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Donald Trump: America’s Participation Trophy

Today the electors vote, presumably, but disappointingly for Donald Trump.  And just over a month Donald Trump will become the 45th President of the United States.  And one of the running things I have heard and read from conservative pundits and Long Island comedians is that one of the driving forces behind Trump’s election (ahead of bigotry and stupidity, of course) is the safe spaces of liberals.  The idea that liberals are too easily offended and politically correct and require too much sensitivity. This is considered the progression from a participation trophy culture – if we give every 8 year old a trophy for their 5th place soccer team, then eventually those children will require safe spaces on their college campuses and rescind invitations from speakers with whom they don’t agree.  The election of Trump (in addition to being a potential disaster for women, people of color and immigrants) was really a comeuppance for those faggy liberals and their weakening of what makes America strong.  And yet, the group that abhors participation trophies (or at least wants to blame said trophies, metaphorical and literal, for America’s problems) has just elected the biggest participation trophy in American history.

Adam Carolla, the podcaster/entertainer, often says we need to work “big to small” when lambasting priorities of the left. Now I am a big fan of Carolla as a comedian and a person, but I disagree with a lot of his politics, especially because he, like many conservatives, often apply lessons and principles against their enemies with rigid discipline, but not to their own side.  Carolla’s show has featured some alt-righters like Milo Yogurtanapopolis (hey if I am too respectful to his foreign sounding name wouldn’t that make me a pussy liberal?), and one of their things about speech (as well as race, etc.) is that the left is playing games with identity and speech, while the conservatives are simply about solutions and not catering to useless things like feelings and identity.  As if conservatives treat life like math, while liberals treat it like poetry. Shitty poetry.  In fact Carolla has called the Democrats the party of feelings (to be fair he sort of characterizes most people today as to concerned with the self and their feelings, not just liberals all the time). It plays well and makes sense with the narrative that liberals are too sensitive and are into participation trophies.  And yet, I feel like people like Carolla have missed the forest for the trees.  No president, in my lifetime at least, has played and prayed upon a victim mentality and identity politics more than President-Elect Donald Trump.

“The economy is a disaster” – unemployment cut from almost 10% to under 5%

“Our military is a disaster” – the strongest in the world by a wide margin

“I will bring back coal” – not happening

These are a few examples of Donald Trump’s comments to appeal to men and women who, admittedly, may have fallen behind in an increasingly global, technologically advanced, eco-conscious world  and I do sympathize.  But wouldn’t the conservative approach be “don’t blame someone – get new training, more education, etc.” (even if unrealistic)?  After all, Hillary Clinton said she wanted to replace coal jobs with new training and jobs in those communities for a clean energy 21st Century.  Wouldn’t that be the conservative approach?  Not handouts and identity politics, but education and employment?  But instead, leaving aside the repudiation of President Obama’s legacy and skin color for now, the Trump voters opted for someone who demonized immigrants and promised jobs that cannot come back. Hillary Clinton promised help with pulling up their bootstraps, Trump blamed the boot maker and promised everyone a new pair of their favorite boots that the manufacturer stopped making.

So just as conservatives have hijacked patriotism, faith and other ideals that plenty on the left share as well, at least let them take ownership of being the participation trophy party as well. Trump voters have elected a man who has promised impossibilities and appointed a cabinet that will not only not “win” for their interests, but actually make you even bigger losers in the end.  So while libtard parents are giving their 8 year olds participation trophies for soccer, Trump voters have elected a participation trophy as president. And like Adam Carolla says, shouldn’t we be worrying big to small instead of the other way around?

Get J-L’s new stand up albums KEEP MY ENEMIES CLOSER &  ISRAELI TORTOISE on iTunes, Amazon & Google.



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Road Comedy Recap: 36 Hours in Baltimore

This weekend I was featuring at Magooby’s Joke House in Timonium, Maryland (sorry for the Trump-esque title of the blog – it was really 36 hours in a suburb of Baltimore, but that is not as good a title).  It was a weekend of highs and lows (as Michelle Obama said of my comedy career “When J-L thinks his career will go high, it will definitely go low”), sickness, multiple perfect sets, one dumb or tired crowd (yes YOU LATE SHOW FRIDAY), a cozy Amtrak ride and a too cozy Greyhound ride.  In other words, the trip was all that you have come to expect from road comedy from me, but in a more condensed amount of time.  So here ya go:

Friday: Fu*k You Sony!!!!!!!

I arrived in Baltimore on Friday around 2:15pm off of the Amtrak and then hopped on the “light rail” (basically two trolley cars where no one has ever taken my ticket in 3 years – but at $1.70 I can afford it, even if it is just the honor code). I then made the 15 minute walk from the station to my Red Roof Inn Plus (plus is for the fact that they have some rooms with extra amenities… I was not in the plus section). It is the same place I stayed in Fall of 2015 so I knew they got 5 stars on the J-L Road Comedy Guide for Hotels. To illustrate:

5 stars – no thefts or assaults on me or any other guests while I am there

4 stars – no thefts or assaults on me

3 stars – no visible stains of body fluids on sheets or chairs in my room, but possible thefts or assaults on others

2 stars – La Quinta Inn in New Haven, CT

1 star – sewage

One mistake I made during this trip was not bringing my parka. I had no idea how cold it would actually be in Timonium.  It was The Revenant-cold.  And I had a 1.2 mile walk to the club each night and a .8 mile to Panera Bread. Within ten minutes of my first walk I knew I would get sick (nose still running as of the typing of this sentence).  So at 6:30pm I made my way to the club.  But these were no ordinary shows.  I was also planning on using one of my 4 sets as a submission for Comedy Central’s new season of The Half Hour.  I have dozens of sets this year that would be admirable submissions, but knowing that every 5 minutes of material having, roast battling sycophant is submitting 30 minutes I at least wanted to make sure mine did not have any extraneous material that may happen… GULP… during a working comedian’s set!!!!

So as I have done hundreds of times, I set up my camera in the back of the room and proceed to crush (I am just referring to set up the camera when I say hundreds of times – I have crushed 1000s of times!).  Like a perfect set.  After the set I walked up to my camera and saw that it had turned off.  Well, this model of the Sony Handycam series, newer than the previous ones I had, keeps a backup of everything that you cannot delete. So my memory was full and shut off the camera halfway through the set.  After cursing and pacing for 15 minutes, the club owner lent me an SD card to use for additional memory.  However, I already knew the 2nd set would not go as well, even though it was going to be a bigger crowd.  I knew, because it was me.  And I was right.  I had a strong set on the late show.  There was just one problem – very few people in the crowd seemed to agree.  I actually did a new bit at the end of my set called “J-L blames crowd for ruining his Comedy Central tape and his life.”  That actually got them laughing.

I got a ride home from local legend/comedian Rob Maher who was nice enough to come watch and hang out at the 2nd show. I then spent 90 minutes researching how to clear the memory on my Handycam.  I was able to find and implement the solution.  And that is how the future of Comedy Central changed forever…

Saturday: Homeless in Panera Bread and Another Perfect Set

On Saturday I had to check out of my hotel. Normally I would stay Saturday night and go home Saturday morning, but when I broke down how much I was earning (not a lot) and did the math of what 2 nights at the hotel and two train tickets would be (75% of not a lot) I opted to get a Greyhound early Sunday morning (12:40am) thus saving me most of the cost of a train trip and one night at a hotel.  #ComedyMogul  So with an 11 am check out I had to kill 8.5 hours without a home before Saturday shows.  So I went to Panera Bread and wrote two sketches while eating a 1030 breakfast and a 2 pm lunch.  And just a travel tip – no one does hot chocolate better than Panera.  Hot, but immediately drinkable and tastes like someone melted chocolate into a cup.  Only thing is overkill – they recently added chocolate chip marshmallows to the hot chocolate which, although tasty, turn a great beverage into a calorie heavy sugar rush.  I then made my way to Starbucks across the parking lot outside and read for another two hours before going to McDonald across the highway for dinner.  #ComedyMogul

My Panera Bread fan meet n greet event was a huge success

I owe a great debt of gratitude to the Saturday crowds at Magoobys.  I was already sick and dreading the pending Greyhound trip. I had only sold 4 cds to the first two audiences on Friday. The pressure was now on after going 0-2 on Comedy Central tapings. And I had no idea if my camera would fu*k up again.  Well what transpired was the comedy equivalent of Michael Jordan’s flu game.  The first crowd was great. Every joke hit and the camera taped!  Headliner said to me “That was the set; make sure that camera taped it.”  So when people ask when Comedy Central changed for the better* you can point to that perfect set that then elevated their series, etc.

*Set Deposited into Recycle Bin on desktop January 1, 2017

The second set also went great as a nice bonus and I ended up selling 21 CDs between the two shows.  I then took Uber to the Greyhound station for the final part of this epic 36 hour trilogy.

I love that the bathrooms have Kathy Griffin and Dane Cook at Magoobys. I did not verify, but I would like it to mean "for female shit" and "for male shit"

Sunday: Greyhound Abdi & Canola

Exclusive shot of me on Greyound (c) Annie Leibovitz

I got on my Greyhound bus at 12:40am. Before me on line was a man, probably in his late 40s who bore a slight resemblance to Barrkhad Abdi of Captain Phillips fame.  The man had a backpack, a suitcase and a large plastic bag.  He had a ticket that indicated he was at the end or in the middle of an epic trip (having  taken a couple of long Greyhound trips earlier in my career his trip had at least 3 bus changes.  But beyond all these details it seemed like the man might have been slightly developmentally disabled.  As I got on the bus, having dreaded this trip all day, I thought about this man – Where was he going? Where was he coming from? Was he safe? Did he have friends or relatives helping him?  It was making me sad as I settled into my seat thinking about how meaningless comedy feels in a world where a man like that might be struggling just to maintain his existence.  And then my bus driver  yelled into the bus audio system:

“Good evening everybody!”

silence. (half the bus sleeping)

“I said GOOD EVENING EVERYBODY!!!”

buh buh hello bitch damn

“My name is Canola and I am your driver tonight.”

Me: laughing.

So I guess laughter can have a useful place when you are feeling down.  Thanks Canola. And good luck Greyhound Abdi. I hope you are OK.

Get J-L’s new stand up albums KEEP MY ENEMIES CLOSER &  ISRAELI TORTOISE on iTunes, Amazon & Google.



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December Surprise: Hidden Videos of Trump Speech Discovered

As the country prepares itself for President-Elect Trump to become President Trump, the tweets, the international incidents and the conflicts of interest continue to pile up.  But recent videos handed over to JLC News may change how even some of Trump’s most die hard supporters feel about him.  In a speech given in early November Mr. Trump spoke at length on various issues that may shock some of his fans and his detractors equally.  He spoke on issues affecting the black community, the heroin epidemic, women’s health and shocking plans to push for a Constitutional Amendment on President term limits.  Of course the mainstream media did not cover these but here are some clips JLC News received:

Trump on the Heroin Epidemic

Trump Bashes President Obama and the State of the NBA

Trump Proposes Constitutional Amendments

Trump Talks Women’s Health Issues



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The No-Name Comedian Manifesto for 2017

As 2016 rapidly approaches its conclusion I am reflecting on a year that has been by far my most successful financially as a comedian and also in some ways the most frustrating.  I have made the most money of any year, in part thanks to royalty payments for my albums, in part thanks to President-Elect Donald Trump and in part thanks to 13 years of diligence in trying to get booked as a feature at as many comedy clubs as I am able.  I had an album reach #1 on iTunes and have made repeated performances on the top podcasts in the country.  All done on my own with no representation.  However beneath the veneer of budding success lie harsh truths.  I have been unable to build an infrastructure for my career.  Unlike a regular job, having a good year does not guarantee anything of the sort next year.  There are no linear promotions in stand up comedy, at least not for the unrepresented among us.  Having a good year in 2016 simply means I will have to redouble efforts in 2017 just to maintain the level I achieved this year and hope for recognition, notice and/or opportunity in 2017 that may allow me to surpass where I am currently.  But the difficulty is that even if you double the money I made in comedy this year I would still need another source of income to continue living the pleasant, but month-to-month existence I have had for the last several years.  So what that amounts to is that as I approach my 14th year in comedy (and look up the lyrics to Guns N Roses’14 years for a solid description) in what at times feels more like compulsion than enjoyment, I will have to work at a pace that didn’t fatigue me when I was working as a full time attorney and open mic comedian 10 years ago, but now exhausts me. And unlike the comedian I was in 2006 a lot has changed since then.  In 2006 I had to worry about stage time, writing and getting clips to bookers. Today there are a dozen social media platforms, YouTube videos and podcasts all of which help you expand a fan base, but all of which take time and energy (in some cases money) and are not stand up comedy.  And without a larger platform, media presence, or gatekeeper, you are only likely to expand linearly (my podcast has grown from 200 to 1000 listeners a week since I started it over 4 years ago, which is nice and from a larger comedy business perspective, completely irrelevant) and in this business exponential growth is needed and is still almost always controlled by powerful players in the business.  However, just like state lotteries, the powerful in and around comedy have no qualm feeding the myth that the average guy with some pluck and a $1 can be the next success.  So as we approach the conclusion of my most successful year as a comedian I offer some words of how comedians can help themselves and how the business can help comedians.  Do I expect any of these to take hold? No. But I need this Starbucks coffee to cool off so might as well write.

Comedians Need a Guild

Having attended law school and practiced as an attorney I wish I were more well versed in labor law, but I am not.  But I do know that stand up comedy needs a guild.  Now I would not expect it to wield as much power or prestige as the Screen Actors Guild, nor provide certain things like health insurance because the economies of comedy clubs are not what they are for film studios, but certain protections and rights need to be enshrined for comedians at some point.  For example – the fact that feature acts continue to be the most squeezed of the three comedian levels (emcees – often locals, entry level, middle acts – who have to do the travelling of headliners and perform more time than emcees for a fraction of the money headliners get).  The pay per show of feature comedians has not gone up in 30 years.  Half the clubs now do not provide lodging for feature acts. That means a feature act, who presumably is the next decade’s headliner (after he or she waits for the Vine stars, Instagram stars and MTV2 stars to leapfrog him or her) must find a way to travel and lodge themselves and hope that frugality and merchandise sales can help them make a little money.  And of course the real reason to do it for net gain of maybe a few hundred dollars is to make contacts, hone your act and possible make some fans.  But this is no longer really a viable path for people to earn a living and become great comedians. Therefore a Guild should guarantee lodging and/or increased pay for features. Now clubs can be organized by levels (colloquially we call them A or B (or C) rooms – based on crowds, location, prestige, etc. and those levels can be required to pay features a certain level. For example if no lodging is provided then an A room would have to pay a feature $150 per show instead of the standard $100 per show.  These are just figures meant to illustrate my point as several clubs already do pay $100 per show plus room, but obviously there is something wrong with a job that is paying the same or less than the same job in 1986 (in real dollars, not adjusted for inflation).  Like America, the Middle Class of comedy has been the one most decimated by cutbacks at clubs. In fact, I would argue that they are the only ones paying.

Another issue I would want a comedy guild to address is an outright ban on clubs managing talent. SAG for many years (I could not find out if the rule was lifted recently) banned talent agencies from producing content because of the obvious conflict of interest.  I manage you; I make a movie; I cast you ahead of other talent and then I collect 10% of the salary I pay you for being in the movie.  However, there are clubs that manage talent, allow that talent to monopolize spots at their club or clubs and then force feed their talent on showcases for networks under the guise of presenting a cream of the crop of talent for networks to select from.  In this age of everyone telling comedians that gatekeepers don’t matter – they still matter a lot.  We can keep producing free content while being sold a false dream or we can wake up and realize that for every Bo Burnham there are 10,000 people producing free content, some of it good, with no shot of breaking through without an established entity or gate keeper paving the way.

These are just two ideas I have regarding a comedy guild, and I realize they, along with other ideas, would require a collective action that the comedy community may not be capable of.  I have said this with some scorn and also some self-blame, but it is hard to organize a labor force when the majority already act and think of themselves as scabs.  New comics are afraid of ruffling feathers, comics with some heat and opportunity are afraid of squandering what feels like a shot at the dream and big time comics are too removed from their struggling days to relate or care about the diminished outlook for comedians today.  Of course, nothing is guaranteed, but with the Internet demanding more of comedians than ever, having a business that is increasingly stacked against the middle class of comedy cannot and should not be tolerated by comedians at any level.

 Facebook is not Your Friend

I have a buddy who is a comedian, but also owns and operates a hugely successful non-comedy Internet company.  He has over 2 million fans on his business Facebook page. And over the last couple of years, as Facebook has approached 2 billion users worldwide it has become more and more difficult for him to reach his fans with posts because of the algorithms Facebook has instituted.  Facebook has become immensely profitable and their answer to that has been to squeeze the people, business and creators that have helped make it successful.  Google pays successful video makers and Twitter does not hide posts – there is still an egalitarian spirit in their business model, unlike Facebook, which basically holds its creators hostage.  Facebook, as many of you know, discourages YouTube videos from being seen. As an example, 3 years ago I had a YouTube video link go viral. It had 81 shares and 200,000 views in 3 days.  Last year I had a video get 80 shares and it had 5,000 views.  There are other factors to explain some disparity, but none to explain that large a disparity other than Facebook’s algorithm.  Now Facebook wants its users to directly upload through Facebook and your reward is the ego boost of more views, but nothing else. No compensation, no credits for ads. Nothing.

Facebook is a media giant. Make no mistake about it.  They deserve to be treated like CBS, ABC and NBC and I hope the criticism from fake news stories being spread finally gets them to wield the power they cultivated with more responsibility.  And as their ads continue to cost more and more money it will reach a point where your feed will be flooded by only the companies and entities that can afford to advertise on radio and television.  So like many things in this country, they are driving their success on the backs of content creators, but making it unaffordable for those creators to get exposure (get exposure and make no money or upload a YouTube clip and get no views).  Once again, at least Google pays people (there are plenty of issues with Google as well, but trying to keep this under 3000 words).  My solution, as unrealistic as it is, would be for comedians to not upload any content directly to Facebook.  Once again, this would have to be some sort of hashtaggy moment to draw attention, but we are now addicted to likes and clicks like a digital heroin, so I know it is unlikely.  Facebook is just another big, bad company, except they actually don’t make anything. They steal ideas from other apps and they use free content from its users.  And comedians should consider themselves one of the main foods on the plate of the social media parasite.

Do Not Use a Label to Produce Your Album(s)

I have self produced 5 albums and self producing has had real financial benefits. This year I will make a little over $15,000 in royalties because I am both the artist AND owner of my material.  I have produced good content, but I have never been able to get a label to produce any of my albums.  Now this comes with a caveat before I continue. If you are a major artist you can negotiate a deal that works for you. Like most things in comedy (and America) if you come into a deal with power you will leave with power and lots of money.  Or if you are an up and coming artist and Comedy Central wants to work with you and produce your album that relationship has immense value for your career because of their reach and their numerous platforms.  However, if you don’t fit into these categories I would advise you to take to heart what you half-heatedly tell yourself when trying to justify continuing a rocky career path: do it yourself.

This is one of the few areas where there is an ability to do it yourself (this assumes you are at a level of skill and talent where your material is at a point where it is worth putting down in an album and can find, if not an audience, at least respect, if people hear it).  I get the breakdown of my royalties each month and it is roughly 47% to the artist and 53% to the  rights owner.  Now I probably make a decent amount relative to most no name comedians, but let’s say you are a comedian with one kick ass album. Maybe your label even negotiated a good deal for you, but bottom line is they will make half of your money in perpetuity of your album(s). Why? Because they put up the up front costs for you and got you a nice venue – it may not be a deal with the Devil, but I assure you it is not angelic either.  Once again the lure of a top notch production and immediate gratification lures comedians to wager their long term benefits.  These labels aggregate albums from big time people and dozens if not hundreds of no-namers like myself.  So while you make $500 a month they may make $550 a month x 100 (or more) comedians. Individually, like class action lawsuits, you have no reason to really challenge, but as a collective comedians could change this industry.

If you look at the iTunes comedy charts you will usually see albums from 5 labels dominating and they will also occupy the “New and Noteworthy” spots with high profile placement.  My album Israeli Tortoise hit #1 on the comedy charts in August, but it had no backing, no label and never got placement as new and noteworthy, even though one might think reaching #1 in its first week might make it both new and noteworthy.  The point is that the only way to change the business is to practice what we preach, or at least pretend to believe.  In an era where music labels, television studios and movie studios face increasing competition, comedians continue to be a reliable source of entertainment slave labor where large companies feed the narrative that “gatekeepers are not necessary” to encourage free content, while simultaneously benefiting from their monopoly on real and concrete opportunity as… gatekeepers.

Of course I must admit that I do not know how each of the major labels operate or the nature of the deals they sign with comedians. I can only extrapolate what I know from my payment breakdown, how I see working no name comics treated by the business and the general lessons of history when powerful interests and business operate without restriction or restraint.

And In Conclusion…

America recently elected Donald Trump president.  This was the insane result of many things and one of them was working class people willing to buy a lie wrapped in a fairy tale because they were desperate to believe something that catered to their anger and diminished clout.  In comedy there is no need for a Trump because it is already run as if Trump is in charge. Contradictory policies, false promises and the middle men and no-namers buy in against their own interests.  As my friend Mike Payne said perfectly (and hopefully now famously?) “Comedians talk about the world like Karl Marx and then become Paul Ryan when speaking about comedy.”  I am not here to say that I am going to burn myself in front of a comedy club like a monk during Vietnam, either literally or metaphorically (though some might say this blog is doing just that), but there is no better industry more emblematic of income inequality and a rigged system than the broken backs of the middle class of comedy.  The question is – will comedians ever band together and do anything about it because it is only getting worse.

Get J-L’s new stand up albums KEEP MY ENEMIES CLOSER &  ISRAELI TORTOISE on iTunes, Amazon & Google.



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The Early Short List: Who the Democrats Should Nominate for 2020

As President-Elect Donald Trump puts together his cabinet of the best, tremendous people who will make America Great Again or an apocalyptic wasteland it is clear that his administration will be hawkish on aggressive military action, scientifically ignorant to the point of criminal negligence and sympathetic to the concerns of the most bitter white people (isn’t that an even nicer way to refer to the Alt-Right?!).  He has backtracked on most of his major rallying cries (build the wall, lock her up, drain the swamp and “believe me” have all proven to be rhetoric to get people to foam at the mouth), but will come through on Koch Brother-Paul Ryan-Mike Pence wet dreams (a creationist as Secretary of Education, stridently pro-life appointments to the Supreme Court, destruction of the environment, cutting taxes for the wealthy), so America has basically gotten a less experienced, less honest and less competent version of the average red state Republican in Donald Trump.  But it is important to remember that the Projector-in-Chief-Elect is so much better than Hillary Clinton.  After all she had fake scandals, real experience and a vagina – 3 STRIKES AND YOU’RE OUT!  So the question is, what will the Democrats do to prepare for 2020 when President Pence is up for re-election (I am predicting that within 3 weeks of the Democrats taking over the Senate in 2018 President Trump will resign because it will be the first chance he has to blame his lack of preparedness and competency on the Democrats since he will have the full government/limited room for excuses for the first 2 years)?  Will they take to heart the lessons of 2016 (don’t nominate someone with experience, listen to the uninformed “economic” concerns of racists and bigots, adhere to a pie-in-the-sky progressive agenda) or will they make the mistake of 2016 and nominate an incredibly smart. capable and experienced person? As a political junkie and half-black immigrant, half blue collar Irish Catholic I think I have the suggestions that can give the Democrats the widest possible coalition to win in 2020:

Khloe Kardashian

As Van Jones put it, a lot of this election was about a “whitelash.” After being led by a “You Think You Better N Me?!” black man, large swaths of the country wanted a white back in the White House.  I mean, they wanted economic security back… so they voted for a billionaire who lies and rips off workers and promises jobs and industries that cannot and will not come back, which would be known to anyone who reads once in a while.  But if the goal is to take down the legacy of a black man (President Obama) and institute policies that will hurt other black people then the best way for the Democrats to win over Trump voters is to nominate Khloe Kardashian.  No group of women has destroyed more black men than the Kardashians and the new star in the family on this front is Khloe (look at the MVP season James Harden is having since breaking up with her).  Rumor has it that Khloe’s vagina is called “The 1994 Crime Bill” because of its negative impact on black men.  She also comes with a lot of money and a big social media presence so she is basically Trump with booty.  But she is a woman who dates men of color so progressives should also find her enticing.

Suge Knight

Shady business dealings.  Mogul. Strong and authoritative leadership. Basically if you want a bigger and blacker version of Trump Suge Knight is your candidate.  And imagine President Trump or Pence trying to debate him or tweet at him with insults.

Trump’s Nanny(ies)

One of the biggest factors that allowed voters to support a racist, misogynistic, low information, poor temperament, constantly projecting, arrogant, delusional alleged billionaire was the fact that his children appeared to be competent and well-behaved.  Well if the measure of a presidential candidate is how well they raise children, then the Democrats should nominate the wet nurse/au pair of Trump’s kids as the full ticket in 2020. Of course, need to make sure Trump didn’t pull an Arnold Schwarzenegger or a Jude Law because it would damage the chances of the Democrats winning (the adultery would have no impact on Trump’s re-election chances).

Mixed Race Trans Zygote

With Bernie supporters claiming that he would have destroyed Trump in the election (because Trump supporters seem to be very open to socialists and Jews), while skipping over the fact that maybe drawing some angry, bigoted support is not the noblest of justifications for rejecting a candidate that beat him soundly in the primary, Democrats should still pay attention to their progressive wing. That is why I suggest a Constitutional Amendment making the age lower for nominees.  Then the Democrats should nominate a mixed race, transgendered zygote. Benefits – diversity, progressive, not a troublesome record of experience and GOP fabrications following it.  However, so as not to alienate Bernie folks in the rust belt, the candidate should just be known as “Working Class, Unidentifiable Individual.”

Ivanka Trump

If the brand of Trump emerged with Donald then Ivanka is the ultimate fulfillment of that brand. She speaks with the composure of a beauty pageant contestant and the tone of a phone sex operator. She is beautiful and some of it is actually genetic (not the nose or breasts and her eyes also look like they have been modified, and I am not sure what her natural hair color is) and she doesn’t say hateful things (she just stands by and laughs it off as Dad being Dad).  In other words, to fight fire with fire it may be time to nominate one Trump who may be even more inauthentic than the President-Elect to defeat him.  She is the anti-Hillary – hot, inexperienced, young and possibly a cyborg.  And unlike other women he has run against, we already know that Donald thinks very highly of Ivanka’s body.

Get J-L’s new stand up albums KEEP MY ENEMIES CLOSER &  ISRAELI TORTOISE on iTunes, Amazon & Google.



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Road Comedy Recap: The Scatman Crothers of the Boston Comedy Festival

It has been several years since I attended any comedy festival and 10 years since I made a good, but failed run at the Boston Comedy Festival.  But in the “hope springs eternal” mindset that rests beneath numerous layers of “fu*k this sh*t” I entered the Boston Comedy Festival again this year. My mindset was fairly practical in entering. The prize for the winner was $10,000.  With 96 competitors I figured odds were in my favor (imagine buying a $600 lottery ticket – train and hotel fare – but your odds of winning $10,000 was 1 in 96 – but really much better than that based on experience) so I entered.  Also, a much less important factor I figured was with most comics of my comedy generation either finding success or permanent obscurity it was time for me to meet the next group of comedians who might pass me by in the next five years. Either way I figured there were enough reasons to give it a shot.

So after spending several hundred dollars I went to my preliminary round Thursday night and had a really good set. And then at the end of the show when the comedians going on to the semi finals were announced I figured I was definitely in the top 5. And I may have been right, but I was not in the top 3, which was the number of comics advancing.  And just like that I felt like Scatman Crothers from the Shining. I had gotten on my Snowcat (Amtrak) and traveled many miles to show up to save the day, only to have a comedy contest ax buried in my chest.  But like many things in comedy, I am calloused at this point to where I can just sort of shrug it off in a few minutes (by contrast losing in the semi finals in 2006 took me… oh wait I am still not over that robbery).  Silver lining 2 of the 3 comics that made the semis from my prelim also made the finals, meaning that we had a disproportionate number of finalists.  The system really is rigged!

When you have a vision of being a hero in Boston, but get axed in the 1st round

I spent the next day at the movie theater (movies and movie snacks are my alcohol) and saw Arrival (thoughtful and solid) and Magical Harry Potter Beast Creatures Movie (decent escapism, but not sure I need it to be a five movie franchise, which is what they have planned). And then, thanks to my friend comedian Jay Nog I got a spot on his Paid or Pain show as part of the festival.  The show is unique, but simple: comedians perform and the audience decides if they get paid or pain (delivered by a dominatrix – on this show a latex clad busty woman – my favorite thing on the show, other than my own humor, was seeing the comedians on the lineup talk to her in the green room like she didn’t look like a porn star – my conversation with her would have been “Did you order a pizza? Something wrong with your cable? Plumbing? Are we gonna fu*k or what??”). I was one of the two judges on the show offering witty criticism and commentary on the show and the performers.  Other than the aforementioned dominatrix I think it would be safe to say my Trump impression stole the show.  I spent the last 20 minutes speaking as Trump only, including what Trump would want from a dominatrix (“I would want Ivanka in the room because she is very hot and I would want the dominatrix to be dehydrated so when she peed on me it was a strong Trump gold color”).  I think the show will air on Sirius XM at some point – I will tweet/share the details if I get them.

After the show I had a couple of comedians and audience members tell me that I should audition for SNL. It was a nice compliment and I will get on that as soon as I find a way to make it to the semi finals of a comedy contest.

Get J-L’s new stand up albums KEEP MY ENEMIES CLOSER &  ISRAELI TORTOISE on iTunes, Amazon & Google.



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Road Comedy Recap: Cleveland and The Electoral Map of a Murdered Smurf

This week I have been in Cleveland, my home away from where John D. Rockefeller started his empire, where Drew Carey got  fat and where I have appeared more than any other city outside of NYC and LA.  Basically I have been like Andrew Miller for this city, but over the last 7 years – 6’7″, immensely talented, unwanted by NY and delivering amazing performances.  This week has been no different and the city has been in need of healing (but apparently not in need of comedy albums as my 1.0 albums sold per show rate demonstrates) since it was the only Democratic stronghold in the city on Election Night.  I have told audiences that their state looked like a murdered Smurf because there was this tiny blue spot in the top of the state and blood red pouring out of it to the entire state.  So just like a bases loaded jam in the playoffs for Miller I arrived in Cleveland (under my urban room moniker of “Vanilla Coke”) to deliver some comedic healing… to the audience members that were not talking or texting or coming in late).  Here ya go:

Thursday – Southwest Mogul

I had a free flight to Cleveland on Southwest Airlines (I actually have the equivalent of about 6 free flights because of my Southwest credit card – let me tell you nothing gets women ready to get it on more than when at a bar or a club you pull out your Southwest Black Visa Card – yes girl, ever fly 5th class before?), but the catch was I had to fly out of BWI. Well I didn’t have to, but rather than fly from NYC to Chicago and then back to Cleveland I took Amtrak to BWI… at 4:40 am.  I arrived at BWI and went to the diner in Terminal A.  And they have (Trump voice) tremendous pancakes and hot chocolate (end Trump voice) for any travelers out there.  I then hopped on my flight and had leg room for days. See below:

Snug as a bug in a rug with soon-to-be crippled legs

When I arrived in Cleveland I snapped a quick pic with Lebron James who met me at the airport to discuss some potential business ventures.  I then made my way to the comedy condo (usually words that are as awkward to a comedian as “Special Event: Jake the Snake Roberts”) but the Cleveland Improv condo is quite nice.  I then killed time and had a great set that night.  And to prove it I sold 1 CD, but got more compliments and eye contact than I have ever received in my 7 years of performing at the Cleveland Improv.

King and Mogul

Friday – No Movie so Why Not Re-Write and Record a Bob Dylan song for 6 hours?!

Normally on Fridays I check out a movie and do a review and then emotionally wrestle for 5 hours on whether or not to go to the gym, but with no movie nearby (Black People Christmas, or whatever it is called was under 50% on Rotten Tomatoes so I couldn’t see it.  I was suspicious mainly because it was the first happy, mostly black movie that did not use Earth Wind and Fire’s September in the preview – I will not abide that disrespect to a proud black cinematic tradition.  So instead I decided that I should spend my day re-writing and recording a new rendition of Bob Dylan’s Hurricane for The Dan Lebatard Show on ESPN radio.  If you are a fan of the show it is strong work (even though my vocals are booty). I re-wrote it before lunch, went to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame at lunch to see their new exhibit on music, power and freedom (really good and inadvertently timely) and then went back to the condo to record the song.  Hopefully it gets played and appreciated on the show Monday morning (writing this Sunday afternoon in a Starbucks):

That night I had some good sets and sold a whopping 4 albums so it was difficult to sleep that knowing that Saturday would be foot long sub at Subway instead of 6 inches due to my new wealth.  Here is a clip where I summarize the Republican Party in three awkward minutes:

Saturday – You Won’t Have J-L’s Merchandise Table To Kick Around Anymore!

The heading says it all. Had good shows, but after I sold zero on the first (helped in part by a group of 4 people who set up a human wall in front of my merch table – the pic below is of a woman doing the same thing on Friday night – but at least no one threw their coat on top of my CDs like in Albany earlier this year). So after selling zero on the first show I crushed the second show and then stormed out saying “You won’t have my merch table to kick around anymore!” and went back to the condo.  I then watched Dave Chappelle host SNL and give the best monologue in the show’s history in an episode every bit as good as Tom Hanks’s episode this year, which for me was the best episode of the show in years.

Good news is my CDs will rush for 100 yards with this kind of blocking...

On an Amazon Prime movie side note – earlier in the day I watched Woody Allen’s Bananas for the first time – wow – what a brilliant comedy that still holds up and is even prescient about some things (available for free with prime until November 30). I then watched (tried to) the very overrated Green Room – made it 65 minutes in and was bored. (Trump tweet voice) Sad! (End Trump tweet voice)

Sunday – Mass and TV in Starbucks

Walked to Mass on Sunday morning (huge, beautiful St John The Evangelist – oddly enough the name of my Church in Manhattan – I guess they franchised out) and couldn’t help feeling unholy thoughts as I looked at all those white, Catholic, Ohio voters (I know how half of my people tend to lean), but then I saw a girl texting during Mass and officially felt like a grumpy, old man.  But I do like being in a full Church and the fact that people still shake hands in Church in the Midwest instead of the Purell wave that you get in NYC.  I then watched Pitch and The Exorcist on my computer (seriously good shows on Fox this Fall – Mark Paul Gosselaar as a grizzled veteran catcher on Pitch is particularly good) and wrote a new version of My Prerogative called My Presidency for Trump (a joke that did so so was about how Trump is basically Scarface for white racists – expect his poster in redneck thug trailer parks in 15 years – and a political version of what Bobby Brown did when he left New Edition). I only mention this because I am starting to feel like comedy is more a compulsion, rather than a profession or even a hobby. Oh well, 500-5000 YouTube viewers will be thrilled when it goes up at some point and that is enough for me!

So one more show tonight and then my usual 5:50 am Amtrak back to NYC on Monday. You are welcome Cleveland.

Get J-L’s new stand up albums KEEP MY ENEMIES CLOSER &  ISRAELI TORTOISE on iTunes, Amazon & Google.



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Trump Calls Blacks Riggers, Clinton a Bitch on Leaked Tape of Tuesday Speech Rehearsal! (NSFW)

On an explosive, leaked video recorded just hours before Election Day Donald Trump can be seen and heard refusing to concede election results if he loses, calling on his supporters to protect their vote with the 2nd Amendment in a speech rehearsal obtained by JLC News.  Trump claims that the Democratic Party is full of “riggers” that are good at basketball, clearly a play on words implying a racial slur as well as claiming rapists in Texas and Florida have voted for Clinton.  And in blunt language, even for Trump, the GOP nominee refers to Hillary Clinton as a bitch. This bodes very poorly for tranquility on Election Night. For the full video see below:



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Road Comedy Recap: Killing Sets, Cheesecake and Sewage Systems in Syracuse

This weekend (well Thursday-Monday morning) was spent in Syracuse, NY – the city that the Sun forgot.  I was featuring at the Syracuse Funny Bone, located in the Destiny Mall – a mall so large that they have an entire store dedicated to Crocs, or as I call it, a recruiting tool for ISIS.  The comedy week really began last Wednesday night when I played Batman in the Roast of Batman at Broadway Comedy Club. I had a good performance and tried to emulate the Christian Bale Batman voice (video forthcoming), but in terms of attire I had to wear a tight Batman shirt and a hot rubber mask (and then went right to a Batman themed Eyes Wide Shut orgy) because the XXL Batman costume basically fit like Freddie Mercury in the pants and like Chris Farley wearing David Spade’s jacket in Tommy Boy up top.  But the jokes went well and then I went to sleep for an early trip to Syracuse the next morning. So without further adieu here is the recap of the trip:

Thursday – Amtrak Backtrack

As I write this from my return Amtrak Monday morning I am happy to report that we are on schedule.  The same could not be said for Thursday morning’s trip to Syracuse.  I have written a lot over the years of my affinity for, and frustrations with, rail travel in this country.  As part of the stimulus plan when Obama took office many dollars were earmarked for infrastructure improvements and additions to state and federal rail service.  Much of it was scrapped, especially in states like Florida and Ohio with Republican governors.  I have thought for many years that there should be a massive – like hundreds of billions – investment in making our nationwide rail service comparable to Europe and Asia.  Improvement to our infrastructure, thousands upon thousands of jobs, upgrading our transportation system and giving something for people to use – feels like a win all around, which is why I think various lobbies, probably aviation at the top of the list, have worked hard to kill this (in addition to the GOP wanting to privatize rail).  So instead what we are left with is a 5.5 hour trip to Syracuse that takes 7 hours because Amtrak, once out of the DC-Boston corridor (where the money and power reside) Amtrak does not own the tracks so freight always gets priority – on my last 5 long range trips (5+ hours) the average arrival has been just a few minutes short of 2 hours late.  I am no populist and am a happy Hillary voter, but nothing more richly symbolizes America than business being given priority 100% of the time over people on the rails of America.  When I finally arrived in Syracuse (after we had to ride 30 minutes past the station because of a disabled train at the station so we could switch tracks) the sky looked like the beginning of the Battle of Helms Deep in The Two Towers, so very welcoming.

Thursday’s show was solid. Nothing big to report, but worth noting is that two stories below the club in the mall was a Cheesecake Factory. So I had a slice of the Hazelnut Cheesecake while the headliner was on (it’s their new flavor and it may be the best they’ve ever done).  And just to show you the admiration and respect the Mall has for the money printing machine that is the Cheesecake Factory check out the side of the Mall as they are every bit as powerful as Saxs Fifth Avenue and Macy’s (and only Cheesecake Factory appeared to have reserved parking for their management in the Mall parking area.

No part of the mall looms larger than The Cheesecake Factory

Friday – Great Movie, Great Shows, Horrific Aftermath

On Friday I went to see Deepwater Horizon, the Peter Berg directed movie starring Mark Wahlberg about the Exxon Valdez spill (kidding for those of you who are bad with jokes).  I have made a lot of fun at the expense of Wahlberg and Berg (sounds more like a law firm) because they have been on some sort of draped-in-the-flag mutual masturbation series of films recently (starting with Lone Survivor, which was OK and then next month’s Patriot’s Day about the Boston bombing these guys are making short, white American men feel even better than Donald Trump).  The preview for Patriot’s Day is literally like a remix of the Deepwater trailer – white guy kisses pretty wife while guitars strum, then goes to work trying to make the world a better place – then bad sounds and ominous shots – and then title screen.  I said on my podcast the next Wahlbergberg movie is probably going to be called Standing Blue – about a white cop who protests San Francisco 49er games because Colin Kaepernick won’t stand for the anthem.

Make White Men Great Again

Now, with all the jokes out of the way, I must give the Wahlbergberg devils their due – Deepwater Horizon was excellent.  Incredibly well executed (minus some of the given cheese in the first 30 minutes of the film), well acted (Gina Rodriguez was not quite Tom Hanks at the end of Captain Phillips (GOAT PTSD performance) but she was really good when given a chance to flex her chops and Wahlberg was solid, as was Kurt Russell), and quite powerful. Highly recommend.

As for the shows on Friday – I crushed obviously, but in my arrogance I slipped up. I am not a big cheese eater unless it is preceded by “grilled” or followed by “cake” but I opted for the quesadillas during the 1st show, then got cheesecake in between shows and then, in a moment of boredom, got the mozzarella sticks during show 2.  What happened next was nothing short of Deepwater Horizon meets Harry from Dumb and Dumber. I will spare the details, but I got back to my hotel room at 1230am and left my bathroom at 3:05 am.  In between dumping crude oil into the Syracuse sewage system I also vomited so hard I thought I burst a blood vessel in my right eye (just turned out to be bloodshot with cloudy vision for an hour).  If my stomach had been any worse Peter Berg could have directed a movie starring Mark Wahlberg about the plumber that would have had to come and fix my bathroom. Porcelain Knight coming to theaters 2018.

Jeff Daniels in The J-L Cauvin Saturday Night Story

And here is me crushing in an extended bit about my dog Cookie.  Another clip of me doing Trump is getting a lot of hits on Facebook (my Trump impression is so powerful it turns conservative, upstate white voters into a Def Jam crowd)

Saturday – Crushing Sets, Crushing Emotions Over Poor Sales

Saturday I saw the movie Ouija, which was not very good (other than Lights Out – critics have been off bigly with this year’s horror offerings).  I also ate very little because my stomach felt like it had been through a war.  So there was nothing much of significance to report other than the fact that I crushed hard.  Several people told me my Trump bit/impression was the funniest thing they had ever heard. I agreed with them.  But in two shows I only sold 1 CD.  So I went back to the hotel bummed, but hopeful with one more show left in the week.  #LiveLoveLaugh  Here is a picture of Jake The Snake Roberts and I from the club. If you don’t follow me on Instagram, this is Jake doing his impression of me when I heard Jake The Snake Roberts was headlining comedy clubs:

Sunday – The Final Chapter

Sunday began with being woke(n) up by the high school band that occupied every room on my hotel floor except for my room and the headliner John Henson (of Talk Soup and Wipeout) and they were loud and annoying, but I had already gotten the 4.5 hours sleep I need to be an angry, lazy, bitter sloth of a comedian so I was good to go.  I went to see The Magnificent Seven and was joined by John, who either because he wanted an aisle seat as well or just wanted to assert his headliner status, sat one row above me in the theater.  The movie was not very good. I feel like Denzel, Chris Pratt and Antoine Fuqua were all better than that movie (though Pratt was annoying in his overly charming performance).  Then it was time for the final show.  I did very well and sold the most CDs (10) than any other show for the weekend. I felt so confident that I had a 3rd and final piece of cheesecake, which as of this typing has not done any damage.

Headliner asserting his higher row status on me at the movie. Fat face selfie angle was used for this shot.

All in all it was a great weekend working with John and Mr. Jackson (the emcee), as well as Rob, the chauffeur, door guy, former strip club bouncer who escorted John and I around for the weekend.  Looking forward to coming back in 2017! Now I get to see my dog Cookie, who is not thrilled about her Cookie Monster costume, but fu*k it – she looks cute in it. And if Wahlbergberg have taught us anything, it is heroes don’t always do the easy thing, but they do the right thing – coming in 2020 Mark Wahlberg as Cookie the Dog in Halloween Hero directed by Peter Berg.

 

Cookie as Cookie Monster with Depression

Get J-L’s new stand up album ISRAELI TORTOISE on iTunes, Amazon & Google.



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Mr. Trump is the Mr. Robot Parody SNL Should Have Done!

SNL had its season premiere this past Saturday to rave reviews, in particular the Alec Baldwin-Kate McKinnon Trump-Clinton debate sketch.  The show also provided a long overdue Mr. Robot sketch, considering cast member Pete Davidson is a taller doppelganger for Mr. Robot star Rami Malek.  However, one comedian in the far more anonymous part of the web has managed to combine a dead on Trump impression with a killer parody of Mr. Robot.  Comedian J-L Cauvin, who was sure to post thumbnails of his sketch before the SNL premiere (justifying his paranoia that they might finally do a Mr. Robot sketch) in case anyone believed him to be a copycat gives the world Mr Trump: a perfect representation of the conflict so many voters have between supporting Hillary Clinton vs. supporting Donald Trump.  Here is the sketch for your viewing and sharing pleasure:



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