Posts Tagged ‘Justin Bieber’

Wedding The Bed

March 23, 2014

Friday March 21st, 2014 – Mystery Location in Illinois

As a professional entertainer, eventually a number of unpleasant things have to be done just for the money. We would all like to think we are artists, but the reality is we have to survive just like everyone else. A lot of civilians mistakenly think we live charmed lives free from any problems.

I want to catalog my experience of this evening, if for no other reason than to have it on record for anyone that thinks being an entertainer of any kind is an easy way to avoid hard work. Let the record show that had I been shown this night before I started, I’d have chosen a different career.

Tonight I was hired to perform thirty minutes of standup comedy at a wedding reception. Once in a while somebody has the idea they want a comedian to be part of the mix, and even though it usually ends up a bad experience for everyone involved, when there’s money offered we take it.

I was approached almost a year ago by a very nice lady who said she was getting married in the Chicago area and wanted to hire a comedian for the reception. I told her that standup comedy and weddings rarely go well, only for the fact that there are such a wide variety of ages in one place.

What grandma thinks is funny is not what teenagers laugh at, and there is a similar clash that a DJ encounters. Grandma wants to hear a polka, and the kids want Justin Bieber. At least a DJ can switch back and forth and please some of them at least a little. A comedian isn’t able to do that.

Despite my warnings, the lady decided she wanted to hire me. We negotiated a fair price in my mind, especially since it was close to home. I moved since the date was booked, and where I live now is even closer. On paper, that’s heaven. Thirty minutes of work ten minutes away? Jackpot!

Not so fast with the celebrating. I showed up at my scheduled arrival time, and could tell it was going to be hell before I started. I’ve been around the block, and I knew. The facility itself was as classy as it gets, but it had a super high ceiling that would make the sound bounce around and the people were scattered from wall to wall in a gigantic space. I was screwed well before I started.

There was a DJ playing music, but nobody was dancing. I introduced myself, and found out the guy was Mexican. That’s fine, but language became an issue when he asked me how I wanted to be introduced. I tried to pronounce my name six times, and I could see he wasn’t going to get it.

Right after the father/bride dance, he introduced me before everyone sat down. That wasn’t the time to do it, but he did anyway. He screamed out my name like I was a wrestler, and of course it was pronounced wrong. Not that anyone cares, but it’s humiliating and it started me off in a hole.

I worked to the best of my ability, but that audience wanted nothing to do with me or a comedy show in general. Most of them went back to talking at their tables, and by the end I was up there alone just talking to myself. It wasn’t the place for standup comedy, but I have bills to pay and as brutal as it can be to stand there alone talking to walls that’s what it took to get a check. Between the show last night and this, I’m about ready to pack it in. But it pays my rent one more month.

No matter how fun it may sound in theory, weddings and standup comedy rarely go together in reality.

No matter how fun it may sound in theory, weddings and standup comedy rarely mix well – but bills are due so we do it anyway.


Financial Insecurity

May 12, 2013

Friday May 10th, 2013 – Caledonia, WI

   Like it or not, I have to knuckle down and make some money. On this cosmic plane, I have not figured out a way to get over the financial hump, and it absolutely stinks. I keep hearing tall tales of how people start with a piece of lint and a gum wrapper and turn it into millions, but I bet nine of ten of those tales aren’t more than fabricated fluff and nothing else. Getting rich is a real bitch.

   Yes people do win the lottery and even businesses hit it big, but more often than not people get in a financial rut and stay there throughout their lives. It’s getting harder to make an honest buck than ever before, and those that do are getting taxed up the poop shoot so why even attempt it?

   One thing I know it’s not is easy. The snake bastards who peddle “no money down” real estate courses on late night TV are oilier than Justin Bieber’s complexion, but the greedy couch maggot masses still get sucked in by the idea of making easy millions without doing anything to earn it.

   I’ve always been willing to earn it, but how? I’ve been so busy focusing on creative endeavors, studying financial fundamentals has been left behind. This is true for millions besides me, and in no way have I ever thought I was alone. The clock ticks, and I need to start socking away cash.

   But it’s so damn difficult without stability. One week or month will go well, but then there will be some fallouts or unexpected bills and before I know it I’m back in the hole deeper than I ever was. If I had more stable income I could plan better, but who does these days? It’s not realistic.

   Then there are those who inherit a hefty wad. Wouldn’t that be sweet? Without a doubt, but too bad for me – everyone in my family tree that could possibly have left me something is now dead and I didn’t get a nickel. I’m not asking for millions, but it would be nice to have a little security.

   It’s no fun floating aimlessly like a dead fish from week to week. Struggling to scrape together a living takes away a lot of creative energy that could be spent on much more meaningful things. I’d much rather be planning a benefit show to help a worthy cause than hoping my rent gets paid.

   I thought for sure I’d be financially secure by now, and by all rights I should be. I was lined up perfectly with my radio job at The Loop in 2004, and that would have been it. I would have had a great run of comedy to go along with the radio and by now I bet I’d have enough saved to retire.

   Woulda, coulda, shoulda. The whole world came crashing down, and it was no fault of my own but I sure am suffering all these years later. Had I been able to get another gig or have time to put another plan together I may be sitting in a different spot altogether. But I didn’t. I had to get back out and start piecing together a living in this cold cruel world where few care about anyone else.

   I thought about all this more than a little today as I loaded a container with trinkets and baubles I’ve been buying at thrift stores and flea markets to take to a person to help me sell on Ebay for a profit. I hope. I don’t have time to fart around with it myself, but I’m trying to start an income so I’m hiring someone to do it for me. It’s a friend of a friend, and I have no idea if it will work out.

  What else can I do but keep slugging? I defy anyone to start from ground zero and get rich with no help from anyone. I’m sure it’s been done and will continue to be done – but it’s about as rare as rappers who say ‘ask’. The odds are stacked against us, even in America. Sorry to say, it’s not the easy cakewalk we’re lead to believe. I’m doing my best, but I could use a break about now.

The Fame Game

April 24, 2013

Monday April 22nd, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   Almost everyone enjoys a pipe dream of becoming famous at least once, but nobody ever has a realistic idea of everything that it entails. It’s fun to imagine the perceived perks that accompany a celebrity’s existence, but like everything else in life it comes attached with a substantial price.

   I have had the opportunity to observe varying degrees of famous people firsthand over multiple decades, and it’s always an education to see how those situations play out. Everyone is different, and that produces different results each time. Some were made for that role, and others weren’t.

   In everyone’s fantasy, being famous is always a pleasant experience. One gets recognized only at the most convenient time, and then only by the most attractive members of society who are all sane and want nothing else but to heap the highest praise and politely request a quick autograph.

   There are never any kooks, detractors or stalkers in said fantasy, and the magic button is able to be turned on and off at will so when it’s not convenient to be recognized one can quickly go right back to enjoying the undervalued freedom of anonymity. Unfortunately, this is far from reality.

   In the real world however, fame is extremely unpredictable. It can come and go without notice, and often does. Just because one achieves it at a certain time in a particular circle doesn’t mean it will be there forever, and while it’s there it comes with a downside nobody ever sees in advance.

   I couldn’t imagine being truly famous on a massive scale like an Elvis or Michael Jackson. It’s usually a recipe for eventual disaster, and few if any ever handle it well for very long. Both Elvis and Michael died young, and by all accounts their final years weren’t pleasant. Who wants that?

   My grandfather had a great saying: “The higher you climb up the flagpole, the more people can see your ass.” Gramps had a way of cutting to the chase, and this made perfect sense even when I was a kid. Still, I am in a business where having name recognition is what puts fannies in seats.

   There’s a gargantuan difference between name recognition on a business level and insane fame though, and I don’t want any part of the fame game. I’m private off stage to the point of boring. I don’t need to be a constant center of focus, and in fact I’m very uncomfortable in that role at all.

   I do what I do on stage, and that gets my ya yas out just fine. When the show is over, I am right back to being myself and I like that just fine. People often come up to say they enjoyed the show, and that’s great. I always try to be accessible and sincerely thank them for coming – and mean it.

   I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about Justin Bieber famous. He’s the latest example of a genuine worldwide sensation, and I can’t see how anyone that age could have a clue as to how to handle it. It’s great for the ego to know you can sleep with anyone you want in a major arena full of hot and horny teenage girls – and their mothers too – but I don’t think it’s a healthy existence.

   I don’t think I’m made to play the fame game, but I do want to get more name recognition for a chance to make more money doing what I’m already doing. I won’t be any funnier if I can fill an arena, but I sure will be richer and I don’t find anything at all wrong with that. I’ve paid my dues for a lifetime to acquire the skill set I have, so what’s wrong with maximizing my income to earn more than the journeyman’s wage I’m bringing home now? Being a worldwide heartthrob might sound fun in theory, but I’d gladly settle for a respectable following of fans to keep my bills paid.