Posts Tagged ‘The Wrestler’

See Ya Later, Alternator

February 28, 2013

Wednesday February 27th, 2013 – Chicago, IL

   What good would being Mr. Lucky be without at least a weekly crisis to perpetuate my legend? Why would I want my life to operate smoothly when I can maintain a constant level of stress and high tension that keeps me wound tighter than Oprah’s underwear the day after Thanksgiving?

I’ve had my fill and then some of these funky tales of woe, but the cosmic dispatcher cares not and sends more whether I want them or not. It’s like a delivery of sand to the desert – I’ve got all I can use for the next 40,000 years, thank you. Put the boxes back on the truck and leave. Please.

As if I didn’t have enough to be concerned with fighting the weather conditions on my way to Zanies Comedy Club in Chicago tonight, I had the extra fun of having my alternator puke on my already overpriced ‘free’ car. I’ve had alternators puke before, but I can’t remember one doing it in such nasty weather conditions and that made for a high stress 50 mile trek through snowy hell.

Anyone who has experienced the death of an alternator knows the symptoms all too well. First, the ‘battery’ light comes on the dash board. That’s a light that usually comes on very briefly only when the car is started, and then goes right back off. When it pops on in traffic, there’s trouble.

I was fighting to get a left turn completed in an unplowed intersection without sliding into a big old pickup truck coming the other way when I noticed the light pop on and I knew I was screwed immediately. The alternator keeps the battery charged, and now I’d be draining it with having to keep all my accessories running like lights, wipers, heat and radio to keep me abreast of traffic.

The light came on as I was still about 45 miles away on a 50 mile trip, and now it became a big race to either find a rental car place that was open or make it as far into Chicago as I could so I’d at least be able to get a bus, train or cab to Old Town to make it to Zanies for my 8:30 show. I am the headliner this week, so I don’t go on until about 9:15, so that was my very latest arrival time.

And if all that still wasn’t enough to rock my world, I had a radio interview scheduled with my friend Evan Ginzburg in New York on his show called ‘Legends Radio’. Evan is a great guy and we share not only a love for professional wrestling, but also funk music. He likes George Clinton and Bootsy Collins like I do, and was also a producer of the ‘The Wrestler’ with Mickey Rourke.

Evan also manages Luscious Johnny Valiant, a wrestler who wants to become a comedian. He’s a guy I used to boo the hell out of when I was a kid, and it’s all surreal that we’ve managed to get connected all these years later. I’ve talked to Johnny and at some point hope to work with him on a comedy show. Evan is up for it too, and we’ve become friends in the last few years. I like him.

It was too late to cancel, so I did the interview to the best of my ability as I plowed through the snow helplessly watching my lights get dimmer the entire way. My wipers slowed down and my radio eventually faded until I finally stalled completely two blocks from Zanies. I had to hang up and push my car to a tow zone, and then pray it wouldn’t be towed as I did my show at Zanies – which actually went very well. The audience had no idea of my troubles, and that’s being a pro.

Crazy Heart Hits Home

March 11, 2010

Tuesday March 9th, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL

I needed to escape today so I went to see the movie ‘Crazy Heart’. I hadn’t seen a movie in a long time and that’s one I’ve been hearing about since my friend Darryl Rhoades told me he was filming it over a year ago. Darryl is out of Atlanta and we’ve been friends for a lot of years. He started out as a musician and morphed into comedy and he’s a super guy.

Darryl had a non speaking role as a drummer in one of the bands and he had quite a nice chunk of screen time. Nobody else would probably notice, but he’s my friend and told me he was in it so I picked him out right away. It was fun to see him but the movie was pretty dark as a whole and a few times it really made me flinch. Show business can be a downer.

Jeff Bridges’ character plays an aging country singer who still has to piece together life on the road long after his prime. He’s a fabulous actor and really made it convincing. I see why he won the Oscar, but it sure was dark and gloomy. It reminded me in many ways of ‘The Wrestler’ with Mickey Rourke, and worse yet – quite a few comedians that I know.

The entertainment business is very cold and only a selected few ever really hit it big and make it last for a lifetime. Public tastes are fickle, unsophisticated and usually shallow for the most part, so often times people with true talent and vision have to struggle to survive while the lesser talents with the superficial looks or business savvy take all the attention.

This happens in every field in life from music to acting to wrestling to sports to comedy too. The dream window is only open for so long, then it’s a matter of survival. The exit of entertainers usually isn’t pretty, and both The Wrestler and Crazy Heart drove that home.

As good of a movie as it was, it kind of depressed me a little. Even though it had a kind of happy ending, it was still a little shallow for me. The guy didn’t get the girl, the young pretty boy punk got all the glory, and all he got in the end was to continue making a living doing what he always did. I guess that’s not bad, but it seemed like he still got screwed.

The inner fear all of us have as entertainers is that will be us someday. Soon. The guy in the movie was supposed to be 57 years old. I’ll be 47 on Saturday, and I could relate to all the business situations he was facing. I’ve worked for slimy agents too and in some of the same towns in the movie. Clovis, NM? Grand Junction, CO? Been there. Once is plenty.

I talked to my friend Dwight York today also. He’s a wonderful guy and one of the best comedians I’ve ever worked with, but he can’t seem to catch a break either. His act is one of the darkest, most twisted I think I’ve ever seen and that’s a sincere compliment. He’s a master joke writer in my opinion, and I can’t believe he’s not an international superstar.

But he’s not. Not even close. He’s slugging it out like me, trying to pay his rent. Dwight and I can relate on a lot of levels, but neither one of us give up. Life is what it is, and I’ve given up trying to figure it out. I needed a break today, but I wish I wouldn’t have chosen to see ‘Crazy Heart’. I needed something a little more upbeat to help me forget my pain.