Des Moines Journal: Bodily Reactions

So it has been a long road of recovery since the first moments of my time in Des Moines, when my life flashed before my eyes while at the Mecca of awful food, Arby’s.   So far four shows are down, with three to go before I retun to NYC.   And they have not disappointed.

Wednesday I was starting to get sick, which should not be a surprise since I traveled from NYC to Des Moines via 19 hour Amtrak ride to Chicago, followed by a 6 hour bus ride from Chicago to Des Moines.   Escaping that trip without some sort of illness would make me a David Dunn-level character, so it is good to know that I, like most human beings am susceptible to catching things from train cars full of barefoot, obese people trying to avoid TSA.

So my performance Wednesday was probably a B+.  The crowd seemed sort of entertained and I sold 1 CD, but I got to experience that awesome feeling every comedian loves – I stood by the door with my CDs and complimentary cards (with all my web info) on a table and the crowd largely rushed out like I was exposing my dick to a 2nd grade classroom.  This happens plenty of times and it never stops feeling awkward.  People I saw laughing their asses off basically turned into Usain Bolt when the passed the table at the end of the show.   Also, early week crowds tend to be free ticket-type crowds so they are just there to distract themselves and if you are not a famous person they have no interest in you, your CDs or your stupid cards.

Thursday was basically the same thing, but for two differences: I sold no CDs on Thursday and a male patron sh*t his pants.  I’d like to think this was due to my comedy, but apparently the customer simply drank himself into defecating.

Friday shows were interesting.  I sold 3 CDs on the first show, but I felt like the crowd largely hated my guts.  It might be my imagination, but the early crowd (730pm) made me feel like I was a jazz trio in the corner providing background for their dinner and drinks.  And for the first time during the week I got several people who felt like sharing their opinions during several jokes – right as I was about to deliver the punchline.  Also, I finally got an unsolicited “BOO” when I mentioned President Obama in a non-political joke.  After the show, an interracial couple (black guy, white woman) bought my CD/DVD and gave me a $20 (I charge $10) and told me to keep the change because they “appreciate what I do.”  I could not tell if they were doing that because they loved my comedy, if they feel a connection to me because they hope their kids turn out like me, or if they just felt bad for me for being a lawyer-turned-comedian, knowing that homeless crazy person is the next stop on my downward spiral of life.  Whatever the reason, thanks.

The second show Friday was fu*king awesome.  Probably one of the best sets I have ever had – it was a young crowd, but more importantly it felt like a real comedy crowd – the type of crowd that loves good comedy.  Before the show a guy was telling me he saw Rob Schneider and he sucked so he was looking forward to seeing the show because his experience coming to shows was that the less famous comedians tend to be better than the famous names the club brings in (meaning famous for non-stand up reasons).  And after my set, one of the people who bought the CDs said that he had seen Pauly Shore at the club and that he sucked.  It was good to see that in stand up comedy, which feels like it is dying the way of print journalism, there are still real comedy fans who are not just star- hungry goobers, but actually appreciate real stand up, even if it is coming from a no-name comedian.

After my set, before the headliner went up, an older woman who was at the show with her family came up to me and said “You are the best comedian I have ever seen at this club.  We all absolutely loved it!”  So I was feeling great and figured I’d sell well after.   I sold 6 CDs after the show and got to meet a lot of good comedy fans, but then something awful happened.  There was a woman crying and vomiting all over the bathroom – like Exorcist-style, minus the green coloring.  Here is the evidence, in case you are eating lunch or dinner right now:

And who was the person exploding in tears and puke?  The woman who told me I was the best comedian she had ever seen at the club.  Apparently, the party never ends for people in Des Moines, even 55 year-old women.  So I probably will no longer use her comment as a fan testimonial.  Probably not very reliable.  And no, she did not buy a CD.


My Personal Episode of 24

Previously on J-L Cauvin’s 24:

  • I wrote a joke, archived on my blog on March 12, 2009, which I also posted to Twitter and Facebook several weeks before the March 12th blog.  The joke went: “I like Michelle Obama, but she’s pretty big.  I am not saying she’s too big, but Tyler Perry is rumored to be playing her in the biopic.”  Joke was received tepidly by liberal New york audiences, especially in the afterglow of President Obama’s inauguration.  Joke was praised with “LOL!!!!!!!” from a New Jersey based comic.
  • I got booked to emcee for two weeks at the Cleveland Improv.  In an effort to save money I booked my trip to Cleveland on Greyhound – a 12 hour bus trip departing at 5:00 am on January 28th.

The following took place between 9:00 pm January 27th and 9:00 pm January 28th (wooshy sound effects):

On my way home from a show on Wednesday I begin checking Facebook on my blackberry because I left a book at home and was bored on the M15 bus.  I read an update from one comedian, an in your face, Jim Norton-without-the-humor New Jersey comic, who made the above “LOL!!!” comment on my Michelle Obama joke almost a year ago.  His comment was roughly, “American Idol is over, now get ready for Obama and his wife Tyler Perry in ‘Madea Goes to the White House.'”

I commented back, “I take comedic credit, but not political credit for this joke.”  He replied, “I did not know you used this.  I guess great minds think alike.” I then became very angry. I emailed a friend of mine who then told me that he has recently worked with this comedian and that he told this joke on stage and that it seemed above his paygrade (my words).  The reason I am choosing not to name this comedian is because there are three possibilities as to why he has been using the joke:

  1. He outright stole it the day he saw me post it.
  2. He actually thought of it on his own (unlikely because wouldn’t he have said that when he posted his “LOL!!!!”
  3. He forgot where he heard it and months later thought that he thought of it.  This has happened to many honest comedians and because of this, I believe, remote possibility I do not want to tarnish his reputation beyond this blog.  However, if I ever hear of this individual using someone else’s joke the I will name names.  I hate joke stealing and I look at joke thieves the way porn stars look at sonograms: “This thing has to die.” (he may steal this joke because it’s in his wheel house – this is practically entrapment, but for his propensity for it – see above paragraphs)

So I had trouble sleeping that night because I was so angry, but I was able to follow the Utah Jazz win against Portland on my blackberry.


I wake up, drink a Muscle Milk (nutrients and meatheadedness), pack my third and final bag for Cleveland (I am not a prop comic, but I pack like I am) and head for Port Authority, which is the saddest place on Earth at 5 am.  Every sign in Port Authority indicating the Greyhound buses to Buffalo (where I would connect to the Cleveland bus) say “Gate 24.” So like any normal person I went to Gate 24 and waited. And waited. And waited.  I waited there with only one other person, which did not raise any red flags because IT’S 5 AM TO BUFFALO! Who else would be going besides a self-doubting comedian looking to save money and a chubby black man (the other guy).

At 541 am we went upstairs to find the only Greyhound clerk working and were told (as i we were stupid), “No that bus leaves at Gate 61 – it is gone.” Of course it’s gone – I should have ignored all the signs and simply guessed Gate 61!  I asked, since it was only a few minutes since the bus left, if she could call it back (after all what’s 5 minutes lost on a 12 hour bus ride) and her response was, “SIR, that bus has left.” I then contemplated going Book of Eli on this woman, but opted instead to murder my blackberry.  I only cracked the face of it, but it still works and has told all the other blackberries that it fell down the stairs at home.

8:48 AM

I book a train to BWI and a Southwest flight from BWI to Cleveland.  It only cost me a shade over $300, so there went my savings and half of my paycheck.  However, I plan on dusting off my diploma from law school and crafting a letter to Greyhound that will demand AT LEAST $300 dollars, probably in Greyhound vouchers, which will ensure more Greyhound trips and battered blackberry syndrome. What’s the colloquial definition of insanity again.

8:35 pm

At the Cleveland Improv I am working on terrible sleep, but a calmer frame of mind as I bring up the headliner.  Unfortunately the Improv had given me a large amount of announcements and the headliner then gave me several more giveaway/contest announcements at the last minute.  And like Married With Children’s Kelly Bundy I apparently could only keep 10 facts in my head, so once a new one went it, one went out.  This time the fact that went out was not an insignificant one: the headliner’s name.

His name is Alex Reymundo, or Redddddddddddymundo if you roll the r’s.  After delivering the announcements pretty flawlessly I then paused with what Lee, the booker called, “the greatest deer-in- the-headlights-look I’ve ever seen,” and after about 2.5 seconds said “ANDY RONALDO!”  Lee has already instructed most of the staff at the Improv to refer to Alex and Andy Ronaldo for the rest of the week.  Alex was very gracious about it, but let’s just say a repeat of this would be a disaster (like the last 5 seasons of 24).

If Fox were to market this day they would say, “This is going to be the longest day of J-L Cauvin’s life.”


King James & Court Jester Cauvin

I am off to Cleveland tomorrow for the next 10 days and do not know if I will have WiFi so I may have to just write a giant Cleveland Recap when I return.  Here are all the pertinent things you need to know in my absence:

I am taking an 11 hour, 55 minute Greyhound trip out to Cleveland.   This should be a piece of cake after my 17 hour, 35 minute trip from Detroit to NYC via Greyhound a few weeks ago.  Total cost – $50.

I have been warned by the manager of the Cleveland, one of the most up front and funny managers I have encountered (I think Lou Brown from Major League would play him in a movie) to hit these folks hard and often (not as much story telling) because the Cleveland crowds are… from Cleveland (my words).

During my two day lay off in between gigs I will be attending a Cleveland Cavaliers game, spending a majority of my travel savings on a ticket (but I did pass on a courtside seat).

The apartment I am staying at is 1.5 miles from a gym and a movie theater.  Over/under on total trips to these two establishments is 9.

I return on a 13 hour Amtrak – cost $67.  Being surrounded by comatose and obese people avoiding the TSA – priceless.

And one piece of advice to comics in NYC pondering an open call for any comedy contests, go to the one at Comix on January 29th.  It is run by Josh Filipowski and Bryan Kennedy and is run in an egalitarian fashion.  It may suffer from the failings inherent in any contest, but at least they have demonstrated the integrity to not use comedians as a visual prop to falsely exalt the status of already pre-selected (but unannounced) comics.  But if you want that, there will be other competition “open calls” soon.


Detroit & Haiti Part II

This past weekend I was in Detroit performing at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle.  It was a fantastic trip.  Or as fantastic a trip as is possible when spending 15 hours on Amtrak to get there and almost 18 hours on Greyhound to get back to NYC.  Unfortunately the trip ended with some terrible news for my family from Haiti.

The highlight of the trip going to Detroit was certainly the Amtrak bus.  To get from Toldeo, Ohio to Detroit via Amtrak requires usage of Amtrak’s bus service.  The bus was comfortable, on par with a Greyhound bus, but due to my bladder unable to hold itself for one more hour before arriving in Detroit I had to use the bus bathroom.

Someone of my size in transportation bathrooms (airplanes, Amtrak, buses) has to find a position where I can both lean against a wall to create stability against bumps and/or turbulence, but also in a position that facilitates urination.  It is a delicate balance that I have become expert at.  However, the Amtrak bus bathroom presented a previously unseen problem: anonymous urine.

As anyone who has ever used a bathroom on transportation before – the toilets are not free standing the way they are in regular bathrooms.  The are sort of portals in the middle of a steel shelf.  Well, as the bus driver drove stopped and started a mysterious liquid began pouring down from the steel shelf: anonymous urine.  Apparently the previous user of the bathroom had not perfect the lean and piss and had managed to get what felt, given the fear of getting it on my shoes and jeans, like a quart of their urine on the shelf.  All of a sudden my evacuation began to feel like an Indiana Jones movie where I had to finish my work and duck out of the bathroom before the urine poisoned me.  In this metaphor my sneaker would be playing the role of Indiana Jones’ hat.

I escaped the bathroom sans Golden Shower and made it to the Hampton Inn for a lovely 8:30-1145 AM sleep.  By the way Hampton Inn in Madison Heights, MI – can’t get a much better deal for $50/night.  Close to several restaurants, a movie theater and free Belgian waffles each morning.

I spent each late morning in Detroit at the movies, where matinees where $4.75 a piece – which is like crack to me (with Manhattan movies at their much more expensive prices being cocaine).  I went to see It’s Complicated and Youth In Revolt, the latter of which was apparently a private showing for just me – this is the sort of VIP treatment you get when you are a feature act at a Detroit comedy club I guess.

The shows were the best though.  Out of five shows I had 4.99 good ones.  The only blemish being the very last show, which featured two hecklers – one blond skank in front, whose boyfriend had neither the authority, nor the balls to tell her to shut up, and some frat dude in the back who made a gay joke, which I likened to something you would hear a high school JV football player say.  The crowd backed me against both.

And just so you know that math of a glorious feature act:

  • pay – $300
  • Hotel – $200
  • transportation – $200 (including taxis – plane would have made this $400)
  • assorted necessary food items (approx $150)

So as you can see my comedy career is in need of a Black Friday.  It should be noted that the reason for this was to be seen for headlining in 2011.  In that case your room is paid for, you get transportation to and from airport/train station/greyhound prison and you are more likely to sell merchandise as the top dog.  Not to mention a higher pay from the club.  So I hoped to make up the difference by selling my CDs, but then the Earthquake hit in Haiti and I decided the least I could do was give the money I make off of CDs to the Red Cross.

And thanks to the generosity of the people of Detroit, a city that is not exactly on easy street itself, I sold all my CDs before the last show of the week (previous high as a feature had been 15 in 6 shows, this time I sold 20 in 4 shows).  Probably half of those were because they wanted my CD and half were being charitable.  Either way I hope they enjoy them and am very thankful for their help.

The ride home on Greyhound (Detroit-Cleveland-Pittsburgh-Philadelphia-NYC) was interesting for several reasons:

  • It was 17 hours and 20 minutes on Greyhound buses.  And I was sitting next to a crazy woman for half of it.
  • Seriously 1030 am departure, 4 am arrival.  Really gross.
  • Greyhound Stations have somehow managed to be near absolutely nothing edible in every city besides New York.  In Cleveland and Pittsburgh, not exactly tiny villages, the only eating options within sight were vending machines and snack bars that specialized in stale food and sold items like cereal, but not milk.  My Dad, a conspiracy theorist bordering on Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory, thinks that the aviation industry has enough power to make bus and train travel inconvenient to encourage air travel.  Given my experiences with Amtrak and Greyhound it seems quite plausible.
  • Greyhound Stations are how Cormac McCarthy should have envisioned a post apocalyptic future.  They are near nothing of significance, the most recent music playing was Hootie and The Blowfish, indicating that the blast occurred sometime in 1995 and the roving group of creatures known as Greyhound travellers have the diversity and desperation of people you’d expect to have survived an apocalyptic event – Asians and Mexicans who have come from afar, black people, white people, and one giant mix of them who shall lead them.
  • Arriving at Port Authority at 4 am on Sunday I was so delirious that I could have almost been convinced to become a runaway teenage prostitute.  I can only imagine the actual runaways that arrive at Port Authority on these buses.

Unfortunately, the trip ended on a sad note.  When I turned on my phone late into the trip I had a message from my brother that my Uncle Henri had died in Haiti, as a result of the Earthquake.  Right now my Aunt Denise and My Uncle Maurice are safe.  My Aunt Adeline is still unaccounted for.

A few days ago we received word that Uncle Maurice, who is in his early 90s – my Dad’s oldest brother had been in his house when it collapsed.  Uncle Maurice is a relatively feeble man, obvious given his age, but we had not received word whether Uncle Henri, my Dad’s younger brother and closest in age of all his syblings was in the house as well.  As it turns out Uncle Maurice survived the Earthquake, but Uncle Henri did not.  A picture was taken of him to confirm this before he was brought to a “morgue,” which may or may not amount to a mass grave.  We don’t actually know.

My Dad is rather stoic when it comes to death, but there is no doubt that this has been tough for him, both in personal loss and in seeing his native country basically blown up by a natural disaster.  My Uncle Henri and Aunt Adeline were/are my Godparents and were by far the most frequent visitors to my house form my Dad’s side of the family.  When they were children my father shared a bed with Uncle Henri, and if this did not speak to their closeness enough, my older brother is named Henri.

From my perspective my Uncle Henri was also the “coolest” of my Haitian relatives.  It seems that the younger my Haitian relatives got the easier they were/are to relate to.  For example my late Uncle Jean had the countenance of a dictator with an unpleasant thought.  This may have been just reserved for me because he had been the tallest member of the family at 6’4″ before I arrived.  Further down the line was my father who had a sense of humor, but one that seemed to stop at Red Skelton and The Smothers Brothers.  Then my Uncle Henri, the youngest of the Cauvin men of my father’s generation was the one who would come over and talk NBA hoops and was definitely the easiest laugh.  My family’s loss is just one of thousands of sad stories, and at 76 my Uncle Henri certainly was not someone “taken too soon,” at least statistically.  However, it is tragic nonetheless.

My brother is going to Haiti with my cousin Gregory today.  They will try to persuade/assist my surviving relatives to go to the U.S. and hopefully find my other Aunt.  Good luck and safety to both of them.



Detroit & Haiti

With the Detroit Auto Show in town I did not want to give the impression of being a corporate fat cat comedian, so I took Amtrak to Detroit, which only costs $78.  The catch is that it takes a 14 hour train ride (looping around New York State instead of a direct line – who knew going through Rochester and Buffalo was the fastest way to Ohio and Michigan?) to Toldeo, Ohio and then a one hour Amtrak bus (yes, Amtrak has buses) to Detroit.

For those of you who have never taken the train outside of the popular Northeast Corridor (Boston-DC), it is a real treat.  It is basically people too obese to travel by plane comfortably, people afraid of being near TSA agents and 6’7″ comics attempting to be frugal.  The winner from my trip yesterday-today (3:45 pm-730 am in total) was a woman proudly sporting an Ohio State t-shirt who must have threatened to beat her daughter at least a dozen times.  My favorite threat was after leaving the snack car, she said, word for word,  “Now eat your snack or I will beat you.”  Now I am all for the occasional beating of a kid as discipline, but this woman was threatening so much, without delivering that I almost yelled, “just fu-king hit her already!”  Of course I had some sad thoughts about this girl if her Mom really does just beat her up in private all the time.  But then I thought, assuming her father is not in the picture, she will probably make some young man and/or fraternity and/or strip club clientel happy one day.  It’s all connected in the great circle of life.

After getting a quality 45 minutes of sleep around 3 AM I was woken up by horrific snoring from behind me.  With most of the train car sleeping I considered using one of those cheap Amtrak pillows to smother the person to death, but I opted against it.

When I finally arrived in Detroit I had to take a cab from the hotel.  The cab driver had on what appeared to be a relatively mainstream urban station (black people) and they were talking about whether the earthquake in Haiti was a sign that the End of Days was here (presumably they did not realize that the terrible Arnold Schwarzenegger film was released 10 years ago).  If that was not enough for me to question the radio’s mainstream status, the female deejay was listing numerous natural disasters, including “tusanamis” – rhymes with two sodomies (I believe she meant tsunamis, but she should have axed her producers during a commercial break if she was unsure of the pronunciation).  Of course my thoughts immediately went to, “So this ignorant bit*h gets a radio show and I am off to a Hampton Inn to inevitably lose money on another comedy gig?”

It should be noted that my return trip to NYC is a 17 hour Greyhound bus ride.  I am currently getting CDC guidelines for what inoculations I need before taking that trip.

Of course my travel discomfort is but a mild diversion from the the horror occuring in Haiti.  Right now, my father has not been able to get word yet on family members, including my Aunt and Uncle, but hopefully things turn out for the best.  My Dad who is usually rather detached and uncomfortable with death seemed shaken (at least for him) because it looks as if his homeland has been destroyed – he is from Port-Au-Prince.  It feels like a big waste of strength and time to be in Detroit writing a blog, rather than doing something concrete to help (given my size and name I could be of use in Haiti).  So, in addition to texting some donations I will give all the money I make from CD/DVD sales this weekend at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle to the Red Cross for Haitian disaster relief (which to my family, before the Earthquake, hd meant me getting money from my Mom to subsidize a failing comedy career).  I brought 20 CDs/DVDs which I will sell for $10 each(iTunes/on-line sales for the rest of the month will be donated as well).  Now you are probably thinking, “J-L, what good will $10 do for the relief effort in Haiti?”  Well, hopefully every bit helps.

I am getting paid $300 for the gigs and my hotel and transportation for the trip equals $328 so the CDs were going to be where I made my food money/profit (mostly food money – I eat a lot).  So if you are in Detroit or know someone who is,encourage them to come to the show or to buy a CD – I will count ALL money towards on-line purchases/iTunes returns for the rest of the month to my Red Cross donation).  Or if you want to get something for your donation you can buy my CDs, even if you are not in Detroit.  And if you hate me or my comedy, but still want to help, just donate.



The Cleveland Show

Important statistics from this week:

  • 1 show at the Cleveland Improv- 15 minute set
  • 24 hours on Amtrak to and from Cleveland, Ohio within a 51 hour span
  • 1 cold/flu obtained
  • 700 page book on basketball read

On Tuesday I set off on Amtrak for Cleveland, Ohio to do a set at the Cleveland Improv.  It was a 3:45 train, which was scheduled to arrive in Cleveland in a manageable 11 hours, 42 minutes.   I really like the train.  Anything under 12 hours I consider enjoyable.  It has an old school charm, in a way, but instead of travelling the rails with people who look and dress like Don and Betty Draper, it now really just consists of people who cannot fit in airplane seats (the morbidly obese and in my case, the semi-freakishly tall) and those that want to avoid TSA for profiling and legal status related issues.

On the train ride to Cleveland I managed to write the next brilliant, but under-viewed and underappreciated sketch and read 300 pages in Bill Simmons’ The Book of Basketball.  About half way through the trip I felt the symptoms of a cold coming on, which I blame half on my Atlantic City drinking binge/sleep deprivation last weekend that may have left me susceptible to illness, and the health industry’s biggest customers that I was entombed with on Amtrak.

I arrived at the Doubletree in downtown Cleveland at 4:10 am.  I fear that one day my nomadic travel schedule and odd hours, along with my menacing frame, will lead me to be the chief suspect in some disappearance/serial killer case.  “The last I saw Mary Jo she was coming back from the bar around 3 am.  To think of it I did see a rather large, rather unhappy looking man around 4 am that same night.” NY Post headline the next day: Comic Kills!

The next day I hung out most of the day at The Cleveland Improv (extremely nice club) and at the Rock Bottom restaurant above (I am sensing a message from above since I keep ending up in that restaurant chain in different cities).

The show that night was an open mic night where local comics are given 4 minutes each and a few visiting comics are given longer sets to audition for emcee and feature work.  4 minutes may not seem like a long time, but the good news is the club does not make it a bringer for the young comics, so unlike other places, dreams are not manipulated and raped by club owners.  Not to mention that the booker of the Cleveland Improv has without question the best track record in returning phone calls and e-mails of any club with which I have dealt.  But it’s like Sinatra said about NY, “If you can, duh duh, make it there, then you are probably with the right booking agency or sucking the right di-k.”

For my set I got to follow an older comedian with Cancer who is undergoing chemo.  In one of my best off the cuff comments of my career so far the first thing I said on stage (with a well timed sniffle) was: “Well, I though I might get some slack from you guys because I have a pretty bad cold, but I guess that excuse is fu-ked now.”

I went through my set doing quite well until about the 11 minute mark.  Then 2 of my last 3 bits (including the Mariano Rivera of my set – Obama impression) fell flat.  There were three forces at work that I believed caused this: the checks were getting dropped on tables, my voice was dying on me and as the booker told me, Midwest crowds are slower, belly laughers (this last one may be the greatest euphemism of all time).  Overall it went well and I think it was worth the trip.  At least the trip going.

The trip coming back (a 5:20 am Amtrak the next morning, arriving at 6:25 pm in NYC) was like being Joel McHale’s character on Community.  I don’t like to pick on special needs folk, but about three seats back from me was a man by himself who literally spoke for about 4 hours with very little break to an elderly couple who were sort of being polite.  The main problem was that, as if some sort of stereotype from a Carlos Mencia bit, he just kept shouting out things like, “I like the train more than flying,” followed quickly by non sequiturs that expressed interest or joy in something.

The stars of the trip were not that guy, but the crazy (literally) guy who kept walking from the cafe car and back talking to himself and the woman who sat in front of me and kept having incredibly loud cell phone conversations.  Here was my tally of phrases she used and how many times she used them on the train:

  • “You know what I’m sayin” – 1,187
  • “He think he can play me but I’m playin’ him” – 66
  • “Sorry, but she caught me on the phone and I was like ‘I need to go'” – only 1 time, but this is funny how she was blaming her her other friend for keeping her on the phone, even though it appeared that her friend said almost nothing.

So I can tell you when I need to go back to Cleveland for more extensive work I am definitely going to upgrade and take Greyhound.


If A Comedian Meets A Stripper Does Self Esteem…

The weekend started off in Philadelphia, as promised, for the Utah Jazz versus Philadelphia 76ers game.  The game seemed to generate less interest than one might even expect, despite our country’s love of Mormons, Jazz, patriotism and athletic black men.  It felt more like attending a conference for Detroit billionaires than an NBA game featuring two playoff teams from last year.

The Jazz won the game easily, which was surprising.  However, due to how close our seats were to the court and the fact that the arena was less than half full I felt uncomfortable shouting or cheering too much because I really believed the players could hear me.

This was taken during the game. Obviously Jazz-76ers was a hot ticket.
This was taken during the game. Obviously Jazz-76ers was a hot ticket.
So the weekend started off positively with a win for my squad, much to the chagrin of my two south Jersey bred comedian friends who came to the game with me: Pat Breslin and Jim Dodge.   We then went to a Piano Bar in Philly to meet up with some friends I used to work with.  I learned an important lesson that night.  If you have two bartender options – an extremely hot woman in her early 20s or a slightly overweight man in his late 30s or early 40s you get your drinks from the dude.  The bartenderette seemed to be convinced that her breasts and beautiful eyes could get her a pass for making weak drinks.  And of course it did, but she went too far wen she returned $6 in change in the form of a $5 and a $1 bill.  Proper etiquette is six singles.  So of course I left her the $5.  So the lesson here is don’t ever get your drinks, even one, from a hot bartenderette because all her tricks will most likely work.  But I really think she liked me.

That night I crashed at the home of Pat Breslin’s parents.  I literally felt like a kid sleeping over in elementary school, mostly because they were so friendly and because my feet dangled over the edge of the bed I was sleeping in.  But it was awesome and a great way to nurse a hangover.  Sadly I had to run because in a move of unbelievably poor planning I had to go back to NYC to change for Pat’s bachelor party in Atlantic City that night.  So I took an 1140 train to NYC, ran home, watched Live at Gotham, cursed the show Live at Gotham, showered, had some multivitamins and ran back to Penn Station for a 3 pm train to Atlantic City.

When I realized that I would be on a bachelor party trip with approximately twenty guys (dudes and brahs) from south jersey I just assumed that the night would be some shameful mix of Very Bad Things, The Hangover and The Accused.  But then I noticed that I was only one of a few guys not actually married on the trip.  I guess it was pretty standard fare for a bachelor party, but I did have some learning experiences.  Among the things I had said or thought during the adult portion of the night:

1) “I guess?”  My response when a stripper asked me hypothetically what I would do to her and provided me with only one option that I actually had and have no desire to do, but felt that strip club conversations, like Improv games, require affirmative answers so the game doesn’t end.

2) “What’s with all the tattoos on these strippers?” I mean you strip so we already know that you hate yourself and your family, so why be redundant with self-mutilation?

3) “I think I am going to walk in front of a moving car” when a stripper asked me what I did for a living, I said “comedy, its fun, but tough, to which the woman who removed her clothes for a living told me “to follow my dreams.”  When a woman with more emotional and physical scar tissue than the cast of Keeping Up With the Kardashians is in a position to be a motivational speaker, the person being spoken to is making poor life choices.  So apparently my job respect rankings need to be re-evaluated.  I now present you with a correct re-ranking:

1) President of The US

77) gym teacher

133) stripper

134) comedian

135) porn fluffer

After strip club festivities it was time for clubbing.  We all went to Providence at the Tropicana.  I must admit I was pretty impressed with the talent level of Atlantic City (especially after initially seeing at dinner what was unanimously decided to be the ugliest bachelorette party in the history of the Animal Kingdom).  Perhaps the recession has driven out some of the nastier looking women to Foxwoods or the Harrahs in Delaware that the Amtrak passes, but Atlantic city club going couples all seem to fit the exact same profile:

Man – 5’7″, lots of hair product, a striped button-down shirt, a look of slightly misplaced confidence (which may be explained by the woman)

Woman – 5’5″, skin tight, low cut dress, two of the following three add-ons (breasts, hair color, tattoo) – ok so maybe nasty(skanky at least) looking still, but the good kind I guess.

Apparently, the strip club, the dozen $14 drinks at Providence and the box of cookies I ate at 230 am were too much for my emotional and physical makeup because I turned into a bulimic at around 3 am.  All in all a good weekend.  This week takes me to Cleveland via Amtrak.  Fun fun fun.