Posts Tagged ‘Jerry Agar’

Good Deed, Good Day

October 27, 2013

Tuesday October 22nd, 2013 – Wilmette, IL

Any day I’m able to do a good deed is a good day. I know it sounds corny, but I mean it. That’s the only thing that has any lasting meaning, and I love it whenever I’m able to make a difference. Today I had a chance to help someone, and it worked out better than expected. It feels fantastic.

Mark Schiff is a very funny comedian, and I’ve been a fan for years. I first saw him in the early ‘80s, and I loved his style. He has had both an HBO and Showtime special, and he and comedian Ritch Shydner compiled a book of comedy road stories called “I Killed” in which I have a story.

If there’s one resource in which I am rich it’s comedy road stories. I’ve been around the block many times, and the story they chose to use was a time I was in Tuscaloosa, AL and challenged an audience that included some University of Alabama football players. I treaded on holy ground by insulting their dead football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and had to be escorted out of town.

That story is what indirectly got me kicked off of the Bob and Tom radio show in Indianapolis. I had a copy of the book with me, and Tom asked me what it was. I told him it was a compilation of comedy road stories and he asked if I was in it. When I said yes, he asked me to tell the story. I did exactly what he asked, and then everyone became furious and threw me out of the studio.

I still can’t figure out why they got so angry, but that put them over the edge. I have never been treated so poorly by anyone in radio or TV, and apparently I’m still in their doghouse to this day. I’ve tried to apologize several times, but they won’t hear of it. I think the whole thing is insane.

I was fortunate enough to cross paths with both Mark and Ritch when they were in the process of compiling the book, and it was a thrill to meet them both. Both of those guys were part of the generation right before me, and I knew both of their work extremely well. To have them treat me as a peer made me feel great, and both couldn’t have been nicer – the opposite of Bob and Tom.

Mark is the co-author of a funny new play called “Marriage Is A Bout”, which delves into two couples that are friends and all that goes on with their marriages. One couple is Jewish while the other is Gentile. They had a run through with the actors at the Wilmette Theatre in Wilmette, IL tonight, and Mark invited me to be part of it and asked if I knew anyone else that I could invite.

I happen to know some very talented and creative people, and I got the word out for him. One of those who showed up was Vicki Quade. She’s got several successful productions going on in Chicago and all over including “Late Night Catechism” and “Put The Nuns In Charge”. I was in Vicki’s “You’re On The Air” play with Jerry Agar, Tim Slagle and Ken Sevara and it was fun.

Teme Ring is a gifted comedy writer, and she and her husband Jeff were able to attend along with Rick Young who is an actor in the area. They all enjoyed the show as did I, and afterward Mark and the crew sat around and took input from anyone who wanted to give their opinions.

I know it helped Mark, and I’m delighted I was able to get such a creative bunch to come out and support. It was a fun experience all around, and Mark thanked me profusely. It was no big deal, and I was glad to do it. I learned a lot myself of how the process goes. This was a win/win.

Comedian Mark Schiff - one of the all time greats. www.markschiff.com

Comedian Mark Schiff – one of the all time greats. http://www.markschiff.com

Sweat Home Chicago

October 22, 2013

Tuesday October 15th, 2013 – Toronto, ON/Chicago, IL

Back to the highly intense stress of travel and deadlines. It was great to take a few days to visit a friend, but I had to get back to Chicago for a week of work at Zanies Comedy Club. I was up to my armpits in things to do before, but now it’s over my head. Those few days away put me in the trick bag, and it will take herculean effort to dig out. There’s nothing I can do but keep plugging.

It was fun to relax a few days with Jerry Agar and daughter Kaelin, and I really enjoy Toronto. This was the most I’d ever seen of it, and I hope I can get back to perform someday. I don’t have an in and Jerry doesn’t either, but if I put it on the radar I’ll bet I’ll get a booking at some point.

I knew I was in for a stressful return trip as my flight was scheduled to get in at 5:30pm. That’s cutting it way too close for an 8:30 show, but Jerry didn’t think of it when he bought the ticket. It wasn’t intentional, but I cringed when I learned of it because I knew I was on a paper thin margin for error. One little glitch could make me miss my show at Zanies, and that would spell trouble.

Everything about today was difficult. I flew out of a different airport than I flew in, and it was out in the sticks and an hour drive. Jerry missed his exit, and we were riding around looking for a place to turn back around. We’d left in plenty of time, but there’s still that underlying tension of wondering if we’d find it. Jerry had never been there before, and neither one of us knew the way.

We did get there eventually, but it was so far out in the boonies there were no restaurants to get a snack before my flight left. There was a coffee shop in the airport, but as soon as we walked in a lady informed us they were closing…not for the day – for good. It was like a comedy sketch.

There was a snack bar open, and we had a sandwich and visited for a while. Jerry is busting his ass in Toronto trying to get ahead, and he’s doing a marvelous job on the air – but he did the very same thing in Chicago and Kansas City before that and Raleigh, NC before that. He’s wants what I want – stability. I know this isn’t the right occupation for that, but damn it would be refreshing.

Jerry had to get back to the city, and I assumed I was going to get on my plane without a glitch. Ha! Who are we talking about here? There was a weather squall in Chicago and it caused a delay of about an hour, and that made my bilge hole pucker. Now it would be a race to make my show.

This is the part of the business nobody ever plans for, and it was torture waiting until we finally got to board the small plane and head home. I tried to do a crossword puzzle to forget about it all, but I couldn’t help thinking I was going to be late. I can’t stand that feeling of such helplessness.

The ride back was even bumpier than the ride there, and by the time we landed I was ready for a full body massage to loosen up. I made it through customs, and then had to locate my car in an immense remote parking lot which took longer than I expected. My jaw was clenched like a vise.

I got to my car, and there’s always that hope there aren’t four flat tires – or worse no tires at all. Everything was there, and I fought traffic on the Kennedy Expressway for a while and I got there with minutes to spare. I did my show, and it actually went very well. The audience had no clue of the stress level I went through to get there, but they don’t need to know. They have stress of their own.

Other than the dreaded Bears, there are a lot of things I love about Chicago.

Other than the dreaded Bears, there are a lot of things I love about Chicago.

Canadian Thanksgiving

October 22, 2013

Sunday October 13th, 2013 – Toronto, ON

I haven’t been to Canada in a while, and I forgot how much I like it here. I’ve always found the people to be really friendly and unassuming, and they’re especially nice if an American makes an effort to respect their country. They have “little brother syndrome”, and all it takes is the slightest bit of positive attention to win them over forever. They have an identity, and they want it known.

I’ve worked in Canada several times, and have always enjoyed it. I worked in Winnipeg a long time ago and Calgary not that long ago, but that’s not Toronto. Canadians look at Toronto like an American looks at New York. Unless one actually lives there, it’s usually a place to be avoided.

I’m a city person, so I don’t think I’d have any trouble living here. It’s a huge city, and I would bet millions of ignorant Americans know absolutely nothing about it. It’s very cosmopolitan, and very ethnically diverse as well. I was surprised at the percentage of people from somewhere else.

I’m here hanging out for a few days helping my friend Jerry Agar come up with some ideas for a creative project he’s working on. I don’t even want to hint at what it is, because someone could easily swoop in and steal his idea. I will say that it’s very ambitious, and he’s putting all kinds of time and energy into it and requested my help. He has helped me a lot so I felt I owed it to him.

We’ve actually helped each other a lot over the years. Every time one of us gets fired from our radio gig, we’ve been there to comfort the other and it’s happened far too often. I’ve been blown out of jobs in Lansing, Milwaukee, Reno, Salt Lake City and Chicago, and Jerry has been shown the door in Toledo, Tucson, Knoxville, Raleigh, Kansas City and Chicago. We’ve got a history.

Radio is a bug with a toxic bite, and we’ve both got plenty of scars. Both of us are really good at what we do, but trying to stay employed can be a challenge when neither one of us suffers the idiots in management well. We’re creative types, and that’s usually a recipe for corporate death.

Jerry got blown out of Chicago at WLS for no good reason, other than management wanted to try a new flavor of the month. I had the same fate at The Loop, and that’s just how it goes. I have comedy as my primary source of income, but Jerry has a family and had to take the job up here.

He’s originally from Canada, but his wife isn’t and that was a hassle just like it was when Jerry first came to The United States years ago. This is a process most Americans never have to think about, and I admit I didn’t until I met Jerry. I was born in America, and never thought about it.

This weekend happens to be Thanksgiving in Canada. Most non Canadians have no idea that it exists, and that’s part of the disrespect factor that irritates them so much. It wouldn’t take a lot to just wish them a Happy Thanksgiving, even though they choose to do it on a Monday in October.

One thing I’ve always loved about Canada is the Canadian Football League. It’s a fast moving game, and I totally love it. There are only eight teams, but there is just not that much population up here to have more. There’s a double header of CFL football tomorrow, and Jerry and I got to watch the NFL today. Most people here are Buffalo Bills fans, and I’ve always enjoyed working in Buffalo so today I was one too. Hockey I could survive without, but the rest of Canada is fun.

Like Rodney Dangerfield, Canada gets no respect. Most Americans don't even know they have provinces instead of states.

Like Rodney Dangerfield, Canada gets no respect. Most Americans don’t even know they have provinces instead of states.

Check out my long time friend Jerry Agar on AM 1010 CFRB if you need to bone up on what's going on to the north. It's like a whole other country! www.newstalk1010.com

Check out my long time friend Jerry Agar on AM 1010 CFRB if you need to bone up on what’s going on to the north. It’s like a whole other country! http://www.newstalk1010.com

International Deadline

October 19, 2013

Saturday October 12th, 2013 – Toronto, ON

Back to the state of perpetual stress. Most of what being a road comic becomes after time is the constant hassle of having to get to the next place. There are deadlines to make, and obstacles that jump up out of nowhere that turn life into one big Cannonball Run. Decades of it wears one out.

My most recent cross country challenge was getting from LaCrosse, WI after a show last night to O’Hare airport in Chicago for an 11am flight to Toronto, ON to visit my friend Jerry Agar for a few days. I haven’t a clue how many miles or kilometers that is, and it’s not worth looking up.

All I know is, there gets to be an ever tightening knot in the bottom of my stomach as I attempt to make each leg of any trip and I never fully know I’m going to make it until I physically arrive. There’s always the chance of some unforeseen glitch, and that’s what keeps the stress level high.

The good thing this time was that I had Bill Gorgo to ride with from LaCrosse to Fox Lake, IL where I live. He’s a road veteran and knows the ropes. He knew we had to duck out immediately after the show in LaCrosse, even though it meant squelching all possibility of selling any CDs.

That stinks because it was a hot show, but that’s part of the road grind. I couldn’t afford to risk the time in case there was a delay getting back. Driving late at night is always a gamble, and I’ve learned it’s best to leave as much cushion as possible. Bill knew it too, so we got right in the car.

We stopped half way home to gas up and pee, but Bill brought snacks for the ride because he’s a road vet and knows that saves extra stops. There’s also a stretch of two lane highway along the route that was unavoidable because of where I live. There’s just no other way to get there and it’s filled with speed traps, critters and drunk drivers. It’s like driving through a real life video game.

Sure enough, we got pulled over because Bill’s car had a headlight out. The cop was cool about it, but that could have been a big issue. We were in Wisconsin and Bill has Illinois plates. That is frequently a recipe for disaster, but this time we dodged a bullet and were soon back on the road.

Bill dropped me off at 3am, but of course I was wide awake and couldn’t sleep so I answered a few emails. Then I did a load of laundry, and packed for the trip. I dug out my passport and flight info, and by that time it was 6am. I nodded off for a couple of hours, but it wasn’t sound sleep as I knew I needed to get to the airport and couldn’t blow it. There’s always a level of stress there.

Of course my car’s gas tank was on ‘E’, and when I stopped at the gas station all of the pumps were occupied. There was also some construction on the way, and that caused a delay that made the knot in my stomach tighten even more. Then I got to the airport exit on the freeway and they had it closed for repairs. I was really in a tizzy, and then the parking lot was over full too. Ugh.

I made it to the gate with minutes to spare, but that knot got tighter as my carryon luggage was about an inch too big for the overhead compartment and they made me check it. After all that, we had a bumpy ride due to weather and I thought I was going to throw up on the lady sitting next to me. It was a flying tilt-a-whirl, and I wasn’t expecting it. We eventually ended up in Toronto, but then there was the constipated maze of going through customs. I tell you, it never EVER lets up.

Easier said than done.

Easier said than done.

A common feeling for those of us who travel for a living.

A common feeling for those of us who travel for a living.

An Impromptu Reunion

October 5, 2013

Friday October 4th, 2013 – Rockford, IL

When I was on the radio with Jerry Agar, Tim Slagle and Ken Sevara as “Jerry’s Kidders”, we had a super fan name Fard (pronounced ‘Fa-RAHD’) Muhammad who we all came to consider a friend. He’s a super guy and very intelligent, and we have all stayed in touch for several years.

Fard is also a rabid fan of Dennis Miller, and managed to score four tickets to Dennis’ show at the gorgeous Coronado Theatre in Rockford, IL tonight and asked if the Kidders would join him. Tim, Ken and I all happened to have the night free so we arranged an impromptu Kidder reunion.

The four of us rode in one car and busted balls the whole way there and back. It was a night of big fun and laughs all around, and everyone was in a great mood. This wasn’t something we had planned for very long, it just kind of came together in a couple of days. That made it even better.

We made it to Rockford with plenty of time to spare, and settled in our seats at the spectacular Coronado Theatre. That’s one of the most gorgeous old theatres I’ve ever seen, and being able to see it in person made the trip worthwhile even if there wasn’t a show to go with it. I can’t believe I’d never seen it before. It’s got to be on a list of the top architecture in America. It’s a true gem.

Our seats were eighth row center, and Dennis came out at 7:30 sharp. He might have even been a couple of minutes early, which doesn’t usually happen for any live entertainment. There wasn’t an opening act, and I found that a bit odd too. Usually in larger theatre situations there is a warm up act of some kind to focus the crowd’s attention. Ken, Tim or I would have loved that chance.

None of us were upset, as we were there to relax and enjoy the show. We all happened to enjoy Dennis, and not everyone does. He tends to polarize people, but that’s what great entertainers do. People love Dennis Miller or they can’t stand him – and I can see why. It’s like stinky cheese or hot chili peppers. There are rabid fans in one camp, and those that couldn’t get far enough away.

What I love about Dennis Miller is his unbridled gratuitous use of adjectives. He paints picture after vividly descriptive picture, and does it with distinct rhythm. I love watching him work, and he made us laugh out loud numerous times despite the fact he was fighting a nasty cold all night.

Most of the audience had no clue how difficult that can be, but Tim, Ken and I have all been on stage when we were fighting the crud and knew exactly what he was going through. That made it all the more interesting to watch, but he still delivered and made us laugh. That’s a professional.

After the show we had a world class meal at Franchesco’s Italian Ristorante where Ken books comedy shows of his own. We relaxed and enjoyed a sumptuous meal, and it was a perfect night from start to finish. We had nothing but laughs and fun, and wondered why every night couldn’t be like this. It’s not and never will be, so that’s why it’s important to savor every second of this.

Sometimes things just all work out – even for Mr. Lucky. If every day were like this I probably wouldn’t be a comic, but that’s ok. I’d have a lot less stress in my life, but I’d gladly blaze a new career path accordingly. I’m sure Dennis Miller has stress too, but that’s what comedians do. We help others forget about their troubles for a while, even though we’ve got a full load of our own.

The spectacular Coronado Theatre in Rockford, IL. In a word - WOW!

The spectacular Coronado Theatre in Rockford, IL. In a word – WOW!

Like stinky cheese or hot chili peppers, people love Dennis Miller or they totally don't. I happen to think he's great, and he made me laugh out loud all night in Rockford. Thanks Dennis!

Like stinky cheese or hot chili peppers, people love Dennis Miller or they totally don’t. I happen to think he’s great, and he made me laugh out loud all night in Rockford. Thanks Dennis!

Chicago Radio Superfan turned  friend Fard Muhammad

Chicago Radio Superfan turned friend Fard Muhammad

Tim Slagle - his CD 'Europa' is a must for all fans of intelligent comedy. www.timslagle.com

Tim Slagle – his CD ‘Europa’ is a must for all fans of intelligent comedy. http://www.timslagle.com

Ken Sevara - check out his radio show 'Fly By Night' on AM 560 WIND in Chicago. www.kensevara.com

Ken Sevara – check out his radio show ‘Fly By Night’ on AM 560 WIND in Chicago. http://www.kensevara.com

War Scarred Testicles

June 27, 2013

Wednesday June 26th, 2013 – Kenosha, WI

   My friend Jerry Agar rolled through town today on a cross country motorcycle trip, and we had a chance to sit down and catch up over a delicious lunch at The Brat Stop in Kenosha, WI. We’d originally hoped to have all the members of ‘Jerry’s Kidders’ from WLS and WGN reunite for a party, but we couldn’t hook up everyone’s schedules. People were out of town, so it was just us.

   Jerry and I have been through a lot together, and even more separately. We met in the late ‘80s when he was working at a tiny AM station in St. Charles, IL and I was working for the new club Zanies was starting in the Pheasant Run Resort at the time. It started as a one shot interview, but we kept in touch from that day forward. Today we looked back on all of our tangled adventures.

   Both of us ended up moving all over the country to pursue the radio dream, and that came with a heaping helping of hurt. Rarely have we lived in the same town or even same time zone, but we still managed to stay in touch by phone and email. We’d help each other with various projects or radio bits, and when one of us got fired – again – the first call we’d make would be to the other.

   Jerry had the additional pressure of a family to support, and his wife Ann should easily qualify for first ballot sainthood for all she’s had to endure with this mine field of a business. They have three fantastic kids who I consider to be surrogate nephews and a niece, and every time they had to pack up everything and move one more time Ann would hang in there and keep it all together.

   That’s the kind of family relationship I’ve always wanted – at least the together part. It’s not in the cards, and when I really needed it it was never there. I was always of the mindset it was cruel and unusual punishment to drag a wife much less kids through the treacherous jungle of radio.

   Comedy is no clam bake either, but at least it’s a predictable instability. As a comedian, I know I will be somewhere else each week. In radio, one never knows when the next time bomb will go off – only that it will. Stations get sold, GMs and Program Directors move on, so who can say if a job will be there tomorrow? It’s always been that way from my experience, but now it’s worse.

   Jerry is currently working in Toronto, and he has really made an impact on the market. He does talk radio, and does it extremely well. He’s found his niche, and few can do what he does with as much skill as he does it. One would think that would go hand in hand with total job security – but one could not be more mistaken. The planets could align against him and he’d be out on his arse.

   Jerry told me his station is in the process of getting sold, and my bung hole puckered. That puts everyone at the station on edge, and I’ve gone through it more than once myself.  Two other pals in radio “Stone and Double T” in Rockford, IL are going through the same hell. Their station just got sold as well, and the standard company line is always “We expect there to be NO changes.”

   My war scarred testicles. I wish I had a free lunch for every time I heard that splattering pile of verbal manure emanate from behind the desk of some greasy radio snake – only to get shown the door a short time later. Then to make it worse, they themselves are blown out a short while after that and it was like none of us ever existed in the first place. It’s a vicious never ending cycle.

   It was great to hang out with Jerry, but I can’t help feeling for him and his family. He’s settling in nicely in Toronto, but he was doing the same thing in Chicago before he got axed for reasons I still haven’t been able to figure out. If there is a hell, there’s a whole wing for radio management.

Clearing The Air

May 16, 2013

Wednesday May 15th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   I got up much earlier than I had intended to this morning to do a comedy segment on the ‘Stone and Double T Show’ on WXRX ‘The X’ in Rockford, IL. I really like those guys, and we usually do a weekly call in bit on Monday mornings. We missed this week, so they rescheduled it today.

   I have mixed feelings about doing that show, but it’s fun so if they keep calling I’ll keep doing it. The guys themselves are great, but I’m not sure if anyone who listens to that station likes what I do. It’s really hard edged rock, and that’s just not my audience as a rule. I try to be entertaining, but I’ve never once had anyone come to any show I’ve done saying they’d heard me on ‘The X’.

   Does that mean I should stop doing it? That’s a tough call. It doesn’t hurt to get radio exposure, but it’s not helping either. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years on the wrong radio stations, and I think some of my best work has fallen on deaf ears. It’s discouraging, but that’s how it’s been.

    I still can’t believe I’ve worked for THREE country radio stations. Yikes. I’m not a fan of that genre at all, even though I grew to respect it during my tenure. That’s not my audience either, but those are the stations I was able to get jobs so that’s where I went. It makes me have doubts as to the competence of radio in general if they’d hire me three times at country stations, but they did.

   I’m also experiencing serious doubts about continuing to host ‘The Mothership Connection’ on AM 1050 WLIP in Kenosha, WI. Again, it’s great fun but who’s listening? It’s a small station in Kenosha, WI with a weak night time signal. We do have a certain amount of loyal listeners every week who hear us live and a few more on the net, but is it enough to keep doing it? I’d think not.

   I wish the show came with a paycheck, but it doesn’t. How can I generate one? I don’t have the slightest idea. I have a meeting with John Perry from the station tomorrow and we’ll either come up with a plan to earn some money or I’ll shake his hand and thank him for the fun opportunity.

   The ultimate goal is to get on a station that fits my personality, and find a way to stay on the air and get paid. That’s proven to be a whole lot easier said than done, but unfortunately being taken off the air has not been my fault. If I could manage to put together a nice run somewhere that has a listener base in my wheel house, I’ll be set for life. But I’d also be set for life if I hit the lottery.

   Unfortunately, the odds seem to be about the same. Every time I get on a station that would be a fit, something happens to end it prematurely. ‘The Loop’ in Chicago was a perfect fit, but just as we were starting to get some legs we got fired. Then I was part of ‘Jerry’s Kidders’ with Jerry Agar, Ken Sevara and Tim Slagle on both WLS and WGN in Chicago. That was also a winner.

   Had Jerry not been blown out the door, we’d still be on the air and have that coveted following I’ve not been able to attain no matter how hard I’ve tried. For some reason, I just haven’t had the chance to gel at a place that fits. I love being on with Stone and Double T, but they’re not where I’m ever going to get any mass recognition. If they were Bob and Tom, I’d be a national draw.

   I have a hard time figuring out where the radio business is headed as a whole. It’s always been insane, but there was a certain air of mystery about it. Local programming was plentiful and of a high quality. Now everything is pre recorded in another city and it’s very impersonal. I’d love to have a steady job somewhere, but I don’t know of any that exist. The Stone and Double T shows of the world are becoming rarer and rarer, and that’s a shame. Radio’s best days are behind it.

A Sixty Minute Success

July 4, 2010

Saturday July 3rd, 2010 – Chicago, IL/Dyer, IN

Jerry Agar called and asked if I wanted to be on the air with him today as he had a shift on the radio. We weren’t able to do a Kidders show because Ken Sevara’s voice is acting up and Tim Slagle was preparing for his yearly 4th of July weekend party he likes to host.

Any time I have a chance to spend an hour on WGN radio in Chicago, I take it. That’s a monster station, and it’s always worth being on it because of the exposure to hundreds of thousands of people all over the Midwest I’d likely never get in front of any other way.

That truly is a broadcast, going out all over the place to all different types of people. It’s an opportunity to do a sixty minute commercial for myself I’d never be able to pay for, so that’s a chance I had to take. I know I have projects going, but this was worth my time.

Jerry decided it would be a good topic to talk about traveling America for the 4th of July week so he picked the right person to kick it off. I bet I’ve seen more of the United States than 99.999% of anyone other than truck drivers or hitch hikers. I’ve spent my entire life on the road, and seen all four corners of the continent and most every crevice in between.

We had a fun segment, and it lit up the phones. That’s the great thing about a big station like that, virtually ANY subject will light up the phones because it relates to someone that happens to have a radio on. We didn’t need phones though, Jerry and I know what to do.

We used to go off on stuff like this all the time when we first met twenty years ago back at AM 1480 WFXW, the tiny station he worked at in St. Charles, IL. That station isn’t on the air anymore, but we sure had fun while it was. We knew nobody was listening, but we still tried to do entertaining radio anyway. We used to dream of being on WGN someday.

Neither one of us are rich or famous on a large scale, but we sure did live our dreams of being on WGN. Had someone told either one of us twenty years ago we’d achieve that, it probably would have blown our minds right out of our ear. I enjoyed every minute of our time on the air today, even if it wasn’t exactly the way we thought it would be. It was fun.

Jerry has to be back in Toronto and I am doing what I’m doing, but for an hour we were exactly where we dreamed of twenty years ago. Yes, the Kidders were and are a blast, but this is what we both wanted back then – the two of us bantering back and forth on WGN.

Jerry had to be on the air until 9pm, but I left and went to Tim Slagle’s house in Indiana for his yearly blowing up of mass quantities of legal fireworks. Ken Sevara also came out with his wife Lori and Jerry showed up after his shift. We had a Kidders reunion anyway.

We all know we could probably be doing better, but we could all be doing worse too. It was great to be together as a group, and we enjoyed blowing up all the heavy artillery Tim bought. Good times with good friends are never a bad investment. I spent this day well.

Kipper And Kidders

June 23, 2010

Tuesday June 22nd, 2010 – Kenosha, WI

Jerry’s Kidders are back together…even if it was only for a single lunch at the Brat Stop in Kenosha, WI. We hadn’t seen each other in way too long, and even though Jerry Agar wasn’t able to join us, it was still great to see the Kidders. We still have a solid chemistry.

The reason we chose the Brat Stop is because it’s in between Milwaukee where Kipper McGee lives and the far south side of Chicago where Ken Sevara and Tim Slagle happen to live. I’m right in the middle so I had the shortest drive of all, and of course I was late.

The guys started busting my chops before I even got a chance to sit at the table, and that reminded us all of why we had so much fun for two years. We enjoyed being on the radio but the lunches and hanging out were always a huge part of the deal. It was our own little tree house, and everyone felt welcome. We all knew immediately how much we miss it.

Kipper McGee was our program director at WLS, and I told the guys then we’d never have such a supportive situation as far as radio goes. Kipper was in our corner and still is. He gave us the chance to grow as a team on the air, and he never squelched the creativity like way too many other clueless control freak program directors love to do. He got us.

It’s such a shame that radio is so trigger happy to fire competent people and allows the goof balls to remain employed. Kipper McGee is a brilliant radio programmer with a soul to boot, and he gets blown out the door of WLS while the corporate honcho named Farid or Farouk or Farout or Feng Shui or whatever his name is continues to ruin the company.

That story is WAY too common in radio, and I’m sick of it as are Kipper and the other Kidders as well. We got booted off the station when Jerry did, and there’s no reason that he shouldn’t still be there. Now he’s had to split up his family and go work in Toronto.

We didn’t dwell too much on the negative though. We knew we don’t get the chance to see each other in one place much anymore so we spent most of our lunch looking back at the fun times we had and laughing uproariously. There were some real moments with us.

We also talked about how we can keep the project going. It’s a lot of fun to sit around a studio and fire off lines about news stories of the week, and when we were on our game it was pure electricity. None of us want it to end like this, but what do we do to reignite it?

Jerry is going to be in Toronto for the foreseeable future, and that’s just how it is. We’re not angry, we all know he needs to turn a buck. We all do. How can we do it with a show that does current events jokes for an hour each week? That’s a tall order and we know it.

Still, there’s no reason we can’t reinvent ourselves and that’s what we bounced around the table. Kipper knows a lot of people in radio, and he still believes in us as a team. He’s of the opinion we should try to stay on in Chicago, and we all agree. But where? WGN is the logical choice, but Jerry hasn’t been on so neither have we. Still, it was a fun lunch.

Hard Luck Jollies – FINALLY!

April 15, 2010

Wednesday April 14th, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL/Milwaukee, WI

Whoo Hoo! I’ve been pumped up before, but rarely like today. I’ve been positively and absolutely giddy all day and the grin on my puss just won’t go away.  My brand spanking new comedy CD “Hard Luck Jollies” is now available for sale at the competitive price of $13 postpaid in the continental United States of America – slightly more for Zimbabwe.

What a hell ride it’s been to get this project FINALLY done, and I can now see why it’s so difficult for bands to stay together for extended periods of time. This one took so long to finish, I almost broke up with myself. It may not be “Thriller”, but at least it’s finished.

The worst part of all is that I’ve had some stupendously sizzling shows in the time since the last copy of the previous one ran out to today’s rejuvenation and rebirth. I shudder as I think of how many copies I could have sold between then and now and it’s probably up in the hundreds. That translates in cash to thousands, and the only one to really blame is me.

Yes, I had problems with my ex business partner and all the ugliness that went with that plus I sold the rights to my first CD outright to Laughing Hyena Records and don’t own it anymore. Those two things contributed to the gap in time along with some reasons on the other side with both the artwork and Donna Gurda who was the producer of this project.

Donna’s mother passed away and she had to attend to all that goes with that, and Pedro Bell’s artwork became an issue when his business partner embezzled from him and put an additional unexpected damper on the project. Any one of those things would be extremely frustrating, but all together it nearly choked out the whole project. I am thrilled it didn’t.

I had to keep plugging or it would never have gotten finished at all, and I’m very glad I did. Donna did a great job on the disc along with Mark Heleniak at EarMark Productions. She used to produce Tom Green’s music projects and she knows what she’s doing, along with Mark. They worked hard and were worth every penny I spent. I appreciate their help.

Pedro Bell’s cover artwork is also fantastic, even though I wasn’t able to get it colorized fully. It’s really intricate cartoon work, and after a lot of testing it was decided to just add color to the name logo for me he created and the words ‘Hard Luck Jollies’. The logo was modeled directly after the logo for the group Funkadelic. Anyone who’s a fan will know.

There are some things I’d change on the packaging just as there are on my last one but it won’t be noticed by anyone but me. It looks very presentable and sounds crisp. Nobody is going to know or care how many delays there were with this, they’ll just enjoy the results, or at least I hope they will. The last one went over very well, and this one is an upgrade.

The good thing is, this won’t happen again any time soon. I’ve already got ideas for the next one and I talked to Donna and Mark about it today as I dropped off copies of this one up in Milwaukee. We’ve got a lot more recordings to go through and there’s enough there for at least one but possibly even two more projects like this so I’m set for at least a bit.

I’ll keep cranking out product as much and as often as I can, but I won’t whore myself. I want to keep some kind of quality control and not just slap anything together. This took it up a notch, and I want to keep doing that as long as I can. I know there’s a lot more in me, and hopefully I can use these recordings to develop more of a fan base, like a musician.

Now is when the real work starts though. I’ve had some solid support from Sirius/XM Satellite Radio and I hope they’ll continue to showcase my newer offerings. Some of the material is the same from the first one to these next two or three, but I did it in a different way. Plus, there’s new stuff added in there too. I purged myself of everything I had in me.

I also have to restock websites that have sold my product like CD Baby and quite a few others like http://www.comedyhome.com and http://www.laugh.com. Those were also years ago and I wasn’t the contact person, my ex partner was. I’ll have to dive in and do all of this myself even though none of this is my field of expertise. For now, I need to be in charge of it all.

I’ll put the word out on Facebook and myspace and I’m even doing it here on my daily diary, which I normally don’t use to plug anything blatantly. This time I have to put it all aside and market this thing. I was always shy about it before, but people liked it and I am still getting compliments from it seven years later. This new one will not be a stink bomb.

I also have to find a way to put it up on my website and have people buy it there. I have no idea how to do that, and I didn’t ask my friend Shelley today when I picked the boxes up from her house. I had them sent there because there’s always someone home watching her kids. She’s also been a gigantic help lately and I appreciate all her efforts immensely.

I appreciate everyone who has contributed to this entire project from Donna and Mark to Pedro’s artwork and also Greg Phelps in Indianapolis who put the whole package into completion mode from getting all the design and art finished to getting the printing done. His company is called Tridigital Solutions and I recommend them for all your CD needs.

The main regret I have is not being able to thank everyone I wanted to thank. The inner sleeve would have had to have been 20 feet long, and I couldn’t afford that. Still, I’m very thankful for all who contributed in whatever way they did. I’ve had a lot of support from a variety of people and I am humbled, flattered and owe them a debt of sincere gratitude.

There’s also a Mr. Lucky song written and performed by my friend Joe Dell’Orfano and a one on one interview with Jerry Agar recorded in the WGN studios. I’m a fan of a lot of people, and an interview is always interesting to me so I put one on hoping somebody else feels the same way I do about it. All in all, this is a jam packed CD chock full of stuff that I’d want to get if I was buying a comedy CD. That’s a formula that’s worked in the past.

This is a milestone, and I love it. One CD isn’t easy to do. Two is twice as hard. Three’s extremely rare, so that’s the next goal. I think I can do it, especially since it’s already been recorded. If you’d like a copy of Hard Luck Jollies, I’ll gladly sign it for you. Please send $13 to: Dobie Maxwell P.O. Box 618 Lake Villa, IL 60046. I totally appreciate all orders.