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Music and Comedy was a Calling for this Piano Player

People ask me all the time how I got into this? By ‘this,’ they think they mean “playing the piano.”

But by ‘this’, I think they mean ‘entertaining.’

When I was a youngster growing up, I was the middle child. So that’s one reason why I’m so good at making people laugh. The middle child was always in need of attention. They aren’t as important as the first two. The newness of parenting has worn off. So the middle child needed to resort to other tactics.

I picked music and comedy. Or maybe music and comedy picked me.

We had dinner as a family every night at the same time. Dad came home on the 536 train out of downtown Chicago. After saying grace, my main task was to crack the stern veneer of my Father’s deadly gaze. Manners were very important to him. Not so much to me.

My first comedy clubs were the family dinner table. It was a packed room of 8 every night. I was ecstatic when someone was invited over for dinner. I could go through my old routines all over again.

My sister told me later. We should have never laughed at your jokes. It only encouraged you.

It was not until my early 20s that I realized what a jokester my Dad was. He loved to sing and laugh and always enjoyed a party. But he died too young for both of us. I only have his memory and his letters from home when I was away at camp to remind me.

There was a pizza joint in a neighboring suburb. There was a piano player and a banjo player every weekend. They performed “Follow the bouncing ball,” Sing-along. We would get to eat pizza for dinner — with a Coke. My Dad would have a beer with his friends.

And we would sing. Loud!

We also sang at the Catholic school and in church. But nothing beat the pub for really kicking it out. Even if I didn’t know the ‘old fogey’ tunes they were playing, I still learned them and remembered them for the next time. Or figured ’em out before the song was through.

That’s what happens now when I have a mixed age room. I’ll pick current songs the youngsters want and pack them in with the standards the old folks want.

It doesn’t feel like a gift. I had to work at it. Lord knows, my family was a tough crowd. Mom, Dad, all my siblings didn’t fall for anything.

I can’t Dazzle them with Brilliance. Nor Baffle them with Bull.

The same holds true for every audience since.

I still view it as a gift when I see the joy in the crowd’s collective faces. Hear their laughter. Enjoy their compliments, handshakes, and hugs.

I feel like a kid riding his bike for the very first time. Every time I step on stage.

Let’s be kids again together. Give me a call for your next event.

Business or pleasure.

Company events and private house parties.

I have theme party ideas galore.

Ice breakers for conventions to let your prospects sales staff get to know each other.

Surprise birthday parties that create long-lasting memories for all.

It’ll be a blast!

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 changes how you feel. And makes you feel good! Even after all that it creates memories that last a lifetime. That’s a long time, isn’t it?

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 The 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, conference entertainment, and private parties.

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

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.