This week I was in Liberty Township, Ohio (a suburb near Cincinnati made for the wealthy people of southern Ohio who love Trump, but don’t like sharing a zip code with the people from The Hills Have Eyes in southern Ohio that also like Trump) to perform at the Liberty Funny Bone (as part of my upcoming tour I will also be performing in Freedom, Illinois; These Colors Don’t Run, Missouri; and Colin Kaepernick is an Ungrateful Nigra, Alabama in September). The trip was one that did not involve Amtrak or Greyhound. Instead I used points on Southwest (which is the phrase you use when you want a woman’s vagina to dry up and collapse on itself like a black hole) to get to Cincinnati (the closest airport to the Township). The trip involved multiple Cheesecake Factory meals, a futuristic and stylish hotel, several killer sets and the usual absence of sidewalks for walking around in fat America. So without further adieu here is the recap:
Thursday – Inauspicious Start
When I got to LaGuardia Airport on Thursday I made my way to the Southwest area to check my suitcase. As I was winding through the roping (there was not much of a line) I saw some balding bro douche just duck under the rope and walk in front of me. I am still at a loss for what to do in these situations. I don’t have a calm, middle ground. I chose to stare at him like I wanted to beat him to death because I felt like my only other option was to actually beat him to death. I genuinely believe that murderers don’t do as much damage to society as people like this douche bag. Murder is an outlier in society. But people who show a lack of courtesy or respect are legion and they eat away at your spirit like termites in the walls of a house. He clearly saw me winding through the ropes and made the calculation that he could cut with no repercussion. And then, restraining myself from calling him a piece of fu*king sh*t and putting him in a choke hold, I start to feel the anger reinforcing itself because my restraint is become a self-fulfilling prophecy for him to get away consequence free. In other words I was ready to make the people of Ohio laugh!
But first was a stop in Chicago. Southwest Airlines basically requires every flight going west to stop in Midway for 4 hours… even if your stop is halfway back in the direction you just came from. So I read for a couple of hours in Midway Airport, but was very disappointed to see that both Potbelly and Ben and Jerry’s had both closed. In their places were a terrible pizza place and a Dunkin Donuts. So I got a Chocolate Long John from DD, which made me realize my 4 favorite donuts from Dunkin Donuts all have overtly homoerotic names:
- Chocolate Long John
- Boston Creme
- Glazed Stick
- Jizz Filled Phallus Surprise
When I landed in Cincinnati just before 4 pm I was picked up by Chris, an employee of the club. We had a pleasant 90 minute drive to the club (horrible traffic). I checked into my hotel, which was super stylish, meaning it looked nice, but had several features that were useless (see my Instagram video from Sunday to see a list).
The 1st show of the week was a good one, though it would end up being the least receptive crowd of the week for me. After selling 1 CD (cheesecake money!) I went back to the hotel to watch the Elian Gonzalez documentary on CNN. I had the volume on my TV at 13 out of a possible 100 and it was 10 pm. Then, at 1025 pm I heard a knock at the door. My mind first went “was that my door?” and with a second knock a minute later I wondered “is there a Liberty Town Whore at my room?” so I got up, put some pants and a shirt (I was in boxer briefs because I was settling in for sleep) and went to the door. I was greeted by a short Latino man wearing hotel gear who informed me that he had received noise complaints about how loud my television was. He then immediately said he would inform the people that they were wrong because he could not even hear my TV from the hallway when my door was closed. When he left I just turned off the TV. With the Gestapo atmosphere I was not longer inspired to watch a documentary about a 6 year old boy’s quest for freedom. If I cannot be free in a place called Liberty, is anyone really free?
Friday and Saturday – Cheesecake, Comedy and Sidewalks to Nowhere
On Friday I tried to walk to an LA Fitness 1.9 miles from the hotel. On Saturday I tried to walk to a Catholic Church (St Maximilian “Catholic Mamba” Kolbe Church to be exact). Both missions to better myself physically and spiritually failed. Why? Because America is a series of fat, car-addicted, sidewalk-less places. Making it to either place would have involved risking my life along highways and roads so I opted to live, though perhaps being a martyr would have been interesting:
Saint Jean-Louis Cauvin, died battling America’s obesity when he was hit by a Ford truck on an Ohio highway. His two miracles are turning a profit on a feature gig in Detroit that paid $300 for 5 shows, with no hotel provided and for taking an Amtrak for 30 hours without contracting any foot-borne illnesses.
I also made trips to the Cheesecake Factory on both days (they are donating 25 cents of every piece of cheesecake sold to charity this month, so call me the American Red Velvet Cross). On the second day my waitress was a pleasant young lady with an ample bosom and derriere. To me this felt like overkill by The Cheesecake Factory. You had me at “Cheesecake and 835 page menu.” There is no need to complicate this and turn it into a soft core porn where I cannot decide what I want more, the Hazelnut cheesecake or the waitress. I am thinking of making a Cheesecake Factory-themed porn where it starts with a busty woman delivering food, but then she leaves and I end up moaning in delight as I eat cheesecake and unbutton my pants, but only to make room for my expanding stomach, filled with cheesecake. #CheesecakeBae
The 4 shows were great between Friday and Saturday. Made some sales, made a few fans, blah blah blah. Here’s a highlight reel of various jokes and interactions with the crowds from the Saturday shows:
Sunday – Noneday
Nothing much to report (mainly because I am writing this at lunch in a Starbucks and all I plan on doing to day is sketch writing and making one more trip to the brothel known as The Cheesecake Factory.
This weekend I was in Timonium, Maryland performing at Magooby’s Comedy Club. I had performed a couple of weekends at the club’s older space a few years ago, but had not been booked since. But then I worked a weekend in Syracuse a couple of months ago with the brother of Magooby’s owner, killed it and got him to vouch for me to work Magooby’s (side note – this is why for the rest of the year I am putting together a “Working With Relatives of Comedy Club Owners” tour). But like all my comedy recap stories, the comedy club is just one player in an ensemble of experiences over the course of three days. So here it is:
On Friday I arrived in Baltimore and then proceeded another hour via light rail and bus to Cockeysville, Maryland where my hotel, The Ramada Limited, was situated. The first thing that bothered me was that the place was listed as a hotel, but had the motel-esque feature of all rooms accessible from the street (the lobby was just its own kiosk and not an entryway for access to any of the rooms). In addition to that was the fact that within 2 blocks of the Ramada Limited (the Limited stands for your chances of success in life if you have to stay there) there was a Chick Fil-A, a Five Guys, an IHOP and a Dunkin Donuts. The message from Cockeysville was simple: if a drifter looking for a quick score doesn’t kick in your door and murder you, the food options will do it to you.
The first bad omen on the trip was when I checked in to the ho/motel I was sent to one room that had not been cleaned. I came back and was sent to another room. That one had not been cleaned either (I could see the dead hooker’s body through the window). Finally I got a third room that was clean. #Blessed
Friday night’s shows were interesting. The first crowd was dead for the emcee. Now sometimes I can see an emcee doing poorly and say either “crowd is not warm yet or the emcee sucks.” But in this case there were some solid jokes that were not even registering with the crowd. My set had some good laughs and plenty of almost inexplicable dead spots (like language barrier level dead spots). Here is how I basically ended my first set:
“Well, this was fun, though it was more like a TED talk than a stand up set.”
Crowd – nothing
“Oh Christ, I did it again – you guys probably don’t know what a TED talk is! Now my set is turning into an Inception of references you don’t get – like layers of things you have never heard of on top of each other.”
Crowd – nothing
“Oh, Inception. Sorry – this tiny movie that made like $300 million a couple of years ago. I referenced two movies in this set – Avatar and Inception and you’d think I mentioned some obscure foreign film.”
See a lot of politicians say things like “The American people are smarter than that…” to discredit opponent’s positions. And many comedians focus on being likable or pandering. To quote Danny Glover, “I’m getting too old for this sh*t.” I understand if someone like Dennis Miller can throw people off with all his references, but if an analogy to Avatar or Inception in a joke doesn’t register (when it registers laughs 98% of the time) then yes, crowd, it is you. So I will treat you with disdain and condescension (even more than usual). I have never watched a TED talk, but I know what the fu*k they are! As another example unrelated to my jokes, I have never watched Citizen Kane from start to finish, but I wouldn’t stare like a vegetable if someone made a broad reference to it. But maybe the crowd was just tired from a long work week. Or stupid. Or both.
The second show went much better Friday and I sold a couple of CDs. It was a hard earned split.
Saturday’s shows were both solid. The first show was probably my favorite crowd. I celebrated with a couple of gin and tonics and a burger (important note for a later part of this story – the last thing I ate until 8pm Sunday was the burger at about 1030pm) and then Rob Maher and Joe Robinson of the Rob and Joe Show arrived at the club. They run a very good podcast and we communicate often on social media, but it was good to hang out in person. Of course I woke up today to see that I had fallen 10 spots on the Stitcher Comedy Podcast Rankings, which I think is directly attributable to my association with them this weekend.
The second show was probably only the third best set of the week for me (nothing was going to be worse than the first Friday show unless someone shot me while on stage) but I felt like I ended the weekend with a 3-1 record. However, the most eventful part of the weekend was just getting started…
SUNDAY FUN DAY!
I could not sleep well Saturday night. I was getting up at 8am anyway to begin my journey on the Maryland bus system to get to Baltimore Penn Station, but what should have been 6 hours of relatively satisfied sleep was about 2 hours of crappy sleep. My stomach was feeling a little queasy so I decided to skip the “executive continental breakfast,” as the Ramada Limited called it, and went to the bus.
During the 80 total minutes I was on the different buses I started to get progressively more tired and queasy feeling, though travelling through several neighborhoods in Baltimore I could not help but smile thinking about The Wire because everyone had the physique and accent of Prop Joe (and half the characters on The Wire – either the white-ish Baltimore accent of saying words like “Coach” as “Cauch” or the one I heard much more common, the blacker Baltimore accent of saying words like “two” as “tseu” (I hope that is clear and if it is not, I blame you)).
By the time I reached Baltimore Penn Station I was sweating profusely and my stomach was reacting like I had just chugged a gallon of Mexican tap water. As I result I ending up spending so much time in a Baltimore Penn Station bathroom I nearly qualified for adverse possession. Feeling better and barely making a train I had been 50 minutes early for I sat down in my seat and started to feel a different kind of queasy coming on. Not to mention the sweating got worse to the point that it might have been making fellow travelers uncomfortable. I went to the snack car to have a water and a Gatorade and to get a little more space. About 25 minutes into that I had the sudden urge to vomit. So I shuffled my way to the bathroom (by this time my back was hurting and all my muscles felt weak) and let forth a furious puke fest. Now I was just left with back pain and a headache, but my stomach was much better. I then went back to my seat to see someone sitting in it (to be fair it was a crowded train and I had been gone for an hour) and my backpack missing. Turns out someone had seen a sweaty dude with thick eyebrows leave a backpack and told the conductor! I could finally cross “be suspected of being a terrorist” off of my bucket list. To show how out of it I was, the conductor had walked right by me with my backpack – as it was at the table right next to where I had been semi-comatose in the cafe car.
So there it is folks – comedy, hostility, illness and terror threat – just another weekend in comedy.
For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic (http://righteouspk NULL.podomatic NULL.com/), iTunes (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/podcast/righteous-p***k-w-j-l-cauvin/id504139550?mt=2) and NOW on STITCHER (http://www NULL.stitcher NULL.com/podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin-podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin?refid=stpr). New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free!
This weekend was a whirlwind of comedy activity. The final two days of Comedy Academy filming were Friday and Saturday and yielded some of the funniest and ballsiest stuff I have ever been a part of. It will be posted to my YouTube channel on January 27th (still deciding whether to go with a Netflix’style dump of all 5 episodes at once or to release an episode a day from January 27th-January 31st), so subscribe to the channel now and spread the word if you dig my stuff.
But this week represented a bit of a throwback for me – I was actually performing comedy… on the road… for money! I was opening at a restaurant, The Silo, in Greene, NY (about 200 miles north of NYC) for my buddy Tony Deyo on Saturday night. It was the kind of drive where you expect Scatman Crothers to be on the road with you headed to the Overlook Hotel. Tony drives a Honda Civic, a solid, sturdy car for people under 6’0″ tall. About two hours into the first drive I had to request an emergency stop because my left ass cheek was going numb from leaning slightly to that side with my knees up around my shoulders.
When we arrived at the venue we had plenty of time to eat the pre-show buffet, which was solid. I managed to feel like I was eating healthy by convincing myself that four pieces of carrot cake constituted part of the Paleo diet. The average age of the audience was Biblical and the average color was grayish-white, but I have had crowds like that before, so my mind was at east. It was a two person show so after a brief intro by the restaurant owner I went up and did about 40 minutes, doing OK for my first gig of any significance (in length of time or importance) in a couple of months. The only hiccup, which was mostly in my head, was the fact that one of my first bits is about me having a difficult encounter on a flight with a particularly large woman sitting next to me (let me put it this way – our average weight was equal to that of a guard and a tackle on an NFL team, and I was the light one). Observing half the crowd to be of normal weight I saw laughs and felt good about the joke and then I just turned half way to see the table nearest the stage featured three woman who were easily 280+. They were smiling and I poke fun at my own weight problems in the joke, but it still felt a little weird. But then I made sure to look at their table at least 4 times during the rest of the joke, just to pretend like I was 100% unashamed of the joke (I was only actually 1-2% ashamed, but big chicks can smell even the slightest amount of fear, because it smells like chicken, and I did not want to let them know or feel how I really felt).
After the show I sold two CDs, mostly out of pity I think, but that is OK because pity dollars work in laundry machines as well (spoiler Sunday was my laundry day). But the thing that startled me after the show was how many of these old white crusty, Jerry Sandusky looking dudes (just in stature in appearance and face) had massive, brick laying, bar fighting, phone book ripping hands. One dude I actually didn’t reach to shake his hand because I did not want to feel like a girl (my hands are by no means huge, but I can palm a basketball) and I could see from this guy’s hands that he might have lapped my hand in a hand shake. All these dudes, short, tall, skinny, fat – as long as they were over 50 – had hands that could crush cantaloupes. Tony and I just figured that places like Greene, NY must breed men of a certain heartiness, that like chopping trees down for firewood, strangling bears with their bare hands and fighting at bars just to keep warm at night and I guess those factors lead to the breeding or development of large hands.
We stopped at a McDonald’s on the way back and witnessed the weirdest fight of our lives as a man, who sort of reminded me of William H. Macy’s character in Fargo, demanding that he get an item that would not be available until 6am. An employee from the next door quicki-mart stepped in and they went toe-to-toe in a punchless, folksy, aggressive conversation where each party threatened the other with calls to the police. I tried to turn on my instagram app and film it, while screaming “WORLDSTAR,” but it didn’t work.
All in all, an exhausting, but fun trip and my wallet is now fat for at least the next 6 hours.
For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic (http://righteouspk NULL.podomatic NULL.com/), iTunes (https://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/podcast/righteous-p***k-w-j-l-cauvin/id504139550?mt=2) and NOW on STICHER (http://www NULL.stitcher NULL.com/podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin-podcast/righteous-pk-with-jl-cauvin?refid=stpr). New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free!