Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cokehead Talent Management

A few years ago, I had just dumped one agent/manager and had been without one for a few months. I was focused at the time at being a good comedian and that's all I wanted. At twenty-two, I had lived a bit lets just say. Anyway, I had just made a video and was sending it out. I heard this dude mentioned at some sort of bringer slavery industry showcase. I sent my tape and he said call me. I thought, "Okay, cool."

I went to meet him and immediately we hit it off. He seemed like a sweet guy. I also realized he represented a semi-famous comedian and even more famous trainwreck for a minute before the whole thing ended in disaster. And I had been in the car going to a gig with said trainwreck when they were going to this dude's office to get things like this tapes. Anyway, I was like wowsa. So we talked a little more where he revealed that he was an adult child of an alcoholic and that his ex-wife was some comedian of note. Apparently she too had been an alcoholic and cokehead and that destroyed her career. Plus she wanted him to make her a star and he couldn't cause that's not the way it goes. Apparently they were still friendly. She was now working as a chef and they shared a dog.

The ding ding went off in my head. WHY THE HELL ARE YOU TELLING ME THIS?

He also represented someone who leaked some sex tape and dear God, it did the opposite for the dude but apparently his ding a ling was big.

Man gave me some feedback that was good. His attention to detail was lazer sharp and he was helpful. He was just nuts. Everyone I know is. I could live with that. We kept in touch. Whatever. The guy would tell me, call me at midnight. Call me at two in the morning. While it sounds nuts he would actually pick up the phone and give me feedback. It was no big deal with him calling that late. I was either coming home from gigging or needed an excuse to get off the phone with my late friend Chacho who was up to something nuts as usual-something that the less I knew about the better. IT all worked out.

People around me told me stories about the guy, about how he used to pimp out his ex wife who became a drug addict. About how it was easier for female comedians to get gigs with him because he would often demand sex. Hmmm......Never had that experience. And about how gigs he booked were notoriously cancelled. But the thing about comedians who are coming up is that they tell stories about everyone, and you can only believe ten percent of what you hear. One even told a story about how he demanded money from a booking. Of course there were others who claimed never to see the money they earned. A small grain is true-some however is fabrication and a resentment against those who did not give them gigs for one reason or another.

One woman I know worked with him extensively. She was barely ready to work on the road but was going through a rough patch with her husband. Said main character in the story was offering moral support late into the night. From pep talks to gigs, this woman who had a solid five minutes was on a roll. I thin you can read between the lines on this one.

One time I called him and he flat out said that he could not talk, his former partner had tried to rip him off and they were currently dealing with the police. I wished him luck and we talked later. What could I do? Everyone is show business is crazy. Some more so than others and you just learn to deal. While he wasn;t the dude who was going to make me a star he was someone I was meeting on the way up that could get me there. Plus he had a good sense of humor. He was just crazy.

Anyway, eventually he did see me perform and like me and I got a gig out of the deal. Much like Madonna, the dude changes his appearance quite a bit. He gains and drops weight like Oprah with the coming and going goatee. He had come to one of my shows and taken copious notes without me knowing it. Weirdness. The dude promised me press that never materialized too. I called him once before I left and his number was disconnected. I emailed him and he said the phone lines were down in his building. Sure that could have happened but there was no storm or power shortage at the time. Hmmm....

It was a weekend outside of where I grew up. My folks were away and I was on the otherside on the city (easily an hour and a half outside of where I grew up) plus I am world's worst driver, and they were not paying me enough to rent a car. So I was in a hotel. The club owner, notorious for taking pornographic photos of women, picked me up and asked me to pose off the bat. The entire night he defended his work and asked me about my sex life while telling me the art of stand up was dead. I wanted to ask him why he owned a club and why not just operate a strip joint? It would accomidate all of his interests? By the end of the weekend the man had grown on me. Still, this was one for the memory box.

 I had travelled all day and was tired. I figured the emcee would let me relax. Oh no. I was both opener and emcee, bitch work. For the most part they were older people who HATED MY GUTS. Some of the other folks liked me but one woman remarked that I was so terrible that she felt bad for me. She had terrible teeth so I felt bad for her. Most people in that part of town do.

The second night was extremely hard. My family came to support and the mic died on me not once but twice. My first half of the set was spent with me trying to work with a mic that kept dying because the owner was too much of a cheap ass to buy a new one, and the second half was a bunch of undrunk people who werent big drinkers laughing to be kind. Everyone was very nice afterwards and complimentary though. My aunties and uncles liked it.

I got back to New York and that's when the real show began with the main character in this tale. He asked me how it went and I told the truth, I always do. Anyway it was like whatever. Then he sent me weird message after weird message with sexual suggestion. I was like lose your number cause not only are you ugly you can't do much for my career as it is. A few months later I was doing some show at the club that I put on TV who as a thank you fire me, although that would happen down the line, and was at the bar getting a drink. The bartender at the time was bi-polar but we were friendly. Usually he gave me free cherries cause he knows I am not a drinker. Off his meds and with his boss around he yelled at me.

I apologized and left and when I turned around this dude appears and says, "What's up, April?" In a sinister tone. He had changed his appearance yet again. I nodded and bilked it. I have seen him in passing a few more times sleazing around various places. Usually when I see him I duck. I know he has worked with some folks I knew who either peaked quick or were on their way down and sliding quickly, especially after being dumped by some bigger fish. And since then I have heard other stories of his McShady.

Since that time my path has changed. I don't tour as much because it is useless unless you are a household name. Not to mention there is no money in it unless you are a big star, and most of the time you tend to lose money that you don't even have. While I still perform, it is more or less in the city and even then I am discriminating about where I appear. My focus has been on getting on television, getting in the movies, publishing my book, and maintaining a career in that vein. In between being a reality star, recording artist, and author I am now running in different circles with people who could help me. And my attitude is now I don't chase you, if you want me bitches call me.

Anyway I was riding with a friend of mine who mentioned someone we knew and liked was working with this cat. I hadn't heard the name in sometime. So I recounted my experience and my buddy said, "Oh yeah, Cokehead Talent Management." I was like what? He was like, "Oh yeah, big old cokehead."

I told him maybe not but his ex wife was. My buddy responded with, "Yeah, he was a big old cokehead and he got her hooked." Jaw drop open. Now everything was explained from the call me at two in the morning to the continually cancelled gigs to the money no one ever saw cause Flaco was getting it to the disconnected phone line and the big spikes in weight gain and weight loss. Not to mention the  high level of drama. I had never spent enough time with the dude to know he had a nose like a snow blower.

I took it in. My friend was correct. Not to mention I was now glad the arrangement didn't work out. While I am indie I don't mind it. Actually it cuts out the middle man. A time may come when I do work with an agent or manager again, but you have to be careful.

I wote this because I was telling this story the other day. While he might be a rat cat and all those things, Cokehead Talent Management makes for a good story. I can say I heart the man for that reason. Yes heart, as in he's a hot mess and I don't deal with him but he cracks me up because he is so overtly himself.

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl

Book signing tonight
Symposia Books
510 Washington St
7pm xo

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