I have been wrestling with what am I supposed to do with this whole comedy thing for quite some time. I hit the road hard the first part of this year working the clubs, some of them doing 7-9 shows from a Wed to Sun and by the time I did the math I was paid very little $$$ per show for something that took me 9, almost 10 yrs to write. I know what I do has more value than that ;) so I decided it is time to place all my chips on me and see what happens. I will continue to work for the people (bookers) & clubs who have treated me fairly, who have been in my corner and provide places for comedians to hone their craft, people who are not just business owners but fans of great comedy.
I have made some other changes in how I conduct my life as well, I stopped trying to live life on the road like I am Keith Richards or a member of a rock band touring in the 80's! That doesn't mean I "found religion" , I just finally realized I function better without a certain substance in my life. I hate that I even have to write about that, but some people will always talk and it is better to get out in front of things, cut it off at the pass ;)
I finished my second comedy tour in Kuwait/Iraq this past June. It changes you when you see young men and women making sacrifices that I could not possibly convey to you in print. It is tough over there! I met a group of guys who are part of "Operation Proper Exit" who are helping and mentoring other soldiers who have lost limbs, severely burned, and those who suffer from PTSD, soldiers who are still sacrificing to help others after they have given so much. I came home with a new appreciation for what I have, and a determination to try and make things better here at home, the question was just how do I do that ?
Here is what I came up with:
From now on the shows I self-produce, meaning, shows where I find the venue, round up the other talent, & with the help of my supporters, produce the promotional media. I will donate a portion of ALL my ticket sales to a reputable, deserving charity. This isn't a "publicity stunt" or "gimmick", it is what I feel compelled to do and will continue to do for as long as I perform Stand-Up. I feel good about it, and it helps keep my mind off of me in an incredibly self-absorbed business & stay on the "right" path.
The first of these events will be on September 11th @ The Riviera Theater in Three Rivers Michigan to benefit Hope For The Warriors. I can't thank my good friend and fellow comedian Chili Challis enough for jumping right in and Headlining this event. Chili is one of the "good guys", the "real deal" as we say in the business and I am honored to once again be sharing the stage with him. I am also humbled to have my friend Andy Butterworth hosting. Andy and I met in Baghdad, I was there telling jokes, he was there as part of Operation Proper Exit, we became fast friends who both missed cold beer (can't drink in Iraq), motorcycles and pretty women who aren't wrapped in Burka's! It is going to be an amazing show!
So that's it! I thank you for reading and if you own a theater or bar, or have a stage, I would love to bring one of these events to your city, town, or village. I guarantee you will enjoy one of the funniest nights of your life and do something good at the same time and I think that is pretty damn cool!