I sometimes hear NBA players complain about all the travel they have to do. Sure it sucks to be away from your family 25 percent of the year, but when you are doing it on chartered planes with 90 dollar daily per diems, even though you are making on average 5.15 million bucks a year, it definitely would seem to cushion the pain. (So would the ample groupies.)
A friend of mine told me a great story about how spoiled athletes get. My friend is a sportscaster who was doing a radio show with a former player/coach. This was the first time this dude had not been a player or coach in 35 years going down to spring training. The 2 of them get off the plane and my friend goes to get his luggage. The former jock looks confused. It comes out that he had never gotten his own luggage off a plane. All things were taken care of for him. Son of a Bitch!
I realize that this will be one of these blog pieces where many of you will read it and think, Wow, I wish I could be so lucky to get all this work. Of course, normal people who have regular jobs will think, holy shit, I would never drive this much unless I made a million dollars a year or more.
Let me go over the past 3 weeks of my travel schedule.
Last weekend of March: In Wisconsin/UP of Michigan. 1400 miles
Next week: In Oklahoma. 1600 miles
Next week: Illinois, South Dakota, Minnesota. 1800 miles
Last week. New York, Pennsylvania, Northern Michigan. 1600 miles
6400 miles in one month. When I booked most of this stuff, gas was around 3 bucks a gallon, not closer to 4. Most of this was me paying for the whole thing at the pump, as I didn’t get to bring my own opener except for the first week, so I didn’t make what I initially expected to. I’m way past the point of taking work and not thinking about the bottom line.
The newer element that is starting to hit me is how I don’t seem as fresh after a long-drive. Most normal people in their 20′s are absolutely warn out after driving 5 hours, but longer drives never started bothering me until I was in my 40′s. I drove 11 hours before my South Dakota gig and had to 5 hour energy it to get the yawns out of my system. One important thing for comedians to think about who are going to be road comics is to stay in good shape. Work out with some light weights to keep your flexibility and strength levels up. Don’t eat a high percentage of carbohydrates. I’m not kidding when I say this. I was starting to have some back problems in my mid-30′s from driving such long distances, but since then, I’ve followed the 2 tenets I just mentioned and the aches and pains are pretty much non-existent.
*In car snack tip. Keep almonds or mixed nuts close, so when you feel the need to snack you have them, instead of high carb snacks. I add a few M&M’s with them for taste.
I have owned my Hyundai Sonata less than a year and have already put 38 thousand miles on it. With gas prices where they have been at, I’m glad I went with getting a car which gets 35 mpg’s, but it is starting to take a little bit of a toll on me. Glad that I only have one out of town gig this week, even though it’s a long drive. (good money and I’m splitting the gas with the opener, so that makes it a lot better.) The next month has me performing a lot closer, so that will be a big help, as well. Making a living in standup has gotten tougher over the past decade, with gas prices rising from the days where it was a dollar a gallon. Add to this that the pay has not gone up, but has actually gone down. Oh and merchandise sales have went in the dumper since the economy cratered a few years back. Sorry, just like to give you a reality check. Good luck out there.