DAY ONE-HUNDRED-EIGHTY-THREE: CLAIM Speaking Engagement and Laptop Donation

CLAIMTom Obey of the Lighthouse Radio Network gave me the opportunity this morning to speak to the newly formed CLAIM, which is a support and encouragement group for Christian business leaders.

I shared a few jokes and my song parody of “Anyway”, by Martina McBride. Always a good time to take people’s expectation of encouraging spiritual talks with a goofy song partly about shoving a jalapeno pepper up your nose.

I had 50 minutes and used the rest of it to balance out the comedy by openly sharing what God has been doing in my life in the last few years in challenging me to not settle in relational, moral, spiritual, vocational or other ways. Apparently, it was very well received, and I had more than one person say it was refreshing to hear transparency behind a microphone.

That is confirmation for me. I think people are tired of disengaging speakers who feel it is their station in life to act as a public relations department for a Christian ideology. I take responsibility to the measure that I’ve played this game for decades of my own life.

My conviction now is that Christians need to exalt God in the stories they tell, not themselves. This is simpler to do, for who does not have the information and perspective to speak on such issues.

It is quite engaging, though, and my experience has confirmed that such honesty is a catalyst that encourages other to open up as well, letting light into their lives through confession.

Also, at the end of the meeting, I met a lady who offered for me to borrow her laptop on the trip. I will be able to use it to do any graphics work I have, to blog, to process video and to publish Funnies Extra from the road.

Also, I spoke to another lady who has two thousand pounds of contacts down the East Coast.

I do believe those will come in helpful. I’m looking forward to see the continuation of all of these developments.

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.

DAY SEVENTY-NINE: Spokes and Jokes, Stop One

The in-state pretour gigs have begun, and the first one was a smashing success!

Thank you to every one of the about 70 people who came out to Camp Fair Haven on Saturday evening, November 3. Thank you also to some of the ladies at camp who voluntarily provided food and drinks. Thank you also to Doug Nye, who performed admirably to open up the show and who helped me prepare the sound equipment.

Listen. This is going well. I’m very pleased.

I got so many comments that people had a great time and laughed a lot. Usually, it’s hard to gauge the crowd response onstage, but I heard lots of laughter, and that was kind of the goal, so I’m pleased.

We are already working on arranging another show there, probably for sometime in January. I’ve learned a no shortage of people that wanted to come to this one, but couldn’t. I think we can fill this place up in January.

A special thank you goes out to my family. My wife, Heather; son, Jordan and daughter, Emma all helped out during the day prior to the show and dealt with me being stressed out all day.

I’ve finally taken people’s advice and agreed that the strength of my performances is the song parodies. I marched out some new ones, my favorite of which is the The Columbus Day Song, my favorite line of which is a tongue-twister, but I was able to pull off without spraining my tongue.

There’s much more to say, but I’ll save it for other posts. Thanks for checking in.

Oh, and this. Do you know of a church that would like some funny, clean entertainment? It’s this easy:

1. It will cost the church NOTHING.

2. Admission is FREE.

All I ask for is the opportunity to make you laugh for about one hour, present what Spokes and Jokes is all about, then to make an appeal for donations.

That’s it. Please email me at chris@chrisQuimby.com to book your engagement before it’s too late. We’re leaving the state on September 2, 2013.