Doing late night comedy is hard. Especially when you have the disability that is Jimmy Fallon. How he got the Tonight Show gig when it should rightfully go to Conan I don’t understand. Anyhow, the tonight show USED to have some sort of class to it. At least when Johnny Carson ran it. I never watched when that other guy took over.
It seems the other night Jimmy was struggling for some comedy, so he took to attacking one of the world’s best flute players, Robert Dick. Now, I can sorta see how you could riff off making fun of his last name, and that he has a book called “The Other Flute”. Ok, fine Jimmy. Penis jokes, yes, I don’t think they have ever been on the Tonight Show so up front. But then you took it too far by saying Robert looks like a dick. What the hell was that? Would Johnny Carson have done that? No.
Man up Jimmy and publicly apologize to Robert Dick, and have him on your show to make up. There is a petition going on here to make this possible. Over a thousand people have signed it.
Now, he is mostly alone in his home. A stroke during a gig in March 2012 left him paralyzed on his right side, unable to walk, talk or lift his playing hand. Though he has recovered about 85 percent of his abilities, several fingers on his right hand are numb, and he cannot hold up his flute for long. Instead, he spends his days in a rented bungalow in Harding Park, a warren of twisty streets along the East River in the Bronx.
The sad truth is that we aren’t immortal. Playing music as a career is totally rewarding, but there is no safety net. No pension. No retirement package built in. Unless you, the artist, put those safety nets in. It’s easy when you have “a real job” because a lot of this stuff is taken from your paychecks before you get the final amount.
I’m not blaming Dave. I’m totally guilty of this too. If I had some life altering thing happen, like a stroke, I’d be in a way worse boat than him. I don’t have the accolades he has. And Dave is only 61, hardly retirement age for a top notch musician nowadays.
So, what can one take away from this? Plan ahead. Get some sort of retirement or savings happening now. When you get that $100 gig, put 10% or more of it away into some sort of account that you can’t readily access. Having SOMETHING to fall back upon is better than having absolutely nothing at all.
And best wishes to Dave. Still one of my favorite flute players.
Katisse Buckingham is a woodwind multi-instrumentalist who has truly crafted his own sound. Fusing Jazz, Hip-Hop, World Music and Pop, his talent and unique style have brought music royalty to his door – Katisse has performed with Prince, Lionel Richie, Dr. Dre, Herbie Hancock, Andy Summers, and Vanessa Paradis among many others.
Unknown to many, Katisse was also the man behind the now infamous “Jazz Flute” scene in the Will Ferrell film, Anchorman. We were lucky enough to catch up with Katisse while on tour with The Zawinul Legacy Band in Vienna…