One Last Show for the road

Editors note: This was originally written and posted on my Facebook on Friday, December 16th, 2022.

Ugh! Where to begin and how do I say all the things I want to say?

I did something like this many years ago when I completed my first year of comedy, and it annoyed the shit out of people I tagged, but tomorrow, I won’t be here or care. anymore. Well, on Facebook, I’ll still be alive… hopefully.

I made this at the end of 2015 after completing my first year of comedy. I very proudly got on stage 150 times in that first year. That was too many shows, too many miles and too many donuts!

On November 7th, 2021, at 10:50 a.m., I sent the first message to this little brewery about an hour and fifteen minutes south of where I live, called Ramshackle Brewing Company.

After weeks of seeing advertisements for their Wednesday open mic night and noticing that they often had bands and solo musicians come through and perform in this tiny lil bar, in a tiny lil town of Jonesville, I mustered up the courage to reach out and see if they’d like to try a comedy night, and they did!

The Shack!

I was shocked and excited! It was an immediate yes, and from there my relationship with this wonderful establishment was born. Usually venues can be a little hesitant or stand-offish, not to show too much interest or excitement for trying out a comedy night. Not Jessy and Zack, they were all in.

Immediately I went to work on filling our first lineup, and it was a great fucking lineup too! I was stoked! They gave me my first date, December 9th, 2021, and I wanted to bring the heat, and boy, did we! I was so excited, I had the lineup done and the poster made a month in advance. We hit the promotion and there was pure energy, interest and excitement!

The poster I made for our first show. Killer lineup! Packed crowd, too! Charles performed there three times!

The first show came, and the place was packed, wall to narrow wall. The building is small, and I hate mentioning the size so much because we all know that size matters, but not here. Not this place. This little 22-seater was filled to the brim and sizzling with excitement! The energy was electric, and I’ll never forget the high I felt as I was cruising down Moscow Rd heading back home.

I did it! All the comics killed! The crowd loved it, and most importantly, so did the owners and bar staff. I put on a great first show proving my worth, and they were pleased and eager to book more. So we did. Once again, I jumped on it to book round two and, once again, a lineup of straight killers from all around the state. With the poster made, the word was a buzz, and I even made a cheesy little cell phone video commercial.

This is the poster I made for our second show. Once again, another insane lineup! Brianna Blackburn is to be seen! One of my favorites in Michigan!

Round two slapped so hard, so we went full ham and started doing two shows a month, a Thursday showcase, and a Saturday proshow starting in February. What a nice birthday present that was! Things were good! I was excited to bring the laughs to the shack and the people of Jonesville, but even more excited to provide frequent and consistent paid opportunities to local comics.

February went so well that we were like “Fuck it! Let’s book out the full year!” I went to work, and I will tell you, it was WORK. Do you know how difficult it can be to work with comedians and wade through dozens of clips, make posters, promote the show, host the show, eat a bag of dicks every night, because that’s what the Emcee often does. They take one for the team, and I did, and yes, it hurt. I’m fragile and sensitive. Sue me!

To be honest, comedy was starting to take its toll on me again. You see, I did it before all this from 2014 – 2017 and it fucked with my head and self esteem and kicked me in the nuts more than gave me that high I continually chased for years. 3 years of grinding really had me ground. Not groundED, but ground down to a stump.

This was in 2017 when I was still fat and on the verge of quitting comedy, if not having a heart attack. Actually, this show solidified my decision to quit and focus on my health. Both mental and physical.

I gained a ton of weight and started developing a lot of health conditions. Eventually, I said enough was enough and quit to focus on my health. Much like I am now, but this time, I get to break free from the iron grip that social media had on me for the last few decades. Remember Myspace and Livejournal?!

Fast forward to mid-2022, and at this point, I was at about 9 months in from round two of giving comedy a go. We were several shows deep, and the room was a buzz. I had a lot of interest from comics wanting spots, but my interest in pursuing comedy was waning once again. After fighting so hard to lose all that weight, I was finding myself slipping, falling back into old bad habits and negative thought spirals that ate at me.

Headliner, Jay Hunter slaying the Shack! March 2022

But I was committed and a man of my word. I had a full year booked out, and there was no turning back in my mind, no matter how hard it gets. I couldn’t let the comics down, the owners, or the Jonesville community. So I stayed the course for a while longer. That was until I convinced one of the bar tenders and brewers to take over hosting duties on the Thursday shows so I could focus on other stuff, like not writing jokes.

Da BAR! Drew and Ethan were the best! Great bar staff and people! Ethan took over hosting our Thursday night showcases to help me transition out. Truly appreciated that!

But I remained committed and continued to host the proshows, but my love for comedy never fully returned. At least not for long. Occasionally it would tease me after a killer set here and there, but hosting at a place that has already heard all of my polished material and anything new I was writing was not stage tested, I would bomb over and over and over. I took my lumps, though.

Last night was our one year anniversary and last show, and it was a hell of a time. Over the past 13 months, we put on 24 shows, had 84 different comedians from all over the Midwest, out of those 84, only 19 performed twice or more. Out of all the shows, I only had 15 comics cancel, one of them bailing three times, Yeah, I’m talking about you, Nikolas Ford! 🙂 Love ya, buddy! I hosted 15 of those 24 fun-filled, gut busting shows and once as just a performer, just last night.

The final show poster! One full year of shows and a great way to sign off and sail off into the sunset. Or quit Facebook, cancel Netflix, and work on my house 24/7 so I can relax when I retire.

Its been a fun ride and as much as I bitch and moan and complain and get down on myself and make it sound like comedy relentlessly tortured me (it has!) I’m thankful for all the comics that graced the stage, signed the wall, shook so hands fisted some bumps, I mean bumped some fist. I hope you enjoyed your time and felt it was worth it. I stand tall and proud, knowing I was a booker who put my comics before myself. I ALWAYS came out negative on these things. I know, I’m an accountant. I did it for the love of comedy. I did it for you all.

I am also truly grateful for the opportunity, experience, and relationship that flourished with Zack, Jessy, Drew, Ethan, and the Jonesville community. I hope everyone had as much fun, if not more, as I know did. I will always have these photographs and memories to look back on after I click the delete button on my almost 14-year-old Facebook account (I have a teenager!) and start the next chapter of my life.

This is the end…..beautiful friend, the end. So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, goodbye.

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