Posts Tagged ‘Laffs in Tucson’

A Tucson Treat

January 1, 2014

Tuesday December 31st, 2013 – Tucson, AZ

Another year bites it, but this one will stand out for the rest of my life. Like all years there were ups and downs, but the pleasant surprise ending was what will put it over the top and make it one for the ages. It has taken me to heights I have never experienced, and I see it only getting better.

This was a major year of transition. I hit a big birthday, and also decided to move on from what I have been doing my entire adult life. That’s never easy, but in my case necessary. Doing what I have been for so long hasn’t produced the results I wanted, so continuing would be totally stupid.

It’s not like I’ll never do another comedy club, but making it my only source of income would be about as smart as opening up a store in a mall that sells only typewriter ribbons and Betamax tapes. It isn’t what will sell now, at least not enough to make a living. I need to move forward.

I’m looking at this trip as my farewell to comedy club tour – even if it’s only symbolic. I’ll get more comedy club bookings, and I’ll take them – but I know it’s not my long term future. I’ll be moving on to humorous speaking and more corporate type work, and that’s not a bad thing at all. It pays a lot better, and there’s a lot less work involved. There’s only one show vs. a club week.

This will be a great way to go out, as I love working at Laffs in Tucson. First off, Tucson is an outstanding city. I’ve always loved it here, and if someone told me I had to move here I can’t say I’d have to think more than two seconds before coming up with an answer. There’s a lot to like.

Second, I love the vibe at the club. Gary Bynum is the owner, and we’ve always hit it off. He’s a businessman first, and isn’t ashamed of it and shouldn’t be. He’s not a comedy lover per se, but knows that comedians are part of his product. I’ve never had a cross word with the guy and I find him refreshing. We’ve even had dinner the last couple of times I’ve been here and that says a lot.

There aren’t too many club owners I have dinner with once much less multiple times. Gary has worked hard in his life, and is an excellent businessman. I respect him, and there’s no reason that I wouldn’t come back here. Is the money great? It is what it is for the times, and a deal’s a deal.

I know my check won’t bounce here, and that’s huge in the comedy club business these days. It is full of hucksters and predatory scumbags, and working for a guy like Gary is always a positive experience. His son Casey is a good guy too, and he runs a lot of the day to day operational stuff.

Another treat about working here is Gary Hood. “Hoodie” was a child actor, and has lived one of the most interesting lives of anyone I’ve ever met. You can’t help but love the guy, and he’s a pillar of the town. Everyone knows him, and when we go to places he’s the center of attention.

Hoodie and I hit it off really well, so we hang out and talk comedy and entertainment stuff that Gary Bynum couldn’t care less about. It’s business and pleasure all in one, and that’s why I love it here. It’s a week off with pay, and this week was a vacation and recharge for the next chapter.

We had two solid shows tonight, and I worked with Jason Resler and Matt Quick. They’re both good guys and very funny, and I can’t think of anything that could have made this week better.

Laffs in Tucson is one of my all time favorite comedy clubs. There's a lot to like. www.laffstucson.com

Laffs in Tucson is one of my all time favorite comedy clubs. There’s a lot to like. http://www.laffstucson.com

They chose me to headline their New Year's Eve shows. That's a compliment, and I appreciate it very much.

They chose me to headline their New Year’s Eve shows. That’s a compliment, and I appreciate it very much.

Gary Hood aka "Hoodie" was a child actor and has some of the most amazing stories I've ever heard. Everyone loves him here, and it's always fun to hang out.

Gary Hood aka “Hoodie” was a child actor and has some of the most amazing stories I’ve ever heard. Everyone loves him here, and it’s always fun to hang out.

I worked with Jason Resler last time I was here, and we did again this week. Great guy, very funny. We hit it off very well. Find his stuff on itunes.

I worked with Jason Resler last time I was here, and we did again this week. Great guy, very funny. We hit it off well onstage and off. Find his stuff on itunes.

The Popeye Feeling

December 30, 2013

Sunday December 29th, 2013 – Tucson, AZ

This is the best I’ve ever felt on the inside in my entire life. I am finding it difficult to describe other than it feels like Popeye after eating a case of spinach. There’s an unbelievably pure energy that is coming alive within me like someone turned on a power switch and I am now plugged in.

I feel an inner confidence like I’ve never felt before, and my self esteem has risen dramatically. If I could bottle this up and sell it I’d be a millionaire by the time I got back to Chicago, but I am not worried about that. I’m going to be the millionaire I always thought I’d be, even though I am not exactly sure how I’m going to do it just yet. I just know that the ingredients are all in place.

There has been a fire lit in me that I never had lit before. I’ve had some great moments, but this feels like a whole other level. I feel like I’m finally behind the wheel of a giant space ship to take me absolutely anywhere I want to go, and all I have to do is fill in a destination and I’ll get there.

I’m thinking with crystal clarity, and ideas are flying into my head faster than I can write them down. I’ve always been an idea person, but now it feels like I turned the blender up two or three notches to the right and it’s now on ‘puree’. All cylinders are firing, and the feeling is amazing.

Whatever ‘the zone’ is, I’m soaking in it. I’ve been here before, and recognized it then as well. When I’m in it it’s great, but then it goes. Maybe that’s a euphemism for ‘bipolarity’, but I don’t think I’m going to get anywhere close to being as down as I used to get. I’ve addressed my pain.

It took a long, hard and rocky lifetime, but I feel like I’m right where I need to be at exactly the right time. All those difficult roads led me here, and this is the starting line for me to do whatever I’m going to be known for in a positive way. I am already known for a few things I am not proud of, but those will fade away as I get used to this. I feel like “The Jeffersons”. I am movin’ on up.

Last night’s early show at Laffs in Tucson was a perfect example. The crowd was rather snug, and in the past I may have gone off on them or even verbally insulted them. I’ve been known to do that on occasion over the years, and it’s bad business. Some audiences are better than others, and yes once in a while there are flat out bad ones. This wasn’t one of those, but they were slow.

Instead of launching into cocky comedian mode, I took a step back and decided I was going to give them my absolute best performance no matter what. If they didn’t like it it was their choice, but it wouldn’t be for lack of effort. I had to work really hard, and I didn’t get a strong response.

When that happens, my first reaction is to not make myself available afterward like I try to do after most shows, and just assume they were all stupid. I didn’t do that last night, and set myself up at the exit to see what kind of reaction I’d get from them – if any. I was blown away by all of the positive comments I got about how much people enjoyed the show, and I saw they meant it.

I thanked every one of them, and meant that too. I also remembered to offer business cards for anyone that might want one, and I quickly mentioned that I’m starting a newsletter soon and also write this diary of what the life of an entertainer is like. There were a lot of people who took one, and by the end of the second show I was totally out. Little by little, I can feel it coming together.

Whether I do standup comedy or inspirational speaking or any other variation, this will be what I need to do for the rest of my life. Not every audience will enjoy what I do, but I’ve been able to handle that for years. Rejection goes with being a live entertainer, and my skin is elephant thick.

What I haven’t perfected is the business end, but I can feel that falling into place this week. I’m consciously making it a point to talk about it on stage but not overdo it. Right around ten minutes before I’m finished, I make a quick mention that I would like to stay in contact with them if they liked what I did, and promised I wouldn’t sell their names to Amway. It doesn’t feel forced at all.

Maybe subconsciously before I didn’t think I was good enough or that my merchandise wasn’t worth buying, but I’ve always felt uncomfortable trying to push anything. I’ve sold CDs over the last ten years or so, but I never enjoyed it. Now I have a whole new view. I’m offering them their opportunity to take a little souvenir of their evening home. If they don’t want one, that’s fine too.

I guess I have never given myself credit that I entertained them and they might actually WANT to take something home with them or maybe even share with someone else. This is something to change immediately, and I can feel it already has. I know I’ve got a solid show, and I’m going to let people make up their own mind. If they want to take something home, I will have it for them.

The great James Gregory told me this several years ago, but I wasn’t ready to hear it then. My heart and soul wasn’t in it, but it totally is now. I feel it. James is a master marketer, and he told me most sales are made out of impulse right after a show. We have worked hard to put our show together, so why not take advantage of it by making merchandise available when people like it?

I knew he was right when he told it to me, and then he told it to me again earlier this year as I sat in his house in Atlanta. He doesn’t have to tell me a third time. I’m finally there, but what put me there was freeing myself inside and that came from initiating contact with my brother Bruce to initiate contact with my other brother Larry and sister Tammy. That’s what has been the key.

This is totally The Law of Attraction in action, and there are countless books written on how it really works. I’ve read or partially read so many of those books over time I’ve worn off most of my fingerprints turning pages, but it’s only now that I see that it really does work. It took one big event to open my eyes, but now they’re wide open and I’m seeing things with 20/20 clear vision.

I can’t say how long this powerhouse feeling will last, but it doesn’t matter. I know eventually I’ll have some setbacks, slumps and unforeseen hurdles to jump, but life is like that for everyone. What I’m so excited about is that I’ve identified the cause of what was holding me back so long, and realizing just how toxic and unproductive it has been. I’ve lost a lot of golden opportunities.

I also see that I’ve got a whole lot more of them ahead, and I’ll be able to use my mountain of mistakes as building material to construct my own books and programs to help others who might be having the same problem I did. Nobody I’ve ever seen or heard has dug deep into this topic.

Even if they have, there are enough dented cans to go around for us all. This goes way beyond the boundaries of just making people laugh. There’s depth here, and it’s taken a lot of struggling for a lot of years to acquire this ability to see clearly. This is how I always wanted my life to be.

I'm in a life groove that I've never been in before - and it feels fantastic! It's like Popeye after he ate a case of spinach.

I’m in a life groove that I’ve never been in before – and it feels fantastic! It’s like Popeye after he ate a case of spinach.

The Law of Attraction really works. I'm going to use it like never before in 2014.

The Law of Attraction really works. I’m going to use it like never before in 2014.

James Gregory aka "The Funniest Man in America" is my marketing mentor. I am FINALLY ready to listen to what he's been telling me for years. www.funniestman.com.

James Gregory aka “The Funniest Man in America” is my marketing mentor. I am FINALLY ready to listen to what he’s been telling me for years. http://www.funniestman.com.