Saturday, December 18, 2010

Nicolas Christopher Fusco Combs




Born on December 17th at 7:05 p.m. (central time), and weighing 6 lbs. 11 oz.

Congratulations to the proud parents, Ryan and Tatiana Combs!

Ryan and I are finishing up the Bill Hall Christmas Tour in Pennsylvania, and on Sunday we fly to Manila for two weeks of shows with The Great American Circus.

Updates of our travels (and of course, more baby pictures) coming soon!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Friday, October 22: Osawatomie, KS-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 53 mile jump to Osawatomie. We were playing on a grass lot and it was an overcast day.


Ryan and I remade one of our props for next year for the third time; fortunately the third time DOES seem to be the charm in this case.


The circus kids did their trick or treating this afternoon. I had Sara buy a couple of bags of candy yesterday, but when I saw the mob of children and how much candy they were getting from everyone else, I knew that my one piece of candy a child rationing was not going to cut it.

I ended up hiding in my trailer and then just tossing all the candy on the ground where the kids could fend for themselves.

This did not please the children, so they attempted to flip over my trailer. I hid inside until the bloodthirsty mob had moved on to another trailer.

Ryan got a huge kick out of this spectacle and took to calling me The Grinch Who Stole Halloween.


We had an average sized crowd for the first show. The ground inside the ring was rough and uneven.

During the table act I did my toothpick and landed with my ankle right on a rock. As Delena styled at the end of the act, I just laid face down and screamed in pain. Ryan found that very amusing as well.


We had a good sized crowd for the second show, and they were a good audience.

It started to rain during the second show, but that did not deter a group of us from going to a haunted house after the shows.


It honestly was a lame haunted house, with a bunch of fat teenagers in masks and "pedestrian" clothing, but we still managed to have fun. It's just too bad the biggest fear was that one of the kids might try and eat us!



Saturday, October 23: Chanute, KS-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

We had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 70 mile jump to Chanute. We were on a grass lot and it was an overcast day.


There was an average sized crowd at the first show, and more people showed up for the second show.


Today started the 10 show countdown before we are finished. Whoo hoo!


After the shows a group of us went to see Jackass 3-D. It was so freaking funny! I laughed until I thought I would cry; it was definitely a needed emotional release.



Sunday, October 24: Pittsburg, KS-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

We had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 61 mile jump to Pittsburg. We were on a gravel lot and it was an overcast day.


Ryan and I watched The Howling before work; the sun decided to come out in time for the shows.


The first performance was 3/4 full and we had good business for the second show.

After we were done we had the Great Annual Halloween Party; great was definitely the appropriate adjective to describe it too. I had a lot of fun and thought the party was better than last year's.


Me and Ryan's costumes didn't win any prizes, but we got laughs!



Here are some more shots of the costumes. All of these are from Nikki:



You can also see more pictures of the party here:


http://circusdiaries.blogspot.com/


Ryan got me to kiss Tatiana on the cheek during the party, but she moved and I ended up planting one right on her mouth.



Later in the party, after I had cleaned up, I grabbed one of the cupcakes that I had been eyeing all evening. Just as I was about to eat it, Tatiana snatched it out of my hand, smeared the icing on my mouth, and then gave me the cupcake again!

And let me tell you, the cupcake's black icing was a hell of a lot harder to get off than all that blue make up!



Monday, October 25: Parsons, KS-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 36 mile jump to Parsons. We were playing on a grass lot and it was an overcast day.

Fridman fixed my propane leak for me. I was very grateful that I no longer had to fear my untimely death from an explosion.


Ryan went to a meeting about the new show today to talk about our involvement.


We had an average sized crowd for the first show, and they were a dead audience. It was quite a shame since Nikki was filming our gags for us.

There were more people for the second show and they were a much better audience.



Tuesday, October 26: Sedan, KS-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 69 mile jump to Sedan. We were on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.

I had to move around the lot three times before I was parked, but it paid off because my final parking space was great.


We went to breakfast this morning at probably the worst diner we have been to all season. They told us when we ordered that there would be about a 30 minute wait for our food because there were other customers whose orders were ahead of ours. I'm pretty sure every other restaurant on God's green Earth is able to cook more than one meal at a time!


On our sightseeing trip of Sedan we walked along the yellow brick road.


We visited a Wizard of Oz themed gift shop where we all signed the walls like many had before us. I think our way of signing was more creative, though.


Sedan, KS is the birthplace of Emmett Kelly, and they have a museum in his honor. Unfortunately there weren't many things of interest from Emmett Kelly aside from some newspaper clippings about him, some of his drawings, and a pair of his shoes.


There were; however, lots of props and costumes belonging to Don "Sparky" Washburn, a circus clown from Chanute, KS who was killed by a drunk driver in 1979.


I would put pictures up, but I am overseas right now and don't have access to them. You can see a few here:


http://circusdiaries.blogspot.com/2010/10/who-knew-in-kansas.html


We had a decent sized crowd for the first show, and we did good business for the second show. The second crowd had great energy.



Wednesday, September 27: Travel Day to Ardmore, OK

We had a 5:30 a.m. call for our 279 mile jump to Ardmore. The drive wasn't bad, except for the last 50 miles, which seemed to go on forever!


We were playing on a bumpy, grass lot and it was a sunny day. After we were parked, Ryan and I went to Mr. North's bookstore in town.


Tonight a big group of us, including the North family, went to karaoke. It was a lot of fun, and our group was a hit with our diverse range of songs.



Thursday, September 28: Ardmore, OK-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

This morning while I was waiting to get paid I ran into Tina Bausch, the advance clown for Culpepper Merriweather. Since their season is done, she did advance for us in this town.

Judging by the large turn out for the tent raising, it was easy to say that she did a good job.


Ryan and I ran to Wal Mart to get flowers for Delena, and then we went back to Mr. North's book store to purchase a print of the painting that an artist did of the show at the beginning of the year.

Interested customers can buy a print by contacting The Bookseller in Ardmore.


There was an almost full first show. Dudley, Kelly Miller's WQ caretaker, came up to see the performance one last time, and he brought his son in law, Rich, and his daughter, Carol.


Dave Gordon, former circus clown, his wife, "Shorty", and their son, D.R., came to visit for the last day as well.

I worked with the Gordons on Ringling and they always took great care of me and Ryan, even giving us rides to the train after work for a whole year.

"Shorty" brought a whole batch of delicious baked goodies for us to enjoy.


I got to meet another former circus clown, Gary Knowell (sp), today. I was glad to make his acquaintance, because I had always heard a lot of favorable things about him.


Johnny Moss gave me my belated birthday present today, the brand new Xbox game, Dead Rising 2, instantly earning him the title of "Coolest Kid In The Universe".


We had a full second show; it was a great way to end the season, as opposed to last year's dismal final performance.

I can honestly say the clown gags went out with a bang, except for the ironic fact that the shotgun didn't fire in the bee gag. Despite that, all the gags went flawlessly.

At the conclusion of the table act Ryan and I gave Delena two bouquets of roses in the ring.



Per special request from Sorcha North, I made up her boyfriend, Mark, as a clown. I was very happy with the make up job I did on him (quickly I might add) between acts.

He was a very funny sight doing finale with us because he was easily a foot taller than everyone in the ring except for John Moss.

The Norths and everyone else from the show in the audience assumed that it was Casey in make up.



After the shows were done a few of us went to Gusher's one more time to have a few drinks and food.

I couldn't believe that the season was over. It seemed like the morning would bring yet another circus day.



And that concludes the 2010 season of the Kelly Miller Circus. I apologize that this last entry took so long to complete. I had everything but the last day written by the 28th of October, and my laziness and apathy kept me from writing about one more day for all this time.


The show made it safely back to Hugo. Ryan and I are finished with work on our gags for next year, which is a great feeling.


I bought a "new" truck, a 1996 U-Haul that promises to be a great deal, especially for the steal of a price that I paid for it.


As I write this, Ryan and I are on a plane to Guam to perform with The Great American Circus.

After a week in Guam, we will fly to Manila to do some PR for the show, and then head to Pennsylvania to perform with the Bill Hall Christmas Tour.

After that eight day gig we get back on a plane and fly back to Manila for two weeks of shows with The Great American Circus.


Finally in January I will get to head home to South Carolina, and Ryan will get to spend time with Tatiana and his son, who is due in January.


I will post some photos from our winter travels, but remember, this is me we are talking about, so don't hold your breath!


Happy Holidays everyone!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

October 06-October 21

Wednesday, October 06: Taylorville, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 65 mile jump to Taylorville. John Moss had to pound on my trailer wall to get me out of bed 15 minutes past the call time; I was out like a light.

On top of it all, I was still having problems with my trailer lights this morning.

We were playing on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.


Casey went with me to help me solve my propane problem. Since we couldn't find a replacement hose for my regulator, he found a bolt that could be used to plug up the hole where the hose would go.


Ryan and I watched the movie, Wishmaster, before the first show, which had an average sized crowd.

There were more people at the second show, and we were treated to a pleasant night; it wasn't too cold.


Today was Jessi's last day. She is heading out to join Circus Kinoshita in Japan as a clown.



Thursday, October 07: Benld, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 50 mile jump to Benld. We were playing on a grass lot and it was a sunny day; the polar opposite of last year when we had to cancel this date because of rain.


We went to have breakfast at the little diner up the road where I spent most of my free time last year, and then Ryan and I watched the Twilight Zone movie.


Ryan, Delena, Tatiana and I walked to the Italian market on main street and had sandwiches and bought lots of Italian goodies.


We had a decent sized crowd for the first show and good business for the second show. I was worried from the looks of the town that business would be a bust, but it wasn't bad at all.


Since Jessi is gone, I was taken out of web and Fridman started setting Sarah's web. You're not going to hear me complain about it though!



Friday, October 08: Troy, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 32 mile jump to Troy. We were on a grass lot and it was a sunny day, another total opposite from last year when this lot was a muddy hell hole.


Ryan and I went out with Casey to go shopping and have lunch. While we were at Borders I bought a graphic novel called The Walking Dead that my friend Ben had recommended to me. He was right, I loved it and am now hooked!


Ryan and I watched the movie Creepshow before the first performance, which was 3/4 full.

As I was running out of the tent from opening, someone sitting by the curtain called me over and gave me some bottles of Gatorade. It was Rob Nacu, a local clown that I have corresponded with online.


The second show was also 3/4 full and Radar's family was visiting. I was frustrated in the second table act because a prop guy got in our way when Delena throws me and Ryan together. Delena couldn't get her hand on my shoulder, so Ryan got thrown into me and did a toothpick while I stood around obliviously. It really got me steamed.

After that I couldn't snap out of my funk and it was a downward spiral of comedy for the rest of the show.


Luckily I had after show activity to look forward to. Casey, Georgia, Nikki, and I drove to St. Louis to go to City Museum, which is basically a huge playground for kids big and small.


The Museum was open until 1 a.m., and we closed them down: climbing through tunnels inside and out, discovering unorthodox routes throughout the building, playing on the roof, and going down a 10 story spiral slide.


We capped the evening off by getting dinner, but all of us were falling asleep except for Georgia. I didn't get home until 2 a.m.



Saturday, October 09: Troy, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

I slept in this morning, which really isn't surprising considering the late hour I went to sleep.


We had good business for the first show, and the second show was almost full.

I was pretty beat for the second table act. I couldn't get enough height to dive over Ryan as he slid across the table, so I kneed him in the head. Then I barely had the strength to lift Delena back on the table after she fell into my arms. As a final insult to injury poor Ryan head butted my shoulder at the end of the act, making his new headache even worse.


We went to dinner with Radar's family after the shows. I was going to get the remaining issues of The Walking Dead from Border's, but they had JUST closed when we were done eating.



Sunday, October 10: Washington, MO-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

We had a 5:30 a.m. call for our 82 mile jump to Washington. As I was driving, my brake lights came on. I checked the emergency brake, but it wasn't on.

As I was exiting the Interstate, I pushed my brakes and they were locked! I am very lucky that no one was in front of me on the exit, and I was able to slow down just enough to take the exit's curve without running off the road.

I was still going pretty fast though, and if someone had been right in front of me, I would have been screwed!


I pulled over on the side of the road and waited forever for the mechanics to show up. It turns out that one of the shop trucks had a flat, which explained the hold up.


I feared the worst, but it was a quick fix. A belt had broken, so Castro rigged up a slightly bigger one to get me by until I can buy the correct one. God bless that man!


We were playing on a grass lot and it was a sunny day. The first show was almost full; working inside the ring was very tiring. There was a slant in the ground running towards the front of the ring, which made running around quite a workout.


The second show was 3/4 full. Bob and Susabelle Kelmer and their daughters were visiting; also Gloria Wilkenson, who was head of wardrobe on Ringling for many years, came to see the show.


After the shows I went out with the Kelmers to eat and catch up.



Monday, October 11: Warrenton, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 23 mile jump to Warrenton. On the drive, Ryan blew his front driver side tire and wound up in a ditch. Luckily no one was hurt, but the trailer was tilted precariously into the ditch.

I stopped and gave Tatiana and Delena a ride to the lot while Armando, Buckner, and Josh stayed behind to help direct traffic.

The blow out happened on a narrow two lane road that was laden with heavy traffic....of course!

Ryan had to have a tow truck bring him to the lot; he got his tire swapped out, but he did suffer a cracked windshield.


Casey and I went to Wal Mart and then to Autozone where he helped me order a new belt for my truck.

Later on I went to laundry and picked up the belt before heading back to do the shows.


Sean Carlock came back to visit today with his friend, Steve Daly. I met Steve back in 2008 when I was working in Myrtle Beach.

Luckily they saw us performing in front of an almost full house. Unfortunately they saw us working on rocks, which never leads to our best performances.

In the table act I slipped on the menu while running and fell on my hands. I tweaked my wrists and scraped and bruised my palms.


It started storming during the bee gag, which insured that no one was paying attention to what we were doing.


The second show was also almost full. Ryan wore the big butt for the 50's gags per the request of Mrs. North. She wanted her cousin, who was visiting, to see it.



Tuesday, October 12: Elsberry, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 44 mile jump to Elsberry. We were playing on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.


Ryan and I spent our free time watching the movie, The Exorcisit.

Tom Dougherty visited again today, so we hung out with him while getting ready, and he watched the first show.


Both shows had good business. I slipped on the stupid menu again during the table act, this time after coming up from a table slide.

Naturally I did the only thing I could think of, I walloped Ryan over the head with the menu!



Wednesday, October 13: New London, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 54 mile jump to New London. Ryan and I watched the movie, Signs, before we had to go to work.


There was an average sized crowd for the first show. My friend and former co worker Cricket, his girlfriend Chelsea, and one of the other clowns, Kelli, came to visit from the Blue Unit of Ringling.

Unfortunately they saw us in front of a small crowd.


They brought a great free roll, some of which we enjoyed at the BBQ after the shows. It was freezing outside, but the sky was filled with thousands of stars; it was quite a view.


The BBQ ended at 12:30 a.m., four hours before our call time in the morning.



Thursday, October 14: New Bloomfield, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We had a 5:30 a.m. call for our 84 mile jump to New Bloomfield. My truck's heater decided to stop working today, so it was a very cold drive.


We were playing on a grass lot and it was a sunny day. I slept all day to recuperate from the Blue Show visit last night.


We had an average sized crowd for the first show and decent business for the second show.



Friday, October 15: Columbia, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 44 mile jump to Columbia. There was a dump station at the lot, so I finally got to empty my sewage tank.


We were playing on a grass lot and it was a sunny day. We went to the mall a few towns over where I did my early birthday shopping at Barnes & Noble. I bought all 10 remaining Walking Dead issues.


There was a small crowd for the first show, and they were a miserable audience. There were a few more people at the second show, and it got cold as the sun set.

Rachael Bellman came to see the show, along with some of her friends.


As I was leaving my trailer to do the jukebox gag, I opened my door and noticed that someone was standing right outside my door. That startled me in the first place, but then I looked up to see that it was Casey wearing a monster mask. That startled me even more! My legs went weak, I grabbed on to the door frame to steady myself, and I yelled, "OH...............JESUS!"

Obviously survival skills are not my forte.


A blog reader and his wife were at the second show; he mentioned to Carolyn that he was a fan, so I found him at Intermission and chatted with him. I forgot to get his name though...


After the shows Rachael and I went out to get a bite to eat and catch up.



Saturday, October 16: Brunswick, MO-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

We had a 5:30 a.m. call for our 77 mile jump to Brunswick. We went to have breakfast after we had arrived; our waitress was cute and right up my alley, so while I was paying for my meal I chatted her up and invited her to the show.

She complained about how she had been working since 5:30 a.m. and as soon as she got off work she was going to go home and sleep.

We were all convinced that she was my soulmate; the female Steve...too bad that meant that she was too lazy and apathetic to respond to my flirting!


We had decent business for the first show and an average sized crowd for the second show.

During the first exterminator gag the bungee broke so we decided to switch to the alternate ending (shooting the beehive down) until the end of the season.



Sunday, October 17: Hamilton, MO-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

We had a 5:30 a.m. call for our 78 mile jump to Hamilton. My phone died in the middle of the night, so I didn't have an alarm to wake me up. I got up about 15 minutes late.


I knew that I needed to get fuel this morning, but I started to worry when we kept going on without a diesel station in sight. I started to worry more when my truck began to hiccup and jolt.

Finally salvation was in sight ahead of one of our turns. I went past the turn and pulled into the gas station. I pulled to the first pump only to discover that it wasn't a diesel pump.

I swung around to the far end of the station, and as I neared the diesel pumps my truck shut off. I coasted the last few feet until I was next to the pump.

Whew!


I filled up my tank, but then the truck wouldn't start. I had to call Danny to alert the mechanics, because they had all taken the turn and were past my location.

Leslie, Fridman, and Castro all turned around and came back to help me out.


They tried everything to get me going: jumping the battery, hooking me up to two different trucks' batteries, switching my batteries with other ones, putting fuel in the filter....nothing worked.


FInally they started getting calls that they were needed at the lot for the seat wagons they were hauling, so they towed me to the edge of the gas station.

The plan was for them to take the seat wagons to the lot, about 20 miles away, and then come back to help me.


Before they left Castro asked me to try starting my truck one more time. It started right up!

It turns out that my starter overheated from so many failed attempts, and it just needed time to cool off.


We were playing on a grass lot and it was a sunny day. I ended up parked off to the edge of the back yard; it wasn't a bad spot at all even though I showed up way late.


We had a small crowd for the first show, and the second show was even smaller. They had everyone move into the box seats....and there were still a couple of empty chairs left!


I had thought my automotive antics were over for the day, but my trailer decided to start acting up.

I had a propane leak somewhere and my trailer batteries were not charging. Also one of my truck's batteries was shot.

Castro fixed that problem by switching a trailer battery to the truck. Since I am getting rid of the truck at the end of the season, I will just keep that fix the way it is.



Monday, October 18: Richmond, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 37 mile jump to Richmond. We were on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.


Casey and I went to Wal Mart and found a diner that served the best breakfast I have had all season.


We had decent business for the first show, and we got good laughs in our gags for the first time in what seems like forever!

The second show also had a good crowd; it sure beat the past half a week.


Before the exterminator gag Tatiana came over to tell me that a big flame was coming out of my water heater. I told her it was ok because I had just lit it to prepare my post show shower.


After the gag I went back to my trailer, and sure enough, a HUGE ORANGE FLAME was coming out of a pipe in my water heater! I think I found where my leak is....



Tuesday, October 19: Lawson, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 28 mile jump to Lawson. We were on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.


Today was my 27th birthday. Ryan and Tatiana got me an espresso maker, which I was very excited about.


Casey, Nikki, and I went to a mall outside of Kansas City where we went shopping and Casey treated me to a delicious lunch at an Irish Pub.


Back at the lot Ryan and I watched the hilariously awful movie, Mom and Dad Save the World.


We had decent business for both shows; if the crowds had been as responsive as yesterday, today would have been a perfect day.


In the second jukebox gag I was chasing Ryan with the broom. I brought it down to hit him just as he moved, making me almost hit an audience member....like usual.

I turned to look at Ryan, but then I heard a HUGE laugh from the audience. The lady that I almost hit got so startled that she jerked back in her chair and was teetering on the back two legs, just on the verge of falling over.

She stayed in that position for what seemed like a very long time while the audience was busting a gut.

Finally I snapped to my senses and gave her my hand to pull her back up.


Sad to say, that was the biggest laugh we got all night (and probably all season); poor woman.


After the shows we had my birthday cookout; today was a great way to celebrate the start of my 27th year of life.



Wednesday, October 20: Smithville, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 27 mile jump to Smithville. We were playing on a very uneven grass lot and it was a sunny day.


This morning Chris gave me the option of being by the back door or having my trailer be level in a spot farther away. I picked having a level home, especially since he let me park my truck by the back door anyway for easy prop loading.


Later in the morning I got a knock on my door. Apparently there was a miscommunication and Fridman, the Fuscos, and I were parked in the way of the high school's football practice.

We all had to pack our trailers and ready them for travel AGAIN and then move to new spots. I ended up moving where Chris was originally going to put me this morning. That's what I get for being greedy!


We had decent business for both shows. Raul's clown gag is out for a few days because his dog, Pinky, had to go to the vet.


Ryan and John Moss made me laugh so hard in the second exterminator gag. I had been joking around with Ryan earlier in the show and said a line that made us both laugh. Unbeknownst to me, Ryan got a hold of John and fed him the line.

So as Ryan and I were laying on the ground waiting to start the gag, John said to the audience, "And now, the morality tale that is...the exterminator gag."

I about peed my pants I was laughing so hard!


Too bad my good cheer was dampened by a weak ending to the act. Tatiana was feeling sick, so she wasn't on hand to drop the beehive for us. One of the prop guys had a hard time untying the rope holding it up, so after I shot the gun the beehive wobbled for awhile in the air, and then slowly came down on Ryan.

LAME!



Thursday, October 21: Pleasant Hill, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 68 mile jump to Pleasant Hill. We were on a gravel lot and it was a sunny day.


A group of us walked to breakfast, and then we checked out a couple of antique and thrift stores.


We had good business for the first show. A lady in the front row was turned around talking to her friend when I almost hit her with the broom in the jukebox gag. When she finally noticed what was going on, I said, "Hey, pay attention!", which got a big laugh.


We had a full second show and they were a good audience. After the shows we went to a little local bar with Sorcha, the Norths' daughter, and her boyfriend, Mark.


Monday, October 25, 2010

September 28-October 05

Tuesday, September 28: St. Charles, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 26 mile jump to St. Charles. There was an RV dump station at the fairgrounds we are playing, so I attempted to dump my tank.

After pulling the handle, nothing was coming out. I tried again with the same results. Later on, Casey told me that it was probably because I had driven my trailer up on a curb to get as close as possible. That caused my trailer to be at a tilt, which probably prevented any sewage from coming out. I hope he is right!


Jessi took me to the grocery store across the street from the lot. I found black powder, which we are running out of, but it is IL state law that you need a card to purchase it.


We had small crowds for both shows; it was pretty miserable.

There was a great BBQ tonight with Casey's magician friend, Paul Lee, his friend, Steve Chezaday, and Steve's girlfriend.



Wednesday, September 29: St. Charles, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

This morning I took Ryan to an office store so he could buy binders to reorganize our gag books.


Paul Lee did something amazing for us today. He set up a visit with Marshall Brodien, the magician famous for his magic kits and for playing Wizzo the Wizard on the Bozo Show. It turns out that Mr. Brodien's house was basically across the street from the Panera where we had been getting breakfast each morning.

Casey was excited because Mr. Brodien saw him performing his juggling act as a teen, which led to Casey's appearance on the Bozo Show. I was excited because I watched him as Wizzo every day on the Bozo Show when I was a kid.

We both also had his magic kits when we were younger.


Mr. Brodien was so nice and such a gracious host. He gave us a tour of his basement, which was like a magician/Bozo Show museum. Any detail of his career that we asked about, he could remember perfectly.




Ryan and I got to pose with Wizzo the Wizard wardrobe, and I got to hold the Emmy that Mr. Brodien won for the Bozo Show.





Mr. Brodien was also generous enough to give us autographed pictures and magic card decks.



It was such an awesome experience; I'm really glad that Paul Lee could set it up for us.


Once again we had a small crowd for the first show. The second show had the biggest crowd of our two day stand, but sadly that wasn't saying much!


At least Marshall Brodien and his wife came to see the second show.



I was just sad that he saw us in front of such a dismal audience. The cast didn't even get applause for the final style of the show!


Jessi, Radar, and I rushed to an Oberweiss after the show to end the evening on a high note.



Thursday, September 30: Channahon, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 39 mile jump to Channahon. All the stop lights and morning traffic made the jump take FOREVER!


Casey built a prop table for us this morning; it will be used in one of next year's tour de forces of comedy.


Ryan organized the box of my truck, and I did a little bit of cleaning too. It had gotten disgusting and disorganized over the course of the season.


Both shows today were full. I felt like a jerk in the first table act when I couldn't rip the dress off of Delena at the conclusion of the gag. I tried many times to no avail; It looked like clown rape gone bad. And that is no laughing matter!


In the second table act Ryan flubbed the bit where he cleans out my ear with a rag. He just could not get the rag into my ear canal. I turned to him and said, "How did you get your wife pregnant?"

Never the slouch, Ryan quickly replied with, "I thought you did it!"



Friday, October 01: Marseilles, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 39 mile jump to Marseilles. We were on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.


Ryan and I made a couple of trips to a hardware store today so we could complete one of our props for next year; Radar helped us out as well.


A couple of hours before the show I decided to take a quick nap. I got a phone call from my friend, Cricket, that woke me from a deep slumber. When I checked my phone to see what time it was, I discovered that it was 20 minutes before the show!


I hadn't showered, I hadn't shaved, my contacts weren't in, and most importantly, I was not in make up!

I decided to forego the shower and contacts, so I hurriedly shaved (cutting the hell out of my cheek in the process), and slapped on my make up.

I made it on time for the show, but I would have been screwed if Cricket had not called me!


We had good business for the first show and the second show was almost full.


Something set me and Ryan off in the second table act, and we could not stop laughing.

Then, when Delena swung her purse behind her back to hit me in the face, her aim was way off and she nailed me in the family jewels.

I sunk to the ground and crawled around on my stomach, which broke Delena up and made Ryan laugh even harder.

It was a tough act to get through, but in a good way!



Saturday, October 02: Peru, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

We had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 25 mile jump to Peru. We were on a grass lot, and it was a windy, cloudy day. It was also extremely cold!


Ryan and I watched the horror movie, Motel Hell, which featured a man wearing a pig head having a chainsaw fight with a cop. Brilliant!


Jessi and I went to lunch and then to a Goodwill, and when we got back to the lot, we met my friends, Toto Johnson and Wayne Weems.


Both shows were packed, and the audience response was great. I was happy about that because Toto mentored me as a teen and helped me to get on Ringling; I always like for people to see me at my best.


The second exterminator gag was a crazy one. My wig kept coming off at strange times, and I even used it as chest hair at one point.


Tonight we went to karaoke with Toto. I started off the evening by singing, "My Kind of Town", in the style of Frank Sinatra.

A drunken reprobate got right in my face and told me that I sucked. I was so angry that I was considering starting my first ever bar fight, but Casey had words with the guy and he ended up being friendly and buying us all drinks.


We had power all night at the lot because it was so cold. I was glad because Toto was staying over and I didn't want him to have to freeze in his sleep.



Sunday, October 03: Clinton, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

We had a 5:30 a.m. call for our 87 mile jump to Clinton. We were on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.


Ryan and I watched the horrible horror movie, Deranged, which organ purists might enjoy. The musical kind of organ, not the other kind...


We had a decent sized crowd for the first show and an average sized crowd for the second show.


I took Dan to Wal Mart to do some shopping, and then Jessi and I watched the movie, The Court Jester, which I had not seen in several years.



Monday, September 04: Athens, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 50 mile jump to Athens. We were on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.


Dave Williams and Rick Purdue took Dan and I to breakfast. I ended up not eating anything after calling our miserable waitress an old bat, loud enough for her to hear.

After she intentionally spilled hot coffee in my general vicinity, I decided I'd pass on a meal that she could spit in.


I went to Springfield, IL with Jessi, but I was getting sick, so I wasn't feeling up to doing much.


We had decent business for both shows. The second table act was crazy; Ryan and I were acting like ventriloquist dummies (in honor of the movie, Dead Silence, which we were watching), Delena smacked me in the face with her hand, and at the end of the act, Delena's dress came down on my head after I threw it in the air.



Tuesday, October 05: South Jacksonville, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 48 mile jump to S. Jacksonville. My trailer lights were not working this morning, a problem that I thought had been resolved, so I let Castro know when I got to the lot.


We were on a grass lot and it was a sunny day. Ryan and I watched Night of the Living Dead, and then I attempted to deal with a propane problem I was having.

One of the hoses going into one of the tanks had a leak in it. I tried in vain to find a hose in town, but there weren't any shops that carried the kind I needed.


Just when my stress was at its highest, I got some relief from the surprise visit of Tom Dougherty and Pepe Silva.

Pepe and I worked together on Ringling my last year, and Ryan and I both knew Tom from the past.


We had an almost full first show; I was happy that Tom and Pepe got to see us with a good audience. They were both very complimentary, and after the show we all had a great talk about the art of clowning that totally recharged my batteries.

The other plus was that Castro fixed my trailer light problem.


We had an almost full second show; Bill and Nancy Prickett were in the audience, so I spent some time chatting with them at Intermission.


Ryan and I shortened the bee gag some more; I am still out to lunch on how I feel about the changes.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

September 20-September 27

I'm going to try and get off my lazy butt and get caught up on this blog.

Ryan and I are returning for a third season with Kelly Miller Circus. Not sure if the blog will be returning though; I am completely burned out on it and just the thought of updating it turns my stomach.

I may just keep my personal journal and post intermittently throughout the year; I'm not sure. Keeping up with somewhat regular updates is just too much of a pain. And when you stop enjoying something, why keep doing it?

Sorry to let you all down. I'll try and finish this with the season.



Monday, September 20: Vernon Hills, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

This morning Kerri took me and Ryan to Hobby Lobby and Wal Mart so we could buy materials for our new walkaround.


Later in the day Ryan and I walked around the mall together, and then I went for a long walk outside. Unfortunately I got caught in a downpour before I got back to my trailer.


We had an average sized crowd for the first show. Claire Wedermyer, Adam Kuchler, Andrew Adams, Brad Weston, and Doug Grew, all performers in the Chicago area, came to see us work.

Unfortunately they saw sucky clown gags, because the ring mat was extremely slick from being wet and on top of cement. Also, Ryan was sick.


Between shows we all visited with one another. Gary Podolsky, a Clown College alumni, also stopped by to say "Hi".


The second show was 3/4 full, and the ring mat was even more treacherous. Whee!

Jeannie Schwieger, Barbara Yurisich, and Suzanne Flynn came to our BBQ tonight.



Tuesday, September 21: Kingston, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

On Tuesday we had a 5:30 a.m. call for our 48 mile jump to Kingston; the drive seemed to go on forever.

We were playing on a grass lot and it was an overcast day.


Kerri left today; I was sad that she had to leave, but I was happy that we got to spend more time together.


We had average sized crowds for both shows. A storm hit at the start of the table act; what with all the noise it made, and the water coming down on some folks in the preferred seating section, no one was paying attention to what we were doing in the ring.


The second tiger chase of the evening was a disaster. The last rolling cage got stuck in the mud in the back door and blocked us from entering the tent.

We waited to see if they could get it unstuck in time, but they were still fighting with it when the music for the chase started.

Ryan and I ran into the other tent entrance and started the chase, only now we were doing the mirror image of what we normally do, which was very confusing.


The chase must have been an omen, because the second show was just horrible for me. I screwed up something every time I went into the ring. It wasn't a good way to end the evening.


There was mud in the back door from the storm; the first mud we have had in a very long time. Thank God!



Wednesday, September 22: Belvidere, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 15 mile jump to Belvidere. When we got to the lot I spent some time working on our website (www.steveandryan.com), and some of our promotional materials.


Later on I went to an auto parts store and a hardware store in an attempt to find a bolt for my truck's alternator.


It rained before the shows and during the first performance, but it didn't come down too hard, it was just steady.


We had an average sized crowd for the first show. Jessi took me to the auto parts store between shows since I picked up the wrong bolt earlier. Luckily they had the one I needed.

When we got back, it was too dark for Castro to fix the problem, so he just rigged the alternator for one more jump.


We had a decent sized crowd for the second show. There was a kid in the front row wearing a hat bearing the confederate flag. During web I swapped hats with the tyke and showed Ryan, yelling, "Long live the South!", much to his delight.


Once again there was a little mud in the back door: I began to have flashbacks to last year!



Thursday, September 23: Itasca, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We had a 5:30 a.m. call for our 53 mile jump to Itasca. There was a Starbucks next to the lot, so I visited it a couple of times today.

There was also a little park next to the Starbucks that had ducks and humongous swans! I had never seen swans so big before!


Ryan and I latexed one of our new props and finished the new walkaround that we have been building. I then went to have lunch with Radar.


Both shows were almost full. After the show everyone moved off the lot due to the threat of rain, but the storms did not come.


We spent the night watching America's Funniest Home Videos in Casey's trailer; I had forgotten how funny that show is!



Friday, September 24: Round Lake Beach, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

It was raining lightly this morning when we all got up. We had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 40 mile jump to Round Lake Beach. It was another incredibly long drive; to add to my stress, getting diesel was a royal pain.


We were playing on a very small lot; most of the trailers were parked across the street from the tent without power.

Parking in the back door was extremely tight, but I felt very fortuitous, because I was right by the back door and had power.


It was extremely windy and cold, so we loaded up to go have breakfast. When I got back to the lot, I took Ryan to Hobby Lobby. I then went to do laundry and get my hair cut.


We had a 3/4 full first show. Ryan and I debuted our new walkaround tonight. I was sick of doing my unfunny, cumbersome snake charmer walkaround, and we were both just ready for a change.

The new walkaround went very well, and it was even better for the second show. We will be doing it in the show next year, so it is nice to get it in front of an audience for test runs.

The second performance was full, and the audience was fantastic.


Ryan had words with a cop during the second show because the policeman accused him of dumping sewage in the parking lot he was in. Ryan tried to explain to him that it was only grey water from the sink, but the cop couldn't wrap his head around that concept.


We had a 40 mile jump to Wilmette tonight after the shows.



Saturday, September 25: Wilmette, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Jessi and I went to the mall this morning before the shows. We found an Apple store, but unfortunately we didn't have enough time to bring our Macs back to get some problems fixed.


It was a cold day, and both shows were almost full. The audiences were very hoity toity, so Ryan and I mused that we should break out our scatological humor.


Gary Podolsky, his wife, and their nephews, came to the second show. Gary's wife made delicious cookie bars as a free roll; I was loathe to share them.


A few of us went out to an Irish pub tonight and made friends with some locals.



Sunday, September 26: Woodstock, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

We had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 45 mile jump to Woodstock. We were playing on a grass lot and it was an overcast, cold day.


We had an average sized crowd for the first show and decent business for the second show.


I'm not exactly sure if anything exciting happened, because I forgot to take notes for this town.


After the shows we had a 52 mile jump to Downer's Grove that went on forever. I am ready to be done with urban jumps.



Monday, September 27: Downer's Grove, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

A group of us went to the Museum of Science & Industry in downtown Chicago this morning.

The main thing we wanted to see was the Jim Henson Exhibit, which had just opened a few days before on Jim's birthday.

I took my time and looked over everything in the exhibit. Georgia got to perform as a Muppet in a mock television show, and she was fantastic. I see a career in puppetry in her future!


We did a quick scan of some of the other exhibits, but there was just too much to see and too little time in which to see it.


Once we got back to the lot Jessi and I found a great diner to have lunch.

The first show was packed, and the second show was almost full.


Susan Hoss from the Brookfield Zoo joined us for the BBQ tonight.