Posts Tagged ‘Parliament’

What’s An Enviromedian?

May 28, 2013

Sunday May 26th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

  Nobody appreciates quality entertainment more than an entertainer. I’m a loyal and rabid fan of anything well done, but obviously standup comedy holds a special place in my heart and always has. I loved it before I did it, and my love for it was what drew me to it. I never grow tired of it.

   I think that makes me a perfect candidate to be a producer of product for other comedians. I am a lifelong fan of the craft, and who better would there be to inject a set of ‘fresh eyes’ into what a comedian does to best showcase his or her talent to the public? I feel as if I’m uniquely qualified.

   I got my chance a while back when I produced a live DVD project for my friend James Wesley Jackson, aka ‘The Enviromedian’. This was a thrill on many levels. First, James used to tour with George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic for years. That alone puts him in my Hall of Fame for life. Anyone who knows me knows I love the PFunk – even though nobody can figure out why.

   For whatever reason, I was sucked in as a kid when I first heard it on the radio and I still love it today. It’s well done entertainment and then some, and I respect the immense effort it must have taken to pull off such a huge project. James got to witness it first hand, and still be a comedian.

   Second, James is flat out one of THE sweetest human beings I have ever encountered. He has a laid back friendliness that shines on stage, and you can’t help but love the guy. He’s got his own unique style, and the first time I met him we hit it off instantly. Part of it was the fact that I knew of his pedigree with the PFunk, and another part was two fellow comedians sharing our histories.

   Whatever the case, I wanted to start producing other performers. I can think of more than just a handful who don’t have top quality recording projects out in my opinion, and that’s not meant to be an insult. Most of us are focused on our performing and just trying to stay alive that taking the time to crank out product never manifests itself. I know how hard it was to do my own products.

    I also suffer from a common ailment of not being able to sell my own stuff well, but can go all out with someone else’s. I believe in James as a comic and a person, and it was my pleasure to be the one to head up this project. It was recorded a couple of years ago now, but my hospitalization fiasco of 2011 has held it up along with other obstacles in my path. It’s been a long time coming.

   Now, I have FINALLY gotten my head out of Uranus and had 100 promo copies made to start sending them out. I don’t know exactly who to send them to, but I have them. I invested my last nickel getting this done, but I felt I owed it to James and myself to finish what I said I would do.

   Fellow comedian Mike Preston was the technical person, and I hired him to record the show at a place called ‘Asbury’s’ in the Chicago area. It’s a country club of all things, but James knocked it so far out of the park it might as well have been Carnegie Hall. It was a very special experience to be there that night, and for once the hot show was the one that got recorded. It came out great.

   I hired legendary PFunk artist Pedro Bell to do the cover art, and fans will be able to recognize it instantly. It took a long time to get this far, but I am proud to say I did it. Now I need to stretch it further and start selling some product. Not only that, I’d love to get a chance to produce several more comedians I’m a fan of. Names that come to mind are talented guys like Bill Gorgo, Jimmy McHugh, Jim Wiggins, Tim Walkoe, Tim Northern and so many more. George Clinton produced a lot of music acts beside his own. I’d be delighted to do the same with a variety of comedy acts.

The Enviromedian is BACK!

The Enviromedian is BACK!

James Wesley Jackson

James Wesley Jackson

The Luck Of The Germans

July 23, 2010

Thursday July 22nd, 2010 – Milwaukee, WI

One year ago today, I made my national television debut on “The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson” on CBS. Tonight I made my featured festival debut in my hometown of Milwaukee at German Fest in front of three people, and then it rained so hard the festival closed and the grounds were evacuated. This was a downpour of epic biblical proportions.

All I could do to retaliate was laugh, and the crescendo came when the ominous tornado sirens started going off. At least I had the only covered stage at the festival, and it came in quite handy tonight. Here I stood in my home town in front of an empty seating area made for at least a couple thousand people, in the rain, talking over a tornado siren to just three.

“Hello, Craig? Yeah, it’s Dobie. Dobie MAXWELL. Mr. Lucky, you know. Yeah, I did your show exactly one year ago today and I was wondering…uh, do you think there might be any chance of getting back on soon? I’ve got no shortage of great stories to tell you.”

Actually, I found Craig Ferguson to be a genuinely nice person. I think he’s very funny, and every interview I’ve heard or read makes him come off like a down to earth good guy in every way. That’s fine for him, now I need to get some of that for me too. A good start would be to get an actual interview somewhere. I haven’t had one of those in a long time.

I’m not looking for minute details to nitpick about, or bellyache about my poor, woe is me life. Not at all. Actually, things are going pretty well right now. This last year has not been bad at all. I’ve worked constantly, doing interesting things I really enjoy. I’ve gotten many accolades for not only my appearance on The Late Late Show, but others as well.

I had a nice ‘mini run’ by doing Byron Allen’s “Comics.TV” show after the producer of it saw me on The Late Late Show. Then I got to do “The Daily Buzz” with my old buddy Mitch English who I knew from Salt Lake City. All in all, this has been a land mark year. I think it’s important to stress when good things happen, not just complain about the bad.

I just wish it would have happened fifteen or twenty years ago so I could build on it the right way. It was a nice start for sure, but unless I find a way to keep it growing, this may well be all I’ll ever do in the big scheme of life. When the Packers won the Super Bowl in 1997, their GM Ron Wolf called it ’a fart in the wind’, as that’s the only title they won.

Everyone picked them to do much greater things and have a dynasty but the one trophy is all they could manage. They lost the next year’s Super Bowl and that was it. They still had good teams for a while, but eventually it all played out and then to make it all uglier, Brett Favre had to turn heel and start up his whiny little diva act. And that’s where it sits.

Was my one little five minute appearance on national TV all I’m ever going to do? I’m extremely grateful for that opportunity, but I know I’ve got a lot more in me than that – or at least I think I do. I’m sure those Green Bay Packers including Brett Favre thought they had more in them too, but it didn’t happen. Disappointment has a way of dousing fires.

That fact hit me hard today as I stood on that big stage staring at the empty seating area of a festival that’s never had a comedian before. I’m not angry at anyone, in fact quite the contrary. My grade school classmate Robert Deglau went out of his way to suggest me to the board of directors of German Fest, and everyone there couldn’t have been any nicer.

I’m very grateful for all that, and Robert felt horrible there weren’t people at the stage at the time I was supposed to go on. He introduced me, and had to go take care of other stuff since he’s in a position of power at the festival. No worries from my end, and that’s never been the issue. The problem is me. I should be working more on getting back on the tube.

Have I sent out any inquiries? NO. Have I put together a promo package to send out to a list of the top agents in Hollywood? Double no. Well, who do I have to blame but myself for all of that? Nobody else but me. I can’t expect things to just fall into place by accident without planning. I’M the one who controls it, and for whatever reason I can’t get it done.

I guess I could beat myself up forever about it, or just relax and take a step back to see a bigger picture view. Where am I now? Where am I headed? Where do I want to go? That will be what makes the dreams come true, not pissing and moaning about what all failed.

I feel bad for German Fest, as it rained so hard they lost the entire day’s revenue. I have another scheduled appearance on Saturday at noon, but that’s not going to be any kind of career maker either. I’ll go there and have fun with whomever shows up, but what I really need to be doing is keep building on that foundation of the TV appearance. I can do more.

The cruise ship opportunity was fun too, but that’s not the big time either unfortunately. It’s not bad, and I hope I get more, but the real essence of what I want to do is create good solid original standup comedy, and present it to an appreciative audience who pays for it.

That sentence felt good to write, because it’s probably the first time I shaped it into real words, at least recently. I’m getting in there to the core, and that’s where the good stuff is. If I really want to be a success, I’ll get in there and bring my very best up to the surface so I can use up whatever talent and ability there is in there. I don’t want to leave any unused.

George Clinton is a perfect example of someone like that. I think I’m such a huge fan of his because his body of work is amazing. He kept cranking out albums under record deals for the groups Parliament, Funkadelic and a lot more. When that ran out, he kept the flow going under his own name. And he kept touring and still does even now. That’s a career.

I’m sure George has regrets and has made mistakes, but he didn’t quit. He’s a legend in the business, and those who know him give him his due. Today is also his birthday and he is still an inspiration to me to this day. He’s the creative lightning rod for a crew of talent.

I’m not going to let one rain storm stop me from building what I want. I want to have an opportunity to get back on TV and share my comedy with as many people as I can. I have a limited time in my prime, and I’m still in it – for now. Time to get serious about funny.