The world of ideas is full of surprises. Here are Five Fun Facts about my life and career that might surprise you.

1. Comedy Nights

     Before there was Blue Man Group, there was JazzPoetry…TRUTH!, a pastiche of non-sequiturs, performance art, and raw meat that was “A two-man assault on all three of those words” according to the Chicago Tribune, or “One of the funniest things I have ever seen” according to Second City co-founder Bernie Sahlins. I’ll let you decide who was the better judge of comedy.

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Waveland Radio Playhouse
click to play "Doctors Hospital of Medicine"

     My JPT! partner and I changed wardrobes and genres to recreate the live radio broadcasts of the ‘30s and ‘40s as the Waveland Radio Playhouse, staging adventures like “Rex Koko, Private Clown,” “Astrodog,” and the cliffhanger with the spoiler name, “He Dies in the End.” That one killed at the Batesville Casket Company's annual trade show. True story.

     The Tribune praised WRP as "a steady onslaught of clever humor," and the Chicago Sun-Times loved its "madcap sound and fury." WBEZ, after declaring it "just a riotous show," gave us a weekly home on the actual radio.

2. Ad Absurdum

     After a brief stint designing cruise missiles, my cartoons landed me job writing TV and radio ads for agencies like W.B. Doner/Detroit and J. Walter Thompson/Chicago. And the ads won me some nice awards like Clio, Mobius and Addy. Here's how we did it Old-School:

3. Talk, Talk, Talk!

     After I left agency life to pursue my cartoon dreams, I supported myself by performing the sort of ad copy I used to write, as a voiceover actor for McDonalds, Cap'n Crunch, Sears, Rubbermaid, Budweiser, Coors, Gatorade, Jeep, United Airlines, Raid! (I was a bug!), Quisp (I was Quisp!), and many, many more.

4. Do I Gotta Paint You a Picture?

     To get silly, you have to get serious. Giving a cartoon that "dashed off" quality takes serious craft. Here are some works from my Painting Phase that helped develop that.

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"Dawn Cityscape" (watercolor)
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"Lakeside Refreshments", (oil on canvasboard)
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self portrait (oil on canvas)
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"Carmen" (oil on canvas)

5. See You in the Funny Papers

     My internationally syndicated newspaper comic strip "Monkeyhouse" spawned two anthology books.

     "Monkeyhouse" told the wistful story of a single father and his delightful daughter Sarah. Its last day of syndication fell on my wedding day. Today, my wife Lisa and I enjoy a real-life Monkeyhouse with our two delightful daughters, Rebecca and Lucy, and none of the wistfulness, on the banks of the Chicago River.