Out of the Mouths of Babes My Dinner With Gacy
When you start out as a performer, especially a 'variety artist' like a juggler you have to take a lot of crappy jobs. Birthday parties are a great example. Early on in my career I managed to book an event for my home town festival where I was to stroll around the park grounds and juggle for people waiting in l... continue reading
Date Your Daughter! It's All the Rage!
May 10, 2004 marked the 10th anniversary of the day serial killer John Wayne Gacy was put to death in Joliet, IL. I'd all but forgotten about him. I wouldn't even be mentioning the event were it not for the fact that I was at Stateville Correctional Center the night Mr. Gacy was executed.
Gacy was one of the most ... continue reading
The Groundhog Mall
There are “seasons” in the entertainment field just like any other business. I can expect certain bookings to fall at certain times.I know that the early months in the year have many trade shows and school functions. February and March are ripe with Cub Scout Blue & Gold Dinners as well as one type of gig that se... continue reading
Love Under the Big Top
My wife and I have a lot of silly ways of amusing ourselves. We go on day trips to nearby locations. We check out caves, parks, and Minor League Baseball games to name a few. Most often, when we are looking for something fun to do our journey takes to some place where there are animals.We love to go to zoos and nature... continue reading
The Folly of Valentines Day
When you are working as an entertainer, especially with a circus
or other traveling show you are bound to hook up romantically with
another performer once in awhile. Sometimes the only people you can
even find to talk to are the folks in your production and you have no
choice but to date another person in the biz... continue reading
Opus IV: A New Hope
I won’t lie to you. I am not the best husband in the world. I am not the greatest guy around. I am extremely selfish and flawed. I
try very hard to be a better man both for myself and for my wife. Some
days are better than others, but for the most part I am an alright
person.When February rolls around I am reminded... continue reading
Jesus Likes My Balls!
You thought I forgot about you, didn’t you? You’ve been sitting in your
fancy office reaping the benefits of another well-read cartoon strip.
The sales are piling up and the checks from another best-selling compilation of your cartoons
are pouring in once again. All this has gone on without a single peep
from old A... continue reading
250 Versions of WHAT?
Larry Van Pelt of Niceville, Florida is an artist as well as a father,
grandfather, career Air Force officer and fighter pilot. He has led a
wide and varied life with his wife of over 49 years by his side. He is
a good man and a devout Christian. I will not make fun of Mr. Van Pelt
nor his family. I am not a cruel ... continue reading
Booby's: The Christmas Miracle!
Every man needs a hobby. My wife says all men need to putter. I’ve
never given much credence to the hobby as a necessity but I am not
without my time-wasters. As a kid I collected many things.
It's less of a hobby and more like not throwing things away. I
collected stamps, rocks, shells, baseball cards, coins, and ... continue reading
Robbery Suspect: Old Fat Man in a Red Suit
Every family has their own set of traditions during the holidays.
Some are long-standing rites of passage filled with meaning and
sentiment. Others are just good silly fun. Around here we are not
without our fair share of Christmas traditions. One Sincere Tree!One Sincere Tree!My wife and I always get our tree fro... continue reading
North Pole? Bad Parents Make Santa Live in HELL!
Not too long ago I told you a few reasons why I no longer take bookings as Santa Claus and I promised to reveal more as we came closer to Christmas. Well kids, I’m about to make good on my promise. We
all know that a Santa can find work at corporate holiday parties and
malls, but did you know that one of the most com... continue reading
Has Been? I Think NOT!
I know it is a trite old notion but it seems life is moving a whole
lot faster then it did when I was younger. Just yesterday I was
celebrating the New Year and now I've got to gear up for another one. With Penguin Tree-Topper!
Once again I'm not sure what I'm getting anyone for Christmas nor how
I'm going to pay f... continue reading
Who Will Get MY Vote?
What can I say about William Shatner? What can anyone really say
about him? For years hes been among the most mocked and parodied
individuals on the planet. You can count on hearing an impersonation of
him from just about every hack comedian.Most everyone has
an opinion of his acting style and ability. That opinion... continue reading
Most of the real issues that concern American citizens, no matter how
common or important, will never be sexy enough to catch the headlines.
I may as well give you my wish list of issues I want to see politicians
discuss. These will be just as ignored as the others, so why not? I will vote for ANY CANDIDATE that ca... continue reading
Socially Responsible BOOBIES!
This week I was asked by the editors to write something political in honor of the upcoming U.S. election. I hated this assignment. Regardless, I have to add SOMETHING to the mix of political articles this week. So here goes.I rarely talk about things like politics. I will bring the subject into my stage act when appro... continue reading
Thanks for Nothing!
Recently we had a request made of us here at The Cheers: write an
article about, and I quote, BOOBIES! Let me reprint the request made at
our bulletin board forums, The Bar.JeannettaBoobiesI
think someone should write an article about boobs. No shit, I am
serious. Some guy should write an article about boobs and ho... continue reading
The Acquittal of O.J. Simpson: Ten Years After
Nearly 3.2 MILLION fans turned out to watch the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field this baseball season. That is an unprecedented number in sports history. No other franchise can lay claim to such fan support and loyalty. Couple that with the fact that the Cubs haven't won a damn thing since 1908 and you really have to won... continue reading
Sex Blogs - The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
Much is being made about the tenth anniversary of the "not guilty" verdict in the O.J. Simpson murder trial. There are television and news stories, interviews, and talk show discussions virtually everywhere.Clearly, the families of the victims will be adversely affected eternally by the crimes and the verdict.&n... continue reading
September Writing Prompts
It is inevitable. You go online, you eventually look for porn. People
always deny looking at or enjoying porn, but the reality is, porn is in
most everyones home. Porn doesnt become the third largest exported
product category for a country like the U.S. if it isnt in high demand.
So I stand by the statement, you go... continue reading
Fun With Ego-Surfing
I am fairly oblivious to the many disturbing things a person must
endure as a student of the writing craft. Thankfully Ive been fortunate
enough to have both a wealth of things to write about AND a place
willing to publish them. However after receiving a recent e-mail I
count my blessings even more.My friend Kelli... continue reading
Useless websites seem to flourish online. There are sites about
anything in the world and there sites about absolutely nothing in the
world. Really. Check out www.nothing.com if you dont believe me. I'd
send you to www.wholelottanothing.org but as it turns out, that is a
blog that is quite clearly filled with SOMET... continue reading
The Price is WRONG!
I have been told that my work here at The Cheers has been well received. Readership for the magazine and especially my articles is up and that MUST be a good thing. Ive received nice e-mails from total strangers, invites to write for other magazines, and respect from other writers. Yes, it is clear to me that my writi... continue reading
Minor Leagues, Major Enjoyment!
As an entertainer I encounter performers most everywhere I go. Clowns are a strange group, which I'm sure you can surmise. When I went to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College
it was not because I had a burning desire to become a clown. I wanted
to learn a LOT of quality performing skills in a short a... continue reading
In my part of Illinois, I am fortunate enough to have no fewer than five professional baseball teams within an hours drive and I am not including the Cubs or the White Sox. Really, given their records of mediocrity for nearly a century, can you still consider those teams professionals?Independent & Minor Leag... continue reading
You Gonna Eat That?
As far as I am concerned, I dont need to ever witness a Major League Baseball game in person for the rest of my days. I encourage everyone to follow my lead. Why the anger and resentment? Well, many reasons, quite frankly, but the proverbial last straw in this case was provided by Mr. Barry Bonds of the San Francisco ... continue reading
Men are simple creatures, not unlike the animal that we are most often
compared to, the dog. We eat. We sleep. We work. We play. Sometimes,
when allowed, we fuck. There's the occasional quest for knowledge, but
this can be either avoided or enhanced by a few bottles of beer.
Basically, as men we are ALL the same. M... continue reading
Father's Day My Ass!
For me, there are myriad reasons why I am a professional entertainer. Ive wanted to be one since I was 10 years old and I cant imagine doing anything else with my life. Sure, Ive dabbled with other careers. Show biz is the only logical choice.Ill not discuss today why I originally got into the business. Rather, Id lik... continue reading
A Father's Wisdom: The $25.00 Monkey
Fathers Day is a day dedicated to celebrating fatherhood. It is the one
special day out of the year when children & moms show their
everlasting love, devotion, and appreciation for the dads in their
lives. Fathers everywhere can not only enjoy one day of
solace, they can hold their heads up high knowing that th... continue reading
A Write of Passage
Young Don Martello, WITH HAIR! (very rare!)Most fathers are filled with sage advice, or so I am told. My father was no exception. He was a smart guy and a funny guy. He would always have some special way to impart wisdom to his children. Handing down advice is common among parents in general. Presumably these lines a... continue reading
Strippers Removed Articles!
I am pretty new to the concept of writers block. I have heard about
this affliction but otherwise I have no personal experience with the
dreaded feeling a writer gets when he cant think of anything to write
about. I'm told it is excruciating agony.I can think of plenty
of times when I was working on a comedy routin... continue reading
Need an Education? Kentucky Wants to Help!
One day it was there. The next day it was all gone. The Cheers had
disappeared into that mysterious zone of space known as 404 ERROR -
File NOT Found! Someone had temporarily destroyed our home. Who were
these evil-doers sabotaging our fledgling online magazine? STRIPPERS!
Dirty, moody, ass-waving STRIPPERS!OK, str... continue reading
Welcome to "The Cheers!"
I have always had a love/hate relationship with Kentucky. For a short
period of time, I could expect unusual things to happen to me whenever
I entered the state (SEE: A Clown in Kentucky). Kentucky is a
Midwestern state filled with Easterners & it pretends to be a
Southern state. Prior to my first visit to the ... continue reading
Opus II, The Penguin Hunt Continues
This is the 15th issue of The Cheers. If you have been one of our loyal readers from the beginning you know that we are a different type of internet publication. If this is your first time here, let me tell you a little about what youll find inside our imaginary pages.When you log on to The Cheers youll be very surpri... continue reading
The Evolution of a Michael Jackson Joke
It has been well over 2 months since I made my first plea to legendary
cartoonist, Berkeley Breathed. I have chosen Mr. Breathed as the first
celebrity to court via the media for personal gain. The idea is I will
make references to him in my work, write about my admiration of his
talent and strive to receive the ul... continue reading
Working in comedy is often frustrating because the jokes I tell are
parts of a much larger act and follow a certain theme. Comedians
generally do not make a living telling the type of did you hear the one
about the guy jokes often told by the amateur humorists (civilians, or
non-coms, as I like to call them). Howev... continue reading
Where Oh Where has My Underdog Gone?
Hey-Hey! Try Not to Smile, Kid!Hey-Hey! Try Not to Smile, Kid! Sometimes an entertainer has to perform at some less than glamorous places. Not every gig can be the Letterman Show. These types of gigs include nursing homes, special education schools, and hospitals. Some folks simply wont go to these places. The low p... continue reading
Hair of the Dog
A tiny piece of my childhood has been tragically stolen. I have been so
adversely affected by this, it took me a few weeks to gain enough
composure to write about this horror. I never saw it coming, and I am
shocked that I wasn't made aware of this before. I am talking about the
DVD releases of the Underdog televis... continue reading
Stern Rules for Howard
Maybe it was because I lived in a small town, maybe it was because I
did better with the ladies than I recall, but I attended 5 of these
high school rituals known as Proms. Each one has their own special
place in my heart and they are all memorable. Regrettably, my most
vivid recollection of Prom is one of the more... continue reading
Wanna Go to Hell? Watch FOX TV's 'The Swan'!
I must say this now, before any opinion is given, I like Howard Stern. Do I tune in every day or blindly follow his every word? No. Am I one who believes Stern is the Messiah of radio, the innovator, the creator, the emancipator of broadcasting? No, I am not. Upon occasion, I enjoy his work. Sometimes hes funny, somet... continue reading
I've Got Your Controversy RIGHT HERE!
When it comes to our favorite books, movies, television shows or pop
songs, we all have our guilty pleasures. There will always be that one
thing that youre afraid to discuss publicly. There is a place on this
Earth that specializes in creating guilty pleasure without any shame.
Shame is reserved solely for the vie... continue reading
So far, the comments are sparse. We are still, after all, a fairly new
entity in the World Wide Web and I cant expect all to read a story and
feel compelled to leave a rating or a personal comment. However I can
certainly come to one conclusion when I look at the other stories; you
seem to be a crowd that likes co... continue reading
I'd Like to Thank...Nobody!
Having worked for circuses, I've had many exciting encounters with
animals. However my first truly hands-on experience with animals came
when I was a young boy, years before my future career as an
entertainer. It was the spring of 1980. I was in the final
stages of a cold that kept me out of school for a couple of ... continue reading
A Clown in Kentucky
I have made a mistake. A big mistake. I never thought that I would even be in a position to make an error like this one. Now I understand why things like this happen and feel sympathy for those before me who have done the same.Recently I won an award . It wasnt any of the big-time show business awards of which we are ... continue reading
And The Winner Is...
As you may already know, I used to work as a clown for circuses. One show in particular hired me to be the "advance clown". I'd travel ahead of the circus and hand out free children's tickets, put up posters, and juggle at some school shows. This particular trip brought me to Kentucky.
Over the years I had developed... continue reading
My Own Little Opus
While writing I'd Like to ThankNobody for this weeks edition I
began thinking about the awards I'd received over the years. I still
have my Outstanding Senior Choir Member trophy from 1988. Buried in my
closet sits a medal from my Cub Scout days. Im sure I have every prize
ever bestowed upon me. It made me think a... continue reading
My Name is Andy, and I'm...SOBER!
As an entertainer I am always fraught with worry about whether or not
my work is any good, despite any successes I've enjoyed along the way.
Being a writer is not much different in that regard. Success as an
entertainer can be judged upon a few things. Money and fame certainly
help locate ones place in the scheme o... continue reading
Rubber Ain't Just for Juggling Balls
As strange as this may sound, I've never done drugs. I've had plenty of
friends that could hook me up if I so desired, but I've had no need to
smoke, shoot, or snort anything out of the ordinary. I didn't even
start drinking alcohol until I was twenty-three years old. I had a few
sneak-a-drinks as a kid but I never... continue reading
Work That Constitution, Baby!
As an entertainer, I have been asked to work some rather unusual
events. This is a story about the one that got away. I didnt turn down
the gig. The client revoked their request for my services because my
booking policies were unreasonable.I was asked to work a party
being thrown by a business called the House of W... continue reading
Pass the Soap, Wilbur
The sudden interest in gay marriage in the U.S. is completely ridiculous and mostly diversionary in nature for President Bush. I understand that to the President and his cronies a happily confused and glaringly stupid voting populace is ideal for reelection and the passage of restrictive laws. But rea... continue reading
Curses! Cubs Again
In my life I've seen a lot of things. I suppose that you could say I've
become something of a worldly guy over the years. I've gotten to travel
and see new places. I've met interesting people. I have managed to have
a wide and compelling amount of things happen to me that I can now call
fond memories or wise lesson... continue reading
Who the Hell Are You and Why Should I Read This?
Recently, here in Chicago, a big to do was made about the destruction
of the now infamous Bartman Baseball. For those who are unfamiliar with
this relic, it is the foul ball that was blamed for causing the Cubs to
lose the National League Championship Series last year. Steve Bartman
made an attempt to catch the bal... continue reading
They're in every major publication and online newspaper.
Whether you're reading The Chicago Tribune, The Sawyer County Gazette,
or The Cheers, there's usually some overly opinionated guy with
humorous stories and pointed observations. Usually these columns are
pretty funny; funny enough that you'll end up ... continue reading