In Charleston, IL, bar name forgotten.  I was the emcee and drove downstate with the feature act.  It was a big bar/restaurant and was packed.  I came onstage, made a few announcements, and began.

After about a minute I realized: nobody is paying attention.  All 80 or so people were chatting with each other.  I didn’t see a single person looking at me, and I could barely hear myself over the din of conversation.  I switched to autopilot, finished my 10 minutes, and brought up the feature act.

They were still restless until about 10 minutes into his set, then the show went well.  The headliner was strong, and killed.

On the way back in the car the next day, I was sullen.  I couldn’t believe how much I sucked at that show.  The feature act said, “What’s the matter?”  I said, “That’s the worst show I ever had.”  He was shocked.  “THAT’S the worst show you ever had?  I’ve had people stand up and say, ‘You SUCK! Get off the STAGE!’”  He then proceeded to tell me his horror stories.

Suddenly I didn’t feel so bad.



In Lyons, IL, Comedy Womb.  Strangely enough, probably the smallest crowd I ever had: 5 people at one table, right up front.  As I recall, three guys and two women.  The Womb’s show structure was a little different – instead of 3 comics, they’d have about 8 to 10 doing smaller amounts of time.

I think I was the 3rd or 4th guy on stage.  Have you ever seen a truly, truly drunk person…or been there yourself?  All 5 people were what you just imagined.

They were bellowing at setups.  I’d have to stop and say, “Wait, guys, that’s not the funny part.”  During one song a guy literally fell out of his chair.  I was semi-concerned for his health.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Lots of alcohol makes goofy people with guitars really, really funny.



I worked with Lewis Black during a showcase in Naperville in 1994.  I vaguely knew him from The Daily Show.  He was a very cool guy; quite calm offstage, unlike his onstage personae.

Also worked with Adam Ferarra in Milwaukee.  He’s a regular on Rescue Me.  A real fun guy to hit bars with after shows.  He has a lock on the whole sheepish Italian New York Tony Danza thing.

My favorite Chicago comedian to work with was Steve Seagren.  He’s since moved to L.A. and has appeared in cameos in The Office and Curb Your Enthusiasm.  The guy was as hilarious offstage as onstage.