Category Archives: comedy

One of The Worst Days in Chicago History

We are tremendously loyal to our big name stars who have spent any amount of time in Chicago. We are frequently claiming credit for the accolades that anyone brings to our grand city. The warmth of your accomplishments leaves us magnificently glistening beneath the snowy stars.

On Tuesday, March 24, 2015, three major internationally recognized stars hit the pavement hard. And we watched with gleeful anticipation.

D Rose Chicago Bulls, Chicago sports star, Chicago Icon,

Derrick Rose – MVP

First we lost D Rose. Former MVP of the NBA out with another knee injury, his third requiring surgery and major rehabilitation in 3 years. Yes, Derrick Rose, a truly homegrown product who has accomplished much in his short and talented life. Down for the count again. Will he return? Possibly. But will he ever be an MVP again? Hard to say.

Some say “No way!”

 

Will he ever lead the Bulls to an NBA Championship? Time will tell. I wouldn’t count him out.

 We love our heroes when they win. We adore them when they repeat.

Next, (yes, all on the same day) we lost ‘Kaner’ aka Patrick Kane leading scorer in the NHL on this day. Yes he has the repeat bug 2-Time Stanley Cup winner and the reigning champion of the All Star Game Skills Competition. Gone for 6-10 weeks with what appears to be a broken collarbone.

Taken out on a cheap hit by some guy know one pays to go and see no matter where he is playing. Kane is from Buffalo NY but he is ours now baby! It is safe to say we don’t win either of those Cups without him. I mean, just look at this guy … Will he be back in time for the playoffs?

Third (and not so lastly) Rahm Emmanuel reigning champion of Chicago politics. Former Chief of Staff of our Commander In Chief and Chicago home owner Barack Obama. Currently our sitting Mayor of only one term. His predecessor, Richie M Daley holds the record for 6 terms, which he wrested from the the previous record of 5 terms held by his Dear Ole Dad Richard Sr.

Yet poor old Rahm may not make it to repeat with even a 2nd term. Why? Because he did not hold a majority in the election held on Tuesday and now faces a run off in 6 weeks against some guy named ‘Chuy’.

Who?

Yes Chuy ran as kind of an afterthought and has basically no clue what to do with our huge budgetary shortfalls and monstrous chasms of quality jobs if actually elected.

So instead Chuy just stands there on the podium and smiles like he just got elected Prom King along with the virgin cheerleader that never talks to him in the high school hallways.

These three stories are in no way to be dismissed lightly when Chicago history books get re-written. And yet these three separate but significant events will be talked about and examined by pundits, talking heads and prognosticators until the first tulip blooms this spring.

These next 6-8 weeks before the run-off election and before the playoffs will be a boon for comedy writers and bloggers spanning this City of Big Shoulders. From Lakeview to Austin. From Evanston to Hyde Park. Yes we will capitalize on the heart ache and misfortunes of others’. Even though they are our superheros.

But we will do it with love and good humor. After all it is February and it is Chicago and there is a new layer of snow falling to the ground as I write this.

Chicago Sports

Chicago Institutions

So we’ve got to do something to pass the time. Because even though pitchers and catchers reported to spring training last week, from where we stand we are still light years away from a walk down by the lake to cool off from a humid summer day that we spent in the bleachers that have been completely rebuilt during the reconstruction of Wrigley Field that seemed to have never ended.

So here’s to our stars, home grown and otherwise. The winners and the not so winners. The runner ups and the contestants. We love you all for gracing us with your presence so that we may temporarily bask in your warm glow, if only for a moment, to say “C’mon! You can do it again!”

Entertainment that leaves people wanting more…

Did you ever hear one of the attendees leave one of your corporate events saying, “wow…that was amazing!”

I’ve been fortunate enough to have event planners tell me that is exactly what they’ve heard people say, and honestly, they’ve said it themselves.But how do you get to that point? How do you create a corporate event that leaves people “wowed?” For me, it’s a collaborative process with the client.

I’ll create that one special song, or develop that one memorable moment or special entertainment experience that has people clapping their hands and tapping their feet.

Whatever the event, I’ll create customized songs that fit in with a strong brand presence, or key elements of a new product launch or trade show theme, or find a way to honor that someone special.

When you hire me, here’s what you get:  a seasoned professional who has built a reputation of making events an overwhelming success, filled with lasting memories for everyone.

Isn’t that what you want when hiring a lead entertainer?

Of course it is. And I know corporate entertainment! It’s a unique niche, and it’s what I specialize in!

I work hand-in-hand with you to make sure the content, the music and the comedy is in line with your goals, your company and your audience.

There’ll be no surprises, no red flags, no questionable content – nothing that will embarrass you or anyone in your company.

Once we decide on “the line,” I won’t cross it. So you can rest assured that everything will go according to the plan we develop together.

Sound like the professional entertainment you’re looking for?

Let’s talk about it!

I encourage you to give me a call at 773-527-7417. I’m here to answer any questions you may have, discuss the process or check available dates.

Tea Drinkers Don’t Suck

They just sip. And that’s why I don’t like tea.

I’m going to say something here that’s going to piss a lot of people off. I don’t care. It needs to be said. 

comedy, entertainment for events, piano music, comedy music,

Tea Drinkers Don’t Suck

If I’m going to have something to drink – I want to drink it. You can’t drink tea. You have to sip it. And that’s what infuriates me.

You can’t drink tea. It takes forever. I wish it didn’t.

I have things to do. I have people to be. I don’t want to waste my time sipping tea. Give me something to drink. There I’ve said it. I like to swallow.

You have to wait for it to cool down to sip it or you’ll burn the crap out of the roof of your mouth. Who wants a burned mouth? Not “It”.

It’s fine for my wife. She likes tea. No I take that back.

She loves tea. She drinks it all day long and she says it makes life simple and more enjoyable. She says tea lets you think about things before you react to them.

So since she knows so much more about so many more things than I do, I decided to join her at the tea store on one of our dates. Chicago has some great tea stores. There’s this one over on Broadway in Chicago. You can buy tea in bulk and it smells really good in there too.

But when we get home and she makes the tea, it tastes funky. Not like anything “good” funky. I tried to like it but I couldn’t.

comedy, entertainment for events, piano music, comedy music,

Don’t Drink This

To me it tastes like dish water that has been soaking the skillet that you broiled that salmon in last night.

At best it resembles a baby diaper bin at a day care center for children that suffer from inferiority complexes.

Once I had a sip of my wife’s tea and I thought I was drinking hair dye that got poured into the Ganges River and strained through a gym sock that had been left in the bottom of my gym bag from last Thursday.

Who wants to drink that?

I don’t. Not me. Go look for crazy somewhere else. Please.

Tiger Woods Will Never Be Back I’m Not Saying This To Be Comedy

This Is Not Comedy
But I Had To Say It Anyway

entertainment for events, PGA Tour, Tiger Woods, piano music, comedy, Tiger Woods will NOT be back. Many people think he is washed up. They think that’s the last we’re going to see of him.

I tend to agree. When he burst onto the scene as a young Stanford student some 15 years ago he was a beast. He was doing things most golfers never bothered to do. They sure as hell didn’t look like him.

Tiger hit the course and not only was he winning, no, destroying the competition, he looked really good doing it. He was chiseled from head to toe. He wasn’t sporting a gut. He had abs and pecks and he could drive the ball farther than anybody on the tour. Plus the color of his skin made us sit up and watch. A whole generation did.

He changed the game of golf forever. He changed the tour. The purses went up and now these guys are making more and more every year. They can thank Tiger for that. He is the one that made people watch, which brought in the sponsors who brought the prize money. entertainment for events, PGA Tour, Tiger Woods, piano music, comedy,

In 2014 there were 100 players who earned $1M or more on the PGA tour. In 1996, the year Tiger turned pro, there were less than half of that amount.

Here’s another reason Tiger won’t be back to the form he was.

He averaged 305 yards per drive as a young pro. 305. Ranked #1. No one else even came close. You know what he averaged this year? The same. 305. Respectable? Hell yeah!

That ranks him 19th overall.

But I don’t know what happened. Maybe he got distracted by his off the course challenges. Maybe he worked out and pushed his body too hard. He’s still a beast. Anybody who stays on the course and wins a championship with a completely destructed knee is everything we wanted to be.

But he had to take time off after reconstructive knee surgery. That took a year. Then he had to get that psychological edge back. That takes time. And many argue he never got the edge back after either one of those two incidents. 

Add this — the guys on the PGA tour are the kinds of guys who are super competitive too. So they did what the champion had been doing. They worked out. They pushed themselves to build their gluts, not their guts, their abs and pecs so they could drive the ball further too.

So now Tiger still averages 305 per drive. Yet that only ranks him 19th overall.

entertainment for events, PGA Tour, Tiger Woods, piano music, comedy,

Thank You Tiger Woods

So, No, I don’t think he’ll be back. That’s not a pun. Remember no comedy here today. Just a mini rant. 

Did he destroy his body? Maybe. I doubt it. I think he just lost the edge.

I think he was the right man at the right time for the PGA. He built it up the way no one else ever could before him. There may be someone else behind him. But there will never be another Tiger Woods. I doubt it sincerely that he will ever win another championship. He did what he did when he did it but …. and he’ll never be back. Not anymore. In the meantime … 

Thank you Tiger.

 

How Does A Piano Player Learn So Many New Songs?

Learning new songs is part and parcel of our daily existence as a piano player who plays live music regularly. The challenge is sifting through all the new music and finding what works and what doesn’t work.

In my opinion most of the Pop and Country music these days has become homogenized. For those of you that didn’t grow up in the 60s ‘homogenized’ is not a sexual connotation. It means that everything is made the same. Some might say made to the same standard of quality. But I think what has happened is that most of the popular songs have the same chord changes and a drought of tasty melodies. I know there are some great and talented songwriters out there. But by the time their tune gets to the producer and to the recording process, there are changes that get made to make the song palatable. Axis of Awesome did this comedy music bit that has become a perfect example of what I’m taking about  

That’s okay by me. I don’t mind. I just know, as a writer, there are so many possibilities harmonically and melodically speaking, that there is no excuse for this. Even if a song were to have one ‘mystery chord’ in there somewhere, it would go a long way. It could be laziness. It could be ignorance.

But I think what has happened is when people like something, the creators replicate it because they know it’s a winning formula. This is true in every successful business. The music business is no different.

I think Adele has had some good success with adding tasty chords into her songs. Bruno Mars is copying many of the greats that came before him. They are both quite open about the fact that they are standing the shoulders of the giants who came before them.

My job is a piano player is to interpret what is out there and make it my own. For example, I don’t use massive amounts of music production techniques at our performances. I know some players use backing tracks and drum machines, even at dueling pianos shows. That’s cool. I never found it all that inspiring. As a piano player who works a lot I find I get inspiration from the people who are listening. I like that kind of energy rather than a technical energy.

The idea is that then the piano player turns the song into something of his own. Since we are all standing on the shoulders of the great ones who came before us, the only thing left for us to do is to personalize it.

That’s one of the things I learned early on as I was an aspiring musician learning to become a professional piano player. I used to think “Who is the best piano player?”. But then I realized it’s all one magic trick. Once you learn that one trick everything else after that is about adding the personality you were born with or that you are willing to let shine through.

So when I learn a new One Direction song or something from Jason Aldean, it doesn’t matter to me that all the same chords sequences are being used over and over again. I try to find the essence of the tune and make it my own. Sometimes I get it right, other times I need to keep learning.

Quick Retirement Party Ideas

I had a call last week for another custom writing job. It was to be part of a long list of retirement party ideas.

I’ve had these calls before. An executive of seasoned tenure is about to retire. The accolades will be forthcoming. The revealing anecdotes will be told. … and … in this case, a special song parody will be written and recorded for the celebrant.

The gentleman going into the golden years of his life was a life long salesman. He had founded his company, mentored many young professionals in his time and was looking forward to go off hunting and fishing. The perfect choice was a song parody of the Kenny Rogers hit The Gambler.

The interview process is a simple one for gigs like this. I have a 2 page questionnaire I have the contact fill out. They usually send it around to the other executives and co-workers around the office. They become our eyes and ears.

The process is going to take at least two days. I get all the info. I write up a few verses. 5 or 6 to be exact. I’m only going to use one or two. Then I get the chorus to go along with the plan.

After that I get the studio all cranked up. Fire off the essential parts. Arrange it for timing of the jokes and then I get a quick demo out the door. Once the customer signs off on it, I know I’ve got a winner. Then I just re-record it, mix it and master in the studio.

Listen to the final product. How did I do? Let me know.

Lickety split, Super quick Retirement party ideas will last a lifetime.

When Was The Last Time You Had A Good Laugh? Dueling Pianos Music and Comedy

Another beautiful frosty day in November here in Chicago. We had another successful corporate event last night. It was a dueling pianos show in Peoria IL courtesy of Central Illinois Dueling Pianos. Thank you very much Andrew

We entertained a whole bunch of government officials. Some newly elected. Some newly un-elected. And of course all of their staff. We had a lot of laughs.

I love that part of our job as a musician, as an entertainer for an event.

music and comedy, comedy music, event, entertainer, comedian, musician,

When Was The Last Time You Had A Good Laugh?

Getting people to laugh. Sometimes we’re just improvising. Sometimes they’re routines that we have been doing for years. But the thing about dueling pianos is we are always going to have something different.

It’s because of the audience. Every audience, tho similar, is different. Different requests. Different celebrations. Just different.

But we know you’re going to have fun. We know we’re going to get you to where you want to go. You want to have fun and you need to laugh. We just have to organize the deck chairs, if you will. Alphabetize the chaos.

We had that rolling laughter last night. That interactive banter that keys off of people in the audience and their responses. A quality dueling piano show allows for that to happen. It’s so flexible.

I feel like the laughter is the key. I have always been looking for that laugh. As long as I can remember. Its a key component of what I do. Getting people to laugh.

One of the ways to do it is to be able to laugh at myself. That right there is probably the top way to get others’ to join me in laughter. I don’t take this whole music and comedy thing too seriously. I know, comedy is a serious business and all. But I just don’t take myself too seriously.

I hope you don’t either. And don’t take it too personally either. We’re all human. We’re all really kind of the same – for the most part. We all do and think the same stupid stuff. So it’s okay to laugh at yourself sometimes. It lightens the load we have to carry.

I think I read something somewhere about how laughter releases a chemical into our systems that keeps us young. I hope that’s true. Because there are times when I absolutely crave hearing laughter and having a good laugh – at myself most of all.

I hope you have a great Holiday season. We are busy busy busy again. Yet there are still a few dates open. I’d love to help you laugh some night too. Call me and we’ll see what we can do.

Comedy — How Am I Supposed To Do This with Music?

So I was thinking the other day. I know that’s a bad habit. But I do it anyway. Comedy

The thing is, I find myself thinking more and more all the time about this and thinking about that but it doesn’t stop me or slow me down at all.

You’d think I’d be done by now. But No-o-o-o-o-o!!!

I keep doing it all the time. Sometimes I don’t even notice I’m doing it. It just happens. Without my knowledge.

Thinking that is.

Thinking about things I’ve already thought about and things that I think I should think about in case something I was just thinking about should happen to come true. It’s ridiculous really and there appears to be no end in sight. None.

So I came up with a possible solution. Something I think might work (damn it I did it again). I don’t know if it will work or not.

Anyway, here it is. I think I should think about the things I want to think about and nothing else. Comedy works. Music is fun. Sports are a little annoying but whatever. 

What do you think?

(Crap!) Now I’m going to think about your thoughts which could be worse than being stuck on my own.

Well, have at it.

As you long as you don’t respond with “Let me think about it”.

We’ve got enough of that going on around here.

Need some custom written comedy and music for your next corporate event? Give me a call. I will think about it. But when I’m done, I’ll have some excellent live music and comedy all ready for you that will improve employee production, increase their profit potential and deliver your message and mission statement faster, more efficiently and completely legally.

Music and comedy. The most fun you can have with your mouth in public!

Comedy Music Gets Them Out of Their Shell

“I’ve seen a lot of comedy music shows but you dueling piano guys guys are the best!”

I don’t know how often we have heard that one, but we hear it a lot. People just love us as corporate entertainers. It’s not just the comedy music that everyone likes, it’s the improvisation, the customizing of the material to fit your clients, your event, your evening. It’s powerful. It’s cathartic. And above all it creates memories that last a lifetime.

Not just talking about in Chicago either. The Comedy Music shows that we perform go all over the USA and we hear that everywhere we go. Why?

comedy music and fun. laughter chicago piano music

Can You Get Out Of YOUR Shell?

B’cuz Dan spent 10 years at he Second City where he learned how to improvise and make people laugh — no matter what.

We’ve seen audiences like these two stone faced Ja-Mokes come out of their shells before the night is through. ===>>>

And we will do the same for you at your next company events. We will be the corporate entertainers everyone will be talking about for all the right reasons. Good clean music and comedy. You’ll be saying, “I never thought piano music could be so much fun!” And I’ll just say  “Thanks. We knew you’d love it!”

It’s all in the connection with the audience. No two audiences are the same and when you add the universal language of laughter and music … well you get a highly combustible combination of great laughs and great memories.

It is not about any one thing. It’s not only about the music. It’s not only about the comedy. Comedy Music is two words that can be muddled up in the hands of amateurs.

Our professional showmanship and entertainment GUARANTEES you will get clean music and comedy. Entertainment that is worthy of your company events.

So give us a call and GUARANTEE your clients and guests will get out of their shell at your next company event. 773-527-7417

Repetitive Spontaneity with Dueling Pianos

What?!? Another dueling pianos show? We know how to keep it fresh and spontaneous. How? Well … We use spontaneous music and comedy like no one else.

Yes. Another dueling pianos show again tonight. It was a little light last night, Friday. But the people who did show up had a great time. A small but mighty crowd as we like to say.

All American Dueling Pianos Live Music and Comedy for your corporate event

Live Music and Comedy Dueling Pianos

We promise to be completely spontaneous

— all over again.

It’s a lot of fun getting onstage not knowing if the audience is going to respond. Friday night was like that at a corporate event in Peoria IL for our dueling pianos show.

At first they weren’t sure if they liked us.
Then they weren’t sure if we were funny.
I’m not event certain they thought we were very entertaining because
at first, they just sat there looking at us and smiling.

But by the end of the night they knew. They KNEW! Good crowd. Better one on Saturday Night. We were performing for a charity event fund raiser entertainment for a church near Chicago that night.

We do it with Live Music and Comedy. Our comedy is customized to fit your event. We do it by asking all the right questions in advance of the date. And we do it through highly skilled improvisation honed over the years by performing with the greats.

Connecting with the audience is the key. But it won’t work unless your performers are authentic. As you know, a dueling pianos sow can be a whole bunch of mirror balls and fog machines. But it is not necessary. A true dueling piano show has two pianos, two mics and an audience.

The best performers play an audience as well as they can play a piano. That’s what we do at All American Dueling Pianos. We play an audience by connecting in an authentic fashion. No fancy gimmicks. Straight ahead music and comedy specifically designed for your group. Try it ..

You will be certain by the end of the night then too … you will laughing out loud and dancing up a storm … All completely spontaneously.

So if you want to get completely spontaneous all over again at your next event …

Call us at 773-527-7417