Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

No Leakers

May 17, 2013

Thursday May 16th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   My grandfather told me the hardest challenge of all in life is to be both a success and a quality person. He said successful people often become corrupt and quality people often fail to become a success. It was basically an elongated version of “Nice guys finish last”, but Gramps was correct.

   Only a very special few ever manage to do both – but that’s my goal and always has been. I am well aware I just might fail miserably in the end, and at the moment I appear to be headed in that direction – but the game isn’t over yet, and every day above ground I still have a fighting chance.

   It may only be a teeny weeny chance that’s getting teenier and weenier by the minute, but until there’s a click of my coffin lid I technically still have a shot at the grand prize. I wouldn’t want it if I had to screw someone over to attain it, but many times that’s part of the deal. It can get ugly.

   On the other hand, I don’t want to live the rest of my days like a vagrant either. There has to be some kind of happy medium, doesn’t there? There is a sweet spot located somewhere in between ‘nice guy’ and ‘success’, but it’s kind of like the sweet spot surfers look for inside a huge wave.

   There’s a lot of effort required to find that giant wave in the first place, and then there’s danger thrown into the mix by choosing to maneuver the surf board into that little space so precious few ever reach. One could wipe out in an instant, and it’s all over. But riding that wave is a big thrill.

   I’m not going to lie; I want to ride the big wave. I want to be able to feel that thrill of achieving something rare and special that nobody can ever take away. But I also want to be a generous soul and known for being ethical to the bone. There’s an extra amount of effort required to get there.

   The hardest pill to swallow is nobody really cares. Donald Trump is known for being a success but it doesn’t matter how he got there. He inherited a few million and turned it into a quite a few more, but does it matter if he’s a nice person or not? Not really, and especially not during a deal.

   There are all kinds of nice people that haven’t achieved a damn thing, but nobody thinks less of them for it. They’re known for being generous, and quite often those are the ones that successful people exploit the most. They’re willing to go the extra mile, and they do get taken advantage of.

   I don’t know why any of this matters so much to me, but it totally does. I want to be both good at what I do and a good person on top of that, and I don’t care how much extra effort it takes. I’m not going to be satisfied doing anything less, and even if I fail I think it’s a worthwhile pursuit.

   One of the most important parts of attaining this status is surrounding myself with both decent and successful people and learning from both. There can be a different mindset involved, and it’s easy to get lost in one or the other. Maintaining a healthy balance is the goal, but man is it hard.

   I’m not trying to paint myself as a saint, and I have more faults than anyone. I screw up all the time, and am nowhere near attaining the status I seem to seek so badly. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t still on my mind every single day, and it also doesn’t mean I won’t get what I’m going for.

   Every day is another chance to inch closer to where I want to be. I’m getting a lot of good done of late, but I also know I have a lot more to do. Sometimes I think I’m over my head, but I won’t ever lower my standards. I know myself, and if I did that I’d be unfulfilled and miserable. If I’m going to do it, I want to do it on my terms surrounded by the highest quality people. NO leakers.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

The Ultimate Meal

August 15, 2010

Saturday August 14th, 2010 – Somewhere Near Tampa, FL

One thing I’ve made a special point to do in my travels is eat well. Not necessarily a healthy well, but I’ve treated myself to some of the best tasting food in North America. I’ve eaten some of the most delicious food imaginable from all kinds of establishments from top end restaurants to greasy diners and everything in between. I’ve sampled it all.

If someday my heart should explode in mid beat, I’ll have earned it. No complaints on my end. If my bank account was as rich as my diet, I’d be able to buy Donald Trump like Baltic Avenue on a Monopoly board. I know I need to improve the quality of healthiness of what I eat, and after tonight it’s going to be a lot easier. I’ve eaten the ultimate meal.

I’ve always been in search of it, and like a good rap CD or an Adam Sandler movie that makes me laugh, I didn’t think it existed. Until tonight. Tony Esposito and I had no shows tonight and he asked me if I wanted to go to the steak house and end the week with a nice meal. He’s a super nice guy and loves good food just like I do so of course I said I would.

He arranged it with the cruise director and made reservations for 6pm. I’m still not sure where we can or can’t go, so I wouldn’t have had any idea who to ask. We do get a lot of employee discounts on a lot of things apparently, and Tony says I‘ll learn it all as I go.

For tonight, it was a world class meal for $40. With tip. From the moment we walked in to the moment we left, we had impeccable service from our wait staff who could not have done a better job. They made sure we had everything we could need, want or ask for. One was from Macedonia, another from Hungary and a third was from Lithuania. They all had unbelievably sexy accents, and were very attractive. It felt like we had a harem serving us.

The meal came with two appetizers, soup, salad, main course and dessert. Tony had the filet mignon, and I opted for the surf and turf. It was orgasmic. We both had a bowl of the lobster bisque, and I had shrimp cocktail that could have made a meal by itself. The salad came with the most outstanding bleu cheese dressing I’ve ever had, and it all was perfect.

We sat and ate and joked about how we don’t get this kind of treatment doing club gigs, and we were right. I thought of those low rent ham and eggers at Giggles in Milwaukee or any one of a number of other leakers who’ve treated me and a lot of other comedians like dirt and I thought how they’ll never get to experience this. They can all rot. We earned it.

Everyone on staff was unbelievably friendly, and the chef came out after and asked how everything was. I told him it was THE best meal I’ve ever had, and meant it. I don’t know if he believed me, but I was not kidding. Everything about the whole experience was right on target and on a scale of 1 to 10 I give it a 14. This is how I always pictured life to be.

I will appreciate this night and remember it always. Yes, I need to exercise and eat a lot healthier more consistently, blah blah blah. This was a special occasion, and the best part was I got to savor every bite. Gratitude makes everything taste better. This was a big treat.

That Magic Feeling

February 5, 2010

Thursday February 4th, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL

I’m loving this week off of shows, but I could use a month. Maybe six. There’s just too much other stuff to do, and the harder I work to chip away at the pile the less it seems I’m getting done. It’s an ominously high pile. Still, I have to start somewhere so I’m doing it.

I’m still on a high from the buzz of seeing that website template yesterday. It brought it all to life for me, and I don’t care if anyone else thinks it’s cool or not – I do. It’s the same feeling I had after I promoted my first pro wrestling show in 1992. It was THE hardest but most rewarding project I’ve ever done, even now. It drained every tiny bit of effort I had.

Anything and everything went wrong that day, up to and including the truck that hauled the actual wrestling ring breaking down. It threw everything into a state of panic and I had all I could do to hold everything and everyone together. Eventually we got it there and did the show, and afterward I sat in Denny’s eating rubbery eggs feeling like Donald Trump.

That feeling of accomplishment is absolutely pure. It can’t be bought, either. It has to be EARNED. I’m sure it’s the reason people run marathons or climb Mt. Everest and it has a ripple affect throughout one’s life. It builds self esteem and feelings of worth and makes a person feel alive. That’s what I get on stage as a comedian, but it took years to get good.

I’m ashamed it took years to get to this point with the Uranus site, but it did. It’s been a zig-zaggy path with too much starting and stopping, so that’s why it felt so good to see an actual picture of an actual website template with my own eyes. It’s like someone getting a restaurant location picked out and going to see the actual building. There’s a thrill in that.

Then it’s time to get the business going. That’s where I am now. Yes, it’s nice to see the website, but now I have to fill it with products, promote it and SELL something. It won’t mean anything if I can’t make money with this, and that’s the one thing I’ve never had an actual knack for doing. If nothing else, I’m sure going to learn a lot of valuable lessons.

I think life is all about learning. It’s also in ‘the journey’. That’s one thing I’ve learned in my lifetime of pursuing standup comedy. It’s not one big event that signals the arrival of success, it’s a compilation of many small successes and the ability to enjoy each one.

If I had to start comedy over right now with the knowledge I have now, I’d do a whole lot of things differently. Well, I’m starting this venture with the information I have from my comedy years so I will use whatever wisdom I’ve acquired and apply it to this idea.

The King of Uranus is immature, juvenile and just plain stupid. But it’s FUN, and who doesn’t like to have that? All my years in comedy I’ve spent trying to seriously get ahead and prove something to everyone else. Screw that. I’m doing this for ME. And for money.

But money is fun, if it’s spent correctly. My idea of that will be to help others and put it to good use. First, I need to earn some. That’s why I’m doing this. Complicated, isn’t it?

Asleep At The Meal

January 31, 2010

Friday January 29th, 2010 – St. Charles, IL

This is turning out to be a stellar week of work at Zanies for many reasons. First, we’ve had good numbers for every show so far. I’m not sure if I’m a draw, but it doesn’t matter. I see butts in seats and they’ve walked out smiling and that’s what makes everyone happy.

I’ve been getting great reports on the comment cards, and that never hurts either. Still, I never liked those things and still don’t. The booker of a venue should know what acts are right for that particular room, and not have to consult the unwashed masses for their input on who they want to see in the future. Most of them have no idea what they’re looking at.

That’s no offense to anyone, just fact. Most clubs have some kind of mailing list card to fill out which allows people to suggest who they’d like to see at the club. Most put names like ‘Jay Leno’ or ‘Jerry Seinfeld’ or ’Bill Cosby’ or even some comedians who’ve died.

Sorry comedy fans, Bill Cosby’s career path won’t be leading him to St. Charles, IL any time soon. He has quite a few bigger venues he could sell out in the time it takes to whip up a batch of Jello pudding. He doesn’t need to be working a 300 seat comedy club. I do.

That’s why I don’t need some halfwit marking down bad scores just because he doesn’t like the shirt I’m wearing or the waitress didn’t bring his Long Island Ice Tea fast enough. That kind of thing happens all the time in a lot of one nighters, and it isn’t very fair at all.

But what is? Not much that I know. I just know that Cyndi does her job as the manager and a lot more and tonight she took the comics out to dinner at the world class restaurant called “The Harvest” in the resort. It’s an outstanding experience, from the off the charts food to the amazing service. It’s one of the absolute finest places I’ve ever eaten a meal.

The resort doesn’t have to do that and neither does Cyndi, but they do and we were very grateful for everything. Our server couldn’t have been more thorough and kept our drinks and butter and everything else full the entire meal. We went early enough so it wasn’t that busy yet, and we could enjoy the whole experience. THIS is what makes life worth living.

Hanging out with wonderful friends and eating fantastic food for free is a nice job perk, especially in this day and age. I might not be Donald Trump, but I sure got treated exactly like him tonight. No matter what goes wrong in the next month, this was a total highlight.

After dinner we all went back to the showroom for the start of the first show. I was full from dinner and sat in the back to watch the show like I’m supposed to do. I need to keep track of what happens in case I need to comment on it. Too bad I nodded out in about ten minutes. The host did his time and brought the feature act up, but I slept through all of it.

A waitress woke me up literally right as I was getting introduced. I leapt from my chair and tried to be calm, but I was WAY out of it. There I stood, in front of a full house after just waking up. That’s most people’s worst nightmare. Not me. I enjoyed the challenge.

Fun And Foresight

January 18, 2010

Sunday January 17th, 2010 – Chicago, IL

Back for a little hair of the dog that bit us. Last night was a major high and a chance for us to enjoy the sweet fruits of a lot of labor, and we did. After the show we went out for a fantastic meal at a place called Leona’s, which is a chain in the Chicago area. The food is outstanding, but we’d have had just as much fun at Wendy’s. This was about the people.

We sat around and enjoyed each other’s company and buzzed about how much fun this whole project was. Everything fell together exactly how it was supposed to, and that’s not what I’ve been used to in life. Six months ago we had a concept. Now it’s an actual show.

It took major effort from the group, but it was the right effort. The combination of what we brought to the table as the Kidders was the comedy aspect. Jerry brought along a radio outlet and Vicki Quade helped us develop our concept into a play format. We couldn’t do any of this without all these ingredients, and we know it. For once, things fell into place.

Last night was the launch, and it was a good one. Nobody made a fortune and we didn’t set the theater world on it’s ear – but we did DO this. Last night was our night to enjoy the thrill of all this coming together, but that’s over now. As great as it was, we had to return to the Beverly Arts Center today for a matinee performance at 2pm. Time to do it again.

It seemed almost surreal to be right back there so soon after our big night. By the time I dropped Jerry off it was after 2am and he suggested I just sleep on his couch because we needed to get back so soon, so I did. It saved a lot of time and driving but we still had our hands full getting up and showered and headed right back south for another performance.

The audience was again very receptive and we were actually a lot looser as a group. We knew our cues from doing it last night, but this time we had some technical glitches. I had my microphone go out for two of my characters and that threw us all off stride. I covered for it and projected loudly, but it was still a hassle we didn’t expect. Welcome to theater.

This is a whole new experience and there is much to learn. Some of the costume change situations were a little awkward too. None of us are used to that as standup comics, so we struggled a bit with the timing of it all. The first show Ken Sevara had an issue with it and today I did. I had a sleeve turn inside out on a jacket and I’ll be damned if I could fix it.

It’s like a pit crew in a car race. A lot has to be done in a limited time and if one thing is out of place, it screws everything up. I could NOT get that sleeve to pop back in, and that caused me to rip my microphone wire out of the socket and off of the unit that was on my pants. I stuck the unit in my pocket and went on stage to do my bit. I had no time to spare.

Nobody in the audience cared, and actually it was a good learning experience for us all. I have to believe this is all part of live theater, and the bugs will get worked out the more times we do this. We all agreed that standup comedy is THE best performing experience of them all. All we do is show up and talk. Still, nobody regretted doing the play. It’s fun.
Too bad fun doesn’t pay any bills. If it did, I’d make Donald Trump look like a vagrant. I’ve done fun projects my whole life. Once in a while I’ll squeeze a couple of stray bucks loose, but I’ve never come close to hitting the mother lode. I do want to experience that.

I read recently where my funk hero George Clinton’s mother passed away and he didn’t have enough money to pay for her funeral. That was a real wakeup call. George is now 68 years old and should be living the life of the superstar he is, but he’s still out touring so he can pay bills just to survive. That’s not right, and I sure as hell don’t want that to be me.

There’s nothing wrong with having fun, but smart financial planning has got to be a part of the mix at some point. I’m to that point, and if I don’t watch myself I’ll be in the same boat as George Clinton and so many others who either got ripped off or just didn’t plan.

From what I read, George was allegedly ripped off by people who were supposed to put his financial affairs in order after a bankruptcy in 1984. That was after his first big heyday but he would come back and have another big run when rap music sampled his big songs.

By all accounts he should be extremely rich, but apparently he isn’t. He truly is a legend in his field, and that’s even scarier. I’m far from legendary in my field and never had even close to the impact George did. If he’s broke and used up, what’s in store for me? I better learn to get my finances straight so when money ever does start rolling, I’ll be prepared.

As fun as doing this play was, I have no idea how long I’ll be involved in it. Fun is fun, but to really do this right it will take paying dues and a total commitment from all of us to keep going in the same direction. It’s like a band, and that’s what scares me. Bands break up all the time and a group of people have a lot more chance to clash than an individual.

I’ll be the first one to admit I have trust issues, and I’ve brought this up to the group. I’ll be a dented can my whole life, and in addition to that I’m a creative control freak. I like to do things the way I like to do them, and I think I’ve earned that right. Getting voted down in a group situation will only last so long with me, and I know it. I am creatively selfish.

I think that’s necessary to be good, and I’ve told this to the other guys. Jerry is fine with it, but I’m not so sure about the other guys. They say they are, but when money flows who knows what bumps in the road will turn into mountains? I don’t want any clashes to come out of nowhere but it’s almost inevitable in a group situation. I want to prepare for it now.

In reality, we’re all too old to put a lot of time and effort into this for years to make it an industry like a Rob Becker did with his play “Defending The Caveman”. He is a marketer like I’ve never seen, and I respect the hell out of what he did with that show. Vicki Quade is brilliant in her own right and has marketed her shows very well also. We need that too.

Now is when the real work starts. We had our fun for a weekend, but now it’s time for a review of everything and see where we all stand. Will we take it farther? Who knows, but even if we don’t just to get it this far was an electrifying experience. I’m delighted I did it.