Posts Tagged ‘hard work’

Dig Out Day

October 26, 2013

Monday October 21st, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

After a long week of doing shows, Monday is traditionally ‘dig out day’ for comedians. We’ve got a lot to do when we’re working a full week, even though it doesn’t seem like much. It might appear to the public like all we do is stand on a stage for a short time and collect our money, but there’s a whole lot more to it than that. Pulling off a week of solid shows requires a lot of energy.

In my case, getting back and forth to the shows is a major undertaking. I live exactly fifty miles from Zanies, and traffic is an issue every day. About fifteen miles of that is not freeway, and that becomes a daily challenge to avoid both construction and congestion. Couple that with whatever tribulations freeway and big city driving and parking can bring and you have a daily nightmare.

Most days I’ll leave early, but I don’t want to get there too early or I’ll have to pay for parking longer than I already do. It’s become insane in Chicago, as it has in most big cities. On the other hand, I don’t want to cut it too close, or there’s a chance I’ll miss the show. It’s a delicate mix.

Sometimes traffic is clear and I have no obstacles whatsoever. Other times it’s constipated and I’m helplessly stranded and can’t move. If I could take a train I would, but they stop running and I can’t get one back home when I need it. I’m stuck driving, and that becomes an energy drainer.

The shows themselves require attention as well. As a headliner, I need to watch the entire show to see how it unfolds. If there’s an ad lib or someone in the crowd says something I need to know what it is so I can deal with it. A lot of headliners just go up when it’s their turn, but that’s wrong in my opinion. The audience deserves respect, and part of that is for me to watch the entire show.

That also takes time and energy from the week. It all adds up, and by the end of the week all I want to do is relax and do nothing. Ha! Who has that option? While I was working at pulling off solid shows all week, everything else was piling up from emails to voicemails to dirty laundry.

Monday becomes dig out day, and all I see are piles everywhere. I feel great about the week of rock solid shows and the paycheck I earned, but I also feel overwhelmed by all the errands I need to run today like getting mail from my P.O. Box, going to the bank and doing laundry. It’s boring but it all needs to get done. Plus, my phone message box is full and my email pile has returned.

I had some extra stuff to take care of today on top of all of that. My license plate registration is up at the end of the month, so I went to pay that off and get my sticker. I also needed to have my oil changed, as I haven’t had time or money to do it of late. I can’t afford to have a blown engine.

I needed to get this done today in addition to everything else I had on my plate, and it ended up taking almost a full day to get it all done. I wanted to rest up and recharge a little, but that wasn’t an option. I appreciate the fact I’m getting work these days, but it’s getting harder to stay current.

This week is going to be even more swamped. I’ve got meetings planned every day and things going on every night. If I didn’t spend all of today digging out I’d be so out of it in just a couple of weeks that I wouldn’t know which way was up. It doesn’t take long to lose control, and that’s what scares me. I’m working my ass off just to tread water. What will happen if I catch a break?

After a long week of work, Monday is 'dig out' day.

After a long week of work, Monday is ‘dig out’ day.

Eyes On The Prize

February 14, 2013

Wednesday February 13th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

Back to the business of standup comedy. Farting around with antiques is fine to fill spare time, but I’d rather have my days filled to the brim with great gigs and more work than I can handle. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t have time to scour thrift stores because I’d be too busy with comedy.

This is a fine line, and I don’t want to get caught up in the hunt for trinkets. It’s fun, but also an energy sucker if I let it. I need to watch myself and keep that part of my life where it belongs – in the background. I want to be a comedian that deals in antiques, not a junk dealer who tells jokes.

Keeping my eyes on the big picture can be difficult, but there definitely is one. I see myself as a multifaceted entertainer that is the leader of several exciting projects that involve teams of very special people who work together to create quality products greater than the sum of their parts.

That’s a mouthful, and more than a handful to actually execute in real life. I’ve got enough on my plate for six lifetimes, and part of that is the reason not much seems to get done even though I’m constantly working on something or other to the point of exhaustion. I’ve got a lot going on.

I think I need to focus more on the finished product of how I see my life working, as it can get too easy to get lost in individual projects. I’d like to be able to pick and choose where I work and experience the best of several worlds. I’m not that far off on one hand, but not close on the other.

For example, I’m getting a lot of standup comedy bookings of late. That’s great, and I’m more than grateful to get them. I’d like to make more money and travel less, and that’s where ‘Schlitz Happened!’ comes in. That’s a local show that can hopefully allow me to stay off the road at least for a while and be more lucrative financially as well. That’s a potential gem, but needs attention.

Comedy classes are also on my mind. I love teaching, as it keeps me close to the core of what I love to be around – creativity. It also allows me to pay my knowledge and experience forward to a generation of those who are hungry to learn. I don’t regret any of the time I’ve spent teaching.

Then there’s the Uranus project. I picture myself as the character of ‘The King of Uranus’- the head of a business umbrella that sells funny products online and in stores everywhere. It will be a brand in and of itself, and a source of income separate from standup comedy but not that far off.

And if that’s not enough, there’s ‘The Mothership Connection’ radio show as well. I love doing a talk show – especially one where I can talk about the topics I do. I can bring some humor into it if I want, but sometimes we can get serious too. It’s great fun to do the show, I want to continue.

This is more than enough to keep me busy, and realistically I’ll never get where I’m wanting to go without the help of many other people. I want to create teams for all these projects where I am the leader but others make it happen. It’s getting there, but there’s a lot that needs to be gotten to and every day is a struggle to pack in as much as humanly possible. I’m putting in the effort, but is it the right effort in the right order? That’s where I can get lost, but at least I’m moving ahead.