John, I am a first time participant in your shows. I just saw Kodachrome and loved it. I laughed and cried. I loved the nostalgia, a sentimental bond I felt with the show. This was our first Christmas without the Matriarch of our family, my Grandmother. Your performance hit close to my heart. I was moved. Thank you.
Jon- Bay View
People of Milwaukee – Thank your lucky stars JM was born in your part of the world – you are blessed. Some of us wish you would tour in Wonder Bread Years – like to Dallas Texas! Have loved all of your work – will save money to buy your DVDs, but seeing you in person, live on stage is the best –
Roberta- Dallas
John- loved your touching story reminiscing about your Family picnic, especially how your brother got to sit in the front seat, on the way home.
Angie- Northshore Milwaukee Fan
I was just going to complain that you never come to Elm Grove and then I read some of the comments left by other people who enjoy you as much as I do and see that you’ve been there before. So come again soon!!! : )
Roz- Wauwatosa
Hi Mr. McGivern, My wife and I saw you at Grafton High School. I was raised in Milwaukee and I am 50 years old. You are awesome! You brought me back to memories of my old parish, St. Roman’s, and my day’s of delivering the Milwaukee Journal. My wife and I are still laughing at the good old stories. Thank you so much for your wonderful show!
Donna and John- Grafton
Recently I was invited by my favorite nephew to attend your performance Wonder Years at Vogel Hall in Milwaukee. I had absolutely no idea what I was in for, but he insisted I would enjoy myself very much. Well, let me tell you, that was one of the best performances I have attended in recent years. You are an incredible performer and your presentation is absolutely wonderful. I can hardly wait to see you perform again.
Sue- Brookfield (Yes! St. John Vianney)
Dear John: Just got home from the “Wonder Bread Years”. I just had to fire up the old computer and let you know how awesome the show was. I am amazed that I could have forgotten clackers until you brought them out. Thanks for bringing me back to my childhood and all the memories… I am definitely a McGiven fan and hope to see your new show this Christmas.
Sherry- Waukesha
John, What a small world. The wonder bread years was great. You hit the buttons of my past and brought laughter to me, my spouse and our friends. I went to St Matthias grade school on 92nd and Beloit in Milwaukee, had milk money, carried a brown bag which I had to bring home and reuse until it felt like cotton cloth, it was so worn. Except, we could not afford those expensive Sears tough skin pants like all the other kids had… no no my mother ironed patches inside of the knees of my faux denim pants (which were made to look like jeans at least from a distance… if you were half blind). I too road in the way back for the trip to Illinois in our Ford Country Sedan for Oleo as butter was king here in the dairy state. I have to ask, John, did you ever run behind the DDT trucks on hot days as they sprayed the neighborhoods? Well enough…. I attended St Lawrence Seminary from 71 to 75. Yes I know John Riss and the rest of the bunch. We lived on the east side for years after we were first married. We attended and our 4 kids were baptized at SS Peter and Paul. I wrote this kind of mixed up so you would feel “at home”. Enjoyed the laughter. Keep it up, see you in a few months at your next show. Peace….
Paul Schmitt
John, My college friends and I were yukking it up on the front rows last Sunday. We were the rain bonnet/Ms. Brookfield women. You were just so great, and we had a fabulous time. They went home singing the praises of Milwaukee and you. Many thanks for such a laughing/ crying good time.
Dixie Deines
Just saw the last performance of “The Wonder Bread Years” at Vogel Hall. Oh My God did that take me back ALOT of years! I haven’t laughed so hard in a very long time. Keep up the good work, and I can’t wait to see another performance. Miss you on chanel 4, I always looked forward to seeing you. you always help me look at the humorous side of life.
Diana- Franksville, WI
Dear John, No it’s not that type of Dear John email it’s one of gratitude for an immensely enjoyable evening of entertainment. Thank You! My wife and I attended Saturdays evening performance as a celebration of my up and coming birthday this Friday. I was the audience member from St. Peter and Paul who graduated in 66 and you helped me remember Father Scherer and Monsignor Grasser’s names. Not sure on the spelling of either but thanks for helping me with that because the brain isn’t as sharp as it used to be. The reason I am writing is to try and obtain the schedule of the other performances and venues that you will putting on this performance so that I can direct some people that are interested in attending. If you could have someone email me that information or send me that information that would be great. Once again thanks for a most enjoyable evening. God has truly blessed us with a talent like yours.
Ray Rubin- Oshkosh, WI
Hello John, the crowd loved you last night here in Marshfield. At church today, our priest (yes he was our priest) told me he is still laughing! I think we’ll be hearing about you for quite sometime. Hope to see you in Milwaukee one of these days…at the Knickerbocker. We may try to see you in Sheboygan in December as well. Thank you again for such a wonderful show. I’m glad I was able to book you and feel free to use me as a reference.
Jeannie & John Pitsch- UW-Marshfield/Wood County
John, My wife and I attended your performance at UW Wood County- Marshfield and really enjoyed it. It was a good reminder of our own youth. The performance made me think of a lot things from my youth that I had forgotten about. I grew up a 1/2 mile north of the McGivern farm on County M, Stratford. I am 58 so my memories are just of Julia McGivern living in the house. We delivered eggs to her when I was in elementary school age. I recall her having a large black Newfoundland dog that had charge of that corner of they road. He held the right of way no matter what. I told my wife about a time my mother and I were driving into Stratford. My mother first hit the dog at the Bohman farm just next to us, rounded the corner and hit Mrs. McGivern’s dog ( I am from that age that she will always be Mrs. McGivern to me.) Neither dog was killed or injured. They just rolled into the ditch and came back barking. I know my father, grandfather and uncle had stories about the McGivern boys. But when you are young you listen but because you don’t know the people you don’t try to remember the tale. I will have to see if my Uncle recalls any stories. He is 91 but is still in good health and has a good memory. He lives in Winona, MN so it will be a while before I see him to see what he recalls. It is easier to get a story from him face to face then over the phone. I know that names Pat, Mike and Jerry along with Andy and George were talked about. The boys came to play cards at my grandfathers. I also recalled that the car garage door had A M made out of boards on it. So your performance gave me some lost memories that I hope add something to your family memories.
Paul Untiet- Stratford, WI
Hey John, Just saw your wonder bread show in Racine. Wow what a show. Want to see it again. I grew up Irish. It was years before The taste of the slimy boiled cabbage still is in me taste buds. Some of the stories that you tell are the same ones I tell from time to time. Because back in the day what went on in your home . went on in everyone’s home. My dad took 3D slides. And after 50 years my brother and I still look at them from time to time and say Who are these people? My parents are now passed on . But the memories live on. And so does the relic of St Martin and the old Holy water fountain from Holy hill. That sits on top of my Jackie Kennedy chapel veil.
Theresa (Mitchell) Peterson
Hi John, I bought your “A Midsummer Night McGivern” off of the Ch. 10 auction. I so much enjoyed it, that I shared it with my parents. My dad grew up on Bartlett Ave. and my parents took my 2 sisters to Patrick’s pool to learn to swim. I ‘was too young” to learn but I remember going there when they had their class. Anyways, my mother enjoyed it so much she said she laughed so much that she had to watch it a second time. My dad had Alzheimer’s but he somehow understood your humor and laughed also. He may have been laughing because Mom laughed, we find him doing that. But, I want to believe that in your special humor, you got through to him somehow. I am hopefully going to be able to buy them Winter Tales and Wonder Bread for Christmas. Anything that gives my dad happiness and my mom a chance to relax these days is got to be special and worth the money. She is his 24/7 caregiver. She won’t take much help from us kids. In a way, you’ve helped her also. Thank you.
Sue Buttitta-Schmidt- Milwaukee
Hi John, I took my entire family to see Winter Tales last year and they all loved it, especially my husband who lived in Milwaukee and was an MPS teacher for 34 years before retiring. He knew every street and every business you spoke of. I’m writing to let you know that I’m ready to give away my “aluminum” Christmas tree with the rotating colored light. Yes, I’m the woman you talked to last year who had the aluminum tree and no, not a Lutheran!! It always brought back warm memories because as a child at Christmas time I visited one friend a day in the neighborhood to see what they got for Christmas and to play for an afternoon while on our long winter break. My mom visited with the moms and we ate cookies and had a great time. My best friend, Albert Ott, (now that’s a Wisconsin name!) had an aluminum tree his mom bought at the “dime store” where she worked. She would stuff us full of homemade marzipan and I’d lay on the floor and watch that damn light rotate for hours on end. My mom used to have to drag me out of their house because our real green, smelling-like-a-pine-forest, tree was boring compared to the aluminum one. His grandparents who lived right next door to them always had a white flocked tree. When I asked why they didn’t have green trees like ours, she and my dad would say it’s because they’re “German.” We were full-blooded Italian. So, your parents were not far off with the “Lutheran” answer your story so resonated with me. Albert, his mom, and his grandparents have all died and every time I took out that silly looking aluminum tree, purchased for $ 1.00 at a yard sale (which now sheds silver shards like real trees shed green needles) I was taken back to times that were simple and lovely and filled with marzipan memories. Thank God for our senses and those smell and taste trips down memory lane. We hope to get back to see your show again and our daughter purchased her dad your Midsummer Night McGivern DVD for Father’s Day. He watches it once a week religiously and let me tell you he’s a hard sell for most DVD watching. Your stories are filled with real live warmth and memories and I wish you well and many more years of telling them. Stay blessed.
Sandie Bisciglia- (Yes, married a full-blooded one as well. My dad said our wedding connected the circle in Kenosha and now all Italians in the city are related.)
I was lucky enough to get a ticket to one of your shows at the Racine Theatre Guild. I had seen you perform on PBS so couldn’t wait to see you in person. I certainly wasn’t disappointed. You stirred up wonderful childhood memories. I have 6 siblings and we will all be together this Christmas. You have prompted me to get out the projector and all the slides of pictures my parents took of us as children. Wouldn’t surprise me if I find someone in a Colonel Sanders costume or a picture of the huge Blatz sign under which we got our oleo . . . . . Thank you so much for sending me back in time.
Dear John, I just wanted to drop a little “fan note” to you to thank you for making me smile! I love to listen to your stories and I adore your wonderful sense of humor. I’m hoping one of these days to go see you live somewhere. I watch you on channel 10 any time you’re on. Please keep making people smile for a long time to come! You make one forget about their troubles in life, if only for a little while. Thank you.
Laura Quasius- Sheboygan, WI
Hi John, We were at your show at the Kohler Arts Center last night and we truly enjoyed every minute of it. A few things came to my mind as you did your show. Your dad smoked Luckys, my dad smoked Camel unfiltered. He died before his time too at the age of 55, I was 16 at the time. When you talked about you as kids taking a bath, we would take our baths too (always on Saturday night) and then my dad would say, “leave the water in the tub” and he would go in and take his bath in that cold, by then, dirty water that three kids had used before him. He too was a “child” of the Depression, and I’m sure this had some effect on his thinking. I grew up in New Holstein (Holy Cow!). When you talked about sledding in Milwaukee, that brought back memories of our sledding adventures. In the 50’s and early 60’s there was no designated sledding hill in town. Instead the city would block off streets that had a slope to them and plow them with the plow up slightly to leave enough snow on the street so we could sled on it. Fortunately, one of those streets was mine and we lived at the bottom of the “hill”. We would go out every night and test our daring on the mighty slope. One of my friends tried to go under a parked car (remember, the cars were much higher then than they are now), but he got stuck. When there wasn’t enough snow to sled, the parents on the block would go out with their garden hoses and ice down the street so we could use it. After both my parents died (my mother died 3 years ago at the age of 85), we found out that after the kids were sent to bed for the night, the parents would go out and use the hill for sledding also. The only difference was that, because our house was at the bottom of the hill, my dad would set up a bar in the driveway. The parents would come down the hill on their sleds, turn in to our driveway, have a drink, and then go back out to sled some more. We have seen a number of your shows and have enjoyed every one. Thank you for sharing your life with us and reminding us all of how good we really had it when we were young and innocent, even though we didn’t realize it at the time.
Dick and Carol Jens- Kiel, WI
John, my wife and I saw you in New Berlin an few weeks ago. I was a great show. We also met you after one of you performances for Take Me Out to the Ball Game. Again a great show. When we left the show in New Berlin she suggested I email you and ask you if I could possibly, in one of the small venues, tell a few stories of my own. You see I grew up on the northwest side of Milwaukee and had attended a Lutheran school. My parents are off the boat from Yugoslavia and growing up in a bi cultural house was very interesting. I have been telling my stories for over thirty years at work and have always got great laughs. The reason this hit how is because you said you are a story teller and not a comic. My jokes that I should “take it on the road”. Again, thank you for the wonderful stories and we look forward to more stage productions.
Hi John, Just want to say thanks for a wonderful afternoon at the Kohler Arts Center. We were there last Sunday with our friends and it was a great show. What a great little theater. As always, you made us laugh out loud. We hope you enjoyed your wine. Merry Christmas to you & Steve!
Todd & Shelley
Hi John, We just wanted to take time and say thank you. First, and definitely foremost, we would like to thank you for all the laughter you have brought to us. We have seen A MidSummer Night McGivern, sat front row for the Wonder Bread years, own a copy of the Winter Tales DVD and listen to the snippets from WKLH all the time. Needless to say, we laugh a lot, sometimes uncontrollably. Our second thank you, is for the sharing that you do, you have opened a door to Milwaukee, that allows us to step back in time and remember the family vacations, toys, years growing up, and all the fantastic things Milwaukee had and still has to offer. Your ability to tell a story is absolutely amazing. Andy and I could sit and listen to you read the phone book and know that by the middle of the letter ‘B’ we would be in stitches laughing. You take the smallest things and bring them to life. Thank you for sharing that with all of us. We wish you, Steve & your family a very Merry Christmas!!
Jill & Andy
Dear Mr. McGivern, I am going to see your winter show this Sunday. I am really looking forward to it as I had the opportunity to see your summer show. I really love your Groppi Grocery commercials. Just great. I feel to ask if you know of the author Edward Harris Heth. He is another Southeastern Wisconsin native and has a delightful writing style. Not like yours, but in the same heart. His biography is “My Life on Earth” and has several other titles. I believe he has passed on but I’m not sure when, however, I just wanted to know if you had read any of his stories, and if not, then perhaps you could pick up one of the books for your own enjoyment. Thanks for the way you feel about Milwaukee and for sharing that with us. See you Sunday!
Teri Hurney
Two of my four children attended last nights performance at the South Milwaukee PAC. My daughters, at ages 20 and 23 were among the youngest in the room but enjoyed your performance as much as myself and those around me who were another generation older than myself. You have the God-given talent to transform was may seem to many as a mundane event in daily life and add a new and significant importance to it. I allows each person to realize that each 24 hours of each day of their individual life is important and always remember to share your life and its experiences with other to help them learn and grow. Looking forward to seeing your show again in the future.
Liz, Karolyn, & Nena Gamble- Waterford, WI
John, just returned from wonder years, your monologue was awesome, I am still laughing. I must admit I cut my grandson’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich in triangles. He’s 16 and loves his sandwiches that way. Thanks for taking me back to my youth and memories I had forgotten.
JB- Oak Creek
Hi John, Went to see Shear Madness last night and I have to say I had a really good time. My first time to see a big play and you were the funniest!! Keep up the good work and I will for sure see it again. take care.
Hi John, We just saw Shear Madness, and absolutely loved it. My friends and I all agreed, it was the best, and funniest, show we have ever seen. You are hysterical!!!! Thanks for making us laugh for almost 2 hours!!! Looking forward to your next performance.
Mary, Debbie and Bubba- Greenfield, WI
Hi John, I just want to let you know how much I enjoyed Shear Madness last night. I have never laughed so hard! I think this is the 4th or 5th show of yours that I have seen and so far it is my favorite (with Wonder Bread Years being a close second).
Hello! I just treated myself to the Midsummer Night’s Dream McGivern on Channel 1111 on Time Warner Cable. I was so sick of afternoon television, I gave that a stab. I’d heard your name from several of my friends who attended your performances. I also knew you were on the radio and TV; I just never was able to catch any of your appearances. I sat down to watch this performance and have to tell you that it was one of the best days off I’ve had in many weeks. I was laughing along with everyone else – until the tears rolled down my cheeks. That is, until you got to the part about your brother Michael disappearing. Oh, my. The tears flowed anew, but for entirely different reasons. You’re masterful at bringing out so many emotions in all of us. I came to your web site immediately after so that I could read as many articles about you as possible. I’m still smiling. Thank you so much for making this day a memorable one. The trip down Memory Lane was a glorious one (I’m 59 and grew up in Milwaukee) and an absolutely perfect way to spend a hot afternoon. As soon as my husband wakes up, I’m going to sit him down and get him to watch it, with the added perk of being able to enjoy it again. He’ll love it, too; there’s no doubt in my mind. Bless you and your talent. Don’t ever run out of Stark candies — if ever the world needed the Body of Christ, it’s now.
Pam Bredeson- Greenfield, WI
John, I spoke to you at the benefit you gave for Catholic East last year. I told you about my daughter the Little Leaguer…..anyway, I just heard you with Dave & Carole and love hearing the stories about SS Peter & Paul. I am an acolyte too. Keep doing what you are doing. It is AWESOME Thanks.
Ruth Prus- SSPP Parish Member & Acolyte
Hello John, My wife Marie and I were at the 4:00PM performance of Bunk Bed Brothers last Saturday. We are still laughing when we recall some of the scenes. The set and the props were excellent. Keep up the great work. Neil Diamond would have loved the show!
Mike Olson
Hi John, With the closing of Highway 151 for repairs, we have had to drive some of the back roads to get to Fond du Lac from our house on our way to Madison to see our kids. We drive through your old stomping grounds of Mount Calvary. Have you ever noticed how much St Lawrence looks like Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies? It’s big and looming on top of a hill and actually looks a little scary. We’ll be coming to see you next Friday (Oct 23rd) in Bunkbed Brothers. It’s my wife’s birthday and what better way to spend it than with some comedy. We are also coming to see you when you are in Sheboygan in early December with some of our neighbors. Do me one favor. We’re originally from New Holstein, so no “HOLY COW” jokes. Just kidding. Thanks for all the good times we’ve had seeing you in the past and looking forward to many more in the future.
Dick & Carol Jens- Kiel, WI
I just checked out “The Wonder Bread Years” DVD at my library. My husband and I were born in the 70’s. He is an only child and I am one of four children in my family. Your comedy reaches all ages. No matter how many kids are in the family of an individual audience member; your comic routine still reaches everyone of them. Your performance was fantastic. It brought so many fun memories from the past for both of us. I found from your website that you have other DVDs out there. My family will definitely check them out.
Kristin H- Fort Atkinson. WI
Hi John I’ve been a fan for years and have introduced my husbands family to you. He has 6 siblings (all Married) so that’s a lot a new fans. They aren’t Catholic they just act like it. We saw you and the other guy (Chris) in bunk bed brothers and laughed so much. Please, Please, Please do the Santa land Diaries here in Sheboygan again. I’ve been telling everyone how great it is, so I may have sold half of the JMKAC seats for you. Thanks for all the laughter.
My husband, daughter and her husband and I attended both the “Sheer Madness” and “Bunk Bed Brothers” this year and have never laughed so hard. Last night my husband and I watched “The Early Years” on MPTV and again was delighted. Since I know Lois Mauer through my daughter seeing the two of you chatting was fun. Keep up the good work and I look forward to your next performances. Thank you for all the laughter.
Ceciia Wytrykus
After having seen numerous shows that you have done, I can truthfully say that your plays are my favorite! Any time one can attend a play and laugh themselves silly it is time well spent. I was particularly touched by “Fully Committed”. I laughed until tears ran down my face and then cried with sadness. A ride of emotions. Funny, I saw that play so long ago and it still stays with me. Will it be repeated?? I can only hope. Happy nearly the middle of January…soon it will be over!!!
D. Holland- Fond du Lac, WI
John, Happy Holidays! My husband and I were fortunate to secure front-row seats to your 12/29 matinee of “Home for the Holidays.” We enjoyed a remarkable time. Thanks for sharing your storytelling genius with us. Growing up as a 1960’s Catholic-schooled, duplex-with-a-gangway-dwelling, Kookie Cookie House veteran, I could easily identify with your many tales. However, I thought I knew what to expect from your live performance; what I did not count on were some of the emotions you evoked in me: not only nostalgia, but humanity, humility, and unconditional love for family. The experience was so much more than I anticipated, and it is only appropriate to offer my thanks for sharing your talents time and again.
Jean Monchek Hiller- Germantown, WI
Dear John, Right now my wife and I are supposed to be on our way downtown to have dinner and then see you in ‘Home for the Holidays.’ Alas, not to be. I had rotator cuff surgery about a month ago and I’m still miserable! Usually my wife and I have the best nights when we see you perform, whether it be ‘Wonderbread Years’, ‘Midsummer Night McGivern’, ‘Shear Madness’, or whatever. We laugh and cry and always feel touched after we watch you perform. Hope you have a great show tonight and we’ll look forward to seeing you in April for ‘American Fiesta.’ Thanks for your years of touching performances.
Doug Stys
Thank you John… Last night Claire and I brought our blended family to “Home for the Holidays” at Next Act Theater and were treated to a delightful evening of laughter and reflection and tears. You are a brilliant storyteller and so vulnerable in your willingness to share intimate family tales. Your interaction with the audience made it feel like we were all together in a big living room celebrating life as it really is! As I said to you following the performance – some folks might come out of the theater and say, “Unbelievable!”…and I would know what they meant. And I would say, “Believable!…Absolutely believable!” We wish you and all whom you love a blessed holiday season. And thank you for being you!
Howie Beutler-Cruise- Milwaukee, WI
John, you are just an amazing story teller, the stories of life on Bartlett and the fashionable Eastside are always fun to hear and it’s always entertaining to hear more stories about Mike. By the way your Mom and Dad taught me how to play Hearts many years ago in that house on Bartlett behind McDonalds
Hi John, My wife and I just returned home from your show “Home for the Holidays”. It was one of your best shows we have seen, and we have seen almost almost all of them. We are looking forward to watching the DVD I won tonight during the cake walk while eating some of your mothers cookies. Thanks for the laughs tonight and over the years, and also for the DVD. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We can’t stop laughing about your “tendency to twirl”!
Kyle and Beth- Wauwatosa