Better Than Me

by | May 22, 2019 | 0 comments

I’m not naturally talented. If you ask me why I had a somewhat successful career, I would have to say it’s because I went out of my way to surround myself with people who were better than me. I got lucky, in that a higher power or dumb luck kept sending them my way.

And I kept working hard, mostly because I was sure I would get fired at any time, as soon as it was discovered that I wasn’t that good. I worked hard to compensate. I had a crazy amount of energy, driven by insecurity.

One other thing. I was a thief. In the 1980’s when I was an interim morning show host, I watched Johnny Carson every day on a VHS recorder. I stole his style, his mannerisms, his self deprecating wisecracks, and his respect for his guests. None of those skills were mine. Eventually I would add a sidekick, a band, sketches, guests… you get the idea.

Johnny was just the first in a long line of huge stars I ripped off. Some big, some small, some national, some local. It didn’t matter. If I thought they were better than me, I stole every trick I could.

A strange thing happened after putting in the proverbial 10,000 hours. Everything started to click. I would hop into the car and hear a rerun of the show by accident while on vacation. I’d think, hmmm. That’s pretty good.

But while in it, I was always walking a tightrope. I had to project confidence, all the while still feeling like the impotent man behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz. Almost like I’m separate from the human being I’m trying to manage.

Isn’t that how we all feel inside?

All you can do is give it all you’ve got, and do everything you can to surround yourself with people way better than you.

Legendary guitarist Bo Diddley once told me that The Rolling Stones owed him millions of dollars, because they stole all his licks. It was near the end of his life. He was broke, and it did seem that he had a point. Other artists who hijacked his style also included Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and the Clash.

That’s the thing about being an artist. There’s no guarantee you won’t starve. Even if you are great.


image source ]

Bob Rivers

Bob Rivers

Radio Host from age 14 to Present. Currently blogging, planning to launch a new radio show later this year.

Listen to 30 years worth of Twisted Tunes at

Sign up for the daily email “Bob’s World”, form in sidebar.

Ask me anything via my contact form.

And please help support small local agriculture and latest money losing hobby by purchasing some of Bob and Lisa’s Vermont Maple Syrup.

Comment Notification?
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Cool Crowd

Follow Me

Bob's Podcasts

Bob, Spike & Joe
The Bob Rivers Show - Podcast

Bob Rivers and Steve Stockman dig in with a very interesting scientist. Dan Ariely is a Professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University. has been one of our favorite guests and authors since 2008, when he wrote “Predicably Irrational”. His latest book is called: Misbelief: What Makes Rational People Believe Irrational Things? Once you understand this, it can change your life. You might even have more empathy for those who think differently than you do. Just might. Would that be so terrible? I know, sounds like it’s about politics. It sort of is, in that it uses Left and Right examples a lot. [...]

If you love The Grateful Dead, Cannabis, and Psychedelic experiences, you should enjoy Bob, Ed, and Andrew talking about what may be the Greatest Concert On Earth. I talked my son Andrew into a Dead and Company Show at the Sphere last week. Now we are both Deadheads, and I have purchased tickets to 3 more upcoming shows. In all that amounts to 16 1/2 hours of seeing a band I was never that interested in. Big Surprises: How “Young” the audience is. This is not a Classic Rock show. The cult like following includes young (and very attractive) modern day hippies. John Mayer is [...]

It's the first Bob Spike and Joe podcast in a long time, and the first since Joe Bryant's heart attack. Note: If you don't want to hear 3 old guys talk about their health, this may not be the show for you. On the other hand, talking about dying is a refreshing break from Politics. You won't believe what Joe ate in the 48 hours preceding his heart attack! Why the US really wants to ban Tik Tok. It ain't Chinese Spying. Bob learns how to use StubHub. Sometimes if you wait until the last minute, you can score tickets on the cheap. Springsteen aisle [...]


Subscribe Bob's World!

You have Successfully Subscribed!


Subscribe Bob's World!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This