Posts Tagged ‘WGN’

Christmas For One

December 25, 2013

Tuesday December 24th, 2013 – Chicago, IL/Rolla, MO

Here comes the tough stretch, and I’m gritting my teeth looking to just plow through it and get ready for 2014. It’s only two more days, but these are the hardest of all. These are supposed to be the best days of the year, but for me they’re the worst torture I can imagine. It’s gas on the fire.

What would stop the pain would be a family of my own to love and that would love me back. I have been searching for that my whole life, but the older I get the farther away it seems. I got off course early in my trip, and I’m wandering in the woods trying to find life’s highway but I can’t.

I’ve always felt like the outsider, and I still do. Other people’s lives just seem to work out, but I have to struggle like hell just to survive. I know other people struggle too, but it’s a different type of fight. I never felt like anyone was in my corner other than my grandfather but he died in 1981.

Some unconditional love would be SO sweet right now, but I have no idea where to go to get it or I would have years ago. I try to help people whenever I can, because I know in my heart I will not screw those people over. I make an effort to be nice to those who I don’t have to just because that’s what I’m looking for in my own life. It’s the Golden Rule theory, but where is the return?

I have a very delicate psyche when it comes to relationships. I have a hard time putting myself out there emotionally because it hurts so much to get my heart stomped on. There’s a woman I’m totally smitten with, and she took a big steamy bowel movement all over my life and I’m hurting even more than usual. My self esteem was shaky before, but this kicks it right down the sewer.

I’ve known her for many years, and we’ve gotten along really well. Things were going so well that I thought she may finally be ‘the one’. She said she wanted to travel, and I asked her to come to Tucson with me and she said yes. Then she went back with some guy she was with before and that was it. She stopped talking, texting and calling and it was like I never existed. I am history.

All I want is a solid woman to build a great relationship with that can give me a feeling of what I always thought life should be and what I see others around me have. There’s some vibe missing that I must not have been born with, or it’s so deeply buried it’s not getting out there to attract it.

I know a lot of women that I like, but they’re either married or with someone else or they don’t want anything to do with me. Casual dating is great, but I’d really like to find one that I can build something with before I’m either dead or too old to enjoy anything. I’m not looking for a partner to eat oatmeal with at the old folks’ home. I want someone to be able to share my life adventures.

That’s not an easy match in my case. It’s like trying to find a leprechaun riding a unicorn at the end of a rainbow. I’m such an eccentric wackadoo, I’m not the average run of the mill singles ad type. I’ve had a very unusual life, and taken a rare path most never try. That makes it even harder to find someone that will be willing to be with me through thick and thin. It’s time for the thick.

If I’m going to do anything at all, it’s going to be in the next little stretch. I’ve paid dues upon dues, and the slot machine of life is full and ready to hit a jackpot. It won’t mean a thing without someone special to share it with, but right now that doesn’t feel like it’s ever going to happen.

I don’t write about this subject very often, only because people take it upon themselves to have to play matchmaker and try to ‘fix me up’. What a nightmare. They find the most beat up old war horse that happens to be single and think because I’m the ‘nice guy’ I’ll make the perfect match.

It’s a funny premise for comedy, but SO not fun to live through in person. I have had countless encounters set up by ‘friends’ that have been disasters from the first ten seconds. I can’t believe I am so low on their list they’d think I’d be interested in dating a sea hag like that. It’s a big insult.

My cousin Brett has a similar problem. We talk about it all the time. The women he dates have traditionally been psychotic nut jobs because there’s some vibe we put off from growing up how we did that attracts that into our lives. We say we don’t want it, but subconsciously we attract it.

I don’t want to go through analysis for years, because I don’t have time or money for that. All I want is to meet a woman that trips my trigger and wants to be with me. There are women that are one of those, but that’s not enough. The magic lottery winner has to have both. So where is she?

Part of the reason it’s been so difficult is that I’ve been constantly traveling for thirty years. It’s hard enough to have a ‘normal’ relationship, but put a full road schedule between it and it’s over before it starts. That’s one of the reasons I got into radio. I wanted ‘stability’. Ha! There’s a joke.

In all the radio jobs I’ve had, I would meet a nice woman and start dating for a few months. It would be going fine, but then out of the blue I’d get fired and have to move and it would be over. It’s been a lifetime of this, and I didn’t bring a solid family background to begin with. That’s the reason I’m still single, and it’s getting really lonely. I do want to find someone, but it’s SO hard.

Most women want stability, and I totally get that. Unfortunately, I’ve been anything but that as long as I’ve been alive. I’m never going to be a 9 to 5 corporate slug, and I surely don’t have the skills to be a plumber or a mechanic or anything close to that kind of gig. I live the creative life.

It would be nice to find someone in that field, but that’s probably asking for trouble. We’d both have the same strengths and weaknesses, and that would be bad. This last woman I like was not a creative type at all. She has a stable job, owns a house and is the exact opposite of my whole life.

Maybe that’s why I liked her so much, but it just felt like we clicked. I guess she wasn’t feeling it like I was, so here I sit alone for another Christmas. I make all kinds of people laugh the whole year, then they go have fun with their families on Christmas and I am alone with all my thoughts.

This morning I sat in with my old radio partner Spike Manton as he filled in on WGN radio in Chicago. Actually it was WGN.fm, but it will still fun. Wouldn’t you know it, the topic that was brought up was relationships. It was an ice pick to the heart, but I opened up and talked about the torture of trying to be an entertainer and find a mate. The crew found it funny, but I was in pain.

Then I got in my rental Nissan SUV and headed west for Tucson. I’m going to have some time to clear my head and think about what to do next. I got to Bloomington, IL and saw the stores all closing and knew those people were going to be with their families. I gassed up and kept driving. I made it to Rolla, MO and got a cheap hotel room. This is not what I envision Christmas to be.

"Dear Santa..."

“Dear Santa…”

Here's another one on my list.

Here’s another one on my list.

Ho Ho Holy Guacamole! There has to be ONE woman on this planet that likes nice guys. RIght? Where is she?

Ho Ho Holy Guacamole! There has to be ONE woman on this planet that likes nice guys. RIght? Where is she?

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An Infamous Anniversary

December 18, 2013

Monday December 16th, 2013 – Chicago, IL

This is a date that has lots of personal significance – none of which I care to celebrate. It was in 2004 on this infamous date that I was unceremoniously shown the door at ‘The Loop’ in Chicago along with my friends Max Bumgardner and Spike Manton. It was a blow that we still feel today.

That was our shot at the big time, and we were just starting to hit stride. Nobody predicted that the company would be sold, and we were classic examples of ‘wrong place, wrong time’. It’s too late to change it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hurt. We all took a direct shot to the face.

And if that wasn’t enough, December 16th is also the date in 1991 I rented a car and picked up my childhood best friend and my cousin Brett and we set off for Las Vegas. None of us had ever been there before, and it was supposed to be an adventure. It turned out to be a whole lot more.

Little did Brett and I know that my lifelong friend had robbed a bank where he used to work as head of security, and had two duffle bags full of stolen bank money in the trunk of that rental car as we drove across America. I wouldn’t find out for almost a year, and it ended up becoming the most painful thing I ever had to do – testify on a witness stand and send that “friend” to prison.

I still have nightmares occasionally, and I try not to let my mind go back there but on days like today I can’t help it. It seems like a different person in a different lifetime, but it really happened and it’s a hell of a story. I can say that with full confidence because I didn’t write one word of it.

It just happened, and I got tangled up in the middle. He decided he was going to rob that bank, and I had no idea I would end up involved. Then he decided to pull it off again a year and a half later, and circumstances forced me to have to testify against him and clear my name. At the end of the day he robbed the bank and I didn’t, and I wasn’t going to prison on anyone else’s behalf.

The whole story saddens me to think about, but the fact remains it is a hell of a story. There are lots of twists and turns, and anyone who hears it always says “Wow, that’s a movie!” I agree, but I wish I didn’t have to live through the nightmare that ended up taking several years to play out.

The “happy” ending was that I testified against someone that was closer than my blood brother, and he went to prison. It was a relief when the trial was over, but it was also painful. We’d come through a lot together, and he decided he wanted to be the bad boy and get even with life for the hand he was dealt. He’s a dented can too, and that was his way of fighting back. BIG mistake.

Tonight I was interviewed on WGN radio with Patti Vasquez. Patti does standup comedy, but also goes back and forth to Los Angeles pitching ideas of all kinds. She takes a cut of what gets sold, and she really hustles. I respect her tenacity, and she has agreed to pitch this story when she has an opportunity. We thought it would be a good idea to get the main outline recorded on air.

I told the story in about twenty minutes over two segments. I could see the others in the studio become riveted as usually happens. I’m telling you, it’s a fascinating story that listeners get lost in when they hear it, and I know it needs to see the light of day. Was it coincidence that Patti’s radio invite came on the anniversary? Who knows? What I do know is it’s an unforgettable tale.

I was on AM 720 WGN radio this morning telling a true story I still can't believe happened, but it did.

I was on AM 720 WGN radio in Chicago this morning telling a true story I still can’t believe actually happened – but it totally did.

Patti Vasquez has a show from 11pm to 2am on Sunday night/Monday morning. Thanks to her for having me on the air. www.pattivasquez.com.

Patti Vasquez hosts a show from 11pm to 2am on Sunday night/Monday morning on WGN. Thanks to her for having me on the air. http://www.pattivasquez.com.

War Scarred Testicles

June 27, 2013

Wednesday June 26th, 2013 – Kenosha, WI

   My friend Jerry Agar rolled through town today on a cross country motorcycle trip, and we had a chance to sit down and catch up over a delicious lunch at The Brat Stop in Kenosha, WI. We’d originally hoped to have all the members of ‘Jerry’s Kidders’ from WLS and WGN reunite for a party, but we couldn’t hook up everyone’s schedules. People were out of town, so it was just us.

   Jerry and I have been through a lot together, and even more separately. We met in the late ‘80s when he was working at a tiny AM station in St. Charles, IL and I was working for the new club Zanies was starting in the Pheasant Run Resort at the time. It started as a one shot interview, but we kept in touch from that day forward. Today we looked back on all of our tangled adventures.

   Both of us ended up moving all over the country to pursue the radio dream, and that came with a heaping helping of hurt. Rarely have we lived in the same town or even same time zone, but we still managed to stay in touch by phone and email. We’d help each other with various projects or radio bits, and when one of us got fired – again – the first call we’d make would be to the other.

   Jerry had the additional pressure of a family to support, and his wife Ann should easily qualify for first ballot sainthood for all she’s had to endure with this mine field of a business. They have three fantastic kids who I consider to be surrogate nephews and a niece, and every time they had to pack up everything and move one more time Ann would hang in there and keep it all together.

   That’s the kind of family relationship I’ve always wanted – at least the together part. It’s not in the cards, and when I really needed it it was never there. I was always of the mindset it was cruel and unusual punishment to drag a wife much less kids through the treacherous jungle of radio.

   Comedy is no clam bake either, but at least it’s a predictable instability. As a comedian, I know I will be somewhere else each week. In radio, one never knows when the next time bomb will go off – only that it will. Stations get sold, GMs and Program Directors move on, so who can say if a job will be there tomorrow? It’s always been that way from my experience, but now it’s worse.

   Jerry is currently working in Toronto, and he has really made an impact on the market. He does talk radio, and does it extremely well. He’s found his niche, and few can do what he does with as much skill as he does it. One would think that would go hand in hand with total job security – but one could not be more mistaken. The planets could align against him and he’d be out on his arse.

   Jerry told me his station is in the process of getting sold, and my bung hole puckered. That puts everyone at the station on edge, and I’ve gone through it more than once myself.  Two other pals in radio “Stone and Double T” in Rockford, IL are going through the same hell. Their station just got sold as well, and the standard company line is always “We expect there to be NO changes.”

   My war scarred testicles. I wish I had a free lunch for every time I heard that splattering pile of verbal manure emanate from behind the desk of some greasy radio snake – only to get shown the door a short time later. Then to make it worse, they themselves are blown out a short while after that and it was like none of us ever existed in the first place. It’s a vicious never ending cycle.

   It was great to hang out with Jerry, but I can’t help feeling for him and his family. He’s settling in nicely in Toronto, but he was doing the same thing in Chicago before he got axed for reasons I still haven’t been able to figure out. If there is a hell, there’s a whole wing for radio management.

Clearing The Air

May 16, 2013

Wednesday May 15th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   I got up much earlier than I had intended to this morning to do a comedy segment on the ‘Stone and Double T Show’ on WXRX ‘The X’ in Rockford, IL. I really like those guys, and we usually do a weekly call in bit on Monday mornings. We missed this week, so they rescheduled it today.

   I have mixed feelings about doing that show, but it’s fun so if they keep calling I’ll keep doing it. The guys themselves are great, but I’m not sure if anyone who listens to that station likes what I do. It’s really hard edged rock, and that’s just not my audience as a rule. I try to be entertaining, but I’ve never once had anyone come to any show I’ve done saying they’d heard me on ‘The X’.

   Does that mean I should stop doing it? That’s a tough call. It doesn’t hurt to get radio exposure, but it’s not helping either. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years on the wrong radio stations, and I think some of my best work has fallen on deaf ears. It’s discouraging, but that’s how it’s been.

    I still can’t believe I’ve worked for THREE country radio stations. Yikes. I’m not a fan of that genre at all, even though I grew to respect it during my tenure. That’s not my audience either, but those are the stations I was able to get jobs so that’s where I went. It makes me have doubts as to the competence of radio in general if they’d hire me three times at country stations, but they did.

   I’m also experiencing serious doubts about continuing to host ‘The Mothership Connection’ on AM 1050 WLIP in Kenosha, WI. Again, it’s great fun but who’s listening? It’s a small station in Kenosha, WI with a weak night time signal. We do have a certain amount of loyal listeners every week who hear us live and a few more on the net, but is it enough to keep doing it? I’d think not.

   I wish the show came with a paycheck, but it doesn’t. How can I generate one? I don’t have the slightest idea. I have a meeting with John Perry from the station tomorrow and we’ll either come up with a plan to earn some money or I’ll shake his hand and thank him for the fun opportunity.

   The ultimate goal is to get on a station that fits my personality, and find a way to stay on the air and get paid. That’s proven to be a whole lot easier said than done, but unfortunately being taken off the air has not been my fault. If I could manage to put together a nice run somewhere that has a listener base in my wheel house, I’ll be set for life. But I’d also be set for life if I hit the lottery.

   Unfortunately, the odds seem to be about the same. Every time I get on a station that would be a fit, something happens to end it prematurely. ‘The Loop’ in Chicago was a perfect fit, but just as we were starting to get some legs we got fired. Then I was part of ‘Jerry’s Kidders’ with Jerry Agar, Ken Sevara and Tim Slagle on both WLS and WGN in Chicago. That was also a winner.

   Had Jerry not been blown out the door, we’d still be on the air and have that coveted following I’ve not been able to attain no matter how hard I’ve tried. For some reason, I just haven’t had the chance to gel at a place that fits. I love being on with Stone and Double T, but they’re not where I’m ever going to get any mass recognition. If they were Bob and Tom, I’d be a national draw.

   I have a hard time figuring out where the radio business is headed as a whole. It’s always been insane, but there was a certain air of mystery about it. Local programming was plentiful and of a high quality. Now everything is pre recorded in another city and it’s very impersonal. I’d love to have a steady job somewhere, but I don’t know of any that exist. The Stone and Double T shows of the world are becoming rarer and rarer, and that’s a shame. Radio’s best days are behind it.

Monday Money

May 5, 2010

Monday May 3rd, 2010 – Chicago, IL

Speak of the devil. Yesterday I read of Jay Leno’s difficulty having to perform in a very awkward situation, and lo and behold today I get to do it myself. Again, nothing new. I’ve been doing it my entire adult life. It goes with the territory of being a full time comedian.

Money comes when it does in comedy, but it’s always welcome. Most shows happen at night in some sort of venue that’s hopefully done comedy before. Even those can be a bit tricky at times, but then there’s the other kind of bookings that have no parameters at all.

Those can and do occur any and everyplace from a flimsy tent to a garage to who knows where? I still recall the time I had to stand on a diving board of a swimming pool in some lawyer’s back yard in Madison, WI for a performance that ended with me walking off the ‘stage’ after a drunken oaf in the pool kept splashing me while I was trying to do my act.

Another time I had to perform in the hallway of a hospital floor so people in the rooms could look out and see the show. One guy started groaning in pain, and they ended up just closing his door and telling me to ‘ignore it and finish my skit’. It was a major disaster for everyone, and I had to do thirty minutes as I remember. I’d rather be in bed as a patient.

I’ve worked on moving buses, floating boats, and on top of a picnic table in 100 degree heat at a sleazy carnival in Tucson, AZ not far from the tilt-a-whirl. Why did I attempt all these insane stunts? I needed the money. Still do. I thought I’d have it figured out by now.

Today I was asked to do a show for the business operators of Orland Hills, IL. They had a luncheon meeting and somehow word got out they wanted to hire a comedian. I heard of it from my friend Dennis Ross who lives in New Jersey of all places. How he got the gig I have no clue, but he asked if I wanted it and of course I said yes. Monday money is sweet.

That’s one day of the week most comedians don’t get paid, so any time anyone can turn a buck on a Monday, life is good. That’s the reason I host the shows at Zanies and also try to schedule comedy classes, so I can save the rest of the week for other work that doesn’t always come as often as I like. It’s a common struggle for all performers to stay working.

The people of Orland Hills were very friendly, from the mayor to the Chief of Police to all the other people who went up before me. The audience was diverse, mostly over thirty and needed to get back to work. I had to hit them hard but keep it very clean and stand on a podium with a short microphone leash and a less than stellar sound system. That’s hard.

I’ve learned to deal with these situations over the years, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to kill every time. I have very high standards and if someone hires me I want to give them as good a show as humanly possible. Yes I like being paid, but I really do want to earn my money. I feel bad if anyone would feel cheated, but in these kind of gigs it’s very difficult to get a true roll going, only because there are too many obstacles in the way from having to deal with bad sound to being in a room where there are windows and sunlight shining.

The person who buys the comedian is always the one I try to please, and this time it was a very nice lady who was very easy to deal with the whole time. I know she had to present the idea to a committee, who in turn had to find some alternate choices, and then they had a vote and I won. That’s usually how it works, and I never want to let those buyers down.

If even ONE person complains, it can be a disaster for those people. I’ve gotten several over the years, but all comedians do. There’s a very fine line with some people as to what is considered entertainment and what is considered offensive. Usually the people who are the most offended are the ones who had nothing to do with the process of hiring anyone.

The mayor of Orland Hills set the tone, and luckily he was a very laid back and likeable gentleman named Kyle Hastings. He wasn’t the typical stodgy boring mayor type and he’s a natural on stage. I was glad that he brought me up, but he attended to local business first so it got to be a little longer than expected. The degree of difficulty was extremely high.

I wanted to represent Dennis Ross proudly, because he’s a good guy and didn’t have to call me for this gig. I wanted to please the lady named Karen who called me because she was very nice and booking entertainers isn’t her job. I’d hate to make her look bad. I also thought the mayor and Chief of Police were good laughers and wanted them to enjoy it.

I saw some blank looks on some of the rest of them, but I kept on going. I know most of them had never been to a comedy show before, and they had no clue I was going to be on the docket for their meeting. I don’t blame them, but I still wanted them to have some fun anyway. Nobody was mean, and I did my best. I closed on my regular closer and got off.

I usually try to stay and at least thank a few people who don’t avoid eye contact with me but today I was in a hurry to attend a meeting with the other guys in Jerry’s Kidders as we haven’t seen each other in a while as Jerry has been filling in on a big station in Toronto.

Ken Sevara and Tim Slagle live way south so as long as I was in the area it was wise for us to reconvene and reassess where we are as a group. We agreed that we’re probably in a position of transition right now and the possibility exists we could be finished as an entity especially if Jerry gets a full time job offer. It’s doubtful he’ll be able to use us up there.

We’ve still got the play “You’re On The Air” we wrote with Vicki Quade and if Jerry is not here we can still rework that, but it will take lots of time and money and effort to get a quality product polished and ready to sell. I don’t think we’re ready to do that at this time, but we definitely could do some standup shows in the WGN listening area as the Kidders.

Ken and Tim are really good guys to work with, and we all have fun doing the Kidders. We all wish we could have a steady local outlet in Chicago like we did at WLS. We were on Mondays at a set time, and even though we didn’t make money it was still a sweet gig.

We put ourselves in a position to earn money, but it never came. We were yanked off the air at WLS when Jerry got fired, and then WGN started moving Jerry all around and that in turn moved us all around. Now we’re sitting around waiting to go back and do it again.

Hard Luck Jollies – FINALLY!

April 15, 2010

Wednesday April 14th, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL/Milwaukee, WI

Whoo Hoo! I’ve been pumped up before, but rarely like today. I’ve been positively and absolutely giddy all day and the grin on my puss just won’t go away.  My brand spanking new comedy CD “Hard Luck Jollies” is now available for sale at the competitive price of $13 postpaid in the continental United States of America – slightly more for Zimbabwe.

What a hell ride it’s been to get this project FINALLY done, and I can now see why it’s so difficult for bands to stay together for extended periods of time. This one took so long to finish, I almost broke up with myself. It may not be “Thriller”, but at least it’s finished.

The worst part of all is that I’ve had some stupendously sizzling shows in the time since the last copy of the previous one ran out to today’s rejuvenation and rebirth. I shudder as I think of how many copies I could have sold between then and now and it’s probably up in the hundreds. That translates in cash to thousands, and the only one to really blame is me.

Yes, I had problems with my ex business partner and all the ugliness that went with that plus I sold the rights to my first CD outright to Laughing Hyena Records and don’t own it anymore. Those two things contributed to the gap in time along with some reasons on the other side with both the artwork and Donna Gurda who was the producer of this project.

Donna’s mother passed away and she had to attend to all that goes with that, and Pedro Bell’s artwork became an issue when his business partner embezzled from him and put an additional unexpected damper on the project. Any one of those things would be extremely frustrating, but all together it nearly choked out the whole project. I am thrilled it didn’t.

I had to keep plugging or it would never have gotten finished at all, and I’m very glad I did. Donna did a great job on the disc along with Mark Heleniak at EarMark Productions. She used to produce Tom Green’s music projects and she knows what she’s doing, along with Mark. They worked hard and were worth every penny I spent. I appreciate their help.

Pedro Bell’s cover artwork is also fantastic, even though I wasn’t able to get it colorized fully. It’s really intricate cartoon work, and after a lot of testing it was decided to just add color to the name logo for me he created and the words ‘Hard Luck Jollies’. The logo was modeled directly after the logo for the group Funkadelic. Anyone who’s a fan will know.

There are some things I’d change on the packaging just as there are on my last one but it won’t be noticed by anyone but me. It looks very presentable and sounds crisp. Nobody is going to know or care how many delays there were with this, they’ll just enjoy the results, or at least I hope they will. The last one went over very well, and this one is an upgrade.

The good thing is, this won’t happen again any time soon. I’ve already got ideas for the next one and I talked to Donna and Mark about it today as I dropped off copies of this one up in Milwaukee. We’ve got a lot more recordings to go through and there’s enough there for at least one but possibly even two more projects like this so I’m set for at least a bit.

I’ll keep cranking out product as much and as often as I can, but I won’t whore myself. I want to keep some kind of quality control and not just slap anything together. This took it up a notch, and I want to keep doing that as long as I can. I know there’s a lot more in me, and hopefully I can use these recordings to develop more of a fan base, like a musician.

Now is when the real work starts though. I’ve had some solid support from Sirius/XM Satellite Radio and I hope they’ll continue to showcase my newer offerings. Some of the material is the same from the first one to these next two or three, but I did it in a different way. Plus, there’s new stuff added in there too. I purged myself of everything I had in me.

I also have to restock websites that have sold my product like CD Baby and quite a few others like http://www.comedyhome.com and http://www.laugh.com. Those were also years ago and I wasn’t the contact person, my ex partner was. I’ll have to dive in and do all of this myself even though none of this is my field of expertise. For now, I need to be in charge of it all.

I’ll put the word out on Facebook and myspace and I’m even doing it here on my daily diary, which I normally don’t use to plug anything blatantly. This time I have to put it all aside and market this thing. I was always shy about it before, but people liked it and I am still getting compliments from it seven years later. This new one will not be a stink bomb.

I also have to find a way to put it up on my website and have people buy it there. I have no idea how to do that, and I didn’t ask my friend Shelley today when I picked the boxes up from her house. I had them sent there because there’s always someone home watching her kids. She’s also been a gigantic help lately and I appreciate all her efforts immensely.

I appreciate everyone who has contributed to this entire project from Donna and Mark to Pedro’s artwork and also Greg Phelps in Indianapolis who put the whole package into completion mode from getting all the design and art finished to getting the printing done. His company is called Tridigital Solutions and I recommend them for all your CD needs.

The main regret I have is not being able to thank everyone I wanted to thank. The inner sleeve would have had to have been 20 feet long, and I couldn’t afford that. Still, I’m very thankful for all who contributed in whatever way they did. I’ve had a lot of support from a variety of people and I am humbled, flattered and owe them a debt of sincere gratitude.

There’s also a Mr. Lucky song written and performed by my friend Joe Dell’Orfano and a one on one interview with Jerry Agar recorded in the WGN studios. I’m a fan of a lot of people, and an interview is always interesting to me so I put one on hoping somebody else feels the same way I do about it. All in all, this is a jam packed CD chock full of stuff that I’d want to get if I was buying a comedy CD. That’s a formula that’s worked in the past.

This is a milestone, and I love it. One CD isn’t easy to do. Two is twice as hard. Three’s extremely rare, so that’s the next goal. I think I can do it, especially since it’s already been recorded. If you’d like a copy of Hard Luck Jollies, I’ll gladly sign it for you. Please send $13 to: Dobie Maxwell P.O. Box 618 Lake Villa, IL 60046. I totally appreciate all orders.

Preparing To Produce Products

April 3, 2010

Friday April 2nd, 2010 – Chicago, IL/Vernon Hills, IL

What better place to start than the beginning? If I intend to finish a couple of significant projects in the next six months, and I do, the first thing I needed to do was put a picture in my head of what the finished products should look like and then work backward from that to actually create something that’s as close to that image in my head as possible. So I did.

The two main projects on the docket are a book of essays about Milwaukee which I will use to create the one man show and also an online recorded version of my comedy classes that can make me money when I’m sleeping. I can tweak them later, for now I need a first run finished product of each to get the ball rolling. I want customers to rave about both.

Jerry Agar is in town this weekend from Toronto, where he’s working on the air as a fill in talk show host for a major radio station there. He has bills to pay and nobody’s angry at him, but it looks like Jerry’s Kidders aren’t going to last much longer. He may or may not get a full time job there, but it doesn’t look promising at WGN at all. He’s in a tight spot.

That’s why I’m working on my projects with such a renewed vigor. I know how it feels to have to do something for the money, and I’m not fond of it. Who is? Jerry asked if Tim Slagle and I wanted to meet up for lunch. Ken Sevara’s father is very sick and Ken’s been attending to that the last few weeks. The rest of us wanted to discuss the Kidders’ status.

On the way home I stopped at Target and bought some three ring binders so I can make up prototypes of each project I’ll be working on. For me, it helps to see a physical product in my hands that represent what I want to create. It narrows everything down into a single source, and I can cut and paste and switch things around in a binder I can’t in a notebook.

At home, I dusted off the cork boards I hung on my wall over a year ago but haven’t put to use as of yet. That’s about to change too. I quartered one off so I could use it to remind me of things I’ll need to do daily, weekly, monthly and what my finished products will be on October 1st. This is all very basic but I’m starting all over again so I needed to do it all.

I can’t stress enough that my goal is to get both of these projects DONE. I can’t waste a minute on either one, and I’m not looking for perfection. I’m looking for something that I can keep improving in the future, but will still do the job for customers now. Perfection is not the goal here, that’s unrealistic. I just want to crank something out I can improve later.

I need to SEE it every day, and use that reminder to keep me working on it consistently. I will take the binders with me in the car, so every time I get stuck waiting for a train or in a traffic jam I can haul it out and put a little more time in. I will do this until it’s finished.

The Milwaukee show will make money the fastest, so I decided to set aside mornings to work on that one. The comedy classes will be a long term source of revenue so that one is my afternoon focus. The main income from each will come from a single book to start off with, so that’s where I’m starting. First the outlines, then flesh them out. I see it clearly.

Life Is A Glitch

March 30, 2010

Sunday March 28th, 2010 – Novi, MI/Chicago, IL/Kenosha, WI

Everything in my life is rapidly descending into chaos, and I can’t say I’m thrilled about any of it. It started with my computer that’s been giving me utter fits. It won’t allow me to sign on line and it says I’ve got viruses. I thought I had protection against that, but it’s not working apparently. If I can’t get online, that cripples me as far as my business life goes.

Luckily, I stayed in a fantastic Holiday Inn and Suites that had not one but a whole row of computers available for guests to use. If ever I could use one it’s now, but that doesn’t clean out the viruses on mine. If I have to buy a new computer it will really kick me in the bank roll right when I don’t need it. I have a CD at the printer to pay for and taxes as well.

I have to pay my accountant, and I’m afraid to even open the envelope with the total bill from my visit to the hospital a few weeks ago to have my knee looked at. My car’s getting ready to turn 186,000 miles and even though it’s running pretty good at the moment it just may decide to blow up in my face at any time. I’ve had to deal with that more than twice.

I know, I’m not supposed to dwell on the negative, but this is just reality. Things in life go wrong, and it becomes a timing thing. Yes, I know I could have been a whole lot better with my finances, but I wasn’t. I’m in a pickle right now, but it won’t take a whole lot for me to turn it around completely. I’m setting myself up for a chance to score in a big way.

It’s been years of paying dues to get myself in this position and I don’t want to ruin it at this crucial time. Computers can be fixed, but if I lose the data again it will be completely unnecessary. I’ve had that happen WAY too many times in the past and know what that’s like. I’ve built it all back up again and have all kinds of stuff that would kill me to lose it.

Jim McHugh and I caravanned it from Michigan to Chicago. He’s a great friend and is like the big brother I never had. He talks sense and keeps me grounded in many ways as I try to deal with my various situations. Hopefully I’m able to be a friend to him in return. I know he means well ,and we make each other laugh at times when we both need it most.

I made it back to Chicago to do a radio segment with Jerry’s Kidders on WGN at 5pm. I don’t see that project going anywhere right now and that’s very frustrating. Jerry isn’t full time there and it doesn’t look like he’ll ever be in the future either. That doesn’t help us at a time when we all could use at least a little stability in our lives. I think we may be done.

I don’t have the time or energy to keep doing half ass willy nilly appearances at the drop of a hat on short notice. Fun is fun, and we have lots of it, but the cost is getting to be way too much with no signs of a payoff any time soon. We have to get ourselves more defined in our own mind so we know what we’re selling. Nobody seems to be buying who we are.

The Mothership Connection radio show in Kenosha is going to be changing too. One of our co-hosts Diane asked for some time off and I can’t fault her for that. She’s got a lot of things on her plate right now. I get that. I do too. My main red flag is with the computer.

A Radioactive Birthday

March 16, 2010

Sunday March 14th, 2010 – Chicago, IL/Kenosha, WI

Another birthday comes and goes, and I realize I’m doing pretty well considering where I came from. The years are piling up, but so are the victories – even if they’re small ones. I may not be a household name or independently wealthy, but a lot of other things that are a lot more important are falling into place very nicely. I’m learning, growing and feel good.

What really told me I’m on the right track was the number of emails, calls and texts that greeted me as I got up this morning. I know birthdays are listed on all the social networks, but it still felt good to hear from so many people. I counted over 400 emails, not counting the calls and text messages. They came from friends, comedians, fans and even strangers.

I appreciate every single one of them and I’m going to answer every one, even if it takes until my next birthday. There were a few I didn’t get, but it really didn’t bother me like in the past. None of my siblings sent me anything, and they knew it was my birthday. That’s a wound that is scarring over, and I accept that it just won’t be any different in this life.

I can honestly say I’ve done my very best in trying to patch those things up, and it’s just not going to work out. I said I was sorry for whatever I did to piss them off that much and meant it, now it’s not on me. I also have an uncle who screwed me over on an inheritance I was supposed to get from my grandparents, and I haven’t heard from him in years either.

I hear he has cancer and is circling the drain, and it’s a shame things had to work out as they did. It was a pretty low life stunt he pulled, but that was years ago and the damage is done. I think my father was probably in on it too, but whatever the case, neither one did a damn thing for their family because they didn’t do anything to live their own life’s dream.

They’re each going to have died bitter and alone, with lots of family angst left over. I’ve made more than my share of my own mistakes, but at least I can feel myself improving as the years go by and it’s significant. It won’t be said that I followed in my father’s shadow, and that alone gives me hope for the future. I’m definitely getting by on my own merits.

Lots of other people have family problems, but mine seem so embarrassing and odd. I’ll never understand why I got thrown in with such a bunch of hard headed people who don’t think anything like I do, but I did. I don’t think I’m better than anybody, but I do think my life’s choices were better. We just come from different worlds. I can’t understand theirs.

My cousin Brett and I get along great and always have. He just turned 40 and is coming to his own peace. His father and he aren’t going to get along, and he’s come to terms with that and it’s in his past. It’s still a shame, but it’s not going to change. Ever. That’s life.

I’m learning how to enjoy life more too as I get older. The intense need to stick it in the ass of anyone to prove myself is LONG gone. I really don’t care who likes me or doesn’t, and that’s taken a lot of pressure off. I have enough people who like me that I can be with them and not have to waste one iota of energy on the idiots. That makes life a lot easier.

Today was a radio themed birthday and it couldn’t have gone any better. First, it was an afternoon in Chicago to be on WGN with Jerry’s Kidders at 3pm. We hadn’t been on in a while, and we all were in the mood to have fun. The weather was beautiful and we had an abundance of funny news stories, so we went on the air and let it rip for longer than usual.

We’re normally on for a half hour to close out Jerry Agar’s show, but today we opened because of the way the schedule worked out. Since we had extra stories, Jerry just kept us on the air and we finished when we were done. We were in good form and on point so the time flew by and we had some solid laughs during our time. It was relaxed and a pleasure.

I had to pinch myself halfway through, but as we sat there it occurred to me that I was at one of the biggest radio stations in America on my birthday riffing comedy bits with some of my friends, and no matter what else happens in life – that alone was pretty impressive.

Who gets to do that? Not many, and I don’t care if anyone else appreciates it. I do. It’s a thrill to have the ear of a station’s listeners that’s that big, and I told the guys that after we finished. They know it too, and the feeling of gratitude and accomplishment after we were done pumped us all up as we went across the street to the Billy Goat Tavern for burgers.

We discussed how we can turn this project into money, as we haven’t done that yet. It’s a big challenge, and I’ve always loved challenges so rather than frustration we decided to look at it as opportunity. We’ve all put a lot of work into this project and now it’s time to get paid for it. The burgers tasted great and we were all in a positive mood the whole day.

My next destination was WLIP in Kenosha, WI to do the Mothership Connection radio show at 8pm. We had an extra full house of sit in guests tonight and that was as much or even more fun than WGN this afternoon. The vibe was dead on, and I think we had over a dozen people in the little studios of WLIP. There were about four people to each mike.

There were all our regular callers plus a few new ones, and we had great guests too. Our former co-host Scott Markus was back from L.A. and he’s always a help, so he got Ursula Bielski to come on with us who wrote several books on Chicago ghost lore. Scott has one too, and the whole show just fell together. It was like a three hour on air birthday party.

John Vass is a fan of Jerry Agar’s on WGN, but he asked if he could come and hang out with us and of course I said yes. He added to the show, and that’s always how it’s been as long as we’ve been on the air. I’d like to think I’ve got something to do with creating that vibe, as I’m the one who runs the show. Like George Clinton, I’m just the referee of it all.

I’m going to keep cranking out my little blog for the indefinite future. If people enjoy it, I’m flattered. I heard from my friend Arnold Mukai in Seattle and he says it allows him to live the show business life vicariously through my adventures. That’s great. If I can help a person escape, I’m all for it. Hopefully, I can inspire someone to live their own dreams. It won’t change the fact that I’m always going to be a dented can, but it does help to know it gets better as time passes. This was a fantastic birthday, and I’m grateful for every one.

Catching The Dream

March 3, 2010

Tuesday March 2nd, 2010 – St. Charles, IL/Lake Villa, IL

I’m starting to feel some momentum building with all my projects, and I’m really liking how that feels. It energizes me and makes every waking hour exciting and packed with all kinds of fun things to do. The phone is ringing constantly and I feel like I’m finally doing what I’m supposed to be doing rather than drifting through life like a lost helium balloon.

Everything seems to be coming together at once, and as scary as that is, it’s also a thrill. I’ve waited so long and had so many disappointments that I thought this time would never come. I’ve made a lion’s share of mistakes and can’t promise I won’t make more, but that goes with the territory. I’ve managed to hang in there and positive results are finally here.

What’s great about all of this is I hung in there and didn’t give up when that would have been very easy to do. Maybe I was too stupid to quit or didn’t know what else to do, but it didn’t happen and I’m so glad it didn’t. I feel like I’m really poised for something big and it’s not very far away now. This is the most exciting time of my life and I’m loving it all.

Comedy classes are coming together again even though only three students came out for one at Zanies at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, IL. They agreed to wait until next month, so we’ll start on April 6th and be ready to go. We had several other people inquire, but they didn’t attend for whatever reason. That happens. It’s ok, I‘m still very positive.

Cyndi Nelson is my ace in the hole here and she and I had a great meeting. Cyndi works for the resort as Entertainment Director after being promoted from manager of Zanies and she’s a peach pie to deal with. She’s smart and a sweetheart and she sees the benefits of a comedy class to more than just wannabe comics. She knows it’s good for lots of people.

Business types and sales meetings and public speakers of all kinds can benefit from this and she promised to promote it throughout the resort and I know she will. I wrote her up a press release last week, but it was on very short notice and it only got out today. That’s no way to promote something, but now we’ve got a solid month to get interest up for April.

I’ll have plenty to work on if there are classes both downtown and at Pheasant Run on a regular basis, and it’s not nuts to think we could eventually add a third location in Vernon Hills if needed. I’ve done several classes out there before and they’ve all been successful.

I have to watch myself with time management though. While I really do enjoy teaching, I still have a while to go while I can still perform. That’s my first love, and if I can do that I absolutely will. Teaching is close though. Having two classes at once is enough for now.  That should happen next month, and I’ll work on making those two fill up consistently.

The one man show about Milwaukee is getting some attention too. I can feel that begin to heat up, and I did a radio interview today on a station in Fond Du Lac for my March 13 performance at The Railroad Station in Saukville. Richard Halasz is promoting that show and he’s doing an excellent job of it. We’ve got a great chance to experiment and we are.

That’s what all of this is – one big experiment. It’s a crapshoot. I am guessing as to what will sell, and even though I’ve got a lot of experience there’s still no guarantee that any of this will work, at least not to the extent I might think it will. Still, I feel good about it all.

Richard Halasz has been a comedian longer than me, and has been promoting shows in the area for a while now. He can help me get locations in the area, as can Ron Lee. Ron is also working with me on this project and he’s been meeting with potential sponsors of the show lately and he tells me they’re very interested in the concept. I knew I had a winner.

Now it’s a matter of hashing it all out and making it come to life. I’ll work with Richard and Ron and anyone else who wants to put on shows, but the ultimate control in all of this boils down to me. I’ll have to negotiate percentages and define roles for everyone but it’s ultimately my baby here and whether it sinks or swims boils down to me. I’m in charge.

That’s why it’s so much fun. Whenever I’ve been in control in the past, things have had very positive results. It’s when I have to deal with those who don’t share my vision is the time everything has fallen apart. I don’t think I have to let that happen in these situations.

The ‘Schlitz Happened!’ one man show and the comedy classes are my babies and I call the shots in both. I also have Uranus Factory Outlet ready to launch soon and that project is in my control as well. I thought of it and even though it took way too long to get going, it’s finally ready to blast off in a couple of weeks. Those are three projects I love doing.

That doesn’t include my actual standup comedy career either. I’m still interested in that too, even though all these other things are starting to rumble. I took some time today for a review of my comedy material I’ve been working on lately. I’ve got 120 pages of material I need to either polish, rework or add in to what I’ve already got. That‘ll keep me busy.

All this will keep me busy for the rest of my life, even if I live to be 100. These are very solid projects that will take blood and sweat to develop, but I’m up for the challenge and looking forward to it. Nothing is worthwhile that isn’t worth working for, and all this is.

I’m starting to see a bigger picture on all these things too. I know I won’t be able to get anything done totally by myself so I’m working on my delegation skills. Delegating what I need to do is the best way to assure success, and I never really thought that way before.

Now, I totally think that way. Unless I can get quality people to join me I’ll never make any of this come to life. It’s only as a result of a team effort many times over that will be what puts any of this over the top. I’ve been laying the foundations for all of these things, but now it’s time to find the members of my team. I’m doing that, and it’s working well.

One thing I didn’t mention was radio. I’m still involved with Jerry’s Kidders on WGN in Chicago and The Mothership Connection paranormal show on WLIP in Kenosha every Sunday night from 8-11pm Central Time. Those are two more projects I love doing and it would be even more lovable if I was getting paid for them. Time to shake the money tree.