Posts Tagged ‘The Mighty Jer Dog’

Success Is Calling

February 13, 2014

Tuesday February 11th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

At 9am sharp on the second Tuesday of the past several months, I have been participating in an interactive conference call called Midwest Entertainment Entrepreneurs Mastermind. It’s exactly what I need to be doing, and I wish it would have existed years ago. I am getting a lot out of it.

The idea was hatched by my friend Jeremy Danley aka “The Mighty Jer Dog”, and it’s limited to only a select few others that he has carefully chosen to be part of the conversation. Everybody gets to introduce some marketing ideas each month, and then they are discussed one at a time.

We’re all out there slugging in the trenches to make a living, and everyone is on the same page even if we’re not necessarily doing the same things in the same venues. Jer Dog has an excellent flair for business, even though he looks like he just crawled off the Cheech and Chong tour bus.

That’s no insult whatsoever mind you, as that is the audience he’s going for. He is famous for going into smaller towns and finding some road house somewhere and setting up comedy shows where they’ve never done one before. He enjoys the bar crowd, and usually does extremely well in those situations. I on the other hand can’t stand that environment, even though I’m a veteran.

I’ve worked for Jer Dog quite a bit in the last couple of years, and I really like what he’s doing. He’s carving out his own niche, and going around a lot of the ‘traditional’ bookers that could not care any less about the talent they exploit. That’s not a tradition either one of us care to continue.

Quite a few of those bookers want nothing to do with Jer Dog, as he’s a threat to their territory – or perceived territory. Nobody owns any particular area or town, but bookers often think they do. There are strict parameters of where comedians can and can’t work, and none of us like that.

It wouldn’t be so bad if there was even a little loyalty shown our way once in a while, but that rarely if ever happens. The bookers can cancel us a week out for no particular reason, but if any of us happen to need to switch a date there is hell to pay. But we have no leverage, so we take it.

Some of us have decided not to take it, and that’s why I love this group. There’s a BIG country out there, and a lot of places to work that aren’t in the ‘traditional’ venues. Most of those are not paying a living wage because they don’t have to. There is a big supply with very limited demand.

The places we’re focusing on have not been strip mined by anyone else. That comes with an all new set of challenges, but we in the group realize it and that’s what much of our discussion leans toward. It has opened up a whole new arena for me, and I’m thrilled to be asked to be included.

Not all booking agents are scumbags, but enough of them are to make this conference call exist in the first place. Had they treated us even a little more fairly, we’d have shut up and taken all of their abuse. Their lack of professionalism is coming back to haunt them, and I’m not sad about it.

I’m not looking to do road houses and honky tonks like Jer Dog does. I want to do theatres and auditoriums and even churches in smaller towns. Clean comedy really sells in those places, and I can do a solid show without swearing once. Now I just have to promote myself to those venues.

Does this look like someone who is an excellent marketer?

Does this look like someone who is an excellent marketer?

Actually he is. Jeremy Danley aka "The Mighty Jer Dog" is a razor sharp businessman. Much respect. Check him out. www.jerdogondemand.wordpress.com.

Actually he is. Jeremy Danley aka “The Mighty Jer Dog” is a razor sharp businessman. Much respect. Check him out. http://www.jerdogondemand.wordpress.com.

Wandering Wisconsin

January 19, 2014

Friday January 17th, 2014 – Milwaukee, WI/Stevens Point, WI/Merrill, WI

Plenty of stops to make today – and all of them happened to be in Wisconsin. Even though that wouldn’t raise many jealous eyebrows most other places, it’s my home state so I was fine with it. I had a lot of fun with a lot of nice people, and it shouldn’t matter where that happens. I loved it.

My first stop was at Fox 6 studios in Milwaukee to be on their “Real Milwaukee” show to plug the breast cancer benefit at Memories Ballroom in Port Washington, WI tomorrow night. Getting on TV is never a bad thing, and for this particular event I did it twice. I think that’s a first for me.

After that I drove to Ted’s Diner in Wauwatosa, WI to have breakfast with Steve “The Homer” True. I hadn’t seen him since his horrific car wreck in November, and wanted to hear all about it. I had a similar one twenty years ago, and was lucky to have survived. He is too, and he knows it.

Homer has always been one of my very favorite people in the broadcast business because he is completely unaffected by any of the glitz and glamour. He’s a real person, and has a heart about as big as a watermelon. Every benefit I’ve ever done in Milwaukee he has not only showed up to support, but also donated money completely under the radar. He’s a super talent on the air also.

I would love to team up and do some kind of motivational presentation with Homer. His father Dr. Herb True was a pioneer in the motivational speaking business along with others like Charlie “Tremendous” Jones and Zig Ziglar. Homer understands how crucial the entertainment aspect is.

After a fun visit with Homer I drove to Stevens Point, WI to have dinner with my cousin Leah, her husband Rob and their daughter Janine to celebrate Janine’s birthday. I can’t believe she’s 20 already, and no longer the cute little kid that used to laugh at everything I said. Time slips away.

After dinner I drove about an hour farther north to Merrill, WI for a show at the Lincoln Lanes bowling center that has never tried live comedy before. It was booked by my friend “The Mighty Jer Dog”, and I never know quite what to expect at any of his gigs. That’s part of the adventure.

Tonight was a pleasant surprise, as the owner had done his homework and packed the place to the rafters. He got the word out in town, and people showed up. He’s a smart guy in his late 30s that bought the business from his father. His grandfather started it, so there’s some history there.

I liked the guy from the second I met him, and that’s extremely rare for most club owners. I’m used to keeping my guard up at all times, but not tonight. I saw this guy was sincere about doing shows, and people like that make a drive to Merrill, WI in January worth the trouble. It was fun.

He even had my name in lights on his marquee. That’s always a kick, even though I have zero drawing power Merrill, WI. It felt good to work for a guy that cared, and I know he made money tonight so that’s even better. Would I come back here again? Sure. Nice people are nice people.

Normally the venue puts us in a set hotel, but tonight the deal was that I received a stipend for my own lodging. I wasn’t tired after the show so I drove to Green Bay and got a room there. Life sure is a blast when everything is running on all cylinders. This is by far the best time of my life.

I did an appearance this morning on Fox 6's 'Real Milwaukee' to plug the big cancer benefit tomorrow night. www.fox6now.com/category/real-milwaukee.

I did an appearance this morning on Fox 6’s ‘Real Milwaukee’ to plug the big cancer benefit tomorrow night. http://www.fox6now.com/category/real-milwaukee.

Steve 'The Homer' True survived a horrific car crash on his birthday November 13th. He's looking and feeling great, and is on his way to a full recovery. Listen to him on ESPN 540 in Milwaukee both on his afternoon show 'Homer and Thunder' or doing play by play for Marquette basketball. www.espnmilwaukee.com.

Steve ‘The Homer’ True survived a horrific car crash on his birthday November 13th. He’s looking and feeling great, and is on his way to a full recovery. Listen to him on ESPN 540 in Milwaukee both on his afternoon show ‘Homer and Thunder’ or doing play by play for Marquette basketball. http://www.espnmilwaukee.com.

It's always a kick to see your name up in lights - even if it's at a bowling center in Merrill, WI. It was a great audience, and everyone had fun - including me. www.lincolnlanesonline.com.

It’s always a kick to see your name up in lights – even if it’s at a bowling center in Merrill, WI. It was a great audience, and everyone had fun – including me. http://www.lincolnlanesonline.com.

Boxcars Bonanza

January 10, 2014

Wednesday January 8th, 2014 – Clinton, WI

I had my first comedy show of 2014 tonight, and it was as close to perfection as it gets in every way and on every level. If it were like this every night, I’d have all my needs met and then some. It painfully isn’t, so I savored every second. It was a clinic on how a comedy show should work.

Everyone involved in the show did their jobs correctly, and the results were outstanding. It was a prime example of how good standup comedy can be when it works well, both as a business and a show. Everyone had fun, and there was enough money to go around at the end of the evening.

Jeremy Danley aka “The Mighty Jer Dog” is a comedian from Iowa that lived in Chicago for a long time. He’s always been able to find out of the way venues that have not tried comedy, and I commend him for his resourcefulness. Some of his venues are brutal, but sometimes they’re hot.

He found a true gem in Clinton, WI at a place called ‘Boxcars Pub & Grub’. I’ve worked there three times now, and every time has been better than the last. That’s due to the owner named Tim Pogorelski. He truly loves comedy and was in a band for years so he understands entertainment.

I can’t say enough good things about Tim or the venue, and he absolutely does it right. He does his shows on the first Wednesday of the month, and keeps them to once a month to make them a special event. He has a side room that’s set up with good sound and lighting that seats about 60.

That’s enough seats to make it worth his while, but also few enough so it always sells out. It’s a pleasure to work in a sold out room, and all the posters in the place had ‘SOLD OUT’ over my picture. How many times have I seen THAT in my career? Not nearly as many as I’d have liked.

Jer Dog trusts me to bring along any opening acts I may care to, or he said I could do all of the time and take all the money. That’s a great option, but I wanted to give stage time to people that I like and respect, and know could use it in front of a hot audience. I’m happy to share the wealth.

I chose to have two acts tonight, and both of them knocked it out of the park. Trevor Burke was first up, and he nailed it. He’s 12 years old, and his dad Joe had asked if I could get Trevor up on stage whenever possible. I’m always happy to help, and it was a fun adventure for them to have a show – on a school night no less. How cool would it have been for me to do comedy at that age?

Next up was Caryn Ruby. Caryn works as hard as anyone I know to polish her chops as both a comedienne and an actress. She lived in LA for years, but is back here helping her father with his real estate business. She really appreciates the stage time, and I like working with her whenever I can. She handles her business impeccably, and I learn from her every time we talk. It’s win/win.

The show was at 7:30, and that meant we were done just after 9pm. The crowd was as red hot as I remembered, and I hosted the show and brought up special guests Trevor and Caryn. That’s how they do it in Boston, and I always liked that format. Tim was all for it, and it was a big hit.

Absolutely everyone was happy at the end of the night, and we all got paid an amount we could live with – especially for a Wednesday night in January. This was a super way to kick off 2014.

Few would believe that Boxcars Pub &  Grub in Clinton, WI would have one of the best one nighter comedy shows around, but it totally does. Owner Tim Pogorelski is on the ball, and does it right. www.boxcarspub.com.

Few would believe that Boxcars Pub & Grub in Clinton, WI would have one of the best one nighter comedy shows around, but it totally does. Owner Tim Pogorelski is on the ball, and does everything right. What a gig! http://www.boxcarspub.com.

Jeremy Danley aka "The Mighty Jer Dog" is a comedian who finds venues to promote shows. He's a hustler, but in the best possible way. He's a terrific marketer, and I love working with him and for him anytime.

Jeremy Danley aka “The Mighty Jer Dog” is a comedian who finds his own venues to promote shows. He’s a hustler, and in the best possible way. He’s a terrific marketer, and I love working with and for him anytime.

12 year old comedy sensation Trevor Burke got to do comedy on a school night. How many 12 year olds can say THAT? He did great too. I'll be driving his limo some day - hopefully soon. www.trevorburke.com.

12 year old comedy sensation Trevor Burke got to do comedy on a school night. How many 12 year olds can say THAT? He did great too. I’ll be driving his limo some day – hopefully soon. http://www.trevorburke.com.

Caryn Ruby was on the show too. She works as hard at the business as anyone I've met in a long time. Her success is overdue, but on the way. www.carynruby.com.

Caryn Ruby was on the show too. She works as hard at the business as anyone I know. Her national success is overdue, but on the way. Watch for her. http://www.carynruby.com.