Posts Tagged ‘Mark Reedy’

Doubt Of The Benefit

June 28, 2010

Saturday June 26th, 2010 – Milwaukee, WI

Stage fright has never been part of my world, for whatever reason. I have a healthy dose of other problems to keep me occupied, but not that. Going on stage is something I enjoy, not a source of fear or anxiety like I’ve seen it be with others. It’s the highlight of my day.

What does scare me half to death is the fact that I have no health insurance, and I’m one procedure away from total indigence. I share that with many people, not just other comics or performers. It’s a dark cloud hanging over a lot of heads, and I’m sensitive to it daily.

I was scheduled tonight to perform at a benefit show for a comedian I’ve known a long time named Mark Reedy. He’s originally from Cleveland but lived in Chicago for years. I always got along well with Mark, and I’d heard he was having some severe health issues.

Unfortunately, most comedy benefits are complete disasters. They just are. I’ve tried to run them in the past, and lost my ass. I didn’t even make enough to break even much less raise any money for any causes, and no matter how hard I tried to avoid it, someone had a problem with someone else and there ended up being a fight at some point. What a hassle.

That being said, I was originally off and my heart goes out to Mark and everyone else in his position, including me. I’m not immune to having some big issue that needs a medical solution so I wanted to show my support, even though the chances of raising any real cash to help him were slim. I hope I’m totally wrong, but from past experience I’m totally not.

I was all set to commit to the benefit when I received a phone call telling me there was a last minute fallout at the Northern Lights Theatre at Potawatomi Casino up in Milwaukee. I just got bumped from there with a double booking a few weeks ago, and I sure could use that money right about now. Plus, it would help the booker and I love playing that venue.

I contacted the other comics on the show and said I had to take the Milwaukee gig, even though I had committed to being part of the benefit. Guaranteed money vs. a random shot in the dark is exactly that – guaranteed. I’ll donate part of my check to Mark to support his cause, and I hope he’s ok with that. I meant no disrespect, but situations pop up at times.

This isn’t the greatest week to be booked for any comedy in or around Milwaukee. This is the week of Summerfest, only the largest continuous music festival in the world. It’s an institution in the Milwaukee area and has been since I was a kid. It’s THE draw in town.

Still, there were people at both shows at the casino, and both audiences were absolutely delightful. Those who were there were there to laugh, and it really was a lot of fun. I love to work this venue, and varied a lot from my normal routine. I wanted to riff with them.

Hopefully, everyone wins here. I helped the booker who was in a pinch, but recovered a week that was double booked recently. I will donate some money to Mark Reedy and was also able to work on material for two audiences of nice people. I don’t see any losers here.