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.
Last Thursday I was doing Jimmy Failla’s radio show and at the end he asked me if I was performing anywhere this weekend and out of instinct I said, “nope.” But then I quickly realized, “Wait, yes I am!” At this point, bookings feel more like Christmas miracles, so I hope it is understandable that I forgot. This gig was particularly interesting since it was for a show in my girlfriend’s hometown (Wintersville, the town next to Steubenville, the town made famous for its high school football rape case/tweets earlier this year, which of course made Wintersville’s new welcome sign of “The Small Town that Doesn’t Rape” quite sensible). I was featuring for her, but given our respective heights and levels of cheeriness, I went Drago before my set and told her “I must break you.”
Before the show I went to my girlfriend’s childhood home and given that the tallest person in her family is about 5’11”, it was not surprising that I was bumping my shoulder on some of the light fixtures (lesser men might bump their head, but as a member of the Mensa-esque division of the overactive pituitary club I can sometimes bump my shoulder into low hanging lights. Basically, I looked like Gandalf visiting Bilbo Baggins.
Side note – the Keystone train of Amtrak does not have a snack car. We took the train from NYC to Harrisburg, PA and then drove from Harrisburg to Wintersville and I was very disappointed that the Keystone has no snack car. I assume it was Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station that lobbied for this. There is a 20 minute stop in Philly before moving on to the rest of Pennsylvania so it turns all the passengers on the train into post-Apocalypse scavengers looking to build up supplies for the journey into Tea Party regions of Pennsylvania.
OK – back to the show. When we arrived at the restaurant that has weekly (I think it’s weekly, maybe monthly, I have no idea) comedy I saw that the average color was bleach, the average age was life support and the average political leaning felt like “Ted Cruz is a liberal traitor.” And yet, to quote the sports cliché, this is why you play the game. They turned out to be a great comedy crowd. Laughed a lot, minimal crowd input unless explicitly asked or spoken too, and just a pleasure to perform for. Gigs like this make me feel good as a comedian, because even four years ago I could have easily bombed in front of a crowd like this. Just proves that the more you write and the more experience you gain performing for and learning from different crowds, the fewer crowds you cannot win over. I am now certain that my skills and volume of material put me in position to win over any crowd in America, other than television executives and NYC club bookers.
One of the highlights of the show was an audience member, “John,” who looked like Barry Melrose, if he was raised in Texas instead of Canada. This guy was a phenomenal audience member, a good sport and an anthropologist/archaeologist (hence my nickname of Indiana Melrose for him). What fascinated me (pardon me if this sounds too much like a sheltered Yankee) was that he was a gun carrier, but did not seem like an unreasonable nut job (I am exaggerating for effect). We did not have time to discuss gun rights, though it was sort of a novel feeling to meet a guy who liked carrying a gun, but who did not scare me for wanting to carry a gun. I would have liked to ask him if he was for more background checks, etc., but he was an interesting contradiction of assumptions – a gun toting academic from a small town who looked like a young villainous Gary Oldman.
This may have seemed like all superfluous information, but when people wonder why I hate not getting more road work it I because I love everything about the road. I like travelling (reading time not distracted by TV, games, etc), I like hotels (except for the blood stained sheets at the New Haven La Quinta Inn) and I have enjoyed travelling to different cities in America and seeing stereotypes confirmed and refuted. Maybe one day I will run for political office and be able to say:
“A lot of politicians say they understand you, but a comedian can honestly make that claim. I have travelled to cities all over this country by plane, train, bus and car. I have been to your stores, your malls, your tourist attractions, your Churches, your strip clubs and your comedy clubs. I know our differences, but also our similarities. I have had a lot of money and I have also struggled. All this has been made possible by my career in stand up comedy. And I would have not understood and experienced financial struggles and dream crushing frustrations without one group of American heroes. God Bless the comedy club bookers!”
But seriously, I was a former ADA (“tough on crime, just ask Craig’s List prostitutes”), worked in the private sector (“may not have understood all the he did, but did understand how to bill clients”) and charismatic on the stump “engaging and funny on stage, sort of hard to believe clubs never paid him”. This is a great combination of experience and skills for political office. Cauvin 2028 – get those bumper stickers ready! I am already thinking a good slogan will be “Cauvin – Do Not Be Offended By His Old Tweets Please.”
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