DAY ONE-HUNDRED-SIXTY-EIGHT: Planning the First Two Weeks

Do you know anyone along this route? (click map to enlarge)

Route-Map

I’m actively looking for places to stay and places to perform during this route, which is a general idea of where I’ll be for the first two weeks of Spokes and Jokes.

If you have nay leads in the area that you see in the accompanying map, please shoot me an email at chris@chrisQuimby.com.

DAY ONE-HUNDRED-SIXTY-FIVE: Crafting the Message

microphoneI got a piece of advice from a good friend recently who suggested I put an evangelistic message at the end of my routine. This has caused me to think about the purposes for my speaking and how to honor God with what I do, but also be stupid and have a good time simply making people laugh.

My biggest problem with something what I perceive that to mean lies in the execution. I feel like I’ve been the unwilling consumer of a lot of gratuitous messages that seem more like a sales pitch than a heartfelt appeal.

Let me be clear that I appreciate this friend’s suggestion. I agree, but am trying to figure out the best way to be real with people.

We live in a culture that is saturated with carefully crafted messages and I feel many people can smell a sales pitch from a mile away. Either that, or they’ve become so accustomed to it that an honest, raw message can take them off guard.

I think as I get more comfortable with my act, that I’ll be able to hang all of the stupidity on a skeleton that is my testimony. I sense that this is where things are headed.

And, even if it doesn’t, my influence doesn’t end when I leave the stage. I love interpersonal relationships and look forward to speaking more candidly and directly with those I meet in preparing for the May exodus and then again on the trip itself.

My conviction is that the most important thing is that I have an authentic relationship with God. Hands down. If that is true, it will be noticeable.

Regardless, I would appreciate your prayers that I remain focused and don’t let all of the attention and applause puff me up.

DAY ONE-HUNDRED-SIXTY-TWO: Getting Back On The Nite Show

TheNiteShowI’m excited to be booked again on The Nite Show. We will record on April 3, 2013, and the episode will air on April 6, 2013. This will give me a little promotion before I leave on my bike for Spokes and Jokes on Monday, April 29.

Although I need final confirmation, it seems at this point that my first en route gig will likely be on just the third day of the trip at a church in Concord, New Hampshire. They have offered for us stay free of charge in a bed and breakfast along the way.

Fun, fun, fun.

DAY ONE-HUNDRED-SIXTY-ONE: Fun at Camp!

“It would be fh2great if you could come to [venue unnamed], but you you couldn’t let them know you’re a Christian. They would never have it.”

This statement was made by a young lady after my show at Fair Haven Camps last Saturday night.

A few years ago, I sat through a comedy workshop in Portland and heard some of the most detestable, vulgar things I could imagine. Let me make it clear that I am not a prude. I spent a good chunk of my younger life swimming in gangster rap and porn.

I am not easily offended.

The double-standard was apparent. Almost anybody can go almost anywhere and stand in front of a group of almost anybody and say almost anything.

I might, however, not be allowed to perform somewhere because I believe I was created by design and that I and others have a purpose that goes beyond our base appetites.

I hope my comedy gives me the opportunity to be welcome places long enough for people to learn that I am not an ideology nor a movement, but a person. Maybe I’m asking too much.

It was not just “church people” at my second show at Fair Haven on Saturday night. We had about 70 people again, about 90% of them that weren’t at the first show.

Many people told me they had a fantastic time. Some people said they laughed so much their face hurt. Five people began conversations asking if I would ever perform for their church.

Yes. Yes, I will.

The evolution of this journey is very encouraging.

DAY ONE-HUNDRED-FIFTY-NINE: Usually Laughter, Sometimes Threats of Violence

iron_mask_corrado_BI’ve normally enjoyed pleasing results when performing comedy. I’m thankful for that.

Even still, I get quite tense during the hours leading up to a show. Oftentimes, if there was some honorable away to flee from the responsibility, I would. However, I always try to remember how fun it usually is and that the normally the only bad part about it is my own negativity.

Normally.

There are those moments that justify fear. In fact, last winter, I performed at a Christmas party for a Bangor company. In the middle of the room were a bunch of men who I believe were affected by equal parts alcohol and testosterone. It become abundantly clear that  they were not “picking up what I was lying down”.

In fact, just 10-15 minutes into my 45-minute show, one man in the middle stared me down and, with a look of complete disdain, slowly moved his finger across his throat.

Talk about fight or flight. I wanted to leave immediately, and hopefully not find him in the parking lot. It gave me an idea what David must have felt like when he tried to play some tunes for Saul while Saul kept chucking spears at him.

Such occurrences are rare though, and I am happy to say that I have not yet been viciously murdered because of my comedy.

I predict a great crowd tonight at my second show at Camp Fair Haven. The first one was a blast. The place was packed tight with about 70 people and there was much laughter. And nobody threatened bodily harm, which was very much appreciated.

You’ll have a good time if you stop over to 81 West Fair Haven Lane tonight. The fun starts at 7:00pm with a funny song or two from Doug Nye, then I’ll share over an hour of my own weird observations including about 40 minutes of my own song parodies. There will be a roaring fireplace, refreshments and plenty of laughs.

I hope to see you there.

DAY ONE-HUNDRED-FIFTY-SEVEN: This Garden is Growing!

whcfThanks to the efforts of friend and Camp Fair Haven Director Tristan Starbird, I was on WHCF being interviewed about Spokes and Jokes. I was very pleased with how it went. Station manager Tom Obey and I spoke for 30-40 minutes and I wish to thank the kind people at the station for the opportunity and their support.

Here’s a list of some of the encouraging developments lately:

1. One of the on-air personalities informed me that Top 40 contemporary Christian singer Mark Schultz biked across America and performed music along the way at some point. It just so happens that we have a mutual friend. I contacted the friend (Doug Johnson) and he gave me Mr. Schultz’s personal email address and said he would call him and mention that I would be contacting him to pick his brain for any advice or suggestions.

2.  The same on-air personality (Penny Ayer) suggested offering me a weekly call-in spot while I’m on the tour to talk about the adventure. I was quite interested. Then, after the show was over, someone called the station and asked if they would offer something like that. This person did not even know she had already suggested it to me, which we took as confirmation that we should do it. I suggested that, if they are interested, I would be glad to come on each week prior to leaving, too, beginning whenever. It would give me a chance to increase exposure to the audience I’m trying to reach an an effort to book gigs, plus talk about how the trip is developing and declare any needs or prayer requests.

3. When I got home, I had an email from someone who booked me for a show on March 2 because they heard my spot on WHCF that morning. This was particularly significant for me since I had already been offered to share a show with some other comics on that day, but refused because some of the content from the other comics wasn’t going to be clean and I feel like I need to exercise better discretion in where and with whom I perform. My pastor had mentioned that sometime the public gets an impression of what someone is about by who they share company with, so I’m trying to consider that more. Certainly, I am not above hanging out with anyone. In fact, Jesus hung out with the worst of the worst, and I’m obviously no better than Him. However, simply from a marketing and branding standpoint, I think I need to be aware of such things. I do no want to be legalistic about it. Each situation needs to be evaluated on its own merits.

4. I got a call back from another pastor friend who teaches at a Calvary Chapel church in the Fairfield, Maine area. He booked a show from me for March. Things have gotten busy and I’m now pretty much booking two months ahead!

5. Another pastor friend is checking into having me at his church in Lincoln sometime in March, which will get me into another new area that I’ve never performed in.

6. My friend, Phil Dow, learned of my need to borrow a pickup truck and camper. He offered me his truck and is taking it upon himself to find me a camper. Man. I have awesome friends.

Those are just a few of the cool things that are happening with Spokes and Jokes, all the more cool because I had pronounced the death sentence on this adventure at the beginning of December.

My second show at Fair Haven Camps is this Saturday, January 26. I will be debuting three songs that have never been performed in public. There will be a blazing fireplace and snacks to eat along with local musician, Doug Nye as the opener.

Admission is free and donations are appreciated.