Craig Shoemaker


Shoesletter February 2015- "Re:Flections"



“Re” is an abbreviation meaning “regarding,” but is also a prefix is used to signify a return. We can rethink or reevaluate, leading to perhaps recognition of a core issue which may inspire rehabilitation. We can lose connection with a friend until it comes time to reconnect. In Hollywood you have a take one, then a possibility of a retake, but if you have too many takes, you get rePLACED. 

There is a do and a redo; writing and a rewrite. A point of view could result in a review. A sound is much more powerful when it reverberates, especially when it comes to a resounding “yes!” when recommitting.  

The “re” as a prefix doesn’t always make sense though, as I’ve yet to hear anyone say they are sponsible, spectful or vealing. If a game resumes play after a penalty, when the teams are back to playing, could we also say they had already been “suming” the game? We all like good results, but where are the sults leading up to the outcome?

I announced my retirement a month and a half ago, somewhat because I was tired of redoing the same repetitive pattern for three decades. I chose to reduce the regimen of required traveling on the road, even at the risk of rejecting income. 

It has been a long and remarkable career, but it is simply time for a rebirth. 

Over a month now since the last performance and there are no regrets or remorse. Have had some calls to reenter the comedian pool of available work, yet nothing to move me away from the objective to repurpose the agenda to help others in a more profound way. 

There are no family revolts either, only a revitalized relationship with the wife, children and friends, which is essential to a refreshing life. This is a reboot; a rejuvenating rendezvous with the creative source resonating within. 

Having come from little or no financial/emotional support puts a little scare into this bold decision. Dealing with countless resistance and resentments of certain some ones, the resilience required to take on those obstacles has been pretty draining. The actions of a few haters has been simply reprehensible, but instead of reengaging with toxic folks, I choose to retreat. The fight with these particular forces, who are reenergized by any sign of returning fire, took me into a space of despair, even leading to panic attacks and, yes, acid “reflux.” 

Rather than build a resistance arsenal through similar methods as the attacker, it was time to restrain the impulse to seek revenge, resisting the temptation to retaliate, no matter how difficult the challenge. Time to reduce the negative forces by putting focus into a positive force within. 

Surrender has been oh-so-sweet.  

So far, this has been a rehabilitating recovery from patterns that will no longer serve a greater good. There is much about this self-rehab in the book “Lovemaster’d,” with follow up book on the way. Please read it, and if you have already, give it a review on social networks.

The road to redemption includes recovery from previously unrevealed internal wounds. Before defining new rebounding direction, it is imperative to reveal to heal. Unearth to plant new seeds. Put the heart before the course. Gotta deal with the lies to realize…

Although there are many cynics who call “foul,” and believe this is some sort of a stunt or PR move, many more are looking at this personal revelation with great respect. In just a few short weeks, this renewal seems to have regenerated a whole new opening of the universe. By committing to this reclamation, it allows for the unlimited potential to be released and realized. 

By no means is standing in front of strangers to make em laugh a “safe” way to make a living, but it can be inhibiting if locked into a perception of confining anticipation. There are countless platforms to recharge the sparks of imagination. Comedy clubs can sometimes prevent true expression, since the audience who pays at the cash register, expects a joke style that removes them from a tough day and onto hearty laughs. So, the comedian must deliver what is paid for, thus often resulting in a redux of traditional joke forms, while recoiling from the rest of the emotional treasure trove. 

If fans think I should refrain from regions of subjects they find objectionable or confusing, then it inhibits the remarkable from being realized. We are all so much more than our career or paramour choices and should approach our journey with reckless abandon, even when some want to revoke your relationship license. People thrust strong opinions and labels upon stand up comedians, somewhat akin to a repressed boss commanding the rules of engagement. It leads to a disregard for the comic’s wide-open spirit, stifling the many playful colors to paint with. 

This Mirth Monkey has been released from the cage.

Leaving road venues makes space for a reinvention, which now can include artistic, transformative avenues that are hard to explore on a traditional comedy stage. As much as the laughs are currently rich and meaningful, this new style will dig even deeper into our souls. It’s not Craig food reheated, but a brand new recipe I know you all will enjoy some day soon. This Shoe is being re-soled.

I realize this sounds nuts to many. If you’re from Boston, you might even think I’m a REtaahhd. My accountant might think I am not being very responsible. Skeptics cannot fathom a guy making good money at something he’s crafted for three decades would resist the temptation to retract the plan and re-book the road gigs. 

Not for now. This choice has already led to a resuscitation of the “Hollywood” side of the job, which was barely on life support, since I left any effective mojo behind each time I boarded a plane to fly away from the action. 

If you boil down a comedian’s skill set, it includes a steady reconnaissance of the country, to explore what the people outside Tinsel Town connect with. Standups know what makes the real people laugh, much more than those who revel within the shallow waters of trendy showbiz pools. If you wonder why most shows on TV stink, then ponder the stagnant ponds from which they are created.

The “funny” thing is most of the decision makers have no experience in humor creation. How can they make a determination on a program that appeals to every day people, when their every day comrades exclude the very audience they covet? Where we used to enjoy original content, now it’s mostly a remix. Time to rearrange the way it’s done. 

What’s really cool (so far) is how the “elite” are getting it with me. The good news is they are not all fishing at the same watering hole. There are plenty of talented studio execs and we are getting a whole bunch of nibbles. Meeting after meeting, mostly to hear pitches on shows I’d like to produce, have led to tremendous residual results. 

Reclaiming a place where there will be potential to play a bigger stage - just a reformatted version to fit on your screen. 

Many are fond of the term “rebrand.” However, a brand is permanent. The rancher who owns you burns his emblem into your skin. You have no decision on what it says or how it looks. It hurts. Not for this steer. This artist is in his renaissance phase, and I truly hope you stay with me during the period of personal revelation and discovery. 

Re: retirement. Tired my ass. This readjustment is reenergizing. There is no chaise lounge rocking chair, IRA or golf membership here, but a reinvigorating regeneration of spirit, with an intended outcome of redesigning an expansive career path. Repeat customers are key to business, and I hope you remain my friend and artistic partner for reternity!  

Respectfully yours,  



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