Road Comedy Recap: Blood, Dogs and Laughs in North Carolina

This weekend I was in Raleigh, North Carolina performing at Goodnight’s Comedy Club.  It was the typical J-L road comedy adventure (long, cheap travel, awkward accommodations, long walks along highways to stores and of course the usual mix of hugely entertained and awkwardly hostile audience members).  But let’s begin from the beginning.  The shows began at 8pm Thursday and since a flight to Raleigh would vanquish any semblance of profits for me it was time to call in back-up from my mighty stockpile of Amtrak travel points.  I booked the 7 am “Carolinian” which is a manageable 10.5 hours.  Now one of the downsides of the trip is that after that long on a train headed south of Washington, DC you end up smelling like the feet of old black women (which a friend said on Facebook sounds like a Civil Rights Era documentary).  And with a Southern staff manning the train the service was chatty, friendly and of course had us arrive 2 hours late to Raleigh.

With my 3 hour pre-show time cut to one hour I had to race to my deluxe accommodations at the Days Inn (when I arrived I realized there was a problem – I was paying 2 star hotel prices, but getting 1 star accommodations – the answer?  Duke University graduation. So not only did that school cost me money in 2010’s tournament, but they were now costing me money by raising the price of my hotel, which looked like it was usually inhabited by Waingro from Heat right before he murdered prostitutes , to civilized society prices).

I was opening for Iliza Schlesinger (but wait, I thought all the top female comics were at the Women in Comedy Money Grab – er – I mean Festival in Boston????) and when I got to the green room I was greeted by her and her emotional support dog.  It was a small dog and as you can imagine I was highly disturbed by this in theory.  The emcee and I were instructed that the dog could not be alone, so one of us would have to be in the green room keeping it company throughout her sets.   As it turned out though, the dog was very sweet and well behaved (except when Iliza would do her closing bit at which point, like clockwork, the dog would start to whimper and look to the door of the green room anticipating her return.  I am obviously still vehemently opposed to the concept of emotional support  dogs for anyone besides autistic children, but I will give the dog, Blanche, her due – she was a pleasant green room companion.

As for the shows I did solid work.  One of the new bits I am integrating into my set is about the devaluation of the word “empowering” through the story of Belle Knox, the Duke porn dabbler.  And I thought, what better place than 15 miles from Duke to start to make it part of my set.  And on Friday’s late show I stuck the bit, got great crowd response and when I got back to my camera saw that it was recording the wall to the right of the stage.  Someone had bumped the camera and not said anything or made an attempt to fix it.  What’s worse is that when I reviewed this comedy Zapruder film, the bump occurred literally 10 seconds before the bit began (which was 15 minutes into my set).  Obviously I suspect Belle Knox – the timing was too perfect to be coincidence.

Of course this was a J-L Cauvin comedy road trip so it could not be all good news.  For the second time in under a year I stayed in a room where blood was found on the fresh bed sheets (the La Quinta Inn in New Haven looked more like a Kardashian was having a heavy flow day, whereas at the Days Inn it looked more like someone had merely squeezed a zit in a corner of the sheet – so a real upgrade in class for me).  And I had to do document review work for half the train ride down and all day Friday before the Friday shows.   On top of all that the comedy club is located right next to a prison.  I only mention it because next time I might commit a few small misdemeanors in town so I can get an upgrade from the Days Inn (yes, I am a former prosecutor and I know that I would not spend a night in a prison as a result of an arrest).

Among the real highlights of the trip was getting a visit from The Black Guy Who Tips, his wife and a few of their friends to the Friday late show, continuing my new tradition of making friends on-line through comedy and podcasting and then meeting them in person a year later (talking to you Rob and Joe show).  The other good feeling was that the emcee and an audience member knew my YouTube work (the tweet Saturday night of “Just put it together that I saw Alt Wolf/Louis CK tonight” was something so cool I almost smiled).  And for any comics travelling to Raleigh the brownie sundae at the club Is hands down the best dessert I’ve ever had at a comedy club.

So as I head back to day job world today (after a ride north on Amtrak yesterday next to two meth heads from Boston and their meth princess describing different beatings they have given people) I would like to leave you with my favorite exchange from the weekend (other than when Iliza told me and the emcee, who was also 6’7”, that she felt safe… and skinny around us – I fought the urge to punt her dog like Jack Black punted Baxter in Anchorman). So here is the chat I had with some folks after the late show Saturday:

Nice guy: You aren’t really taking Amtrak home right. You have your plane ticket I’m sure.

Me: (pulls Amtrak ticket out of wallet and shows to him)

NG: Oh, I thought you just made that up!

Me: Nope

NG: But you must make some good money doing this – got to be like $500 a show, right?

Me: (Laughing/Crying maniacally)

NG: But you are chasing your dream. That must feel great.

Me: Laughing/Crying on the floor like Walter White in the episode of Breaking Bad when all his money is gone and he thinks Gus Fring is going to kill him.

I feel like every exchange I have with potential fans just turns into the Jake Taylor scene from Major League:


Woman: I’ve heard ball players make a lot of money.

Jake Taylor: Depends on how good you are.

Woman: Well how good are you?

Jake Taylor: I make the league minimum.

Catch me hosting shows for the Laughing Devil Festival in NYC this week (or reviewing documents in Midtown Manhattan).  Thanks for a fun weekend Raleigh.

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