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Readers Blog: Dobie Maxwell's 'Dented Can' Diary

Evolving Doors

Tuesday October 5th, 2010 - Lake Villa, IL

   As life on Earth as we know it continues to evolve, so does the entertainment business. Nothing is cut and dried anymore, and whatever was ‘normal’ just a few years ago is now in a state of chaos and dysfunction. Anything goes, and that’s just the way things are now.

   Power bases are constantly shifting, and rules are becoming obsolete by the day. I don’t know where it’s all heading, but I do know I need to get a handle on my own life and find a system of survival. That’s difficult to do when the parameters of everything are unclear.

   I had lunch with Vince Vieceli today. Vince is a very intelligent guy who performed for many years but his heart is in writing. That’s what he loves. He used performing to add to his income, and I personally have always liked him. He’s honest and ethical and wouldn’t hurt a flea. Unfortunately, that’s probably why he was one of the first to get weeded out.

   Vince lived in Los Angeles for a while the same time I did. We used to have lunch out there too, but that was part of the problem. We already knew each other. It was all of the bigwigs in the industry that we didn’t know. Cracking that inner circle is a job in itself.

   We discussed that today over a plate of barbecue and agreed that times are changing so quickly, it’s difficult to keep up. Vince wants to focus on his writing and has originated a website called ‘The Eighth Muse’ which is worth checking out at

   The point is, each of us are trying SOMETHING. Whatever ‘traditional’ ways standups used to be able to make a living are fading faster than an Earl Scheib $89.95 paint job on a summer day in Arizona. We all have to add an additional hat to our already large mix of performer, writer, editor, sales person, marketer, travel agent, manager and accountant.

   Now it seems like we’re required to be a visionary. Technology is causing a major shift on many playing fields, and in my opinion just being a standup comic is asking for a one way nonstop bus ticket to oblivion. There are too many of those, and nothing stands out.

   The more I think about it, the more I’m intrigued by the whole concept. I have a chance to cultivate a following of paying customers that I can serve myself and not have to stand in line for the approval of some imbecile I don’t respect, just because he or she has a base of perceived power. That’s how it used to be, but only a few ever really benefited from it.

   Now, it’s everyone for him or herself and lone wolves like me can have a chance to be a viable entity that brings in money rather than labeled as a kook and ignored. Sure, I admit I’m crazy. All the good comedians are to a certain extent. Who said it’s necessarily a bad thing? The eccentricities are what make for the interesting artist, but not always at first.

   I still love a quote I heard but haven’t a clue as to who said it. “Talent is reaching goals others can’t reach. Genius is reaching goals others can’t SEE.” I love that. Maybe this is a chance to finally go around the people who keep creativity down. I see where I’m going.

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