Today, Friday September 20, 2013 I am in a "Suite" at the Super 8 motel in Macon Missouri. This just adds even more irony to this day. Whenever I hear Macon, I think Georgia. Just like whenever I hear Super 8 I do not think "Suite".
Last Friday September 13, 2013 was in Portage Indiana. When I took this gig I thought I was going to be working in Porter Indiana at a gig run by a couple I knew to be good people and friends; I didn't think there would be any problems.
So 2 weeks in a row, I think one thing and find out another ...
This Friday's show was in Macon Missouri. A nice town located 3 1/2 hours Southwest of where I live on US Highway 36. I've actually stopped here many times on my way between Illinois and points West. Never for the night but always for gas and/or food. The gas prices are always a little lower than the other towns along that stretch of highway and they have a great variety of places to eat.
Last Friday's show was in Portage Indiana. Located 3 1/2 hours Northeast of where I live. Portage is in the Northwest corner of Indiana just below Lake Michigan and just East of Gary Indiana. It is where Interstates 65, 80, 90 and 94 all meet. it is the busiest and most treacherous piece of Interstate I drive through. I think the only reason anyone would stop there is to take a break from the stress of driving through. I can't get through there fast enough when I'm making my way East, I avoid it any chance I get.
This Friday's show was at a pretty nice place. A restaurant/bar called The Ole Beaumont. Located in an old building in downtown Macon it is easy to tell that the owners have worked hard to renovate it. Beautiful woodwork and brick walls have given the building a great look and feel.
They have menu full of good food that shows they are interested in doing something different and interesting. Appetizers like Shrimp and Bleu Cheese Bread and entrees like a 911 Chicken Sandwich with Chipotle Mayo on a Ciabatta bun.
Last Friday's show was at a trashy bar called Boomers Pub and Grub. Located behind a KFC at the very end a strip mall that only has bars in it the place is like a bad after thought. It's dingy and there has been no remodeling done, with exception of the temporary wall that was put up to split the bar in half for the comedy show. They didn't even bother to cover our side of the temporary wall with anything. They must have thought that bare 2 X 4 studs gave the room "character".
Boomers doesn't have a menu per se; they have bar food. They seem to be especially proud of their Italian Beef Sandwich. Coming from the Chicagoland area I would like to thing I know what makes a good Italian Beef Sandwich and they don't have it. Maybe they were depending on the French Fries with cold nacho cheese to make up the how average the sandwich really was. I also could be being overly critical because that sandwich did have to follow the deep fried Mini Corn Dog appetizer. Certainly youcan understand how an appetizer like that would set the bar pretty high.
This Friday when I came into The Ole Beaumont 30 minutes before show time the show room was completely packed. There was not a seat left. I heard the dull roar of a crowd of people in a good mood conversing with each other. There was some good music playing over the house sound system that was just loud enough for good background.
Last Friday 30 minutes prior to show time at Boomers Pub and Grub the "show room" was empty. There was music; ear splitting 80s rock and roll which included theoccasional screaming from one of the patrons at the beginning of some the songs. Had there actually been anyone in the room conversation would have been close to impossible.
This Friday the show started right when it was scheduled to. Before the show started I was asked by one of the owners if I had anything special I needed for my performance. I thanked him for asking and when it was time for the show to start it was he who went on stage and personally thanked everyone for coming out. The crowd was generous with it'slaughter and our shared experience was a good one.
Last Friday at show time we were still wondering if there was even going to be a show; and if there was would they be turning down the music? We were also hoping that the screaming patron on the other side of the temporary wall would NOT be joining us. There was also a slight bit of indigestion from the food. The shared experience was less than desirable.
This Friday after the show the other comedian and I stood at the door and thanked people for coming as they left. People stopped and shook our hands. They told us they enjoyed the show. One even told us it was events like this that made it bearable to live in Macon. The owners and the staff all thanked us for coming out to perform. They asked us if there was anything else we needed, then they paid us.
Last Friday there was no one to say goodbye to. We just looked at each other wondering what was going to happen next. They didn't wait long to start taking down the temporary wall. The foam sheathing they used on the bar side popped and squeaked as they pulled it off the wall studs. That along with the sound of hammering on the studs as they were removed was their way of telling us there was not going to be a show. The music seemed to get louder. I don't know if that was because the wall was coming down or they turned it up in an attempt to drown out the demolition taking place. We never did meet the owners and when it was time to be paid we weren't given any money; we were just told "We're sorry it didn't work out."
This Friday when I got back to my "Suite" at the Super 8 I sat down and relaxed. I watched a little TV and did a little bit of writing. I went over the show in my head thinking about how what I could have done to make it better.
Last Friday when I got back to the hotel I was stressed out. I had stopped off on the way to get a bottle of beer (something I don't normally do) to help me unwind. I tried to watch a little TV and do some writing but was unable to. I was distracted; I was trying to figure out how I was going to get paid.
Vilmos has been a standup comedian since 1992.
He created GreenRoomRadio.net a web site with Podcasts by comedians.
He is the host of The Green Room which is the longest running Podcast on standup comedy.
He also hosts The Mentorist v2 and The Spew.
His web site is Vilmos.com.
Follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/vilmosthecomic or Twitter @vilmosthecomic.