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Advice from a Comedian on How Hillary Clinton Should Handle Donald Trump

As the 2016 presidential race has finally begun to take final form, it is clear that Donald Trump will represent the GOP, barring a miracle or apocalyptic event (still a 20% chance of this) in Cleveland, and Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination, despite the fuzzy, faith-based math of Bernie Sanders’ supporters.  People are correctly predicting this match-up will produce a truly disgusting level of discourse, 99% of it probably coming from Donald Trump.  But as a Clinton supporter (but I also donated to Bernie Sanders too!!!!) I am worried by her stump speech. She is clearly more competent, experienced and even-tempered than Trump, but then again so are Bobby Knight, Mike Tyson and Bruce Banner. But Hillary is too scripted and uninspiring in her stump speeches and when she does attack it often feels uninspired.  That is why I am offering my advice (and services) to the Clinton campaign.  Donald Trump is an Internet troll with a $10 billion budget and who better to battle trolls and a cash deficit than a struggling comedian with a “solid” YouTube presence?!  So here is my real advice for Hillary Clinton on how to approach The Donald and how to engage and debate The Donald.

1) Stop The-Ro-bot-Like-Way-You-De-Liv-er-Strong-Rhe-tor-i-cal-Points

Although your crowd liked your “If playing the woman’s card means equal pay, control of our bodies (paraphrasing here)… THEN DEAL. ME. IN.” I cringed. Not because it wasn’t a good line, but because I knew you would use it 30,000 times in the next two weeks in the same robotic cadence.  Good lines take good writing and good delivery.  This is why the GOP voters hate Ted Cruz. he may be smarter than Trump, but he debates and speaks like he is trying to win high school student council while Trump sounds like a guy holding court at a bar.  Secretary Clinton, you are a policy wonk, tough and smart. Embrace that. Stop trying to come up with Larry The Cable Guy catch phrases (because they seem stale when you deliver them). Be strong and smart and leave the catch phrases to TrusTed Cruz.

2) If a voter is “undecided” between you and DONALD TRUMP… fu*k ‘em; they’re already lost

You have one mission from this point on – robust endorsements and campaigning from President Obama and Bernie Sanders. If someone is actually “deciding” between you and Trump then count them as Trump voters or non-voters.  On this point I think you are doing well. His voters are like a racist version of Leonidas in the film 300, minus the abs and honor. “Racist… racist? THIS IS TRUMP!!!!”  You just need to focus on minorities, women and as much of Obama’s coalition as possible. Don’t try to “win” support from Trump people or “on the fence people.” Please. It will probably end up looking gross to people on the left who may be on the Bernie-Hillary fence, which is a group you can still court with some success.

3) Do not engage in Trump’s game

Hollywood is in love with nerds right now, but in politics and Middle America, the rich jock is still king. So do not try to engage in insults with him. Everyone who has tried has failed. Not because Trump is so quick, but because he has no moral basement.  Jeb Bush had the single best line in a debate to insult Trump when he suggested that Trump got his foreign policy knowledge from Saturday morning cartoons.  Unfortunately, by then it was after 8 weeks of brutal beatings at the hands of Trump and too late to do any damage.  Rubio went insult comic and he dropped out 2 weeks later.  Though I have one exception -if he goes after your marriage hint at his 3 marriages. If he goes deeper than say your marriage is not perfect, which is well documented, but you were committed to working on it. This turns a weak personal moment into a narrative of never giving up and commitment that clearly Trump doesn’t possess, but you would never have to explicitly go after Melania Trump.

4) Debate like Trump Is Irrelevant

Al Gore got into trouble for sighing and being dismissive of George W. Bush in 2000.  I know this is dangerous, but Trump is not and will not be competent or informed enough to actually debate you. Turn “debates” with Trump into discussions on policy and experience with the moderator(s) and American public. If he insults you in an irrelevant way, treat it like a child farted. An unpleasant hiccup during an adult discussion. Draw the contrast to people to know that if they don’t vote for you, an angry, bloated child will have his fingers on the button. You are not trying to win over Trump voters. You will simply highlight that one person is competent and knowledgeable and one isn’t. If insults are his best points, your insistence on being issue driven will make him look more and more absurd.  Remember, Trump has not been in any 1 on 1 debates and you can expose him easily if you treat them like policy seminars.  You cannot win the personality match with him, so don’t try with catch phrases or overly-prepared quips.

5) Admit What Some People Don’t Like About You AKA The 8 Mile Technique

Admit you aren’t likeable to some people. Admit that 25 years of being a target of the GOP has made you guarded and sometimes off putting. Not as some “people don’t like strong women” talking point, but as a reality of your personality and life.  But emphasize that those flaws are not a reason to vote for a blustery carnival barker and caution does not make you a liar or “crooked.”  In other words, do the 69 year old white politician version of B-Rabbit:

YouTube Preview Image (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=sHE0wmgljco)

6) Share This Donald Trump Infomercial:

My fee for this excellent advice is to simply help my Trump video go viral. You’re welcome.

YouTube Preview Image (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=GUDY7eWhBFs)

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!



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Comedy Recap: Working Vacation in Cleveland

So this past week I was performing in Cleveland, Ohio, one of my favorite cities and one of my three potential permanent residences within the next 18 months (the options are A) New York – because if it is broken, why bother to fix it; B) LA – because there are more opportunities for industry to ignore me or C) Cleveland – because I like it, it’s cheap and the only worse thing than wasting 13 years of your life doing comedy is to do it for another 13, so might as well pack it in and enjoy as much real estate as your money can afford).  The week was chock full of adventures, discoveries and fun so might as well get into it.

13 Hours on Amtrak

Considering the fact that I have been very busy this year with full time legal work, triple the amount of road work I had all of 2015 within the first 3 1/2 months of 2016 (a good thing, but also shows just how terrible my 2015 was) and a new dog stressing me out occasionally, I have not had a lot of time or energy to do anything with my girlfriend besides Netflix and Pass Out. So I figured I would book some emcee work in Cleveland and make it a 4 day trip.  Not knowing if the feature would be using the comedy condo (of course once I paid for 4 nights in a hotel, the JLComedy Law* is that the condo would go unused by the feature, which it did) I booked a Comfort Inn in downtown Cleveland for a rate so cheap on Hotwire.com that I assumed a disaster loomed.

*JLComedy Law is like Murphy’s Law, except only half Irish and a lot worse when applied to trying to turn a profit from comedy endeavors.

I also convinced my girlfriend to take the 12.5 hour Amtrak ride from NYC to Cleveland (at the convenient time of 3:30pm, arriving in Cleveland at 3:27 am), because it is a “nice ride” and “quite cheap.”  Let me put it to you this way – if you have a chick who does this with you and doesn’t complain she is not only a ride or die chick, she is potentially a ride AND die chick (two seats behind us for the second half of the train trip was a man with more than half his face and neck tattooed – the 4 types of people who take Amtrak more than 6 hours are 1) felons 2) illegal immigrants 3) morbidly obese 4) overly qualified comedy emcees) .

I looked up the Comfort Inn before leaving work and noticed that several of the pictures featured rooms with 2 double beds, as well as tube TVs (or as the headliner I would soon meet, Tone Bell put it, “the TVs with the asses” so I figured I may have gotten a hot rate of 50% off the room rate, but it still might feel like I got robbed.  This was running through my mind as we traveled all the way North through northern and then western New York. We lost time in Albany so the train could change engines there (from electric to diesel or something like that) because our train industry is still stuck in  different era.  We ended up arriving in Cleveland at 4:05 am feeling like human experiments at the CDC.  We made our way into the Comfort Inn and were greeted by a friendly, heavy set black woman, straight out of central casting, who saw us with out bags making it through the doors and began asking our names while still struggling with the suitcases in the doorway.  To her credit she never gave us any eye contact during our entire exchange, so I applaud her commitment to the character.

Dawn at the Comfort Inn and the Cleveland St. Law School in downtown Cleveland

God Bless The GOP Convention

When we made it to our floor we noticed that the carpet on our half of the floor was new and when we got into our room it had a king sized bed, a newly furnished bathroom and a flat screen TV!!  We then passed out for a healthy 4 hours of Amtrak filth covered sleep, breathing in the Subway bread air that penetrated the room since we were directly above a Subway restaurant. #BreatheFresh

As it turned out, this hotel was clearly undergoing renovations for the rush of taxphobic whores, religious nuts and Klan members that will descend upon Cleveland in July for the GOP Convention.  For the hell of it I looked up hotels the week of the convention.  Hotels.com reported 167 hotels WITHOUT availability that week and the only hotel within 15 miles of the city center with availability was a 2 star hotel charging $340 a night.  This same hotel’s rate next week, for point of comparison? $96.  So perhaps if the convention were taking place elsewhere I would have been sleeping in a semen stained, TV with ass-having room filled with police caution tape, but thanks to the GOP I stayed in a 2 star hotel with 3.5 star upgrades.

The Sights

Needless to say, my girlfriend and I spent our first day in Cleveland at the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.  I am a member of the museum (a guest and I can get into the museum for free for the next 4 years thanks to my generous donation #PatronOfTheArtsMogul and I get 10% off all purchases #ComedyMogul) so we walked in and I got a member wrist band, while my girlfriend was given a wristband for non-members.  #MembershipMogul

The next day we went to a new restaurant at the Westin hotel (where staff followed us around because they could smell Comfort Inn/Subway on our clothing) called Urban Farmer (it’s theme is a black farmer called Ol’ DaeMcDonald) and it was delicious!  My girlfriend made it her business to force me out of my usual shitty routine of chain restaurants by becoming a human Fodor’s guide to Cleveland.  The food was great (and she let me off the hook by choosing lunch – dinner prices were like NY Steak House prices, but lunch prices were like Cleveland lunch prices). We then saw The Jungle Book, which I reviewed in beautiful (and windy) downtown Cleveland:

YouTube Preview Image (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=R0zNdfLfnuA)

The next day (Saturday), my girlfriend’s last day in town, we went bowling on E. 4th Street, which is sort of the hip/hipster area of town with several new restaurants. We bowled (I racked up a career high 148 in one game – not too bad for someone who has bowled less than 10 times in his life and never more than once in a two year period) and then left for an early dinner. We tried to eat at a brand new bar-b-q restaurant, recently opened up by one of the 377 celebrity chefs on TV, but the wait was 1 hour and 45 minutes… at 430pm. So we went across to a restaurant that looked promising, despite the communal tables, which always spell some horeshit dining “experience” gimmick.  The restaurant’s food was tasty, but they promised family style.  Well, when we sat down our waitress told us that it was tapas style. I asked her if I looked like a trendy bitch from Manhattan because I came in here for Midwestern family style, not big city skank tapas!  She recommended we order several things which we did, only to realize that Midwestern tapas doesn’t really mean many small dishes; it means many large dishes.  But I learned a valuable lesson in food marketing – if you call something pizza you can charge $10, but if you call it a “flatbread” you can charge $14.

A picture of me in front of the Cleveland Convention Center, before Cruz and Trump supporters burn it down in July

The Shows: Work Work Work and a Killer Headliner

Emceeing shows at the Cleveland Improv is work. It is not always fun. It is not always comedy. But it is always work. You are competing with 10% of the crowd coming late, 33% of the crowd talking for half your set, etc.  Your job is not to warm them up, but to gather their attention.  It is basically like a combination of being Jesus Christ on the cross while telling a Black Lives Matter rally to disperse: sacrificial and unwanted.  Well, as of this writing (Sunday evening before the final show) I have had 4 good sets and one horror show (I am talking to you late show Friday), which I consider a huge win/upset.  And, instead of looking at the week as a massive loss of money for comedy work, I have framed it as a mini vacation where the Cleveland Improv is paying for me and my girlfriend’s hotel.  Glass half full sort of thinking.

But the real revelation for me this weekend was the headliner Tone Bell.

When you see a name that you are not too familiar with you can make several assumptions. Maybe this guy is just some rising MTV type star with great PR and a mediocre act.  Or maybe he is a niche, urban act who has not crossed over (he is black). Or maybe he is a really good comic who is under the radar.  Well I didn’t know what to expect, but the dude is hilarious.  He is an Atlanta-born comedian and he flows easily with urban vernacular, but doesn’t present the animated delivery found frequently at clubs like the Cleveland Improv.  He walks a middle line, not with middle of the road mediocre comedy, but in terms of his delivery and sensibility.  He legitimately had me LOL-ing for most of his set, as well as quoting his jokes throughout the weekend to my girlfriend.  For all of you who paint me unfairly with the “hater” brush, you will at least take my praise of him seriously.  But the guy’s potential for breakout stardom had me thinking of Gary Owen and Sebastian Maniscalco.  Not his style, but his potential to have broad appeal at the comedy club level (he is already a working actor).  So if you see Tone Bell coming to a city near you I give it the official Righteous Prick recommendation.

While at the club I also got to bid a potential Cleveland farewell to Lee Herlands, my favorite club manager in the country.  He will be leaving Cleveland for the east coast, but rather than explain why I am a fan of his, feel free to check out one of my favorite podcast episodes of all time when I chatted with him in 2014 (http://righteouspk NULL.podomatic NULL.com/entry/2014-07-07T21_04_29-07_00).

So it is time to head to the club for the final show of the week before I hop on my 5:50 am train back to NYC on Monday morning, but I hope to be back in Cleveland soon. Maybe for a lot longer than 4 days.  And in case you are wondering, my pup Cookie is in the care of a friend of my girlfriend and she is already taking ass shots like a teenage girl from the Bronx without my strong paternal influence over her:

 

Cookie, you are too young to pose for photos like that!

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!



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What the Hell is Organic Porn? One CEO Looks to Change Adult Films Forever

Organic. Fair trade. Conflict free. Non GMO. The terms for healthy and environmentally conscious decisions seem to grow exponentially.  But for all of our society’s concerns about how our food is treated one industry has lagged far behind: pornography.  No one seems to ask or care about how porn stars are treated before entering porn or if their upbringing or experiences contributed to their decision to do porn.  Well John Stern, CEO of Organic Porn, a new production company that sets out to only use humanely treated and raised adult film stars.  Will this change the adult industry? Only time will tell. But here is Stern describing his bold new venture:

YouTube Preview Image (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=QtnXTihGqB4)

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!



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Louis CK Endorses Bernie Sanders at a Black Lives Matter Rally Featuring 400 Women in Comedy

In a bombshell announcement sure to swing the remaining 9 comedians who have not declared their allegiance to Bernie Sanders, living comedy deity Louis CK has announced that he will begin posting on social media an incessant number of blog posts and opinion pieces supporting Bernie Sanders.  Like many comedians, CK will share pieces from the Washington Times, Fox News and the NY Post, publications usually considered anathema to liberals in comedy, when those publications post about how terrible a person and candidate Hillary Clinton is. He will also begin sharing memes comparing Bernie to Martin Luther King, Jr. and will become an avid sharer of the incredibly objective Huffington Post.

But always an innovator and supporter of comedians, CK will also make his official endorsement in a room of 400 women in comedy, ranging from comedians to former comedians to women who once posted a funny comment on a tumblr page.  And they will all be announcing their support for Black Lives Matter after the endorsement from CK, in an effort to ensure maximum saturation and manipulation of Facebook’s algorithms.

CK has also announced that he plans stay home and not vote, but will declare Hillary corrupt and blame super delegates when Bernie gets fewer votes than Hillary Clinton in the NY primary.

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!



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Comedy Recap: Back to the Future in Columbus, Ohio

On Thursday of last week I travelled to Columbus, Ohio to audition for feature work at the Columbus Funny Bone.  Any comedian who has ever attempted to work the road should be familiar with the club. The manager there books feature work for 15 A clubs around the country so it is an important stop for people who want to get a lot of road work (and don’t have a manager, agent AND still believe in the antiquated philosophy that performing comedy is the best way to establish a career in comedy).  This was actually my third time auditioning at the club since 2007, so I think a brief chronology of how I found myself at the Easton Mall in Columbus, Ohio on April 7, 2016 is in order.

2007: Not Ready

In 2007 I went to the Columbus Funny Bone for the 2nd time.  The first time was as an audience member several years later to watch Greg Giraldo, a birthday present from my college girlfriend who was attending OSU Medical School while I was at Georgetown Law.  Well, in 2007 it was time for another lawyer-comedian whose career would eventually die to take the stage.  I had lots of material, but had not actually performed a 30 minute set yet. So like a human centipede version of my bringer sets I simply stitched together 3 ten minutes sets together. The result was an uneven, poorly paced set, with some good laughs, but overall somewhat incompetent.  On that same show was NYC comedian Keith Alberstadt and I saw that he was much more comfortable with the time. When I met the manager after the show to receive my $50 for the gig, he specifically singled out Keith as someone who did get passed because he seemed ready.  In a rare moment of humility (but I am never above being humbled, just not falsely) I was in complete agreement.  So for 2+ years I worked on getting some road work at C and B rooms and doing lots of time in NYC.  And like Rocky I may have lost the first installment, but I learned a lot and came back ready to win in the sequel…

2009: Of Course I Got Passed

When I made my way out to Columbus in 2009 I was armed with a lot more confidence and I got passed. The best feeling was that I knew it before I spoke with the manager because I had killed.  I got my $50 and was told to look for work in 2010.

2010-2015: Good Start and then Screwed by Children of the Corn

In 2010 I worked the Hartford Funny Bone and the Toledo Funny Bone. Killed both weeks.  I then got an unsolicited e-mail from the manager saying that he had received great feedback on me and I was being bumped up his list. I figured that had to be a good thing. For 2011 I got booked at Hartford again, the Huntington, West Virginia Funny Bone and the Des Moines Funny Bone.  The Hartford week went great, but in a moment that was indicative of the general luck of my comedy career, the West Virginia club closed before I could work there (my career is like The Nothing in The Neverending Story). Then came the Des Moines Funny Bone. The gig started well – I was opening for Jim Short, an Australian comic I had met a few years earlier at the San Francisco Comedy Competition. So paired with a funny headliner who was fun to hang with (when he spilled popcorn at a movie, his rage was one of the funniest things of the entire week) the week was going well, though I was not killing like I had at the other clubs (but can you completely trust the sense of humor of a state that over the course of my comedy career has selected Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Ted Cruz in their caucuses?).  And then I closed my final set with my communications with an attempted groupie in Iowa:

YouTube Preview Image (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=SO_MlaHy3A8)

When I left Iowa I felt pretty good.  Sold some merchandise, avoided cheating on my girlfriend (watch the video so you get this joke – not actually treating fidelity like an accomplishment). Little did I know I would not be booked as a feature again from that March week in 2011.

2016: Don’t Call It a Comeback. Seriously, don’t. I Was Already Passed Here.

Since 2013 I have volunteered to re-audition (around 10 years into comedy is when pride and dignity are completely beat out of you if all you have is your Hotmail account booking you on gigs). It took over two years to get back on (granted for a while the manager was not re-auditioning and then the club underwent massive renovations (it looks really terrific now), but on April 7, 2016 I made it back.  I had a pre-show meal at the Cheesecake Factory (after the usual sprint across a freeway that are commonplace for my road work trips – WE ARE A FAT NATION BECAUSE THE MIDDLE STATES DONT BELIEVE IN SIDEWALKS) and then got ready to perform.  I was the first to the green room, but then I was greeted by Miguel Dalmau, a NYC-turned-Indianapolis comedian and a comedian from Florida (who promptly dropped 3 names of headliners he works with, perhaps just nerves or conversation, but it felt like he had spent too much time in LA), both of whom were auditioning.

All sets went well (the crowd was a pretty easy laugh) and I was re-passed?  The manager informed me that, although he didn’t recall (I told him, that’s ok – you have to keep track of hundreds of comedians; I just keep track of one), I must have received bad reviews at a club. I said “Des Moines, 2011.”  I then received my $50 $25 for the gig  and spent it on popcorn, water and a ticket to Hardcore Henry, an atrocious action movie which is reviewed on this site on the movie review page. Because no matter how good or productive a comedy trip is, I always like it to end poorly.

Epilogue: Accela Train Blues

On Friday I had an 11:05 am flight out of Columbus to BWI and then an Amtrak ticket from BWI to NYC.  The reasons I do this are as follows:

  • Most trips to Ohio from NYC are on small planes. I don’t fit well on small planes and I hate how they have turbulence, even on clear sky days.
  • Southwest, which flies to all the Ohio cities I perform in, use 737s, which are solid sized planes.
  • But Southwest only goes to Columbus via Chicago if leaving LaGuardia and
  • I have a lot of Amtrak points so
  • I take Amtrak to and from BWI and Southwest to and from Ohio out of BWI

Well, I woke up in my Extended Stay hotel on Friday morning and saw that my plane was delayed 80 minutes, which is exactly the window I left myself to get to the 1:30pm poor people Amtrak. When I called Amtrak to change trains, the only train available after that for many hours was the 3:20 Accela (the rich people train) for a healthy $160 add on. So for anyone who wants a tally – that’s $190 on airfare, $160 on train fare, $100 on hotel, $35 on salmon and cheesecake, $25 on Hardcore Henry, $30 on Columbus cab fares and $25 in comedy pay. So for -$515.00 I was able to turn the clock back to 2009.  Pretty cheap for time travel!

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!



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Weekend Comedy Recap: Comedy, Highway Danger and When Yentas Attack in DC

This past weekend (Thursday-Sunday) I was at the DC Improv, one of my favorite two clubs in the country (Helium in Philly being the other). Third place is reserved for whoever books me the week I am asked to rank comedy clubs.  I think it might have been my 8th career week working the Improv, but one of the great things about a “career” in stand up comedy is that no matter how familiar or routine it can begin to feel. there is always a chance to be surprises for better and for worse.  I was opening for Clayton English, 2015′s winner of Last Comic Standing, so it was clear the shows were all going to be packed. But as usual with these write ups, let’s start from the beginning

Mission Impossible: Find an affordable hotel in a reputable chain near a Metro Stop during high tourism season in DC

The last few times I have performed in the DC area I think it has been the Summer, which means Congress out of session, swamp ass in full swing and lower rates on hotels.  So I had some sticker shock looking up hotels, realizing that the area hotels coming up in my price range were homeless shelters and 24 Hour McDonald’s bathrooms.  Thankfully, due to the new Silver line on the Metro I was able to secure a nice room at a Residence Inn by Marriot in Tysons Corner, VA. It was 10 stops from the club and only involved 15 minutes of side-of-highway/no sidewalk walking to and from the Metro (please check my instagram at jlcomedy to see a midnight video montage of my walk that my mother called “scary”).  The room was very nice, there were free cookies in the afternoon, a solid breakfast including a waffle iron (the three great equalizers in human history are a) the printing press b) the Internet and c) waffle irons at discount hotel chains) and a Subway nearby for me to eat fresh.  The only problem I had with the hotel was that their front entrance was a magnet for those humungous, fat bees that don’t sting you, but are still scary as hell.  One bumped into my forehead and I think with both have CTE now.

Can’t Sell Merch If People Store Their Coats On Top of It

The shows were all strong for the week, but my merch sales suffered a bit. One reason is that people kept throwing their coats directly on top of my CDs like it was an upstairs bedroom of a house party when going to get pictures with the headliner.  This was almost as embarrassing as the audience member who looked at me and said “sorry, but can you take a picture of us (her and the headliner). Fortunately Clayton is a good dude or just saw horror in my eyes and immediately asked some random person to take the photo.  The jackets on my merch offense (“IN MY CULTURE IT IS A BIG INSULT TO THROW YOUR COAT ON TOP OF A MAN’S LIFE WORK!”)  happened a total of three times (one coat by a young man whose mother then reprimanded him and he immediately picked the coat up, once by an absentminded woman and I was able to snap a pic of it and then the third was technically a purse, but you get the idea), after happening zero times in the previous 12 years and 10 months of me performing stand up. #Blessed

The Joke That Wouldn’t Quite Work and the Group of Yentas Who wouldn’t Shut Up

I did largely tried and true material throughout the weekend, but my bit about why it is a good thing 9/11 didn’t happen in 2016 (the people yelling World Star while filming the towers falling, the people taking selfies and recording it instead of helping or getting help and the 4.9 million blog posts the next day about how it effected ME) fell flat for 3 of the 5 shows (and I did not bother doing it for the Sunday crowd, which was very tight before I even thought about going there).  However, it became the joke that the most people would specifically reference to me after shows to say “I thought it was great.”  But the offense never lasted because I have really fully developed my “If Trump and Bernie were comedians” bit and it really crushes any awkwardness, especially in apolitically minded town like DC.  In other words I used the impressions as such a crutch that they almost didn’t seem like the usual crutch of hacky impersonators. Or I have become what I despise.

But in a week of mostly highlights and oncoming traffic lights (remember by walks at midnight on the side of highways in Tysons Corner?) the lowlight was a no-brainer.  It was after the early Friday show and a group of four Jewish women approached me with the shortest being the most vocal, of course. Here is a summary with some quotes of the 4 minutes I stood with Skanks and the City:

Short Blonde: Are you really half black?

Me: Yes

SB: Really?

Me: Yeah.

SB: Because my friends and I thought you looked like Adam Sandler and Jerry Seinfeld.

Me: Uh Huh.

(Awkward pause)

SB: And they’re both Jewish. So we thought you were Jewish. And we’re all Jewish.

Me: OK.

Skank and the City Member 2: Are you really half black?

Me: Yeah

#2: Really?

Me: Yeah

#2: I want to see a picture

SB and Skank #3: OH DO YOU HAVE A PICTURE OF YOUR PARENTS?

At this point there was actually a small line of people wanting to take pictures (and maybe buy CDs) from me, so you know they were taking a LONG time if there was a line forming for me. After a few more racial inquiries, they had one of their boyfriends, take a picture. he grabs a phone and says: Are you really half black?

Me: Yeah.

After the first picture he says: OK (to all of us in the picture) Do something goofy!

Me (internally): what is this a wedding photo?

I then glare at the woman next to me for the photo, which got a big laugh from everyone (as intended) except the woman (#2)

#2: Why are you so awkward?

Me: have a nice night everyone (before I join ISIS)

Sunday: No Groupie Night (Girlfriend’s Friends Coming to the Show)

On Sunday I saw a movie with my buddy Ross (Midnight Special – like E.T. without fun or aliens – started promising, overally disappointing) and then went to Mass at St Matthew’s near the Improv (Pope Francis went there when he was in town so I guess I was the 2nd high profile Catholic there this year). Then it was time for the final show of the week, which was special because two of my girlfriend’s friends were coming to watch.  So first I had to update my ho-fan page that Sunday night’s show was off limits and then not have a terrible set.  Mission accomplished!  The friends then gave me a ride to Union Station to catch the final train out of DC that night.  A perfect end to a mostly great week in DC: it started with me on the side of a highway walking and ended with a door to door ride from the club to Amtrak.

And then I got home and my dog peed with excitement on the floor. Like comedy, my dog knows how to deliver just enough bad with something good to make me constantly question my life choices.

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!



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The Non-Tour Tour Dates and a New Killer Bit

Many comedians refer to their calendar as a “tour,” but for the most part that is deceptive re-branding to make “calendar” or “bookings” seem more impressive, sort of like a secretary being called an administrative assistant or Kevin Hart claiming to be 5’3″ instead of 4’5″.  To have a tour there should be a theme, a finite, but numerous roster of gigs and either talent or a large enough fan base to warrant calling it a tour.  Since I have none of those things, but will be recording my new album in June (in NYC – date to be confirmed and possibly one other city) I might as well tell you the places I will be until then in case you a) ignore my newsletter b) don’t get my newsletter or c) never look at my website, which is loaded with good content and cost me thousands of dollars over the course of my career.  As a reward for reading this and possibly marking your calendar with dates when I will be near you I have attached a new bit that will be featured in my album recording shows about how being in relationships in 2016 is harder than ever in human history.  So here is my non-tour tour and the new bit (subscribe on YouTube if you like it:

  • DC Improv March 31st – April 3
  • Columbus Funny Bone – April 7
  • Cleveland Improv – April 14-17
  • “Organic Porn” – new sketch release April 14
  • Los Angeles (Flappers Comedy Club, The Adam Carolla Show, New Video for ACS ) – May 15-19
  • New Album Recording – June date(s) – TBA

See, that wasn’t so tough.  Now, here is a new bit, sort of like a trailer for the kind of stuff my new album will contain:

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

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!

 



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The GOP Hates Hillary Clinton More Than They Love America

My favorite thing about the hysteria in the GOP is how their Trump-phobia still cannot bring them to say that they would vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.  This completes the Modern GOP establishment’s complete unmasking.  The first part was the rise of Trump – a candidate who fan base was conceived during Richard Nixon’s “Silent Majority,” went through puberty during Ronald Reagan’s renaissance of “States’ Rights” and finished maturing during the George W. Bush’s complete embrace of the religious right  begun during Reagan’s presidency.  Now, the candidate, accurately described by many columnists as the GOP’s Frankenstein, is leading the charge of those constituencies (religious people tired of being lied to – they will accept a non-religious guy who promises them real world results rather than the Kingdom of Heaven, angry white people tired of “others” being given priority in school, work or news cycles, and scared people terrified of foreign others who want a strong man to be their bully) that have been used by the GOP for votes, but rarely given results for their loyalty.

The hilariousness of the establishment GOP’s response to Trump has been to say first, that “he doesn’t represent the Republican party.” Really? First off he has consistently polled between 30 and 45% of GOP voters, which is why I dubbed them the “Angry Plurality” on my podcast.  So statistically he seems to represent the party more than anyone else right now.  Second, from demonizing the Civil Rights movement in the 60s, embracing the “States’ Rights” dog whistle in the 80s, demonizing gay people as a wedge issue promising a Constitutional Amendment in the 2000s and then embracing the “Birther” movement (or not disavowing it) amplified by Trump in the 2010s while calling Obama a socialist (a painfully obvious proxy for the N word) and a liar during the State of the Union, the GOP has done everything but put a crown on Donald Trump’s head, Trump is the rightful heir to this half century legacy of using or manipulating code words, wedge issues and racism.

And yet, despite branding Donald Trump all four horseman of the Apocalypse, the party that claims to love America almost as much as they love unborn babies and fossil fuels, it seems no GOP people can bring themselves to say they would vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. One candidate, according to GOP establishment figures, would make America somewhere between a pile of nuclear ash and a global joke (but a joke like an Adam Sandler film post 1999 - intended to be funny, but really just sad and wasteful when thought about). The other is a centrist Democrat, with 25 years of executive and legislative experience on domestic and foreign issues who would appoint 1-3 left of center Supreme Court justices.  And this brings me to the second unmasked truth about the modern GOP: they hate Hillary Clinton more than they “love America.”

I have heard Trump get called “uniquely unprepared to be president,” “un-presidential,” a “terrible person,” “weak on policy” and generally “dangerous.” And this is just by Republican talking heads and establishment figures. So naturally for a party that “doesn’t stand for what Donald Trump represents” and cares about “Country First,” voting for Hillary Clinton would be a no-brainer right, if only to point out how truly dangerous the GOP really believes Trump is?  She has been Secretary of State, worked closely with 2 presidents, was a Senator, is well respected by most colleagues (at least for her work ethic, if not ideologically) and is well versed in policy, both domestic and foreign. Certainly that is a better option than a man whose policy speeches resemble the writings of Jack Nicholson in The Shining (but with “All Work and No Play Make Jack a Dull Boy” replaced with “Make America Great Again”)?

Nope.

So congrats GOP, not only have your half century of lies and reliance on base elements of our national consciousness been exposed, but now your patriotism has also been revealed as hollow.  So if Donald Trump, a carnival barker/pied piper of angry racists and “the poorly educated. I love the poorly educated” ever steps in the White House you can enjoy your view of the Apocalypse with the comfort that your real priorities are protected:

3) No Trump Presidency

2) Safe, Secure and Respected America

1) No Hillary Clinton

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!



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Weekend Comedy Recap: Name in Lights, Show in a Basement

This weekend, the fifth working weekend for me in six weeks, making me feel almost as successful a comedian as Ted Cruz is a presidential candidate, found me in Glens Falls, NY. Interesting thing about Glens Falls, NY – it is where the Class ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ high school basketball championships are held each year. Had my high school basketball team won 1 or  2 more games post season of my senior year we would have played there. Alas, my team sort of sucked (we set a then NYC private school record with 2.5 black players on our team, but unless you are in the 1940s, having half a dozen Jewish kids on your hoops team, especially in the 1990s, is a recipe for mediocrity (insert angry Anti-Defamation league comment about how good the Israeli national team is)), so my trip to Glens Falls would have to wait 19 years.  But if this blog post teaches you anything it is that if you work hard, pursue your dream at the expense of social, emotional and financial well-being, you too can complete your high school dream of performing at the Glens Falls Civic Center in upstate NY. #Blessed #Grinding

The trip began with me taking the PATH train to Hoboken, NJ to meet my ride to Glens Falls. Unfortunately I learned upon arrival that it was Hoboken St Patrick’s Day – a day when Hoboken honors the legacy of Saint Patrick, who was apparently an Irish-American date rapist from Hoboken.  This is always a mess and at 1pm there were lines 60 deep at all three bars within view of the PATH train.  Everyone was wearing green and it looked like a Donald Trump rally – 99.9% white with a few black dudes I felt sorry for.  After observing this for about 25 minutes Dan, the booker and emcee for the show picked me up and we headed to Glens Falls.

The drive was a solid 3:45 with a couple of breaks for snacks and bathrooms.  When we got to Glens Falls I saw my name on the electronic billboard outside, which was a thrill.  As we walked into the Civic Center I saw the hockey arena, where teams play and large acts (like the country singer I had never heard of on the billboard after me) play and then we walked down a stairwell to the banquet rooms where I saw where I would be performing.  With about 2.5 hours to spare I sat in the next banquet room and wrote my next sketch (debuting next week - Trump Penile Enlargement University) and then watched the Jazz game on my computer (Glens Falls Civic Center – A WIFI HOTSPOT – way to go upstate NY).

As I took the stage (I would have video clips but there was no spotlight so I appear shrouded in darkness in the video) I saw that there were three black people and about forty-seven white people. At least 5 men were wearing camouflage.  I was heckled a few times, mostly in the happy/supportive way, but disruptive nonetheless.  But overall, the show went well and I even sold two CDs, to one guy who appeared like he got lost on his way to a Brooklyn vinyl record coffee shop, but decided to stay in town and be their link to what is popular this decade.  He bought two (different albums). The rest of the people told me I had talent and asked me repeatedly if my father was black. Pretty much par for the course for my comedy career.

The drive back was pretty uneventful though I did arrive at the PATH station to literally see the train pull away (half hour wait at that time of night).  I was reassured upon arrival in Hoboken to pass several cop cars at different times going to different locations and then saw an ambulance outside another bar near the PATH.  St Patrick would be proud.  But not as proud as he would be of me for finally making it to Glens Falls, NY.

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!



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Weekend Comedy Recap: Wine, Comedy and a New Jersey Mansion

I was a last minute addition to a gig on Saturday and just the way I got it was illuminating in terms of how different generations and experience levels of comics can perceive road work. The gig was a paying gig, with transportation and a hotel room. This is what is known in road comedy as, “The Holy Trinity” or more accurately, “Whoa, did I get a time machine back to 1990?”  I was asked a week before the gig, which was to take place at Willow Creek Winery, in Cape May, NJ, by the young comic booking it who seemed apologetic for the relatively last minute notice.  See, he is approaching comedy like Bernie Sanders approaching a 19 year old black college student at Berkeley, who has a different world view on The Struggle. What he didn’t realize is that my career has felt much more like the experience of John Lewis (not just because of our similar names), except my comedy career has endured more pain and struggle than his work during the Civil Rights Movement. So in my mind, when I hear money… and a ride… and a hotel room, I don’t need to concern myself with anything else about the gig. Hell, I might have ditched a gig for this gig. But fortunately he caught me on one of my 361 nights a year when I am not booked. #Blessed

We all (Sam (the young comic/booker), his girlfriend (not a comedian) and Anthony DeVito (funny comedian) met in Hoboken around 1:30 on Saturday and made our way to Cape May in Sam’s car.  The drive was very fun and pleasant, though I realized I have the tendency like a dog that has been crate trained (my studio apartment being my human crate) to thoroughly/overly enjoy interaction with comedians when no longer solitary. I think if you asked comedians their opinion of me it would be “asshole” from (mostly) people who have never met me and “pretty cool, but holy sh*t does he talk” from people who have worked with me.  So at least I enjoyed the ride down to Cape May and then we arrived at the Southern Mansion.

Southern Mansion is the hotel where Anthony and I would be staying. Below is a picture of the bed situation, with Anthony doing some pre-show reading.  The Southern mansion looks and feels like somewhere Leonardo Dicaprio would have lived in Django Unchained and the living situation illustrated that. I had wished the bed situation was a little more equitable, but since I could not physically lie down on the small bed/lounge I got the humungous, gay Asian bed.

When we got to the show it was a beautiful event space full of elderly white people.  We got fed a nice dinner and drank free wine at which point I wondered if we were just being feted before we were ritualistically sacrificed. That is how un-road comedy this gig felt.  But then the show started and the crowd was great. Chrissie, the 4th comedian on the show, who drove up separately with her boyfriend, went up after Sam emceed. She did very well and set a dirty tone for the show. Like a comedian canary in an old, white people coal mine she let Anthony and I see that we would not have to operate on a perfectly clean level.  Anthony then went up and did well, especially when the microphone broke for 10 minutes (NOW it is feeling like a road gig!) and then it was time for me.

Before I went up Sam mentioned that Willow Creek Winery is the best winery in all of New Jersey. So in an effort to dig myself a hole, I announced that this gig was a perfect compliment for my bucket list because I had just performed at the best Olive Garden in Paris.  But it got some polite chuckles and the set went well. It was a weird feeling when I did my Election year run through of Trump-Sanders-Obama impressions realizing that this crowd of old white people did not seem to like Trump, Chris Christie, Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton (maybe a Jeb Bush crowd?). And in the middle of one bit about Spirit Airlines one woman yelled at me “They don’t support the troops!” which I thought an odd policy for an airline.  But they were a nice crowd and laughed a lot despite being drunk and understandably tired (hour long dinner before a 110 minute comedy show).  We then went to a bar nearby that had possible the best chicken fingers and fries I had ever had.

The next morning Anthony and I went to brunch looking like a closeted couple of gay men on a secret getaway from our heteronormative fake lives in NYC. There was a nice continental spread, as well as on the house a la carte service to choose from (omelets, pancakes or French toast). After eating, but before departing, we got a nice compliment from a woman who was at the show and then some guy asked me to “do Bernie Sanders at brunch”… before telling me “last night was pretty good.” As I have said, pretty is the ugliest word in comedy, but when a gruff white dude with a mustache tells you any kind of compliment you have to realize that anything more than “pretty good” and his VFW buddies might accuse him of being queer, so I will take the compliment in the spirit in which it was intended.

We had an uneventful drive back to NJ and then caught a PATH and a Subway train right away, which is pretty crazy on a Sunday. So, without being hyperbolic, this might have been one of the best gigs I have ever had in my entire career when taking into account free perks, crowd, pay and overall comfort from start to finish.  And it might even still make the top 10 if I had a comedy career that wasn’t on life support!

 TWO NEW EPISODES OF MY PODCAST THIS WEEK OSCAR RECAP (TUESDAY) & SUPER TUESDAY RECAP (THURSDAY)- 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). Subscribe for free!



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Go Back In Time