New Year’s Eve in Wisconsin

With Robert Hines, Kevin Cahak, Dave Brula, WDEZ's staff.

The biggest day of the year as a comic is New Year’s Eve.  It’s the night that people pay way more to see your show and they are expecting to get some bang for the bucks.  For 7 years straight, I performed at the biggest NYE event in the state of Indiana, but in 2009, they decided to save some money and kicked comedy to the curb, just going with bands.  I think it’s a poor decision, as variety was a key component for what made it the best NYE to attend.  Also, comedy is way easier to prepare for, as you don’t need sound people or tons of equipment.  A stage, a speaker, a microphone, a barstool.  That is about it.

So the past couple of years I’ve had to leave town, which is kind of bummer, but I had a fun experience this year in Wausau (Rothschild), WI. I had done the opening night of the Koo Coo’s Comedy Nest Club and I was approached by the Funny Business Agency to do a NYE/benefit show for the same guys.  Kevin Cahak and Dave Brula are young guys (in the comedy biz) who are passionate about what they are doing. They started a room up in the beautiful Cedar Creek Resort/Water Park and I am really rooting for them as it’s great to work for people who are putting their heart and soul into what they are doing..  For NYE, the guys worked with the local radio station, WDEZ, to promote an event where the proceeds would go to St. Jude’s Children Hospital. Considering my daughter has spent so much time in Children’s Hospitals with all her special medical needs, it made feel even more connected to the event.

Like most NYE shows, the audience was a very wide-range of ages, as this is the night when even the elderly think they should party.  It is always a challenging show to do, as some people are very bombed early, which is not a good mix with party horns.  I was playing hurt, as the flu virus that hit me hard on Xmas, was still around in the form of very deep cough.  Getting to project your voice for an hour is not what you want to do in this circumstance, but I got a pitcher of water on stage and just guzzled after delivering a punchline.  I had a wireless mic, so I decided to walk into the crowd and make it one big NYE circus.  The show went really well, as everyone seemed to have a good time. People really want to party with you after the show, but I very rarely do that, as I consider myself still at work.  Since I drive 40,000 miles a year, I can’t risk a DUI, as my car is my livelihood.  When you start doing standup, it’s all about getting the laughs and the idolatry that comes with it, but if you want to last in the comedy business, you have to be professional. Your job description is about being the life of the party on-stage, not off.  OK, enough with the lecture.

Self-portrait with Tara Parks

The photo above comes from Tara Parks, who runs a website called centralnightout.com.  She told me she should be putting up more photos from the event, so I will keep you posted if more pops up.  Hope your NYE went as well as mine.

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