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

Kings For A Night

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Saturday October 27th, 2012 – Fond Du Lac, WI

   Some nights it feels like I’m almost there. This was one of them. I don’t know why every night can’t be like this, but it isn’t. That’s what makes this whole game so difficult. I can’t think of any other profession where the circumstances are so consistently different from one night to the next.

   I’d much prefer a bit more stability, but nobody ever said that would be part of the deal. We are all trying to scrape together a living any way we can, and it’s getting tougher and tougher to do it with any kind of regularity. We need to take work when and where it comes, and that’s how it is.

   More and more comedians have to be entrepreneurial and book our own shows. Whatever kind of ‘circuit’ there may have been at one time is now a hollow shell of what it was. Booking agents that used to have several quality weeks of work to offer are down to a few scattered random gigs.

   Survival as an entertainer requires a lot more hustle these days than ever - and it required hustle before. There may have been more work and less competition in the past, but it still took work to rise above the pack that existed then. Now, there are a lot more people fighting hard for scraps.

   Jimmy McHugh is doing the right thing by seeking out fundraisers for his Chicago Comedy All Stars group. He’s got a deep rich pool of experienced talent to choose from and he knows how to put together quality shows. I don’t ever remember there being a bad show whenever I’ve worked with him, and tonight was no exception. This audience got their money’s worth and then some.

   Jimmy, James Wesley Jackson and I were in Fond Du Lac, WI tonight doing a fundraiser for a great cause called ‘Hallow-Ian’. Ian Lock is a high school kid in town who survived cancer a few years ago and is doing very well now. The fundraiser started with him, but was passed forward to others who need it and this is the third year. Any time I can be part of this kind of event I’ll do it.

   The hosts of the show were Marty Schibbelhut from B 104.7 and an old comedy friend named Michael ‘Silk’ Casper who works at ‘The Great 98’ WMDC. Michael is a long time comedian of very high caliber, and worked the road for years. Like me, he dabbled in both radio and comedy but he had a family to raise and opted for ‘stability’. I don’t fault anyone for ever choosing that.

   He was always very funny, and it was great to share the stage once again after many years. We were treated like rock stars, and couldn’t appreciate it more. Jimmy knows what he’s doing when he sets up these shows, and Michael came through because he’s been a comedian his whole life.

   The show itself was a stone cold killer and then some. Jimmy and James are both easy to work with, and we’ve always gotten along very well on stage and off. James is one of the nicest human beings walking the planet, and he always has a calming effect on everyone. It was a super night.

   The only thing wrong is that we don’t have a couple of these every week. If we did, life would be a whole lot easier. Next week it’s back to pounding the turf for work, and I for one don’t have any. I can’t say I’m thrilled about it, but that’s in the future. For tonight we were all rock stars.

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