>With the advent of Social Media networking, I’ve discovered something wonderful: I’m still funny… to OTHER people. With my voluntary sabbatical from morning radio shows a few years ago, I lost my comedy outlet. Even though I did a few comedy stops in the 80s in various cities where I hosted my radio show, it wasn’t what I would call ‘real’ stand up. I didn’t tour like most working comics. I was very fortunate to share the stage with some well know stars, but it was usually a promotional visit on stage, emceeing, warming up the crowd ‘tween sets, etc. Real comedy is serious work. Which I’m discovering again.

I decided a few years ago that I was going to re-visit my comic dreams and go get some training and encouragement from some great available comedy coaches, like Joy Gohring, Laurie Guzda, and Rob Nash to name a few.

Unfortunately, for me, to really get your feet wet, you got to start just doing it. Open mic nights at comedy clubs for starters. My coaches kept saying the same thing: “Crash, you’ve done this. You know how to do it… you’re ready!” But my new sales career, new family, location… I kept coming up with excuses not to just dive back in. Sites like LinkedIn, and now TWITTER has changed all that. I no longer have to pack a suit case and hit the road. I just have to log in!

To my surprise, it gained me about 150 new followers the following week. Followers happy to learn more about me through my “Tweets”. I’m going to get back to my comedy roots and take it on the road soon. This got me to thinking about how it all got started back in the mid 70s.

Trust me, in high school, even though I was a class clown, inside, I was very shy. I knew I was going to be a famous radio disc jockey someday, but with radio you can be shy. You hide in a radio studio and no one sees you. How cool is that!? The one day in my junior year, San Angelo, Texas, Central High School, our high school drum major changed all that. His name is Renay San Miguel. Yes, he was the anchor on CNN’s Headline news! He was our high school drum major… something apparently he’s put way behind him (more on that later).

One day after marching practice, out of the blue, walks up to me for the first time and speaks to me. Renay was the funniest guys to know, a great leader, too. He and I never spoke to each other before, but he was a pleasure to watch and hear. Always had something funny to say. Out of the blue he says to me:

“Anyone ever tell you that you look like Steve Martin?”

Me: [blank stare]

Renay: “Well you do, ever heard that?”

Me: “No. I don’t know who he is.”

Keep in mind this was in 1977.

Renay: “Oh. He’s great. You’d like him. Do you have HBO?”

Me: “Yeah…”

Renay: “He has a comedy special this month, you should watch him. You’ll be surprised how much you look like him.”

Me: “Ok, sure… I’ll do that. Thanks.”

Naturally, to impress the band major I made it a point to catch Steve Martin’s comedy special.

It changed my life.

The guy I am today is because of that 90 minute comedy special. Mind you this was before AFFORDABLE VCRs so I made it a point to watch it every time it came on. I began memorizing Steve Martin’s words, mannerisms, movements… everything. A few weeks later, Renay and a few of his friends walk up to me and say:

“Well, Andy (wow, he remembered my name)… doesn’t this guy look like Steve Martin?? (his friends agreed)… and did you get to watch Steve Martin??”

I immediately went into SMM – Steve Martin mode – and shouted at the top of my lungs in character, “Whoooo MEEEEE!!!????”

Renay and his friends hit their knees laughing! Good bye shy guy! I began flawlessly reciting Steve Martin one-liners, gesturing wildly, “OH OH, I’VE GOT… H A P P Y F E E T” as I danced down the hallway! Everyone who noticed started laughing and cheering!

As time went on, even my teachers would laugh if they scolded me when I came back with, “WELL EXCUUUUUUUUUUSE MEEEEEEEEE!”

I also discovered a natural truth or law: No one knows you’re shy unless you TELL THEM YOU’RE SHY. Every new thing you do begins with ‘an act’. This is gold. My life was never the same. I instantly gained new friends, the confidence to approach the most beautiful and sweetest girl on the entire North American continent that year, too. My SMM gave me the confidence to also pursue my radio career with full force. I would occasionally do “Steve Martin” bits for talent shows. One newscaster who covered an event asked me back stage… “Are you related to Steve Martin?” At parties, me and my buddy Christopher Wilder would dress up as the Czechoslovakian Love Gods from Saturday Night Live fame (Dan Akroyd and Steve Martin) and execute their skits flawlessly… even mastered improv. “Anyone here to see our big American bul-ges???”

Let me back up a bit. In junior high, while I would practice at home being a radio personality, I would still listen to comedy albums and study their rhythms, learn from the best. My comedy albums were stars like: George Carlin, Bill Cosby, Cheech and Chong, Richard Pryor, Richard Belzer, Freddie Prinze, Red Foxx, Rodney Dangerfield, Bob Newhart, Tim Thomerson, Elaine Boozler, Monty Pythons Flying Circus, Benny Hill, and Jay Leno. And those are the ones I can remember right now. I suppose you could say I was well learned for that fateful day that Renay approached me in high school.

My radio career gave me an opportunity to share the studio and stage with other greats that validated me, too: Rodney Carrington, Emo Phillips, Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Steven Banks, and George Carlin.. and a few BIG NAME others who weren’t so nice to be around.. very much into themselves, whom I won’t mention. I’ll tell you that one of ’em has a video on YouTube being punched in the face from a heckler in Odessa, Texas. I wasn’t surprised.

About 10 years ago or so when I first recognized our high school drum major as the anchor on CNN Headline news it took me a few minutes to process it. “Is it possible it’s him?? He DID take over the daily comedy editorial for Sam Pendergrast at the San Angelo Standard Times…. hmmm… it could be him.” So I decided to give him a call at CNN. “He’s unavailable would you like his voicemail?”.. Sure….. “Hey Renay… I’m not sure you’ll remember me… this is Andy … back at Central High School you told me that I look like Steve Martin, we became friends that year??? We’ll I’m a radio personality now… since 1978 as a matter of fact. I use the moniker Crash Kelly. I’m hoping to catch up with you. My number is….”

I don’t know why I expected him to return the call, but I thought he would at least call back with, “I’m sorry, I don’t remember much from… or something. Hell, even Peter Jennings returned my phone calls and emails since our meeting in 1992. Anyway, Renay was a wonderful guy and very personable back in high school. Actually began to make sense that he would now be on CNN. (I’m a Fox fan, that must be it.)

No phone call. So I looked up his email contact info and sent him an email with basically the same approach. This time with links to my radio resume, etc. so he wouldn’t think I was some wacko.

But alas, no reply. No bounce back, nothing. I was left to conclude that his new life as a serious newscaster meant leaving his childish, comedic ways behind him… like a fun movie he saw once. I didn’t pursue him any further. However, as I researched his links for this post, I discovered he’s made some life changing career moves, including leaving CNN.

Anyway, I saw Steve Martin on the Ellen DeGeneres show the other day. Actually my wife watches Ellen and she made me watch the interview. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy THE COMIC Ellen, just not into interview shows that much. I enjoy Steve’s movies and all, but he’s not the same Steve Martin that changed my life. Or so I thought. His interview on Ellen excited me and once again validated me. He hasn’t forgotten his roots… he’s still the same Steve Martin I grew up to admire, mimic, and love. With that said I wish to say here:

Dear Steve,

I’m sure you’ve inspired many young people early in your career to pursue their dreams of being funny and famous, so this may read as just another fan letter.

But to me, it’s much more than that. Back in 1975, my parents divorced, and my mom moved out from our home in San Angelo, Texas to move to Dallas. I have two younger brothers. I was the odd one out. My dad and brothers were sports, outdoor types. I was introverted. They played football, I was in band. They had good grades, mine were average. They were boxers and wrestlers, I pursued Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido karate. They played outside with their friends, I stayed in my room and listened to various radio stations and comedy albums. They pursued high paying jobs in sales, I followed my dream to be a major market radio personality (hit a top 10 market in 6 years).

In my youth, I could count my close friends on one hand. I was beyond shy and quiet. In those days, if you would have said ‘good morning’ to me, I would have been stumped for a response.

Thanks to a young man I admired in high school urging me to watch your FIRST HBO comedy special, I discovered.. through you that I can be anyone I wanted to be. That, with a little help from Earl Nightingale tapes! For a year or two, I hid behind you because I didn’t like ME. In my senior year in high school, I was hired at my first radio station by a caring, visionary named Phil Polotano Lewis. After a few weekend radio shows, he took me in his office and said, “I didn’t hire Steve Martin, I hired YOU. Time to put him away and be yourself, please. If you can’t, I’ll have to let you go…. I hire real, local people for my station.”

I gave him what he wanted, but I never truly let you go too far away.

I have some new mentors now that I’ve met through the internet and will be working on my come-back to comedy. Not sure where I’ll start first, but I will make you this promise, I’ll fit in a few homage jokes to let everyone know who gave me that first boot in the butt.

I took your advice and still “put a slice of baloney in each shoe… so when I go out, “I FEEL funny.”

You deserve all your successes and I am proud, ‘to look like Steve Martin’.

Your biggest fan,

SteveMartin.com reports that “Steve is a wild and busy guy. Don’t take it personal if you don’t get a personal response, but it never hurts to say Hi.” So I will be mailing him a copy of this to: Steve Martin, P.O. Box 929, Beverly Hills, CA, 90213. 🙂


Hey Andy!

Great to hear from you again, and great blog post…believe me, if I felt I had anything to do with you coming out of your shell since high school days, not only would I be taking full credit, I’d be asking for 10% of all your earnings since then ;>)


See my newest comedy audition video at YouTube.

Follow me:  TwitterFacebookYouTubeMy Twitter management toolSubscribe to Feeds