All The Things You Don’t Want to Hear After…

Last night I was at Helium Comedy Club (with all due respect to all other clubs, Helium and the DC Improv are the two best places to do comedy – I have not been to all, but I have been to most) for a Comedians at Law show.  We had a decent crowd in number, but they were fantastic with the laughter.  Through 90 minutes and four comedians they were attentive, polite and full of laughter.  A comedian cannot ask for more than that out of a comedy club audience.  And if the evening had ended there I would have gotten on the late Amtrak back to NYC with an uncharacteristically smiley face.  But like a bad Sunday show at the end of a successful weekend on the road, comedy shows always find a way to find a way to end weirdly for me.  The way the ring in The Lord of the Rings wanted to make its way back to its evil creator, comedy shows want to find a way to get to my angry core.

After the show I went to sell my CDs outside of the showroom.  And here is a sample of what I heard – the good, the bad and the ugly:

  1. “Great show – you guys need a woman in the group,” (despite the fact that 25% of our lineup that night was female.
  2. “I really like your stuff.  And I am a lawyer and a comedian and I could really kill it.  Wherever you need me I can be there.”
  3. (my favorite) “That was pretty good?!”
  4. “How much are CDs?  We’ll take two.  Thank you. Great show.”
  5. “Did you really graduate from law school in 2004? But that would make you like 33, but you look 50.”

By way of background, Comedians at Law has been the most difficult thing I have ever embarked on in stand up comedy.  This is not to say that it has not reaped some benefits, but putting together a new business, marketing it to an untapped, but marginally interested market (law schools hosting comedy shows and comedy clubs showcasing lawyers are both NOT natural sells), managing occasional personality clashes and having two defections from the group that almost made me homicidal have all made it a very trying experience.  In short it is taking all the challenges of starting a business and combining those with all the inherent difficulties of advancing a stand-up comedy career.  So as much as certain comments can bother me after a regular show, the hubris or complete unawareness of some of the people that come to the Comedians at Law show make steam come out of my ears.

To the credit of the audience no one had specific suggestions for bits like they did in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago,  But guess which of the five comments I liked best?  If you guessed the one that seems appropriate from a nice fan then you guessed correctly.  The other four are easily dismissed.

  • (1) – Please do not compliment the show and then tell me what it needs, especially when it is completely irrelevant. If you cannot keep it to a compliment then, in the words of The Rock, know your role and shut your mouth.
  • (2) We put together this show from scratch.  If you were a comedian worth anything you would know a) how insulting what you said is and b) how much work we put into our project.  So therefore you are either rude or not worth performing with
  • (3) The word “pretty” does not belong in comedy, especially when you are giving a compliment about a set.  If you feel too insecure to give a full compliment (often men) then just leave the club and say nothing.
  • (5) I know one thing: I do not look 50.  If you are trying to mess with me after a show, don’t because I will dismantle you verbally.  If you are too dumb to judge age or know that you are being moronic then do not go out in public or do not speak when you are out in public.  This would not annoy me so much, but for the timing – it is after I just had a killer set pursuing my passion – so if you are going to ruin someone’s day go home and hang with your family.

But of course thank you to the two fans who treated me with kindness and respect and put a little cash in my pocket (as well as the couple of dozen people who came out and said “great show” or “nice show” and shook my hand).  This may sound arrogant, but as a comedian I am underpaid, underemployed and working my ass off.  All I ask is that fans respect what I do (or at least the fact that what I am pursuing is hard).  That does not mean compliment me or buy my CDs.  It just means if you like it – treat me with respect and if you did not – leave and feel free never to check my stuff again.  The fact is I am smarter than most people that come to my shows and better at comedy than all of them.  But I would demand that this courtesy be extended from the best comedians to the very shittiest comedians.

Now to some of you this post seems spot on, but to others I come off as an angry asshole.  Well, you are both right.  Let me give you an analogy for how frustrating what Albert Brooks called “complisults” on The Adam Carolla Show.  An ex of mine had a roommate, but my ex handled the cable bill among her roommate duties.  So one month there was an additional $4.95 on the bill for an On Demand movie.  Her dilemma was that she would seem petty to ask for the $5 for the movie, but felt the roommate was in the wrong for not presenting the money in the first place.  And this is how I feel about people giving these half-compliments/half-insulting or thoughtless remarks after a show.  They are giving me the cable bill with $5 that I am completely not responsible for.  So they might be a jerk or they might just be a little careless, but they are in the wrong.  But if you tell them, “Hey you owe me $4.95 for that movie,” or in my case “Please respect what I do and know that you know nothing about comedy or the business of comedy,” the asshole burden is immediately shifted.  So that is why I find it so frustrating – because we are desperate as comedians and as a business to maintain great relations with fans so we build our fan base we have to grin and eat their dumb comments and can never correct them or put them in their place because then the asshole burden is 100% shifted on to us.  “Ït’s only five bucks,” becomes “Hey, I liked your show – I just thought you could do this or that – what an asshole!”  See what I mean?

So to the people that continue to support me, spread the word about what I do and treat me with some respect – thank you.  To those of you that don’t like what I do – you are entitled to your opinion.  And to those of you that like my stuff, but are dumb enough or arrogant enough to try to mess with what I do – know your role and shut your mouth.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic or iTunes.


Deadspin and How Men Became Dumb Chicks

Adam Carolla’s first, and incredibly hilarious book was called “In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks.”  Now some of you may have already stopped reading, since you may think you know how I am framing the story given the tip of the cap to Carolla.  But I am here to say that Carolla was wrong.  He should have titled the book, “In Five Years We’ll All Be Dumb Chicks.”  I am not as concerned as Carolla with the increasingly politically correct tone of our culture (though I am not completely numb to it either), as I am with how eager men have been to jump to (after a healthy dose of nudging towards) culture and news that previously had been the province of only the most empty-headed women.

First They Came for Our Barber Shops

I cannot remember the first time I saw Maxim Magazine, but I know it was sometime during college (the first issue was released in 1998).  I am sure some of my friends were reading it.  After all it featured hot women on the covers and when targeting late teen and early twenties males that is pretty much all you needed to sell magazines in the late 90s/early 00s.  But beneath that Trojan horse cover that made you want to buy Trojans was a more pernicious purpose.  It was not until the stacks of Maxim magazines began piling up in my barber shop that I shoved aside the NY Daily News and Rolling Stone magazines and decide to take a peak.  Of course there were airbrushed pictures of D-list starlets, but there were also lots of helpful tips on grooming, fitness, sex and other things if you wanted to become the ultimate date rapist (I think FX or Spike have optioned this as their next reality show).

So instead of reading the newspaper and discussing politics and family at the barber shop it became about learning new ways to wax your chest, smell like a sex trafficked slave working at Abercrombie and what drugs to buy to convince your girlfriend to have a threesome.  This may all seem normal to you now, but there used to be a day where only insecure and/or dumb women would read magazines that turned them into insecure narcissists.  But either some evil woman or brilliant marketer (or both)decided, “If our dummies cannot better themselves through harsh magazines whose only goal is to make women feel insecure and create a co-dependency with our magazine, then we will bring men down to that level.”  And so it began.

Then They Came for Our Colognes

In the last several years, manscaping, spanks for men, body washes, and an assortment of other things have made men the new insecure chicks.  Apparently we are no longer the confident, stable ones in the world (it’s been a solid 50,000 year run). We lack just as much confidence as any other subscriber to Cosmo.  And the only thing mroe dangerous to a culture than insecure women is insecure men (we are even better at that).  For God’s sake Lena Dunham is now our culture’s benchmark for confidence! I cannot even find a cologne that smells manly anymore.  I used to use a cologne called Polo Crest.  It had a scent that evoked wealth and oak-paneled steak houses and women loved it. Because it smelled like a man’s cologne.  I went to a department store recently to find a new scent, since Polo Crest has been discontinued, and every thing I smelled felt like I was 19 years old trying to get bottle service at a club that I was not allowed into.  I am not sure how exactly to describe the different scents I smelled, but they mostly just smelled fruity and sporty and immature (I feel like a sommelier right now – “This cologne is full bodied, but I’m picking up a hint of sexual assault”).  Admittedly I did not try every cologne in the store, but after spritzing several samples on my wrist I started to smell like a bouquet of douche bag.

And Then They Came for Our Sports

So once we allowed the Cosmo mentality to be combined with 19 year old douchebag taste there was no stopping the runaway train.  Eyebrows, chest hair, pubes – none were safe from it.  Every rapper who previously rapped about shoot outs and gang bangs were now doing hooks for female teen pop stars.  But then the Cosmo-Douche movement got sports in its cross hairs and nothing less than the battle for the soul of the American man began. And the American Man is losing.  Badly.

Now some women studies major or other person looking to flex their tolerance credentials may tell me that I have a somewhat primitive view of masculinity.  But whether its opening a jar of peanut butter, a door, a wallet at a restaurant or a can of whoop ass to a disrespectful dude (or mouthy woman) most women and bottoms would agree that having a man take the lead on some or all of those things is still one of the attractive components to men.  And that is why I think we need to save sports from the Cosmo-Douche movement.

The great thing about sports (I refer to men’s sports as “sports” and women’s sports as “what the?”) is that it is still an area where the primal nature of men is allowed.  Brains, braun, camaraderie and competition. All four of these things are involved in most sports and that is why people, and especially men, love them.  And that is why I always get annoyed when I see new Deadspin articles floating around on my Facebook or Twitter feed.

I think it was a few years ago when I first saw a Deadspin article on my Facebook feed.  I cannot remember which athlete’s penis it was discussing – perhaps Greg Oden’s or Brett Favre’s, but the bottom line was that Deadspin obviously observed a culture of sex tapes, Snoop Dogg rapping with Katy Perry and athletes wearing rimless glasses at post game conferences and thought “This is the time to finally make the Cosmo-Douche movement into the Cosmo-Douche-Sports alliance!”

Currently on Deadspin are articles about Lance Armstrong being “an asshole,” Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend (I understand the journalistic merit here) and comments Lena Dunham made about her weight.  This is the site that called itself  “the go-to source for athlete dong.”  Maybe I am an old fashioned heterosexual man, but if I want sports news I go to ESPN and if I want to be aroused I can watch porn (preferably with women involved) or hire an au pair, but I have never had the desire to look at athlete penis or find out what Lena Dunham has to say about her body (sidenote – why in a culture obsessed with getting kid’s healthy and stopping an obesity crisis are we praising Lena Dunham for making us all look at her manatee-like frame?). But obviously Deadspin is very successful, which means that the Cosmo-Douche movement has basically won.  Either we have crafted a culture of repressed gay guys who just want a snarky site full of athlete cock shots and updates on Girls or the culture now operates from the mindset of a sad reader of Cosmo as its baseline mentality.  But the reality is that men were simultaneously nudged and willingly jumped to this.  It is easier to indulge in the dumb and the salacious then in the real value of things.  But we are all dumb chicks now – smart women, smart men, dumb men – we all lost to the underdog with the under 90 IQ.  So let us repeat our new Cosmo-Douche mantra America: We all suck, we all need constant improvement and we are all looking ways to please our man or look at dick pics, so buy this magazine we are selling you nation of clueless losers.  But just don’t bully anyone because that is bad.


Top 13 Righteous Prick Blogs of 2012

As has been customary for the last few years I have made my (unpaid) bread and butter writing about the comedy business, my own career and the occasional rant about something else in our culture.  So for those of you that have not kept up or would like a convenient link to send to people to turn them on to the blog I present my Top 13 (I refuse to do a Top 10 because they are too popular) Blogs of 2012.  Also, if so inclined to show me support either become a fan of the Facebook Page and/or “like” my Huffington Post page where some of these appear. Thanks and enjoy:

1. The Death of Stand Up Comedy – My typical cheery, well-reasoned about the demise of stand up comedy.  I believe this was the most “liked” post on my website this year.

2. 10 Things in Stand Up Comedy that Should Be Retired – Let’s put it this way, Chris Rock shared it on his facebook page and Ralphie May argued against it. Not sure I need any more endorsements.

3. Adam Carolla’s Eddie Brill Moment – My defense (well-reasoned to those not highly emotional while reading) about why what Carolla said was a) not as bad as people thought and b) not what people claimed he said.


4. The Elephant in the Room at the Comedy Awards – During another coronation of Louis CK I make the case for the late, great Patrice O’Neal.


5. Dane Cook and Comedy’s New Politically Correct Police – My first beef with a celebrity began here with TJ Miller replying (quite respectfully to his credit) to my commentary about Dane Cook’s new vulgar voice on stage.

6. How to Get Along with a Struggling Comedian – Very popular on the Huffington Post with comedians and called “bitter and mean” by commenters who know nothing about comedy or comedians.

7. I Did Not Know That Memes Were The Future of Comedy – Suck it George Takei! (metaphorically)

8. Comedian Speaks at South Bronx High School Career Fair Despite Lacking a Career – I often write about road work, but this was a nice change of pace as I recapped speaking at a career day about my legal and comedy “careers.”

9. The Social Media Guide to Watching Breaking Bad – What year would be complete without some Walter White work?  Only read this one if you made it through Season 4 of BB.


10. Jeff Dunham Announces New Puppets for 2012 – My press release for one of comedy’s genius level talents.

11. To the Defense of “Girls” – It’s Not Its Fault – Premature hysteria over 4 white girls starring in a show demanded a response and even though many disagreed with me, they were mostly not right.  Like the Carolla blog – this was a thoroughly anaylitical breakdown of the show and only those with an emtoional stake in the show would see me as wrong.

12. Why I Am Rooting For Lebron James – Praise for the King and shame on the NY Knick fan base.


13. The Future of Comedy – A sarcastic look forward at the comedy and stand up comedy worlds.

So please share this whole post or individual posts you like and thanks for reading in 2012 and hopefully in 2013.


Adam Carolla’s Eddie Brill Moment

For the second time this year a major figure in comedy has made controversial public remarks about the funniness of women.  Adam Carolla, of the #1 ranked podcast The Adam Carolla Show, stated in a New York Post article that “[t]he reason why you know more funny dudes than funny chicks is that dudes are funnier than chicks.”  He went on to cite a few famous women that he finds hilarious, but the damage had been done.  Twitter and Facebook lit up with denunciations by women and a few super enlightened men.  Some sources, like the Huffington Post questioned why we would even care about Adam Carolla’s opinion. Other comedians, mostly female, were hurling the “irrelevant” label at Carolla.


Before I get to the larger point, a quick defense of Carolla’s “relevance.”  He is the #1 podcaster in the world – a format that comedians have embraced wholeheartedly and that he has done better and with more success than anyone on Earth.  Calling him irrelevant would be like calling Dane Cook irrelevant back in 2006.  Carolla, in my opinion, is also one of the 5 or 10 funniest people in America.  His ability to be funny off the cuff, which I think is the purest form of funny, is second to none.  He is also a best-selling author of “In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks,” which is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.  He may not be Louis CK or Chris Rock in the stand-up comedy community, but to call him irrelevant is a surefire sign that you are out of the loop in comedy and media.  And full disclosure – I was never in a fraternity and before I ever listened to his podcast I just assumed (wrongly) that Carolla was an unsophisticated douche from the commercials for The Man Show (which I never watched).  Of all the women criticizing him I wonder how many were regular listeners to his podcast or had read his book or had ever seen him perform live.   Now back to the issue.

My first basic question is, what if Carolla is right or at least why is the idea that men are generally funnier than women such a sin that to even think it is a capital offense?  This has become such an article of faith among female comedians (and some super enlightened male comics) that no gender is funnier than the other.  Of course, any objective marker of comedy success, from the reverence given to Louis CK, to the financial dominance of “comedian” Jeff Dunham suggests otherwise.  As I wrote in a piece in January about the firing of Eddie Brill (, comedy may be subjective, but all objective evidence point to the overwhelming popularity of male comedians  over female comedians.  And Carolla never said a woman cannot be as funny as a man.  So each individual female has an opportunity to be a Sarah Silverman or a Joan Rivers, but he said if he were playing the odds he would bet on a male comedian.

To the point of whether a woman can be as funny as a man – why is this not enough?  Why is it so offensive to female comedians to say that men are funnier on average?  Carolla offered no reasons as to why this is the case in the short interview, but might I suggest there are numerous cultural factors within and outside of comedy that lend itself to being a male art form?  The lifestyle of comedy is one that is still more socially acceptable for men that may weed out women.  Women who pursue the long and lonely journey of stand up comedy are potentially giving up a lot more in terms of family than men who pursue it.  Furthermore, we are a culture that has long praised men for being outgoing and attention seeking by being “the life of the party.”  Women, not so much.  Without getting into the Christopher Hitchens article  on women not being funny, is it possible that our culture (even if not going back to our evolution) has stacked the deck against women being “the funny ones?”  And if all these things are true, why do we have to still go ahead and say “But women and men are equally funny,” or at least are not allowed to hold the opinion that men are funnier without being considered misogynist monsters?  To say nothing of the fact that stand up comedy has been a largely male art form so we have shaped the content and the expectations of viewers for generations.   None of these factors are saying that women can’t be as funny in individual cases and some of these factors are unfortunate for the additional roadblocks they create for women seeking success in comedy.  But thinking something is unfortunate or unfair does not make it untrue.

Here’s something that I rarely heard at any office I worked in or class I attended, “You know who’s hilarious?  (Insert female name)”  I have known more funny men that never picked up a microphone than I know funny female comedians.  Do I know funny females? Obviously.  But female comedians seem to lose sight of the fact that they are already in a self-selecting group.  They do not represent the female population as a whole. They are 51% of the population, but definitely less than 50% of the stand up comedy world.  This has been my life experience and may reflect my taste in comedy, but there is something in our culture that  encourages men to be funny, and rewards them if they are.  But it has become this article of faith in comedy, like Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge, that unless you say “I don’t see gender, I only see a comedian and there are funny men and funny women and that is all I know,” you become some sort of monster on the wrong side of a Civil Rights struggle.  For some reason, “Women can be as funny as men” is not good enough if you believe on the whole that men are generally funnier than women.  Even if you suggest that the root cause of this is not biological, but merely social and cultural you are still a pig.

Perhaps as our society and culture change what Carolla said will not be true, but right now, if an alien landed in America and studied comedy he (OR SHE) would come to the conclusion that men are funnier.  He could go to an office, a happy hour at a bar or a comedy club and the evidence would be overwhelming.  Yes there are more male comedians than female, but I am arguing that in a larger context of our culture, not just in stand up circles.

Of course, if an alien were to turn to the Huffington Post comedy page and see their numerous lists of funny women you should follow on Twitter it might disagree. Then they might be confused by articles on the same site claiming that we need to stop taking gender into account in comedy.  And then they might look at some of those Twitter lists and say, “Wait, some of these aren’t that funny – are they simply on this list because they are women? That doesn’t seem like it will advance gender equity and respect in comedy.”

The truth is I would welcome this discussion going away, much like many of the female comics and super enlightened men who support them wholeheartedly.  But the fact is beauty and comedy are two things that are in the eye of the beholder and as much as it may sting, America largely agrees with Adam Carolla. Don’t take my word for it – look at the numbers.

Now I look forward to critics rolling their eyes at this and telling me “I am obsessed and need to let this go.” Why?  Because I wrote twice this year about it when Eddie Brill got fired and when my favorite podcaster got attacked?  Wow – truly obsessed.  I just get annoyed when I see irrational arguments bashing Carolla.  Of course every woman who jumps on this issue and bashes Brill or Carolla just gets a bunch of “You go girl’s” like she’s the Rosa Parks of comedy and is in no way “obsessed.”  It is the cyber equivalent of “support the troops.”  And then there are the female comedians who could not wait to call themselves hilarious on Twitter and Facebook as a way of sticking it to Carolla.  If you want to stick it to the Carollas of the world let someone else say it for you.  If you are funny someone surely will.

And then listen to Carolla’s podcast.


Chicago Trip – Part 1

On Tuesday I departed JFK on Jet Blue for a 6 day stint in Chicago.  The trip got off to an inauspicious start when the pilot came out to address the passengers in person before the flight.  Here is basically what he said:

(grim face) Hey everyone – we’re getting set to take off soon and I need to let you know that it is going to be pretty bumpy up there, not just taking off, but basically the whole way to Chicago.  We are passing through a pretty bad storm and the weather in Chicago sucks ass and to the tall fu*k in seat 4B who decided that he would leave his parka at home and just bring a thin jacket because it looked less bulky and would be more comfortable – you are an idiot and you should listen to your mother.”

And the pilot was not lying – the flight was moderate to heavy turbulence for about 100 of the 130 minutes of the flight.  As someone who pees a fraction of an ounce every time a plane hits a bump it was a tough flight, but about halfway through I think my system just overcame my brain and said, “you cannot physically sustain this much pussy-ness for the whole two hours so just relax and read your Adam Carolla book (great read by the way – “In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks”).

So I arrived in Chicago with just over 10 hours to spare so I wandered the city, looking like either a terrorist or a homeless person, but I scared no one as much as I did the parents at the 420 pm show of Tangled at the AMC Theater off of Michigan Avenue.

I am a movie buff, some might say I have a “problem,” but those people suck.  I also really enjoy animated movies.  Some might call me “immature” but those people suck.  But it dawned on me that I am not just a “sir” or a “man” or a “sexual deviant” to small children, but to the entire world now.  I may look slightly young for 31 (I can pull of 26 to some drunk girls), but I certainly don’t look 19.  And the worried looks from the parents who saw a guy the size of an NFL defensive end plop down in front of them wearing 3-D glasses to see a princess with long hair sing about how her life sucks may have been justified.  In any case, great movie and for the record – I was masturbating to the hot, evil step mom in Tangled, not to any of the theater patrons.

So after catching pneumonia during the day in Chicago it was finally time for shows.  Here’s my review of my performances and the Chicago crowds Tuesday and Wednesday nights:


Packed house.  My first joke – a bit about big and tall stores started strongly, but faded quickly.  My entire set was a masterwork in getting an audience to laugh and then giving them an opportunity to show what great people they think they are as the “awwwwwww”‘d several of my jokes.  I believe a decent amount of the awwwww’s came from women under the age of 27, who anyone knows, are the worst people on Earth.   So they let me know that they did not approve of my humor every other joke.  I would give myself a B, but the crowd a C-.  But weirdly enough, after the show I was getting a lot of enthusiastic praise from most of the people there.  Weird.  Lots of people took my cards, none were found on the ground outside and one guy even tweeted that people should go see me.

Sidenote – I did not “retweet” this tweet, because I believe people who retweet compliments so their followers can see that someone complimented them are narcissistic, even for Twitter, and should be hit in the face with a shovel repeatedly.  Seriously.


Smaller crowd, twice the laughter from Tuesday.  This crowd was the opposite of Tuesday – show was amazing and I give myself an A and the crowd an A- (a little chatter from… you guessed it – a table of chicks under 27, stopped them from getting the 4.0).  The set went well, I could not even do all the jokes I wanted because there was more laughter than anticipated.  Great feeling.  And then after the show it all went to sh*t.

Some people were complimenting me – felt good, but then three things occurred that just left me feeling weird and wishing I had gone to teach high school right after college:

  1. Several people asking me “how tall are you?” after a show.  I don’t mind the callback to my joke – it is a nice compliment that you liked or at least re-called one of my jokes.  So thank you.  But please don’t give me a look like you want me to laugh super hard at a joke I wrote and have told 500 times.
  2. A woman shook my hand and said, “You were hysterical” so I handed her one of my cards with all my on-line content links on it (they are really nice – shout out to Steve Axworthy of Worthy Concepts Inc.) and she took it, walked two steps and then walked back and said, “To be perfectly honest, I will probably just throw this on the ground outside.”   Perfectly honest would be, “Im going to throw this out so don’t waste it.”  Being perfectly cu*ty is saying you will throw it on the ground.  Even in hypothetical situations you can’t have manners or decency – you both disrespect me and litter in your imagination?
  3. Last group of people leaving the show were a group of women in their mid 40s to mid 50s.  The first 5 said, good job, really funny, etc.  Then the last one walks up to me and says nothing about the show.  She asks, “have you been tested for (name of disease I cannot remember)?”  You have long legs and long arms and are very big and it affects men, like that basketball player who died (not sure who she meant)?  You should really be tested for it.”  And then she left, without comment on the show.

So I finally ended a show with the will to live restored only to have some lady from Chicago tell me I’m going to die anyway.

Shows and adventures continue tonight at 930pm at Zanies.