Normally my road recaps are about weeks or weekends performing comedy somewhere in America. However, this recap, because of its greatness and volume of information and humor will be my first road recap (that I can remember) that is simply a review of a non-comedy trip. I went to my girlfriend’s 20th high school reunion this weekend in Arlington, Virginia. Before you are done reading you will read about slavery, pornography and something far more depraved – a lying scumbag on Amtrak. You will also learn about a legitimate comedy milestone for me as well as chaperoning my Mom to a Bill Maher stand up comedy performance (well, that will be on this week’s podcast). So get ready to learn, laugh and hate!
The Preamble: The Train, The Porn Star and Mean Girls?
As usual, any trip via Amtrak for me will involved the “future glimpse at a dystopian future” known as Penn Station. My girlfriend and I saw the red caps bringing bags to gate 12 East so we, along with a dozen or so other geniuses, lined up there to beat the eventual crush of thousands. Then, the worst thing happened: the gate was announced as 12 West, which meant we were at the back of the line we thought we were starting. As Jesus and Amtrak said, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” Of course there was a guy I remember cutting about 120 people and I wanted to throw him down the escalator, but then I remembered this is not a Trump rally, just Penn Station.
When we got to DC we headed to the Hyatt in Rosslyn, VA which was 2 blocks from the site of the reunion. We then ate at a nearby place called District Taco, which was incredibly delicious (including the rare Boylan soda fountain), so expect a big bump in sales after this endorsement DT. After that it was time to meet up with my girlfriend’s two best friends from high school and their significant others. Here is where things start to get interesting.
There are three main facts learned at the dinner:
- One of their classmates is now a porn star!
- That class mate is a man 🙁
- My girlfriend and her friends may have been the mean girls in high school.
We will cover the first two in the “Boogie Night” section, but the third was interesting because when I asked my girlfriend about being the mean girls in high school, she did not deny it. Instead, she said “I think I was the nicest one!” which is a denial worthy of a Sean Spicer press conference. When I asked one of the two friends later in the weekend, there was not a flat denial, but rather a series of explanations, which confirmed they were the mean girls. So I wondered if I, along with the two other significant others were being set up as human shields for some 20th Reunion school revenge shooting. The rest of the night I just paced around the hotel like Marion Barry yelling “Bitch set me up!”
Too Much Black History!
The next morning, my girlfriend and I went to the National African American Museum of Lit History and Fire Emjoi Culture. The place is stunning, though it requires a full day. We spent four hours there and only got through half of the museum (the lower three levels are the hard core history from slavery through President Obama and it involves a lot of reading, which keeps things to a fairly slow pace, especially when considering how densely packed the large area is with information, displays and artifacts. The top 3 floors cover more culture, sports, etc. and I figured we could see that on our next trip to DC. But at one point, my girlfriend and I were feeling so overwhelmed by the sheet depth and quantity of information that I just yelled out “THERE ARE TOO MANY BLACK… PIECES OF HISTORY!” at which point I got a lot of stares. I quickly pulled out a copy of my Sprint Cell Phone bill to prove my half blackness and everything was forgiven.
And as if there was not enough black history going on, while in the museum I got a message that my album Fireside Craps (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/album/fireside-craps-45s-first-100-daze/id1249491657) would be the first of my albums to make it on to the Billboard Comedy Charts (so look for annoying photos on social media from me when that happens this week).
Among my chief complaints about the museum (after they should have gotten twice the amount of space – though if they were limited to this square footage it is a marvel of design fitting everything in in the manner in which they did) is that there was no display dedicated to angry white guys yelling “But my parents didn’t own slaves!” nor was there anything dedicated to white women running amok with black twitter vernacular (https://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=hZIp2aJCO48). But they did a strong job nonetheless. Though sadly, I expected to see a display of Amber Rose next to either Sojourner Truth or Rosa Parks, but I guess sex positive heroes have not found their place in the museum yet! Here is a photo journal of highlights from my first trip:
Now it was time for the reunion, which was located in a beautiful top floor space overlooking the Potomac River and basically every landmark in DC. However, because of the cost of renting that space the reunion was left with beer, wine, an appetizer station and someone’s iPod playing hits of the 90s over the PA system. It felt like someone buying a Park Avenue penthouse, but only being able to afford to furnish it with an air mattress.
So as I said hi to a few people (and was mistaken as someone else, but then had to have a 5 minute conversation wit the guy to ease his embarrassment) and then I spotted someone that might be the porn star. I worked for the DA’s office in the Bronx for 3.5 years so maybe it is unfair of me to use my skills like this, but I have a keen eye for clues:
- Dirty handsome. Tan, lean jacked, hair product – like Zac Efron if he had been abandoned as a child.
- Poor eye contact, but very friendly.
- Sort of a child-like voice
- accompanied by a woman under 23 covered in tattoos, with a shapely bum and friendly, but exhausted eyes
- said when speaking to my girlfriend “I work out of Vegas, LA, and San Francisco” (something I coined as the BermudAIDS Triangle” later that night)
When I later spoke to my girlfriend’s friend’s husband he said “that’s him, right?” and I said “he had me at Vegas, LA and San Fran.” I am sure that somewhere in Vegas there is a blog being written by the porn star about how he knew who the comedian was in the party:
- Too many jokes
- The frame of a guy who used to workout, but now has the cream filling of a cupcake
- Works in NYC, even though “works” really means has a day job
- Dating some Tina Fey-ish chick because that is as close as he will get to SNL
Church and the Devil
On Sunday morning I woke up to head to Mass before catching the train (I upgrade my girlfriend to the Accela so we could take the train home together #ReunionMogul). I had originally needed to leave earlier than her because I was taking my Mom to see Bill Maher in Newark Sunday night as her birthday present (I stored up just enough African-American Museum Wokeness credits to attend the show – that show and experience will be recapped on this week’s Righteous Prick Podcast Tuesday morning). I went to St Michael’s Cathedral near the DC Improv – the Church that Pope Francis And I attend while in Washington. DC. However, Mass was at 830am and as I found out the hard way, the DC Metro does not open until 800am – what kind of major city does not open their local train until 8am?! And then it was a 20 minute wait for the train once it opened (they should start a couple of trains in the middle of the route, but what do I know). So I was late to Mass, but I was sure to pray for the DC Metro system (“love your enemies/haters” – Jesus Chris and Katt Williams).
I then met my girlfriend at Union Station and we got on the Accela to NYC. Once we hit Philadelphia the train started to get crowded. A few people asked the man sitting in front of us if they could sit with him. He said that the bag next to him belonged to someone who had gone to the Cafe car. When we got to Newark (ten minutes from NYC) and the train was even more crowded and he told a woman “This guy has been gone for like an hour so you can probably sit here,” but she declined. Well, as we pulled into NYC this piece of shit stands up and picks up the bag. It was his bag. I almost said something to a conductor when he claimed it had been left there (hey, what if it is a bomb), but I didn’t. I wanted to say something to the guy as we were leaving, but all I really wanted to do was set his bag on fire, so that would not have been constructive. From his affected mannerisms I think he may have been in town to celebrate PRIDE Day/Week/Ethnic Female Guts Spilling Out of Crop Tops Day in NYC, but he should have been… ASHAMED! *drops mic*
Get J-L’s New Album Fireside Craps on iTunes for only $4.99 (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/album/fireside-craps-45s-first-100-daze/id1249491657)
Subscribe to the Righteous Prick Podcast (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/podcast/righteous-p-k-w-j-l-cauvin/id504139550?mt=2). New every Tuesday. This week a full review of the Bill Maher show in NJ + Mateen Stewart as guest.
If there was an Oprah of bitter and tall New York City comics who are struggling just to attain the mediocre life of a working comedian, then it probably would not be me, but I might be the Gayle King of that group. So before embarking on 2011, here are my ten favorite things of 2010 (it should be no shock that Manny from Modern Family and PMSports.com did NOT make the list):
10. Gilbert Arenas. The funniest/ballsiest photo of the year (and all due respect to Louis C.K. and his legions of hip fans – this was the ballsiest thing in comedy since Stephen Colbert’s address at the White House Press Corps dinner) was snapped in the first week of January and belongs to the former Washington Wizards guard. He was facing federal gun charges and a suspension from the NBA, but that did not stop him for orchestrating a mock gunfight during player introductions. Stupid, insensitive and hilarious. Great way to kick off 2010
(http://www NULL.jlcauvin NULL.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/gilbert2 NULL.jpg)
9. My Brett Favre Wrangler Commercial. Thanks to Comedian Nick Cobb and the rest of the cast who helped make this my most viewed clip on the web (5,000 views – not great, but I’m pleased)
Deep down Louisiana close to New Orleans
Way back with people obsessed with LSU’s football team
There stood a comedy club made of earth and wood
Where telling jokes was a boy named Jean-Louis Be Goode
Who actually learned to read and write very well
But he preferred telling jokes inside a comedy hell
Go J-L go
Go J-L go
Go J-L go
Go J-L go
Jean-Louis Be Goode
He used to carry legal papers in a leather sack
Now he walks aside the roads and the railroad track
Oh, doing shi*ty southern gigs with no car
Since Ferguson wondering how he fell so far
The people watching his act would stop and say
Oh my when is the headliner gonna play
Go J-L go
Go J-L go
Go J-L go
Go J-L go
Jean-Louis Be Goode
His mother told him “Someday you will be a man,
And maybe then you’ll abandon your comedy plan
Dozens of people coming from miles around
To ignore the jokes you tell when the sun go down
Maybe someday your name will be in lights
saying “Manager on duty tonight.”
Go J-L go
Go J-L go
Go J-L go
Go J-L go
Jean-Louis Be Goode
5. War. By Sebastian Junger. Phenomenal book by Vanity Fair writer who was embedded with a combat division for four months in Afghanistan. I did not make it through the documentary Restrepo, filmed by Junger at the same time he was reporting, but the book was much more riveting than the hour of the film I watched.
4. The Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. During one of my several trips to Cleveland to perform this year I made a visit to this museum. I spent six hours there. That is significantly more time than I have ever spent in a museum, including school mandated sessions. Cleveland may have lost Lebron, but there will always be at least one reason to visit.
3. Inside Job and Bill Maher. I have already written how I felt Inside Job is the best movie of the year and should be required viewing in 9th grade classrooms. But equally valuable to the political discourse has been Bill Maher this past season. I am not in complete agreement with Bill Maher on everything, but this season he was absolutely brilliant. Jon Stewart gets a lot of credit, but, ever since his tirade on Crossfire where he basically pulled the bait and switch that he has also pulled on Jim Cramer (hey I’m a comedian, you’re not prepared for me the way you would normally be for a political interviewer and then WHAM! I crush you on television by coming prepared with ideas from my smarter team of writers while I make you look like a jerk on your own show!). Now Stweart is often right, but Billl Maher never tricks people – you know where he is coming from and what his agenda is from start to finish.
2. All the people (especially friends in different cities, but certainly not excluding New York City) who came out to see me perform and also gave me couches and beds to sleep on. Thanks very much. You make my meager “career” possible.
and the best thing of 2010….
1) Breaking Bad– Season 3. That is right, better than my favorite movie of the year, better than anything I made (thus defeating my own high sense of myself) and even outranking friends who have given me a place to stay while on the road is Breaking Bad. For anyone who prefers Dexter or Modern Family or The Good Wife – shut up. And I have dedicated too many words already for the pretentious who have elevated Mad Men from a solid period drama into the greatest thing ever filmed. There is a rumor that AMC has delayed the 4th season of Breaking Bad to allow John Hamm to win best actor for Breaking Bad because Bryan Cranston has won three straight. So AMC is showing who their favorite child is, but they are also tipping their hand on who the better child is. Do yourself a favor in 2011 – catch up on Breaking Bad before season 4 begins in July (I think AMC is starting from the beginning next week some time so get the DVR ready).