Posts Tagged ‘Late Night Catechism’

Art Appreciation

October 30, 2013

Sunday October 27th, 2013 – Springfield, IL/Madison, WI

I took a detour home from Springfield, IL today and drove up to Madison, WI to hang out with my friend Art Hinty. Art is a seasoned sportswriter by trade, and has an extremely creative mind. He has done standup comedy for years, and was part of Doug Stanhope’s inner circle for a while.

Like me, Art is originally from Milwaukee. He moved to the suburb of Sussex as a kid, but it’s not all that far from the city so he is very familiar with all things local. He totally gets where I am trying to go with my “Schlitz Happened!” show, and I wanted to pick his brain for my next run.

He’s already been very helpful with input, and I give him total credit. He’s the one that thought of the tag line “An Old Milwaukee Blatz from the Pabst” after I told him what my title was. He’s the perfect sounding board to bounce ideas off of, because he gets both comedy and local flavor.

Art came out to see the show when I was at Northern Lights Theatre at Potawatomi Casino last April, and took the time to write out a detailed three page critique and make suggestions of how I could grow it into a local hit. He was dead on with his observations, and I appreciate his interest.

I never thought I was smart enough to pull this project off by myself. I knew going in I’d need plenty of help and support, and I’ve gotten it from a lot of talented people. Vicki Quade of “Late Night Catechism” and many other successful plays has been very supportive, and she drove up in April from Chicago to not only see the show but bring a friend with clout who could help sell it.

Bob Rech and the entire staff at Northern Lights Theatre have been unbelievably supportive, as has Joe San Felippo from Bonkerz Comedy Clubs. He books the comedy shows in the theatre on Saturday nights, and gave me the thumbs up for the trial run in April. I’m grateful to everybody.

I’m going to need a lot more help and support, but I feel supremely confident that it will come. I have another run set to go in December, and I’m gearing up to make major improvements. I am still in the very beginning stages, and smart decisions need to be made as the show gets rolling.

Eventually I want to have local corporate sponsorship and a line of merchandise to sell, but for now I need to keep fleshing out the show and making it solid. I experimented a lot in April, and I also learned a lot. The audiences were there, and they got what I was talking about. That’s great, but now I need to take it to the next level and craft an actual set show that I can polish for years.

Art is the perfect choice to consult for this, and I bought him dinner at Longhorn Steak House as appreciation not only for his time and ideas, but for a really nice thing he did for me years ago when I was going to do my appearance on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS TV. He passed the hat and asked local comedians to donate for my trip to LA. What a sweet gesture.

Getting money out of comedians for anything is nothing short of miraculous, and I never forgot how kind it was for him to do that. Art is a wonderful and talented person, and that alone made it worth my trip to thank him for doing that. As an added bonus, we watched the Packers stomp the purple out of the nefarious Minnesota Vikings and that was the perfect way to end the day. Steak and football can never go wrong, nor can comedy and friendship. http://www.schlitzhappened.com.

Art Hinty - sports writer, comedian, creative sounding board

Art Hinty – sports writer, comedian and creative sounding board

Schlitz Times Six

April 22, 2013

Saturday April 20th, 2013 – Milwaukee, WI

   Tonight was round three of the ‘Schlitz Happened!’ experiment, and things are still looking up in every direction. Both shows were once again well attended, and audiences tonight were better than last week’s by far. These people were exactly who the show was meant for, and they got it.

   A big part of the reason was that I had a lot of friends come out to each show. I’m flattered and grateful they came to support, but unfortunately I can’t depend on that for the long term. If this is going to fly with eagles I will have to find a way to get strangers to come and keep coming back.

   That’s not to say strangers didn’t show up tonight – they totally did. They were into what I was doing, and it gave me hope that I actually do have a winning product that has some legs. I have a very long way to go though, and I know it. But at least I feel all my sweat effort will be worth it. 

   These shows were only numbers 5 and 6, but I could feel significant growth and improvements from the other four and I’m sure I will next week also. There are all kinds of ingredients required to create a finished product of anything, and this is nowhere close to being a finished product yet.     

   This is the time for trial and error and refinement, and that’s what I’m doing. My friends aren’t going to be the ones to put this show over, but unfortunately they’re the ones who have to watch the baby’s first steps. They’re usually not smooth, even though it can be fun to watch it firsthand.  

   I’m still very much in the baby steps phase of this project. I see a clear vision in my mind’s eye of where I want it to go, but I’m nowhere close to that now. Right now I’m just trying to increase my stage wind to be able to do a consistently entertaining hour and twenty minutes at one stretch. That alone is a challenge, not to mention trying to establish a well fitting running order for it all.

   I have said it each week so far and I will continue, I am NOT about to get cocky any time soon even though I am very encouraged with the direction it’s all going. All I had to do with anything is come up with the initial concept. I’ve had help from everyone else, and that’s why it’s working so well. Everyone at Potawatomi has been super supportive, as have all my Milwaukee friends.

   Tonight’s shows were especially packed with friendly faces, and I was happy to see every one of them. My godmother Anita Baumann brought some people, and she’s always been supportive of everything I’ve done. She always sent birthday and Christmas cards when I was a kid, and I’ll never forget her for that. How many godmothers and godfathers keep it up for an entire lifetime?   

   Vicki Quade drove up from Chicago to attend, and brought a friend of hers who is in charge of another theatre in the Milwaukee area. Vicki is very successful with her own shows about being Catholic like “Put the Nuns in Charge” and “Late Night Catechism”. Vicki has been there from the start to offer encouragement, and I know she’ll have ideas to make the show that much better. 

   If I start naming all the others who showed up, I’ll leave someone out and I’ll feel embarrassed. I felt like I was at a wedding after the show as I was shaking a long line of hands from David Lee and Mark Krueger and their wives from my old 93QFM days to a lot of people I’d either worked or gone to school with and every one of them was grinning from ear to ear with nothing but great things to say about the show. I really think they meant it too, but even if they didn’t I was glad to hear it all. This is what any performer dreams of, but even though it was a fantastic experience it doesn’t change the fact I’ve still got a lot of work ahead. Six shows in, I’m just getting started.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Paying A Bill

March 29, 2010

Saturday March 27th, 2010 – Dearborn, MI/Novi, MI

Life is still pretty good even though the show last night was weak. We’re booked in the space that used to be occupied by Second City apparently and they’re gone after a several year run. My friend Vicki Quade has her one woman show “Late Night Catechism” in the room and she had mentioned she thought Jerry’s Kidders should try to get a booking too.

I didn’t know that’s what it was when I took the booking, and quite frankly I think I’m getting boned on money. The agency that booked me is in the south, and I don’t work for them all that often unless they have work in the north. They asked me to do this one and I said I would. Mistake. I found out they’re making more than me with their commission.

This kind of thing goes on all the time in show business but it doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it. They asked if I wanted a gig this weekend and I said yes. End of story. If it means they get three times more than they’re paying me, technically it’s none of my bee’s wax. Too bad life isn’t always technical. Sometimes it’s gut feelings and mine got kicked.

Still, if I turned this down, there would have been hundreds of comics proud to take my place so I just shut up and did my job. Last night was not fun at all, but tonight’s audience came out to laugh. They were well dressed and polite and the house was packed out wall to wall. I knew I’d like them in the first ten seconds, and I kept it up throughout my show.

They were fun but the real fun was seeing to it my friend Bill Mihalic got up to do a few minutes to open the show. He’s a comedy writer and has been at it for years, but now he’s trying to branch out a little. I’ve never met a more diligent and sincere person in any walk of life and if I can give the guy hope I’ll always do my best. Bill Mihalic is good people.

In fact, this afternoon he came over to the hotel and drove me to take another tour of the Automotive Hall of Fame. I’ve been there before with Bill because he’s a member and we had fun then. He’s very knowledgeable, and served as a fantastic tour guide for all the ins and outs of the car business for the last 100 years. Bill’s a student of the whole car game.

After that we went to the Henry Ford Museum and looked at that for a while. It’s had to be at least a dozen years or more since I’d seen it and it was totally work the trip just for a chance to tour it again. Bill is a masterful tour host and knows all kinds of inside scoops.

The show tonight was a lot of fun, but getting to put Bill up on stage was the true high point of the trip. Stage time is like Christmas to an aspiring comic and the was a Saturday night full house that paid to get in. I saw Bill’s eyes light up when I said he was going up and that made me feel like I did my good deed for the day. I’ve had that look many times.

He did a fine job, and afterward I could tell he had fun. It’s hard to get someone to give stage time to a beginner, but I know what it’s like so I always try to be generous whenever I can. I had a little clout tonight so I made sure he got up. Not a big deal to me, but to Bill it made his whole week. This is what life is about to me. I want to work for good people.