thinking, non feeling oafs who are out to vanquish them from the planet so there’s more beer for them.

I haven’t been this down on humanity in a long time, and there’s no real reason for it as I see it either. Maybe I’m getting old and this is where I’m headed. Probably so. I just am beyond sick of seeing good people get stung by an unfair turn of events and have to take a backseat and not be able to do anything about it. Shelly should still have that job to go to.

I want my money from the grub worms who owe me. Granted, I gave them the power to screw me over by giving them the money in the first place. My bad. I treated them just as I would like to be treated. I learned that from that stupid thing called The Golden Rule. It apparently wasn’t meant for this particular planet, as we’ve screwed it up for millennia.

I’m not perfect and don’t claim to be better than anyone else, but I do try to make a few better choices. I don’t think it’s working, as here I am at this late age struggling like I’m a freshman in college. There’s another thing. I didn’t get to go there either, because nobody in my family thought it was important. Thanks Pop! Where are the aliens? Come get me.

Milwaukee Maintenance

June 5, 2010

Friday June 4th, 2010 – Milwaukee, WI

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t do my walking today. I have a reason for it, but it’s not an excuse. I am performing in Louisville next week at The Comedy Caravan and they asked me to record some radio spots promoting myself. I needed to get those done, and went up to WLIP in Kenosha to do it. The production director Dan Hanni said he’d help me out.

Dan is always backlogged with work, and I ended up having to wait quite a while to get him at a slow point. I appreciate the favor so I’m not complaining, but that’s just how life works. Things come up and need to get done, and everything else has to wait. It’s reality.

I cranked out three different versions of what I thought were pretty funny commercials, and the club will edit and decide what to use. I’m glad to be going back to Louisville, and I hope I can put a few butts in seats. That town is a lot hipper than people think. I like it.

After the radio station, I drove to Milwaukee to meet with Richard Halasz to scout out a few possible locations for shows. I still want to do ‘Schlitz Happened!’ but there might be room to book shows in general with the closing of the Comedy Café. Richard books some shows in the area already, and he’s a life long Milwaukeean who knows the whole scene.

Richard is as honest as the day is long, and like me really cares about the comedy scene in Milwaukee. It’s our home town and we want comedy to be healthy and thriving, which it’s never been. There’s always been a crop of snakes in charge who exploit all the locals.

The big serpent who just left the Comedy Cafe wasn’t much different than those before him, and nobody’s sure what will happen if and when the club reopens. Personally, I hope it turns around and someone with a clue gets in there and runs it with some class. I liked the room a lot when I worked there, but management was brutal. A change was overdue.

Richard and I don’t really want to be bookers, but there seems to be an opportunity now so we wanted to check into it. We visited some hotels on several sides of town, and a few showed some interest in doing at least semi regular shows in the future. It was positive.

I want to have a comedy presence in my home town for many reasons, One is to finally exterminate all the bad vibes from years past. Not only was my family not supportive and in my corner, the clubs weren’t either. I earned my stripes in comedy anyway, and now all that ugliness is over with. I want to move on and get laughs and build a loyal fan base.

There’s a club called Jokerz who was very nice to me when I worked there just as they opened a few years ago. I would have stayed with them but was asked by another club to be ‘loyal’, so I did. What an idiot I was. They treated me like mud and bounced a check.

I stopped at Jokerz tonight to reconnect with them. The manager Natalie is a sweetheart and I’m not opposed to working there again. They’re not at all like the other clubs in town and the room itself is spectacular. If nothing else, I’d at least like to teach some classes.

It felt great to walk in the club and have Natalie run over and give me a hug and tell me they all miss me there. I had some hot shows in there, and never had a gripe with anybody at all. They paid well and everything was fine. The only reason I stopped working there is because I was asked to by the other club. I’d known them longer so I thought it was right.

Most comedians would LOVE to be loyal to someone, but we rarely get a reason. We’re dented cans and whipped puppies as a whole, and any kind of love or affection would get our loyalty for life. I know it would from me. All we want is to perform and hear laughter. We’re not interested in politics or selling drinks or anything other than being on the stage.

Zanies in Chicago has always been completely opposite of all my negative experiences in Milwaukee. It’s only 90 miles away on a map, but it’s light years away in how they’ve treated me. They’ve been in my corner for twenty years, and I’ll be loyal to them forever.

It would be a dream to have a place in Milwaukee like that, and Richard craves that too. He never left Milwaukee for whatever reason, and it’s stunted his comedy growth. He has had to put up with the insanity for years, and I don’t now how he did it. I’d have snapped.

That’s why he started to book his own shows, and there still may be room to do more of that. More and more comedians are becoming disgruntled with the anarchy of how it’s all going, and we’re realizing that we’re the ones giving the bookers and snakes all the power to run roughshod over us like they do. We’re sick of it and many of us are taking action.

I was talking about that with the headliner at Jokerz this week. His name is Steve Hirst and he’s originally from England but now lives in Dallas, TX. We worked together a few years ago in Houston and really hit it off. I hadn’t seen him in a while, but when I’d heard he was the headliner I had to make a point to stop and say hello. He’s a true gentleman.

Steve is very down to earth off stage, but has one of the strongest natural presences that I’ve ever seen on stage. He’s got a style and charisma and his British accent has an almost hypnotic effect on an audience. I really love watching him work, and he tore the room up.

He does work pretty blue, but that could be easily fixed. It doesn’t offend me personally but it may keep him off TV, at least at the start. He’s such a likeable guy onstage and off that I’d love to see him get a TV show. If I were in charge, I’d be grooming him big time.

What I like about him most is that he’s totally real. He said that about me too, and he’s right. We were talking about how bookings are down and we’re each one week from the poor house and that’s just how it is. We both agreed how refreshing it was to hear another comic telling the truth, not fabricating all the great things that weren’t really happening.

Steve is at Jokerz on Saturday, and I highly recommend you go see him. He’s one of the most naturally funny people I’ve ever seen, and he gives it all every show. Jokerz website is http://www.jokerzcomedyclub.com. Give the manager Natalie a hug and tell her it’s from me. Steve Hirst will be worth your trip. That guy brings it. If I booked a club, he’d work there.

Who’s Laughing NOW?

April 20, 2010

Monday April 19th, 2010 – Chicago, IL

Never have I in the past nor do I now claim to be perfect. My mistakes in life have been both numerous and infamous and I continue to pay for them on a daily basis. All that said, I shrieked with delight when I heard the tidings JD’s Comedy Café in Milwaukee was on the verge of closing it’s doors permanently. It felt so good I had others tell it to me again.

I know that it shouldn’t make me happy, and maybe it doesn’t. It does put a cake eating ear to ear smile on my puss though. There was never any love lost between that club and a long list of comedians, me being one of them. I’m not the only one basking in this news.

The owner was just plain mean spirited. He treated comedians like cat box cigars, and it didn’t matter because there was always another one ready to come in and get abused after anyone complained. A lot of comedy clubs and entertainment in general can be like that.

My main complaint with that club is that I did shows for them in 1994 and to this day I haven’t been paid. According to our deal I am owed $400, and that’s where the dispute is. Nobody disputes the fact I did the shows, the problem is JD not getting out his checkbook for going on 16 years now. He laughed it off back then and said he would never pay me.

It’s one of the few promises he’s kept, but it still infuriates me that I’ve had to sit there and take it. All kinds of people say “Just let it go already.” Easy for someone to say if it’s not your money, and if it was you’d be pissed off about it too. The whole situation stinks.

What stinks even more is that I didn’t get an opportunity to play in my home town for a lot of years because of this falling out so long ago. The booker then was no help at all and this has festered into an ugly feud which never had to begin in the first place. As I said, in no way do I claim to be without faults, but this one wasn‘t my doing. This was on them.

Truth be told, I would have worked there for low money, just to get some local acclaim. I’m a dented can, and all I ever really wanted was to get some love locally and feel like an entertainer. Instead, I got blacklisted and wasn’t able to perform there for all these years.

What that did was force me to go out on the road and leave Milwaukee to become a top notch comedy headliner, which I absolutely did. It was very difficult and for a long time I heard stories of how JD and his henchmen would spread stories of what an ass I was and many a local Milwaukee comic met me over the years and said I was the butt of his jokes.

There’s also the story of my infamous ‘Crisco package’ where I mailed a postal pack of Crisco, Cheez Whiz, Miracle Whip, sausage gravy and bacon after he’d had a heart attack many years ago that’s become a comedy road legend. It’s still making the rounds today.

In fact, I even earned the nickname of ‘The Count Of Mailing Crisco’, which I still hear on occasion from someone who knows the story. It’s all a blur now, but back then it was a giant mess. I needed that $400 badly, but JD just laughed it off. Who’s laughing now?

I’d heard he had a couple of strokes in the last few years, and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. He was affiliated with the same crop of oily bikers my father was, and used it to intimidate and bully people just like my father did. One down, one circling the drain.

Life really is short and I fail to see what good any of that accomplished. I don’t miss my father and I surely won’t miss JD’s Comedy Café. I do miss the $400 I’m owed and wish I never had to go through this at all. I just wanted to entertain audiences in my home town.

There’s always been a lot of dysfunction in the Milwaukee comedy club scene. Giggles in Brookfield is no better, even though many of us hoped for a long time they would be. It pains me that they’re still open too, knowing how they bounce checks like basketballs all over town and I’m not the only one who’s had to endure that nightmare. It’s been horrific.

Unfortunately, I’ve been around this game long enough to remember back even farther when there was the Comedy Corner and the Funny Bone in town. Both of those guys had horrible but well earned reputations too. For some reason, Milwaukee comedy has always been infested with cockroaches and that in turn has polluted the scene of local comedians.

I’m one of the few who escaped early enough to salvage somewhat of a career, even if it still hasn’t been what it could be. I did manage to make it to national television and that’s not very easy to do, especially with no help or encouragement from the local comedy club scene. Then, when I did finally get on TV I got booked at Giggles and the check bounced.

Excuse me for being bitter about it but I absolutely am. There’s NO reason for any of it and it still hurts to this day. The owners of the Comedy Corner and Funny Bone left town with a path of abused comedians behind them and now it looks like JD is drifting off too.

He’ll slide into his next venture, oblivious to the pain he’s caused so many of the local comedians he could have helped to nurture. I wish you could see the pig sty hovel where they make the out of town acts stay. I think Auschwitz had a better interior decorator and again, the club just laughs about it. “Hey, you’re only there a few days.” It’s a big insult.

This is the side of comedy nobody sees or cares about. I’m sure it went on in Vaudeville and probably before that, but it still doesn’t make it right. Comedians are able to take a lot of punishment, and most of us want stage time so badly we’ll put up with the antics of the Comedy Cafes of the world. Before JD there was another maggot who was just as brutal.

He was a Prozac popping power freak maniac who used to get off on seeing how many comedians he could get to jump at his every whim. I’ve never been an ass kisser and that may be why I’m not farther than I am, but at least I have maintained a bit of my dignity.

Personally, I think when the Comedy Café closes they should torch that whole building and start over just like when they burned Jeffrey Dahmer’s apartment. A lot of pain was inflicted in there, but most don’t want to talk about it. I don’t either, but it happened and if I don’t say anything nobody will ever know. Goodbye Comedy Café, I outlasted you.

Cross My Hartford

January 9, 2010

Friday January 8th, 2010 – Hartford, WI

I finally got my car situation taken care of. I hope. I was wrong about the fuel pump, it’s the distributor, wires and plugs. Apparently that’s one of the few things that seem to be an issue with Toyota Camry models from 1993, or at least that’s what the mechanic told me.

The bill came to $550, and that seemed quite high for a distributor and wires, but that’s how it is when you’re living the cockroach lifestyle and take chances like this. Some time or another everyone ends up paying, whether it’s buying a new car or nursing an old one.

I feel like I’m at an animal shelter trying to rescue pets. There aren’t many cute puppies left to choose from, I’m just looking for something that won’t die on the way home. After this whole Cash For Clunkers thing has drained my supply of cheap cars, I’m lucky to get the one I did. Still, it’s a Toyota Camry, and even if it has high miles it’s still a smart bet.

Just because I sprung for the money doesn’t guarantee it will last past tomorrow. I could get stung over and over again but I don’t want to think about that. I need this chariot to be faithful for at least a year, and that’s my plan going in. I’ve still only got $1750 tied up for a total investment, and that’s pretty cheap. But, things can add up quickly. It’s a gamble.

Part of me wouldn’t know what to do with a nice car. I’ve had them before, and paid all my loans off early. Unfortunately, I put so many miles on cars that I never had anything to show for them once I did pay them off. That and the credit nightmare of losing my house in Utah have kept me fishing cars out of the auction for the last ten years. I’m used to it.

I’m rapidly tiring of having to deal with these surprises. Yes, I do enjoy going to the car auction but not under these circumstances. If I were finding a second car for someone else or a toy for myself, it would be straight fun. When I need dependable wheels, it’s stressful to have one take a splattering poo in the dead of winter. But, that’s how it’s worked out.

All of it seems to be under control, at least for the moment. I ended up making it to my gig last night in Wisconsin Dells and tonight I made it up to Hartford, WI for a really fun show at a place called The Schauer Arts And Activities Center. It was a fantastic night.

My friend Steve DeClark booked this show because he and Jane Matenaer did their play about marriage there. Jane is a long time Milwaukee radio personality who grew up out in Hartford and I’ve know her for years too. She’s very talented and I always respected her.

The venue promoted it well and it was totally sold out. I had to stand way in the back in the corner to watch Steve’s set, and I’m thrilled to have had that problem. Normally, there are seats available when Mr. Lucky is performing, no matter how frustrating that may be.

Not so tonight. This was a big hit from top to bottom. The venue was happy with us and I was thrilled with the venue. The sound was excellent, as were the lights. The whole staff treated us very well and the audience came to laugh. I tried to think of what was missing.

Then, it dawned on me: drunken idiots. There were no drunken idiots at this show and it felt SO good to not have to deal with that for a change. I didn’t realize it until I was up on stage, but when I did I knew I liked this better. I’ve fought drunks in clubs my whole life.

THIS is the kind of venue I need to be working. It was top notch on all levels. The pay I got tonight was more than I got for my entire infamous week at Giggles in Brookfield and there was absolutely zero stress to go with it. The check didn’t bounce tonight because no checks were involved. I got paid in cash, like I’m supposed to. It was very professional.

Those apes at Giggles and Comedy Café both did me a huge favor by pulling those dirty stunts they did. Bouncing checks to comedians is inexcusable, and not only that they were mean spirited in how they handled it. Both of those clubs are run by halfwits, and I’m SO glad I don’t have to go back there anymore. The karma train will see they both get theirs.

Tonight’s experience was nothing at all like that. It was a transformation. I knew it from the first thirty seconds on stage. I was home. The people were there to listen, so I used my local reference lexicon as much as I could and it was a bull‘s eye. I said the name of what I want to call my one man show about Milwaukee and they applauded. They totally got it.

This is all extremely encouraging. If I had to do shows like this every weekend, my life would be a lot less stressful. It was a short drive, I hung with friends and a full house was laughing hard the whole time. I ended up doing exactly one solid hour and that’s another very encouraging accomplishment. I’m really starting to stretch my comedy boundaries.

The normal headliner spot in a comedy club is about 45 minutes. Believe me, that’s NO easy task. It’s especially hard to have to follow two mediocre inexperienced acts and have to deal with a room full of boozed up maniacs who got in for free. I’ve never enjoyed that part and it’s getting worse. Nobody polices the rooms anymore and it’s an absolute zoo.

Nobody had to do any policing tonight, and in fact the ushers all gathered in the back of the room and were watching the show. I could see them from the stage, and they laughed as hard or harder than the paying customers. That’s another thing, people PAID to see the show tonight. They made an investment and were very polite and let me pay them back.

I can’t say enough good things about the whole experience tonight. Steve DeClark is an excellent promoter and every show I do with him gets easier and easier. He gets to keep a finger on performing while still making a few bucks for himself. What’s wrong with that?

I get to show up and go up. In a perfect world, that’s all I ever want to have to do. If any promoter can make a few bucks, I’m all for it. I know Steve isn’t raping me like the clubs used to, but they do it to all the comics. We’re just meat to them. This was our own baby.

More than ever, I know I can pull off a locally based show. The audience for it was here tonight. There are thousands of these people all over the Milwaukee area, and they’ll love the show. This is the most fun I’ve had on stage since…last night. I’m on a positive roll.