In the comedy world, there is a time in a comic's career when she knows she's hit the big time.
Keep in mind "big time" is all relative.
I've heard that somewhere around eight years, magic starts happening. Open mics turn into paid gigs. Weekend warriors, who typically use their days off from their day jobs to tell jokes, morph into road comics traveling to college campuses and obscure cities to muck it up. When big time is in the foreseeable future, there's even cause for a comic to hire an agent. That's a word I don't know if I should fear or embrace.
That goes for a lot of people.
Sometimes it takes 20 years to reach the big time. Others rise to the top faster than "Modern Family," getting the job done in just a few years. I'm officially into my sixth year of slinging jokes and making fun of myself.
But recently, I thought I had arrived.
Life played one of those tricks on me that teach lessons. And Lord knows I am all about life lessons. First, never jump to a conclusion.
I've been known to jump a time or two.
Second, always verify facts. That one I learned early on as an eager journalism student at Purdue. People can lie or miscommunicate facts, especially to reporters. It's a concept I still struggle with as a Midwestern type. Liars don't do well in that God-fearing section of America.
The truth always comes out in the end, by the way.
Sometimes life's lessons are the result of an honest mistake. Like what happened to me late Saturday night after checking my email from the preceding Friday. Recently, I had enthusiastically accepted a gig as the comedic talent for the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts' vodka-tasting fundraiser. I was thinking of opening with, "I haven't sampled this much vodka since high school."
All vodka jokes aside, I was pretty excited about the thought of headlining this event. There will be plenty of liquor, usually helpful in bringing the laughter and helping people lose their inhibitions. I figure people will be in good moods, perfect for my new bit on what I think the liquor store next to Whole Foods in Basalt should have been named if they had consulted me first. They are really missing out on a golden marketing opportunity. Just look at Beaver Liquors.
I'm thinking of making up some T-shirts.
It wasn't until late Saturday night I discovered a monumental, comedy career-confirming twist to the vodka tasting. I had been asked to provide my photo for the poster. No problem. They're all over Facebook. It wasn't until I opened the PDF of the poster and saw that I would be joining Joe Walsh as the entertainers for the evening.
I'm pretty sure everyone knows who he is, except maybe my Indiana friend Taryne, who now lives in Denver.
"Who's Joe Walsh?" she asked in her reply text.
"He was in the Eagles," I replied, hoping to jog her early-30s memory.
Kids these days.
She wasn't the only one I texted that night. I pretty much jumped the gun, as the saying goes. And shot myself in the foot, as that other saying goes. I called my mom and dad. I texted my closest friends. I also bragged a little to some old beaus that I was going to be meeting, and working with, Joe Walsh. The Joe Walsh. Of the Eagles. One of Rolling Stone magazine's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."
I have spent the last 10 years Rocky Mountain way.
My ego may have gotten a little ahead of herself. She is my ego, after all. I still haven't figured out if she is my false self or the real deal. All I know is our names, Joe Walsh and April Clark, were mentioned in the same breath with photos on the same poster.
For a moment in time.
Long story short, I am opening for local cowboy singer Eddie Joe Walsh, who is from Eagle. Oh, that Joe Walsh. And I am just fine with that because I appreciate all performers, famous or otherwise. I know Eddie Joe Walsh will be great because I love cowboys. I suspect he gets that, "Aren't you that guy from the Eagles?" question all the time.
Maybe I have hit the big time after all.
- April E. Clark will be telling liquor jokes at the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts vodka tasting at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at the Ramada Inn. She can be reached at email@example.com.