Today's the day - an arbitrary marker on my own calendar, sure, but it's the day where my schedule goes haywire for the next few months. It's the busy season, my first real one, and I'm prepping to hit the road for four days of comedy. I passed out at 10:30 last night and woke up in a panic at 4:30, so that counts for six hours' sleep, and my meticulous schedule has a nap built-in before the show. Because that's how rock stars do it.
I'm pretty sure rock stars also get up at 4:30 and run the dishwasher, do laundry, clean out the car, fold and sort merchandise, double-check the kids' lunches and medications, and write self-serving blogs about all of the above. Raise a glass to the ghost of [this] comic's past, the me who would have reacted to this itinerary ten years ago by getting drunk as shit last night, sleeping till three, then driving like an insane person and making up excuses for being late.
(Not to worry, I'm still gonna get drunk at some point on this trip, but only when my car is safely tucked into its appointed spot at my designated hotel and my antics can be confined to sloppily liking and commenting on old flames' Facebook posts in the dead of night, or writing self-serving drivel I delete in horror the next morning.)
I booked my first weekend at Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle yesterday. Another rite of passage for a midwestern comic. January's filling up, while my December remains grimly landlocked and bitter white on my calendar. Maybe I can put ten more pounds on and moonlight as a Santa.
See you at Turtle Creek Casino tonight at 9:00. I'll be the one with the snappy t-shirts for sale and the stupid look on my face, incredulous that I'm getting paid to write and say jokes and amazed I had a plan and it sorta worked.
Planning a weekend away from home when you have kids is like having a meeting at work. There are calendars, clipboards, minutes, outlines, supply lists, contact numbers... it's a little daunting. But we did that and got squared away. I'm out Thursday till Monday morning, doing shows with Alysia Wood and then a trip up to Grand Rapids to visit friends and contacts.
The creeping crud is receding, slowly and unwillingly. I should be good by the shows. I didn't win that contest Thursday, for a number of reasons, mainly because I didn't have the best set. But I enjoyed seeing my friend Cathi, having some Guinness and working on an older bit that's undergone some renovation.
99% of the world will find 99% of this blog boring as shit. A lot of drudge work goes into looking like I just woke up and decided to do a gig.
My calendar right now looks ridiculous to me. Three months of intense activity kick off this week, including some opportunities I am very grateful for, but as of right now it all drops off like a rock in December. I hope to change that sooner than later, but I keep looking at empty December and its unscribbled squares, and not all the good stuff before that.
The air's cold at night, the days are getting shorter. Comedy's about to be in season like it was made out of pumpkin spice.
I did a guest set Saturday at my home club. The headliner had to bring his kids on the road with him. They cavorted around the green room, clearly in love with the attention and relaxed rules. My wife came to see the late show, which was marred by a couple depressingly rude drunks up front, and just shook her head at the thought of someone choosing to do this as a job.
You can't leave home. Sometimes it comes with you, stuck to your shoe, and other times you put in serious labor to keep all the plates spinning so you can run off for a few days. I suppose someday I won't be able to leave at all, physically or metaphorically. Nothing lasts forever. But for now I have the support, my arms and legs and larynx work, and I've got a Thermos and a notebook, so I'm heading out. Hope I see you out there.
Did a set last night in Wyandotte with my voice blown out from nonstop coughing. Afterward, my friends said it sounded like someone else doing my jokes. It sounded weird to me, too, but I was proud of myself for not canceling and not ruining the show. People got into it and I learned to modulate my new DMX rasp as I went.
Doing a comedy contest tonight, because it's close to home and I want to drink some Guinness. I kinda hate being the big fish in the small pond at this thing, because if I win it, I'm the asshole for being a working comic in an amateur contest, and if I lose, I'm the working comic who lost to amateurs. I'm just excited to work on this new revamped bit I'm doing, and see if I can make it two nights in a row talking like Tom Waits
Spent the last couple days with a hacking cough, flu-like symptoms, nose running like a faucet, you name it. I guess if it had to happen, I'm glad it was this week, when I was on relatively light duty, before some serious road work kicks in. Did nothing but sleep Tuesday, just sweating badness out onto the sheets while the kids fended for themselves like animals. Sort of incredulously awake now, like the first moment of non-misery after a walloping hangover, and hoping this mini-euphoria carries me through tonight's show up in Wyandotte. Lots of tea, OJ and napping is on the agenda today.
And the on-again, off-again beard is most definitely off. If you're not 100% committed to the beard, and you have a runny nose for more than a day, shave that shit off. You're just being gross, giving all that snot and miasma a vacation home on the front of your face where regular folks have to deal with it. Clean up your act till your insides work right. Come on.
It's been over a year and a half since I wrote a blog for this site. In that time I've gone from an occasionally-paid hopeful to more or less a "working comic." I am featuring regularly. I've opened for some big names. I'm working with agents who weren't returning my calls or acknowledging my existence a year ago.
I recorded a CD this spring. I have gigs booked as far away as North Dakota and Florida. I am eating potato chips and drinking beer right now, both paid for with cash I earned for telling jokes to strangers on a stage.
Lest you think I'm bragging right now, let's look at some other leading indicators. My checking account is overdrawn. My kids are growing up expecting me to be gone, if not all day, at least any time after dinner. I measure my self-worth by how well people I don't know responded to ludicrous ideas I wrote down on a napkin, and I reward or punish myself for my perception of what they thought with prodigious amounts of Del Taco at 3am.
In other words, I think I'm actually a comedian now. Still at square one of a long journey. But I'm on that road.
I'm going to try something new in this space. I'm gonna post every day. It may just be a couple sentences, it may be a book report. But I'll check in daily with some kind of thought, observation, life milestone, or picture of lunch. We'll see if I keep it up, or if it's interesting or not. But a lot's been happening, and I should probably do a little more to document the trip.
Where I write about the stuff I do when I'm out doing the stuff I do.