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Readers Blog: Dobie Maxwell's 'Dented Can' Diary

The Unshow

Tuesday November 15th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   The last thing I need in my life right about now would be any more high risk, built from scratch, cockamamie, hare brained, wackadoo fly by night ideas or get rich quick schemes to clog my toilet on a semi regular basis. Doing all I’m doing now keeps me busy enough.

   I tend to be a bit scattered to say the least. That being said, I’m gradually adding another discipline to my weekly schedule of activities to accomplish, but it’s one I can handle and it won‘t interfere with anything else I‘ve got going. All I have to do is run my big mouth.

   I’m the sidekick on a pod cast called “The Unshow”, a modified for the internet version of a radio show that used to be on in Pittsburgh that was hosted by Jeff Schneider, owner of the Funny Bone comedy club there. I was a guest on that show whenever I would pass through town, and I always had a blast. It was unique and eclectic, not like regular radio.

   Jeff and his brother Keith owned the Funny Bone in Milwaukee in the mid ‘80s. That’s where I cut my comedy chops on many levels. I was an all purpose grunt and did anything and everything from answering phones to seating people to hosting shows to mopping the floor afterward. I got to hang around the comedy business and learn it from the inside out.

   What a fantastic opportunity that was. For once I was absolutely in the right place at the right time, as that’s when the ‘comedy boom’ was happening in America. Every town had at least one comedy club, sometimes more. Nobody realized at the time what a big deal it was, but looking back those truly were the good old days. I was part of a happening scene.

   I was in my early twenties then, and the world was my oyster. I was the first comic from Milwaukee to be able to make my living from standup comedy, even though much of that income came from my menial tasks at the club. I didn’t care, I was able to live my dream.

   The Funny Bone eventually closed and now it’s Shank Hall - named after a reference to a scene in ‘This Is Spinal Tap’. Jeff and Keith moved back to Pittsburgh, and I’ve worked their clubs there for years. Keith is more into the business end, but Jeff and I always had a strong rapport when it came to comedy. We make each other laugh, and have for decades.

   We don’t always agree on everything, but that’s not a bad thing. Also, both of us tend to be extremely polarizing personalities. People either really get us or really don’t. That isn’t a bad thing either. We are who we are, and by now both of us have learned to accept that.

   Jeff’s radio show was quite solid, for that exact reason. He was who he was, and he’s an interesting guy with strong opinions on a myriad of topics. He’s very entertaining to listen to, and whenever I was on I could fit right in because we’d known each other for so long.

   That’s why this pod cast is a no brainer. We record it every Monday morning via Skype, and basically just riff on whatever topic that strikes us. www.unshowlive.com is where it can be heard, and those who like it will love it. Those who don’t, we don’t really care.

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