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

Back Yard Benefits

Saturday January 14th, 2012 - Wauconda, IL

   Wauconda, IL? Comedy hot bed? Who’d of thunk it? Not me, that’s for sure. My friend Sally Edwards asked me to do a show at a place called ‘The Energee Center’, and I had to say yes for several reasons - the main one being it’s at most ten minutes from my house.

   The shorter the drive, the more appealing any gig is these days. The money wasn’t great but it was acceptable, especially with the added perk of the short drive thrown in. There’s a far bigger reason I said yes though, Sally and her husband Bert have been good to me in ways I can never repay. Even if I didn’t get a nickel, I still would have shown up anyway.

   Sally and Bert have had me over for Christmases and Thanksgivings and have made me feel like one of their family in a good way. I’ve watched their three children grow up from birth and I feel like their uncle, just as I do with Jerry Agar’s three kids. I’ve seen them all grow into young adults, and I couldn’t be any more proud. That’s how a family should be.

   For whatever reason, my dented clan has never gotten the message. We’re full of losers, derelicts and social misfits, and that has resulted in a lifetime of embarrassment for those precious few of us who have tried to extricate ourselves from our family’s gene cesspool.  

   Every family has a few kooks, but ours produces thoroughbreds. A missing ingredient is and always has been unconditional love, and that’s why it’s such a special feeling when it comes from outsiders. Sally and Bert took me in and made me feel welcome and that’s an especially wonderful feeling to dented cans like me. I would walk through walls for them.

   I had no idea what to expect from this gig, and I have to admit I didn’t expect much. I’d heard a few other comics reviews who had done it before me, and they all liked it. I didn’t have reason to doubt any of them, so I went there hoping for the best. That’s what I got.

   It wasn’t anything special as far as the room goes, but it was a friendly space that maybe can hold 60 or 70 people. I’d say there were about 50 tonight, but they were right on point the whole night and were there to see comedy. They listened, laughed and made it a blast.

   Sally hosted the show herself, and got everyone focused. Michael Issac was the feature act, and we just worked together at Zanies New Year’s Eve weekend. He’s an ideal fit for that spot, as it was billed as a clean show. This was the right show for the right audience.

   I pulled it way back and didn’t come on nearly as strong as I’d do in a comedy club. It’s not the same dynamic. These are suburban people who don’t go out much. They aren’t at the same energy level as a comedy club crowd, and they’re not drunk either. It’s different.

   I knew what to do and how to do it, and they were with me the whole time. I ad libbed a few things, and felt loose and free the entire time. I didn’t even have to do my big closing bit, as everything else worked just as well. I knew they’d had enough and left the stage to a loud ovation, exactly how it’s supposed to be - a dream gig. And, I was home by 10pm!

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