Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota Vikings’

Christmas Comedy

December 14, 2013

Friday December 13th, 2013 – Antigo, WI

Who says Friday the 13th has to be full of bad luck only? I caught a major break with a comedy fill in Christmas party booking in Antigo, WI tonight, and I couldn’t be any more grateful. Roger Radley is a comedian from Wisconsin, and he originally got this booking but already had a gig.

These next two weekends are ripe for company Christmas parties, but unfortunately sometimes multiple opportunities come up that aren’t doable and need to be passed on to someone else. I’ve been there myself and it’s frustrating to have to leave money on the table, but there’s no choice.

Once in a great while there are two parties in the same area at different times, but that’s pretty rare. Next week I have an afternoon party on Saturday in the Chicago area, and then I do ‘Schlitz Happened!’ in Milwaukee that night. I get a double payday, and life is sweet when it works out.

More often than not it doesn’t, and that’s why Roger passed this party on to me. He’s working a show somewhere else for more money, and that’s great. I am thrilled he thought of me for this one, and hopefully he can come in next year and get the payday here. They were all nice people.

The company was called Volm Manufacturing, and my contact person was a lady named Tami Stueck who couldn’t have been easier to deal with. She was extremely on the ball, and I wish all contact people were like her. She got back to me immediately with any questions I had, and was always pleasant to deal with. She sent me a contract, and every detail was followed to the letter.

Christmas parties can be difficult for many reasons, a major one being that the company is not in the entertainment business. They know nothing about putting on a show, and often conditions can be downright nasty. Tami made sure I had a sound system and a DJ to give an introduction.

The DJ was a great guy too, and took great pains to get my credits so he could give me a solid introduction. Not many DJs will show that kind of respect, but this guy totally did. His name was Brandon Irish, and goes by ‘DJ Irish’. He gave me a stellar intro, and that always makes it easier.

There were several hundred people in attendance, and it was a wide range of ages. That can be an issue, much like trying to DJ a wedding. No matter what song gets played, someone will hate it. It’s a challenge to grab an audience like this and keep everyone for the whole show, but that’s the job so I did my best. In these situations it’s always best to err on the side of clean vs. dirty.

Indirectly I was representing Roger, but Tami was the person at risk because if I got out of line it would bounce back on her. She was such a sweetheart to deal with that I wouldn’t want to put her in that kind of a spot, so I found myself being extra cautious so I wouldn’t put her in danger.

What ended up helping was a lone Minnesota Vikings fan who’d had a few decide to pipe up at me from the bar. I easily put him in his place, but not in a nasty way and that got the audience on my side. I didn’t have to get ugly, and the crowd loved it. I’m there for them, so I’ll do whatever is necessary to please them. These aren’t career gigs, but they are decent money and every penny of what I made tonight after expenses will go to paying off my credit card. I’ll take bookings like this any time, and shut my mouth. I stayed in a nice hotel and got my check. Thank you Roger!

 Friday the 13th doesn't have to be bad luck only. Today Mr. Lucky caught a break and I'm grateful.

Friday the 13th doesn’t have to be bad luck only. Today Mr. Lucky caught a break and I’m grateful.

Wisconsin comedian Roger Radley had another gig tonight, but he recommended me for a Christmas party in Antigo, WI. Thanks Roger!

Wisconsin comedian Roger Radley had another gig tonight, but he recommended me for a Christmas party in Antigo, WI. Thanks Roger! http://www.rogerradley.com

Tami Stueck and everyone at Volm Manufacturing were both easy and pleasant to deal with.  A sincere thanks to them as well.

Tami Stueck and everyone at Volm Manufacturing were both easy and pleasant to deal with. A sincere thanks to them as well.

Packer Pathos

November 30, 2013

Friday November 29th, 2013 – Milwaukee, WI

The Green Bay Packers are having one of their worst seasons in recent memory, and I find it to be a fascinating case study in human behavior whether someone is a football fan or not. They are completely unraveling as the season goes on, and have slid from heroes to bums in a few weeks.

It all started when their star quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down with a fractured clavicle on November 4th in a game against the archrival Chicago Bears. It didn’t appear to be that violent of a hit, and fans weren’t in a panic assuming the usually durable Rodgers would bounce right back.

Then in the next game against the Philadelphia Eagles on November 10th, backup quarterback Seneca Wallace went down in the first quarter with a groin injury. Again, it didn’t look to be that bad but he too was out of commission. That brought in Scott Tolzien, a third stringer that played in college at Wisconsin so a lot of Packer fans were familiar with him. He performed admirably.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to win either of the two games he started, and the spoiled fans of the Packers who have been one of the elite teams in the NFL since the early ‘90s were starting to grumble from within. An entire generation of fans has grown up assuming the Pack would win.

Last week they blew a golden opportunity to beat their most bitter rival of the last twenty years the Minnesota Vikings. They are having a horrific year themselves, but no Packer fan alive feels the slightest bit of sympathy for them. They’ve also had a great run, and when I was a kid they’d traditionally thump the Pack twice a year. Any day the Packers beat the Viqueens is a great day.

Too bad it wasn’t this particular day, as the best they could muster was a tie. They had a shot to win it in overtime, but they weren’t able to pound it into the end zone from a few yards out to get the win. Fans had grown accustomed to them being automatic in those situations in recent years.

Well, this isn’t recent years, and hope is fading like the paint job on a Yugo. Yesterday was the biggest all out ass kicking they’ve gotten in decades, and it looked like they’ve completely given up in every aspect of their game. The offense, defense and special teams played like Girl Scouts.

I have been a loyal (read: stupid) Packer fan my entire life and I have to say I am not pleased to see how this year has unfolded, but on a personal level I can totally relate. I wish I couldn’t, but I absolutely do. It’s very similar to my life, and I find it fascinating to watch how it’s playing out.

Unforeseen circumstances have been the cause of the downfall, mostly devastating injuries that have wiped out their best players. It has been uncanny how many important players were lost this year, but that’s the luck of the draw. It wasn’t planned on, but now they have to suck it up and try to salvage the season with what they have left. It’s not pleasant, but nobody has a choice. It’s life in the NFL, and life in general. The fans are growing restless, and the coaches are on the hot seat.

Three years ago the same coaches won the Super Bowl and were considered geniuses. That’s a long time ago in football, and now they’re bums. I find this interesting, and it’s a character test to make due every week with depleted resources. This is exactly how my life has been since I was a kid, so I’m finding an even deeper kinship with the team this year. They’re living my existence.

It's been a rough year for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers - but at least they're getting paid. We fans are getting screwed for free.

It’s been a rough year for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers – but at least they’re getting paid. We fans are getting screwed for free.

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

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.

Brettribution!

January 26, 2010

Sunday January 24th, 2010 – Kenosha, WI

I know it doesn’t mean anything in the big scheme of life, but DAMN am I in a chipper mood knowing the Minnesota Vikings and their sub human orangutan fan base won’t get to have the pleasure of watching their hired hillbilly whore Brett Favre take their team to the Super Bowl at my expense. I had nothing to do with any of it, yet it still delights me.

This whole ugly mess is still a hot button for a lot of people, and I’m one of them. Here I am, slugging it out to pay my bills every month, but I still care that a multi million dollar cocky jock who cares nothing about me gets his comeuppance. But I do. And it’s sweet.

When I was a kid, my grandmother used to absolutely despise Muhammad Ali. She said she’d like to go in the ring herself and kick his ass, just to shut him up. She’d get so upset when he’d come on TV and brag about himself and I thought it was funny to watch how it made her react. He was doing his job, and Grandma didn’t even know it. That’s the idea.

Brett Favre is doing his job too. He’s managed to polarize MILLIONS across America’s heartland that either deify or despise him, and they all watched their TV today to see how the final chapter would turn out. Would he lead his purple devils to the dance or return to the bumbling bumpkin who broke more hearts in Wisconsin than triple bypass surgery?

I have to admit, I was hoping for not just a losing football score, but a heaping helping of humiliation piled on to make it REALLY burn. I wanted the fans of the Vikings to feel the pain I felt when Mr. Fuzz Face Favre threw his last Packer pass to a New York Giant.

This was a very ugly divorce and what man wouldn’t enjoy seeing his ex-wife get fat or do something that drove him nuts for years to her new man? Many might not admit it out loud, but it’s human nature. It may not be pleasant, but it’s real. Packer fans had to endure some hellacious pain over the years, even though he did provide us a lot of thrills as well.

We’d have put up with it had he behaved like a gentleman and gone about his business like a gentleman should. Instead, he put himself above the team and it all went south and the whole soap opera started playing itself out. He got what he thought he wanted, even if a lot of loyal Packer fans felt betrayed. I was one of them and I wanted to see him LOSE.

Well looky there, I got my wish! I turned on the TV during a commercial break during my Mothership Connection radio show on AM 1050 WLIP in Kenosha, WI just in time to see the New Orleans Saints kick the winning field goal. That made my night, but then the highlights rolled and I saw the interceptions, it made my year. It was football Christmas!

There are still all kinds of blind sheep that think he walks on water and will support him to the end no matter what he does, up to and including genocide and blasphemy. He’s got a brainwashed base of bonehead butt sniffers who fawn on his every move. Then there’s a whole other side of the coin who think he’s the Antichrist and wanted to see him go down in flames. We got our wish and I love it. But Brett is a millionaire. I’m not. Who wins?