Posts Tagged ‘OH’

Early Departure

February 6, 2014

Friday January 31st, 2014 – Findlay, OH

This is turning out to be an especially nasty winter, but we’ve been due for one for a few years now so I’m not complaining. If I’m going to be based where I am, it has to be expected. I’d love to be based somewhere else in the winter, and maybe that will happen in the future. But not now.

I have a booking tomorrow night in Kalida, OH with Tim Walkoe, but there’s a big snow storm on the way and Tim suggested we drive tonight to beat it. I had a booking tonight that got moved to a future date, so I happened to be off and agreed with Tim. It’s much less stress to get in early.

We agreed to split the cost of a rental car, and since Tim was working on a cruise ship he asked if I wouldn’t mind picking it up and then picking him up at his house in Chicago. He had been on a plane all day, and I totally know what that’s like. Getting to the next gig is always a challenge.

Tim has been out there slugging even longer than me. He started as a musician, and still plays a guitar at the end of his show – much to the delight of audiences. Guitar acts are often mocked by comedy ‘purists’, and I can see why. They often use the guitar as a crutch, and it’s a cheap laugh.

Those that do it well take it to a whole new level, and Tim is one. He is a brilliant comic talent in his own right, one of the funniest I’ve ever seen. He has a natural rhythm that lays me out, and most comedians that have ever worked with him will agree. He has huge respect from his peers.

He can slug it with the best of them, and then he picks up his guitar at the end and takes it even higher. I love to watch him work, and he still makes me laugh out loud even though I’ve seen his act literally hundreds of times. That’s the true sign of a seasoned pro, and Tim is definitely that.

I picked him up at his house about 7:30, and we started driving to Findlay, OH where the hotel we’d be staying at tomorrow was so we wouldn’t have to move. We were able to get a corporate rate from the event booker and it was a really nice place, so we decided to make the investment.

That’s part of the cost of doing business, and we’ve both been at it long enough to know it was a wise choice to beat the weather and worth every penny we spent. The stress it saved us from an all day white knuckle ride tomorrow was appreciated – especially by Tim who just flew all day.

I hadn’t seen him in a while, and started to tell him of my change in thinking of late. I’m trying to avoid as many of these trips as I can, and get myself more corporate type bookings that are far less demanding as far as frequency of travel. I don’t have the need to be on stage like I once did.

I could feel a separation between us as I talked about it, and it was very awkward. He’s still out there slugging, and I have nothing but respect for him for doing it. It’s a flat out brutal existence, and nobody works harder than Tim Walkoe. He started years before I did, and is still at it today.

I understand why he’s doing it, as I did it myself all these years. But I’m finding my life going a totally different direction, and I’m fine with it. Being on stage is fun, but truthfully at this point it just isn’t worth racing the elements to obtain. I have other interests developing, and the stage just isn’t the necessary element of daily life it once was. I can’t speak for Tim, but as for me I like it.

Tim Walkoe is without a doubt one of the funniest comedians working today. Period.

Tim Walkoe is without a doubt one of the funniest comedians working in North America today. Period.

The Flip Side

May 5, 2013

Friday May 3rd, 2013 – Marion, OH

   One thing a life in standup comedy isn’t is boring. Stressful? Maddening? Insane? There’s a bit of all those ingredients and many others, but one thing comedy surely isn’t is the same old thing. One night it’s a hot show for a packed house, but we sleep on a couch. The next night it’s a four star hotel, but we’re performing for twelve people at a VFW Hall with horrific sound and lights.  

   The next night after that we’re off, and the night after that we’ve got two shows – one is a blast but the other is a train wreck. Sometimes we fly to a gig, most times we drive. Sometimes there’s an opening act, other times there’s not. There are limitless possibilities, and we as comedians can never fully predict what a situation will be like until we’re in it. Adaptability is a necessary trait.   

   Last night I was in Danville, IL in front of a receptive crowd. I stayed in a Fairfield Inn, and it was a pleasant experience all around onstage and off. I sold a pile of CDs and DVDs that almost matched the amount I earned for the evening, but my pay for this gig was low in the first place.

   I took last night’s booking because it was within reasonable distance of tonight – a completely different scenario. Tonight’s show was in an entertainment complex in a strip mall that is trying standup comedy in a space they usually book bands. Comedy is still new, and final count was 14 in a space that could seat 150ish. And there was no opening act tonight, it was just little old me.

   I had the option of bringing an opener, but I chose to do the time myself and keep the cash for my trouble. There was also more pay, but there was no room provided like last night. We usually get accommodations of some sort, but this particular gig came without and I knew that going in.  

   To make it even harder, the 14 who did show up were scattered all over the room and wouldn’t move even after I asked them politely on three different occasions. The only people sitting in the front row were a couple who were making out the whole time. They were all over each other and it was distracting to everyone else who didn’t stop staring. I chose to ignore it and do my show.

   There was a party of four who insisted on sitting in the very last row and refused to budge from that position no matter how pleasantly I asked and eventually how much I rode them about it. It’s difficult enough to do comedy successfully under ideal conditions, but this made it impossibility.

   On top of all that, before the show I had an experience I can’t ever remember having – and I’ve had a lot. As I got out of my car to fill my tank for the ride home, I somehow managed to tear my pants right up the crotch. I laughed out loud when it happened, but I was without a backup plan.

   It was ten minutes before show time, and no clothing stores were open in Marion, OH. I wasn’t packed for a long trip and all I could do was keep my legs closed and hope nobody would notice. It’s a good thing there were only 14 people, and the people in front weren’t concerned about me.

   This was one of those nights when all one can do is suck it up and get it over with. I suspected it might be difficult when I took the gig, but I had no idea it would be like this. I slowed my pace and did my time despite the conditions, and I earned every penny of my pay which I gladly took.

   I got in my car with my split pants, and headed for home. I need to be up early to host an event at Harper College in the morning and then a charity auction in Milwaukee at night. This schedule is a bit ridiculous even for me, but sometimes it works that way. The road life is not an easy one.