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Creepy Comedian Pretending to Offer Gigs to Lure Comedians to Hotel

If you are in comedy long enough without being an overnight or breakout star, there are two things you will learn. One is how to have a healthy (or sometimes unhealthy) dose of cynicism.  The other is that there is a “comedian” named Dan who stalks comedians on-line because he has not received the needed mental health assistance he needs.  Multiple people (with advanced degrees in psychology) have told me that they think this “comedian” may have feelings for me akin to Scotty J in Boogie Nights or, more insidious, Chris Cooper in American Beauty. Although flattered. I am not interested, but that does not stop this “comedian” from contacting me through numerous false e-mails on line.  And now, in an effort to lure me (and maybe other comedians) to a hotel, the Buffalo Bill of comedy has now developed a false booker e-mail (sadly, he is too stupid to realize that his 4th grade level insults and bizarre usage of the English language are so consistent throughout all his on-line personas that it fools no one ever).  So here are the e-mails from “Charity Event Booker Bert Pierce”:

Wow – a charity event at the Hilton!  In town? What town?  $150 – what charity event at a Hilton can only afford $150 for entertainment?  Well I guess I will mull over the offer. But before then I decided to post the email above to Facebook to show everyone about my great offer.  But then I received the following after 2 am:

But Bert!? I was seriously considering your offer!  The Beverly Hills Hilton!  But I want to perform there. Even if it is a $500 flight for a $150 gig.  And I am not sure why he is writing “yes”. I never replied.   Turns out it is someone who must stalk my Facebook page.  Hey… this doesn’t seem like a legit gig offer anymore! And then the final e-mail:

Hey you mean between 2:58 am and 3:34 am all of my fans and friends got on e-mail and took action!?  That seems unlike them.  And since I did not encourage any attacks I am appalled that they all went on email at 3 am to trash Bert Pierce. What’s weird is that Bert Pierce only 10 hours earlier was trying to book me at a Hilton and now he says I have “no talent.”

So comedians be warned: there is someone out there trying to lure comedians to the Beverly Hills Hilton who also imagines things at 3 am.  Sounds like a danger to the community so I thought I would offer a warning.  I just hope I don’t hear about Bert Pierce punching reporters for The Daily Beast when his booking scam is exposed.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic (http://righteouspk NULL.podomatic NULL.com/)iTunes (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/podcast/righteous-p***k-w-j-l-cauvin/id504139550?mt=2) and NOW on STITCHER (http://www NULL.stitcher NULL.com/podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin-podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin?refid=stpr). New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free! 



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Weekend Comedy Recap: See Something, Say Something, Laugh at Nothing

This weekend I was in Timonium, Maryland performing at Magooby’s Comedy Club.  I had performed a couple of weekends at the club’s older space a few years ago, but had not been booked since.  But then I worked a weekend in Syracuse a couple of months ago with the brother of Magooby’s owner, killed it and got him to vouch for me to work Magooby’s (side note – this is why for the rest of the year I am putting together a “Working With Relatives of Comedy Club Owners” tour).  But like all my comedy recap stories, the comedy club is just one player in an ensemble of experiences over the course of three days.  So here it is:

On Friday I arrived in Baltimore and then proceeded another hour via light rail and bus to Cockeysville, Maryland where my hotel, The Ramada Limited, was situated.  The first thing that bothered me was that the place was listed as a hotel, but had the motel-esque feature of all rooms accessible from the street (the lobby was just its own kiosk and not an entryway for access to any of the rooms).  In addition to that was the fact that within 2 blocks of the Ramada Limited (the Limited stands for your chances of success in life if you have to stay there) there was a Chick Fil-A, a Five Guys, an IHOP and a Dunkin Donuts.  The message from Cockeysville was simple: if a drifter looking for a quick score doesn’t kick in your door and murder you, the food options will do it to you.

The first bad omen on the trip was when I checked in to the ho/motel I was sent to one room that had not been cleaned. I came back and was sent to another room. That one had not been cleaned either (I could see the dead hooker’s body through the window).  Finally I got a third room that was clean. #Blessed

I only stay in 5 star hotels, if you add up the five 1 star reviews they receive.

FRIDAY SHOWS

Friday night’s shows were interesting.  The first crowd was dead for the emcee.  Now sometimes I can see an emcee doing poorly and say either “crowd is not warm yet or the emcee sucks.”  But in this case there were some solid jokes that were not even registering with the crowd.  My set had some good laughs and plenty of almost inexplicable dead spots (like language barrier level dead spots).  Here is how I basically ended my first set:

“Well, this was fun, though it was more like a TED talk than a stand up set.”

Crowd – nothing

“Oh Christ, I did it again – you guys probably don’t know what a TED talk is!  Now my set is turning into an Inception of references you don’t get – like layers of things you have never heard of on top of each other.”

Crowd – nothing

“Oh, Inception. Sorry – this tiny movie that made like $300 million a couple of years ago.  I referenced two movies in this set – Avatar and Inception and you’d think I mentioned some obscure foreign film.” 

See a lot of politicians say things like “The American people are smarter than that…” to discredit opponent’s positions.  And many comedians focus on being likable or pandering.  To quote Danny Glover, “I’m getting too old for this sh*t.”  I understand if someone like Dennis Miller can throw people off with all his references, but if an analogy to Avatar or Inception in a joke doesn’t register (when it registers laughs 98% of the time) then yes, crowd, it is you.  So I will treat you with disdain and condescension (even more than usual).   I have never watched a TED talk, but I know what the fu*k they are!  As another example unrelated to my jokes, I have never watched Citizen Kane from start to finish, but I wouldn’t stare like a vegetable if someone made a broad reference to it.  But maybe the crowd was just tired from a long work week. Or stupid. Or both.

The second show went much better Friday and I sold a couple of CDs.  It was a hard earned split.

SATURDAY SHOWS

Saturday’s shows were both solid.  The first show was probably my favorite crowd. I celebrated with a couple of gin and tonics and a burger (important note for a later part of this story – the last thing I ate until 8pm Sunday was the burger at about 1030pm) and then Rob Maher and Joe Robinson of the Rob and Joe Show arrived at the club.  They run a very good podcast and we communicate often on social media, but it was good to hang out in person.  Of course I woke up today to see that I had fallen 10 spots on the Stitcher Comedy Podcast Rankings, which I think is directly attributable to my association with them this weekend.

3 podcasting legends in one place!

The second show was probably only the third best set of the week for me (nothing was going to be worse than the first Friday show unless someone shot me while on stage) but I felt like I ended the weekend with a 3-1 record.  However, the most eventful part of the weekend was just getting started…

SUNDAY FUN DAY!

I could not sleep well Saturday night. I was getting up at 8am anyway to begin my journey on the Maryland bus system to get to Baltimore Penn Station, but what should have been 6 hours of relatively satisfied sleep was about 2 hours of crappy sleep.  My stomach was feeling a little queasy so I decided to skip the “executive continental breakfast,” as the Ramada Limited called it, and went to the bus.

During the 80 total minutes I was on the different buses I started to get progressively more tired and queasy feeling, though travelling through several neighborhoods in Baltimore I could not help but smile thinking about The Wire because everyone had the physique and accent of Prop Joe (and half the characters on The Wire – either the white-ish Baltimore accent of saying words like “Coach” as “Cauch” or the one I heard much more common, the blacker Baltimore accent of saying words like “two” as “tseu” (I hope that is clear and if it is not, I blame you)).

By the time I reached Baltimore Penn Station I was sweating profusely and my stomach was reacting like I had just chugged a gallon of Mexican tap water.  As I result I ending up spending so much time in a Baltimore Penn Station bathroom I nearly qualified for adverse possession.  Feeling better and barely making a train I had been 50 minutes early for I sat down in my seat and started to feel a different kind of queasy coming on.  Not to mention the sweating got worse to the point that it might have been making fellow travelers uncomfortable.  I went to the snack car to have a water and a Gatorade and to get a little more space.  About 25 minutes into that I had the sudden urge to vomit. So I shuffled my way to the bathroom (by this time my back was hurting and all my muscles felt weak) and let forth a furious puke fest.  Now I was just left with back pain and a headache, but my stomach was much better.  I then went back to my seat to see someone sitting in it (to be fair it was a crowded train and I had been gone for an hour) and my backpack missing.  Turns out someone had seen a sweaty dude with thick eyebrows leave a backpack and told the conductor!  I could finally cross “be suspected of being a terrorist”  off of my bucket list.  To show how out of it I was, the conductor had walked right by me with my backpack – as it was at the table right next to where I had been semi-comatose in the cafe car.

An artist's rendering of me on Amtrak yesterday

So there it is folks – comedy, hostility, illness and terror threat – just another weekend in comedy.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic (http://righteouspk NULL.podomatic NULL.com/)iTunes (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/podcast/righteous-p***k-w-j-l-cauvin/id504139550?mt=2) and NOW on STITCHER (http://www NULL.stitcher NULL.com/podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin-podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin?refid=stpr). New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free! 



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The 10 People Likely To Replace Jimmy Fallon

Yes, I know we are 20 years away from having to replace Jimmy Fallon, the newly appointed host of The Tonight Show, but why not get an early start on people likely to bid for his spot.  After a brilliant podcast discussion debate yesterday (if I do say so myself) on who should/will replace Letterman (http://www NULL.stitcher NULL.com/podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin-podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin?refid=stpr), I thought why not start extrapolating into the future. And since Jimmy Kimmel is still establishing his brand as a late night staple it made sense to explore the potential replacements for Jimmy Fallon (and then maybe 20 years from now some enterprising Internet nerd will unearth this blog, if one of my suggestions is picked, and say, “this former comedian, now coaching girls’ youth basketball as a sentence for violating the 2021 federal statute against cyber insults of female athletes, called it all along!” Partially inspired by the podcast (seriously give it a listen) and also by a desire to not scorch the Earth of the comedy industry for a day (scratch that), decided on this definitive list. Enjoy!

1. Justin Timberlake – Sure he is too young and charismatic now and he is still hoping to have a second act to his musical career imitating Robin Thicke or a first act for his movie career, but around 50 Justin Timberlake will realize he is the perfect combination of famous, friendly and vanilla to kill it as a late night show host. And imagine the joy of Midwest moms twenty years from now if JT starts dancing in the aisles with them like a more feminine version of Ellen?  It will be like that moment so many of us felt seeing John Travolta dance for the first time in years in Pulp Fiction!

2. Chelsea Handler – She is never going away and she has fudged her age this long.  I am sure we will all accept her as 46 years old in 2034.

3. Mindy Kaling – I have heard she is funny, she is brown, but in a tech support way that even real Amurrrricans find useful and she is a woman.  This could work for sure in the future  if she does not branch out to movie stardom, but just remains a friendly TV presence.

4. Jay Leno – Think of it almost like a re-boot to end our love of re-boots and, with continued advances in medicine many of his fans may still be alive in huge numbers in 2034.

5. A transgender woman who identifies as she-male with tomboy tendencies.  Isn’t it a matter of time before every group clamors for not just social acceptance, but social elevation?  I look forward to the XOJane.com article, “Isn’t it time we had a host that was not restricted by Facebook’s 50 puritanical choices for gender identification?”

6. Mark Normand – NYC comedian is friendly, funny, has a late night show host’s cadence and has been on more top ten up and comer lists than Belle Knox.  This is the 10,0000 to 1 shot I would place a $50 bet on today.

7. Chris Hardwick – As Twitter and other forms of social media continue their onslaught on what comedy used to be this guy has already hosted so many television programs Jesus Christ refers to him as the Lord of Hosts.  And maybe by 2034 late night television will be some virtual reality experience where only the technically superior reign.  Like the future in the Terminator movies except with some guy screaming “POINTS!”

8. Mario Lopez – If George Lopez has not eviscerated America’s hopes that a Latino/Chicano can be funny, given the demographics of the country and Mario Lopez ability to be on television for two decades, maybe he could be a Tonight Show host.

9. This Kid 

YouTube Preview Image (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=zALqMWimBbM)

10. Belle Knox – The aforementioned Duke University porn dabbler whose story continues to change and be modified to avoid criticism has proven that she is media savvy, intelligent and is willing to do the thing most important to advancement in Hollywood: suck di*k.  So hopefully by 2034 we can be done with the oppressive patriarchy of society and pick a host willing to turn late night television into HBO’s Real Sex, so kids without cable can see fun stuff too (assuming the Internet has blown itself up by 2034)

Sadly the list is still heavily male dominant, but I have to leave something for the Jezebel 2034 website to complain about (and then nominate the first group of famous women they can think of).

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic (http://righteouspk NULL.podomatic NULL.com/)iTunes (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/podcast/righteous-p***k-w-j-l-cauvin/id504139550?mt=2) and NOW on STITCHER (http://www NULL.stitcher NULL.com/podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin-podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin?refid=stpr). New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free! 



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Comedy Road Work: Fool’s Bronze

One of the things I hear from younger comics, the ones not afraid to speak to me, in conversation is the following: “I need to get on the road.”  A much more accurate derivation of this that I hear is “I want to get out on the road.”  That one word change makes all the difference and it took me several years of ongoing frustration to learn the difference.   Many comics want to get on the road – it is fun, you feel like you are earning your keep (travel, receiving a check, filling out a tax form – it almost feels like a job!) and you gain experience and stories.  But the idea of “needing” to get on the road is really nonsense.  Now, of course I am speaking to a majority of comedians, but excluding some: headliners and their personal opening acts, this does not apply to you.

As one of the last of a generation of comedians raised early on advice like “write… perform… repeat” as the key to becoming a good comedian (back then becoming a “good comedian” implied that the quality would render you a  ”working comedian”). Internet and television opportunities may be plentiful, but with the industry prioritizing different metrics beyond (or above) the actual quality of stand-up comedy, working on your stand up act has never been more irrelevant to being a working comedian (better to be “decent” with additional factors in your favor, than just a great stand up). But the mythology surrounding road work still persists: the idea that working the road is necessary in light of tremendous evidence that it cannot help you build your career or your bank account.  I have said it many times before, but like America in general, stand up comedy is becoming a business where the middle class is being squeezed out. It is not financially viable for up and comers (without management or heat or other entertainment income) to work full time at their stand up so the only people incentivized to dedicate themselves to comedy are locals who are increasingly employed by penny pinching clubs (don’t cut the headliner’s $20,000 pay check; instead, cut the feature pay/value from $900 total dollars to $500) or headliners who continue to be more central to the club’s bottom line.

So why are comedians still drawn to the road? Ego. That is the main reason. It serves no real financial purpose. And no matter how many emails you collect as a feature act or a low level headliner, without a massive Internet or television presence (or industry/management backing willing to leverage their more famous clients to benefit your budding career – very common) you are not going to build the kind of fan base that will elevate you to the level you want or need (or by the time you collect 15 years of e-mails we will be on to the next tech thing you “must do” to advance.  But you feel like a real comedian on the road – if you are coming from NYC, LA or Chicago club audiences treat you like a D-list celebrity if they like you, drinks are cheap, laughs are plentiful and you might even sell some merchandise.  But at the end of the day, the dwindling quantity of road work that pays a decent week’s wage is not worth the ego boost.  And many of the clubs (not all, there are still some good managers and owners still treating their comedians like professionals) are nickel and diming comedians more and more so that it sometimes is not even worth missing a week of work back home.  Think of it this way, to be available to even do 20 weeks of road work in a year you cannot really have a full time job.  But to become great at stand up you need the freedom to work at least that much.  It is a real Catch 22 – if you have the time to work on your act you will almost likely get too poor to continue that lifestyle, but if you work a full time job to pay your bills your opportunities for stage time, road work and crafting longer sets will be greatly diminished.

And then there is my personal favorite that deserves a small note – the road booker’s “last minute replacement” list.

Several years ago I received a few bookings from a prominent club booker.  I did very well with the clubs I work, as evidenced by the unsolicited e-mail I received from the booker saying “I have heard great things about you. I am moving you up my list.” I assumed this meant I would receive more bookings. Since that e-mail I have not worked any of his rooms.  I did not realize that I was moved “up” from the “sometimes booked” to the “fu*k this guy” portion of his list.  I would think that would be a step down, but clearly I don’t get the industry.  But then I realized that I had actually been moved to the “last minute replacement” list for this booker, as well as another unrelated booker.  This list is the “Oh no someone cancelled and I need someone within 1-7 days.”  Now, obviously some of the people receiving these e-mails may be within driving distance to these clubs, but for many these e-mails come off as borderline insulting.  If you are paying me $600 and the flight I must now book costs $500, what is the incentive?  Or is this just a half-acknowledgement that the booker knows the desperate environment they have helped cultivate among comedians that someone will grab it just for the chance to ply their trade for a week?

Of course when I sent a professionally worded email to a booker concerning my lack of opportunities I was told by a third party that my email may have been received poorly (this was an inference, not direct knowledge). In other words, simply corresponding like a regular person may rub these fief lords the wrong way.   So my advice to young comedians would be to leave the road alone, no matter how tempting it is, unless you fall into small exceptions (and on a side note – if you are going to do festivals – treat them more like vacations to meet and talk with other comeidans – if you treat them like realistic opportunities for career advancement, odds are you will leave disappointed, or at least eventually become dissatisfied with them).  Everyone knows the “chicken or egg” dilemma, but what came first, the nickel and dime booker or the headliner who decided to bring their own feature?  Now I have seen some headliners bring their own feature, driven mostly by insecurity, but many others want someone who will work well with them personally and on stage. Totally understandable.  One would think this would be the job of the booker to coordinate good talent that has general chops and also works well with the headliner.  Some bookers take this responsibility seriously. Others don’t give a fu*k because booking good mid-level acts (both as individual performers and in coordination with headlining acts) takes giving a damn about comedy and not just the bottom line.

Comedy bookers (to reiterate, not all, but enough to shape the industry) have further driven a scab mentality into working comedians, so a union will never be possible (how do you form a union when the labor force is replete with scab-mentality workers?).  So I think my advice to up and coming comedians is to forego the road.  It will do nothing concrete for your career.  Now if you are working with a headliner and have a personal relationship that can drive you forward professionally then embrace it. Or are you someone with management and road middle work is just a truck stop on your way to headlining and more heat then ignore this as well.  But to everyone else, the road has nothing to offer you. Perhaps a decade ago it was fool’s gold, but the economics of stand up comedy now have rendered it fool’s bronze – not even worth the foolhardy chase on which you want to embark.  If you think me hypocritical for pursuing road work, understand that my carer has his an all-time high for notoriety, which is a good thing, and a credit to the products I have worked hard to put out, but also near a low point economically because of several of the factors I have included above, so any opportunity to make money from comedy is one I cannot pass up.  Is this where you want your career to be?  Pursuing any and all work, out of equal parts desire and necessity?  Play the long game, not the short game and your comedy career and life will be much better off.  In the age of Facebook and Twitter every comedian’s insecure need (or perhaps to show to fans and industry that they are working and relevant) to post messages of false humility and blatant braggadocio of the clubs they are going to work or have just worked can get any comedian seeking opportunities to feel jealous. That is the short game.  Remember – getting on the road in many cases now is not a necessity, but a desire.  Unless you fit into exceptions I have written steer clear of the temptation.

So my advice is to work locally on your act.  Work on your YouTube channel. Work on your Twitter account. If this sounds cynical, it is.  But it is also true.  I have reluctantly, but fully embraced this.  It is simply reality at this point.  I know that I will have to become a headliner for many of these clubs to employ me again, but my stand up skills are not a well known enough draw to make it happen (yet?).  Comedy works less like General Motors and more like Silicon Valley now.  So work on your act and comedy portfolio in a way that benefits you, because I assure you, many club owners’ agendas are in direct opposition to the advancement of your career and bank account. Don’t let them throw you scraps in the dumpster and act like they are feeding you dinner.

If this concerns any of you it should. It means there are fewer and fewer careers possible in stand up comedy.  But if you are willing to go for it – the way to do it is to either connect with connected people, or become a headliner – in talent or, more beneficial, in fame/reach.  So get cracking on all things that are not stand up comedy if you want to be a working stand up comedian.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic (http://righteouspk NULL.podomatic NULL.com/)iTunes (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/podcast/righteous-p***k-w-j-l-cauvin/id504139550?mt=2) and NOW on STITCHER (http://www NULL.stitcher NULL.com/podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin-podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin?refid=stpr). New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free! COMING THIS WEEK – WHO SHOULD REPLACE DAVID LETTERMAN. 



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Better Than An Episode of Key and Peele

I received a message to submit to a television network (I am omitting the network, though you can narrow it down to a few with the description) and did so last week.  The request was as follows:  We are looking for smart, edgy, viciously funny writers to create digital short content that would air on various ___ platforms.  This is a paid opportunity and an amazing chance to get your work seen on an international television network. Content created if contracted must appeal to ____ Networks demographic and their sensibilities and  feature at least one person of color.  There was an urgency to this posting so as soon as I got home I immediately had 5 sketches of mine that I wanted to submit, which I did.  Here they are for your pleasure.  I would put these five sketches (just 5 of several dozen I have made over the last few years) with commercial breaks against any of the falsely-subversive humor of Key & Peele, but I am biased (but no hammy intros to sketches has to at least play in my favor).  If I do not receive a good word about this, however, I really want to know who submitted and got the job(s).  Well, enjoy these videos for the first time or again.  Think of these five sketches as the pilot of my non-existent show “JL & Cauvin”

Biggie

YouTube Preview Image (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=T5TjoTFNik4)

Tyler Perry’s Old Testament, New Problem

YouTube Preview Image (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=GKWWTrc5gn8)

Booty!

YouTube Preview Image (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=YY_kwIRIlEs)

NBA Dunk Celebration Workshop

YouTube Preview Image (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=n4SpezHP0Es)

Tim & Aaron

YouTube Preview Image (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=wfElnrZB5nc)

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic (http://righteouspk NULL.podomatic NULL.com/)iTunes (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/podcast/righteous-p***k-w-j-l-cauvin/id504139550?mt=2) and NOW on STITCHER (http://www NULL.stitcher NULL.com/podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin-podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin?refid=stpr). New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free!



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Tyler Perry and Adam Sandler Collaborated on The Worst Film Ever (Parody)

It is a question that film fans have been asking for over a decade: what if the two consistently worst movie makers in Hollywood joined forces and made a movie that could truly be called historic?  Well in this month’s JLComedy video, the question gets answered.  It has something for both casual and die hard fans of both artists.  Excessive body fluid gags and stupid voices to make Sandler fans happy and heavy handed Christian themes (including a Perry favorite – giving AIDS to anyone who acts wrongly – read this for background (http://www NULL.bet NULL.com/news/health/2013/04/08/commentary-why-tyler-perry-and-hiv-storylines-don-t-mix NULL.html)), and bad writing for Perry enthusiasts.  So without further adieu, enjoy this instant masterpiece, “Happy Madison Presents ‘Tyler Perry’s Old Testament, New Problem’”

YouTube Preview Image (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=GKWWTrc5gn8)

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic (http://righteouspk NULL.podomatic NULL.com/)iTunes (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/podcast/righteous-p***k-w-j-l-cauvin/id504139550?mt=2) and NOW on STITCHER (http://www NULL.stitcher NULL.com/podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin-podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin?refid=stpr). New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free!



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The Quick Guide for Comedians on St Patrick’s Day

Well, today is St. Patrick’s Day so it is the one day a year where I stop getting “You’re half black???” from people and get “Didn’t know you were half-Irish!”  But not only do I have the heritage to lecture all of you, but I also live in Turtle Bay, an area of Manhattan with a median age of 23, the most common ethnicity is Bro and there is a bar for every 6 residents, so I have actual field studies over the last 6 years to call upon.  And lastly I am a comedian, which means nothing really, but at least I know a few jokes that are overused.  So here is how comedians should act today (and some of these can apply to civilians as well):

1) Do Not Tell This Joke – I was guilty of this early in my career (first two years so I say this from a “don’t make the same mistakes that I did” perspective.  But let’s retire this joke (I knew when I did it and it got laughs, but a few shows later I heard a terrible comedian do roughly the same joke that I realized it was easy and lazy):

How crazy that we drink on St Patrick’s Day!  We don’t do that on other holidays. We don’t tip 5% on MLK’s birthday!  We don’t rape Native Americans on Thanksgiving!  We don’t fu*k donkeys and sever people’s heads on Cinqo de Mayo! (granted I updated these from what I actually said when I was doing this joke in 2005, but let’s just not do it.

2) Stay away from firefighters and cops.  This is generally good advice, but I have never been out for SPD and not seen these groups have either inter and/or intra squad fights.  This is for men (given the demographics of the FDNY and comedians this is like a day when heroes get amnesty to pop off on condescending, nerdy Jewish dudes in this city so watch your mouth).  For women who are into FDNY don’t let me stop you – this is like Fleet Week for angry, fit Irish guys (who might be even angrier this year due to all sorts of “diversity” efforts). Just don’t be mad when his wife knocks on the car window while you are blowing him in the middle of his description of his cross fit workout.  And if you are married to a cop – he is not working 16 hours of overtime tonight.

3) Get a Shamrock Shake – They are delicious and at under $3 well within a comedian’s budget of $7 on food per day.  Unless you are a comedian (or civilian) constantly posting about a great new diet you are on that is changing your life, in which case you should go talk a bunch of sh*t to some drunk firefighters.

4) Listen to this podcast episode – Comedian John Moses sat down with me last year to chat about St Patrick’s Day (my aversion to its American representation outside of the parades) and it became, in part, an excellent discussion of drunken escapades and bar fights he had been in.  You can only hear it HERE (http://righteouspk NULL.podomatic NULL.com/entry/2013-03-11T22_44_45-07_00)

5) Get Ready to Hear the Dropkick Murphys and House of Pain.  A lot. 

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic (http://righteouspk NULL.podomatic NULL.com/)iTunes (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/podcast/righteous-p***k-w-j-l-cauvin/id504139550?mt=2) and NOW on STITCHER (http://www NULL.stitcher NULL.com/podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin-podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin?refid=stpr). New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free!



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The Silent Majority of Comedy (I hope)

There is a saying in stand-up comedy, “it takes ten years to find your voice.” I don’t know who invented this saying. Perhaps it was a club owner running bringer shows wanting to postpone frustrations of the semi-slave labor being manipulated with tapes and compliments. Perhaps it was a well-meaning veteran comedian trying to encourage a frustrated, younger comedian. Or maybe it is just true.  After all I feel like around 5 years in is when my comedy started to shift to the more personal and opinionated and around 8 years in when it merged with my sense of frustration and injustice with the way the comedy business worked, both as a business and as an art.  After all, it may take 10 years to find your voice, but from half of the casting and showcase lists you see from major comedy players, it can sometimes appear that you find your manager and your opportunity after your first pubic or facial hair sprouts, “voice” development be damned.  But in my 10th year is when all the things I had been writing, performing and producing hit a new stride and grew my audience.   So now I have, for better or worse, carved out a niche in the business through my videos, podcasts, blogs and stand up as sort of a guy who at best, offers funny and unflinching shots at anything I see wrong, even if it is with the business that I am trying to succeed in, or, at worst, is committing career suicide for his peers’ enjoyment.

What has perplexed me is that on a weekly basis I get messages, e-mails and texts from fellow comedians, many of who are friends or at least people with whom I am friendly, pointing me in the direction of some comedy news/blog/practice/etc or something they at least think will anger me into producing new content making their argument for them.  I don’t mind it, and am certainly not calling out any friend or acquaintance in particular.  But I have gotten suggestions for podcasts, blogs and videos from numerous people over the last few months and the question I want to ask is “You are a comedian, why don’t you do something with it?”

Some of the examples that come to mind include a blog last year, made as humorous and as complimentary as I could about an experience I had at a club (fun club, great staff) where the condo was infested with roaches in a pretty shitty building.  And the blog may have gotten me banned at that club.   But since then I have had private communications with several comedians about those accommodations and how terrible it was and other comedians cancelling gigs there.  But I am on the hook as the person who made a public stink of conditions that the department of health would take issue with, let alone hard working entertainers.  When the comedy business (or just a comedy business) treats performers poorly they should be ashamed and crawl into hiding, not the comedian who has a legitimate gripe about maltreatment.  And my post was only meant to be my personal humorous experience, until I heard at least a dozen comedians describe a similar experience.

There was Comedy Academy, my web series (https://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=_9HVYrFv2tk&index=2&list=PLOWmeNC-WWqmSlvqhNEV7JdGDXFSdpTAv), which has passed 26,000 views total in a month and the most private messages of congratulations I have received in the last year but, per video, the fewest public shares on social media of all my videos, in the last year.  The people who were most likely to share the videos were people at the lower rung of comedy or people located in the untouchable upper rung of comedy, like Adam Carolla and Sebastian Maniscalco.  And while I deeply appreciate every share and post, I was disappointed by the fact that more of the videos were not shared.  It reminds me of how so many lower class and middle class Republicans in America vote against their interest.  They believe the American Dream so hard they ignore things right in front of their face.  Similarly, in comedy whether it be manipulation, poor payment (forget $5 spots at UCB when features on the road are getting paid the same (or less when you factor in the disappearance of paid-for lodging on the road at many places) as comedians 25 years ago, or just calling out bullshit professionally or artistically, so many up and comers are about “playing the game,” which most of them cannot win.  Just like the economic ladder in America, the comedic ladder, towards a career in comedy, especially stand-up is more difficult than ever.

Then there was my Facebook post about the Laughing Devil in Long Island City being booked by the people at The Stand.  People were nervous about what that post implicated because it looked like a shot at The Stand, which is the rising challenger in the NYC club scene with great buzz.  But what I was actually questioning, which was missed by most people who were afraid I was taking a shot at The Stand, was why did a cozy club in Long Island City, which was providing paid spots to comics like me, that are not getting them elsewhere in the city (it was nice to have a club not directly tied to talent management in the way some of the bigger clubs in NYC are) and free spots to comics that were not getting many elsewhere in NYC, switch booking practices… and not tell their roster of comics?  I know this because I was fortunate to at least be on the list for avails that The Stand sent out, but I know several people who were only on the Laughing Devil roster who knew nothing about a change and just assumed they needed to submit more avails for spots.  I don’t know why the change was made to different bookings on weekends because the last three weekend shows I did at the Laughing Devil were all packed, but that was a business deal/transaction to which I am not privy.  I feel like it is going to eventually become The Stand East (I don’t actually know that, but as an up and coming neighborhood with a built in audience it would make sense to get a foothold in it, especially since it was close to being sold last year) and can now be a workout room for spillover from The Stand’s roster.  Why am I saying all this?  Because clubs and comics like to speak of “community”", but unless I am completely off base this flies in the face of that.  And yes, having recorded an album and my biggest YouTube video at that club I feel particularly annoyed by the change, but that is business.  But individual comedy club ownership is a small business and should treat their comedians like part of a small business, not like a cog at Wal-Mart.

My point with a few of these examples is that if comedians are only speaking up or being bold about the business or art of stand up when they have the cover of industry or fame or are taking generally accepted “bold stance”" topics within the comedy world (like scoring tried and true points attacking conservative politics as an example), then how can it actually stand for anything anymore?  If everyone in stand up spoke out on bullsh*t, demanded more equitable treatment on the road (why does $200-$300 have to come out of the feature worker, when you can afford to pay a headliner anywhere from $2-$20K per week?  It is the same “job creator” argument we hear in politics, except in this case it is the “seat fillers.”  Will your audience stop coming if every food item is raised 25-50 cents to pay a decent week’s wage and accommodation to a hard working middle class (literally) comedian?

These are just some of the things I try to attack with serious writing, but also with humorous personal stories (self-deprecating to depressing) and funny sketches.  I guess I should be thankful that not many people, if any, take this sort of approach to the comedy business because it has allowed my name and reputation to rise slightly higher than where my actual career is right now financially.  But it also makes me wonder what happened that comedy because so full of cowards or at least people too afraid of repercussions for doing or saying the right thing (honesty is the right thing and what I believed was the hallmark of comedy versus other arts with more sullied reputations in the popular culture).  This is what confuses me above all: if comedians don’t treat stand up as a profession and an art on its own (and not just a pit stop on their way to television deals) then how can the industry possibly do better.  As philosopher Katt Williams once said (and he could have been making a decent defense for the comedy industry), “How can I ruin your self-esteem? It’s esteem of yo muthafuckin self!”  I think there is a lot of shabbiness by the industry, but there seems to be little push back or standing up for oneself in the comedy world (UCB “controversy” aside, which still led to no pay).  I want to believe that there could be a strike or a union or improved work for comedians, especially on the road, but comedians are almost conditioned at this point to think and act like desperate scabs – so how do unionize workers when the work force already consists of scab mentality?

Just under a year ago, when I made my Louis CK Tells The Classics (https://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=E7Fe3blRKU0)video I remember one of the very first YouTube comments I got was “This would have been funny if you were making fun of Dane Cook, but not Louis.”  And I feel like that all the time in comedy now.  Like there is an acceptable way to question or challenge things in comedy.  I don’t think there is, as long as it is either valid or funny.  Or ideally, both.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic (http://righteouspk NULL.podomatic NULL.com/)iTunes (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/podcast/righteous-p***k-w-j-l-cauvin/id504139550?mt=2) and NOW on STITCHER (http://www NULL.stitcher NULL.com/podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin-podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin?refid=stpr). New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free!



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Comedy Weekend Recap: The Knicks, Adam Sandler and a C-Bomb

This weekend was a very busy one for me.  First I had to take my Dad to Dunkin’ Donuts on Friday for an afternoon of father-which-son-of-mine-are-you bonding (he is 82 and like Tony Soprano’s mother I am starting to see a blur between loss of memory and loss of respect for his younger son, which is making it more difficult to know when I should be sympathetic and when I should be offended).  Then I was #blessed enough to have  a friend with some serious comedy connections hook me up last minute with great seats to the NY Knicks-Utah Jazz game (if you are new to my site I am a big Utah Jazz fan – coming from a mixed marriage family marked by hostility I always found the harmony that Malone and Stockton played with to be oddly reassuring).  The seats actually belonged to a major mogul in comedy, so naturally I taped my impression reel underneath his seat for the next game he attends himself.

One of the great things about attending Knick games in the rich seats is that you get to see 12 year old kids with pouty looks begrudgingly marching into Madison Square Garden for tickets costing over $400 per game as if they are doing their fathers a favor leaving their PS4 and horny middle school teacher to sit in seats most American adults will never be able to afford.  Another thing I observed during the game was that t-shirt gun technology is out of control.  As gun violence has continued to make headlines it has given cover to the absurd NRA-porn level t-shirt gun technology.  There was one that looked like a massive Gatling gun of polyester.  It is only a matter of time until 11 year old Seth has a t-shirt smack him right in his smug 4th row seat face.  Then we may see real change to this horrific t-shirt gun technology.

Jesse Ventura's character in Predator used less firepower than the Knick T Shirt Gun Squad

The game ended up being a horrible beat down of the Utah Jazz, but it was nice to be in the rich seats.  I now realize that the next time I will be that close to the court will either be as a courtside celebrity (.01% chance) or as a survivor of a horrible tragedy being honored by the Garden (.02% chance).

Saturday was a monster Saturday.  From 745am to 430 pm I was filming my new sketch “Happy Madison Presents ‘Tyler Perry’s ‘ Old Testament, New Problems’” a parody of what would happen if film legends Adam Sandler and Tyler Perry combined their brilliant writing and film-making.  The shoot was exhausting (4 locations), but a ton of fun and will be my best (and hopefully biggest) work to date.  Here is the photo that will be the promo shot for the video:

Tyler Perry vs Adam Sandler - next week

So super tired and relieved of the stress that I always feel when filming one of my sketches I headed to Comedy Outliers, a show run by two NYC comics at the Sports Bar at Webster Hall.  The crowd was big and enthusiastic and several audience members had a look of hopeful happiness in their eyes and that is when I knew it might go off the rails for me.  I was tired and had just witnessed an awful mother-daughter combo a block from the bar.  Let me explain.  I was tired, which put me in a susceptible mood to be pissed off.  Then, a cab was stuck in the crossing traffic so although I had the right of way I let the cab go because not letting him go would hold up the 20 cars waiting to go north on the avenue.  As the cab started to go forward the mother-daughter duo stepped into traffic, oblivious to the rest of the situation. The mother was a formerly attractive blond (she was halfway to leathery Robert Redford stage) and her daughter was a semi-chubby 13 year old brunette (i.e. a slightly hotter Lena Dunham). And the daughter yelled out out “Excuse me!” to the cab driver, and the mother pointed for a good three seconds at the walk sign (cab driver was going about 6mph so no one was in any danger).  And as I looked at these two – a woman who had most likely married a less attractive, more accomplished man, otherwise how does one explain the daughter with worse looks, but equally awful character as her, and her offspring and thought – this is just like the Evolution of Man poster, except instead it is like seeing the Evolution of Cu*t.

Why did I share this story?  Because I took a risk and made it the first joke of my set.  And I actually had the crowd in a combination of curiosity and laughter until I hit the C bomb.  And that look of hopeful enthusiasm half of the crowd had disappeared and the four laughs for the line could not heal the damage I felt from the other people’s silence.  I worked doubly hard the rest of the set, but jokes that are touchy, but usually kill, were now tainted by the fruit of the poisonous C-Bomb tree.

After conversing with a couple of comedians I left the bar, bought a Hostess Apple Pie and did this (the usual way I celebrate after a less than perfect set):

YouTube Preview Image (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=39PtSR9wKfg)

Sunday was just lots of media watching and I will not get into True Detective today because TOMORROW”s Podcast episode will be dedicated, in part, to me arguing against the wave of love for that show (a B+ is solid, but when everyone treats it like an A, I get pissed).

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic (http://righteouspk NULL.podomatic NULL.com/)iTunes (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/podcast/righteous-p***k-w-j-l-cauvin/id504139550?mt=2) and NOW on STITCHER (http://www NULL.stitcher NULL.com/podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin-podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin?refid=stpr). New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free!



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Road Comedy Recap: Mohegan Sun Casino – Always Bet Against Half-Black

This past weekend I was performing at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Wilkes-Barre, PA (normally I post my comedy recaps on Monday, but had to bump up this week’s Oscar recap podcast to Monday).  I always love doing casino gigs. Not because they are always great crowds, but because even the weirdest, crappiest (pun intended), in the middle of nowhere casino still has a standard level of accommodations that shame almost all other road comedy accommodations.  It is a sliding scale of trade offs that comedians often have to do: Hey this club is great (no room); hey this club is really good (semen stained comedy condo accommodations); hey this club sucks! (can’t wait to be back because you put me up in a Hampton Inn and I am desperate for money). But casinos are always a win, no matter how good or bad the crowds are (the crowds were solid at MSWB, so this is not a tease to some nightmare story from the weekend).  So here is the recap:

The Bus

I took the Martz Trailways bus to Wilkes-Barre.  Always a good sign when Greyhound tells a town, “No, we are either to scared to travel to your town or your town is too insignificant for Greyhound to service.”  The bus trip was uneventful, but the Martz Trailways bus depot in Wilkes-Barre was anything but uneventful.  It made the average crowd at NYC’s Port Authority Bus Terminal  look like the cast of Downton Abbey.  It looked like the people from The Hills Have Eyes had had an orgy of unprotected sex a few decades ago with the zombies from The Walking Dead.  The kind of sad that makes you feel sorry for some of the people if you were not also simultaneously frightened.

The Casino

The casino was really really nice (other than the stream of tobacco entering my lungs).  All the accommodations were great, the buffet was delicious (though I did flaunt my comedy wealth by eating at Johnny Rockets one night), but rather than tell you here are some pics of some of the highlights:

My TV at the Mohegan Sun heard I was on my way.

 

No more paper signs for Mohegan Sun! Now room service can ignore an electronic do not disturb signal.

 

The diner next to the casino was delicious. And made for people 6'3" and shorter.

 

When you sell 2 CDs the night before what else do you do besides spend that money immediately on room service breakfast?

The Shows

The first show on Friday was solid. Sold zero CDs, but delivered at least 40 firm handshakes after the show.  I was still feeling the effects of a cold and was a little lower energy than normal, but I still, like any veteran entertainer, blame the crowd for me not selling well.  Crowd was good though.  The second show (Saturday) though was a full house (450 versus show #1′s 150) and was great.  Other than the woman who kept muttering possible hate speech about President Obama before I did my impression they were a great crowd, as evidenced by the two CDs I sold after the show. That is an increase of INFINITE percent over the zero I sold on show 1.  Then I was paid cash by the club and managed to walk by all the tables without losing any of the money before leaving the casino the next morning. #Hero

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic (http://righteouspk NULL.podomatic NULL.com/)iTunes (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/podcast/righteous-p***k-w-j-l-cauvin/id504139550?mt=2) and NOW on STITCHER (http://www NULL.stitcher NULL.com/podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin-podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin?refid=stpr). New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free!



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Go Back In Time