The Winter of Our Comedic Dissent

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I’m a road comic. Ok, I finally said it. I know in some standup circles that is seen as a negative, but if performing every week and not having to live some place where most of my profits are sucked up by high-rent and air travel has dubbed me this title, then size me up for the crown. All I know is after 5 minutes on the stage, no one in the audience really cares what credits I possess, they just want to feel something that connects them to me while they laugh their ass off.

I like the solitude of my car and 2 decades in I still haven’t become burn-out driving long-distances. While weather can be an issue for a road comic, it usually is just a minor inconvenience. That has changed this winter. If you thought your commute has sucked, try being someone who puts 35k on the road each year.

Today I’m dedicating a good portion of my day watching the weather channel (actually, weather nation, the shitty substitute Direct TV has replaced it with during their dispute with the former.) Another major snowstorm is hitting and even though I only have a 5 hour drive to my destination tomorrow, I’m concerned I will get snowed into my neighborhood tonight, so I have to contemplate leaving a day early.

I’m trying to weigh-out having to spend an extra 60 bucks on a hotel for the night, plus only seeing my kids for 1 night this week versus that I proudly wear my badge of honor which states never missed a gig because of weather and just as importantly I don’t want to irritate the booking agent with a call saying I can’t get through. So I will probably bite the money bullet and disappoint my kids because it’s the way I am. Hopefully someday my offspring will respect the work ethic example I demonstrated to them, instead of singing a heartfelt karaoke version of Cats in the Cradle. Sometimes it sucks to be such a dedicated fucking professional.

Just in the past 2 weeks I’ve faced 3 major weather events. Besides this upcoming one, I dealt with another major snow dump which had the local weather people claiming that you shouldn’t even open the door and look at your automobile because of the dangerous roads. Considering that the grocery stores were mostly wiped out from people preparing for it the night before, it did seem kind of crazy for me to drive right into the eye of hurri-blizzard to tell some jokes. I mean most people were so frightened by it that they didn’t think they could drive 3 blocks to their local Piggly Wiggly, but I was going to make a 8 hour roundtrip excursion in it, so the 40 people in some bar could get their laugh on. Yeah, that’s my life.

The worst driving I’ve done in over a decade happened 9 days ago, when I left LaCrosse, Wisconsin for a corporate event I was booked to do in Iowa. The first 2 hours of the trip were on a stretch on I-90 that doesn’t have a lot of traffic. During this time period, I saw over 40 cars that slid off the road. Remember, these are people that know how to drive in bad weather. I had to keep moving to get to the show in time, even though I knew it was a very bad idea trying to drive my Sonata on this frozen pond with road signs. I willed myself to stay on the road, though, as I needed to get the cash money ahead, plus I knew waiting in a ditch for a tow truck for many hours, while the bitter 30 below temps swirled outside, wasn’t something I had any interest in doing.

So I write this to speak of the real truth of being a standup comedian. If you are the type of person who has called in for your shift at Burger King because the weather was too bad to drive the 5 miles to get there, you should seriously reconsider wanting to be a comic. Most of us successful comics spend countless hours traveling to get to our gigs. This long-haul trucker part of my job is what I consider my pay is compensating me for. The shows are fun, which is why I spent my first few years doing it for free (or practically for free.)

So you want to be a standup comedian? Well before you get focused too much on writing a quality act you might want to answer these 2 questions first…

Am I a reliable person who has the drive to fulfill my commitments, in almost any situation?
Do I have a reliable car and am I a good driver who knows how to properly adjust my destination time to what kind of weather/traffic issues that might come up?
If you answer both of these in the affirmative than the next step is try to be funny and original enough that you can entertain audiences between the ages of 20 to 65. Hey, but what do I know, I’m a road comic.

With my buddy Todd Link, 8 years ago, See what the road can do to you.

With my buddy Todd Link, 8 years ago, See what the road can do to you.

Rooftop Comedy Interview

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I did an interview last weekend with comedian/writer Nathan Timmel in conjunction with my recent standup cd release on the label.

For those of you that want to get an insider’s look at the standup comedy world I think you will find this conversation interesting. Both Nate and I have been in the game for well over a decade and have a unique understanding of the business.

Here is the link for the interview or you can read my copy and paste job below.

In November 2013, Rooftop Comedy put out Scott Long’s 2nd Comedy CD, Good Dad, Not a Great Dad.

On December 31st, Angie Frissore graded it an “A” for Under the Gun Reviews, stating: “I’ve listened to and reviewed 52 comedy albums in 2013, but Scott Long’s is probably the one that touched me most.”

Generally, Rooftop puts out an interview with the comic to push the release, but with Nathan Timmel penning the article, they got something a little different: Nathan and Scott are old friends, so instead of an interview, a conversation took place.

Rooftop was able to listen in as they waxed nostalgic, fought Nathan’s toddler, and even discussed the new CD.

NT: I suppose we should start with the fact we’ve known one another…

SL: Fifteen years.

NT: Fifteen years… and we met in St. Cloud, Minnesota, at a place that has gone to the comedy graveyard, Rum Runners. And it was around for… well over a decade.

SL: I’m guessing at least two decades.

NT: And the amount of comedians who passed through there over the years…

SL: Oh, yeah. It would be the usual suspects of the Upper Midwest, like Louie Anderson, Tom Arnold, K.P. Anderson… people who came out of that scene, the Minneapolis scene.

NT: Who all probably traveled to Grand Forks, that had a room for years and years. They hired a permanent host, who would move to Grand Forks and live there and host for 6 months to a year, like a comedy boot camp.

SL: My brother did that for ten months, and I think the most successful comic right now who went through that is Chad Daniels.

NT: And for a smaller town, it was a full-week club, Tuesday…

SL: Wednesday through Saturday. The Westward Ho. The owner, Chris, was a huge supporter of comedy. The best poster I’ve ever been on came from there. “Coming Soon” or “This Month…” it was Mitch Hedberg, Todd Barry, Mario Joyner… and me. It was like the Sesame Street “One of these things is not like the other.”

NT: You’re an Iowa native, is this where you started your comedy career?

SL: No… I graduated from the University of Iowa, got a job, didn’t like that, my girlfriend at the time moved to Indianapolis and I followed her… and now she’s my wife. So that worked out. Anyway, I started my comedy career in Indianapolis, and have just stayed there overall.

NT: What number CD is this for you?

SL: It’s kind of a complicated question, because it’s only my second CD, but I put out two DVDs earlier… so DVDs and CDs, it’s my 4th… and I also put out a book in 200… 2? So… that’s kind of where it’s at. But this CD is different from anything before it, because my act has changed, like my life has changed. I have no doubt in my mind this is the best stuff I’ve ever done, because it seems to reach the audience on a couple different levels. I’m always focused on what’s going to make people laugh, but this is more connective. I’ve always been very macro about the world, because my comedy was influenced by Carlin and Hicks, but then having a daughter with autism, and then twins… it really changed my perspective and focus… I don’t think I get bigger laughs than I used to, but I think when the audience leaves I’ve left more of an impression on them. I’ve reached them on a different level.

NT: Well let’s talk about that… I’ve watched you for fifteen years, and your act has changed numerous times… I’ve seen the version you just recorded, and this time around you used visual enhancement on stage, and I’m wondering how you translated that to an audio CD. Answer that as I run to get my daughter out of the dog food…

*leaves as Scott answers*

SL: I wanted to write a whole new show, and I knew that unlike Louie CK or Bill Burr, I couldn’t just show up at a club and start experimenting…

*loud, loud, loud crying erupts*

SL: Is she hurt?

NT: No, she just really wanted the dog’s food, and mean daddy just put up the baby gate. So you can’t show up and start doing new material…

SL: Right. I have to get good reports all the time, so I did the Indy Fringe Fest, where I could do a one-person show and not have to be funny 100% of the time. It was really freeing, and after doing six shows I felt really comfortable taking the more stand-up elements of it on the road.

NT: And when I saw you, you were using an easel to show the different acts in the performance, and I was wondering how that translated to a disc…

SL: Right, right… it’s gone. I used that for about a year, but after getting to know the material inside and out I brought it back to pure stand up comedy. I enjoyed the “art” aspect to it, the “one-man-show” concept, but with that you’re talking at people, and I wanted to re-incorporate interacting with the audience. I actually hadn’t even planned on recording the CD when I did, to be honest. Rooftop had recorded my shows, and I was watching their videos and Dominic [from Rooftop] contacted me and said, “I think we could make a CD out of this. I think we could make a great CD out of this.” I said, “Really, you could make a CD out of video clips?” So he sent me some of the audio and it sounded fantastic. Better than some of the things I’ve heard on satellite radio…

NT: Oh, I’ve heard some awful things played by people who said, “I spent $2,000 on a sound engineer…”

SL: Right. And in the end I was really happy with the way things turned out.

NT: I want to go back a second to something you said at the outset of developing the act, an inability to do too much new material at a club because you need good reports… I don’t know if casual fans of comedy will know what that means. They might think comics get graded on originality, or if a club sees you’re constantly writing…

SL: The art. The craft. You’re not getting graded on the art of stand up comedy.

NT: I asked an owner once, “What are you looking for out of me?” and was told, “I just listen for laughter; I don’t have time to listen to what you’re saying.” Which really told me where I stood, and that weekend the opening act went up and did the most base, “Hey, who’s drinking tonight, Taco Bell makes you poop” material that you’ve heard a million times, but it didn’t matter because the audience liked it… So in your case, the owner wouldn’t be thinking, “Oh, Scott is bringing new material to my club, he’s working shit out,” they’d think “I don’t hear enough laughter, he’s not coming back.”

SL: And I’ve been doing this a long time, and some of these venues I’ve been to five or six times, which might make you think you’ve earned enough cache with these people to work out material like that, but that’s just not how it works. And look, part of that is on me. If I could sell enough tickets, sell out every show for $25, then would the owner care what the audience sounded like? They’d know people were there to see you.

NT: And I don’t want to make it seem like it’s not our job to get laughter, because it absolutely is, but you’d think that after a few visits you’d get some leeway, but it really can come down to one bad show preventing you from getting invited back.

SL: Which is a big reason why so many comics who have been in the business for a long time don’t really do anything new. They’re afraid; they know what they do works. And the other element of that is that pressure of knowing you have to do well… it really is a “What have you done for me lately business?”

NT: I remember a club owner who isn’t around anymore who would dictate exactly what the comedian was supposed to do to them. If someone showed up with a new closer, he would tell them to do the one he liked.

SL: Look, you really are a dancing monkey unless you can draw, and that’s the one part to this business I’ve never been bitter about. I’ve made certain decisions in my career not to be a Los Angeles or New York comic…

NT: I remember that. You had specific management interested in you, but…

SL: This was one of the most stand up agents in the country at the time, one of the most powerful, and he was legitimately interested in me… as long as I moved to LA. And I couldn’t disagree with anything he said, I get it, but I couldn’t do it. Stand up comedy, entertainment in general is a “me first” business. Everything has got to be “me,” and pushing me out there… but that’s what the new CD is about. I’m a dad, and I have to put my kids first, and it was a quality of life decision. Did I want to raise my kids in New York or LA, or did I want to raise them in the Midwest, where I was raised.

NT: Do you have trouble doing predominantly family-oriented material in front of varied audiences?

SL: No, because I’m not—and no disrespect to these people at all—I’m not doing Ray Romano or Bill Cosby family material. I still have these neurosis, these inappropriate thoughts that I use to write jokes, and that way people who have no kids can still relate to my act.

NT: One of the best compliments I got after a show was when a 21-year-old kid came up to me and said, “I don’t have a kid, I’m not married, and you didn’t talk about anything in my world… but I really loved your set. You were hilarious.” Which made me happy that I was presenting my point of view in a way that was universal, not demographically challenged, to use politically correct language.

SL: Exactly. I mean, I’m very cognizant of trying to stay relevant to the youngest people in the audience. I’m not going to talk about Justin Bieber or Katy Perry and pander, but I do have the thought, “What would twenty-five-year-old Scott think of this joke?” Because ultimately I want everyone to relate to my jokes. I’m not one of those guys who says, “Oh, fuck twenty percent of the audience.” I want the old guy and the hipster to relate to me.

Download Scott’s disc, Good Dad, Not a Great Dad, now.

It’s Never the Audience Fault, but…

…every once in awhile, it is.

After a better show with my friend Courtney.

After a better show with my friend Courtney.

One of the biggest proverbs in standup is that you don’t blame the crowd. I think this is true, but occasionally there is an audience that just never jells. Recently I did a show in a small, midwestern city where this was the case. Background: It was a packed house on a Saturday night, so that looked promising.  The opener (names have been left out to protect the innocent) went up and ate his balls, though, which did concern me since he was not some alt. comedy type act doing the type of standup that makes middle-aged, mid-sized citied Midwesterners feel irritated. He had jokes and he had punchlines. He was also likable onstage. Ominous. Despite this inauspicious beginning, though, my confidence borders on megalomania, so I still expected to kick ass. I had always done well in this room before. Time for me to change things up.

Before I go any farther, here’s a tip to comics. If the act before does not do well, don’t start your show with a hey let’s first give it up for (insert name). The crowd has already made it known they weren’t buying what that person was selling, so it’s best for you not to get attached to their stage death. I’m sure some of you are reading this thinking I’m being rude or mean by putting that out there, but standup comedy is not a team sport. If you want to be part of that world, go into improv.  Standup is a survival of the fittest game and if the comedian before you doesn’t do well (if it’s there fault or not), this is not the time to try to make them feel better about it. I’m not saying to shit on them, as that is cruel (unless they are great friends of yours and they are already successful in their field), but by asking the crowd to give it up for them will just magnify how poorly they just did from the low-energy, pity applause they will receive.

SPECIFIC ADVICE FOR MC’s: I have mentioned this before but when you come back onstage after someone who did poorly, don’t feel the obligation to ask the crowd to give them another round of applause. If you feel you must, make it quick and go right into your announcements or whatever else you need to do before you bring up the headliner. Exception is if the said comic had been a dick to you, than feel free to expose them.

If you are hosting a regular show or an open mic and it’s not been going well, NEVER throw-out a “So are you guys having a good time?” Always have a pulse of what is going on. They have proven they are not having a good time so you are just magnifying this with your statement. Comedy shows are organic, so don’t be a fucking MC robot.

I hit the stage very focused on changing the energy of this lame audience. My voice and body language was one of I’m confident and in charge. The opening lines which always work, barely did though. Now at this point I should mention that there was a bachelorette party in the room.  Now I’m not as big of a hater on bachelorette parties as most comics because I realize that they are an important money maker for the clubs. As long as they are policed, they can be managed, especially if you have comics who can think on their feet. No managing this night was going on. It was just the comics fend for themselves. What made this especially problematic was 1 of the women was blotto. Early on she started saying I should take my shirt off. (I told you she was blotto).

Now I would prefer to not have a cordless mic, as I think the sound is better with a cord, but it worked in my favor this particular show. I walked into the back of the room and started policing these bitches myself. I hit them with my patented, aggressive/passive style and it worked ok. Still, the material I had wasn’t connecting like usual. So we are going to play like this, okay. I went in front of the blotto party member, opened my shirt and then went to the next table and did the same for a some poor dude.  This got a huge response and bought me some time.

I should mention at this point that I’m not putting everything on the bachelorettes. This whole group had 1 major thing in common, they were not big fans of comedy.

I do realize that this is reading so if the audience doesn’t like your material Scott, they aren’t good, Sort of, yes. I see my act as some place between old school and new school standup. During moments of my show, I ask a lot out of the audience, but I have plenty of sex jokes to usually keep everybody laughing hard. This is a probably a flaw of mine, but I get so damned competitive about making an audience laugh that I will bail from my challenging material and reach into the bag of drinking and relationship jokes if I face a group like this. I did this and guess what, this stuff really connected with them. This 5 minute chunk isn’t hacky stuff, but definitely more audience pleasing fluff than my typical stuff. (FUCK OFF THOSE OF YOU CALLING OUT HUMBLEBRAG)  Now on one hand that was why I brought out this material I rarely do–to get them back on board, but here’s the no-win situation they had put themselves in: Their laughter made me hate them more in some ways, as I thought less of them.  (How fucked up in the head am I, right?)

I went into my most challenging stuff soon after and did pretty well, but it was never to the level I’m used to.  I tried about every move in my comedy trick bag to get them going. As I walked to the back of the room right after I finished, I told the opening act that I hated these people. Then I set up my merchandise and willed myself to put on a smile and try to take every dollar I could from these muthafuckers wallets.

The morale to this story. There are a few times where a group of people get together and they form some bad energy. So every once in awhile you can blame audience. Having said that, let me finish on this note. I did an open mic that same week that was so good that the show was like stealing.  Judging comedy is like judging gymnastics…you need to throw out the best score and the worst score. More specifically, don’t hold on too hard to that great show or that one where you took a massive dump onstage. The truth is in the middle.

One last note. FUCK YOU FUCKERS. IF YOU DON’T LIKE TO LAUGH, STAY THE FUCK HOME. That was my time, Goodnight.

It Takes Every Kind of People

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I have always been a reactionary comedian, probably because I’m a reactionary person. My number 1 goal at a show is for the audience to have a great time, and I don’t go after anyone in the crowd without reason, but if you offer up yourself by heckling, you will quickly find my red-hot rage focused towards you. I’m not a bully, but I will attack your weaknesses until I have control again. In the standup world this is a great skill to possess.  It’s not such a good trait to have in life, though.

As I’ve outlined here before, (too many times for some of you, I’m sure), I grew up with an abusive father and this was my defense mechanism. Sure the comedic  element I bring to it dissipates the edge of it a little, but it’s still something I have to work hard to suppress, as it is something very instinctual to me. I’ve never picked on someone who couldn’t defend themselves, but plenty of times I’ve taken it too far with those who start shit with me. Go ahead and poke the Bear, but let me warn you, if you do  you better be able to climb the highest tree.

Having a daughter with developmental disabilities has softened me a little, though. I’m sure age has something to do with that, as well.  At a recent Friday night show in Milwaukee my growth was on display. (And no, I was not arrested for this public display of growth. Out of the gutter everybuddy.) During my bit where I ask who gets drug-tested at their job, I got a quick response from 1 woman.. She said her drug-testing happened when she was working with kids with special needs. I’m sure for most comics this would have been open season for jokes.  A big reason I ask the question is to find jobs that I can riff off of why or why not you should get drug-tested at them.  The only exceptions for me is if you are in the military or if you have a job like this woman had. My response then is thank you for doing what you do.

** At this point I should mention that the woman had a unique speaking voice. It was clear and intelligent, but with a tone to it that was different than what you usually hear. When you are on-stage by yourself, having to entertain a large group of people, (230 to 1 in this situation) you learn to grab onto and exploit any weakness you can find. I’m guessing most comics would’ve have at the very least commented on her voice. My life experience made me feel pretty confident that she was on the spectrum, so I stayed away from it. Soon after, she told the audience she was in fact autistic. 

The woman then followed up that her brother got drug tested as well.  I asked what job he did. She responded with he was tested when applying to be a police officer. I asked if he got the job. She told me that he hadn’t yet. My next question was how long ago did this drug testing happen? Her matter of fact answer was 6 years ago. Huge laugh. Priceless. You can’t script stuff this good. It’s the awesome element of live standup. The shared experience which makes for a one of a kind moment. You don’t get that from a comedy central presents or a late night talkshow.

The combination of me knowing people on the spectrum, plus my years of stage experience made this all work. It’s rare when you can say you are the the perfect person to be onstage in a moment, but I can’t think of anyone else who was better equipped to get the most out of this situation.  Being calm onstage and not trying to rush back to your material is a great skill to have. Letting someone in the audience get a bigger laugh than you is a sign to the audience that you are confident and in control. I see a standup show as an organic event. The best show to me is for people leaving the show and having something they will always remember about it.

If you think this is where it ends, hold on. She then told me that her brother cried when he was 8 because his cat Natasha died. I told her maybe it’s good that her brother didn’t become a cop because he sounds like kind of a wuss. I then told her she might be the best co-host I have ever had and maybe we should go out on the road together, because she has impeccable comedy timing. Later on when I did my bit about my daughter not being able to pronounce the G in my dog Angus’ name, my co-host mentioned I should have named him Natasha. I told you she had great timing.  After the next huge laugh started to die down, I told her I was going to have to rescind my offer of going out on the road with me, as my ego could never handle her being funnier than me.  Just so there wouldn’t be any confusion from this statement, I told her I was so happy she had come out that night and that I loved her.

I felt the timing was perfect to go into my piece about how we should rethink the use of R words. In a sold out show with a younger crowd filled with raucous energy, you could have heard a pin drop. I’m guessing of the 230 people in the showroom, over 200 of them had never had a real conversation with someone on the autism spectrum. Mostly because of my co-host efforts and a little bit of my own, some minds opened a little that night. The audience came there to laugh and they got a buttload of yuks, but I’m pretty confident they also left with a little more.

Now here is a little inside baseball about what it is like being a person at a comedy club who has people in their life they love who have a developmental disability. You have a constant uneasy feeling always lurking that some joke(s) are going to be hurled at this group. I’m pretty certain that my co-host friends were feeling this to a very magnified degree during this show. They didn’t know how I was going to respond to their friend.  They didn’t know about the message I have about the journey my life has taken from having Maddie in my life. When they were leaving the show a number of these friends told me how much they appreciated the way I handled the show. They had a look like they had been on a 45 minute roller coaster ride where they weren’t sure if it had passed safety inspection, but by the end were thrilled to still be in tact.  I know that feeling, as I have a similar protective instinct.

Here is where I’m in a unique position. I am in a business where political correctness is often the enemy of the ultimate result we are seeking. I’m not saying that it’s the comedians job to worry about offending a few people. I can’t tell you that I wouldn’t have gotten huge laughs if I would made fun of her. I do think there was just as good of chance, though, if I would’ve have taken the show that direction, I could’ve turned the room against me. Look, I’m not saying I’m the ruler of comedy and you have to do it my way. What I am trying to do here is tell a story of how sometimes taking a different approach can bring an optimal result.   

Too many comics only celebrate the most cringe-inducing elements of our business. It’s why so many of us get into it. We are firestarters who don’t fit into society and want to torch the earth around us. I know for the first 15 years of my career that would have been the case with me.  Having raw edge is great, but never forget that the best standup is not pointed towards the easiest targets. 

So after the show I came face to face with my co-host. She had a big smile on her face and told me she had a great time that night.  It was her first time ever at a comedy club. This beautiful young woman’s name was Dana and she told me she was a PhD student studying existentialism at Marquette University. If you don’t know what that means, I will try to be kind. Lets just say in many ways she is a lot smarter than you and me. My degree is in standup comedy, but I feel like I earned my PhD that night.  I promise you I won’t forget this show and I’m happy to have a new friend named Dana.

My friend and new co-host, Dana.

My friend and new co-host, Dana.

Who knew Robert Palmer was such visionary?

North Dakota Equals Hookers and Blow!

Bismarck Noon News will never be the same.

Bismarck Noon News will never be the same.

What is the craziest week of standup I’ve done in a few years? Answer would be last week in North Dakota.

The week begins with me in Williston, North Dakota. If you don’t know where Williston is, you are in the majority. It’s is 15 miles from the Montana and 80 miles south of the Canadian Border. It is as isolated as any place I’ve ever been in the US. 5 years ago, as part of a comedy tour I was on in North Dakota, I had a show in Williston. It was 53 below with the windchill. You read that right. Let me mention that if you are in North Dakota and the weather person shares with you that it’s a record cold night in January, you made some very unfortunate plans. I should mention also that the bar was pretty full and that my car didn’t start the next day.

Well this time the temps were in the 90’s, so the heat swing from my trips was over 140 degrees. There is no easy way to get to Williston. The gig wasn’t paying me well enough to fly, so I drove the 20 hours to get there. I drove 13 hours to Fargo, got a hotel, and then did the rest the next day. If you are asking me why I did the show, I knew I was already going to be out that way and wanted to do a favor for the booking agent who I like a lot. Besides that, I knew the promoter of the show, as he’s a friend and comic who has spent the past couple of years running a poker room in the area. Poker room in a small border town in Montana?

This is how long it took for me to get to Williston.

This is how long it took for me to get to Williston.

Double this and you know how many miles I put on my poor Sonata to do this trip. This is part of  doing this job.

Double this and you know how many miles I put on my poor Sonata to do this trip. This is part of doing this job.

If you haven’t heard, things are booming in Williston. It’s the capital of the Fracking movement and is the biggest oil producing area in the US. (That includes Alaska). I’m not here to get political about the place, but what I will tell you is it totally surreal. The difference from how it looked 5 years ago to now is mind-blowing. There is brand new hotel after hotel stacked on each other like a mini-Vegas. The rooms are full which is why a Motel 6 had a sign for 89 dollars a night.

89 bucks for the Motel 6. 180 bucks for a Holiday Inn Express. And it's still hard to find a vacancy.

89 bucks for the Motel 6. 180 bucks for a Holiday Inn Express. And it’s still hard to find a vacancy.

It’s really the definition of the wild west, as so many young men are there filling the high-paying jobs. Starting pay at Wal-Mart is 18 DOLLARS! It’s 15 dollars to work at Taco Johns. (The Taco Bell of the Plains) Before you move there remember that there is a huge shortage in housing and that the place is kind of lawless. With fracking jobs paying 100k, the story I heard is it’s hard to find people to police the place. Here is some video of a couple comic friends I was talking to in Fargo about my next night in Wiiliston.

Unlike strippers and prostitutes who make a killing there, I was not compensated in the same fashion. From you can tell from the video below, the lodging wasn’t exactly what I was accustomed to. I should offer up, never a good sign when your itinerary includes do not make jokes about the hotel/motel. 

The crowd was surprisingly good, as it was mainly dudes under the age of 30 who I know what buttons to push. After the show I sold a decent amount of Fracker t-shirts which I had made specifically for this trip, but not enough to do much better than break even on this portion of my sojourn.  The highlight had to be when 1 guy came up to me and said are you going to come out and party with us?  Despite not having any desire to go back to the Bates Motel, I told him I was too tired as I had driven almost non-stop for 2 days to get there.  His response was

hey man, we got that covered. Where we are going we have coke and hookers!

Hard to argue that logic. It was like I had stepped in some type of time warp from 1986. I responded that was a nice offer, Ricardo Tubbs, but I was going to have to pass. I then got in my car, fired up the Phil Collins on my iPod and drove back to my crack den-like accommodations.

Hey there was 1 plus in driving that far. I was too tired to get too freaked about sleeping in the Motel, though I did wear my jeans, t-shirt and socks to bed.

The next day had my opening act, J.D. Provorse and I driving to his hometown of Jamestown, ND. When I took this run, I knew I had an empty Thursday and reached out to J.D. to see if he had any leads on a room we could do. Considering how much rooms were going for out that way, I was looking for someway not to take a big loss for the night.  A high school friend of J.D.’s had taken over managing a Vets club there, so voila, we were in business. When I got there I realized this was going to be a challenge. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the majority of the people at the show were of retirement age. Mix that with a few people up front who were in their early 20’s and I knew this was only going to work if I made it an interactive circus-like atmosphere.

I started the show by acknowledging the situation. I find it impossible to mention the obvious, even if it might blow up in my face. I was able to use something topical to perk up the joke.

Comedy is different than other art forms. At a concert or a movie, the ages are usually between 10-20 years. Not comedy. Look around tonight. We have people in their 20’s. We have people in their 80’s. That puts a lot of pressure on me. I don’t have a joke that is going to work for both groups at the same time. I don’t have a joke where Hannah Montana meets up with Matlock and they solve a crime. (doing my best Andy Griffith impression) Twerking. No, I’ve never heard of it, but could you twerk on a Ritz, cuz that sounds delicious! 

It didn’t bring the house down, but it connected. Then I dealt with the next major issue. When you do the first show ever at a venue the thing that gets most overlooked in the setup is the lighting. I’ve discussed it here before, but never underrate the importance of good lighting at a standup show. The spotlights they had weren’t right and the best lighting was the overhead in the first row. I did something I bet has never been done at a comedy show and asked the people in the front row to move back a row. I then climbed up on the chairs they were sitting at and did my show from there. I know it seems crazy, but the audience all agreed they could see a lot better.

Now I didn’t spend my whole time standing up on the chairs. There were a few times where I walked through the room riffing off the oldest members. I did a more PG-rated show but didn’t want to totally penalize the people who wanted an edgier show, so when I did those jokes I would sometimes go out and apologize afterwards to the bluest of the blue-hairs. I noticed one old guy not laughing and asked him if he even liked comedy? His response was he did and he was looking forward to when I would start doing comedy. That was one of the top 10 best heckle responses I have ever gotten. I let him have the acclaim he deserved. Then whenever a joke didn’t go over that well, I would go back to him and say maybe he had a point.

The show ended up being a big success. I could have stood up in front of these mostly elderly audience and did jokes about Twitter and Netflix, but that would have never worked. Hell yeah, I’m patting myself on the back here, but I’m also trying to demonstrate that some shows are less about the material and more about being an entertainer. I understand that for many of you that isn’t why you got into standup. I’m with you. It’s not my preference, but there is a reason I’ve been doing this for 2 decades and hopefully will still be able to do it for another 2 decades. Understanding how to shape your show for the situation you are faced with.

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The weekend was in Bismarck and was the reason I was in North Dakota in the first place. A funny friend of mine named El, who I had worked with in the Fargo area a few years back, was helping book the Dakota Stage Playhouse. (Just another example of how you never know how a gig you did a few years back will impact you in the future.) We worked out a weekend and as I’ve outlined I hustled up a couple other gigs to help with the travel.

One big plus in me getting into the state early was that I was able to fit in a TV appearance to promote the shows on Wednesday. Amber, who runs the theater, mentioned that she was going on the local Bismarck noon news and I told her I could get up early and route myself through there to do the show. Now after driving 13 hours just to get in late to Fargo, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to getting up early, just a few hours later to do this promotional appearance, but I want to do everything I can to help sell tickets. Amber was very appreciative and took me out to lunch afterwards. The whole weekend I was treated with class. A lot of clubs could learn from their efforts.

Little things like this in my dressing room are appreciated.

Little things like this in my dressing room are appreciated.

NOTE TO CLUB OWNERS and BOOKING AGENTS: I try to bust my ass to add additional free media opportunities. I do this because I feel like we are part of the same team. The ultimate goal trying to get more people out to the club and to make sure those audience members leave feeling really positive about standup. I will mention though, that if I do this and you have a good money week aided by efforts, I would appreciate some type of thanks shown my way after. (Examples: Pay me more–(best option), have me come back more than every 18 months, or tout me out to other clubs/booking agents as someone they should use.) I will admit I tire of Comedy Central Presents acts, who make a third to half more than I do for a week and don’t draw as well as me, but they still get preferential treatment. The only thing that keeps me from totally losing it is knowing that a majority of them will be off the road within 5 years, when they get exposed for being glorified feature acts. (I’m guessing I’m on my 3rd wave of these comics at this point of my career). Don’t get me wrong, if you are someone like Kyle Kinane who is hilarious and has created a good-sized following, great, but if you are Aisle Inane, the quirky alt. comic with a podcast and nice Twitter following, but can’t draw anyone outside of a few markets where hipsters abound, I start to fill with rage. I get that I’ve traded off some of my asking price by not living in LA or NY and not having the credits you might be seeking, but so often these credits do nothing for the bottom line. I don’t have a problem with an act making 10 times  what I make, as long as that translates to how much the club makes, but too many of these acts are booked by some big agency and they put less butts in the seats than I do. Yes, I know I sound whiny, but I really shake my head and wonder sometimes why clubs/booking agents bring some LA acts in who can’t draw worth a shit and don’t translate well to their audience. Sure I know that sometimes it’s a package deal where a big agency says you need to take this client if you want to get the one you are asking for, but it still reeks of bad business.

Now for those of you reading this thinking I’m talking about you, I only am if you are starting to feel a little guilty. I’m very kind to booking agents/club managers here, but you too often live in a world where you only hear great you are by ass kissers or how you are the worst human beings in the world by bridge exploders. I’m somewhere in the middle. Take it for what it is.  OK, off my soapbox for now. 

As for the weekend shows in Bismarck, they went great. I try not to detail how I killed with an audience, as I know the majority of readers here don’t want to read that. What I will offer up is that it was really fun doing a 90 minute show by myself in a cool theater setting with an appreciative audience. I will also add that as different as the 3 venues I performed at during my 4 nights in North Dakota were, all the shows went great. As much as it is a grind to drive as much as I did during this trip, it makes it worth it when you get paid fairly (thanks Dakota Stage) and you perform for appreciative audiences.  Not even hookers and blow can give you that kind of high.

At Schlotskys with my new pal Amber.

At Schlotskys with my new pal Amber.

Don’t Waste Your Time On-stage

It's too bad that this woman doesn't fit the qualities I require to be my opening act.

It’s too bad that this woman doesn’t fit the qualities I require to be my opening act.

One thing I do which i find creatively inspiring is to listen to intelligent comics discuss the art-form on podcasts. I want to share what I just heard on the excellent podcast The Champs with Neal Brennan and Moshe Kasher. They were interviewing Chris Rock. Here’s a great nugget for any comic.

Rock discussed how when he young, he was doing a shit set at 1am at the Catch in NYC. It wasn’t going well, but 1 guy in the back was laughing. That guy just happened to be Sam Kinison. Kinison asked Rock after if he wanted to hang with him and go to SNL that weekend? It wasn’t the reason that Chris ended up on SNL, but it ended up being a great experience for him.

You aren’t Chris Rock and I’m not Sam Kinison. None of us are. I would rate them among the 10 best whoever have done it. Focus on the reason Chris Rock’s brought it up, which Neal pounded home. You should never phone-in a set. You just never know.

On some gigs I get to bring my own feature act. Since I get asked by a lot of comics if they could feature for me, I thought I would use this time to clue you in. How do I choose who I am going to use? First I have to have seen you in person. I could watch video on you, but the only way I know if someone really has the goods if I’m in the room with them. There is something you can only learn from being in the room with a comic. This is why some comics seem just okay on video, but in the room are monsters. It’s the difference between a band who is good on a record and who is better live.

Here are the other reasons I go about deciding if I’m going to bring you along.

Can you consistently get laughs with most crowds? Most weeks I do I will face a variety audiences, even if it’s at the same club. Most weekday club shows have a 20 something audience. Most early weekend shows feature people that are in the 30-50 age range. You need to have some versatility in your jokes. That is why the more personal you are about yourself, the better, as topical references that can fall flat with certain ages aren’t important then.
Not too dirty. Look, I am not a clean act, unless I am being paid to suppress that part of my show. I’m not saying I want my opening act to be really clean before me, as I like a little flavor, but it makes me crazy when a comic drop a ton of F bombs which have no context. I like edgy comedy, but only if it is smart. I don’t want to follow lowest common denominator shit.
Sorry, but I need you to live close, as a big reason I am using you is that we can save money by carpooling. That is a major factor.
I don’t want to tour with a party animal. I don’t expect my opener to act like a Mormon, but if you want to party after the show every night, you are working with the wrong dude. Occasionally is cool when you say I’m going to catch a ride with a staff member, but I don’t want to deal with someone hungover the next day when we make a long drive.
On that note. Be professional. If we are going in the car together to the club, be ready at the time we are set to go. When I toured with Frank Caliendo I was always early and tried to make his life as easy as possible. I set up his merch, I grabbed him food if he was busy doing radio, etc. I’m not Morris Day and I don’t expect you to be my Jerome, but I don’t want to have babysit your ass.
If I get a gig where I can bring my opener, get back with me quickly, as most booking agents want to know soon who I’m bringing with. I don’t want to have to chase you down. I’m not a star, but I’m pretty enough that I have plenty other options.
Are you someone I can see being in the car with for 10 hours? You need to be smart and not annoy the shit out of me. It would help if you know something about music or sports. Btw, I am a nice guy, I mean if I wasn’t would I throw that line in here:) Having said that, I realize I can be a little difficult to spend a long time in the car with because I’m so opinionated. So it would help if you are kind of mellow off-stage. 2 Scott’s in the car is a little much.
The comic I most often work with now, Mat Alano-Martin, fits these bullet points. The first time I met him we both did a bar show in Indy. He only did a 5-10 set, but I could see from that he understood what was funny and he had stage presence. (You see what I mean about not giving away a set. First impressions are important.) I spoke to Matt after his set and we had things in common. No, we didn’t start making out from our shared chemistry, but I did want to take the next step in our relationship. The next step was I had him do a crappy one-nighter with me and he demonstrated he could stretch out and do a quality 30 minute set. The timing was good for him, as the other 2 acts I had been using had either moved to LA or were getting off the road to take care of family obligations.

Added Bonus: Mat is the only comic with a higher forehead than mine, which I like.

This has basically been the formula for every other opening act I’ve toured with. I’m not saying it’s the same for all other headliners, but you would be well-served to keep these suggestions in mind.

The most important thing I can tell you about this list I detail above is that if my opening act doesn’t manage to do consistently well on-stage and behave professionally off-stage, I will lose the privilege of bringing my own opening act. If I choose to bring you with me, you are living off of my reputation, so if you fuck up, I get taken down a notch in that booking agents eyes. I don’t take this responsibility lightly, as I can’t afford to lose work over your ass. I also like that every booker I know respects my referral and knows I don’t give my seal of approval unless I’ve seen that person do a 30 minute set in front of me.

And now you know.

Don’t Waste Your Time On-Stage

It's too bad that this woman doesn't fit the qualities I require to be my opening act.

It’s too bad that this woman doesn’t fit the qualities I require to be my opening act.

One thing I do which i find creatively inspiring is to listen to intelligent comics discuss the art-form on podcasts. I want to share what I just heard on the excellent podcast The Champs with Neal Brennan and Moshe Kasher. They were interviewing Chris Rock. Here’s a great nugget for any comic.

Rock discussed how when he young, he was doing a shit set at 1am at the Catch in NYC. It wasn’t going well, but 1 guy in the back was laughing. That guy just happened to be Sam Kinison. Kinison asked Rock after if he wanted to hang with him and go to SNL that weekend? It wasn’t the reason that Chris ended up on SNL, but it ended up being a great experience for him.

You aren’t Chris Rock and I’m not Sam Kinison. None of us are. I would rate them among the 10 best whoever have done it.  Focus on the reason Chris Rock’s brought it up, which Neal pounded home. You should never phone-in a set. You just never know.

On some gigs I get to bring my own feature act. Since I get asked by a lot of comics if they could feature for me, I thought I would use this time to clue you in. How do I choose who I am going to use? First I have to have seen you in person. I could watch video on you, but the only way I know if someone really has the goods if I’m in the room with them. There is something you can only learn from being in the room with a comic. This is why some comics seem just okay on video, but in the room are monsters. It’s the difference between a band who is good on a record and who is better live.

Here are the other reasons I go about deciding if I’m going to bring you along.

  • Can you consistently get laughs with most crowds? Most weeks I do I will face a variety audiences, even if it’s at the same club. Most weekday club shows have a 20 something audience. Most early weekend shows feature people that are in the 30-50 age range. You need to have some versatility in your jokes. That is why the more personal you are about yourself, the better, as topical references that can fall flat with certain ages aren’t important then.
  • Not too dirty. Look, I am not a clean act, unless I am being paid to suppress that part of my show. I’m not saying I want my opening act to be really clean before me, as I like a little flavor, but it makes me crazy when a comic drop a ton of F bombs which have no context. I like edgy comedy, but only if it is smart. I don’t want to follow lowest common denominator shit.
  • Sorry, but I need you to live close, as a big reason I am using you is that we can save money by carpooling. That is a major factor.
  • I don’t want to tour with a party animal. I don’t expect my opener to act like a Mormon, but if you want to party after the show every night, you are working with the wrong dude. Occasionally is cool when you say I’m going to catch a ride with a staff member, but I don’t want to deal with someone hungover the next day when we make a long drive.
  • On that note. Be professional. If we are going in the car together to the club, be ready at the time we are set to go. When I toured with Frank Caliendo I was always early and tried to make his life as easy as possible. I set up his merch, I grabbed him food if he was busy doing radio, etc. I’m not Morris Day and I don’t expect you to be my Jerome, but I don’t want to have babysit your ass.
  • If I get a gig where I can bring my opener, get back with me quickly, as most booking agents want to know soon who I’m bringing with. I don’t want to have to chase you down. I’m not a star, but I’m pretty enough that I have plenty other options.
  • Are you someone I can see being in the car with for 10 hours? You need to smart and not annoy the shit out of me. It would help if you know something about music or sports. Btw, I am a nice guy, I mean if I wasn’t would I throw that line in here:) Having said that, I realize I can be a little difficult to spend a long time in the car with because I’m so opinionated.

The comic I most often work with now, Mat Alano-Martin, fits these bullet points.  The first time I met him we both did a bar show in Indy. He only did a 5-10 set, but I could see from that he understood what was funny and he had stage presence. (You see what I mean about not giving away a set. First impressions are important.)  I spoke to Matt after his set and we had things in common. No, we didn’t start making out from our shared chemistry, but I did want to take the next step in our relationship. The next step was I had him do a crappy one-nighter with me and he demonstrated he could stretch out and do a quality 30 minute set.  The timing was good for him, as the other 2 acts I had been using had moved to LA and were getting off the road to take care of family obligations.

Added Bonus: Mat is the only comic with a higher forehead than mine, which I like.

This has basically been the formula for every other opening act I’ve toured with. I’m not saying it’s the same for all other headliners, but I think this isn’t too far off.

The most important thing I can tell you about this list I detail above is that if my opening act doesn’t manage to do consistently well on-stage and behave professionally off-stage, I will lose the privilege of bringing my own opening act. If I choose to bring you with me, you are living off of my reputation, so if you fuck up, I get taken down a notch in that booking agents eyes. I don’t take this responsibility lightly, as I can’t afford to lose work over your ass. I also like that every booker I know respects my referral and knows I don’t give my seal of approval unless I’ve seen that person do a 30 minute set in front of me.

And now you know.

Teaching Local Celebrities Standup

After the show with some local media types who were there to support their friends. Perks!

After the show with some local media types who were there to support their friends. Perks!

(I have decided to not use names of the performers for this story, as I don’t want anyone to feel slighted. They gave up a lot of their time-some more than others–which I really appreciate, especially since they did it for free. You know, like all beginning standup comics have to do.)

Last year I decided to do a special standup show as part of my regular local headlining week at Crackers in Broad Ripple. The specific idea was I had some friends in the local media who had acted like they thought doing standup would be fun to try. Armed with 1 local big name friend who was totally down with this concept, I reached out to a few others and all of sudden I was hitting a brick wall. The reality of the thing made some of the people I thought would do it back off. After a lot of asking around, I was finally able to find a couple people who I had never met, but were adventurous souls. (They have now become good friends of mine, which is 1 big bonus that has come from doing this event.)

Well that first show went over really well, with all 3 doing a good job and the club making a fistful of money. So when it came to round 2, it was much easier to find participants. I was able to get 7 newbie media types, plus 1 of the first group coming back to do it again. I went with an all sports theme, as I know the most media members in this field, plus sports people are more willing to take a risk. News people are far more concerned about their images. I was a journalism major in college, so I get that to an extent, but I work hard to protect their images and help them present a great side of themselves onstage.

Here is where I pat myself on the back…I worked really hard on this thing. Here are a few of the things that makes up having this thing be successful.

  • Initially I have to call and email all around trying to cajole people to do it.
  • Meet with the celebs multiple times at the club during the weeks before the show to teach them stagecraft and answer any standup questions they have.
  • Have them send me ideas/stories/jokes and then I help them craft/write/tag their material.
  • Talk to them on the phone about their stuff.
  • Watched practice video and audio files that some sent me.
  • Went on numerous radio and tv shows to promote the event. (multiple is 6)
  • Was constantly pushing promotion on social media for the event.

Besides the time cost which was well-over 80 hours, I spent a decent amount of money hauling myself all over town to meet-up and promote, plus buying lunch for them at meetups. For all this I never made an extra penny…I actually made less. So why did I do it? I’m not on a door deal. (Hmm, why did I do it?) Well, I thought it would be a new challenge and I wanted to see if I could make my vision of it reach the levels I hoped.

Great news, it was a big success. We raised a nice chunk of change for 2 charities who mean a lot to me, Noble of Indiana and Special Olympics of Indiana. The club was way busier than it would normally be for a August week when these things were all happening. From my Facebook post…

In Indy at the same time I was at Crackers Comedy Club this week was the State Fair, Gen Com (over 30,000 nerds), Moto GP (35,000 at Indy 500 track), plus a couple big concerts. There are 3 other comedy clubs in town which included my buddy James Ervin Berry and Larry Reeb. Greg Hahn was performing close, as well. Oh and did I mention that some of my good comedian friends like Matthew Alano-MartinKevin BurkePaul Strickland, and Stewart Huff  were kicking off their Indy Fringe shows. Despite all this and AMAZING weather we had BIG shows all week.

I’m proud of how all my hard work paid off at the box office for those who reaped the rewards. Here’s something else I was very proud of…every one of the celebs had at least 1 really good set that night.

Here’s my breakdown of a few highlights.

I knew going into it that I had 2 money in the bank performers. The person from last year who had killed it I knew would replicate it, so I had him follow my 10 minute hosting/warm up the crowd MC work. Another person who was kind of my ringer, since he had done standup for a couple years before he got into TV, I had toward the end of the show. Even though he hadn’t done comedy in nearly 2 decades his performance was one of a total veteran, despite being away from it for that long. I’ve worked with quite a few comics that weren’t as good as he was. I guess standup can be like riding a bike…

I tried to stagger the order having people that were higher energy follow people with lower energy and then have myself in between really selling them before they hit the stage. I am very committed to having everyone succeed and to leave with a good feeling from the thing. I appreciated them giving up their time to do this. It helped that everyone seemed to look at it as a bucket list thing to do. So both my money in the bank performers totally delivered, as I suspected, but what was really great was that some people I wasn’t sure would do well, performed at the peak of their abilities. That was very gratifying.

A little background on the preparation was that 4 of the performers asked and got a lot of help from me and all of them did great. I didn’t come up with premises for them, but I did really help shape their acts and chop away the stuff that would have made them seem like the amateurs they were. I actually tried to push them to be cleaner then their initial instincts because I didn’t want anyone getting in trouble at their real job for a bit they did. It would have been a lot easier to just throw them to the wolves, but as I said, their success I took as a total reflection on me. I spent over 3 hours one night re-working one person’s act. I did close to the same for another. They both ended up doing awesome. I felt like a proud papa for everyone, well almost everyone.

One of participants I reached out to last year, as I’ve always thought he was really funny and wanted him to be part of it. Well this year I was able to pin him down and he said yes, but he basically ignored all my texts/emails and I didn’t write anything for him. He never even got onstage. (Which is why he was the 1 person involved who complained about the lights being bright when he took the stage and at points while pacing would actually go out of the spotlight—all things I covered with the others.) So did he eat it? Nope. The guy has his own comic voice and his desire to not bomb when he was behind the mic made him power through. For his first time onstage, with no training tips, he was pretty fucking great, especially during the second set. Fuck him, though, if he would’ve let me help him some he would’ve been even better:)

Not every set was perfect, but every person involved had some great moments. As I explained to them they had a great opportunity that no other first time open miker ever gets. They got to perform for big crowds who were all fans of theirs the very first time they hit the stage. I’m sure all the comics reading here are jealous of that opportunity. It took me a decade before I ever got a crowd that had both of those things working at the same time and it still is rare when I get that situation. One of my participants from last year’s media celeb show did a guest set for me at a show I was headlining later that year. It wasn’t an event like the one he had done before and the MC didn’t do anything different to really pump up the crowd to love him, like I do at these events. It wasn’t pretty. He got to feel what it’s like to do a guest set on a Saturday night, which still isn’t anywhere as tough as doing an open mic, but isn’t like doing one of these shows where the crowd is rooting for you.

Here’s a fun thing that I realized after this year that I hadn’t contemplated before. They all spoke to the rush they felt from doing this. These are people that have jobs that so many people think are awesome. They might not all be getting rich, but they are doing pretty well and have a job that I think they love most of the time. What standup offers that these very highly-public jobs don’t is the instant gratification of an audience (and the other when it doesn’t go well.) I’ve been in the game for so long that I forget that doing standup is akin to bungee or parachute jumping. This was the case even for the radio and tv people involved who talk for a living. There is no job quite like going up by yourself and trying to make people laugh.

The only way the show was going to work this year I figured was for me to host the show and then close it. I know that sounds like a mass egotistical effort on my part, but I had to MC the thing because I knew all the celebs and was connected to the charities. I’m a good MC and know how to bring the energy up and down when needed, depending on what is best for the performer hitting the stage. I had to close the show because I’m the fucking man! Ok, well I opened the show because I was doing what was best for the show, so even if it wasn’t best for me to close it (which it was), I still would’ve done it because I needed the glory and needed a chance to plug my merch at the end. (I was donating 5 dollars of each sale to the charities, so that makes it a little better, right:) I should also mention that the first 10 minutes of the show is the hardest spot to get laughs, closely followed by going up when the checks are dropped. I got to do both. Not exactly glamorous, especially when you add that the audience is rooting for pretty much everyone but you–the non media celeb. I got better response every other show I did that week than I did during the Saturday shows, despite having double the audience at those shows.

I was thrilled for the success of the whole event, but was totally exhausted by the end of the night. I hardly slept at all during the days prior to the Friday event, trying to help do last-minute tweaks to material and making sure all the details were covered at the club. I hadn’t seen my kids since Wednesday morning, as these things, plus all the promotion I was doing had me away from home the whole time they were awake. Now I have a bunch of other local media celebs that would like to do it next year, but I’m leaning on closing shop on these thing. I think just showing up and doing my standup every night seems really appealing. I’m proud of how it turned out and I can’t imagine it going any better than this year. I will leave you with this. If you haven’t set up a big challenge in your life, you are missing out. Pushing yourself to do things  you’ve never done before are where the biggest rushes come from in life. If you don’t believe me, ask the 8 celebs who were part of my Media Celeb Night.

Postnote: I want to thank Broad Ripple Comedy Club Night Manager Chris Miller and Day Manager Gwendolyn Smoot for going out of their way to help me with some of the details. I also want to thank FOX-59’s Chris Hagan for being my support partner in helping do this thing. You 3 should take a bow.

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