Posts Tagged ‘Psychobabble’

Showing Off Uranus

June 24, 2013

Sunday June 23rd, 2013 – St. Charles, IL

   A phone call from Mike Preston usually means some kind of adventure is close behind, and it’s almost always fun. He called yesterday to ask if I’d be available for an impromptu appearance as The King of Uranus for his TV show ‘Psychobabble’. I told him I would help any way I could.

   The assignment today was to cover a comic book show at the Mega Center at Pheasant Run in St. Charles, IL. I was to dress in character, and Mike would follow me with a camera find people to interview for his show. I had nothing else going on, so I hauled out the garb and played along.

   It’s amazing what a strong reaction something as simple as dressing up in a goofy costume gets – even at a comic book show. I felt all eyes on me as I walked, but I’ve done it several times now so I’m starting to get used to it. It was uncomfortable at first, but now I’m starting to play with it.

   Nobody knows what to say, and I just carry on like there’s nothing odd or unusual. Sometimes someone will say a line, and I try to snap off a funny answer if I can. The most common remark people say is “Nice hat!” referring to my Jiffy Pop style “crown”. I don’t know why they would pick that out of the whole wacky ensemble, but that’s the comment I’ve heard the most to date.

   The standard line I now shoot back is “Who’d have believed it was margarine and not butter?” – which almost always gets a solid laugh. I’m getting a whole lot more comfortable in my skin as the character, and even though it’s not all the way there yet it’s getting closer every time I do it.

   Any time there’s a chance to practice, I’ll do it. This was an excellent opportunity to do it with zero risk. What was the worst thing that could happen, I get thrown out of a comic book show for dressing funny? That would be pretty hard to do from comic book shows I have seen in the past.

   One thing that made me feel better was that I dressed in a room with other characters that were walking around as well. I recognized Batman, and there were a few others I didn’t know. It was a funny scene as we all got into our costumes with no fanfare. Nobody made fun of each other, but we all looked pretty crazy walking out one by one in full regalia ready to walk around the show.

   There were plenty of interesting characters to interview, and I’ll bet we did a dozen interviews in an hour’s time. I didn’t so much stress the fact that I was the King of Uranus, but let them talk about what they were there for. I am pretty quick with a joke and have had practice interviewing people, so most of them came off a lot better than I’m sure anyone expected. It was a lot of fun.

    It was a special treat to get rejected for interviews by all the paid autograph celebrities there to sign for fans. The look of fright in their eyes as we walked over with a camera was priceless, and I had a hard time keeping a straight face as they ran in the other direction to avoid talking to us.

   Priscilla Barnes was first, and I wish we could have gotten a picture of her look of disgust. She recovered quickly, and after shrieking “NO!” when asked for an interview she said “But I thank you for asking” to save face with the people around her. I took it in stride and kept on walking.

   Pro wrestlers Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine and Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake were next. The funny thing is, I’d have been able to do great interviews with them with my immense knowledge of wrestling but neither one wanted any part of it. It’s their loss. I know I’m on to something big to get such negative reaction – but I got positive reaction too. We laughed the whole way home.

All hail The King of Uranus!

All hail The King of Uranus!

It's ALWAYS funny when it comes from Uranus!

It’s ALWAYS funny when it comes from Uranus!

Check out Mike Preston's 'Psycho Babble TV'

Check out Mike Preston’s ‘Psycho Babble TV’


Celebrity Letdown

November 18, 2012

Thursday November 15th, 2012 – Rockford, IL

   Mike Preston called today, and that’s usually a sign something fun is about to commence. Mike interviews a wide range of people for his ‘Psychobabble’ cable TV show, and often needs a hand to help him with video shoots. His guests range from celebrities on all levels to strippers, and it’s always been big fun to tag along and be part of the adventure. If nothing else, it’s an experience.

Dealing with celebrities up close can be unpredictable, but I guess that adds to the fun. Mike is an outstanding interviewer, and always does his homework. He likes having me along because he doesn’t have to worry about me being star struck or saying the wrong thing. That can really be an issue, and he’s had it happen quite a bit in the past. He knows I’m not going to ruin the moment.

Today’s interview was the former WWE wrestler and current author Mick Foley. I’ve admired his work for a long time, both in the ring and in print. It’s difficult enough to develop a wrestling persona that resonates with the public for any length of time, but he has done it again and again.

First there was ‘Cactus Jack Manson’. Then it was just ‘Cactus Jack’. Then in the WWE it was ‘Mankind’ and then ‘Dude Love’. Then it was just Mick Foley – much like the metamorphosis of John Cougar Mellencamp. He’s had a very respectable run, and I’m sure he’s made a nice living.

My friend Mike Moran has been wrestling about as long as I’ve been a comedian, and we have both reached about the same level. We’ve made our livings at it, but haven’t managed to become household names. Only a few in any profession ever reach that level, and we didn’t make the cut.

We’ve both rubbed elbows with the biggest names in our fields however. I remember bowling with Jeff Foxworthy and sitting in a diner with Drew Carey just like Mike remembers driving in a car with Stone Cold Steve Austin and working in Puerto Rico with Mick Foley. Why the ones that make it big do has to do with a lot of factors – luck being part of the mix. It’s a crapshoot.

I’m not saying Jeff Foxworthy or Drew Carey or Steve Austin or Mick Foley don’t have talent. Sure they do, but so do Mike and myself. We’re in the mix when it comes to the pool of those to choose from, but for whatever reason we just haven’t been able to make that final leap to glory.

Mike has told me stories for years of making long drives and working in dingy hell hole arenas just like I’ve made drives to work dingy hell hole honkytonks doing comedy. At least in comedy I don’t have to take body slams night after night, but the bruises to the ego can be pretty severe.

Mike Preston had interviewed Mick Foley before, and said he was pretty laid back and also an interesting interview. I was looking forward to meeting him and bringing up Mike Moran’s name to see if he remembered working with him in Puerto Rico, but I wasn’t able to have that chance.

He showed up about an hour late, and apparently had some issues finding the book store where he was set to appear for the signing. He gave a short interview, but was scattered the whole time and cut it short to do his signing. This was a disappointment, but it’s one in many that went well.