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It's mid-summer, and I'm in my hotel room in Omaha, Nebraska trying to stay cool, and avoid the 95 degree weather outside. I learned a lot last night- mainly if you're in cow country, don't tell the crowd you feel bad for the cows. They will turn on you. Cows are big business in Nebraska, as its mostly cornfields, along with the cows. I met a farmer last night, and he owned 75,000 cows over 3 different farms. That's a lot of cows. I'd been talking to one of the ladies after the show, and she told me she had 19 other siblings- 21 at one time, with 2 being deceased. Her father was a big baseball fan, and had named all his sons after famous players such as: Sandy Koufax, Ted Williams, and Mickey Mantle. Poor guy died of Lou Gehrig's Disease. I can't think of a better example of irony in life than that.
For the 10th straight year, I went to Lollapalooza, a now 4-day music festival in Chicago. It's my favorite weekend of the year. In no particular order, I saw: Head & the Heart, Cage the Elephant, XX, Arcade Fire, Whitney, Run the Jewels, Spoon, Live, and the Killers.. amongst a few other bands. Music is a lot like comedy- the bands are telling a story, but with their songs. They evoke emotion and inspiration- that's why I love it. There are a few differences - when a band plays a slower song, audiences get quite, but if a comedian tells a joke and it doesn't get a laugh- the silence is deafening. The other thing I've noticed when attending concerts - some people seem to storm-out early to beat the rush, well before the last song is played- if people did that at comedy shows, it would be humiliating for the comedian.
I did a show in Nashville, Indiana a few months back. I'd been on a roll for about 75 minutes, when a drunk couple decided to come on stage and proceed to spew nonsense to the crowd. I decided to have a seat in the audience, cause I knew they'd make fools of themselves. The crowd put up with it for a short-time, than proceeded to shout at them "Get off the #&*# stage." When they wouldn't, a near melee almost occurred between the crowd, and the couple. Thats comedy for you. I'm been touring non-stop this summer, and its been very satisfying.
The thing about the road is, you meet a lot of great people along the way. People you'd love to hang out with, and be friends with. It'd be impossible to list them all here- but I can tell you this-- I'm grateful that I get to interact with them, however briefly...even if I never see them again. I saw a mural once at a rest-area off the highway by James Autry, the poet, writer, and accomplished businessman. He wrote "There is no business. There are only people. Business exists only among people, for people. " Than there's the audiences. They're like your family for the night. Just like regular families, it's a unique bond you share. Than you pack-it up, and do all over again the next night. Sometimes, when you're on the road - somehow, it feels like home.