Wednesday, June 30th, 1999 - 9-11 PM
I knew this would take some time. The GM said to set up around 5 - 6 PM. I took a half day at work and showed up just before 5. Setting up wasn't too bad. Just time consuming. Marty MOOSE - Late Show Producer Extraordinaire, and my girlfriend Jessica helped out. Everything was going dandy until I put the shelving up for the TVs and noticed 5 out of the 8 rods for supporting the 4 TVs were gone. Uhm, this is very bad. I freaked. I had NO clue where these were. So we get in the car and head back home -
This on top of the fact that my trailer's lights weren't hooked up and I was sure someone was gonna slam into my ass. Folks, I've been in a lot of stressful situations before...but this was pretty rough. Traffic sucks anyway. But when you're pressed for time and you realize that where you're going may not even be the place you want to be...your head starts to spin.
Finally got to my house and found one rod. What the hell. I was about to call the show. No rods, no TVs. And at this rate I'd never find them. Called my dad (who helped me load the test show in his trailer) on a whim to see if they were still with him. They were. I almost puked. So off to my dad's and back to Champps. Got back around 7 PM and set-up took abour an hour or so. The worst part was I couldn't do a soundcheck because people were eating. This was a bit unnerving to say the least. I made an educated guess and went from there.
As I was cueing the tape, the DJ goes: And now "Adam Kontras" I still had about 20 seconds of tape, but I figured no biggie. Got people excited and tense. And then POW. No wait that's not good enough...ZAMMO! Yes, a sound so loud and so blaring I swear to GOD I killed 3 people in front of a speaker. God I wish I could've done a sound check. No problem, got it fixed and I start to do the first set.
Now the way I planned the first set, the Adams come out one at a time. But of course not now. The top screens and the bottom screens were exactly the same. Some computer malfunction. I didn't know this and just kept on keeping on. At one point Jessica comes up behind me and tells me. I was in my "mode". It's a place that I seem to be able to go to where I don't melt down in situations like this. I don't know when it started happening, but it's quite nice. I laughed at Jess, looked at the screens and said: "Well should we start over? Nah, you guys can't even see the bottom TVs anyway..." And went on. Meanwhile the guys from ABOT (the production company who helped me put this computer together) were there and they fussed with it while I sang. By the second set we figured out the problem, and the sound and were ready to go. Basically the audience watched our soundcheck.
Performance-wise I was able to feel comfortable only during random moments throughout the night. They were giving a bike away throughout the night, so I'd do a set and then they'd give keys away and so on and so forth. It was a strange rhythm. A couple moments really shined. I sang Michael Jackson suprisingly well, and the crowd dug Screw You a lot more than I thought they would. As I ended with Chest Hair, and the bar laughing their asses off, I felt pretty good. I looked at the manager and waited for the Billy Joel: "And the manager gave me a smile..." He glared at me and walked OUT OF THE RESTAURANT.
Well then. As everyone was shaking my hand and congratulating me (mostly friends, but a suprising number of people I didn't know) I was looking for the GM. I talked to some of the workers and they were saying how funny it was. Then a guy asked if the GM talked to me. I said "no, he walked out..." And all was silent. Somehow I pissed this guy off. The promo guy there said two tables walked out in the back when I started off. Partly because of the sound problem, and partly because of the content. I was a bit taken aback. Any questionable content material was after 10 PM since I started around 9:20. I couldn't imagine people being offended by Sex with Andyman at 10 PM, but I guess I was wrong. Apparently this pissed off the GM and he was upset all night. HOLD ON. When I first got this gig, he said his bar sales DIED after 9:30 PM. He needed to bring drinkers in. I did my job. The bar was laughing and clapping and having fun. Did he want me to cater to the table with the 10 year old girl at 10 PM? I can't do that. There has to be a clear audience to read. And if I kept my show G-Rated everytime some IDIOT parent brought their kid to a restaurant/bar at 10 PM, I wouldn't be targeting the bar crowd he wanted me to. Hell there was a 7 year old in there at 11:30! I'm used to that though. Parents are morons. But if this was a concern for him, why didn't he tell me? I'm targeting the people I see and who are responding, and basically doing what he asked, and now this? And more than anything I was pissed because I could have very easily made this a G show for that night. I still had 2 sets I didn't do. That's the nice thing about the 4TVs setup. I can point it in any direction I need to. If it's a more family atmosphere, I can do that. If it's an older crowd I can do that. Here's a case where it's BOTH, and I target what he told me. Extremely frustrating.
Now the reaction by the people was great. It made the night easier. People were very impressed and suprised me many times at what they thought was funny. I love that. You kill yourself to make them laugh at one point, and they roll at another. Performing is awesome like that. You learn so much. I was visibly bummed though, 'cause I knew I had lost the every Saturday Night deal. I talked with some people and tore down with Marty. Marty, Jessica and I went to Tee Jayes afterwards and just kind of bummed. It was a sad sight. They tried valiantly to cheer me up. What sucked was I could've easily done the two nice sets and left the parodies for another time, and I'd still be there. Now I lost it all because the GM didn't make himself clear. Then again, I hadn't talked to him, so who knows. I'd call the next morning.
Yup, it was over. He said it wasn't Champps material. I tried to explain to him that those FEW songs may not have been, but the rest of the show is just singing. I was just trying to make the bar laugh. I DID (sigh). I picked up my check and my posters and went on my way. I did ask him if maybe he started me at around 10 that we would avoid most of this. He politely said it wasn't Champps material. I went straight to the Lennox Champps and talked with a manager there that I'd been talking to for a couple weeks. He shook his head. He said that even at 11 PM on a Saturday night Champps is always gonna be a Disney atmosphere. He said I should've been told that. That made me feel a bit better. He said what happened would not effect my standing at Lennox and that he and the GM would come out and see me at my next gig and see if I could work with their place.
So that was it. Audience dug it. The GM didn't give me the right guidance, and I move on. The lost revenue sets the entire project back almost a month though. And right now, a month is a huge amount of time in the life of 4TVs. Anyone got a couple thousand lying around?