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

Training For Television

Monday February 27th, 2012 - Chicago, IL

   I need some national television exposure right about now. Period. Wait a minute. Check that. I better be a lot more specific or I could wind up like those old jokes where the genie pops out of a bottle and grants wishes. “I want to lose 20 pounds immediately,” some guy says. Then there’s a puff of smoke and his right leg is gone - not at all what he imagined.

   It’s hilarious in joke form, but not funny in real life. I absolutely do want to get my mug on camera, but not while I’m being chaperoned into a courtroom to enter a plea after a six state killing spree. I just want a chance to build a loyal core fan base who come to see me.

   One would think that wouldn’t be so difficult. But it is. A lot of variables have to come together, and one of those is always luck. I had some luck go my way when I appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, but I couldn’t have predicted it if I tried. I took a chance, and it paid off handsomely. I need to put myself in the position to do that again.

   My comedy style was made for television appearances. I’m quick on my feet, animated, and talk fast enough to squeeze a lot of words into a little time. I haven’t been training for TV all these years, when in fact that’s exactly what I should have been doing. It was a big mistake, but not one that can’t be repaired in a hurry. It’s just a matter of changing gears.

   Tonight I took a step in exactly the direction I need to go by making a guest appearance on the ‘Crystal Pistol’ showcase at Zanies in Chicago. Pat McGann is the host, and it’s an opportunity to do a short set in front of a real audience and polish up a television chunk.

   I often host the ‘Rising Star Showcase’ other Mondays at Zanies, but that’s not the right forum for doing that. I take personal responsibility for giving the showcase acts their very best chance to succeed, and I want to make sure I focus on that. I’d want that done to me.

   Tonight, all I had to think about was letting it rip for eight minutes. That’s much longer than most TV shows want, but that’s the amount of time Pat told us all to do. No problem on my end, I was just glad to get a spot. It’s something I need to get in the habit of doing.

   The last place I want to be on a potential night off is in a comedy club, but too bad. I’ve come way too far and sacrificed too much to not have my payoff. Getting on television is a way to make other doors open, and if I don’t take the steps I’m taking it won’t happen.

   My set went very well tonight, and I knew it would. I can do eight minutes in my sleep, and it was fun to see the looks of awe from some of the newbies when I came off stage, as they’ve only seen me as the host of the Rising Star Showcases. This was totally different.

   I need to make that impression on the bookers of TV shows so I can go on camera with Jay Leno, David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien, Craig Ferguson or whoever else will have me. Rodney made his mark with Johnny Carson. I need someone to set me up like Johnny did for Rodney. I’ll do the rest, but I need someone to give me a chance.

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