St Paul Road Recap: Grandma Steve Austin Flips Me…

This past week was a whirlwind tour of Canada-South, aka Minnesota.  It was the typical J-L Cauvin comedy trip: Southwest Airlines, solid merch sales, complaints to the club and complaints directly sent to me while on stage.  The trip began with a 5 am run on a rainy Wednesday morning in NYC. It felt good – the city was dark and quiet and the only thing to fear in Midtown Manhattan was the 6’7″ bi-racial guy looking like a small B-cup version of Baywatch-Manboobs Edition running up and down 1st and York Avenues.  I got back to my apartment, showered and grabbed my bags for LaGuardia’s Southwest Airlines section, which is as close in feel to Port Authority Bus Terminal as any airport in America gets.  Upon arriving at Minneapolis-St Paul Airport, after a Chicago-Midway lawyover, I was picked upby my feature Joey Vincent, who for NYC comics looks like Jon Fisch, if Jon Fisch played Left Tackle for the Minnesota Vikings.  So the two of us drove the 2 hours in his van to the Black Bear Casino in Carlton, MN.  The gig at the Black Bear Casino is always interesting – it is run by a nice little fellow named Chuck, for whom ever year is 1987 when it comes to fashion – he sort of reseembles a short, mustachioed version of Sean Penn’s lawyer character in Carlito’s Way.  Well the casino has no table games and the showers have curtains instead of doors, so basically I don’t expect Floyd Mayweather to have his next title defense there.  Seven minutes prior to showtime I took a photo (look it up on my Facebook page (157 likes #blessed) or instagram: jlcomedy to see the 4 people sitting in the room.  But as soon as you could say #quitting and#RobinWilliamsMusthaveHadThisAsHisLastGig, the floodgates opened and we had almost a full room. Joey had a great set and I did what all legends do – performed so great that I sold one CD after the show.  If this sounds unremarkable, it isn’t because Joey said he had never seen someone make a sale at Black Bear and this was the second straight year I had at least one sale. I am basically the Wilt Chamberlain of selling CDs at weird casinos.

We headed back down to St Paul on Thursday for the first of my five shows headlining the Joke Joint Comedy Club.  The club has a condo, but unlike many condos, this one is the second floor of the club owner’s house so you know he keeps it clean and cozy.  It is like your own small, 2 bedroom apartment equipped with Dish TV and a PS3, which is a great contrast to the comedy condo at Rivercenter Comedy Club in San Antonio Texas, which is fully equipped with West Nile Virus and cockroach semen.

The Thursday show was actually just me doing twenty minutes after a comedy contest, which was fun because you could feel both the fatigue and the “this guy isn’t our fu*king friend” vibe from the crowd. Still sold three CDs to an avid reader of this blog so here’s to you if you are reading this post.

Fridays shows represented the highwater mark of the week for sure.  The early Friday crowd was massive. Not kidding. From what I was told it far exceeded Summer expectations and then I ended up selling 17 CDs after the first show (leaving me with two left for the remaining three shows).  And there was only one complaint to management!  The late Friday show was a much smaller crowd, but really really good (other than the fact that they bought zero CDs).  They also were treated to an eight minute off the cuff discussion of Barkhad Abdi, the Somlian pirate from Captain Phillips and Minnesota resident (until he moved to LA for movies and teeth whitening… I hope) that was not vidotaped and will go down as the greatest 8 minutes of comedy dedicated to Barkhad Abdi EVER.

Saturday’s shows had me stressed because, if I was pushing that much merchandise weight on Friday, there were bound to be a lot of disappointed fans on Saturday. Fortunately for all of us, the large crowd featured a woman I will call Grandma Steve Austin. The show was going alright, but then an odd exchange occurred:

Me: My father is Haitian-

Lady (possibly Grandma, but not sure): We like you anyway!

Crowd: Nervous laughter.

Group of Latin and Possibly Mixed Race Women on the other side of the room: What the fu*k did she just say?

Me: That was weird (followed by some laugh line).

(15 minutes later)

Me: I think if the state has marriage powers then they have to be given to gay couples, but I think sometimes Dads who are upset at having gay sons get a bad rap.

(Definitely) Grandma Steve Austin: FU*K YOU!

Me: (turning to see who she was arguing with to see her staring right at me) Huh? But the joke is really funny

Crowd: TELL IT

Me: (I tell it and it kills)

5 minutes later doing my closer:

Me: So my girlfriend was actually in the movie The Wolf of Wall Street

(I then turn to GSA’s side of the room where she is holding out a double middle fingered salute (Steve Austin style), waiting for me to turn – as in she already had them up before I turned towards her)

So unless this woman has a gay son and was ripped off by Jordan Belfort I am not sure why she was so hostile, though I learned afterward that she was extremely drunk and her husband ditched her halfway through the show.  Sadly this led to me selling zero CDs after the show, mainly because of the awkward tension, even though I did get a “great set” worth of handshakes after the early show.  At this point I was feeling like Tiger Woods chasing Jack Nicklaus – after the 21 CD sales prior to Saturday I figured there was no way I wouldn’t sell out.  Now, just like Tiger, after a belligerant exchange with a woman, I had lost my mojo and was still stuck with 2 left to complete the task. Well, the late crowd was really good, even though it was probably my weakest set of the week.  I sold one album. So I left with 23 from NYC and would return with just one. Pretty good considering for my last road trip (Cleveland-Chicago back-to-back) I brought 40 and returned home with 32.

The next day the club owner was nice enough to drive me to the airport at 545 am where he told me that the headliner at his Houston club, which I will be headlining in September, sold $700 worth of merch this weekend.  Given my track record I better bring more CDs and a willingness to harvest my own organs if I want to sell that well. Stay tuned.

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