Posts Tagged ‘Mothership Connection’

The Doctor Calls!

November 25, 2013

Saturday November 23rd, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

It takes a lot to surprise me anymore, but once in a while something happens that does raise my eyebrows. This morning I received a phone call completely out of the blue from Dr. Funkenstein himself, George Clinton! Had I been asked to predict something freakish that might happen today I highly doubt that would be in my top 1000 guesses. It was a pleasant surprise, but unexpected.

Actually it has happened before, and I didn’t expect that either. The band was on the way to do a show at Summerfest in Milwaukee in 2011, and they stopped at the Lake Forest Tollway Oasis on I-94 and George’s manager Carlon Scott saw me listed in the Lake County Visitor’s Guide.

I’ve been a member of Visit Lake County for several years, and it comes with a listing in their annual guide of businesses, attractions and events in Lake County. Carlon happened to pick up a copy and saw my name, and called to say hello. That’s proof positive that advertising does work.

I had just gotten out of the hospital from my diabetes debacle a couple of days before, and was feeling pretty weak. I almost didn’t answer the phone, but I’m thrilled I did. When I told Carlon I had just gotten out of the hospital, she had George call me back a few minutes later. He had been in the hospital around the same time, and was just out himself. He wanted to call to cheer me up.

He certainly did. How many times does anyone get to have an all time personal hero call out of the blue? It’s kind of like a famous athlete visiting a sick kid in the hospital only better. I’m a big fan, but he treated me like a peer. He asked how my shows were going and I asked all about his.

The reason he was calling today was to ask if I knew how to get in touch with artist Pedro Bell. Pedro did quite a few legendary album covers for Funkadelic in the ‘70s, and happens to be from Chicago. I tracked him down years ago and he did two CD covers for me, and the DVD cover for James Wesley Jackson. It cost me a chunk of change, but I had it at the time and I’m glad I did it.

Not only did I get every penny of my money’s worth, I got to know Pedro through the process and now consider him a friend. He’s a very talented artist, but also a down to earth person. I was very much in awe at first, but he could see I knew of his work so he opened up and we hit it off.

George is coming out with a new project, and wanted to track down Pedro to do some artwork. He knew that I had hired him recently, so he wanted to reconnect. I told him Pedro has been sick lately, and in fact James Wesley Jackson and I had discussed doing some kind of benefit show.

George asked me to keep him posted on the benefit, and I certainly will. James and Pedro have been friends for years, and when I suggested some kind of benefit I knew James would jump on board immediately. With all the other projects I’ve got going now, it has forced me to put that on the back burner for much too long along with James’s DVD. http://www.jameswesleyjackson.com.

Hopefully this will set everything in positive forward motion again. As George said on a record years ago “Funk not only moves…it can re-move. Dig?” I’d love to be involved in anything I can do to help Pedro and work with James, but if George happens to be involved it would be a dream come true. If you need a dose of the funk, the real Mothership flies at http://www.georgeclinton.com.

George 'Dr. Funkenstein' Clinton has my number.

George ‘Dr. Funkenstein’ Clinton has my number.

Pedro Bell aka 'Captain Draw'. Cover artist for many clasic Funkadelic albums

Pedro Bell aka ‘Captain Draw’. Cover artist for many clasic Funkadelic albums

This is a  bonus cartoon Pedro did when I hired him to design my CD cover for "Hard Luck Jollies'.

This is a bonus cartoon Pedro did when I hired him to design my CD cover for “Hard Luck Jollies’.

Here's the cover Pedro did for James Wesley Jackson's new DVD. It's available at www.jameswesleyjackson.com.

Here’s the cover Pedro did for James Wesley Jackson’s new DVD. It’s available at http://www.jameswesleyjackson.com.

The first cover Pedro did for me was 'Hard Luck Jollies'.

The first cover Pedro did for me was ‘Hard Luck Jollies’.

Here's the original Funkadelic album 'Hardcore Jollies'.

Here’s the original Funkadelic album ‘Hardcore Jollies’.

My next CD will be 'Comedy Skeletons In The Closet'.

My next CD will be ‘Comedy Skeletons In The Closet’.

Here's the original it was based on - 1986's 'R&B Skeletons In The Closet'.

Here’s the original it was based on – 1986’s ‘R&B Skeletons In The Closet’.

Advertisements

Day Of Distraction

July 4, 2013

Wednesday July 3rd, 2013 – Arlington Heights, IL/Libertyville, IL

   Every time I try to get a solid day’s work in, my phone rings and I get sidetracked. Today I got two more calls that took me off course. I suppose I could have said no to both, but that wouldn’t have been the right decision. My sky high pile of things to do will have to wait yet one more day.

   My first stop was the studios of WIND radio in Arlington Heights, IL. Ken Sevara hosts a talk show called ‘Fly By Night’ which runs at midnight on Sunday mornings, and he had a fallout for a guest. I’ve done the show before, and it’s a lot of fun. Publicity is always good, and it was also a chance to help someone and I try to do that whenever I can. It’s points on the old karma board.

   We recorded the show and it went very well, as we both knew it would. It’s not a matter of the ability to be entertaining, it’s everything else. Ken brokers the air time from the station, and has to come up with sponsors every week. He’s doing exactly what I was doing with the Mothership Connection on WLIP, only he’s on a bigger station for a shorter time. Still, there are bills to pay.

   Ken is much better suited to do a show like that than I am, as he’s a master salesman. He has a flair for everything I don’t, and this is a good fit for him. Does anyone listen? Who knows? That isn’t always as important as being able to tell a client “Hey, come be a guest on my radio show.”

   I get that, but what if anything actually makes a difference? Ken, Tim Slagle and I were on two major radio stations in Chicago doing our ‘Jerry’s Kidders’ segment, and that didn’t make us one nickel. It was great fun and I have to believe someone heard it, but it didn’t translate into dollars. Was it worth doing? Again, that’s hard to say. On a fun level, yes. On a money level, it bombed.

   I hope Ken’s show is a huge success, and he seems to be doing very well with it. He’s getting a variety of sponsors, but he has to go out and sell them. He has the ideal personality for it, where I don’t. He loves to get out and press the flesh, whereas I like to do my show and keep to myself.

   My next stop was Improv Playhouse in Libertyville, IL to audition for a speaking role in a film of all things. It’s a small role, but a film role nonetheless. I’ve done a couple of things in the past as far as acting, but nothing major. I’ve had bit parts in two other films, and both were very fun.

   This role is of a pompous but clueless security guard, and I went over my lines most of the day. There aren’t many, but I’ve always been horrible at memorizing lines. Even in my comedy, I’ve always been pretty loose as a rule, and I like to be free to ad lib. That’s not the way acting works.

   I won’t be upset if I don’t get the part, but I think it would be fun and productive to do it. I got the call from David Stuart at Improv Playhouse, and he’s the guy in charge. He’s got his hand in the local acting and improv scenes, and strongly suggested that I get myself a new headshot and register with a talent agency. I’ve never pursued that angle, but it wouldn’t hurt to go that route.

   They film commercials and movies in Chicago all the time, and I’ve heard of other comedians getting hired for bit parts in the past. It just wasn’t something I felt a calling to do. I was an extra in the movie ‘While You Were Sleeping’ with Sandra Bullock, and it was pretty boring actually.

   Acting is mostly a bunch of standing around, and that never thrilled me. I do trust David as far as his credibility, and he strongly suggests I pursue it. We’ll see if I get this part, and then I’ll go from there. I have enough other things I need to do without one more project. I could use a clone.

My movie debut...for about six seconds.

My movie debut…for about six seconds.

Sun Ra

May 23, 2013

Wednesday May 22nd, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   Today would have been the 99th birthday of one Herman Poole Blount – aka “Sun Ra”. He was born in Birmingham, AL but claimed to be from the “Angel Race” – not of this planet. That alone makes him one of my all time favorite entertainers, but his showmanship is what I admire most.

   He was the leader of a huge band that he called his ‘arkestra’, and the name of it changed about as frequently as his musical directions. There was the ‘Blue Universe Arkestra’, the ‘Heliocentric Space Arkestra’, the ‘Solar Myth Arkestra’ and many many more. He was an eccentric fellow.

   There’s good weird and bad, and he was very good. By all accounts, he and his band were drug free and upstanding members of the community wherever they happened to be living at any time. They were based for years in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, where Sun Ra died in 1993.

   I never got a chance to see him live, but I’ve seen some very interesting video that puts me in a fun mood every time I see it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7_JUShK4n8&feature=related is one link. There’s also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMMWNwVhq5k&feature=related

   Sun Ra was a true original, and those are difficult to find. George Clinton borrowed a little bit from him and also set up shop in ‘outer space’. The whole ‘Mothership Connection’ concept and costume came out of Sun Ra’s shadow and I freely admit that’s where I got The King of Uranus.

   I remember the first time I saw him on TV when I was a kid. I didn’t know what I was seeing, but it captured my undivided attention as I watched it with my grandparents. Gramps looked like he got it, but my German grandma wanted to take a rolling pin to either the TV, Gramps or both.

   Grandma was not very open to anything new, different or artistic. If it wasn’t a Lawrence Welk ditty or a polka, she didn’t want it within five miles of her. Seeing Sun Ra and his ‘arkestra’ sent her farther into outer space than Sun claimed to be from. The greatest ones are loved and hated.

   I loved the fact that he incorporated outer space themes into his music, and that made me want to know more about him as I got older. He was a remarkable personality to say the least, and his claim of being taken by aliens to the planet Saturn made me like him more. He made that claim a long time before UFO abduction stories were popular, and he stuck by that story his entire life.

   I don’t know if he was from Saturn or not, but I do know he was an underappreciated artist and too eclectic for the masses. He was a recording machine, and it is said he’s the the 20th Century’s most prolific musical artist with over 100 full length albums. Wow! That alone is one major feat.

   It’s also notable that he’s a ‘22’. According to numerology, people born on the 11th and 22nd of a month are allegedly the strongest personalities and most influential people. Sun Ra was born on a 22nd, as was George Clinton (7/22). Rodney Dangerfield was too. (11/22) There are all kinds of entertainers, politicians and celebrities born on 11s and 22s so there may be some truth to that.

   I’m not a ‘22’ or an ‘11’ unfortunately. I’m a ‘pi’ (3/14). I don’t know if any of it means a dang thing, but I do know I am a fan of Sun Ra and not nearly enough people know who he was to pay tribute to a unique performer who had the guts to follow his creative vision for decades. That’s at the top of my list for people I admire most, and he’s up there with the very best. He spent his life entertaining this planet – whether he was born here or not. What better way to invest one’s time?

Sun Ra

Sun Ra

The King of Jupiter?

The King of Jupiter?

 

One Cosmic Cat

One Cosmic Cat

Boats, Planes and Radio

August 16, 2010

Sunday August 15th, 2010 – Tampa, FL/Kenosha, WI

One of the down sides of working on a cruise ship is having to obey all their rules when it comes to getting on and off a ship. This morning I had to report at 7am to a room where the staff people who were disembarking today had to go through immigration. There were probably 100 people present, and the line moved slowly. I had one choice – sit and wait.

My individual paperwork took about thirty seconds to stamp, and I was back waiting in my cabin until 10:15 when we were allowed to leave. I’m sure there are reasons for it that are quite legitimate, but I don’t see why I can’t just get my gear and bolt when we arrive.

Passports are another concern. The ship holds all of our passports until Immigration has to see them, then they get stamped and we get them back. I really haven’t gone very many places until now and haven’t had to worry, but now it’s going to be a major concern if the pace I’m going keeps up as I’ll have to get a new one way before I would have otherwise.

Every time I get off a ship someone has to stamp it, and before too long I’ll be out of all empty pages and have to get another one. The expense is bad enough, but the time needed for turnaround can be worse. Some of the people on board were talking back and forth of problems they’ve had, and I’m going to have to watch my own situation to avoid theirs.

Carnival has been great to work for though. They treat people well from my perspective and I have no complaints. They provided a shuttle from the ship to the airport for those of us who needed one, and many did. It cost $10, but I’m sure a cab would have been quite a bit more. It was an easy process and I wound up getting to the airport several hours early.

This is much better than having that high pressure wall of stress to deal with to catch an earlier flight so I wasn’t complaining at all. I took the opportunity to finish reading a book I brought along called ‘The Packer Way’ by a former Green Bay Packer General Manager named Ron Wolf. Packer fans remember him fondly, as he was all about winning games.

The book laid out nine steps of strategy to build a winning organization, and sprinkled a lot of stories in about the Packers of Wolf’s era in the 1990’s. I think it’s a great idea for a book, as Packer fans will enjoy the stories and those who aren’t can use the strategies in a business scenario. I don’t know if I’d call it a classic, but I’m glad I took time to finish it.

That’s another one of my goals on the cruise ships. If I’m out for a week I should have a lot of free time that can be used productively. If I can crank out at least one book a week I think I’ll be ahead of most other people on Earth. I’ve never been one for fiction, but I am a fan of self help stuff so this could be another way to improve my entire quality of life.

Jim McHugh was very kind to pick me up at the airport, and of course my plane was an hour late. That made me cut it way too short as far as getting to WLIP in Kenosha for the Mothership Connection radio show. I made it, but barely and again it was stressful all the way there. We did have fun on the air, so that made up for it. Still, there’s a lot going on.

Perspective

June 8, 2010

Sunday June 6th, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL

For whatever problems, shortcomings or disappointments I’ve had in life, one thing I’m able to say proudly is I’m doing what I want to do. Not many people can honestly say that but I can, and I‘m grateful. I may not be doing it all on a high level, but that’s different.

The fact remains, I’ve been able to survive my entire adult life doing things I enjoy, and I know others wish they could have the guts to do that too. I‘ve heard it over and over my whole life from many people . Sure, there were some bad breaks combined with stupidity to put me in some hellish situations over the years, but through it all I’ve hung in there.

Sometimes I get depressed or discouraged and want to suck a bullet, but then I’ll talk to someone else who’s trapped on the corporate hamster wheel and feel totally good in about ten seconds. There are plusses and minuses to everything I guess, and I’m still slugging it out doing what I enjoy when most others have either given up, lost their passion or died.

I can feel myself coming up on a very good time now. I’ll be working in Louisville this coming week, and I love it there. Tom Sobel and the staff at the club are fantastic people, and it’s always a blast to work there. I’ll do lots of media and also get to teach a class on Saturday, so it will be a full week doing lots of fun things. That’s what life is all about.

This coming week I’m starting up another round of classes at Zanies in Chicago as well. It’s been a long, hard ugly ride to get back to ground zero after all that happened with my ex business partner, but it’s coming around and I couldn’t feel more proud. It’s a feeling I never get sick of, and that’s starting something from nothing. It feels so good to do that.

I’ve got a lot of good seeds planted, and WAY more positive people who like me in life than those who think I‘m a wank. I’m sure there are quite a few who can’t stand me, but I honestly couldn’t care less. I try to be a good person, and if someone has a problem I have always tried to make it right, but sometimes it just isn’t possible. The key is to move on.

The Mothership Connection radio show is another fun thing I’m proud of. I know we’re not making a nickel doing it but the fun is there while we’re on the air. I keep debating at to whether I should keep doing it or not, but after thinking about it for a while I’m leaning toward a very loud yes. It won’t take all that much tweaking to get this ready to be sold.

That’s all part of the challenge I’m facing with everything I’m doing, and I need to have some perspective as I do it all. Not many people ever get the chance to not only chase one of their dreams, but just about anything they can think of. If nothing else, I am doing that.

My comedy shows are better than they’ve ever been, and going to get a lot better. I have the passion and the ability, and my life long sacrifice of becoming a student of everything about the game onstage and off has begun to pay off. I’m up there with anyone as far as a knowledge of comedy goes, and that makes me a better teacher too. I also get to be on the radio too, talking about things I enjoy. When things get low, I need to remember all this.

In Leno’s Defense

May 3, 2010

Sunday May 2nd, 2010 – Kenosha, WI

I read an article today that told of how Jay Leno reportedly ‘bombed’ at a White House Correspondents Dinner, having to follow President Obama. Bombed my ass. Those idiots wouldn’t know funny if it landed on The White House lawn and perched on the petunias.

I know I wasn’t there, and I’m not sorry about that, but whatever anyone says about Jay Leno, he’s a master comic. Period. Master comics don’t ‘bomb’. The audience might not like the jokes and they might choose not to laugh, but it doesn’t mean Jay Leno didn’t do the job. He just might not have been funny to that particular bunch of stuffed shirt losers.

Every comedian has shows where he or she and the audience don’t click. Sometimes it comes from a lack of experience. THAT’S bombing. The audience is usually not at fault, but sometimes it is. I think that’s the case here. The article was written by some pompous wank who went on to rave about how hilarious Wanda Sykes was last year, but Jay Leno wasn’t. That’s an opinion, but the way it was stated made me want to slap that imbecile.

Comedy is DIFFICULT, and I challenge anyone to go up after the damn President, who isn’t exactly the epitome of hilarity himself, and squeeze laughs out of dorks in tuxedos. I have no idea what Jay Leno’s political slant is, but as a comedian I have to defend him for having to go up in such a circumstance. I’m sure he was paid well, but that’s not the point at all. The point is, some never was and never will be who never did comedy ripped him.

I’ve been in many a version of that same scenario. I’m in a room filled with a group that has no idea what comedy is, and they expect me to ‘make’ them laugh. That doesn’t ever happen. It’s a dance between comic and audience, and both parties have an important job.

I’m starting to have serious doubts as to whether or not I should continue to do the radio   show “The Mothership Connection” on WLIP AM 1050 in Kenosha, WI Sunday evening from 8pm to midnight. I’m not seeing much of a payoff for all my time and energy spent.

It’s been over two years now, and it’s getting to be a chore in many ways. It’s always an adventure one way or another, but mostly it’s been very good. I’ve really learned a lot and grown exponentially as a talk show host, something I’ve really never done much of before this show. I was always the wacky side kick on a morning show, throwing in one liners.

I still throw in one liners here too, but I’m the one in charge of driving the show. It’s my call as to when to throw in a joke or shut up and let the guest talk. It’s also up to me to put callers on the air, and how much leeway to allow them. I try not to have to hang up on any of them, but once in a while I’ve had to. The whole thing has been a positive experience.

Now it’s time to put up or shut up. I’ve had a lot of fun people come and go as co-hosts, but it’s hard to get a rhythm going because nobody’s getting paid. People drift off, and we find someone else. That’s fine, but unless money comes in I’m done playing radio. I have a hard enough time keeping my bills paid doing something ‘stable’, like standup comedy.

Time For Spring Cleaning

April 11, 2010

Saturday April 10th, 2010 – Bolingbrook, IL

The people I rent my living space from did me a mammoth favor today by asking me to organize my floor space so they could replace my furniture. They’re getting new furniture upstairs and it’s better than their old stuff, which is better than what I had, even though it really doesn’t matter to me. I was fine with the old stuff, but it’s their house and their call.

I desperately needed to clean up the piles that were everywhere from the floor right next to the furniture to the actual furniture itself. I got up early this morning and started sorting things into other piles and then throwing away everything I didn’t absolutely need. I filled three big garbage bags full of outdated paper and that was a solid start. The purge begins.

I’ve said I was going to do it and it’s totally time. Most of my possessions can be gotten rid of, and from past experience the energy of motion feeds off itself and it gets easier and easier to part company with most of the junk once momentum starts rolling. It was sitting there collecting dust for months, even though I knew I would eventually get started on it.

Today was the day, and it’s way past due. I know I’ve been busy with other things lately but even though it’s a legitimate reason, it’s by far no excuse. In the long run, this will be a rejuvenation that will allow me to keep growing in the important areas. It’s a pruning of the branches to help the whole tree grow taller, and everything I did today fell into place.

The first thing I did was clean off my desk and recreate a work space. It’s not a big desk and I don’t have that much space, so sometimes it’s easy to use it for storage. Wrong. I’ve seen how cluttering the desk constipates progress and I have to keep it clean from now on if for no other reason than it’s a symbol of forward motion. I need a place to focus energy.

I also made room for the three ring binders I created last week that will be master copies of reference for ‘Schlitz Happened!’, my comedy classes and comedy material I intend on developing this year. They’re all clearly labeled, easily accessible and have a regular place to be now so I’ll be able to find everything easily if I just get in a habit of putting it away.

This is a giant leap forward, as most of my things are placed randomly where I put them and then when I need them again it’s anybody’s guess where a particular item may be. It’s been a daily scavenger hunt at times, even when I didn’t feel like playing. This is better.

While I was at it I made a space for all my Uranus stuff and it’s right next to the spot for all my Mothership Connection radio stuff. I have a nice collection of paranormal books to peruse, even though most of them will eventually be gone with everything else. At least it all has a place now, and while I was at it I created another three ring binder for the show.

This was more progress than I’ve made in many months, and I felt like Rocky Balboa as I did it. To the rest of the world it was all meaningless, but to me it symbolized a positive change of direction and tangible improvement. I know I’ve got a long way to go, but it’s a major step to get it started and I’m thrilled I did. Taking action is the start of all success.

I had a super fun show tonight in Bolingbrook, IL at a golf course of all places. They do comedy shows there twice a month and it’s booked by Bert Borth, a Chicago area booker who’s also a comic originally from St. Louis. Bert is very laid back and I’ve always liked him personally, but Zanies has been good to me over the years so I rarely work for him.

He runs a club at Walter Payton’s Round House in Aurora, IL and he’s offered me a gig there many times. It’s not that I can’t do it, but I just don’t feel it’s right since I’m closely associated with Zanies, and they have three clubs in the area. No offense to Bert at all, it’s a numbers game. I’ve worked for Zanies for many years and they’ve been my home clubs.

This particular show was different. It’s in a golf course where regulars come out and it’s never going to be a full time comedy club. The people are wonderful, and they really love comedy. Supposedly it’s been packed every other show, but tonight was about half full or even less. Still, they were powerhouse laughers and I ended up doing more than my time.

These are the kind of people I want to cultivate, as they totally appreciated every one of the acts on the show. Dan Brennan is a suburban comic who’s putting his act together and I’ve always thought he was funny. He did a fine job tonight in the opening slot, and Mike Von was the feature. He’s originally from Baltimore and I’ve seen him work a few times.

I always thought he was funny too, but tonight really won me over. I found out he’s just 23 and has been doing comedy for seven years already. He’s got a very bright future and I see big things for this kid. He’s well dressed and well spoken and apparently his father is a comedian too. That doesn’t guarantee the son will be funny, but this one absolutely is.

Mike happens to be black and the audience tonight was predominantly white and had an average age of about 40-50. Here’s a 23 year old black kid from Baltimore who could get up there and grab them in the first minute and do a professional job. I was very impressed with his skill level and I thought he was older. He sure has the chops and I wish him well.

The evolution of comedy seems to be going in the direction of shows like this and I like it. The pay wasn’t huge, but it was worth driving across town for rather than driving eight or nine or more hours to some hell hole bar for a few more bucks but not all that many. If I could make a living in the Chicago/Milwaukee/Madison Rockford area I’d be thrilled.

Doing shows like this are becoming more commonplace, and it also helps because it’s a crowd that’s a little older and won’t go to comedy clubs. I’m getting older and I’m perfect for these people. Plus, I get to stay home during the day and work on other things that are important like cleaning out my living space. Today was productive on quite a few levels.

John O’Brien is a former student I hadn’t seen in two years. He’s been an unbelievable supporter over the years, and I appreciate him greatly for it. He’s a few years older and a student of comedy, but still likes to go up himself when he can. He has his job and family, but comedy is still important to him and I respect that. He came out to see the show and we visited for a while before and after. People like John make teaching worth the effort.

Ten Topics To Tweak

April 4, 2010

Saturday April 3rd, 2010 – Vernon Hills, IL

Still making progress on the projects. I took some time to create the physical three ring binders for ‘Schlitz Happened!’ and the comedy class outline and it feels great to be able to look at it and know they’re on their way to being created. It’s a major step to transform a raw idea from unorganized thought to actual reality. Thoughts really do become things.

I took time to get the fonts the way I wanted and while I was at it I also made one for all my comedy notes. I’m working on paring all my material down into just ten major topics, as there really doesn’t need to be more than that. I believe if any act has strong bits, he or she doesn’t need to have a lot of topics. What’s needed is to go deeper into what’s there.

Also, one of the categories can be ‘miscellaneous’ so if there is a stray piece of material that gets laughs, it can go in there. Personally, I like to stay on a topic and try to squeeze a lot out of it. If it’s going well, I can keep bringing it on a given night. If not, I’ll move on.

An example is childhood. For years I never talked about it on stage as there was a lot of pain attached to it that I couldn’t deal with, onstage or off. As I got older, I was able to get in touch with that pain and deal with it. I saw where the funny was, and started doing it on stage joke by joke, bit by bit. Now, I have a nice chunk on being a kid that does very well.

That material really comes in handy when the audiences are young. Everyone can relate to being a kid, it’s just that some of us had it happen longer ago than others. Many nights I have been able to win over a young crowd with my childhood chunk right up front, and I don’t think I’ve scratched the surface of it yet. There’s a whole lot more material in there.

That’s why I made the binder today. I’ve been working on coming up with ten premises for this year to work on that will eventually be my final ten. I’ve got a lot of material I’ve never even done on stage yet, and it’s time to start hauling some of that out and polishing it up. I’m growing as a person all the time, and now I feel a need to grow onstage as well.

I want to do more paranormal based material. I love those topics and I know a whole lot of others do too, judging by the popularity of Coast to Coast AM and even my own show The Mothership Connection. I think there’s a ton of funny stuff there that’s ripe for jokes. I don’t necessarily want to make fun OF it, but I definitely intend to have fun WITH it.

Sports is another topic I’ve known for a lifetime but never delved into on stage. A lot of people don’t like sports, and that’s fine, but those who do are rabid about it. I believe that there’s a market for sports comedy, even though it wouldn’t be everyone. I’m going to put it in as a category and see what I can come up with, just to get it started. It’s in the mix.

I worked this week at Zanies in Vernon Hills. It was a major holiday weekend between Easter and Passover, and they only did one show a night Thursday through Saturday. Still, I was able to work out some of those new bits live on stage and still collect a paycheck on a slow week. I’m really getting into working on all this stuff, and I intend to keep doing it.

Life Is A Glitch

March 30, 2010

Sunday March 28th, 2010 – Novi, MI/Chicago, IL/Kenosha, WI

Everything in my life is rapidly descending into chaos, and I can’t say I’m thrilled about any of it. It started with my computer that’s been giving me utter fits. It won’t allow me to sign on line and it says I’ve got viruses. I thought I had protection against that, but it’s not working apparently. If I can’t get online, that cripples me as far as my business life goes.

Luckily, I stayed in a fantastic Holiday Inn and Suites that had not one but a whole row of computers available for guests to use. If ever I could use one it’s now, but that doesn’t clean out the viruses on mine. If I have to buy a new computer it will really kick me in the bank roll right when I don’t need it. I have a CD at the printer to pay for and taxes as well.

I have to pay my accountant, and I’m afraid to even open the envelope with the total bill from my visit to the hospital a few weeks ago to have my knee looked at. My car’s getting ready to turn 186,000 miles and even though it’s running pretty good at the moment it just may decide to blow up in my face at any time. I’ve had to deal with that more than twice.

I know, I’m not supposed to dwell on the negative, but this is just reality. Things in life go wrong, and it becomes a timing thing. Yes, I know I could have been a whole lot better with my finances, but I wasn’t. I’m in a pickle right now, but it won’t take a whole lot for me to turn it around completely. I’m setting myself up for a chance to score in a big way.

It’s been years of paying dues to get myself in this position and I don’t want to ruin it at this crucial time. Computers can be fixed, but if I lose the data again it will be completely unnecessary. I’ve had that happen WAY too many times in the past and know what that’s like. I’ve built it all back up again and have all kinds of stuff that would kill me to lose it.

Jim McHugh and I caravanned it from Michigan to Chicago. He’s a great friend and is like the big brother I never had. He talks sense and keeps me grounded in many ways as I try to deal with my various situations. Hopefully I’m able to be a friend to him in return. I know he means well ,and we make each other laugh at times when we both need it most.

I made it back to Chicago to do a radio segment with Jerry’s Kidders on WGN at 5pm. I don’t see that project going anywhere right now and that’s very frustrating. Jerry isn’t full time there and it doesn’t look like he’ll ever be in the future either. That doesn’t help us at a time when we all could use at least a little stability in our lives. I think we may be done.

I don’t have the time or energy to keep doing half ass willy nilly appearances at the drop of a hat on short notice. Fun is fun, and we have lots of it, but the cost is getting to be way too much with no signs of a payoff any time soon. We have to get ourselves more defined in our own mind so we know what we’re selling. Nobody seems to be buying who we are.

The Mothership Connection radio show in Kenosha is going to be changing too. One of our co-hosts Diane asked for some time off and I can’t fault her for that. She’s got a lot of things on her plate right now. I get that. I do too. My main red flag is with the computer.

Radio Double Duty

March 25, 2010

Wednesday March 24th, 2010 – Milwaukee, WI/Kenosha, WI

Up to Milwaukee today to be on The D-List on ESPN 540 with Drew and Dan. I hadn’t been on in a while and it’s always nice to hang out on the air. I never get sick of it. I guess I’m a radio whore, but is that a bad thing? If I can make people laugh, it’s what I live for.

I still think deep down there’s room for a comedy show about sports and I’d love to get a chance to pull it off. I think it should be both a live standup show and on the air like the Jerry’s Kidders segment. There are plenty of sports stories every week that could be made fun of, and people who are sports fans are passionate about it. We follow it all our lives.

I’ve got other projects in font of that one so even if it is a killer idea, it’ll probably have to be done by someone else because I have my hands full doing what I’m already doing. If I go off in yet another direction, I doubt if I’ll get anything done. Ever. First things first.

I stopped on the way down from Milwaukee and visited the WLIP studios to talk about the Mothership Connection show with John Perry. He’s the operations manager and also the one who asked me to do the show. By all accounts it’s going very well, and I asked to have a fourth hour added as soon as possible. We’re starting to feel cramped with three.

What a splendid problem to have, not enough air time to squeeze everything in! Growth brings more responsibility with it, but I think we’ll be fine. We were nervous about going to three hours, and that was no big deal after one week. Four hours is a lot different. It’s a jump the size of going from feature to headliner in comedy. Now we’re with the big boys.

Joey O’Shey knows some people who have syndication connections and Kipper McGee has been working with FM talk stations so that’s the next step. I need to get my chops for a four hour show rather than three, and then start sending out recordings of it to get hired.

WLIP is fun, but we could use a bigger studio for all the guests and drop bys we have in on a regular basis. I’d also like a chance to be on the AM station in Waukegan, IL at some point, WKRS. It’s the same company but I’m not sure what’s going on over there now.

Right now, I’m delighted we got bumped up to four hours starting this week. That’s the first step, and all I had to do was ask for it. Next comes the website reboot and start to put podcasts up on it and develop fans. We’ve got a few scattered all over North America but I want to really make it grow exponentially. Part of it is marketing, but only about 98%.

I sent out emails to the other people who’ve ever been on the show and told them what I wanted to do and that they were all invited on the trip. This is one thing I don’t feel badly about at all. Who consciously wants to be The King of Uranus? Nobody. This gig is mine.

ESPN 540 was fun, and I’ll go as long as they’ll have me. WLIP was business. If I don’t keep the show progressing, there’s no reason to keep doing it. I think with just a few solid ideas we can really take the show to a higher level. I want money coming out of Uranus.

It’s also my brother Larry’s 49th birthday. He hasn’t talked to me in years, but not nearly as long as my sister Tammy. That icy wall is celebrating 17 years pretty soon and has not shown any signs of crumbling. I’ll give her credit, she sure knows how to hold a grudge.

I think all of this is stupid, but I have to look inward to find out why it’s happening. I’ve got two full siblings and a half brother, and none of them will talk to me. Silence. They’re obviously angry about something, even though I’ve tried patching things up for as long as I can remember. I’ve also reached out to my nieces and nephews. They blow me off too.

In no way do I think I’m perfect or better than any of them, and in fact that’s why I want to make peace. We all came up in an insane environment that no human child should ever have to endure, and as adults we should have the opportunity to heal. I was very angry for a lot of years, and it bled over into all facets of my life including comedy. It was a mess.

It really bothered me and I never thought I was ready to raise my own family because of all the issues I had with the one I was born into. I’m sure many people do exactly that and start the horrific cycle all over again. That was the last thing I wanted to do, and I worked a lot of things out over the years on my own, and with the help of others. Life is difficult.

Now is the best time of my life by far. I’m able to enjoy things as they come and I’m in a very laid back easygoing mindset. I still flare up once in a while, but not even close to a level I used to live with daily before. Maybe part of that comes from aging, and if it does, great! I’m glad to get older. Maybe I can finish my life strong rather than burn out early.

I know there are other siblings who haven’t spoken in years, and maybe that’s not such a bad thing. My wacky Aunt Charlene died a few years ago, and she hadn’t spoken to her sister in about 25 years. My cousin Brett hadn’t talked to his mother in a few years either and when she died he called his aunt to tell her that her sister died. They had a nice talk.

Charlene’s nickname was ‘Mack’. I never did find out why everyone called her that, but everyone did. Me too. ‘Auntie Mack’ was what I remember calling her as a kid, and I saw then she was off her rocker. She clashed with everyone in the family and when she finally did die, nobody missed her. Like my father, there weren’t enough people for a funeral.

Maybe I’m the Auntie Mack of my siblings. They all think I’m the one off my rocker so they just ignore me and think I’ll go away. We’ll all go away at some point, but I wish we could at least see each other one more time and look each other in the eye and let it all go.

I’ve never denied I’m crazy, but crazy doesn’t mean insane and it doesn’t mean I don’t have feelings either. I’m unorthodox in many ways to say the least, but I’ve never tried to hurt anyone. I said some very stupid things I’m very sorry I said, but that was years ago.

This really is the best time in my life. I’m doing radio shows and comedy and planning all kinds of fun stuff like comedy classes and Uranus Factory Outlet and thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people enjoy my work. I wish the family situation would heal.