When I have a panic attack, I put a brown paper bag to my mouth and drink all of the wine inside.
I am a captive in my own home. It wasn’t always like that…
The year is 1989. I was on top of my game. I was backstage waiting to perform in front of two thousand people. It was my first big show. I was very scared. “What if I bomb?” “What if they hate me?” “What if I forget my set (routine)?” My manager wanted to talk to me right before the show started. I snapped at him and told him I needed to focus. I was a wreck. Suddenly, I heard my name from the emcee, the curtain opened a bit and here I go. No turning back.
It went well. Sinbad’s agent, Beverly Muse, found me and said, “What are we going to do about your career?” We? Did she just say we? What does that mean? Is she going to sign me? She told me to lose 20 pounds and get my tooth fixed. I had chipped a portion of one of my front teeth. I did those things and went to see her. She signed me to a contract that day. That was a good day.
That year I went on to work with Michael Winslow, the guy who did all of the sound effects for the police academy movies, Gilbert Gottfried (yes, he’s a little different) and Jazz great, David Benoit. It was a very good year.
Things went well from then on. I worked in the regular Hollywood clubs with my friend, Keith Stubbs. I shared the stage regularly with Pauley Shore, Carlos Mencia, Marc Price (Skippey, from Family Ties), Louie Anderson and many more comics who had or were on their way to fame and fortune.
There’s something about this business that is like a drug. If it “gets in your blood”, you’re hooked. Keith and I would find a stage somewhere, 7 nights a week. If we found nothing available, we’d go find a bar who featured a live band and ask them if we could do comedy when they took a break. It was intoxicating, and it never ended.
Keith and I even took classes at the World Famous Groundings Theater, where many of the cast from Saturday Night Live came from. The classes were great, tough and very expensive. They were also worth every penny.
Keith and I then took very different directions. He went on the road like a mad man, doing 300 shows a year. Amazing. I stayed in the Hollywood scene, got a new manager and got some great opportunities. I had a contract to perform on Friday and Saturday nights at the Le Meridian Hotel, in Irvine, California. This was a very upscale Hotel. I still worked as many nights as possible. Life was crazy.
In fact, I performed with an improv troupe called “The Orange County Crazies” where I met some life long friends. The owner and director made life a living hell for us, but I made it a year before I moved on. One Fourth of July, I headlined an outdoor door show for ten thousand people.
I then started a comedy school and production company, got involved with some major motion pictures and had a local television show. I was still performing road gigs while the school grew to 6 locations, 22 showrooms improv classes, kids comedy classes. It was nuts.
Then, everything came to a screeching halt. My body and brain couldn’t handle it anymore. My insane life had caught up with me. So now, I stay at home, most days never leaving the house. I have No complaints. I lived my dream and had a blast.
I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to live that dream, so if I complain, someone please slap me. Make no mistake, I will make it back as a headliner.
See you tomorrow.
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