For more than 25 years, Tampa-based, nationally touring comedian Artie Fletcher has been entertaining crowds. This week, the veteran performer released his memoir, Comedy on the Road as Seen Through a Comic's Bloodshot Eyes. The book is Fletcher's account of his childhood, his growth as a comedian and his current job as host of his own radio show.
Starting Saturday, Fletcher embarks on a national tour to promote the book. Tbt* caught up with Fletcher to discuss it.
What inspired Comedy on the Road as Seen Through a Comic's Bloodshot Eyes?
After 25 years on the road, I finally got a book deal. The trials and tribulations of what a comic and actor goes through — people see the end result and say, "Oh, he had it easy." Well, it's not like that. That's why I wrote the book. They can see the rejection. My whole thought process was that it was a dream and you should always follow your dreams and not give up. I mean, sacrificing your family life, children, and my divorces. That's pretty much what this entails.
This book will enlighten people on not only me, but what any good comic or actor goes through in Los Angeles or New York. It's not all a bed of roses. It's sleeping on people's floors and couches and doing whatever you have to do. I've been doing comedy for 25 years and never had a day job.
When did you start writing the book? Was it tougher than you thought?
Yes. I've done CDs and DVDs, and when you do those, they're live. You take three live shows and you take the best live show. It doesn't work that way with a book. Me and the ghostwriter, Dan Maduri, I would talk on the tape, and he would ask me two or three questions at the end. This process took us about four months, working four days a week. He did the bulk of the writing, of course. But it's my life, I lived it.
You mention your daughters a lot in the book. Have they read it already?
No. I just sent them certain chapters. My daughters lived it, you know, but it kinda opened their eyes to why I did the things I did. I do regret a lot of things. I wish I could have been there for them more. You are missing that soccer game or that cheerleading event. You don't see that because you are so involved in this business. So you think it is okay, and it might have been okay at that time. When you are drinking and partying and doing drugs, everything is okay. But later on, you do wake up.
You've gone through a lot health-wise, and comedy has lost some great voices recently. Is this book in response to that?
No, because in most cases this book was written before they died. But you are right, this book could let people know what they are up against. Patrice O'Neal was a great friend of mine, and Greg Giraldo, they were both great friends of mine. Patrice was great, but he was overweight. I've been working out and I want to live. It is sad to see your friends dying, especially when they are younger than you. I made the decision to move to Florida because I said enough is enough with the partying.
Are your eyes still bloodshot?
No, not at all. I'm not born again in any way, but I am more aware of my surroundings and more focused. Which is very good and where you want to be at 56 years old. It's all about living now.