||SHECKYmagazine.com HOME||BACK to the Columnist INDEX||SUMMER 2004||
"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
(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.
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
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 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,
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