Saturday, February 18, 2006

Guest Blogger: Dobie Maxwell

Dobie Maxwell is one of the most accomplished stand-up comedians working in America today. He'll be at Zanies in Chicago this week (Feb 21-26). I highly recommend his stand up act. I think I'm going to check it out again, if somebody wants to join me--drop me a line--we can go together. If you aren't in Chicago, keep a look out for his name. He plays in comedy clubs all over the country. (If you are in a town that has "The Bob & Tom Show," you've probably heard Dobie many times. He is a semi-regular guest on that show.)

I got to know Dobie when I was briefly consulting his radio show in Chicago. He was one of the Morning Loop Guys for a little more than a year. When the company that owned the station (WLUP) was sold, Dobie was fired along with the rest of the morning team.

Chicago Sun Times columnist Robert Feder described it this way in his Jan 14th 2005 column.
"In its farewell under Bonneville International, classic rock WLUP had its best book in more than a year. New owner Emmis Communications dumped "Loop Morning Guys" Dobie Maxwell, Max Bumgardner and Spike Manton just as they were showing solid growth."

Dobie responds: "Welcome to Showbusiness. That's just what happens sometimes. They blow out a morning show for no good reason, maybe just to give their friends a new job. That happens a lot in radio. So, Mr. Lucky gets it right up the asteroid. It was a great job, and working with Greg Solk, Max, Spike and Bruce Wolf, was working with true professionals in the biz."

Ahem, I'm sure he also meant to include my name in that quote.

One of his signature bits on that show was called the "60 Second Soapbox", a rant about the subject of the day.

I asked him to write one for President's Day, and this is what he sent me.

60 Second Soapbox: Presi-dense Day
by Dobie Maxwell

Brothers and sisters, misses and misters, flag wavers and time savers - thanks for taking time out to read my random ramblings. Before I expound any further on said topic, first let me say that I am a proud American. I love my country warts and all and I love to do American things.

I eat hot dogs, even though I know what's really in them. I vote whatever Tuesday they tell me to show up. Whenever I can I outsource jobs to countries whose names I can't even pronounce.

I wouldn't live anywhere else in the world if they paid me, except of course if I could be a judge when they pick the Swedish Bikini Team. I love the U.S. of A. and that's no B.S. All that being said, I think that President's Day in it's current form is totally useless and needs to be chopped down like George Washington's infamous cherry tree. I cannot tell a lie either, it's STUPID.

Every year I get my cheapo calendar from my insurance agent with the bad toupee and every year I flip through it to see how many Friday the 13ths there are or if there are any sexy pictures of hot babes who've been in car accidents the previous year. There never are and like a BAD neighbor, it annoys the hell out of me. I also check to see when the holidays are and inevitably there is always a Monday set aside for President's Day. I seem to remember as a kid that both Lincoln and Washington's birthday were both around the same time in February and were each a separate event but someone must have stuck a feather in them both and called it macaroni.

I always thought being President of The United States was something to shoot for, but evidently it's only something to shoot AT. Old Honest Abe took a bullet for our land and he gets his birthday clumped in with a guy with wooden teeth and some furniture and bed sheet sales. That's not a very good way to pay tribute to Mr. Stovepipe hat, even if we did put him on TWO pieces of our money. $5.01 is NOT payment enough for such a major disrespect.

George Washington got a raw deal too. Here is a guy who did it FIRST, and had to go through life with a hairdo that looks like Buckwheat walked home in a blizzard and he doesn't even get his props, even though he got two pieces of currency too. A buck and a quarter doesn't cut it.

But what about all the other esteemed leaders of our land? They don't get even one iota of love on this meaningless 'holiday'. When was the last time a Rutherford B. Hayes question was on a final exam to qualify for citizenship? Is there a Chester A. Arthur Memorial in Washington D.C.? How about ANYWHERE? Presidents are like Super Bowls, there aren't that many of them and they are supposed to be special but most of them usually fall far short of expectations.

I am usually reminded it's President's Day when I go to the bank on a random Monday and am caught off guard when the door is locked as I try to beat the rubber checks I wrote over the past weekend to the teller's window. I then curse and swear and try to calculate how much in fees it will cost me for the bounced checks, and never ONCE do I take time to honor our esteemed and long dead forefathers of freedom.

I think rather than close banks and post offices and make everyone angry and inconvenienced, I say we have a national trivia contest to learn the facts about ALL our former presidents, not just George and Abe. That way if we know about the past we can maybe do a little better when electing them in the future. We should know what Nixon's favorite wrestling hold was or if Harry Truman could do a cart wheel or if Jimmy Carter had webbed feet. There have to be all kinds of random bits of information that slipped through the historical cracks over the years. I think we as Americans have a right to know. What kind of booze did Ulysses S. Grant like the best? Did Thomas Jefferson play Yahtzee? And just how big WAS that stick Teddy Roosevelt carried?

The prizes could be a year off paying tax or free unlimited postage for a year. The government is already broke so this little perk wouldn't make it any worse. This way we'd all look FORWARD to President's Day and wouldn't be so stupid when it comes to actually knowing anything about who's in charge and ultimately makes decisions that affect all of us. I don't know about you, but this seems like a great idea to me. I'm sure it will seem even greater when I stupidly go to the bank on that Monday like I usually do, even though I wrote this article and it should serve as a warning. I may be too stupid to heed the warning but there is still hope for you. Good luck!

I'm Dobie Maxwell, proud American. And THAT is all the people need to know.

Dobie teaches a stand up comedy class at Zanies. This is the book he wrote for that class.

Dobie has one CD out and is in the process of putting out another one. Check out his website: