Posts Tagged ‘Lambeau Field’

Distinguished Pedigree

October 23, 2013

Wednesday October 16th, 2013 – Chicago, IL

I’m back headlining at Zanies in Chicago this week, and it never gets old. That stage has a long and distinguished pedigree since 1978, and everyone who is anyone in comedy from Jay Leno to Jerry Seinfeld to Richard Lewis to Robert Klein to Sam Kinison and countless others have stood on the very stage I am privileged to stand on eight more times this week. This place is legendary.

It’s like an athlete getting to play in a storied structure like Yankee Stadium or Lambeau Field. One can feel the aura of history just walking in the place, and that’s what I feel whenever I walk into Zanies – even though I’ve done it hundreds of times. There’s still a magic vibe in the place.

The walls are covered with 8×10 signed photos of acts that have performed there over all these years, and it’s a virtual history of the comedy industry. Most every big star one can think of is up there, and they all look unbelievably young with pictures most of the public hasn’t seen before.

Jay Leno’s picture looks like it’s from his high school graduation, as do several others. A lot of the acts are dead now, and there are also a lot of others that most people have never heard of. I’m on the wall too, and it’s one of my earliest promo shots in a tuxedo of all things. I’m embarrassed whenever anyone sees it, but Zanies refuses to take it down. They say they’ll replace it if I try.

Part of the charm of a long running comedy club is to see the pictures of the comedians who’ve been around a while and look at how they’ve progressed. The Punch Line in Atlanta has some of the oldest promo pictures I’ve ever seen, and there are quite a few that I had never seen before.

For reasons of which I am still unsure, I am one of the Zanies family. I sure didn’t plan on that when I started, and I’m sure they didn’t either. It just kind of grew unexpectedly over decades of working together, and now I’m ingrained in the DNA. I wouldn’t think of going anywhere else.

That doesn’t mean I’m bullet proof and I could easily get booted tomorrow, but I’d have to do something pretty bad to make that happen. We’ve got enough history with each other that we’re like an old married couple. We’ve learned to live with one another and there’s a comfort level.

Is it good or bad? It just “is”. There’s an Improv Comedy Club in Schaumburg, IL and I’d love to work there and every other Improv in America. What comedian wouldn’t? They have some of the most gorgeous comedy rooms ever built, and have a nationally recognized name. I might get a chance to work some of the others someday, but not in Chicago. I’m a loyal Zanies act. Period.

I just received word I was bestowed a huge honor by being chosen to be one of three comics on Zanies’ 35th anniversary show November 5th along with Larry Reeb and Tim Walkoe. That made my year, and I’m thrilled to be included in such distinguished company. Those guys are as funny as it gets, and are classic Chicago acts. To be part of that show is like being “made” in the Mafia.

True fans of Chicago standup comedy will get to see a show nobody has ever seen before. I’ve worked with both those guys many times before, but the three of us have never performed on one show on the same night. That’s a rock solid lineup, and I’m looking forward to us all knocking it out of the park for Zanies’ anniversary. I’m SO excited! Get your tickets early. http://www.zanies.com.

Zanies Comedy Club on Wells Street in Old Town Chicago. It's a cathedral of comedy.

Zanies Comedy Club on Wells Street in Old Town Chicago. It’s a cathedral of comedy.

Who's this idiot? I have NO idea.

Who’s this idiot? I have NO idea.

Living La Vida Lambeau

July 31, 2010

Thursday July 29th, 2010 – Green Bay, WI

I made a positive mistake today by accepting an invitation from my friend Shelley to go to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI for the annual Packers shareholders meeting. I’ve had chances to go with various people in past years, but today was the day – even though I was swamped with other things to do instead of that. It was a beautiful day, so I decided to go.

There were more than a dozen reasons why I should have stayed home and pecked away at all the work I have to do, but who says I have to do it other than me? Will it matter in a hundred years if I decided to take a day away to go do something other than what I had on my agenda? Will it matter in fifty? Ten? One? Quite frankly, nobody cared at all but me.

What a powerful draw the NFL has. They’re the top sport right now, at least in America and I don’t have any aspirations to move anywhere else if soccer is my only alternative. If I had to watch soccer and pretend I liked it, I’d throw myself in front of a train and end it.

Football is another story. My Packerholic condition has been in remission since the end of last season, but I’m ready to fall off the wagon as were several thousand others at those hallowed halls of holiness called Lambeau Field. I wasn’t the only hooky player today.

There had to be over ten thousand other idiots up there with me, listening to long boring speeches by bland looking white people about revenue sources and bottom line financials, just so they could sit in the sun and stare at that larger than life tundra that wasn’t frozen.

Far from it, it was picture perfect. It looked odd without any lines on it, and we all sat in the hot sun listening to Ted Thompson and the rest of the crew ramble on about how NFL perfection was in front of us and how we were supposed to just sit back and let them do a job they were hired to do. It was fun for a while, but then it got old. It was way too long.

The last few speakers reminded me of sitting through a boring church service, hoping it would end by any means necessary including plagues, pestilence or gunfire. Finally, it did and we took an enjoyable lap through the Packer Hall of Fame, one of the best anywhere.

Afterwards, we had a delicious lunch at a local icon joint right next to the stadium I had never been to called Kroll’s. Wow, what a great burger. The whole experience was totally Wisconsin, right up to the deep fried cheese curds with TWO kinds of cheeses. Delicious.

I know I should have stayed home and got work done, but I’m glad I went. Shelley was very kind to invite me, and she and her family are just fantastic people. Her dad and aunt came too, and there wasn’t any of that bubbling dysfunction that would have come with a trip with my family. It’s hard to believe when things go right. I’ve never been used to that.

This day was absolutely perfect. I slept all the way up and back and snored horribly. I’m sorry for that and I told them, but they really didn’t seem to mind. They’re friendly people as were the thousands of others who showed up today. That alone made it worth the trip.