New Comedy Year, Old Comedy Results

Well, it is a new year, a time for weak people to declare useless things about their tiny lives (I almost made my resolution to be more positive).  I opted to not make any resolutions.  I figure I can find ways to fail at life and career without actually pre-setting the things I will fail at.  I have accomplished one minor achievement in my comedy career, but for every step forward I take two steps back because comedy’s like crack (please read that to the tune of Paula Abdul’s “Opposites Attracts”).  I started my new weekly podcast, which is only two years late to be significant in comedy.

It is called Righteous Prick, the same name of this blog, because I wanted to create a real synergy with the 15 loyal readers.  This is my mediocre attempt at branding (in the Spring I will launch my first fragrance “Fu*k Off”).  The podcast is basically me picking a topic each week (a comedian, a food, a television show, etc.) that I think is overrated and then having a friendly to contentious debate with a fan of that week’s podcast subject.  It should be fun, but I am certain a majority of the weak, insecure deplorable people that make up the underbelly of NYC comedy will probably take it as confirmation of me as a brooding asshole, while they continue to literally and metaphorically deep throat any comedian with one degree of heat above room temperature.  Well it is just me trying to make an argument fun and getting people to re-think what society or corporate culture or dumb peers have convinced them is “awesome” and maybe just to think “maybe it is just OK” while having some laughs.

If you still are interested please go to iTunes, search “Righteous Prick with J-L Cauvin,” and click the subscribe button (it’s free). It will make me moderately happy.

But just as I was proud to become technically proficient enough to produce a technically insufficient weekly podcast the comedy business came back with a vengeance with a double barrelled shotgun shot to the ego.  Booking emails and a comedy contest brought me back to Earth like a Texas-sized meteor designed to render my hope extinct.

I sent out my booking emails Tuesday morning.  Mostly to clubs I have done well, really well or have been to multiple times (a good sign that I may not have sucked in their eyes), with a few new venues thrown in for good luck.  Well, the results are in and apparently I am as desired at comedy clubs as Jon Huntsman is in an Iowa caucus.  But that was OK, because I had a spot last night in the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival first round.  Hope springs eternal in comedy!

The Laughing Skull is is a popular comedy festival based out of Atlanta.  This year the competition had several satellite first round contests with a chance to go to Atlanta.  The New York satellite took place at the Laughing Devil comedy club in Long Island City.  It is a quaint little club. It seats 50 audience members comfortably and stands 12 comedians at the bar uncomfortably.  I drew the enviable position of 11th on the lineup of a 10pm show that started 40 minutes late on a Tuesday night (prime time baby!).  I ended up hanging with comedian Tony Deyo at the nearby Dunkin Donuts for 2/3 of the contest because he went on second and I was going on second to last.  I purchased a Nesquik Strawberry Banana milk by accident which turned out to be the most vile thing I have ever drank after the bottle of Lucozade i have in Ireland when I was 6.

I ended up going on after the eventual first place winner who delivered his jokes in a weird monotone voice (I have a pet peeve against stage voices – like losing to a guitar playing comedian), but the crowd enjoyed his jokes and I figured he would place.  I then went up and was probably seething contempt from my face.  The first reason is that I could see a gentlman in his late 40s nodding off when I got on stage.  But of course, because comedy has become more clowning than art form I could not throw the mic at him and tell him to get the fu*k out of the club and go to bed.  As I went through my routine I got big laughs for all of my big punchlines, but the quick, subtle jabs I have throughout my bits were falling on near silence because when people are falling asleep and uncomfortable at night the first thing to go is subtlety (or they were stupid).  So I left to a good laugh, knew immediately that it was over for me and ended up not placing.  That means I most likely save myself money by not spending hotel and airfare to Atlanta in March.  Of course I have been told that the festival is fun so I bummed to miss out on that, but let’s be honest – I am 32 years old – “fun” should have stopped being part of my vocabulary 5 years ago (the same way I detest adults that refer to things as “cool”).  And I have noticed that as I have become more experienced and a flat out better writer of jokes and bits over the years I have actually performed worse at comedy contests.  Maybe I will just pledge a comedy clique like some fraternity for wayward losers who found their first friends in comedy. Seems to be a more successful path than writing, travelling and performing.

Perhaps this sounds like sour grapes, but it is not.  The only thing I regretted last night was the late time at which I was going to bed.  It is just frustrating because contest provide an elusive lottery-type opportunity for work and exposure that usually only benefit a few participants, but is still enticing enough to do because the alternative is to sit and fight the noble fight at your computer with unreplied-to booking e-mails.   At least now I have a solid two year track record of under-performing at these things so I can now just focus on my act, my podcast and my search for a day job.

It’s going to be an interesting year.