Posts Tagged ‘hotel’

The Daily Grind

March 29, 2014

Thursday March 27th, 2014 – Mystery Location

Here is a perfect example of why I can’t stand the booking aspect of being an entertainer. I will keep names and locations out of it, only because if word got out with who I am talking about the fallout shrapnel could be devastating. It’s not worth the risk, but I do want to get the point across.

I received a call on Monday asking if I’d be open for a booking tonight in a town roughly three hours from where I live. I won’t say the name of the town or even what state it’s in, but location isn’t the issue at hand. I just want to point out how maddening this business can be – and often is.

I was open and told the person booking the show that I was. I know and like this person, who until now has always been exclusively a performer. Like many of us, this person is branching out to attempt to make more money, and I never fault anyone for that. There are no issues from me.

The booker had sold me to a group for a private function in a hotel – or that’s how it appeared. I got about six emails telling me it was off, then it was on, then it was off again. Then it maybe was going to happen. Then when I wrote it off that it wouldn’t happen. Then I got confirmation.

That’s frustrating enough, but then I was told I was to call the person in charge to get specific instructions of what they wanted me to do and what I couldn’t do. That’s never pleasant, but it’s often a part of the deal in private situations like this. I tried calling four times, but of course was not able to reach him. I left word with his secretary, and also sent an email. What else can I do?

The guy met me when I got to the hotel, and told me they were eating dinner and he’d get me when they were ready. I sat in the lobby checking my emails for half an hour, and then he came and got me and walked me to the meeting room. He didn’t tell me he was going to introduce me right away, but that’s what he did. And of course he forgot my name and that was embarrassing.

I didn’t get to see the layout beforehand, and I had a very difficult scenario. The microphone’s cord was about six feet, and attached to a podium. The podium was off center, and not even near where the lighting was. I was trapped like a Doberman on a short leash, and had to make it work.

What made it even harder was that they were a tight audience. They weren’t mean or dumb or anything negative – but they were very tight. Whatever went on before me obviously wasn’t any comedy, and I had to start from scratch and get them not only to pay attention but then to laugh.

I challenge anyone of any skill level to try and pull laughs out of a group like that. Most were older than me, but a few younger ones were sprinkled in. There were probably 200 more or less, and they had just eaten a big sloppy meal of red meat with gravy and a heavy dessert. That made my job even harder, and I had all I could do to pull off 45 minutes. Oh, and it had to be clean too.

There was no check so I had to wait as the treasurer wrote one. Did I happen to mention the TV was on the entire time? I almost wish they had said no – but I so need the money. This is just one night. Try doing it for a living. I never signed up for any of this. Want easy money? It isn’t here.

Just like a dung beetle, I get out there every day and push my wet sloppy ball across the desert.

Just like a dung beetle, I get out there every day and push my wet sloppy ball across the treacherous desert. It’s anything but easy.

Want Easy Money? You won't find it as an entertainer - at least not at first. Most never do.

Want Easy Money? You won’t find it as an entertainer – at least not at first. Most never do. It’s a daily grind.

Note how hard work and easy money are two different directions?

Note how hard work and easy money are two different directions. That’s 100% accurate.


Body Clock Backlash

January 27, 2014

Sunday January 26th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

My body clock is way off, and I don’t know if it can ever be fixed. After years of heavy travels and morning radio, it’s impossible to establish a groove. Some days I’ll get up at 4am, and others that’s when I go to sleep. I used to be able to cover it up with youth, but these days I can’t do it.

After the show in Indiana last night, Jimmy McHugh decided he wanted to drive home to avoid impending snow. In the old days I’d have had no problem with that, and in fact it was par for the course for me to drive home from most any show eight hours or less from wherever I was living.

It’s a lot different now, and I am nowhere nearly as concerned about setting land speed records getting anywhere. Safety is much more important, as is comfort. We had beautiful hotel rooms in Fort Wayne, and I wanted to take full advantage of the king size bed, exercise room, hot tub and free breakfast. Jimmy did too, but he thought it was best to make it home to beat the snow storm.

He was driving and he booked the show, so I shut my mouth and got in the car. I didn’t want to start an argument and I could see his logic, but that’s not the choice I would have made. After the entire day of having my sphincter in a state of perpetual pucker, the last thing I wanted was to get right back in the same rental car and drive back home. Too bad. That’s the life of a road warrior.

Quite honestly, I am sick to death of being a road warrior. What drove me to become one is not what’s driving me now, and I’m finding it nothing short of annoying. Again, the actual shows are still fun but everything that goes into showing up for them is becoming less appealing by the day.

Jimmy is a great guy and I love hanging with him, and I can’t blame him for choosing to do the exact thing he did. But as it ended up, we made it to the Chicago area at around 3:30am and there was snow coming down everywhere. I had my car at his house, so I had another hour drive ahead of me right when my body clock was screaming for sleep. Sitting in a cold car wasn’t my choice.

I white knuckled it home, and was dead tired walking through the door. I was out in seconds of my head hitting the pillow, and then woke up at 1pm to none of the snow that had been predicted by the weather geniuses of last night. We probably could have stayed and driven back refreshed.

None of that matters now, as it’s over with – for today. But these kinds of choices always come up and after all these years I’m all choiced out. I’m looking to either travel less or find something else to do that gives me the creative outlet performing does without having to make these drives.

Flying isn’t any better, and in fact it’s worse. Having a pack of TSA orangutans go through my luggage is a completely different annoyance, and I’ve had my fill of it all. Right now, coming up with an effective way to make a comfortable living while establishing a home base is my number one goal for the immediate future. I don’t care where that base is, but a warm one would be nice.

Even if it isn’t, steady money is more important to me now than hectic travel. The snowy roads of Indiana look exactly like the ones in Chicago. I would much rather be able to stay in one place and find a way to have money come to me than get in a rental car and physically have to drive all over the place picking up small payments randomly strewn about the country. I’m way past that.

I used to pride myself on being a road warrior - able to withstand any and all adverse conditions.

I used to pride myself on being a relentless comedy road warrior – able to withstand any and all adverse conditions.

This pretty much sums it up these days. I've learned to appreciate a good nap. I've mellowed.

This pretty much sums it up these days. I’ve learned to appreciate a good nap. I’ve mellowed, but the road can still be tough. I’d love to find something to do that doesn’t involve as much travel – but what?