Posts Tagged ‘Comedy Caravan’

Perspective

June 8, 2010

Sunday June 6th, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL

For whatever problems, shortcomings or disappointments I’ve had in life, one thing I’m able to say proudly is I’m doing what I want to do. Not many people can honestly say that but I can, and I‘m grateful. I may not be doing it all on a high level, but that’s different.

The fact remains, I’ve been able to survive my entire adult life doing things I enjoy, and I know others wish they could have the guts to do that too. I‘ve heard it over and over my whole life from many people . Sure, there were some bad breaks combined with stupidity to put me in some hellish situations over the years, but through it all I’ve hung in there.

Sometimes I get depressed or discouraged and want to suck a bullet, but then I’ll talk to someone else who’s trapped on the corporate hamster wheel and feel totally good in about ten seconds. There are plusses and minuses to everything I guess, and I’m still slugging it out doing what I enjoy when most others have either given up, lost their passion or died.

I can feel myself coming up on a very good time now. I’ll be working in Louisville this coming week, and I love it there. Tom Sobel and the staff at the club are fantastic people, and it’s always a blast to work there. I’ll do lots of media and also get to teach a class on Saturday, so it will be a full week doing lots of fun things. That’s what life is all about.

This coming week I’m starting up another round of classes at Zanies in Chicago as well. It’s been a long, hard ugly ride to get back to ground zero after all that happened with my ex business partner, but it’s coming around and I couldn’t feel more proud. It’s a feeling I never get sick of, and that’s starting something from nothing. It feels so good to do that.

I’ve got a lot of good seeds planted, and WAY more positive people who like me in life than those who think I‘m a wank. I’m sure there are quite a few who can’t stand me, but I honestly couldn’t care less. I try to be a good person, and if someone has a problem I have always tried to make it right, but sometimes it just isn’t possible. The key is to move on.

The Mothership Connection radio show is another fun thing I’m proud of. I know we’re not making a nickel doing it but the fun is there while we’re on the air. I keep debating at to whether I should keep doing it or not, but after thinking about it for a while I’m leaning toward a very loud yes. It won’t take all that much tweaking to get this ready to be sold.

That’s all part of the challenge I’m facing with everything I’m doing, and I need to have some perspective as I do it all. Not many people ever get the chance to not only chase one of their dreams, but just about anything they can think of. If nothing else, I am doing that.

My comedy shows are better than they’ve ever been, and going to get a lot better. I have the passion and the ability, and my life long sacrifice of becoming a student of everything about the game onstage and off has begun to pay off. I’m up there with anyone as far as a knowledge of comedy goes, and that makes me a better teacher too. I also get to be on the radio too, talking about things I enjoy. When things get low, I need to remember all this.

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.