Posts Tagged ‘millionaire’

The Birthday Race

March 16, 2014

Friday March 14th, 2014 – Springfield, IL

Another birthday comes and goes, and I’m realizing the rest of my days are now a race against the clock to see if I can manage to accomplish anything of significance. My ego won’t allow me to give up now, but my intelligence tells me it’s going to be a long shot. Either way, here we go.

I’m still holding on to the statistic I read years ago that the average self made millionaire is 53 years old, and has tried 15 different things. I’m getting close to the age, and I think I’ve tried far more than the 15 things already. I’d count, but it would probably depress me. Failure is draining.

It’s inspiring to read the stories of people that made it after a long struggle like an Abe Lincoln or Rodney Dangerfield, but I have to believe there’s a longer list of those that died without a big break ever arriving. My comedy mentor C. Cardell Willis is an example, as is my grandfather.

A lot fewer people than I think they both deserved ever saw how great both of them were and it will irk me as long as I live. Those two were tremendous human beings loaded with giving hearts and master people skills, and despite all their efforts they died in obscurity. That seems so unfair.

Jeffrey Dahmer and Al Capone will be known forever. Gramps and Cardell will not. Why does the world have to be so hardcore and rub salt into the wounds like that? I don’t know, and I don’t know if I want to know. From an onlooker’s point of view it’s a cruel joke – but that’s how it is.

This week I’m back in Springfield, IL at Donnie B’s Comedy Club. Donnie and I have hit it off from the first few minutes we met, and are big fans of one another. He thinks I’m one of the best acts he’s ever seen, and I think he’s one of the best entrepreneurs I’ve ever seen. We mesh well.

A reason for that may be that Donnie is also a dented can. His family history and mine are cut from the same stained cloth, and he hasn’t seen his twin sister in decades. He’s familiar with my story, maybe that’s why we hit it off so well. There’s a synergy and mutual respect with him that I seldom if ever find with most club owners, and it’s always a pleasure to work here. I enjoy it.

There are precious few comedy club owners I have ever run across that grasp the importance of advertisement and promotion like Donnie B does. The late Jeff Gilstrap is the only other one that I can think of that comes close. He was the owner of ‘Comedy Off Broadway’ in Lexington, KY.

Jeff would constantly run the comedians from radio station to radio station most mornings, and that’s the way it is here. Donnie picks me up at the hotel early, and we make the rounds doing all the important morning shows. Many comedians complain about it, but I get why it’s important. It gives his club a presence in town, even if the people don’t come out the particular week I’m here.

Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that will be the case this week. St. Patrick’s Day weekend isn’t the best for comedy, and they have a big parade downtown here. The club isn’t located near that area, so we might have to eat some cheese whether we like it or not. Of course we won’t like it, but Donnie and I are survivors and we’ll keep pressing on. Still, I had a fun birthday anyway.

Another birthday passes, and my cake turns into an official fire hazard.

Another birthday passes, and my cake turns into an official fire hazard.

I'm working in Springfield at Donnie B's Comedy Club - one of my very favorite stops.

I’m in Springfield, IL this week at Donnie B’s Comedy Club – one of my very favorite stops.

My grandfather never got his big break in life. I want to do my best to keep his memory alive.

My grandfather never got his big break in life. I want to do my best to keep his memory alive. His mentoring skills were off the charts.

My comedy mentor C. Cardell Willis deserved more than he got as well. Love ya Cardell!

My comedy mentor C. Cardell Willis deserved more than he got as well. Love ya Cardell! Every time I go on stage, a part of you is with me.

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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.

Schaden-Favre

January 26, 2010

Monday January 25th, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL

I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’m still buzzing from the delightful outcome of the whole Brett Favre interception situation yesterday. I got to savor it over and over on ESPN many times, and it just gets that much sweeter every time I watch it. Like a good P-Funk record, I never get sick of it. I know it shouldn’t make a bit of difference in my life, but it does.

It’s sick and twisted, but I think I’m getting as much or more enjoyment out of this than if the Packers had actually made it to the Super Bowl, and that scares me. The word for it is ’schadenfreude’, which is German and it means to rejoice in the misfortunes of others.

I’m not going to lie and say I don’t feel that way, but I’m glad to know I’m not the only one. I turned on both WTMJ and ESPN 540 in Milwaukee today and there were oodles of callers just as pleased as I was. I still felt a little sheepish for loving it so much, but not as bad as I did yesterday when it put me in a state of near euphoria. Why is this so powerful?

I really tried to figure that out all day. To me, Brett Favre represents all those jocks back in school who not only weren’t nice, but they got all the chicks too. Then, they mistreated them but that made the chicks want them more. I guess it’s also a younger brother thing.

He represents the big brother that gets to do what I wanted, but doesn’t appreciate how good he has it and ends up pissing it all away. That’s what he did to the Packers from my viewpoint and I’m not the only one who thinks that way. Then, he got TWO chances that most others don’t get and it got to be sickening. First it was the Jets, then the Viqueens.

I guess it was part jealousy and part envy and another part cold hard realization that my lottery ticket was never punched with the numbers Brett Favre got. Even though he blew it in the eyes of many, he’s still got a ton of supporters who stand by him no matter what. He’s a lightning rod for attention and opinion and that brings with it all the spoils of war.

There were still a few thick headed morons who called the radio stations today trying to defend everything this selfish hillbilly did and continues to do. He’s got a charisma I will never have, and few people ever will. He was blessed with the ability to play football in a way that captivates the masses, and it monopolizes the airwaves. I’ve grown weary of it.

I wish he would just go away, and hopefully this will make him do it. Even Jerry Agar, who I have known for twenty years, took it upon himself to expostulate his theory on why the loss wasn’t Brett Favre’s fault. I just nodded and smiled. He plays Mr. Big Time radio arguer of political points and he’s good at it, but not this time. Brett Favre blew this one.

Jerry sat and smugly defended how it was the fumbles of Adrian Peterson and blah blah blah until I just tuned him out and replayed the vision in my head and recharged myself to the euphoric place I was in most of the rest of the day. I don’t care about anything else but the fact that justice won out, and the high fallutin’ hillbilly has to take the brunt of this for the moment, and I couldn’t help but really enjoy every single solitary second of all of it.

OK, that’s great. Now what? My own life is in need of a major overhaul but here I’m all wigged out wasting what’s left of my youth thinking about some stupid ass football game. This is wasted energy, and I know it. I’ll bet nobody in Haiti cares even a little bit if some millionaire crybaby had his ego ruffled up by losing a game. They’ve got bigger issues.

I need to have bigger issues too. Football is entertainment, and I have to admit this was one of the most entertaining scenarios I’ve ever seen. But it’s over, or at least I need for it to be over with me. Brett Favre has all the resources he’ll ever need for the rest of his life, and so does his family. He’s a special talent, and very few will ever get to experience that.

Every kid dreams of playing sports or being an astronaut or a movie star or maybe even a comedian, but how many actually get to DO it? A whole lot less than dream of it, that’s an icy fact. I was never even close to being good enough to play any sport professionally, and that hurts to admit even now. No matter how long I live, that’s a dream that’s OVER.

Maybe that’s why this feels so good. Brett Favre’s dream is going to be over eventually and then he’ll just be another schmuck like the rest of us, no matter what he does. Yes, he may try broadcasting or fart around with coaching or some little gravy job someone surely will offer him, but it won’t be the same thrill as getting to be the king of all pro football.

The fact is, the guy had a world class life that millions only dream of. He’s human like the rest of us and however he handled himself is what he did. Maybe in future years he’ll regret it, maybe not. I don’t have anything personal against the guy, and just because I am glad he got knocked down a peg, none of this should capture my attention. Who cares?

I’ve made more than my own share of mistakes that I’ve got to deal with. I don’t have a huge mansion and more money than ten banks waiting for me to spend on any whim I can think of. I know that won’t guarantee happiness, but it sure could help a guy search for it.

On a much smaller scale, I’ve been blessed with the ability to do comedy that not many others ever get. I know hundreds of people that look at me jealously because I took a huge risk and went out and chased my own dreams. Maybe I can’t throw a football like a Brett Favre, but I doubt if he can go up and blow a room of strangers away at a comedy club.

I’ve had so many people tell me things over the years like “I’d give ANYTHING to be a comedian full time.” I thought that too when I started, but I actually did it. It wasn’t what I expected, but there are parts of it that are really great. In fact, it’s what keeps me alive in the difficult times. At least I’ve got that. Many people just drift through life totally empty.

I know in my heart I have a lot more entertainment inside of me. I’m a solid comic and a competent radio personality too. Maybe I won’t be able to thrill millions the way a Brett Favre or any other star athlete can, but I’m just not built for that. I never was. It would be like a squirrel trying to enter a cockfight. That’s not what they’re made for. I was made to entertain people, but not by throwing a football. As disappointing as that may be, I do still have some work to do on my own life and career. Football isn’t my canvas. It’s comedy.

The Opinionator

January 23, 2010

Friday January 22nd, 2010 – Alsip, IL

Even though I usually have strong opinions on any given topic, I never think they mean anything in the grand scheme of life. I’ve met a lot of people who think their opinion is of the utmost importance, and that the world is waiting to hear what oozes from their yap.

Not me. I’m just one guy swimming upstream in life, trying to survive day to day. I like to speak my mind, but rarely do I nail the opinion of the masses. I’ve always felt like I am on the wrong planet, and the older I get the more I want to go back to where I came from.

I’ll get my chance soon enough, and until then I’ll play out my remaining days trying to do the best I can with the tools I’ve been given. Youth is fading quickly, and I’m learning how amazing it was now that it’s leaving. I’m taking on a whole new perspective in life.

That being said, people keep asking me what I think about the Tonight Show situation with Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien and what I feel about Brett Favre. Why anybody would care what I think about either of those things is beyond me, but lots of people keep asking so I’ll gladly throw in my two cents. I know it means less than nothing, but here it comes.

As far as the Tonight Show goes, I couldn’t care less. I don’t watch any of those shows, but I think there are too many of them. Johnny was great, but it was only him. Now it’s a watered down mish mash of mediocrity, with a shortage of quality guests and content for anyone with an age or IQ over 35. Kanye West’s latest CD has zero interest in my world.

What interests me even less is watching Letterman and Leno fire verbal rockets at each other about what’s going on. Who cares? Not me. They’ve got their millions and I’m still trying to stay booked every week. I’d gladly take a $30 million buyout to go away forever.

Conan never captured my attention, even though I’ve heard he’s a decent guy. He’s my age, so that kind of makes me want to see him do well. When they start calling him old, it means my time is coming to an end too. I’m sorry the guy got put in this situation though. From all I’ve seen he’s taking it well, and I have to believe he’ll land himself a new gig.

If he doesn’t, he’ll have some money to tide him over so he can make up his mind what he wants to do next. That’s a nice problem to have, one I don’t have right now. I’m in the exact opposite situation. I have to find a gig each week to pay my bills so I can survive.

As for Brett Favre, I think he’s the antichrist. His jersey number should be 666 and that legion of purple zombies who cheer for that insidious team got exactly what they deserve. He’s an insincere lout who thinks only of himself, and he’s brainwashed millions of apes into believing he’s a team player. I think he’s a scum bag pig and I hope he gets diarrhea.

All that said, what do Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, David Letterman, Brett Favre and me have in common? Absolutely nothing. They’re all household names and multi millionaire celebrities, and I’m a middle aged goof who tells jokes and lives in a basement. They win.