Posts Tagged ‘Ric Flair’

Hen Party Hell

May 6, 2014

Saturday May 3rd, 2014 – South Haven, MI

Night number three of the mini tour, and tonight’s stop in South Haven, MI was the only place of the three that I had performed before. When I was here last time, the crowd was excellent and I took no prisoners. Tonight wasn’t like that, and by the end of the night I felt like the prisoner.

Bachelorette parties have long been the bane of standup comedy, but for whatever reason they never stop coming. I have no idea why it appeals to them, but apparently it does and it’s rarely a good idea for anyone involved – especially comedians. Every one of us eventually battles this.

Tonight was a lost cause from the start, and I could tell when I walked in it was trouble. There were three separate parties in the room – all of them sitting directly in front. Red flag and a half. To make it harder, Jerry Donovan was not the host like he was the past two nights, and I knew I would have my work cut out. No rookie emcee can hope to fend off three bachelorette parties.

No offense to anyone, but ONE party gone astray can ruin a whole show much less three. It’s a disaster waiting to happen, and there’s not a whole lot anyone can do about it. Most venues don’t warn the parties to be quiet during the show, and those that do have it fall on deaf ears. They are usually drunk before they get there, and think it’s ok to be the center of attention the whole night.

Dealing with it from the stage can be maddening, and tonight it absolutely was. There was one particularly gassed up bimbo that would NOT shut her pie hole from the time the show started to the second I got off stage. I never knew I had so much admiration for Ike Turner until tonight.

She would ‘WOOOOO’ like Ric Flair after every joke, and it got to be completely annoying in a very short time. The opening acts were all very nice kids, but they had no idea how to deal with it other than to plow through their jokes. It threw all of them, and I see why. It’s very distracting.

What stinks the most is that the venues are making money off of them so they rarely if ever say or do anything to shut them up. They expect us to deal with it, and sometimes it’s just impossible no matter what we try. I was ready to take the mic stand and crack her skull in half like an egg.

I have absolutely ZERO patience and tolerance left for any of this insanity anymore. If this is what standup comedy is, I don’t want to be in this business anymore. ENOUGH already. I have battled enough drunks for a dozen lifetimes, and it’s like cancer – the one battling always loses.

They might hold out for a while, but the bigger force always wins. Battling cancer and drunks won’t stop either from happening again and again, and I for one am over it. If I didn’t have such respect for Jerry Donovan, I would have just placed the mic in the stand and walked off stage to my car and peacefully driven home. I just don’t have a need to fight through this useless idiocy.

I painfully plowed through my set, and by the end of the night I was about ready to take a hot bath and slit my wrists like Pantangeli in The Godfather Part 2. Phil Anglin came out to see me and that made it worse. He’s one of my most loyal fans, and he drove two hours to see the show. He brought his friend Joe, and they both thought I was great. I thanked them, but I felt SO low.

I guess they weren’t the only ones that liked the show. I had people lined up to tell me they’d really had fun, and Jerry’s wife reported to Jerry that it was a killer night. I sure didn’t see that from my perspective, but I’ll let them think what they think. Still, I loathe bachelorette parties.

Bachelorette parties are almost always hell for comedians. They never look like this...

Bachelorette parties are almost always hell for comedians. They never look like this…

....but frequently behave like this.

….but frequently behave like this.

Comedian Tim Slagle has a classic comedy bit about bachelorette parties. www.timslagle.com.

Comedian Tim Slagle has a classic comedy bit about bachelorette parties. http://www.timslagle.com.

Nature Boy

April 26, 2013

Wednesday April 24th, 2013 – Fox Lake , IL

   I was watching some old wrestling videos on You Tube today, and ran across a name I hadn’t heard in years – Roger “Nature Boy” Kirby. He wasn’t a major star, but I always liked his name. I never saw Buddy Rogers who also used the “Nature Boy” moniker, as did the great Ric Flair.

   I used to regularly see live matches from about age 12 or 13 on, and the promotion that came to Milwaukee where I grew up was the American Wrestling Association, or A.W.A. In retrospect, it was one of the very best promotions of the old territory days and my high school years were right in the middle of a golden era. There was top flight talent then, and growing up I was a huge fan.

   There were also quite a few fans in my high school, and we often talked about wrestling events just like we’d talk about baseball or football. It was very popular, and nobody cared if it was real or not because of the colorful personalities. Those guys knew how to entertain live and on TV.

   Roger Kirby only wrestled in the A.W.A. for a short time, but he was a bleach blonde bad guy who played an arrogant character. He had huge legs, and apparently really broke an actual world record for leg pressing a staggering amount I can’t remember, but I think it was around 2800 lbs.

   Right around that time there was a kid who started attending our high school who’d just moved to Milwaukee from the Detroit area and his name happened to be Michael Kirby. It wasn’t a full day in before his nickname obviously became “Nature Boy”, but nobody meant any harm by it.

   I got to be friends with Michael as the year went on, and I really grew to like him a lot. He was a rather serious type, but a super nice kid who tried really hard. I could tell there was some kind of trouble in his life, and he was definitely a dented can. I’m not sure of what his family situation was, but I don’t think it was the greatest. Somewhere in his life, I sensed he had felt a lot of pain.

   I went out of my way to be friends with the guy, and I could tell he really appreciated it. I knew it would be hard for him or anyone to move to a new town in the middle of a school year, and the Detroit Pistons t-shirts he wore to school didn’t help as some idiots used to get on him about it.

   He also happened to be black, and I think that was an issue too. He wasn’t comfortable around many people, and I just sensed the guy needed a friend. I got along great with him, and he ended up confiding in me later that it was my being friendly to him that gave him strength to carry on.

   Later in the year, he came to me with a dejected look in his eye asking why people kept calling him “Nature Boy”. He thought people were making fun of him, and he couldn’t understand why. He wasn’t a wrestling fan and had no idea who Roger Kirby was, so I told him the whole story.

   His eyes lit up like I’d told him he’d just been pardoned from a major felony. He was delighted to hear the story, and that it wasn’t him they were poking fun at. I have no idea whatever became of Michael Kirby, but I sure wish the man the very best and hope he found happiness in his life.

   I looked up Roger Kirby, and he’s still alive. He’s 73 and apparently living in Kansas City with his family, and I wish him well too. I don’t know if anyone calls him “Nature Boy” anymore, but it sure is a cool nickname for anyone who uses it – at least I think so. Michael Kirby didn’t like it at all, but he wasn’t a wrestling fan. Should there ever come a day when I have a son, he just may have his mail addressed to Mean Gene “Nature Boy” Maxwell. There’s a reason I’m not married.

'Nature Boy' Roger Kirby

‘Nature Boy’ Roger Kirby

Meeting Dusty Rhodes

May 10, 2010

Saturday May 8th, 2010 – St. Charles, IL

I’ve never hidden my deep affinity for old school professional wrestling. I loved it as a kid, and when I found out it was all predetermined I loved it even more. It was a fantastic show, and the more I got into performing myself the more I realized just how charismatic those guys really were. They built personas and used them to sell tickets to kids like me.

Over the years I’ve gotten to meet quite a few of my childhood pro wrestling heroes and the thrill never goes away. From Nick Bockwinkel to The Crusher to Baron Von Raschke to Ric Flair to ’Luscious Johnny’ and ’Handsome Jimmy’ Valiant, I admire them all still.

The only one who was in a salty mood when I met him was Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan. He was one of my all time faves, and to catch him on an off day was unfortunate. I got to shake his hand, but that’s about it. I’d heard he had surgery for throat cancer, and I didn’t want to give the guy any trouble. He’s suffered enough. I still think he’s an all time great.

Today I got the chance to not only meet ‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes but have a pizza lunch with him at an appearance in St. Charles, IL at a Holiday Inn Express. I paid $50 for the chance and it was worth every penny. I heard about it on Facebook and signed up immediately. The date ended up getting moved to today, but I was still able to attend.

The lady who put it on is named Heather Klinger, and she delivered everything she said she would do. I was totally impressed at the way everything was handled, and it was a fun event all around. Her website is http://www.klingerpromotions.com and I hope she keeps doing this. I know it’s difficult to coordinate something like this but it came off without a hitch.

Dusty Rhodes is right up there with the most charismatic wrestlers there ever was. He’s got the gift of gab and really uses it well. He was one of the best interviews of all time for his entire career, even though he never had the huge chiseled physique of a Hulk Hogan.

He was a regular Joe, and that was his gimmick. I remember him as a bad guy when he started, and he was known as ‘Dirty’ Dusty Rhodes. He was tag team partners with fellow Texan Dick Murdoch and they wrestled as ‘The Texas Outlaws’. Years later Sam Kinison borrowed that name in comedy for his band of traveling comedy friends. It fit both times.

Eventually Dusty became so popular he had to become a good guy. He put butts in seats and that’s what entertainment is all about. He did it again today, as probably sixty or more people paid $50 to meet him and get an autograph or photo. Afterward we were lead to an area where they brought out pizzas, and Dusty proceeded to hold court with the audience.

He was very entertaining and had some great stories. He took questions from those who had any, and the people in attendance were very respectful and asked good ones. It was an outstanding event from top to bottom, and I’m glad I did it. I got a chance to give him my CD and he said he’d listen to it. Whether he does or not, it was a very pleasant experience because he knew how to work the room. Everyone in attendance was a satisfied customer.