Posts Tagged ‘Tim Walkoe’

Thank You Rick Uchwat

March 20, 2013

Tuesday March 19th, 2013 – Chicago, IL

     I’ve got a jam packed performing schedule coming up in the next couple of weeks, and I plan on loving every last minute of it. I’ll be all over the place, and in a good way. The money will be appreciated of course, but it’s never been about that. It’s the fun and thrill of being on the stage.

After a lifetime of chasing this elusive dream, I still haven’t gotten tired of the live performing part of the process. I’ve become extremely sick of most of everything else, but that time on stage is still golden – especially when it goes well. There are still times when it doesn’t, but that’s rare.

Far more often than not, I am able to go up there in front of a room full (or not that full) of total strangers and win them over with laughter. I clearly see their defiant stares of “you’d better make me laugh, mister” whether they know it or not. Then when I do, they line up to tell me how much they enjoyed it and I see an entirely different look in their eye. It’s one of admiration and respect.

Once in a while it’s a look of horror or disgust, and occasionally they won’t even look at me at all. Tonight was one of the good nights when they looked at me like a superstar. I’m at Zanies in Chicago yet again, and that’s the place I feel as comfortable as anywhere I’ve ever worked. I am officially one of their boys, and that’s not a bad place to be. Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld are too.

Leno and Seinfeld and Richard Lewis and Larry Reeb and Tim Walkoe have all been staples of Zanies for decades. Obviously Leno and Seinfeld have gone on to much greener pastures, but both are looked at with reverence as having been people to put Zanies on the map. They’re legends.

The one everyone attributes a huge part of their success to – including me – is Rick Uchwat. He was the owner and founder of Zanies in 1978, and was an unbelievably charismatic personality at a time when comedy was just getting hot. He had a way about him that made everyone develop a fierce loyalty, but it wasn’t fear based like a lot of club owners tend to be. Rick earned a respect.

Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld still have a fondness for Rick to this day, as do a lot of others in an insane business built on self worship. Not everyone cared for Rick, as he could tend to polarize a percentage of the people he dealt with but that’s what I loved most about him. He was straight up and didn’t mince words. You knew where you stood with him, and I was always in good stead.

Rick passed away in 2011, and I miss him terribly. He was a great friend, even though we were not in constant contact. He made sure I always had bookings at Zanies, and he told me no matter how many people I pissed off I’d always have a comedy home on his stages. I never forgot that.

When I had my near fatal car accident in 1993, Rick had a check in my hospital room the very next day for $1500 to cover my immediate needs. I had to pay it back, but I worked it off on his stages at the various Zanies clubs and I’m forever grateful to him and Zanies for that kindness.

Today would have been Rick’s 66th birthday. I had a rock solid show at his club tonight, and I dedicated it to him from the stage. If not for Zanies, I wouldn’t be a comedian. Thank you Rick!

Rick and Jerry

Jerry Seinfeld and Rick Uchwat

Zanies in Chicago - my home club

Zanies in Chicago – my home club

Closer To The Dream

November 13, 2012

Saturday November 10th, 2012 – Ottumwa, IA

   The vision of what I always pictured being a comedian to be like is getting closer and closer to becoming reality, and I couldn’t be more delighted. It’s not every night unfortunately, and it took a whole lot longer to achieve it than I ever thought – but it is happening and that’s all that counts.

Tonight was as close to perfect as it gets, and I loved every second of it. Jim McHugh booked a Chicago Comedy All Stars show in Ottumwa, IA at a gorgeous venue called Bridge View Center through a contact he’s known for years named Larry Gawronski and it was a big time home run.

Larry is Executive Director of the venue, and is about as on the ball as anyone I have ever met when it comes to putting an event together. He and Jim have worked together for years as Larry has moved around the country in his career, and fate happened to relocate him to Ottumwa, IA.

His last stop was Vicksburg, MS and I got to be on a show with Jim there years ago. I had a lot of fun then, but it didn’t come close to tonight. This one rocked on every level, and it was all due to the hard work and vision of Larry and Jim. They put their heads together and made it happen.

All I had to do was show up and be funny – which is all I ever wanted to do in the first place. It all worked according to plan, and everyone was in a great mood. The venue is brand new and it’s absolutely spectacular. The sound and lights were world class, but more importantly it was full.

Larry and Jim worked for months to make this happen, and there were local sponsors involved as well. Without all of their hard work, the event couldn’t have happened and I knew that as soon as I walked in the door. There were banners with our pictures on it throughout the venue, and our names and pictures were on a marquee outside of the venue. It felt like I was finally in showbiz.

Besides Jim and me on the show, Tim Walkoe and Patti Vasquez rounded out the lineup. It was like a night off, as we all were asked to do was a total of about 25 minutes each. That makes for a lot of creative freedom to be able to go with only the very best material, and that’s what we did.

The audience was really into it, and we all fed off of their energy. I could tell it was going to be a killer show about thirty seconds into it, and when that happens it’s pure electricity. We all have a lot of experience, and that makes it even easier. We’d all worked with each other before, and at the end of the show we were all on stage together like The Rat Pack to close it out with a bang.

After the show, Larry invited us over to his house where his wife put out an amazing spread of food that blew us all away. The sponsors and some local VIPs were there, and they couldn’t have been nicer. They all said how much they enjoyed the show, and it was just first class all the way.

Larry put us in the Americinn Ottumwa, the nicest hotel in town. They treated us like stars too, and everything about this event was stellar. This is how I always pictured it, and just because it’s in Ottumwa rather than Las Vegas doesn’t take a thing away from it. Fun is fun, and this was one of the most fun shows I’ve ever been a part of. Larry and Jim put together a night I won’t forget.

Comedy Conquers Cancer

September 24, 2012

Saturday September 23rd, 2102 – Sparta, WI

   If life could get any more fun than I had today, I bet I’d have to pay a serious cover charge. It’s days like this that will hopefully put a smile on my face should I be lucky enough to survive long enough to make it into a nursing home. I’ll drool into my yogurt cup thinking about the fun I had on stage working with the people I liked the most. Today will be a day I will use as the standard.

Bill Gorgo, Tim Walkoe and I were booked in Sparta, WI along with our friend Jim Wiggins to do a cancer benefit set up by Jim’s son Josh. It was held at a bowling alley of all places in a very well set up banquet room that had a seating capacity of 330 – and I didn’t see any of them empty.

Josh worked extremely hard organizing the evening, and even hand built the stage we stood on. His wife Amy decorated the stage area with a huge backdrop, and everyone in town pitched in to make the event a huge success. I’ve seen nights like this totally tank it, as everyone drops the ball by not doing what they say they’ll do. Not tonight. This was one of the best run events I’ve seen.

Everyone in the comedy world adores Jim Wiggins. You can’t help but love him, as his energy precedes him into a room like cheap perfume on an ugly stripper. Jim is a giant of a soul, and his warmth is contagious to everyone around him. Everywhere he goes, he’s a magnet for people on all levels from other comedians to wait staff in restaurants to audiences at his shows. It’s magic.

Jim has survived cancer two times now, and has just been informed it’s back. He will be going through the ugliness of chemo yet again, but he’s got the balls of a burglar about facing it. He is an inspiration to everyone, and that’s why we all wanted to be a part of this show out of respect.

This was an absolutely stellar lineup of comedians, and to make it even more fun Steve Purcell drove up from Madison to hang out and be a part of it. Steve has worked with all of us and is on everyone’s list of favorite people. He took my comedy class at Zanies years ago, and is a shining example of why I teach them. He’s funny and classy and having him there added to the evening.

To really put the whole night over the top, Jim was surprised by his daughter who flew in from Colorado Springs to surprise him. Nobody knew she was coming, and it was emotional to watch Jim’s reaction when he saw her. There’s a lot of love there from his kids, and that’s something I just can’t relate to unfortunately. I never experienced anything even close to that with my father.

The vibe in the room was red hot from the start of the show right to the end. Tim and Bill and I rocked the house, but we’ve all got decades of experience and knew what to do. Steve did a guest set and knocked that out of the park as well – but we all knew this was Jim’s night and wanted to let him enjoy his moment. He was magnificent, and he did it in front of his kids, friends and fans.

Hanging out with fellow comedians can be one of the sweetest feelings there is, because we are all tuned in to the same wavelength. We don’t have to edit anything for the public, and the laughs in situations like that are pure and uncut. We had a night of them onstage and off, and I know we all will remember this for a long time to come. Find Jim at www.lasthippie.com. He’s worth it.

Just How I Like It

September 20, 2012

Wednesday September 19th, 2012 – Rosemont, IL

   To a hungry man, a cold can of beans can taste like filet mignon. To someone full, the thought of even one more bite of anything is thoroughly disgusting. Situations have a way of providing a unique perspective depending on the individual circumstances. Tonight I had some filet mignon.

I picked up a night filling in as the headliner at the new Zanies Comedy Club in Rosemont, IL. I love working for Zanies, as these kinds of randomly scattered bookings come up often, and I’m one of their main go to guys. It’s a position every comedian in Chicago would like, and I’m very grateful to be in it. Local acts like Larry Reeb, Tim Walkoe and I are known as Zanies regulars.

Are there others who could do the job? Of course, but we’re in the mix at Zanies and that’s the way it is. I’m sure quite a few comedians in town are less than thrilled with that arrangement, but there is little alternative other than to keep showing up anywhere there’s comedy and carve out a spot of their own somewhere. Every club has their set of favorites, and nobody works them all.

This can be a very random and illogical process to the point of becoming maddening. Bookings rarely have much to do with ability, as there are plenty of acts to go around to fill any open spots. It’s a total buyer’s market, and everyone knows it. I couldn’t be more grateful for my status with Zanies, and quite honestly I wish I had it a lot more clubs. I’m still at the mercy of most of them.

Then it becomes a matter of networking, hanging out and also a certain percentage of plain old luck of the draw. I happened to be at the right place at the right time years ago, and Zanies chose me as one of their regulars. We’ve maintained that relationship for decades, and it’s still working out well for both sides. It’s that way at other clubs with other comics, and it works how it works.

When I lived in Milwaukee, there were often two clubs at war with each other and I was never able to get hooked up with the one that everyone wanted to work. That’s just the way it happened to play out, and I’ve often tried to figure out why but came up blank. I’ve given up trying to put a logical meaning to anything in the entertainment business. After decades in it, I am still clueless.

I may be clueless offstage, but when I get in front of a live audience I know exactly what to do. Tonight was no exception, and I had a fantastic time with an audience that was there to have fun. Mike Preston and Ralphie Roberts were also on the bill, and they are both competent comics and people I like personally. When everything lines up like that, there isn’t too much that bothers me.

To make it even better, my friend Jerry Agar happened to be in town with his radio station and bought me a delicious dinner at the new Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, IL. It was short notice, but we were able to work it out and managed to hook up for a meal and then headed over to Zanies.

Jerry and I have been friends since the Zanies in St. Charles opened in 1989. We’ve both come an amazingly long way since then, and I’m glad we’re still in contact even though we once again aren’t living in the same town anymore. He watched the show and I drove him back to the city to his hotel. On the way home, all I could think of is this was all I ever wanted to do. And I still am.

Double Exposure

May 25, 2010

Monday May 24th, 2010 – Kenosha, WI/Chicago, IL

Any time a comedian can get on radio or TV, it’s a good thing. Today I did both. First it was a radio appearance on WLIP in Kenosha, WI – the same station on which I’m the host of ‘The Mothership Connection’ on Sunday nights. There’s a show in the afternoon called ‘Happenings Q & A’. It’s hosted by Frank Carmichael, who owns Happenings magazine.

It’s amazing what a small world it is. I’d heard the show many times, as that’s what was on as I was learning to run the control board at WLIP for my show. I’d heard of Frank for a long time before that, because he published the magazine. Still, it never occurred to me that he’s the brother of a comedian named Kurtis Carmichael who I knew from years ago.

He was a competent comedian, but his ‘fame’ came from being a TV Bozo The Clown in Milwaukee and getting kicked off the air for being too suggestive. He caused a big stir when he did it, and I remember watching it a few times back when he was on in the ‘80s. It probably wasn’t meant for kids, but I laughed really hard. He was the original Krusty.

Kurtis was a funny guy and I always liked him, but his real flair was for business. He’s one of the most entrepreneurial people I know, and he was always telling me about what he had going. He used to have a fleet of motorized ice cream tricycles and hire people to drive them near the beach and sell ice cream for him. I always admired his money sense.

I haven’t seen Kurtis Carmichael in years, but as soon as Frank said he had a brother in comedy, I immediately knew who it was. They look similar, and it hit me right away that it had to be Kurtis. Evidently the opportunity bug bit Frank too, as he’s had the magazine for years. Good for both of them. I always enjoy hearing entrepreneurial success stories.

Tonight I filmed a pilot for a standup TV show that was held at Zanies in Chicago. The show was run by Bert Haas, directly from a conversation he and I had on the way back to Chicago from Hot Springs, AR last summer. I think there’s room for another show like it, as many came and went during the ‘80s and ‘90s. This is just an old idea done over again.

The good part is, it’ll have comedians that aren’t the Hollywood mainstays. There are a ton of undiscovered comedians between the coasts who are too busy working to be on one of the coasts trying to get discovered. Those are the people Bert and I interact with daily.

I have nothing to do with the production of it per se, but Bert made me part of the pilot anyway. He didn’t have to do that, and I sure appreciate it. The taping went very well and it was loaded with great acts from Tim Walkoe to Dwayne Kennedy to a dozen more that totally deserved to be included. I hope this show takes off, I think it’s got some potential.

Today was a good day all around. It was fun if nothing else, but I think it was more. I’m sure both of these contacts will pay dividends in the future, and I appreciate it that both of them would include me in their projects. This is what building a network is all about, and the whole idea is to help each other grow. Two healthy contact seeds were planted today.

Networking Is Necessary

May 21, 2010

Wednesday May 19th, 2010 – Chicago, IL/St. Charles, IL

It’s only now that I’m really starting to grasp just how important building a network can be in terms of working in the entertainment business. People really do talk, and when I’ve been able to keep my name in front of someone who can do something for me, it’s usually paid off at least one time or another. The question is, how can I do it the most efficiently?

There’s a fine line between updating someone regularly and being a flat out pest. We’re all bombarded with emails and texts and most of those aren’t important so how can I keep my name and availabilities in someone’s head without bothering them? I wish I could say I knew, but I don’t. Nobody does. Everyone has different ways they digest information.

I’ve built up enough of a reputation with enough bookers around the country that I have people calling me for work. I do a solid job and can handle myself in most situations from a stage standpoint because I’m so experienced. I’ve seen it all and nothing rattles me, so a booker knows I’ll do the job more often than not even if there’s a flood or a wild heckler.

I don’t know how proud of that fact I am, but it’s true. I get calls from bookers all over who are ‘trying something out’ and use me as the guinea pig. It could be anything from a deaf mute biker rally to a gay lumberjack bake sale, or both. In the same weekend. Across the country. In a blizzard. And I have to be squeaky clean. With PowerPoint. In Yiddish.

Somehow, over the years I’ve been able to pull most of those kinds of shows off. That’s probably why I get so many calls for work today, but I’m still painfully lax on keeping the people who could possibly hire me informed I’m even alive. If I did, I bet I’d easily triple the amount of work coming in, and get paid more too because I could afford to be choosy.

Today Marc Schultz held a networking lunch with some of the clients he books through the year. Those are always fun, so I went hoping to meet some new people. Marc is one of the nicest bookers I’ve ever met, and everyone who knows him loves him. He invited Tim Walkoe and me, but we were the only comedians. The rest ran the entire gamut of variety.

There were magicians and jugglers and a ventriloquist and even a couple of other ladies who book entertainment that Tim and I have both worked for in the past. It was a fun time socially, but also a nice chance to network with people from another branch of a business that traditionally hires by word of mouth. This was a good opportunity for each one of us.

Occasionally people ask if I might know any number of different kinds of acts, so if I’m able to recommend someone and get them work I’m more than happy to do it. That’s how networking pays off, and I’ve had it come back to me in the past from other entertainers.

Tonight I went to Pheasant Run in St. Charles to meet in person with a small group that has been interested in a comedy class, but not enough to make an actual class. I met with them personally and answered questions they had, and I could tell they were impressed by my willingness to do so. No problem, that’s networking too. To do it is smart business.

Psychobabble TV

May 5, 2010

Tuesday May 4th, 2010 – Chicago, IL/St. Charles, IL

What a world class scatterbrain I can be. I’ve spent a lifetime losing keys, wallets and anything else that’s difficult to replace. Today it was my cell phone, which I left at Zanies last night while I was hosting the new talent showcase show. I take most things out of my pockets before I go on stage, only because I don’t want to have a lumpy crotch to stare at.

I really don’t care if people choose to stare at my crotch, and I prefer if it’s an attractive lady, but a wallet or phone in my pocket makes me uncomfortable. Usually I’ll leave it in the car, but for whatever reason I brought it with me last night. I put it in a hiding place so secret, I forgot to retrieve it after the show and got halfway home before I realized I did it.

Obviously, I couldn’t call anyone at Zanies to see if they were still there but since I live 50 miles from the club I turned around and took a chance that I might get lucky and catch the manager still there counting money or something. Nope. Not this time. I was screwed.

It’s amazing how important a cell phone becomes in 21st Century life. I was without it a total of about 14 hours and it felt like I was exiled to Alcatraz for a twenty year period of solitary confinement from civilization. I breathed a sigh of relief as I picked it up from the box office person who let me in to get it. We joked about how dependent we all are now.

I had a full mailbox full of messages to get to, even more than usual. For some reason it seemed to be even busier than usual, and I get a ton of phone calls every day from a lot of different sources. Most are either booking related or people asking me to help them with a comedy situation. Many times I just turn it off and ignore it, but I like it to be my choice.

Tonight I had a comedy class scheduled at Zanies in Pheasant Run, but it was delayed a week because Mike Preston was taping an episode of his cable TV show “Psychobabble” instead. Mike has been doing that show for several years now and he really puts his whole being into it. I know how difficult it is and he does a splendid job of keeping it together.

Mike invited me to be on as a guest since he bumped my class, and I always enjoy being in the mix with his cast of characters. Marge Tackes is his co-host and they fit perfectly as a pair. Mike used to be a social worker and is a very giving person, sometimes to a fault.

He treats everyone on the show like adults, even though it doesn’t always come back. In the times I’ve been on, he’s always let me have creative freedom and I always try to make sure I’m prepared so I add to the show. I appreciate and respect how he runs everything so I feel a responsibility to carry my load and not be a weak guest. We’ve had a lot of fun.

Tonight Mike asked me to prepare some of my “Sixty Second Soapbox” bits that I have been doing on various radio stations for years. He played a clip from me on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and I sprinkled them in between other guests. He also had Tim Walkoe on and it was a really entertaining show top to bottom. You can check out Mike’s website at http://www.psychobabbletv.com. Warning: this is not your typical TV talk show.

Respect For Strugglers

April 21, 2010

Tuesday April 20th, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL

As my hectic schedule constantly evolves, Tuesdays and/or Wednesdays are turning out to be my day(s) off. That could change at any time, but for now that’s how it is. I tried my best to relax and enjoy myself, but before I knew it I was running around and now my day is history. I didn’t accomplish a damn thing, plus I’m behind on this new week’s tasks.

Marc Schultz called and invited me to lunch with him and Tim Walkoe. That’s hard for me to pass up, only because I like both of those guys very much. Tim is struggling to stay afloat like most of the rest of us in comedy and with his talent I think that’s a major sin.

That guy is FUNNY. Period. Marc books all kinds of acts, but Tim and I are his favorite comedians by far. He said we are the two he can count on to deliver in any situation and if he gets calls for comedians, we get the nod. I’m flattered beyond belief to be thought of in the same breath as Tim. I recommend you check out his website at http://www.timwalkoe.com.

Tim is one of many people I know personally who are extremely talented and should be big stars in my opinion, but for whatever reason they’re not. That’s not an insult at all, it’s just fact. I think all kinds of comedians, actors, singers and radio people should be bigger.

Phil Cianciola in Milwaukee is another one that pops to mind. I used to listen to him all the time on WTMJ’s ‘Green House’ afternoon program and enjoyed him very much. He’s a skilled news person, but he’s also sharp and funny and really adds to any show he’s part of. One day I turned on the show and he wasn’t there, and nobody explained his absence.

That’s very typical of radio and I’ve been the victim of that myself. One day you’re on a major drive time program, the next you’re fired and vaporized from the station website as if you never existed. I’m sure Phil had the same experience and I think it’s totally stupid.

Phil is bouncing back with a pod cast which can be heard at http://www.thephilcast.com. I’ve not met Phil personally yet, but I did write to tell him how much of a fan I was of his role on WTMJ and I meant it. I also sent him a copy of my CD and he said he mentioned it on his cast and played a cut. That’s very nice of him and I hope to meet him in person soon.

Dan O’Brien is another name that pops into my head. He’s a former radio guy who took my comedy class years ago. He’s very talented, but decided to take a ‘steady’ job because he couldn’t afford to keep getting fired in radio. I totally get that, but I think it’s a crock.

He and Phil should be on the air if they choose to be. They’ve paid their dues and had to lose their jobs for no good reason to appease some visionless halfwit who probably hasn’t ever had to crack a live microphone but still knows what radio needs. My aching pelvis.

Tim and Phil and Dan are three examples of many more people I respect who are out in the trenches trying to survive. They’re brave and have my full respect and support, for any bit of good that may be worth. I’m out there with them, and it’s not easy. Back to work.

Eye Of The Turtle!

April 2, 2010

Wednesday March 31st, 2010 – Chicago, IL/Milwaukee, WI

I’m finally starting to feel like I’ve got a grip on what I’m doing or at least where I think I’d like to go. I’m looking deep into my own head and picturing the outcome of all of that hard work I’ve been putting in all these years. It sure would be a waste if it didn’t pay off.

It’s starting to, if even a little bit. I had lunch today with Marc Schultz and Tim Walkoe, and I’ve known those guys for years. Marc is a booker and is trying to sell Tim and me as a package deal to corporate type shows. Tim is a fantastic comedian and I’d love to get an opportunity to work with him any time. All the times we have in the past have kicked ass.

I was able to turn Tim on to a gig I did a while back in DeKalb, IL which paid him very well. He had a great show so he cut me a check for $100 as a thank you. I told him it was unnecessary, but he still felt he wanted to do it so I took it. I’ve done that in the past and it sure does leave a positive impression with those who receive it. I can see why Tim did it.

It’s just the right thing to do. It’s class. It’s not necessary, but it sure does go a long way for a small cost. The lowlife maggots I’ve dealt with over the years still leave a repugnant taste in my mouth whenever their name comes up, but the opposite it true too. Winners do it right and go the extra mile, or however long it takes. That’s the only way I want to do it.

I’m glad I spent all that time yesterday getting the Facebook pages started. That’s how it works these days when it comes to marketing, especially on the cheap. In just one day I’m already over 100 friends on each list, and that’s a fantastic start in my opinion. I’ll grow it steadily, and it’s not out of line to think I can send out at least ten friend requests a day.

The difficult part was starting it up, but I did it. I truly believe this is the best time in the history of the world to build contacts, and contacts are what most businesses are all about. If I know the people I need to and more importantly they know (and think of) me, I’ll be a busy boy with more business than I can handle. That’s the goal, and I want to achieve it.

It’ll take work to keep these lists growing and more importantly keep up with all of the personal messages and emails, but I think it’s crucial to maintain an edge on all the others who can’t and won’t do it. I’ve seen what marketing does, and Dane Cook is the king of a new generation. It doesn’t matter what his act is, he’s KNOWN. People buy the familiar.

I’m not there yet, but I’m doing more than a few things right lately. It’s still battling the clock every day, but everyone else is too. I’m not worried about them. I can only focus on my needs and wants, and the more progress I make, the more I can contribute to the needs and wants of others to make their lives better too. Either way, it’s up to me to get started.

The whole way business is done is changing and I need to be on top of it. Not only that, I still care about my act and the product I give people who come to see me so I’ve got my hands full for quite a while. If I can get something done every day, I’ll win the race. It’s a lot like the old fable of the tortoise and the hare. Action wins out. It’s the eye of the turtle!

Gout And About

March 11, 2010

Wednesday March 10th, 2010 –

Chicago, IL

Apparently I have gout. Perfect! That’s exactly the kind of disease Mr. Lucky would get and actually I couldn’t be happier to hear it. For someone with zero health insurance, gout is sweet music to my ears compared to full blown major knee surgery and all that torture.

I talked to the doctor and after reviewing my x-rays she said after hearing a description of how the pain started and looking at the x-rays she came to the conclusion it’s probably an attack of gout and that’s what we’d address. An MRI is expensive and it cut me a huge break by not having to pay for it myself, because I can’t right now. This was great news.

Gout is a buildup of uric acid in the joints, and usually manifests itself in the big toe or even in the fingers. Sometimes it goes to the knees, and when it does it’s only one. This is going to be a lot easier to fix than ripped knee tendons, and I’m already feeling way better than I did even yesterday. I’ve known for a while my diet has been horrible. I deserved it.

Red meat is one of my favorite things on earth, especially bloody rare steak. I love steak and eggs for breakfast, and I’ve been known to have a steak for lunch too. Or dinner. Or a late night snack at a truck stop on the way home from a gig. Red, rare meat is delicious to me and always was. I’m surprised I didn’t get this before, and it’s probably not over yet.

There’s probably enough beef packed in my intestines to start my own cattle ranch. I’ve had small spurts of exercise and health in the last couple of years, but as a whole meat is a way of life in my world. I just love it and always have. Now I’m starting to pay the price.

This is a total wake up call. I’ve been hitting the snooze button for a few years now but I really need to get it in gear IMMEDIATELY. This is a warning signal for a lot of other things that could go wrong in a New York minute. My heart could pop like a zit walking up a flight of stairs, and unless I really start watching myself, I’m going to be a statistic.

The pain I felt was nothing less than excruciating with this. The doctor said that crystals form from the uric acid and cause pressure on whatever joint is near and I learned kidney stones are also a buildup of uric acid and those are also painful. Either way, I need to take the hint and cut WAY back on red meat and I totally will. I don’t want to feel this again.

Apparently, drinking alcohol can make gout flare up too. At least I don’t have to worry about that, and whatever red meat problems I’ll have later in life won’t be compounded a few more times with the havoc alcohol takes on a system. I made that choice correctly to not drink, and that’s one I’ve never regretted. At least I wasn’t a complete and total idiot.

I went to the Old Country Buffet today with Marc Schultz, comedian Tim Walkoe and a comedy magician named Dennis DeBondt who are all great guys. It was very enjoyable to sit and hear great showbiz stories and it didn’t bother me at all to stay away from red meat and eat plates of vegetables. I’ve had a lifetime of eating whatever I want, and it’s time to watch myself. I heard the warning. Gout is a funny word, but the pain it brought wasn’t.

This whole experience really lit a fire under me though. It’s all part of a collective good because that’s how I’m going to choose to accept it. I am going to take full responsibility for getting myself to this point and also full responsibility for getting myself out. If I don’t and my heart does explode, hopefully I‘ll still be able to inspire others to chase the dream.

What a difference a single year makes. Exactly one year ago today I was in Los Angeles filming my first national television spt on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. It’s a memory I’ll never forget, and in many ways it seems like six lifetimes ago. In other ways I feel like it was last week and I want to get out there and do a lot more of them. And I do.

What’s it going to take to make that happen? I wish I knew. The rules of show business have never been cut and dried, but they’re getting even harder to figure out as time passes and technology advances. What was standard procedure just a few years ago is obsolete.

Methods of contacting bookers have changed, as have the outlets for content. Cable TV used to be the goal for standups, like an HBO or Showtime special, but now the internet’s giant presence dwarfs all of that. Youtube is huge, but how can anyone turn a buck with it if it’s always free? These are all legitimate concerns that puzzle me on a consistent basis.

I loved the whole experience of being on The Late Late Show, and if I never get back to do it again, it was still a huge highlight of my life. Celia Joseph the talent coordinator was one of the sweetest people to work with I’ve ever met, as were the whole staff at the show including Craig Ferguson. I’m a big fan and respect his talent immensely. He’s a winner.

But I totally believe that I’m a winner too. I’m happy for Craig Ferguson and I hope I’ll get a lot more chances to interact with him as time goes on, but I have to take my chances and put myself in a position to do that. I haven’t been as good about that as I could have.

Another major mistake I’m making is not following up with Jeff Foxworthy’s help with his management company. I know I pissed off the lady I was supposed to contact, and that really scared me off but it was unintentional. I need to get in there and use that contact.

Jeff is a straight up great guy, and I know he was sincere by doing this favor for me. I’m not going to let a little faux pas keep me from the big time, and I need to go and reconnect with them immediately. I’m SO ready for this right now. I wasn’t sure if I was before, and it turns out I wasn’t, so I’m glad I waited. Now, I’m sure I am and it’s time to go grab it.

My birthday is coming up on Sunday, and I can’t stop it. I’ve had a lot more of them to ponder than I ever thought I would, and after all I’ve been through I really am lucky to be alive and somewhat coherent. A case of gout doesn’t scare me at all, especially after those horrible knee pains have gone away. There was a solution to the problem, and I found it.

Now it’s time to pull out all the stops and keep chasing whatever I’ve been doing for all these years. I can do lots of TV spots, but someone has to say yes, which means I have to keep asking. So I will. Gout won’t take me out of the game. In fact, it’ll bring me back.