Skip to content

Colin Farrell May Be The MVP of the Summer

Now that NBA season is done and Lebron James’ heroics fell short we have entered the period of time where dumb movies and baseball dominate our entertainment lives.  In other words, it is a very sad time for many people, even if you ignore the oppressive heat that is coming (the opposite of Game of Thrones).  But in this time of hopelessness it appears a hero may have arisen from the ashes of Stannis Baratheon’s daughter on HBO.  It is not The Rock, though Ballers, for all it’s clear flaws did hold my attention. And it is not The Brink, which also seems to be on the line of potentially fun/potentially a disaster. No the hero comes from a place I never expected it: Colin Farrell.

Colin Farrell was the pretty boy of the moment around 2003(?) or 2006(?) – I really don’t know. he was Irish, and douchey-handsome and women seemed to like him even though his acting was inconsistent and his box office track record sort of shoddy.  And it seemed like no Hollywood dramatic A-listers wanted to follow the McConnaughey-Harrelson season. so the show put together a patchwork quilt of “eh.”  Vince “I really need a hit before my Libertarian politics bury my career for good” Vaughn as the bad guy, Rachel “I am out of my depths, but I am tired of being the nice girl” McAdams as the tough girl cop, Taylor “I’ve had more shots as a leading man than 10 qualified black actors and Steve Howe combined” Kitsch as the cop who has a past we don’t car about and the aforementioned mustachioed Farrell. Now I mention the mustache for the simple reason that the last time Farrell prominently displayed a mustache he was in my “Worst Movie of 2006″ Miami Vice.  But in a weird bit of foreshadowing, I though Farrell was the best part of Miami Vice (contrast with Jamie Foxx, whose performance prompted me to demand that he return his Oscar for Ray).

Well, the comparison that came to mind while watching Farrell was Lebron James.  Lebron was in a great no-lose situation with the Cavs in the NBA Finals.  He had a poor (though still underrated cast, since most people talked about them like they were the silver medalists at the Special Olympics) set of teammates with his two best injured, he could showcase his talents fully and if they won he was the greatest and if they lost, he had still done what just about no human could have done.  I was skeptical of Farrell, but after last night’s episode I see that he both brought it AND was given a great set of circumstances.

First, unlike basketball, an ensemble helps your performance.  Farrell does not need to do 50 minutes of acting, he simply needs to steal the show in 15 minutes (I guess more like a game 3 Matthew Dellavedova), but he does just that. He delivers rage and creepiness that is so on point it is almost funny (in a good way).  I will not spoil his lines for you so you can enjoy them yourself. #hero

Second, the show seems to have taken a nosedive in structure and quality.  It is just gloomy and to be honest when there weren’t exposed breasts or Colin Farrell on camera I sort of drifted in and out of the plot.  So like Lebron, Farrell has a better landscape to perform in for personal glory.

Third, they give Farrell’s character (can’t remember his name, don’t really care) a fat, red-headed son.  This is like Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love being injured.  I don’t even know how Farrell could produce a fat ginger kid (I was reminded after posting this that the kid appeared to have been the product of a rape, presumably with a fat ginger rapist), but it makes his son the target of bullies, which allows Farrell to a) bully his fat ginger kid into telling him who took his kid’s Lebron sneakers (SEE THE PARALLEL IS RIGHT THERE – last year had the Yellow King, this year it is King James)and b) attack the father of the kid who bullied FGK and then yell expletives and sexual threats… to a 12 years old.

Fourth, Colin Farrell does deliver. Last night was not quite a 40 point, 16 assist, 13 rebound type game, but it was like a 27 point, 5 steal performance off the bench.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the creators of TD2 were calling everyone in today after the social media response (and the Righteous Prick bump) and just re-working the last 6 episodes to focus on the Dad beating, kid cursing, fat ginger kid having sonofabitch (sorry Ballers has me writing in the style of The Rock).

So in summary, though I feel like the gloomy nothingness of season two of True Detective will yield no awards and no praise, it is a time for Farrell to step up and reclaim his popularity (which I am not quite sure why he ever had it) and the show seems to be giving him the chance. And if he can make 9 more episode of this watchable, then he will be the real MVP.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/podcast/righteous-p***k-w-j-l-cauvin/id504139550?mt=2) and/or 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 for free!



No Comments Yet - Add a Comment



Lebron is the Greatest, but Hakeem Already Did THIS in 1994

I have spent the last 8 years of my hoops fan life calling Lebron the greatest player of all time. His combination of Magic Johnson skills, and a size and athleticism combination suggesting an evolutionary leap forward made it obvious to me.  And then for 4 years I wrote and podcasted his greatness to death post-The Decision, mainly because of the obviousness of his talent and the hypocrisy of non-Cleveland basketball fans who seemed to only express outrage at Lebron’s disloyalty because he was not disloyal with them (hi Knick fans).  So it is sort of bittersweet to see Lebron getting so much respect and credit now from people with low basketball IQs who could not fully appreciate Lebron’s greatness until they had 100% proof in the form of this year’s Finals run (a LOT of people on my Facebook feed qualify).  Was he not the greatest of all time last year when he played great, but was severely under-matched against a brilliant and hungry Spurs team? Well now everyone is back on the Lebron bandwagon more than ever before and it has forced me to point out a fact amidst this love fest narrative: Lebron may be doing something Michael Jordan never did (potentially winning a finals without a stud second banana), but what Lebron is doing is NOT unprecedented.  It happened in 1994 and was done by Hakeem Olajuwon.

In 1994 Hakeem Olajuwon took a team of journeymen and young, not yet developed talent on his back and carried them to a 7 game win over the Knicks (hi Knick fans) in the Finals.  He averaged 28 ppg, more than double the next best playoff average on his team. And let’s look at his roster:

  • Vernon Maxwell
  • Robert Horry (rookie year)
  • Kenny Smith
  • Otis Thorpe
  • Sam Cassell (rookie year)
  • Mario Elie

Wow – doesn’t that roster inspire fear???  Not one all star on the team. Not sure if Thorpe ever made an all star team and I was informed on social media this morning debating this point that Sam Cassell made one all star team… in 2004.  So the idea that no player has ever done what Lebron has done is plain false.  Sorry, I have defended him and love watching him play, but facts are facts.  And watching this finals aren’t the Cavs sort of displaying the same sort of unlikely heroes that the Rockets sort of did?  Granted both supporting casts benefit from playing with a top 10 all time player, but let’s look at it:

  • Dellavadova is playing as great as any role player in Finals history.  And it is not all because of Lebron. The man is on every lose ball like one of those annoying guys trying to impress the coach.
  • Tristan Thompson is rebounding like the spirit of Dennis Rodman is inside him
  • Timofey Mozgov is proving to be a competent center (Hi Knick fans). Not an all star, but solid in the post, able to hit clutch free throws (game 1) and a legitimate rim protector
  • JR Smith and Iman Shumpert (just to say hi Knick fans), but isnt JR Smith basically Vernon Maxwell?

My point is this: I freely admit that this Cavs supporting cast wouldn’t win 30 games without Lebron, but neither would that 1994 Rockets team.  So let’s enjoy Lebron’s run as potentially the greatest finals performance ever, but what he is doing is not completely unprecedented.  Hakeem may have operated int he shadow of Michael Jordan’s departure, but it is no reason to bury his legacy under the ascension of Lebron James.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/podcast/righteous-p***k-w-j-l-cauvin/id504139550?mt=2) and/or 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 for free!



No Comments Yet - Add a Comment



The Weekend of Melissa, Lebron and Stannis

I gave a positive review of a Melissa McCarthy movie. I was rooting against Lebron while it seems most people I know are now rooting for him.  Comedians were on social media criticizing Stannis Baratheon (Game of Thrones SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) for using his child to advance his career.  Any one of those things in a decade would be enough to justify me writing a post (first one in just under a month – I believe a record for lack of productivity for me), but they all happened in the span of four days.  I am not sure what to make of all these, but I need to break out of my blogless slump so here goes.

First off, last week I saw a screening of Spy with Melissa McCarthy.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, which thoroughly surprised me.  The critical praise has been big and the movie opened up at #1 at the box office.  I offered a solid (first positive review of the Summer) and slightly shorter review than usual of the film and even posted it two days early.  The result?  My least watched review of the last year. The message is clear – call J-L a negative and bitter observer of entertainment… and then don’t watch when he likes a movie.  Call J-L sexist… but don’t watch a glowing review of a film centered around a strong and funny female lead.  That’s right critics of this critic – time for you to look in the mirror.  Welp, I guess next week I will have to take a verbal dump on Jurassic World…

YouTube Preview Image (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=h565ItIldik)

Then there is watching the social media reversal on Lebron James.  I spent 4 years writing posts (some of which got shared a ton) and recording some podcasts defending Lebron going to Miami, but more importantly as his place as the game’s best player (I have been saying he is the best since 2007).  But then something happened.  After beating up on the eastern conference that everyone said sucked many more people joined the “Lebron is the best… time to recognize… I think the Warriors have no chance…”  in the last few weeks, which feels insane.  And it all happened as Lebron began spouting insecure platitudes like a Teddy Ruxpin whose string you pull and he only says 4 phrases:

  • I have to teach my team to win
  • I am a leader 
  • I’ve been there
  • It’s a process

Basically it looks like he took Rosetta Stone Erik Spoelstra during his four years in Miami and brought fluency in sports cliches to Cleveland… and the fans love it!  I preferred Lebron wearing the black hat and forcing his greatness down the throats of haters.  If I can give the devil his due, at least Kobe has not taken off his black hat since he put it on in 2004.  But last night Lebron won me back. I still want Golden State to win, because the most important thing to me is being right and I predicted GSW in 5, but Lebron won me back with last night’s performance.  I am not talking about his inefficient, but stat sheet stuffing performance. Rather I am talking about his explosion of exuberant rage at the conclusion of the game and the fact that he was too tired and drained to spew cliches in the post game interview.  I loved that!  He got away with several travels in the game, but he was hacked badly so bad late in the game that the ref should have blown a rape whistle that I enjoyed seeing him enraged with happiness (possible album title for me?).  I hope Lebron keeps it up so no matter who wins I can be happy.  But if he starts mentioning his own leadership again I will slide back firmly into Golden State’s camp.  But to the morons on social media (majority of people): Lebron is and has been the best. Him defeating the Hawks with a shitty cast should not have been what pushed you over the edge.  Nor should 4 Finals appearances with the Heat. He has been the best individual player since 2007.  But to the knee jerkers who also will inevitably start calling Steph Curry a bust or not great if he fails to win the title – The Warriors are a great team. Not a very good one. A great one.  And Steph Curry is a top 5 player in the NBA.  Just facts.  Anything else regarding Lebron, the Warriors and Curry is open for conversation, but the respective greatness of those three parties is not.

Lebron stops with the cliches and let's his rage out! YES!

But the biggest moment in entertainment for me this weekend was episode 9 of Game of Thrones this weekend.  I have always identified with Stannis Baratheon.  If you don’t know who he is, see if my description of him sounds familiar.  He is an angry and dark person, who is generally right about his career but has not attained his goal yet.  His goal is to be King because he is the rightful heir to the throne.  And last night (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) he had his daughter, who he loves, burned alive because it will likely give him the power to succeed at war.  Apart from my horror all I could think was, if only I had a daughter… is that what Comedy Central execs are looking for?

But of course the social media reaction, including from comedians, was pretty much universal condemnation. Huh?  The community that exploits pics of their kids for laughs and likes across the Internet is mad at Stannis for simply using his kid the way the Native American uses the buffalo?  You use all of it or it is a waste.  I, for one, am doubling down on my support of Stannis.  Sure you don’t like his attitude or his methods, but he is the rightful king and it can’t be an easy choice to torch your daughter so at least no one can tell him that he isn’t working hard enough.  Perhaps if it doesn’t work though Stannis’ next course of action will be to secure management. OK, maybe I made this a little too personal.

In other news, this week’s podcast will go up Wednesday because this Tuesday is the launch of my new video 12 Years A Bringer.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/podcast/righteous-p***k-w-j-l-cauvin/id504139550?mt=2) and/or 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 for free!



No Comments Yet - Add a Comment



American Idol Cancelled! But Singing Refugees Can Seek Asylum in Comedy Open Mics

After 15 years, American Idol has been cancelled by Fox.  The show has produced six legitmate stars (Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry, Carrie Underwood, Adam Lambert and Phillip Phillips), hundreds of blooper reels and tens of thousands of delusional singers.   Well, with the mother of all singing competition shows obliterated (granted a haggard looking mother after several childbirths now ditched by the Dad of American TV ratings for the younger and hotter trophy wife known as The Voice) there will be a refugee crisis to rival that of the exodus from Syria over the last couple of years. I am, of course, writing about where the literally millions (AND MILLIONS – Rock voice) of singers in America will go now that one of their homes has been destroyed.  I tweeted a couple of years ago that if America could figure out how to turn aspiring singers hopes and/or delusions into energy we would be able to provide clean energy (well almost clean – there is bound to be some unprotected sex between singers and managers/producers) to the world for decades.  Well fortunately there is a place where failed singers… and just failed people in general can find a home – stand up comedy!

Like Jesus feeding 5,000 people in the story of the fishes and the loaves, stand up comedy seems to have an unlimited space for people who want to perform (and upon the first unpaid performance change their career listing on Facebook).   So come on singers!  Join the world of comedy.  You aren’t making money as a singer so comedy will simply be a lateral move.  Plus you will probably have some stage charisma and might be fu*kable looking which are two of the top four things you need to make a splash in comedy right now.  The other two are youth and being related to Bill D’Elia.

So if you are a waiter or waitress or unemployed person with a great singing voice in reality or just in your shower, google comedy open mics in your city and join the community of stand up comedy.  It honestly doesn’t matter if you have any experience or even a sense of humor.  Being funny is only one of literally dozens of avenues to success in comedy in 2015.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/podcast/righteous-p***k-w-j-l-cauvin/id504139550?mt=2) and/or 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 for free!



No Comments Yet - Add a Comment



Clouds, Carolla and Cauvin – The West Coast Travel Journal

This week I took a break from staring at emails and contracts on a computer for 10 hours a day for a much needed working vacation.  I have not been on a vacation since 2010, though travelling for comedy can sometimes feel like a half a vacation… until you get your paycheck and realize it is not half a vacation, but half a job and you need something else to pay your bills.  But I digress.  I was excited to come out west.  It had been cloudy and cool in NYC and I was pale from a winter and early spring spent inside of law firm offices, so heading out to Los Angeles, a place so Sunny and warm that the state has a historic drought, was sure to change both my mood and my skin tone, right? Wrong.

The day I left for LA (Monday) New York was experiencing 80 degree sunny weather.  LA? 60 and cloudy the whole day.  I failed to pack anything with long sleeves, which was a big mistake since my first show Monday night was at a bar on Venice Beach right next to the Pacific Ocean.  The only things making a bigger statement on stage than my comedy set were my protruding frozen nipples.  It was then that I realized that I may very well be The Nothing from the 80s movie The Neverending Story.  Gloom and clouds follow me everywhere while I leave a warm sunny paradise in my wake (the rest of the week is supposed to be cloudy in LA followed by 80s and Sun next week). (for more funny details of my trip to LA and a quick review of Ex Machina check out this week’s short episode of my podcast here (http://www NULL.stitcher NULL.com/podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin/e/37900896?autoplay=true))

Tuesday was cloudier than Tuesday but it was the big day of the trip – another appearance on The Adam Carolla Show where in addition to getting to work with the great staff there and the Podfather, they also have a free vending machine (it makes you feel like a civilized looter).  Normally I only take one item, but on Tuesday I went all out and took TWO packs of Lorna Doone cookies (as I have been listing many ways I am getting older in my stand up I think my growing love of Lorna Doone cookies can be added).  The episode (http://adamcarolla NULL.com/jl-cauvin-2/) went well and they played a bit of my new Carolla-themed sketch video. Enjoy it here:

YouTube Preview Image (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=_KYcg34AYLg)

I then celebrated after Carolla the way I have celebrated every Carolla appearance… with a coma inducing meal at The Cheesecake Factory (some happy hour drinks, sliders, salmon, mashed potatoes, broccoli and a large piece of Oreo Diabetes Never See Your Penis Again If You Eat This Too Often Cheesecake),  My friend Nick and I then drove around Hollywood for a while counting the number of Chris D’Elia billboards (5,988 at last count).

So now I sit here in my boxer briefs writing this, staring out my window at a third day of cloudy LA. I headline Flappers tonight in Burbank (check my Twitter for link to free tickets) and will be writing sketches and material inside… things I could have done in NYC… but with more Sun #Blessed

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/podcast/righteous-p***k-w-j-l-cauvin/id504139550?mt=2) and/or 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 for free!



No Comments Yet - Add a Comment



Will Forte is the James Harden of Comedy (and more NBA-Comedy Analogies)

The NBA playoffs have started, my DVR is full and my blog is in need of words so this week’s episode is a useless, but incredibly insightful comparison of NBA stars and people in comedy.  This hit me while watching The Last Man on Earth on Fox a few weeks ago.  It is a very good show starring Will Forte, formerly of SNL fame.  The show is the latest strong Forte product post SNL.  He did MacGruber (you must ignore all signs on-line that it was bad – the movie is hysterical), then he got nominated for an Oscar for Nebraska and now he has created a critically acclaimed show on Fox.  If Bill Hader had produced this streak of post SNL content it would not have surprised me, but Forte had never really made me laugh much on SNL during his tenure. But now, it is clear that SNL was holding him back.  Hence the James Harden example, though even Harden had showed more flashes of stardom on the Oklahoma City Thunder than Forte did on SNL.  For you NBA ignorant folk James Harden was the third wheel on a very talented Oklahoma City Thunder team and was undervalued by OKC so they traded him to the Houston Rockets. A few years later Harden is a top 3 MVP candidate and the Oklahoma City Thunder is out of the playoffs (I hate how singular named teams are referred to in the singular e.g. the Knicks ARE but the Heat IS).

Similarly Forte has been killing it since leaving SNL and SNL is out of the playoffs.  Perhaps just as good an analogy might be Tracy McGrady leaving Toronto before reaching superstar level and then winning two scoring titles with the Orlando Magic (BUT JAMES HARDEN IS BETTER FOR CLICKS ON THE INTERNET SO I WILL STICK WITH THAT COMPARISON FOR THE TITLE).  So in that spirit here are some other useless NBA-comedy analogies to honor the kick off of the NBA playoffs:

Bill Burr is Russell Westbrook – One of the dominant talents of his or any generation and a study in barely controllable rage within his respective field, Burr is clearly the Westbrook of comedy.  The same way Kevin Durant overshadowed (perhaps unfairly, perhaps not) Westbrook, Louis CK overshadowed his fellow ginger until very recently.  But no more.

Stephen Colbert is Steph Curry – unquestionable talents who never cease to exceed expectations, partly because of being undervalued early in their careers. But with Golden State primed for a finals run and Colbert primed to take over The Late Show these two are now at the top of their fields.

Kevin Hart is Kobe Bryant (last 2 seasons only) – Both take tons of shots and don’t make many hits.  Here is a fun game for 2016 – what will be higher: number of movies Kevin Hart makes or number of 30+ shot games 37 year old Kobe Bryant has?  Both should be retired by 2017.

Mark Wahlberg’s manager is Greg Popovich – Wahlberg not a comedy star, but I think it bears comparison if only to highlight Popovich’s greatness.  Wahlberg’s manager took a criminal from Boston with a goofy wigger persona and turned him into an A-list, Oscar nominated star.  Popovich has turned a bunch of overlooked foreign players and a bunch of NBA refuse into an inexplicably high performing team for 15 years.

Eric Andre is Giannis Antetokounpo – Giannis is simply known as “The Greek Freak,” an exciting, how-high-is-his-potential type player who seems to be one of the most physically gifted people in a league full of physically gifted people.  Please see the picture below for why Eric Andre gets him as the comparison.  Showing up in more and more TV shows and movies every year, the ceiling is high for Andre, but like The Greek Freak, only time will tell how far his physical antics take him.

John Oliver is Rudy Gobert – Foreigner who emerged very recently as a potential game changer.

Amy Schumer is Chris Paul – a star in her own right, she is well known for helping out many comedy friends.  I guess I could have called Mark Normand, Schumer’s opening act, the DeAndre Jordan of comedy since they have become rising stars thanks in part to assists from their point guards.

Louis CK is Lebron James – Though their reigns are in the down turn phase there can be no denying that they still sit atop everyone’s current list in their respective fields.  And they are both bald when unaided by hair treatments.

J-L Cauvin is Anthony Davis – Who else could I be, but the next great star of the NBA with versatility and still relative obscurity?  Height, versatility and many years from a title – perfect fit. #Blessed

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/podcast/righteous-p***k-w-j-l-cauvin/id504139550?mt=2) and/or 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 for free!



No Comments Yet - Add a Comment



11 Headlines You Will See with a Hillary Clinton Presidency

Yesterday the biggest surprise announcement since “the sky is blue” occurred when Hillary Clinton announced she was running for President in 2016.  There are several obstacles in Clinton’s way, the biggest one that America hates a presumptive nominee this far in advance.  American voters like to feel that they matter, even if it means shunning the qualified candidate to make a statement (e.g. the 2000 election should not have even been that close, whether you think GW Bush actually won or not).  But the nomination and election are still a ways away so I think now is a good time to anticipate some of the headlines and click bait that are sure to arise if Clinton is elected president.  Other than ruining men’s perfect 44-0 record of presidents, click bait may be the biggest reason I choose to not vote for Clinton. After all, minimum wage increases, Pacific trade deals and Middle East violence are much less part of my life than Facebook and Twitter click bait articles. So here are some titles you are likely to see from liberal and conservative sources:

1) Middle East leader refuses to shake President Clinton’s hand because she is a woman. What she does next is AWESOME! – Upworthy.  I put this at 117% chance of occurring

2) #YesAllPantSuits will become a hashtag after some conservative bloggers and Elizabeth Hasselbeck criticize her wardrobe one too many times.

3) The Bitch is Back?! – Controversy after GOP fundraiser featuring several GOP nominees plays Elton John’s song upon hearing that Clinton has secured the nomination. After a major backlash, Metallica agrees to play a Clinton fundraiser blaring their song Aint My Bitch to the crowd’s delight.  GOP commentators on Fox then blast Metallica and Clinton claiming hypocrisy. Discussion quickly moves on to how black people shouldn’t use the N word either.

4) Breaking The Glass Floor – mean article about Hillary gaining weight while on the campaign trail

5) Dy-nasty – NY Daily News headline when Bill inevitable takes off the gloves (and perhaps his pants) to defend Hillary against comments, probably by either Ted Cruz or Chris Christie once she secures the nomination.

6) 17 Times Hillary Caught Bill Cheating… and did NOTHING – yes this old chestnut will be re-packaged with 2015 click bait sensibilities by one of those fringe conservative Facebook pages.

7) 19 Other Women Who Should Have Been Our First Female President – inevitably boredom, dissatisfaction or some other bitter emotion will overcome the Internet and Jezebel will post some list of women, presumably including Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Chelsea Handler, who were overlooked for the job before Hillary’s rise to power.

8) You Won’t Believe These Younger Pics of Hillary – Babe Alert! – Some site will located a few decent pics of young Hillary Rodham and declare her a babe at which point a feminist site will post less than a week later…

9) What if We Judged Male Presidential nominees like Hillary???

10) Why Hillary Clinton is the Worst President Ever – After all she may not be black, but she won’t give the GOP even that 6 month grace period of “I’m popular and have a mandate, but let’s see if we can work together on 1990s Republican ideas about defense and health care” that President Obama foolishly tried.  So their anger may equal or exceed that for Barack.  And for good measure:

11) Why Michelle Obama would be a better President than Hillary - Oh come on – you know this one will show up sometime between today and 2018.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/podcast/righteous-p***k-w-j-l-cauvin/id504139550?mt=2) and/or 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 for free!



No Comments Yet - Add a Comment



The New Wave of Harmless Diversity in Comedy

In law school (what a pretentious way to begin a blog post about comedy) we studied, among hundreds, the case Bakke v. Regents of California.  It was a 1970s case where the Supreme Court took on affirmative action for the first time.  It ruled that although racial quotas were unconstitutional in college admissions, using race as a “plus factor” was allowed, with the vision, correct in my estimation, that different races can provide different perspectives and value to a college experience that can benefit all students.  The sharing of different experiences and the exposure to people who many do not meet regularly in a largely segregated society (America as a whole, so please don’t tell me about how your neighborhood is different Astoria comedians!) is of value, as is addressing some inequities ingrained in our society.  Perhaps you do not believe in race based classifications of any kind and if that is the case thank you for reading my blog angry white person or Clarence Thomas.  But I think, on the whole, racial diversity is important for various reasons, exposure, familiarity and diversity of life experiences all making up its relevant components.

Last week I had a show in Brooklyn in front of a fairly mixed crowd, racially speaking.  Normally when I am doing material with either racially infused commentary or racial insensitivity I preface some of that material with autobiographical details. I discuss my mixed race heritage (Haitian father, Irish mother) which seems to set people more at ease to laugh and/or think about my material.  But on Thursday I opted to go right for one of my better bits of the last couple of years on black bouncers.  Here it is on YouTube from the DC Improv last October:

YouTube Preview Image (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=LGrCllt3gpg)

For the DC Improv crowd I had already prefaced it with my personal details, but last week I went right into the bit with no details (and because Winter has just ended and I cannot afford a tanning bed session, let alone a sunny vacation, I am at my lightest skin coloring possible).  And the response was the most mediocre it has ever been for the joke.  The crowd laughed/unclenched their progressive butt holes when I concluded the bit with “Maybe I should have prefaced that with telling you that my father is black. My mother just happens to be Irish which is the hateful bleach of racial mixing so I came out like this. But now maybe you can start laughing because a half black guy is talking about racism instead of the hateful guinea you think I am.”

(Now mind you laughs persisted even though I had dropped a blatant Italian slur, despite having no Italian heritage, unless you consider seeing The Godfather 40 times Italian).  Not to mention that the bit is really about the lingering and hidden racism of white people (or the perception of it – you decide), which you think might play better in a hip Brooklyn space.

In a career of frustrating false starts and setbacks this was a weird one. Granted it was one show, but in 12 years of performing I have noticed that my material and opinions, which usually stand on solid comedic and logical premises require some sort of checked box before I can share them with most crowds, especially crowds today.  I have a handful of sets I can recall where I have done material (mind you, I never drop N bombs or anything like that) without offering my racial identity ahead of time and they have all been less well received than when I do mention my racial bona fides.  Sometimes I refrain from explaining context if I think a joke should stand on its own, regardless of who is telling it, just to spite an audience, rather than pander to their preconceptions of what should be said and who should say it.  Sadly, these experiences have made me realize more than ever, pursuant to some discussions I have had on my podcast with comedian Josh Homer, that comedy audiences (and the industry for sure) now crave useless, or at least harmless diversity more than ever.  Let me explain.

In the Supreme Court example previously mentioned, diversity was not intended as its own end. Instead, diversity’s importance stemmed from the exchange of ideas, of perspectives, of experiences and opinions that would make diversity useful and desired.  And yes, there was, and still is, the idea of addressing certain socially ingrained problems and offering redress through diversity.  But now throughout society and inside comedy in particular it seems we want the presence of diversity, without any real substance to it. The visual of diversity has become paramount and feels more important than the meaning within it.  President Obama, who avoided race, much to the chagrin of some of his black and liberal supporters, immediately become a race baiter/hustler/divisive when he addressed the Trayvon Martin case in personal tones, years into his administration.  Eric Holder, who has been the racial issues pit bull for the Obama administration is reviled by the GOP.   We are so post racial that we get very angry when anyone actually gets racial.

In comedy it has been an interesting swing.  The new preview for Last Comic Standing seems to have accelerated the push for diversity from last year.  Last year featured a lot more color than previous years. There have been articles about a new wave of black male comedians steeped less in racial narratives and more in nerd and alt sensibilities. It seems to be a high water mark for diversity, especially black, in comedy, except it seems there are no new Chris Rocks (he dropped Bring The Pain at the age of 31). It seems the best path to rise from obscurity today in comedy seems to be a black guy who rarely discusses anything about being black unless it is innocuous or if it is used to mock black people (hi Key and Peele).  One need only open a newspaper or watch a news program to realize that racial issues are still at the forefront of American culture whether we wish them to be or not. And comics, who are so quick to cite their role as mirrors on society when defending their mocking the death of a celebrity in tweets, seem to be less likely to engage in some of these issues now.

Before I continue, I don’t want what I am saying and about to say to be confused for its simpler and uglier cousin “Hey, why can’t we just pick the funniest people and leave it at that.”  That is an easy cop out to defend the status quo in terms of opportunity and voice.  Just like the Rooney rule in the NFL, which requires teams to interview at least one coach of color before picking a coach, sometimes it is necessary to introduce new people and groups into the spotlight because the process has largely ignored them.  Keeping things fair and color blind will lead to no opportunities because one group has such a definitive, and in many ways unfair head start.

Now I must say that no one comedian can or should be required to deliver any kind of message or comedy. A comedian must be free to explore their own voice and that voice does not need to be, nor should it be required to be, some bullhorn for social issues.  But when the industry, in the aggregate, begins supporting a comedy whose mere pigment is supposed to represent a message, while muting or not presenting more defiant voices, that is an easy way out for audiences and industry alike.  Obviously W. Kamau Bell (admittedly never watched, but certainly observed the way it was marketed) and Larry Wilmore represented some of what I am thinking about, but Bell is off the air and Wilmore’s show has quickly diverted to a whole range of topics, perhaps because it doesn’t want to alienate people too much, or perhaps it is still too small a sample size to draw any conclusions.  But these are not the wave of new black comics people are raving about anyway.

Of course I do not know every single black comedian, but I do know the type the industry seems to be grabbing for with both hands.  We want to see diversity, but in comedy what we see is less important than what we hear and it seems that we hear a lot less than we see.  When one considers the tradition from Pryor to Rock to Chappelle it is striking to see that the fastest way to success now seems to be as a black comedian who avoids challenging people on race, especially in light of all that is occurring in our society today.  There have always been black comedians who did not make their act race based, but there were also comics who did because in America that is still something worth exploring and challenging.  I won’t make a field slave/house slave comparison (that would be as hyperbolic as the hundreds of people and things that get compared to Hitler on a weekly basis), but when the emerging landscape seems to be black comics who avoid these topics there is either a wholesale abandoning of a perspective by the industry, or a pandering by artists to be what the industry seeks. And neither is very positive in the aggregate.

This brings me back to my bit (what would my blog be without some self-aggrandizing).  A lot of my material over the last few years has been about my perspective as a (to a majority of people) white looking guy who has a black father to dissect some of the things I have seen.  But it seems like a lose-lose-lose situation. If I tell the crowd I am half black it gives me the perceived racial standing to criticize from within, but then it can be uncomfortable for people, usually white, who don’t want to be lectured on the persistence of racism from a guy whose face appears to have “white privilege,” even if he claims a different heritage.   If I don’t announce my racial background the reaction can be even more stand offish, often from both sides of the pigment aisle, even though my opinions tend to be left of center on all things racial.  The only perspective left is to pretend to be a hostile, conservative white comic who is “truth telling” to the masses with “I’m not afraid/I went there” posturing, except then I would not be true to myself or my actual feelings since the few comic voices that lean that way tend to be somewhere between conservative and racist.

I just think between my experiences in life and as a comedian and observing the trends taking hold in comedy (bearded non sequitur spewers have now given way to black/ethnic, “but there’s nothing different about us” comics in the passing of the “what industry is desperate for” torch) diversity doesn’t and shouldn’t mean abandonning or disregarding social commentary.  Perhaps the rise of politically correct watchdogs in comedy coupled with the rise of alternative comedy have created less demand for confrontational comedy (or less comfort with it).  But whether it’s softer audiences, more selective industry, both or neither it would be nice to have more challenging voices join the rising powers.  And if an Italian looking dude with a black dad can’t get away with it then someone with two black parents needs to before we all find out we are all similar and happy and no one is thinking or laughing.

And I am aware that diversity encompasses more than black and white issues, which is why I am predicting a gay winner of Last Comic Standing this Summer, without knowing anything regarding who has advanced, etc.  But in entertainment, as well as in America, black and white issues will dominate the narrative for some time the same way they did this blog.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/podcast/righteous-p***k-w-j-l-cauvin/id504139550?mt=2) and/or 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 for free!



No Comments Yet - Add a Comment



A New Comedy Joins the Perfect Season Club

This past Saturday I was bored and looking for a way to kill time in between a morning trip to the gym and 12 hours of college basketball.  Having just re-signed up for Netflix (the month subscription will end shortly after the release of Daredevil in April, but yes this is a dramatic turn, albeit not a complete 180, from my binge watching warning posted a few weeks ago), I decided to kill time by trying an episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the new comedy series from Tina Fey, rejected by NBC and picked up by Netflix.  By the end of the day, after skipping several games of March Madness (something I would have considered almost sacrilegious) and taking a few breaks I had finished the 13 episode run.  Unlike my House of Cards marathon, which was double the amount of time and done under a self-imposed podcast deadline, the binge of Kimmy happened completely organically.  The show was too damn enjoyable to stop.  And that is why it joins the rare company of my “Perfect Season of TV Club.”

Now I will only focus on the few comedy shows to post perfect seasons in my estimation, but obviously if drama were to be included, off the top of my head I would include season 3 and 4 of Breaking Bad, Seasons 3 and 4 of The Wire, Season 2 and possibly 5 of Six Feet Under, and I am sure The West Wing posted at least one perfect season, if not more.  But as far as comedies only a few shows have posted perfect J-L seasons.

To post a perfect season every episode must be hilarious.  No performances can be weak and it has to finish perfectly as well.  It also helps if the season builds upon itself with either lots of great callbacks and/or humor that improbably gets stronger from a strong start as the season progresses.  Admittedly most modern shows with shorter runs have better shots at pulling off a perfect season, but  so be it.  Despite my recent praise of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, I did not think of one season in particular to put on the list.  As an all time great comedy it’s place is assured, but no one season felt “perfect,” though I would put my enjoyment of the over 100 episodes at over 80% hilarious, with only a handful being not worth watching.  But only the following shows have garnered perfect status in my mind:

  • Eastbound and Down – Season 1.
  • Hello Ladies – Season 1 + the 90 minute movie
  • Arrested Development Seasons 1 & 2
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Season 1

Now there is of course a chance that the limited run of these shows makes their perfection more memorable (only Eastbound made it to even 4 seasons, since the Netflix 4th season of Arrested Development was the worst add on to a classic since Indiana Jones 4 and Godfather 3 I do not count it), but if you have a good and varied sense of humor I don’t see how you could challenge them.  Yes Eastbound is a tad vulgar and Hello Ladies a tad depressing and awkward. But both on the list were tremendous and perfect.  If you don’t think Arrested Development was the best comedy of all time then you are wrong.  Arrested Development is like the deadbeat Dad of both Modern Family and It’s Always Sunny – it gave them the blue print of what made them great without giving a sh*t about anyone or anything AND it had the best cast of a comedy ever.  The cast was so good that almost no one from the cast was able to get cast as anything but a variation of their AD character for the last 12 years.

And that brings us to Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  I referred to the show this weekend on Twitter and Facebook as “relentlessly funny.”  That is what it is.  There is so much strong, subtle and brilliant humor in every minute of every episode that I found myself laughing out loud more than I have in a very long time.  The premise of the show is basically 4 women are held by a religious fanatic in a bunker for over a decade (yes, basically they made a comedy that might have been subtly inspired by the Ariel Castro case in Cleveland) and then rescued.  Kimmy decides to stay in NYC after a Today Show appearance and make a new life for herself. She has a gay acting roommate and a job as a nanny for a billionaire’s wife.  For 13 episodes the show is a masterpiece.  From the opening scene where a Charles Ramsey-esque black man is immediately auto-tuned describing the rescue of the women and repeated every episode as the theme song, to the incredible funny courtroom cameo -as-religious fanatic defendant the show is a home run every episode.

The cast is incredible without a weak spot, or even less than a strong spot, but Ellie Kemper (Kimmy), Jane Krakowski (the billionaire’s wife) and Titus Burgess (Titus – the gay roommate) all deserve Emmy nominations.  They are all in full comedy beast mode.  Now, just to get a little indignant and righteous – go watch Transparent on Amazon, if you can muster the 5 hours this week to watch the “comedy” that won the Golden Globe this year.  Then watch Kimmy Schmidt.  My prediction is the laugh ratio will be at least 1:500 in favor of Kimmy.

And I know that I am sometimes harsh on women in comedy and proclaiming that men, thanks to societal expectations and culture and many other reasons, are on the whole, much funnier than women and obviously Tina Fey, whether an exception to that thought, or proof that that thought is nonsense deserves major respect (not that she doesn’t have it already).  Though I didn’t particularly care for her run as head writer on SNL, 30 Rock was brilliant and I think Kimmy may be her best work if it can maintain the brilliant pace it set with season 1.  And that raises a question: with Tina Fey’s legendarily muscular calves, her tiny thug facial scar and her amazing comedic skills… are we sure she isn’t really a man? Hash Browns Just kidding! Hash Browns LOL (inside joke for Kimmy fans).

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/podcast/righteous-p***k-w-j-l-cauvin/id504139550?mt=2) and/or 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 for free!



No Comments Yet - Add a Comment



Weekend Recap: Crushed It in Philly and Brooklyn! (watching the Utah Jazz)

This weekend I was out on the road, which was a nice change of pace from sitting in sweatpants for 11 hours a day “on my way to the gym” while trying to finish Netflix (you read that correctly).  However, as my comedy booking e-mails continue to go into spam folders (perhaps using the subject heading “Enlarge your penis by booking me at your club” is a bad way to get through web filters this weekend’s road tripping was to support my favorite sports team, the Utah Jazz.  Perhaps other than “J-L is not booked to do comedy this weekend” no phrase makes less sense in the American pop culture landscape than “Utah Jazz.” As a quick primer they used to be the New Orleans Jazz, but then the team moved to Utah with all those swinging Mormon cats and decided that they should keep the name Jazz. especially if 30+ years later a team would come back to New Orleans and would prefer to be known as Pelicans anyway.  I became a Jazz fan because as a young hoopster I liked Karl Malone’s gigantic arms (no homo), their purple uniforms (no homo) and John Stockton’s short shorts (OK, possibly homo at this point).  And even at a young age the Jazz gave me a sense of identity as a sports fan away from my friends and family’s uniform admiration for the New York Knicks.  Stockton and Malone gave me the added benefit as a mixed race child of seeing a black person and a white person work together in harmony, as opposed to my parents who had more of a Robert Parish-Bill Laimbeer relationship.

Robert Parrish and Bill Laimbeer - less passively aggressive than my parents

So with that backdrop I have been a die hard Utah Jazz fan for 28 years I went to see them against the 76ers in Philadelphia Friday with two friends (Pat and Jim) first and then against the Nets in Brooklyn on Sunday.  Normally I also go to watch them play the Knicks, but when I looked up ticket prices for Knicks games, even the cheap seats had “anal rape” listed as the cost on Ticketmaster so I had to pass, which was disappointing since the Jazz won on a last second shot.  Last year I went because I received Lorne Michaels (yes that Lorne Michaels) seats 3rd or 4th hand (#ComedyMogul), but the Jazz came as close to winning that game as I did to becoming a cast member on SNL.  So on to this weekend’s festivities.

Philadelphia

The first part of Jazz Weekend was Philly.  That meant the PATH train from Manhattan to Hoboken, get picked up by Jim in his borrowed car and Daryl Dawkins’ game jersey, stop at Pat’s house where he was with his adorable two sons, reminding Jim and I that perhaps being struggling, unsuccessful comedians with no families of our own is actually a plan B for life, switch to Pat’s larger car for the Cranford to Philly leg of the trip and then watch a match up that NBA TV called “what the fu*k else is on tonight.”

The drive from Cranford to Philly was uneventful, because Pat (the Dad) did something I have never seen before – he kept perfect 62 mph pace with the GPS. We had a 90 minute trip according to the GPS and he arrived in 90 minutes.  Not 89 or 83… 90.  Being a Dad really changes people.  I might just be mythologizing Pat, but I feel like if we took this trip 10 years ago he might have tried to lap the GPS in a race.

So we arrived at the Wells Fargo Arena just in time for the game and as a Wells Fargo customer (#ComedyMogul) I knew that I wouldn’t have to pay ATM fees (#Blessed).  The game was great if you like terrible shooting and way too many t-shirt gun promotions.  A thing I noticed about the T-shirt gun – it turns people into the rich seats into proletariat animals.  Your seats cost $200 bucks – why are you screaming like a refuge who sees a UN Peacekeeper at a child’s medium piece of sh*t t-shirt?  Our seats were much cheaper but we were closer to the haves than the have-nots, though if you are at a 76er game you are sort of a have-not by definition.

During the game there was a very cool video montage of Allen Iverson and when the crowd saw him in attendance on the jumbo tron it was the loudest the arena got until the very end.

A shot of Allen Iverson on the jumbotron waving to me during the game

As the game got to the end, with the Jazz possessing a very comfortable lead, the game within the game took shape.  See Jim enjoys a bit of gambling now and then (now is every morning and then is every evening) and he placed a small wager that his 76ers would beat the 7.5 point spread.  Well the Jazz had around a 13 point lead with just over a minute left.  It looked like a lost cause for Jim until someone on the 76ers (I forget who) decided he would pad his stats with a barrage of useless 3 pointers.  With 30 seconds left it was Jazz ball up 9. At this point Jim is losing his bet, but because of the 24 second shot clock the 76ers are guaranteed one more possession if the Jazz miss and the 76ers secure the rebound. Well with about 7 seconds left the Jazz missed, got their rebound and missed again!  The 76er player trying to set the record for most 3 pointers made with no chance of winning took the ball, dribbled down court and raised up for a buzzer beater. SWISH!!!  And the crowd went bezerk (Jim, Pat and I were the only people left and you would have thought they just showed Iverson again on the jumbotron putting on a 76ers jersey to play the next night).

All in all a great trip and a great win for the Jazz.

Brooklyn

After a day off to almost go to the gym and declare that I would start eating healthy the next day I ventured to Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the Jazz-Nets game.  I was picked up in a nice Uber car with my friend John in it (#ComedyMogul) and it dropped us off at the arena with a few minutes to spare, which was good since we had to go through a metal detector when we got there.  I have been to about 10 NBA arenas and I think Barclays is the only one I have entered with metal detectors.  Is that the NBA’s way of not so subtly saying that Morgan Freeman should take over ownership of the team until it is a better place to play (“You Shoot bricks don’t ya D-Will. Well,do ya?? You know what that does – it kills our fan base son, so if you want to kill our fan base stop fuc*king around and do it expeditiously!”)?

Barclays looks like a nice NBA arena with a touch of inner city high school

When we finally got in the arena I settled in with a hot dog and pretzel (couldn’t eat a hot dog at Friday’s game because of Lent (#CatholicMogul)) and our seats were fantastic.  Sadly, once the Nets become even decent the prices will skyrocket, but it is nice to see a 6pm Game on a Sunday with a great view of the court, without having to bring crimes against humanity charges like at Madison Square Garden.  The game was competitive, I ate cheesecake (When in Rome with a Junior’s cheesecake concession stand) and the Jazz earned a quality victory, with Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert solidifying my decision to make them the next two Jazz jersey purchases in the off season, continuing the black and white Jazz tradition.

After the game I asked the Jazz for free tickets next year because the Jazz are 2-0 in 2015 when I am in attendance (#Blessed).  No response so far.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/podcast/righteous-p***k-w-j-l-cauvin/id504139550?mt=2) and/or 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 for free!



No Comments Yet - Add a Comment



Go Back In Time