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

Out Of Body

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Tuesday December 11th, 2012 – Rockford, IL

   As crazy and frustrating as my life has been and even with the high degree of disappointment I tend to feel on a regular basis, the one constant I can hang my hat on is that I love what I do on a consistent basis. I may not love the financial compensation, but my creative hunger is satisfied.

   I know there aren’t many people who can say that, and I love that part of my life. It’s probably the only thing that keeps me from jumping into an active volcano – that and not knowing of any active volcanoes in my immediate vicinity. The point is that without this passion I’d be history.

   I thought of it today as I was on the radio on WNTA in Rockford, IL. My friend Jim McHugh tagged along, and it’s even more fun doing the show when he’s in the studio. We were bantering back and forth and having a blast, and I had an out of body experience and saw the big picture.

   Jay Leno talked about that in an interview many years ago. He said he knew his act so well that at a certain point he could think about something completely different like what he might have to eat after the show or his dry cleaning while he was on stage performing. That concept fascinated me, even though I couldn’t comprehend it then. I was still trying to master the basics of comedy.

   Then one night out of nowhere, I was doing the exact same thing. It’s like I jumped right out of my body and was in my own audience as I was performing. I was free to think about anything or nothing, and knowing that took everything to a much higher level. I felt I was finally “getting it”.

   Radio can be like that too. It’s a performance, and there’s a buzz attached to it just like comedy – although it’s not as intense. Comedy is a short powerful jolt that’s an hour or less while radio is longer and steadier. A good radio show buzz can last up to four hours and be quite the intoxicant.

   Today it was only a two hour shift, but we were firing on all cylinders and it was tremendously fun on several levels. It’s great to hang out with Jim, and the producer Howard Bailey Murray is both competent and a genuinely nice person. The vibe in the studio could not have been better.

   We took it even higher by inviting our friend and fellow Chicago comedian Dwayne Kennedy on to plug the TV show he’s writing for and to get some air time. Dwayne is a comedic genius of the highest order, and Jim and I are both fans. Dwayne doesn’t get nearly the respect he deserves.

   Jim also invited singer Emily Hurd to join us. She’s from Rockford originally, and an amazing talent in her own right. She writes her own material and has a powerful voice, and any time I am able to promote somebody locally I always will. Her work is available at www.emilyhurd.com.

   As we were on the air, I had one of those out of body experiences and was able to see just how cool it was to be doing what we were doing. I was in a studio with friends that I like and respect, talking to others I like and respect on the phone. I have no idea who was listening, but I know at least somebody was because we got calls the entire time we were on the air. I didn’t get rich, but I did get paid and have been asked to come back tomorrow. I’m on the right track. More of this. 

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