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Posts tagged ‘Donald Trump’

14
Jul

The One-Dollar Bet from Price Is Right: The Political Argument of Dummies

It cannot be argued that Donald Trump is intellectually, morally, emotionally and mentally unequipped to be president.  He doesn’t read (he prefers briefings with “killer graphics” according to a member of his cabinet) and he seems to have no greater than a 7th grader’s knowledge of our institutions.  He has no moral compass beyond “is it good for me” and as a parent he seems to have only passed on a name and equally shitty character.  Now of course, you can make an argument for this man as a human being or as president, but in either case you are wrong.  In baseball when a player has all the necessary skills to succeed he is referred to as a “5 tool player.” In Trump’s case he is the exact opposite – as a president he is a “5 failure tool” (sorry if this feels like I am pulling a Tom Friedman – trying to coin my own phrase). Emotionally unstable, morally bankrupt, selfish, stupid and arrogant – literally a Voltron of the 5 traits you would want least in a leader – and he has all 5 in abundance.  But this is not about stating the facts. They are not in dispute among anyone not brainwashed or brain dead.  This is about the people who don’t hate Trump and don’t support him, but for those faux intellectual warriors on social media I call the “One Dollar Bet” people.

On The Price is Right when contestants bid on the price of items to be selected to come to stage the last person will often bet $1. The reason for this is any bid that goes over the price of the item is disqualified.  Therefore, if you bid $1 all you are saying is “I think everyone went over so even if I am the farthest away from the price of the item, I win by default.” That is sometimes a good strategy on the game show, but when discussing issues of the day these people act like their $1 “objectivity” lends them some sort of intellectual heft.  In fact  they look just as stupid as the wrong side, but without the passionate support to at least provide justification for their stupidity.

These are the people that used to say “I am not a scientist” when it comes to climate change. WOW – how brave. By saying you aren’t a scientist ($1 bet) you now have absolved yourself from listening to or believing scientists?  Maybe the creationist CEO of the oil company is right that climate change is a hoax!  Maybe Trump is right that it is a Chinese hoax – I DON’T KNOW BECAUSE I AM NOT A SCIENTIST.

Now these folks have evolved into the “I don’t like Trump. Heck I didn’t vote for him, but both sides are bad! Hillary was bad too!”  Oh shut up you One Dollar Betting Bitch!  First off a vote for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein is not even a $1 bet. It is more like when Drew Carey or Bob Barker called your name to come on down and instead of coming down you went outside the studio and burned your name tag. But now these morons have evolved from the types that question scientists’ on climate change (AND PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND THAT YOU BELIEVE IN CLIMATE CHANGE IF YOU ARE ONE OF THESE PEOPLE – CLIMATE CHANGE IS AN EXAMPLE, NOT AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST OF HOW YOU ARE INTELLECTUALLY DISHONEST) to now demanding rigorous evidence from every commenter on social media:

  • There seems to be collusion with Russia – WHAT IS YOUR EVIDENCE? – Ummm, common sense
  • (a few months later) There have been contacts with Russian – SAYS WHO – Ummmm Donald Trump Jr.
  • (a few days later) The emails say they intended to collect dirt on Hillary thinking it was Russian government intel – SAYS WHO – DO YOU HAVE DNA EVIDENCE AND VIDEO TAPE PROOF? WHERE IS IT?  YOU ARE REALLY REACHING HERE!

This kind of shit just keeps happening. The $1 bet people keep puffing out their chests like they are Copernicus challenging whether the Sun revolves around the Earth, but they are really just Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun insisting there is nothing to see while the store behind him explodes.  You can have your vote and your opinions – but stop pretending that ignoring facts and being a simpleton makes you an intellectual heavyweight. It just makes you complicit in an administration that should have an approval rating of a terror attack instead of in the high 30s.

And this goes for a lot of independents as well (the Kings and Queens of the $1 bet in many cases). Standing outside the parties may win you moral points and (for left leaning indies) make you feel a strong kinship with Bernie (who still insists on using as much of the Democratic establishment he can while not joining so he can just bitch about it, keeping up his brand).  So keep complaining about the system, remaining an independent (I would be curious how many independents actually show wide variance in the parties they support from election to election) and be sure to complain about the parties not letting you vote in primaries as you insist on not joining the parties.   I am not saying some people are not truly independent and do not have valid concerns, but I genuinely believe a lot of independents care more about feeling independent than actually maintaining some sort of political independence.

But at the end of the day yes, it is all Hillary’s fault. Because “any decent candidate would have crushed Trump.” But if that is true, then why after watching President Sleeper Cell destroy America’s credibility from within and put millions of people’s health care and safety at risk every time he has a thought, are his ratings still around 40%? Maybe the country, full of hate and morons has its own issues and the cure may not be “Hillary was bad too.” But keep making your $1 bets if it makes you feel good. I am sure you will get some nice parting gifts.

22
Jun

Phil Jackson is Donald Trump

In Ace Ventura’s voice: “Trump is Jackson… Jackson is Trump… Jackson is a cuck!”

The two biggest news makers on my timeline (besides me and my brand new comedy album Fireside Craps – only $4.99 on iTunes (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/album/fireside-craps-45s-first-100-daze/id1249491657)) this week have been “President” Donald Trump and Knicks “President” Phil Jackson.  Trump is the worst president in American History by Secretariat margins and Phil Jackson is the most inept president of a basketball team since my last NBA 2K season on Play Station.  I thought a quick comparison would be interesting and it sure was.

2 Presidents: Same Awful Results

Donald Trump entered the presidential race based on an unearned, but highly public reputation as a business genius because he turned his father’s empire and money into a bigger empire and several bankruptcies.  Phil Jackson took over the Knicks with an unearned reputation as a basketball genius (whose signature offense was designed by a former assistant coach) built on the backs of 4 of the top 20 players of the last 30 years in the NBA, including 3 of the top 10.

Both have their roots in 1970s New York City – Trump as a young real estate douche bag.  Phil Jackson as a player for the Knicks who threw a lot of elbows like a douche bag.

Trump took his job with no experience, but lots of unearned arrogance.  He clearly did not want to live in the city of the job and believed his charisma and confidence would somehow make the job easy.  Jackson had no experience in management, wanted to do the job remotely from Montana, and believed that his reputation would lure players to NYC.

Trump has been a colossal failure, unless your only reason for support is “I am a spiteful bigot so Trump is crushing it right now.”  Similarly, Jackson has been a colossal failure unless your only hope for the Knicks is “Maybe they will be so bad the NBA forces James Dolan to sell the team.”  Both fan bases probably hope for Trump and Jackson to say racist things on tape, but for very different reasons.

Trump has alienated allies, shown zero knowledge of politics, government or the world and has made horrible personnel decisions.  Jackson has alienated fans, shown no knowledge (in fact has been dismissive) of the modern NBA and has made horrible personnel decisions (the Joachim Noah trade is his Michael Flynn, and suggesting he would trade Porzingis is basically his version of putting Jared Kushner in charge of everything).

But here is the main difference between Trump and Jackson. Trump told America all the stupid things he believed and would do.  And America still elected him.  But if Phil Jackson had said “I will give Joachim Noah $72 million, berate our star player and lower his trade value and then threaten to trade our best player in 2 generations” no Knick fan would have supported his hiring.  So take heart Knick fans and even James Dolan; it could be worse.  You could be as dumb as Trump voters. I guarantee 35% of Knicks fans are not sitting at home wearing Donald Sterling jerseys claiming that “trading Porzingis would Make the Knicks Great Again.”

I learned after writing this that Observer.com had written an article in April comparing Trump and Jackson, but mine was written without this knowledge (and is funnier).

 

14
Mar

Comedian As Trump Filling Out March Madness Brackets Is Gold

News outlets were reporting earlier this month that President Donald Trump would not be filling out a March Madness bracket for the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament, as had become a sort of unofficial tradition with President Barack Obama, a hoops aficionado.  Well, those reports might as well be classified as “fake news” because Trump, thanks to comedian J-L Cauvin, has made a video predicting his Final Four, champion and, as a special bonus, his own “One Shining Moment.”  Trump has Duke, Michigan, West Virginia and Kentucky as his Final Four, but trust me, you will want to watch this anyway:

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

27
Dec

Ellis from Die Hard Is Going to Be President. Seriously.

As I have been forced to come to grips with the fact that Donald Trump is about to become the 45th President of the United States (seriously, forget how awful a person he is – he is also devoid of any intellectual curiosity and offensively simple minded), I have noticed something troublesome, even by the new Trump-related definition of troublesome.   Absorbing daily reminders of his intellectual, social and moral failings, I have discovered that the President-Elect bears more than a passing character resemblance to one of the most famous small time roles in any movie from my lifetime: Ellis from Die Hard.

For a recap (or an introduction to the cinema ignorant), Ellis is a co-worker of John McClain’s wife and basically the prototypical finance douche bro of the 1980s.  When he enters the film he is finishing off a line of coke and shortly thereafter insisting that McClain’s wife show off the Rolex that he and/or the company gave her as a bonus.  The way he says Rolex and looks at our protagonist is basically saying “I banged your wife or am going to soon because I can get her a Rolex.”  Once I made the Trump-Ellis connection I felt like I needed to investigate more about Ellis, one of the most despicable characters of the 1980s.  So here is what I found, through the words of Ellis:

“Hey babe, I negotiate million dollar deals for breakfast. I think I can handle this Eurotrash.”

Ellis says this when he decides to negotiate with Hans Gruber (is it a coincidence that Alan Rickman dies in the film he shares with Ellis and then dies the year Trump, Ellis’moral doppelganger, wins the White House?).  A confident negotiator? Check.  Disrespect for Europe? Check.

“It’s a Rolex.”

The line, mentioned above, is basically Ellis’version of “She was married, but I went after her like a bitch” to Billy Bush.  Except, at least Ellis confronts McClain semi face to face, even if it is only through scummy eyebrow raises.

“Well, I’ve watched 60 Minutes, and I’m saying to myself, they’re motivated, they’re happening, I.E. they want something. Maybe it’s because you’re pissed off or maybe it’s the camel jockeys, the hebes; northern Ireland; it’s none of my business.”

This line is incredibly Trump.  Instead of 60 Minutes Trump claimed “Watching the Morning Shows” was his foreign policy expertise.  He said to a room full of Jewish people “You all love to negotiate” and I think “Camel Jockeys” cannot be too far from what Trump has said of the people of the Middle East in his efforts to ban all Muslims from the United States.

“Hey, business is business. You use a gun, I use a fountain pen what’s the difference? Let’s put it in my terms: you’re in a hostile takeover, you snatch us up for some green mail, but you’re not expecting some poison pill to be running around the building, am I right? Hans, *bubby*, I’m your white knight.”

This line is the sum of Trump’s appeal.  The first part is the claim that his experience in business basically makes him fit for anything that ever requires negotiating.  The second part about being a white knight – this was Trump’s literal message to the Alt-Reich (term I heard from comedian Jena Friedman at a show)

Had Ellis survived he might have been President in a future Die Hard film.

 “I told ’em we were old friends and you were my guest at the party.” 

This is the lie Ellis tells Hans Gruber to get him to take him seriously. The truth is he had never met McClain until that night.  Sort of a reverse of Trump claiming to not know Putin, when he really did.  The only difference is Ellis’ lie gets him killed. Trump’s lies will likely lead to a lot more deaths during his presidency.

So basically Ellis and Trump are the same – scumbags obsessed with material goods and themselves and willing to lie to make themselves seem better.  There are only two differences.  Ellis was high on coke and at least trying to free his co-workers from a terrorist.  Trump is sober and trying to enrich his portfolio and ego at the expense of the American people.  Who knew in 1988 that Ellis was the hero we would need in 2016. #RIPEllis

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

19
Dec

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.

4
Dec

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

28
Nov

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.

23
Nov

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.

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7
Nov

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:

4
Oct

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: