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KID DAVE MILLER is not a Texas native, but he lives in Tennessee, and he recounts his experiences as a comic on the road for

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"Office in the Sky"

I did something today that road comics don't do very often. No, I didn't marry a non-waitress. I bought a house. All by myself. No wife with a good job, no parent to cosign, no tricking Habitat for Humanity...nothing.

Well, I did have to get a "real" job with a regular paycheck to make the banker happy. Man, those guys can be real sticklers about money and stuff. That's Ok, though. As far as real jobs go, mine's a pretty sweet one. It's kind of a summer thing. I teach hang gliding at Lookout Mountain Flight Park in North Georgia.

We are the biggest hang gliding school in the country. Much of my job consists of flying the tow plane when we do aerotow hang glider training.

(Please see the view from my new office below. And for any of you pilots out there, that kind of flying is regulated under part 103 in the FAR's. Very legal.)

My boss is pretty flexible, and lets me go out on road gigs if I give him a little advanced notice. Otherwise, I have someplace to be every morning at 8 AM.

Right now, I can picture the hardcore among the road weary screaming "Sell out!" Scream away, my brothers. I can still fit a cruise ship in on my days off from the flight park. And the clubs I work now are the ones I want to work. The clubs in nice resorts. Clubs with good pay, acceptable accomodations, and decent crowds. You know, fun ones that treat you like a professional comic.

Being treated like a professional. What a concept. Too bad it never caught on in the comedy club business.

Think of it. I'm no longer forced to take the hell gigs halfway across the country to make ends meet. No more using the back of my truck as a storage facility. No more putting 50,000 miles a year on my pickup. I go on the road when I want to go on the road. If I want to stay home, I drive a couple of miles to work and fly a go-cart around the sky! And it pays better than most one nighters. Pinch me, I'm dreaming!

I just slept in my own bed for a whole month. I haven't done that since I started comedy on the road over 15 years ago. Nice. Best of all, standup is fun for me again. No longer am I a bitter old timer on an endless road trip. Now, I'm almost like a giddy open-miker, excited to try out a new bit. Now I remember why I got into standup comedy in the first place. It's supposed to be fun.

Sure, there is something to be said about being a full time roadie. I don't care how many books you read on the subject, nothing teaches you about performing standup comedy like doing eight shows a week for years on end. And you do get a chance to party, play golf, see the country, be on morning radio shows, etc. But I think I've learned just about everything there is to learn about doing comedy in nightclubs. At 44 years of age, I'm about partied out. I suck at golf. And you can only do Omaha in February so many times before the whole "road dog seeing the country" thing starts to lose its mystique. And if I have to talk to one more wacky morning crew of radio people so the club can give away free tickets on the air to get a few more loud, drunk rednecks into the club, someone is going to get hurt...bad. I want to get the mindset the big boys of comedy have about the road: fewer shows, more money. Nobody gets in for free.

Yeah, I guess I sold out and got a real job. So did Rodney Dangerfield at one point in his life. I heard he quit standup and sold paint or something. Didn't seem to hurt his career any. Hey! I think I just made a breakthrough! When you realize that your life is your life, and you'll do as you damn well please, and don't care what your so-called peers think, you have transcended to a higher plane.

Wow. Now I'm ready to crack that motivational speaker market. Cool. Anyway, if you live near a nice comedy club, I hope to be in your town soon. If not, and you are ever in the Chattanooga area, drop by the flight park. I'll show you the sky...

...and pictures of my new house.

See ya on the road,

Kid Dave HOME Back to the Top