If you follow me on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – the go to place to follow me if you want the complete photo-humor journey @jlcomedy) then this week was either an embarrassment of riches or a plain old embarrassment as I frustrated my girlfriend for four of our five days to make sure my jokes, photos and experiences in Orlando, Florida did not go unpublished. The trip was her Christmas present (and after checking my receipts for the trip apparently it will have to suffice as a Valentine’s Day, birthday and Trump Impeachment Day presents as well). The week started with a room on an Amtrak to go down to Florida (for a change of pace and to get me elevated to an elite status on Amtrak – which is like being the best player on a WNBA team – no one cares and you still need a day job) on Tuesday and then would involve among many other things, Epcot Center, multiple days at Universal Studios, 483 encounters with rude South Americans, an Orlando Magic basketball game and a random, private encounter with a television A-lister at my hotel Starbucks. If I annoyed you on social media this week I don’t really apologize because the content was too good not to share. So here is an epic recap of The Florida Project 2 starring J-L Cauvin.
Part I: Steaks on a Train
We left NYC at 2:15pm for the 3:15pm Silver Meteor train. We were shown to our room on the train by Ismael, a baritone man of apparent Indian descent who referred to me as Mr. Lewis (it is a sign of honor on Amtrak and in India to refer to men by their middle name or by second part of their hyphenated first name) for the remainder of the trip. The room was nice, we had nice meals and I even managed to sleep 5 hours (in 4 increments) throughout the South (either the bumps of the train or my half-black instincts wouldn’t allow me to sleep steady through the deep south at night. We had steaks for dinner (when you get a room on the train all meals are included so I informed my girlfriend (Laura) that she had to order the most expensive item. So she got the steak and two glasses of wine, which were not included so I informed her that my services did not include open bar (which made the train-obsessed retiree sitting across from us at dinner laugh (WHY DO I NEED TO REACH MILLENNIALS COMEDY CENTRAL WHEN I CAN CRACK UP THE GREATEST GENERATION???). I then engaged the retiree on a detailed discussion of rail in America, solidifying it as the central campaign issue of my 2024 third party candidacy for the White House.
And the best way to show my room and the flatulent-fueled train neighbors we had is to show you this short video tour of my room sponsored by MTV Cribs:
Part II: The Guitarist That Made an 8 Year Old Boy See God
When we arrived in Orlando we got a Lyft to the hotel, the Doubletree right near Universal Studios. We showered to get 22 hours of Amtrak off of ourselves and then went out for dinner at Disney Springs a very nice lakeside shopping area. We ate some seafood, I then got a Ghirardelli sundae (the official kick off of Diabetes Week in Orlando for me) and we sat down to watch some live entertainment. It was just some open area where a guy with a ponytail was playing guitar. We sat there for about 30 minutes watching this dude play the ever loving sh*t out of his guitar. And there were several kids dancing to the music, most just trying to make themselves the center of attention (and one couple who danced with their baby strapped to the husband’s chest while the wife cell phone recorded the baby and then the both congratulated the 8 month old on how great he was. But one kid, some 8 year old white kid, may have actually experienced the Holy Ghost during the guitarist’s performance. He could not stop dancing and would not let his mom stop him. But not in a rude douchey kid way, but in a “Mom, do you hear this? So you see this guitar magician? I cannot stop my body from moving!” It was almost as entertaining as the guitarist, but not quite. It was virtuoso playing with great showman flair. The guitarist’s name was Nicholas Marks (insert romance novel joke here) and he was selling albums after so as an artist who sells merch to varying degrees of success after shows I felt a kinship with Mr. Sparks… and then I completely ignored him after his show like so many of the awkward people I see after my shows. But I did go home and buy two of his albums off of iTunes and have not been disappointed.
Part III: Andrew The Closer, Epcot and the Space Ride for Cucks
On Thursday morning it was time to begin tackling theme parks and first on the list was Epcot Center. But as we were leaving the lobby we were lulled into a casual conversation by “Andrew,” who was working for Hilton Honors (the Hilton rewards program). Normally I don’t fall for walk-by solicitations, but this photo of Andrew should show you that I was helpless to resist:
Well after Andrew was done talking to us I had purchased a 5 day vacation (granted – it will be 100% reimbursed once I take the trip) and was a member of Hilton Honors. By the end of the trip I would never NOT see Andrew sitting and getting someone to sign on the dotted line in the lobby. So we made it to Epcot quickly after that, possibly because I was not longer weighed down with several hundred dollars. I will attempt to condense the highlights for you:
- We went on a terrific car race ride, a great VR tour of the world called “Soaring”
- Toured the nations of the world – true story – when I went to Epcot with my Mom c. 1992 they had “Africa”, which has now been replaced with “trading post” which in one way is better and in other ways, really bad since Morocco is the sole representative of Africa (also Russia and India don’t have representative stations, which feel like glaring omissions)
- Mexico had a great area dedicated to Coco, which was a relief since outside the Mexico area was a welcome featuring Mexican icon Donald Duck in a sombrero.
- The Space Simulator Laura and I went on was interesting. We had just eaten lunch and the “Orange” space simulator was supposed to be extremely forceful and intense, whereas the “Green Simulator” was less intense, which we knew because all the audio kept repeating that it was “Green-less intense.” And the progression got insulting as we advanced toward the actual ride. “You have chosen green, less intense,” “You have chosen green, you pussy,” “You have chosen green, why are you still with him?” But the green was plenty entertaining so we never felt a need to go to the “orange- congrats on having courage” ride.
- Trying to buy t-shirts for my nephews proved somewhat difficult because the selection in many of the stores was so terrible. When I was a kid there were dozens of t-shirts to choose from, but now it only seemed adults and girls still have an interest in clothing based on the Disney selections available. Gadgets and toys seem to be all that were available in abundance for boys, so I hope my nephews enjoy their Minny Mouse dresses.
Part IV: Foreigners Feel Like The Worst Time at Universal Studios
Friday was the first day at Universal Studios. There were many highlights – Laura’s particular enjoyment of The Simpsons’ Ride and accompanying world, the butter beer served in the Harry Potter world (cream soda covered in a sweet, buttery foam) and The Transformers ride were among the highest highlights. There was also my picture with only Sideshow Bob, which irritated Krusty The Clown, who had been the preferred photo partner in Simpsons Land, but not for me (#HatersUnite). However, there were some down moments – like being too tall/large to fit into the Harry Potter ride in that section of the park, as well as The Mummy ride. But the heartbreak of having to send Laura on the rides alone paled in comparison to the havoc created on my vacation by ill-mannered, wealthy South American families.
To offer you a glimpse of the rudeness I will present some statistics. The first number is the combined number of unsupervised children walking into me or stepping on my feet, families cutting in front for photos and generally rude incidents. The second number is apologies.
- Asians 1/1
- White People 3/2
- Black People 2/1
- South American families – 4577/1
Now I don’t know why this is, but by Saturday I started to feel like a combination of a Trump supporter and Ed Norton in 25th Hour. Being from New York City I am used to all types of people from natives to immigrants to tourists. And other than texting while walking being a rudeness epidemic I think the egalitarian nature of NYC’s streets and the communal and crowded experience of the NYC subway makes people, for the most part, respect personal space. But these presumably wealthy South American families seem to have a different experience. Which is understandable – if you were a fat 70 year old man with a hot 33 year old third wife, wouldn’t you feel entitled? If you were a woman who did not appear to go to the gym, but had purchased an ass and breasts to look like a sexy, fit woman wouldn’t you think you are privileged? And maybe the wealthy in your town or city are truly treated like royalty so it makes no sense that some American couple would expect an apology on the 3rd, 8th or 12th time your chubby prince kicks them or steps on them. Or if a couple is taking turns having pictures with Homer Simpson or Marmaduke and you jump in and take six different photos with various members of your family before the couple can get two, perhaps in your native land people would never dream of even being in the same space as you and it would never occur to you to wait or acknowledge that you had interrupted. As I said earlier I know these countries are fine and a lot of their people are good, but when it comes to Orlando it appears some good countries are sending their shithole people!
The good news of Saturday was that we rode the Hogwarts Express and I was able to fit into the other Harry Potter ride (though it did malfunction midway which was mildly distressing. We also went on the Kong Island ride, the Spider Man ride and a Cat in the Hat ride (9 year old me would have liked it), but sadly the Jurassic Park ride was down for annual maintenance.
Part V: Orlando Magic and Greek Freaks
Saturday night we went to the Orlando Magic vs Milwaukee Bucks game. Tickets were courtesy of a law school buddy, who has season tickets in the wheelchair section (great seats – center court and because they are the wheelchair row they can accommodate handicapable people like me who are discriminated on the basis of height (see e.g. Harry Potter and The Mummy rides). The game was great – we got to see The Greak Freek (Giannis Ant…) one of the game’s top young stars, but perhaps most memorable was the mascot of the Denver Nuggets. It was Stuff the Magic Dragon’s birthday and as a 2 time reigning MVP mascot in the NBA he had several NBA mascots to help him celebrate throughout the game. Stuff was impressive (handstand in costume on a hoverboard), but the Nuggets mascot was one of the funniest live performers I have ever seen. I had a ton of fun at the game, which may be because I had no rooting interest except to be entertained. But I was not done with Greek Freaks.
On Sunday, when I got back from Mass I went to my hotel Starbucks for a green tea. The Starbucks was not busy at all so I got in line behind a nice looking couple – John Stamos and his pregnant wife. I just stood there for 3 minutes while they gathered all their drinks and food items, perhaps for a drive somewhere. I looked at Uncle Jessie a few times and he looked at me several times with the “Is this guy an athlete (former)?” I wanted to take a picture (which might have made Laura even more jealous than just the story), but I am always uncomfortable asking celebrities for a picture – it feels like an interruption to their day and besides, they were nice enough not to ask for a picture with the #ComedyMogul so the least I can do is reciprocate.
So that was the trip – hope you enjoyed reading this epic. Time to fly home (a relationship cannot survive two 22 hour train rides in one week) and watch my dog Cookie wag her tail at me when she sees me return… and then pee herself whimpering with love when she sees Laura (not a joke). Home sweet home.
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) 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.
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).
Becky Hammon who was an all star in the WNBA (for those who are not familiar with the WNBA, imagine a really solid male high school player), has recently coached the San Antonio Spurs Summer League team to a championship, which of course would be less meaningful than season two of True Detective if the coach were not a woman. But it is still a cool, or at least interesting moment in sports. After all, coaching men, rather than playing with men, does not require anything that a woman doesn’t possess. And the Spurs are the right organization to test this out – a team without major egos, with an ingrained culture of discipline and selflessness is a much better place to test this out than say, a team with JR Smith or Dwight Howard (asking your coach if she “wants the pipe” or having your 9th child out of wedlock with your coach would be bad PR to say the least). But while we are on a historic wave of eliminating any distinctions or differences that come with gender, there are some things we should definitely pause to reflect on before an NBA team hires a female head coach:
1) Tony Parker will try to have sex with Becky Hammon if she has a husband who can be cuckolded. Parker is a great player and slept with his teammate’s wife to prove it. Don’t think as his career nears its end and playing time dwindles that he won’t try and bang his way to more minutes.
2) Is the NBA prepared to have a Kardashian as a coach? If the Kardashian women have to pool all their earnings just to buy a team so they can install one of them as a coach (why ruin the lives of black men one at a time when you can do it twelve at a time) they will. Though I am pretty sure three Kardashians would find interesting ways to get high profile free agents to sign with the team.
3) Expect a lot of Dirk Diggler-esque “You’re not my mom; you’re not my fu*king mom!” arguments between players and coach. Fame, strained parental relationships, large penises – NBA players have plenty in common with Dirk Diggler of Boogie Nights and at some point there will be some rebelling against a mother-like figure in the locker room or on the court. Granted, this is preferable to a Latrell Spreewell coach choking incident, but it may be very uncomfortable nonetheless.
4) The Internet will break from think pieces. Seeing how many blogs and think pieces have been written about Amy Schumer in the last month (even one complaining about her film’s “hetero-normative” vision of life success (monogamy and not being an emotionally crippled woman who uses sex to avoid deep relationships and cover over trauma is apparently offensive to the liberal heroes willing to go over a cliff to pretend that all life choices and conduct are equally healthy and none can ever be judged as better) I can only imagine how a female coach story would explode. Every quote, every tweet, every reaction, etc. would be subject to thousands of outraged words. Sounds fun.
5) There will be a player’s wife who attacks the coach. Just google “Doug Christie’s wife” and you should see that if a player’s wife will attack a player, then watching a woman talk down the love of her life and/or meal ticket on TV expect hell to break loose.
6) There will be a shitty inspirational Disney sports movie.
7) What if Becky Hammon begins identifying as a man? Does it still count as hiring a female coach or will it not count at all or will it count as double?
Someone has to ask these important questions.
The NBA playoffs have started, my DVR is full and my blog is in need of words so this week’s episode is a useless, but incredibly insightful comparison of NBA stars and people in comedy. This hit me while watching The Last Man on Earth on Fox a few weeks ago. It is a very good show starring Will Forte, formerly of SNL fame. The show is the latest strong Forte product post SNL. He did MacGruber (you must ignore all signs on-line that it was bad – the movie is hysterical), then he got nominated for an Oscar for Nebraska and now he has created a critically acclaimed show on Fox. If Bill Hader had produced this streak of post SNL content it would not have surprised me, but Forte had never really made me laugh much on SNL during his tenure. But now, it is clear that SNL was holding him back. Hence the James Harden example, though even Harden had showed more flashes of stardom on the Oklahoma City Thunder than Forte did on SNL. For you NBA ignorant folk James Harden was the third wheel on a very talented Oklahoma City Thunder team and was undervalued by OKC so they traded him to the Houston Rockets. A few years later Harden is a top 3 MVP candidate and the Oklahoma City Thunder is out of the playoffs (I hate how singular named teams are referred to in the singular e.g. the Knicks ARE but the Heat IS).
Similarly Forte has been killing it since leaving SNL and SNL is out of the playoffs. Perhaps just as good an analogy might be Tracy McGrady leaving Toronto before reaching superstar level and then winning two scoring titles with the Orlando Magic (BUT JAMES HARDEN IS BETTER FOR CLICKS ON THE INTERNET SO I WILL STICK WITH THAT COMPARISON FOR THE TITLE). So in that spirit here are some other useless NBA-comedy analogies to honor the kick off of the NBA playoffs:
Bill Burr is Russell Westbrook – One of the dominant talents of his or any generation and a study in barely controllable rage within his respective field, Burr is clearly the Westbrook of comedy. The same way Kevin Durant overshadowed (perhaps unfairly, perhaps not) Westbrook, Louis CK overshadowed his fellow ginger until very recently. But no more.
Stephen Colbert is Steph Curry – unquestionable talents who never cease to exceed expectations, partly because of being undervalued early in their careers. But with Golden State primed for a finals run and Colbert primed to take over The Late Show these two are now at the top of their fields.
Kevin Hart is Kobe Bryant (last 2 seasons only) – Both take tons of shots and don’t make many hits. Here is a fun game for 2016 – what will be higher: number of movies Kevin Hart makes or number of 30+ shot games 37 year old Kobe Bryant has? Both should be retired by 2017.
Mark Wahlberg’s manager is Greg Popovich – Wahlberg not a comedy star, but I think it bears comparison if only to highlight Popovich’s greatness. Wahlberg’s manager took a criminal from Boston with a goofy wigger persona and turned him into an A-list, Oscar nominated star. Popovich has turned a bunch of overlooked foreign players and a bunch of NBA refuse into an inexplicably high performing team for 15 years.
Eric Andre is Giannis Antetokounpo – Giannis is simply known as “The Greek Freak,” an exciting, how-high-is-his-potential type player who seems to be one of the most physically gifted people in a league full of physically gifted people. Please see the picture below for why Eric Andre gets him as the comparison. Showing up in more and more TV shows and movies every year, the ceiling is high for Andre, but like The Greek Freak, only time will tell how far his physical antics take him.
John Oliver is Rudy Gobert – Foreigner who emerged very recently as a potential game changer.
Amy Schumer is Chris Paul – a star in her own right, she is well known for helping out many comedy friends. I guess I could have called Mark Normand, Schumer’s opening act, the DeAndre Jordan of comedy since they have become rising stars thanks in part to assists from their point guards.
Louis CK is Lebron James – Though their reigns are in the down turn phase there can be no denying that they still sit atop everyone’s current list in their respective fields. And they are both bald when unaided by hair treatments.
J-L Cauvin is Anthony Davis – Who else could I be, but the next great star of the NBA with versatility and still relative obscurity? Height, versatility and many years from a title – perfect fit. #Blessed
This weekend I was out on the road, which was a nice change of pace from sitting in sweatpants for 11 hours a day “on my way to the gym” while trying to finish Netflix (you read that correctly). However, as my comedy booking e-mails continue to go into spam folders (perhaps using the subject heading “Enlarge your penis by booking me at your club” is a bad way to get through web filters this weekend’s road tripping was to support my favorite sports team, the Utah Jazz. Perhaps other than “J-L is not booked to do comedy this weekend” no phrase makes less sense in the American pop culture landscape than “Utah Jazz.” As a quick primer they used to be the New Orleans Jazz, but then the team moved to Utah with all those swinging Mormon cats and decided that they should keep the name Jazz. especially if 30+ years later a team would come back to New Orleans and would prefer to be known as Pelicans anyway. I became a Jazz fan because as a young hoopster I liked Karl Malone’s gigantic arms (no homo), their purple uniforms (no homo) and John Stockton’s short shorts (OK, possibly homo at this point). And even at a young age the Jazz gave me a sense of identity as a sports fan away from my friends and family’s uniform admiration for the New York Knicks. Stockton and Malone gave me the added benefit as a mixed race child of seeing a black person and a white person work together in harmony, as opposed to my parents who had more of a Robert Parish-Bill Laimbeer relationship.
So with that backdrop I have been a die hard Utah Jazz fan for 28 years I went to see them against the 76ers in Philadelphia Friday with two friends (Pat and Jim) first and then against the Nets in Brooklyn on Sunday. Normally I also go to watch them play the Knicks, but when I looked up ticket prices for Knicks games, even the cheap seats had “anal rape” listed as the cost on Ticketmaster so I had to pass, which was disappointing since the Jazz won on a last second shot. Last year I went because I received Lorne Michaels (yes that Lorne Michaels) seats 3rd or 4th hand (#ComedyMogul), but the Jazz came as close to winning that game as I did to becoming a cast member on SNL. So on to this weekend’s festivities.
The first part of Jazz Weekend was Philly. That meant the PATH train from Manhattan to Hoboken, get picked up by Jim in his borrowed car and Daryl Dawkins’ game jersey, stop at Pat’s house where he was with his adorable two sons, reminding Jim and I that perhaps being struggling, unsuccessful comedians with no families of our own is actually a plan B for life, switch to Pat’s larger car for the Cranford to Philly leg of the trip and then watch a match up that NBA TV called “what the fu*k else is on tonight.”
The drive from Cranford to Philly was uneventful, because Pat (the Dad) did something I have never seen before – he kept perfect 62 mph pace with the GPS. We had a 90 minute trip according to the GPS and he arrived in 90 minutes. Not 89 or 83… 90. Being a Dad really changes people. I might just be mythologizing Pat, but I feel like if we took this trip 10 years ago he might have tried to lap the GPS in a race.
So we arrived at the Wells Fargo Arena just in time for the game and as a Wells Fargo customer (#ComedyMogul) I knew that I wouldn’t have to pay ATM fees (#Blessed). The game was great if you like terrible shooting and way too many t-shirt gun promotions. A thing I noticed about the T-shirt gun – it turns people into the rich seats into proletariat animals. Your seats cost $200 bucks – why are you screaming like a refuge who sees a UN Peacekeeper at a child’s medium piece of sh*t t-shirt? Our seats were much cheaper but we were closer to the haves than the have-nots, though if you are at a 76er game you are sort of a have-not by definition.
During the game there was a very cool video montage of Allen Iverson and when the crowd saw him in attendance on the jumbo tron it was the loudest the arena got until the very end.
As the game got to the end, with the Jazz possessing a very comfortable lead, the game within the game took shape. See Jim enjoys a bit of gambling now and then (now is every morning and then is every evening) and he placed a small wager that his 76ers would beat the 7.5 point spread. Well the Jazz had around a 13 point lead with just over a minute left. It looked like a lost cause for Jim until someone on the 76ers (I forget who) decided he would pad his stats with a barrage of useless 3 pointers. With 30 seconds left it was Jazz ball up 9. At this point Jim is losing his bet, but because of the 24 second shot clock the 76ers are guaranteed one more possession if the Jazz miss and the 76ers secure the rebound. Well with about 7 seconds left the Jazz missed, got their rebound and missed again! The 76er player trying to set the record for most 3 pointers made with no chance of winning took the ball, dribbled down court and raised up for a buzzer beater. SWISH!!! And the crowd went bezerk (Jim, Pat and I were the only people left and you would have thought they just showed Iverson again on the jumbotron putting on a 76ers jersey to play the next night).
All in all a great trip and a great win for the Jazz.
After a day off to almost go to the gym and declare that I would start eating healthy the next day I ventured to Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the Jazz-Nets game. I was picked up in a nice Uber car with my friend John in it (#ComedyMogul) and it dropped us off at the arena with a few minutes to spare, which was good since we had to go through a metal detector when we got there. I have been to about 10 NBA arenas and I think Barclays is the only one I have entered with metal detectors. Is that the NBA’s way of not so subtly saying that Morgan Freeman should take over ownership of the team until it is a better place to play (“You Shoot bricks don’t ya D-Will. Well,do ya?? You know what that does – it kills our fan base son, so if you want to kill our fan base stop fuc*king around and do it expeditiously!”)?
When we finally got in the arena I settled in with a hot dog and pretzel (couldn’t eat a hot dog at Friday’s game because of Lent (#CatholicMogul)) and our seats were fantastic. Sadly, once the Nets become even decent the prices will skyrocket, but it is nice to see a 6pm Game on a Sunday with a great view of the court, without having to bring crimes against humanity charges like at Madison Square Garden. The game was competitive, I ate cheesecake (When in Rome with a Junior’s cheesecake concession stand) and the Jazz earned a quality victory, with Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert solidifying my decision to make them the next two Jazz jersey purchases in the off season, continuing the black and white Jazz tradition.
After the game I asked the Jazz for free tickets next year because the Jazz are 2-0 in 2015 when I am in attendance (#Blessed). No response so far.
The NBA dropped the hammer on Donald Sterling, punishing him for saying racist comments to his girlfriend (cannot wait for her VH1 show Senior Citizen Dumpster) and for basically embarrassing the league and making the LA Clippers a non-viable business. Of course, the NBA and many people have known him to be a vile, almost cartoonist racist villain, fulfilling every negative stereotype he could get his fingerprints on for decades, but in this day and age, one viral strike was all it took. And of course, good riddance, but it begs the question, where does a racist billionaire go after running and ruining an NBA franchise for so long? Well it did not take long for one media empire to scoop up this newly available talent full of fresh ideas on business, race and paternalism. That is right, Donald Sterling is going to Fox News! The decision was actually announced at 1:30pm when Fox News learned that Sterling would be given a lifetime ban. “We could not be more thrilled to have acquired the talents of Donald Sterling today,” said Fox news President Roger Ailes, “He is a proven business leader in real estate and sports, a creator, not a taker, a man not afraid to say unpopular things and younger than our core demographic. so he should really help us reel in the next generation of racist centenarians!”
While this may seem like a controversial hire, some of Fox News’ highest profile people think it will be a slam dunk. “Some of my best friends are black,” said Sean Hannity, “but let’s be honest they do smell and Donald Sterling still gave them food and shelter and cars. That is a compassionate conservative I can believe in.”
“The pinheads on the left can whine all they want, we now own the 90-110 white demographic,” shouted a demonstrably pleased Bill O’ Reilly.
The show does not have a title yet, but rumors have it that some possibilities thrown around by Team Sterling are “Ivory and Ivory,” “Slumlord Billionaire,” and “Sharecrop Stories.” A feature of the new show that seems to have a lot of traction in early meetings is tentatively called “Nigstagram” in which Sterling will showcase various women on Instagram with black men and then rate them on a scale from “Race Traitor” to “She Can Still Have Sex with Me for Money”
Sterling is said to be disappointed in the NBA’s decision, but eager to begin working on his new project. It is slated to begin in September 2014.
For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic, iTunes and NOW on STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free!
Over the last few weeks I have been muttering to comedians in the back of comedy clubs the term “pick 6.” What it basically means is that when a comedian lays out a joke whose punchline is so easily telegraphed that if it were a football pass (something half of today’s popular comedians only pretend to know the meaning of for the sole purpose of a well timed Super Bowl tweet) it would be picked off and taken to the house for a defensive touchdown. There have been jokes recently that literally made me want to grab the microphone from the offending comedian and yell “You come at me with a weak ass punchline like _______!” Richard Sherman style. And because the status update/tweet I posted about it turned out to be fairly popular, I wanted to codify the pick 6 term, as well as 9 other passive aggressive sports analogies in the blog that speaks the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about comedy (seriously if Pick 6 become s a “thing” I want evidence of where it started). So enjoy this one folks:
1. Pick 6 – Already explained in the intro, but as my buddy Nick D offered as an example,”Hey, Republicans want to build a wall to keep the Mexicans out…” Any comedian/defensive back with a full compliment of chromosomes can see “Who is going to build it” a mile away. A crowd should groan at that point, but if they are comedy newbies, then a comedian in the back should scream “PICK SIX!” and high step out of the room like Deion Sanders.
2. Luke Walton – Luke Walton had no business getting drafted in the NBA. But he came from a big program and had an even bigger name legacy so he got drafted by the Lakers and shock of shock, after 7 years of practicing with Kobe Bryant and NBA championship level players and coaches he became an NBA level player. This of course ignores what other people might have done with his draft spot. This is what I think whenever I see managers or clubs gassing up their talent as if Luke Waltons in comedy were born of the Virgin Mary with comedy powers. Eventually, if you do enough spots that your connections earned over your talent, your talent will begin to approach the opportunity, unless you are completely brain dead.
3. NFL Commissioner – Sometimes the NFL can use their leverage for good (like thinly veiled threats about moving the Super Bowl if the anti-gay legislation were passed) and other times to extract exorbitant fees from cable providers, etc. but either way its power is undeniable. So next time you see some new jack headlining a club with 26 minutes of material you might want to shout – “WE GOT GODELLED!” because chances are that club got a two-for-one deal with a higher profile comedian. But rest assured, after a few years of Luke Walton headlining… he or she will be a real headliner!
4. Anti-Cliff Levingston – Cliff Levingston was a solid NBA player, but I will always remember him as the guy who got fined by the Atlanta Hawks for waving his towel in admiration for Larry Bird torching his own team! Now this may seem stupid, but in a way I respect it. Bird was putting on such a vicious and virtuoso display Levingston dropped all pretense and just enjoyed it. In comedy, there are a lot more anti-Levingstons: cheering for all the wrong reasons. Maybe the guy making the joke is “hot” right now (social media or in real life) or maybe the chick making the joke seems DTF – any number of reasons, other than funny make all these people Anti-Cliff Levingstons and should have thrown in their towel instead of waving it. (begin watching the Bird video around the 4:00 mark and just watch the Hawk’s bench):
5. Bill Simmons a/k/a Sports Guy – a few well timed analogies or references to childhood pop culture are fun, but building an entire empire on it (or even a 7,000 word blog on Grantland.com) can tax one’s patience (even from a guy analogizing comedy to sports). I think once a comedian starts clocking in at a rate of one 1980s or 90s movie/TV show/song reference per 50 seconds of stand up time someone needs to shout SPORTS GUY and log off of the microphone
6. Bob Cousy No-Look Pass – Bob Cousy was one of those “play-making” NBA point guards of the 1950s that you watch video of now and go, “THIS GUY SUCKED!” He would throw those kind of no look passes that had all the magic of tapping a child one shoulder so they would look the wrong way. Very simple. This is saved for the comedians (often, but not exclusively, ladies) who set you up with the nice set up – DIRTY PUNCH LINE so often that you start to anticipate where Cousy is going and his head fake is no longer fooling you. In fact, you want to steal the ball and dunk it harder just for thinking he could work a bullsh*t head fake on you a fifteenth time in a row. (e.g. “My boyfriend is really into Jesus… because we have threeways with our gardener.”)
7. Hockey Fight – this is for the ranter or the person who thinks they are speaking truth to power, but are just ruining the vibe of a comedy show with a diatribe. Just start yelling “break it up!” when you see this happening. Thankfully I have only seen one of these atrocities on a late night set in my life.
8. Advanced Metrics. Although this kind of work yielded some positive results (see Moneyball), this is basically what I think of when I see some comedian being labeled “daring” or “genius” that makes me and many other people go “I don’t get it.” If you need too many metrics and explanations to show why someone is talented, and laughter is #14 on your factors of why the person is great, maybe you are trying to hard to justify them. This in no way is a defense of the Jeff Dunham’s of the world, but I also refuse to see Andy Kaufman, or his more recent iterations, as anything above mildly amusing strange person.
9. Jack Haley – This guy was a player who barely made a dent in the NBA, but was Dennis Rodman’s good friend so when a team wanted to get the talents of Rodman, but have someone who might keep him semi-sane, Jack Haley had a roster spot. But just like Jack Haley, who was annoyed and insisted he had earned his roster spot (bullsh*t) in comedy, so many Jack Haleys know for about six months that they are Jack Haley, but after enough re-tweets and bookings-by-association they start talking like they are Dennis Rodman.
10. Jay Glazer/Mike Wilbon-ing – This is the “journalist-as-friend/fan-of-subject” phenomenon that permeates sports journalism. In comedy, to hear any truth about the business you have to read Facebook accounts or blogs of the five or six comedians who are not wholly consumed with climbing the ladder of shaft stroking and ass-kissing. Every other comedy site generally appears to be a portal to becoming a super fan. Which is fine, unless you pose as a quasi-journalistic source because then you shroud your fan agenda in a cloak of journalistic integrity.
For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic, iTunes and NOW on STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free!
Baseball is reeling from its latest performance enhancing drug (PED) scandal, but if there is a silver lining to it is that baseball gets to use Alex Rodriguez as a scapegoat and effectively try to punish him for his own failings as well as those of Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and everyone else they failed to catch because baseball was awesome when those guys were killing the ball. Also, a bunch of people who cheat on their significant others, their taxes and are generally of mediocre character – AKA the American people – get to crucify Alex Rodriguez for a deluxe serving of schadenfreude. But this seems useless on so many levels. A-Rod is clearly not a great player anymore anyway and baseball is a sport no longer suited for our times – it is long, boring and thanks to a crackdown on PEDs, not exciting anymore, except when the latest fraud is exposed. However, my favorite sport, basketball, is at Jordan era-level popularity, so it should come as no shock that an unnamed NBA player has been linked to the Biogenesis clinic in Coral Gables, FL. After racking my brain I have come up with 10 NBA people who are most likely to be the unnamed player. Some of these names hurt me to put on the list; some delighted me, but this is it:
10. JJ Reddick – any guy with a contract with a woman to get an abortion is of suspect moral character. Combine that with a Duke pedigree and you have a certified piece of sh*t. As baseball taught us – it is not always the star who becomes great through PED usage, but rather the marginal player who secures his marginal place through drugs. He also played for the Orlando Magic who had both Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu who were busted for PED.
9. Tony Parker – any guy who bangs his teammate’s wife is always on my list for bad stuff. Sure, he is not buff, but he is an Energizer bunny of energy and facing increasing pressure to carry the load for the Spurs.
8. Amar’e Stoudemire – constant injuries, a big contract to live up to and most likely Jewish relatives in Miami all give Amar’e a reason to go down to Coral Cables for some anti-aging medications.
7. Lebron James – The man plays in Miami, is a physical freak and is the greatest athlete on the planet not named Usain Bolt. As much as it pains me to have him on the list he has to be considered a suspect. However, even if he is linked to the clinic he may very well have been picking up anti-aging materials for his long lost father Greg Oden, who recently joined the Heat as part of a Father-Son program.
6. Serge Ibaka – look at the picture. No further discussion.
5. Derek Fisher – a man who duped two cities so he could join championship contenders cannot be trusted. Plus he is old. Plus an ex girlfriend of mine once referred to him simply as “arms.”
4. Dwyane Wade – plays in Miami like Lebron, but a friend of mine whose cousin is a starting small forward in the NBA told me that Wade was an HGH user. Gave his wife an STD. The only reason he is not higher on the list or #1 is because of the incredible cases to be made for the top 3.
3. Dwight Howard – the greatest shoulders in the NBA may be fake. Dwight is sort of a petulant bitch, vain (wanted to be a Hollywood star more than the Lakers center) and, like Reddick, was a member of the PED tainted Orlando Magic.
2. Kobe Bryant – the Mamba. Played some of his best basketball in his 17th season, has offered A-Rod advice in the past, goes to Germany for magical knee treatments in the off season and is saying he may be ready many months ahead of schedule from an achilles tear. The only thing Kobe is missing is a Dominican cousin carrying his luggage to be guilty of PED usage. But like many things about Kobe, he cannot surpass his master.
1. Michael Jordan – He is 50 years old, bitter and angry about his failings as a GM and is always fueling rumors that he could still play in the NBA at 50. MJ would take PEDs to win a shooting drill against players on his Charlotte franchise and he would never let Kobe be more famous or successful than him, even if it was for a sports scandal.
The NBA Season is winding down, which is terrifying me. To demonstrate how far apart baseball and I have grown over the years I now call the months between the end of NBA Season and the beginning of the NFL “tennis season.” #TeamNadal. Even though my Utah Jazz did not even make the playoffs this NBA playoffs promised ample opportunities to be right and enjoy myself. Here are the 4 main predictions/thoughts I had before the playoffs:
1) Lebron James is the best basketball player in the world and well on his way to GOAT status.
2) Why Can’t The Spurs Win The West – they keep winning 60 games and seem ageless?
3) The Knicks Cannot Win with Melo. He is a second tier star that Knick fans think is a first tier star.
4) The Pacers are going to beat the Knicks in 6. They do not have the established “star” yet of Melo’s hype, but they are much better than the Knicks.
Well, not to start calling myself the Righteous Sports Guy, but four for four. The Spurs are now in the Finals. Sure Russell Westbrook’s injury helped, but the Spurs completely dismantled the Grizzlies, which I don’t think many people could have predicted (even me). This makes me happy only because it has the potential to move Tim Duncan (2 regular season MVPs and 3 time Finals MVP) ahead of Kobe on the best player/best leader all time list (as much for Kobe as it is for Kobe fans who I do battle with). The Knicks lost exactly how I believed they would, while Knick fans continue to say that “Melo needs more help” instead of saying “the Knicks need to build around a star who plays a complete game and makes teammates better.” Good luck Knicks with the 6 seed and a first round exit in 2013-14. Lebron is proving to be the most electrifying man in sports entertainment (sorry The Rock). Lebron’s court intelligence, dominance of every aspect of the game, and freakish athleticism (only Lebron could make last night’s block of George Hill appear to be predictable and routine) have made Lebron my favorite thing to watch in sports that is not a Usain Bolt sprint. I root for him because I want to keep watching him play basketball (and based on last night’s illegal screen foul call, I believe David Stern also wants to watch him play more) and because I like seeing his irrational haters more angry.
But before a Spurs-Heat Finals is official, the deep, disciplined and admirable Indiana Pacers remain in the way. The Pacers appear to have the kind of team I wish the Jazz had. They have a near-superstar Paul George (before the playoffs I said Paul George for Melo straight up would be a huge win for the Knicks, even just for this year and was called crazy), several very good players and most importantly, Roy Hibbert. When Hibbert entered the NBA I was not a fan. First off he went to Georgetown, a sworn enemy of mine ever since law school. Second, his body and game resembled an evolutionary predecessor to NBA bust Hasheem Thabeet. But then Hibbert did something. He worked his ass off. He is now arguably the second best center in the NBA behind a healthy Dwight Howard (but no one likes that guy anyway). And he co-starred on a couple of episodes of Parks and Recreation. How can you not like Roy Hibbert?
So now America is presented with three possible choices/leaders in the NBA Finals: Lebron James, Roy Hibbert and Tony Parker. Now I am squarely in James’ camp for reasons listed above. However, Hibbert is a respectable and admirable choice. But unless you are from San Antonio or Paris I cannot respect a choice of Tony Parker.
If you root for Lebron James you honor America’s tradition of greatness and exceptionalism (and ignore today’s current narcissism and jealousy of those clearly better than you)
If you root for Roy Hibbert you honor America’s tradition of hard work leading to success and defying expectations (though admittedly the expectations of a 7’2″ black man succeeding in the NBA are slightly higher than normal).
However if you root for Tony Parker (especially as some sad bitter struggle against Lebron) then you are supporting a man who fu*ked a teammate’s wife, cheated on his Hollywood actress wife and is based in a foreign country. In other words, Tony Parker may be the best embodiment of America today!
So enjoy these last 6-10 NBA games of the season before tennis gets into full… swing!
I already wrote humorously on Jason Collins and the black jockey in the Kentucky Derby this week, as well as a humble-braggish post yesterday about the week I am having, but after listening and reading to a ton of coverage of the Jason Collins story (the pro basketball player who came out as gay this week, if you have been living under a rock or camping out for good seats to Iron Man 3) I realized that I have not heard a question/answer that I am curious about: what would be wrong with a heterosexual athlete not wanting to shower and be naked with a gay man? Now on its face this might seem like a bigoted question, but in the same context I would ask why is that men and women have different locker rooms?
I raise that because the argument always goes to the extreme right away after a question like that, like by suggesting a heterosexual man might be uncomfortable with a gay man seeing him naked you are suggesting that the gay man is some sort of uncontrolled beast who will begin getting aroused or will initiate sexual contact. Is this why women and men have separate locker rooms at gyms and at colleges? Because there is an implicit understanding that without that barrier men will simply begin to masturbate, flirt and perhaps sexually assault nude women in their presence? I don’t think so. I think there is just a desire for a sexuality-free zone in what is otherwise a very intimate setting and I am not sure why it would be wrong, even if impossible to implement, for a heterosexual athlete to want the same feeling around same-sex teammates.
And put this in the context of pro sports. These are men who are physical specimens – the most well built and physically fit humans on the planet in American professional sports. They are exaggerations of masculinity when compared to the general population. So it is no shame that a gay man would find this appealing. This, in no way, is suggesting some lack of control on the part of Jason Collins or other gay athletes. But from the perspective of the heterosexual athlete, why is automatically a hateful point to be raised that someone does not want to shower with people that are sexually attracted to them (or could conceivably be), for whom they do not reciprocate? I am not endorsing this point of view, but I am endorsing it as a somewhat reasonable feeling that some athletes might have and it should not immediately render them a pariah in the enlightened avenues of modern society.
Now, unfortunately, many professional athletes are not articulate or intelligent enough to convey what might be a more nuanced discomfort with having a gay teammate. And some are outright homophobes and bigots (or uncomfortable with their own sexuality). And on the other side of the spectrum are erudite athletes who either have no problem with it or are too smart to say that they have any issue with it. But there is no doubt in my mind that if an athlete tweeted “I have no problem with a gay teammate, but I don’t feel like being naked around him.” he would be bashed, criticized and called ignorant, stupid, a homophobe and a lot of other things while his team and league would have to apologize for him. But why is that a completely unreasonable position or feeling?
My basic question is why does fully accepting people of different sexual orientations have to mean that you must be 100% comfortable with their orientation in the most personal moments of your own life? I only raise this because I would be much more interested in hearing a debate on this more specific question than the usual “are you okay with a gay teammate” or “do you have a problem with gay people” generic questions. Now it already appears that many teammates of Collins (and other closeted gay athletes) have no issue with this. And that is great. But I don’t think a different viewpoint on this somewhat specific question is as pernicious as I am sure social media would treat it.