The Quest for Greatness

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When I was much younger I thought maybe I would like to run for public office.  I thought maybe I could even be President one day.  I don’t think that is an uncommon thought for a child.  I even carried out the political notion as I applied to law schools.  I figured that would get me on a more direct path.  Be a public defender then maybe run for mayor, then governor, and so on and so forth.  It all seemed like a pretty good plan.  I was not aware of how dirty politics were.  I just knew I wanted to make a difference.  Seemed pretty noble I guess.

Then I discovered stand up comedy and everything changed for me.  It started with an open mic and I was hooked.  I asked the person who started me in comedy, Bob Gonzo, every question possible.  It became my passion.  I would sit in classes in law school and write jokes for an open mic I would be doing later that night.  In reality I should have been studying but I loved comedy.  I loved the laughs.  I loved the challenge.  I loved the creative process.  I loved the people I was performing with.  I was too new to know the shadiness of the business side.  Everything is always great until you have to pay your bills with it.

Eventually I would drop out of law school even though I had good grades and was not even applying myself.  Then I would leave the mortgage company I worked for where I had climbed in short order to a management position.  I would become a full time comedian three years into it.  I would supplement the performance money with the formation of my company Side Splitting Productions.  There would be hard lessons to be learned both in business and performance but I loved it.  I would hit the road for weeks at a time to get better.  My girlfriend at the time (wife now) was patient with me.  It was not easy on anybody but I was going to make it.  The act was getting better, I had been on Comedy Central, I was starting to headline it looked like I could make a go of it all.

Then gas zoomed way past $3 a gallon and the comedy money was not going up.  Plus my wife was pregnant so since her job paid better then stand up comedy I could not travel as much.  I was ok with that.  I said to myself you are never going to be a star but it is ok.  I had accomplished a lot.  I had travelled the world.  I had been on television.  I had entertained our heroes in a war zone so though I never made it as a “star” I was pretty happy with my career.  I would stick to mostly local gigs and work on my company to grow that.

Then on a whim I went to a contest that the sports radio station, WFAN was having to be the number one guy’s (Mike Francessa) new partner.  I went down to Bar A at the Jersey shore before a gig in Scranton, PA to give it a shot.  I waited in line.  I waited with guys who went to radio school for this.  I waited with guys who knew sports statistics inside out.  I was out of my league.  I knew this.  Hundreds of people were there.  First you had to get past one of the people who worked at WFAN.  I think they wanted my take on the centerfield situation of the New York Yankees.  I gave my take which was different then Mike Francessa’s.  I passed round one.   Next I had to go to the program director, Mark Chernoff, he asked me my take on Alex Rodriguez I believe as Alex was once again the papers for unrelated baseball activities.  Now keep in mind there is no preparation for these questions.  They give you the topic and you go.  You have no idea what the topics are and you have no idea what you are looking for.  I passed Mark Chernoff.  The prize was going on the air with Francessa.  We were told the winner amongst the finalists were going to be his new partner.  That was a lie but we had no idea.  So I went on with Francessa and got booed by the audience for being a Jets fan.  Francessa called me a little annoying.  Don’t know why but whatever.  I made a joke about it.  I had a good showing.  You can see it in my videos section on this page.  I had opinions and I did not get intimidated.  And that was that…for all of us.  No winner.  The win was being a finalist and getting on the air with Mike Francessa.  Still not bad for somebody who had no training in this.

A few years later on one of my rare comedy weeks out of town I worked in Rochester, NY.  Part of the deal is you went on the radio with Brother Weaze.  Weaze is an icon in Rochester.  Weaze is the person who started Opie of Opie & Anthony fame.  I busted Weaze’s balls during his stories and rolled with everything.  The next day I was brought back on the air.  They were having some strippers come in and they needed somebody to have a lap dance performed.  They all claimed marriage.  So we called my wife on the air and asked for permission.  Weaze gave me a huge thumbs up.  I had the lap dance so everybody was a winner.  In the last half an hour of the show Weaze’s partner, Jaimie had to leave so I served as the co-host.  That is how comfortable they felt with me.  It was a blast.  I loved radio.

I emailed Weaze and asked if I should go to broadcasting school.  He said no, just hook up with a show anyway I can.  He also said several fans wrote into the show and said I should be hired immediately but unfortunately they did not have the budget for it.

So with that I started my own show on the local radio station.  Davin and Siscoe on the Radio with fellow comedian Mike Siscoe.  It was fun but eventually there were visionary and personality conflicts and it was not fun.  I terminated the show.  I continued at the station as Davin’s Den.  Joe Currie joined me shortly thereafter.  Soon we were given a second hour of show.  Things were looking up.  I also met Anthony Cumia of Opie & Anthony fame through Joe.  Anthony was going to start a station called Live at the Compound on Ustream & we were going to be one of the main shows besides his show.  Also, we felt we were not being supported properly at the local radio station so we left.  We were full time at the Compound.  Unfortunately Anthony’s dedication to his station ebbed & flowed.  So we decided we would not rely on the Compound.  We bought equipment and joined internet radio stations.

As of now the Compound is down due to technical issues and we continue to rack up more affiliates but what does it mean?  I am happy with the show with Joe and now Pip.  I think they make the show better.  They do not have the passion I have for it though which is frustrating.  They enjoy it but are unwilling or unable to go all in like I did with stand up comedy those many years ago.  I think the show is good enough for Sirius/Xm.  We have the connection to make it happen but there are interpersonal relationships that are so complex that there is a good chance it will not happen.  So what do I do?  Do I continue down this path and acquire more internet affiliates?  Do I blow it up and form a new team?  Do I just walk away from this radio dream?  I don’t know.   I am 38 and I feel the clock ticking.  I feel if the show was given a real opportunity we could be big.  I don’t think we will ever get that opportunity.  I see countless hours dedicated to making this happen.  To entertaining people and sounding professional and to being different.  I see the fans we have and love them.  I wonder why we do not have more.  I grow impatient. 

I feel I have greatness in me.  I feel like I can entertain people.  I feel like the quest is taking its toll.  Still I go forward because to fail is terrible but to give up right now would be worse. 

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