Posts Tagged ‘Joshua Albert’

Tom Dreesen = Class Act

October 4, 2012

Wednesday October 3rd, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   Talk about your pleasant surprises! I received an email last night from Tom Dreesen asking me to call him this morning, which I did. He had heard about the Joshua Albert fundraiser show I am putting together and wanted to offer his help. Anyone who knows Tom would not be surprised.

If there is a classier human being not only in standup comedy but in the entertainment business in general than Tom Dreesen, I have yet to meet or even hear of that person. Tom personifies the term ‘consummate professional’, and he sets the standard when it comes to conducting business.

I remember first seeing Tom on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He is originally from Harvey, IL and always talked about it in his act. Growing up in Milwaukee, I had no clue where comedians came from and assumed none would come from anywhere near me. He inspired me.

As I got into the business myself and ended up moving to Chicago, Tom’s name was spoken of with reverence and his reputation of helping younger and especially Chicago area comedians was legendary. It was many years before I met him myself, but when I did he lived up to his billing.

One of the most fun things I’ve ever gotten to do was share the air on WGN radio with Tom as he sat in with ‘Jerry’s Kidders’ a couple of years ago. Ken Sevara knows him well, and Tom was gracious to sit in with us. Not only that, he treated us to lunch at the Billy Goat Tavern afterward.

Watching how Tom carries himself is a clinic in how to be in show business. He’s never off his game, and always has a positive attitude. He just has the demeanor for it, and not everyone does. I know I don’t. I’m a kooky bastard, and I freely admit it. I’m one of those offbeat ‘artiste’ types. I’m trying to get better, but my nature is to follow my creative urges. Tom is smarter than that.

Tom played the business game of show business, and played to win. Win he did, and that gives him the freedom to do what he wants creatively. Smart formula! Why didn’t I think of that? I did think of it I guess, I just didn’t execute it. Tom Dreesen did, and that’s why he has my admiration and respect. Having him contact me about helping not only this time but in the future was huge.

Tom has some unbelievable credits to his name. He was part of the first (and only) black/white comedy team of all time with Tim Reid who played Venus Flytrap on WKRP in Cincinnati. That alone is a remarkable accomplishment, but he’s probably most well known for being the opening act for Frank Sinatra for 14 years. He’s also been a tireless charity worker for numerous causes.

This is the kind of person I aspire to be myself. If I can build half the reputation Tom did for all the charity work alone he’s done, then I’ll have been a huge success. He’s known for showing up and pitching in, and that’s how I want to be known also. Hearing from him was an absolute thrill.

Tom has a one man show he wrote called ‘An Evening of Laughter and Stories of Sinatra’ he is now doing around the country. He said if I can secure a venue in Milwaukee he’d gladly come in and help the cause. I’ll do this event first, but what a kind offer that is.