Yesterday I spent most of the day in the waiting room off the surgery center at Luther Hospital because a vEry dear friend of mine was having some serious surgery.
I sat with Bob Carr, a mutual friend and another "theatre person" and to pass the time, I started relating "road stories" at his request.
When I got home late yesterday I decided that they would be a good topic for my next blog. So here's what we talked about yesterday. I may already have blogged about some of this - hell, I can't remember!
At one point early in my career as a traveling comic, back in the days when comedy clubs were fast replacing discos, I was asked to perform in Madison with the Madison Comedy Coop.
By the time the show got underway, the patrons had a pretty good buzz on - and the comic who preceded me was a young woman from Madison. She got up to do her show and the mostly male audience gave her a pretty rough go of it. So when she came down from the stage, she was not in the best of moods. she went directly to the bar and bought herself a strong one.
Meantime, the MC is up on stage doing a few transitory jokes before introducing me. The young woman comic comes back into the crowd and is standing about eight feet in front of me. Then some dipshit moves between me and her, and I see him reach around her from behind and squeeze her left breast!
She, in turn, wheels around to throw her drink in his face. But he ducks and I get the entire drink, ice cubes and all, right in the face, just as the MC says: "put your hands together for Larry Heagle!"
I went up and did my show, totally ignoring the fact that I was soaked with a drink. I never could find the gal after the show.
Years later, while touring to the west, I worked with a woman comic. The second night, before the show, she walked up to me and said: "you don't remember me, do you." I said no. She said "I threw a drink on you in Madison once".
Before I found an agency that booked me exclusively into comedy clubs, I worked bars all over the Midwest doing four hours a night with my guitar.
One week I was working in a bar in Davenport, Iowa, not far from the John Deere plant. Consequently, a lot of the customers were John Deere workers who came in after shift.
There was a guy, a regular, whose nickname was "Bear" and it was an apt nickname as he was huge and hairy.
One night I am at the bar, picking up a beer on break when a gaggle of college girls come into the joint. they are totally out of place in this joint, but they gather at a large round table facing the stage and order mixed drinks.
They are very noisy and boisterous and B ear turns to look at them. He says: "What are THEY doing in here? They don't belong in here."
About that time, one of the gals throws some money in the juke box and a very loud version of "Black Betty" comes blasting out of the machine.
As I get up to go back on stage, Bear gets up and walks over to their table, steps up on an empty chair and on to their table, turns his back on them and drops his pants!
I am facing the women and can see the shock and horror on their faces. They flee in horror and disbelief! Bear looks over to me and says: "I told ya they don't belong in here". I am convulsed with laughter!
One thing I learned working in bars night after night is that you don't throw a pick up line at women bartenders or waitresses because they have heard it all.
That's why my next little story is so funny to me. I am working in Wichita, Kansas. My contract is to do 20-25 minutes as a "middler" - After the opening act, and before the headliner.
The first night in, the guy who is supposed to be the opening act informs me that he is going to "middle" this week and that I should open. Knowing what my salary is, I agree. what the heck - I'll work less for more money any time.
Just after that conversation, Mr. Cocky walks up to the nearby waitress station and undresses the scantily clad waitress with his eyes and then, holding his hands out in front of his chest to signify breasts, he says: "OOOOH! WAITRESEES!
The waitress just looks at him and pumping her fist as if to represent a male masturbating, she says: OOOH! COMEDIANS!
I damn near fell on the floor laughing!
The topper? Second night in the Hot Shot from KC comes up to me and says, "I don't feel like middling this week. You go ahead."
There's more -- I will continue soon.