Posts Tagged ‘Halloween’

A No Treat Halloween

November 2, 2013

Thursday October 31st, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

It’s Halloween, and the trick is on me this year. This kidney stone thing is a living hell, and I’m helpless as to do anything about it. I am completely at the mercy of my urethra, and it is refusing to cut me any slack. I’ve been in pain all day, and I have no idea when relief is coming – if at all.

Everyone tells me it will eventually, and I’m sure they’re correct. But until it happens I am in a world of hurt I can’t ever remember feeling. This is a torture of the highest degree, and I wonder what people did in the old days? At least I have some medication to help make it a tiny bit better.

I can’t imagine being out on the prairie harvesting crops in this kind of pain. I’d suck the barrel of a musket a lot sooner than later if that were the case. No wonder those people were all dead by the time they were my age. But even with the modern conveniences of today, this is still a bitch.

To make it worse, I’ve been hearing from people all day with their homemade folk remedies to help pass the stone. I’ve heard everything from drink cranberry juice to lemonade to a mixture of both. It’s like hiccup remedies, everyone seems to have some kind of family tradition to pass on.

Several women I’ve talked to who have experienced both childbirth and kidney stones have all said that it’s at least a tie in the pain department. Not ONE has declared childbirth to be the clear cut winner yet, and that scares me even more. I can’t imagine what passing this thing will entail.

By all accounts, it will be a tiny little nugget half the size of a grain of rice. Depending on who I talk to, it will happen with little fanfare or it will feel like I’m trying to pee a bowling ball. I am very partial to my lower extremities and I’ve already experienced enough pain there for about six lifetimes. My groin area has been a magnet for mayhem since childhood. I can use a rest already.

It was bad enough when I had my surgery in 2011. That still gives me nightmares, as not many who walk this planet ever acquire gangrene on their genitals. That puts me in a club I don’t want to be in – kind of like Amway minus the soap. That surgery was enough hurt to last past eternity.

The only good thing with that one is that I have a great story to tell. I’ve told it on stage in the past, and it’s gotten the shocked reaction I was hoping for. People’s ears perked up and I had the undivided attention of the audience to hear what happened. Nobody is wowed by a kidney stone.

I’m not wowed by it myself, but it sure has gotten my undivided attention. I’m not able to sit or lie down for any length of time without flaming agony, and when I try to walk it makes it hurt all the more. It’s constant, unrelenting pain – much like enduring a ‘Lord of the Rings’ triple feature.

If I could gouge out the offending kidney and donate it to someone ‘as is’, I surely would. The doctor could scoop out the stone before installing it in the new owner, and everyone would be in a dandy mood. I’d pee out of the other side stone free, and someone in need would receive a gift.

Even though I’m in intense pain, I know I’m still very lucky. There are people who need to go to dialysis several times a week for example. Marty Beimer is a radio friend who had some nasty back surgery and is still hurting from it years later. That all trumps me, but this is still not a treat.

It's Halloween and I have a kidney stone. I sure hope it's 'fun size'.

It’s Halloween and I have a kidney stone. I sure hope it’s ‘fun size’.

Making The Radio Rounds

October 29, 2013

Friday October 25th, 2013 – Springfield, IL

I’m back in Springfield, IL this week at one of my all time favorite stops, Donnie B’s Comedy Club. I’ve always enjoyed working here, and this week is no exception. Donnie B is a hustler of epic proportions, and I mean that in only the most respectful way. He’s a fantastic entrepreneur.

I don’t think I have ever seen a comedy club owner work as hard as he does to get the word out and keep it out. He’s got a car full of posters and flyers and coupons, and everywhere I go I’ll see his club mentioned somewhere. That guy knows how to promote, and he deserves all his success.

Unfortunately, he didn’t pick the greatest town to work his magic and he’s not living in the lap of luxury like I think he should be. The economy has hit him like most everyone else, and he’s in the same boat as almost everyone who has their own business. He’s busting ass just to stay even.

He runs a bar and restaurant in the hotel where his club is located, and that keeps him busy for most of the week. Comedy shows are Friday and Saturday, and he runs the comedians around to get on four radio stations on Friday mornings. Nobody could ever accuse Donnie of being lazy.

I made it into town last night, and was glad to do the four radio interviews. That’s what gets the word out, and even if people don’t come out this week at least it’s awareness for the club. I can’t believe how many club owners and comedians alike don’t realize how crucial radio exposure is.

We did an AM sports station, the classic rock station, the oldies station and the hot hits station “Kiss FM”. Everyone was very nice, and I tried to talk fast and say “Donnie B’s Comedy Club” as many times as humanly possible. Donnie knows I know what I’m doing, and I could see a big smile on his face every time I’d mention the club or plug the shows. A lot of comics don’t get it.

Like it or not, a comedian and a club owner are in business together for the week. It’s not smart to have a hostile relationship, as it will hurt everyone. If the club can get a dozen media outlets to have the comedian on, the comedian needs to get up and go no matter how early or inconvenient.

Another thing I respect about Donnie is that he hosts his own shows. Who else but the owner is able to extol the virtues of a business, and that’s what he does. He talks about drink specials and upcoming events, and personally greets the regulars that happen to show up on a particular night.

He books an opening act to do a very short set – usually about 12-15 minutes tops. It works for him, and I for one am a fan of this system. It might not be the greatest for developing local talent, but from an audience’s standpoint it’s a very solid show. He’s not in the business to develop acts, he’s in business to sell tickets, food and drinks. I grasp that a lot more now than when I started.

Donnie makes no bones about the fact that he’s in business to earn a living. I have no problem with that, and we get along great. He knows I’ll deliver on stage, and I know my check won’t be short or bounce at the end of the week. If every club was this cut and dried, life would be peachy.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t look to be a great weekend due to Halloween and the World Series. Sometimes circumstances can kill even the best of promoters, but at least we did all we can do.

Donnie B's Comedy Club in Springfield, IL is one of the best run comedy clubs in America. www.funnybonecomedyclub.com

Donnie B’s Comedy Club in Springfield, IL is one of the best run comedy clubs in America. http://www.funnybonecomedyclub.com

A Treat From Uranus

November 2, 2012

Wednesday October 31st, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   I’m a big fan of Halloween, but probably not for the same reason most people are. What I love the most is how the acceptance level of the public is raised exponentially, if only for a single day. Individual freedom of expression is not questioned, and is in fact encouraged and even rewarded.

If one should choose to dress in a diaper and nothing else today, nobody would bat an eye. The possibilities are endless. Imagination and ingenuity are placed in high esteem, and people are in a competitive mindset to try and outdo each other in a positive way. I find that vibe very attractive.

I wish every day could have that level of mass acceptance, but unfortunately it doesn’t. Would it not dramatically up the fun quotient in life if we could dress like Batman or a cowboy any time we felt like it just to get a charge out of people? I guess we could anyway, but it would get stares.

That’s why I find the whole ‘King of Uranus’ concept so much fun. Who wouldn’t love to be a king or a queen, or at least treated like one? I love everything about it – especially the amount of attention it gets for just walking in a room. The few times I’ve done it has been a fun adventure.

If I were to put on the getup today, it might not get a second look. If someone asked who I was, I’m sure “The King of Uranus” would fetch at least a tiny chuckle, but it might get watered down by the fact everybody else is vying for attention with their own costumes. I’d have competition.

Doing it next week or next month would allow me to have ALL attention focused on me – and that is exactly what winning the entertainment game is about. This isn’t a new concept. It’s been done to death in the music business by everyone from Alice Cooper to Kiss to Marilyn Manson.

George Clinton is my favorite example. He cultivated a look that turned heads, and he wore his costume all the time. Alice Cooper and Kiss take their makeup off after a show. George made his multicolored hairstyle the attraction, along with long flowing robes. He lived it offstage as well.

I don’t know if I need to dress like The King of Uranus offstage, but if I had to I could get used to it. I like the flowing robes part, as that’s what I’d picture a king to wear. That’s why I love this idea so much. Nobody really knows what The King of Uranus would wear. I’m calling the shots.

If I can pull this off like I picture it, every day will be Halloween. I’ll get to dress up in all sorts of goofy costumes I’d never wear anywhere else for any reason, and it will make people laugh or smile or at least give me a blank stare of disbelief. No matter what the reaction, at least it will be a source of entertainment and that’s what I’m going for. It won’t take much to attract attention.

It’s a good thing that people tend to be such creatures of habit, as I have a wide open canvas on which I can paint this character however I choose. It won’t take long to discover what works and what doesn’t, and before long The King of Uranus will become an actual fleshed out character to use whenever I need it. If I have fun with it – and I already have – it will be contagious. I haven’t put as much effort into this as I had intended, but today reminds me how much fun I’m missing.