Posts Tagged ‘musician’

Hidden Comedy Gems

October 5, 2013

Thursday October 3rd, 2013 – Rosemont, IL

Once again Zanies Comedy Clubs in Chicago have come through when I could use some work the most, and gratitude permeates my entire being. I’ve got several random fill in dates scattered through the rest of the year, and I couldn’t be happier. I can pay some bills but still remain local.

The openings are at all three of their Chicago area clubs and at all positions on the shows. One night I might be the headliner, and the very next I might feature or host. Normally that’s not how a club books an act and it’s a dangerous game to play politically, but Zanies and I have a history.

They know I’m a strong headliner, and I have nothing to prove. They also know I am versatile enough to handle any role on any show, and won’t bitch about not headlining. I’m there to earn a living, and also to work on new material in a productive environment. Being an emcee or feature in good rooms is the ideal place to work out new bits, and I’ll take advantage of this opportunity.

Every comedian wants to be the headliner, but it’s not easy to move up the ranks. I could write several articles about this tricky and delicate process, and I intend to in the not too distant future to benefit up and coming comedians. For now suffice to say I’m thrilled to get the local income.

I have several headline dates coming up soon, but this week I’m hosting three shows at the new Rosemont, IL location. I’m thrilled to be working with Carl LaBove, quite simply one of the best standup comedians in America. In my opinion, he should be a lot more well known than he is.

I’m always bitching and complaining about comedians I think should get more recognition, but I can’t help it. I know how difficult it is just to survive in this insidious business, but then there is a higher level of people with tremendous natural ability who are special. Carl is in that category.

I’m sure it’s the same with actors, musicians, athletes or any other competitive endeavor. There are all kinds of people who want to be stars, but very few have the ability, drive and luck to make it happen as they pictured. The magic formula is a combination of all three – and extremely rare.

I have frequently named all kinds of acts I think should be huge stars, and I mean it. My friend James Gregory in Atlanta is one. That guy hustles his business like nobody else, has a rock solid and hilarious stage character and can work clean. He should be on The Tonight Show, Ferguson, Letterman, Kimmel, Conan or any other show immediately. Find him at http://www.funniestman.com.

Steve ‘Mudflap’ McGrew is another hidden treasure. That guy is world class funny, and I can’t figure out why he hasn’t popped on a big time level. Jimmy Shubert is another gem. Then there’s Dwayne Kennedy, Steve Seagren, Tim Northern, Beth Donahue, Tim Walkoe, Larry Reeb and a whole lot of others who are out there making people laugh week after week. They’re all warriors.

Carl LaBove is right there with all of them. I first met him when I was just starting out. He was best friends with Sam Kinison, and part of the ‘Texas Outlaws’ with Bill Hicks, Ron Shock and a few other guys from the ‘80s. Carl has an amazing life story which I won’t delve into, but it sure is worth checking out as is his hilarious act. He’s at Zanies in Rosemont, IL the rest of this week, and I will be watching every minute of every show he does. He’s a master. http://www.carllabove.com.

Zanies is my 'home club'. They have been good to me for decades and I am very grateful.

Zanies is my ‘home club’. They have been good to me for decades and I am very grateful.

Check out my friend James Gregory 'The Funniest Man In America' www.funniestman.com

Check out my friend James Gregory ‘The Funniest Man In America’ http://www.funniestman.com

The great Carl LaBove - quite simply one of THE best standup comics in America today. What a talent - and a great guy too. www.carllabove.com

The great Carl LaBove – quite simply one of THE best standup comics in America today. What a talent – and a great guy too. http://www.carllabove.com

Creative Connections

February 20, 2010

Friday February 19th, 2010 – Frankfort, IL

I put 350 miles on my car today and didn’t leave the Chicago area. I didn’t plan on that, it just worked out that way. The first stop was lunch with my friend Dave Rudolf, one of my favorite people ever. He lives in Park Forest, IL, which is about 80 miles south of me.

It’s much closer for me to drive to Milwaukee than it is the south side of Chicago, plus there’s always the added torture of getting through the city. If I go through downtown it’s usually a traffic nightmare, and taking the I-294 bypass involves tolls I can’t stand paying.

I was booked tonight at CD&ME which is in Frankfort, IL. That’s not far from Dave so I thought I’d combine the drives. Dave is the greatest. I can’t begin to tell it with a couple of sentences, so check out his website. http://www.daverudolf.com. He’s a musician, comedian, cancer survivor and fantastic entertainer all around. Plus, he’s a super human being also.

I worked with Dave over 20 years ago at Snickerz Comedy Bar in Ft. Wayne, IN and we have stayed in contact since. He does a charity show every Christmas and is a giving soul type just as I try to be. The guy is always working on something fun and never gives up.

I’ve lost count on the number of CD projects he’s done, but I think it’s 24 now. He said he’s working on three more, and a couple of books too. Oh, and a play as well. He has his own recording studio in his house, and he puts it to good use. I love his creative energy.

He’s always been a big fan and supporter of mine too, and I’m very flattered by that. It’s always fun for me to hang out with creative types and exchange ideas and that’s what was planned for today. Like everyone else, Dave has been hit by the economy and has to think of new sources of income. Rather than complain about it he’s coming up with new ideas.

Dave has taught workshops on the business part of music and we’ve talked about trying to put together something for entertainers in general. Music and comedy and most genres of entertainment have similar business models, at least at the beginning and most newbies have NO clue as to how to get started. They’re left to their own mistakes, and that stinks.

Dave asked for some ideas for things he was working on and gave me some great input for the Uranus Factory Outlet project. He has a few connections he recommended and we had a very productive lunch. Dave is the kind of mind I want to have around my projects.

I was going to hang out on the south side until show time, but I received a call from my t-shirt guy Mark in Antioch, IL telling me my ‘T E I A M’ shirts were ready. I could have waited another day, but I decided to drive back north and pick them up. It was sunny and traffic was moving and I know it was a long drive but I didn’t care. I was in an up mood.

The shirts look really good, and Mark is proving to be very easy to deal with. He gets it. I drove back south to get to the show by 8pm, and it was a really nice audience and we all had a great time. I don’t mind driving if it has a payoff, and today was worth every mile.