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A Beard Saves the Houston Comedy Trip

Comedy can be cruel.  For example, after last week’s ridiculously great set of shows at Helium in Philadelphia, I found out within a span of 2 hours this past Monday that a show at the Houston Improv on Feb 20th was cancelled and that the club I was supposed to perform near Baltimore on February 22-23rd had closed.  The comedy lord giveth and he taketh away.  But I still had a private gig in Houston on the 21st (tonight as I write this) which was the reason for going to Houston in the first place.  And changing flights would have been more than 5x the cost of the hotel for one night (I stay in really classy joints) so I decided to check if the Houston Rockets were playing.  There were and tickets were available.  More on this in a minute.

I was flying to Houston by Southwest because flights are dirt cheap to Hobby, because it is a hub of Southwest (I think).  I just had to get an 8 am flight to Midway, wait 3 hours and then catch my flight to Houston, arriving at 2:50 pm with plenty of time to spare before the Rockets-Oklahoma City Thunder game at 7pm local.

I woke up at 430 am because I am now committed to making trips as cheap as possible, which means the 6 train to the M60 bus to LaGuardia.  $2.25 for only 375 minutes of travel.  The flight to Midway took off on time and arrived early.  Then bad sh*t started happening.

I already had a 2 hour and 50 minute layover, but that was before my flight got delayed an additional 3 hours and 45 minutes.  Even when I factored in Southwest’s “we are super cheap, so don’t depend on us that much” motto I did not think they would actually put me in jeopardy of missing the game.  The lesson here is no matter how big a lead your team has, never doubt that Southwest Airlines can turn it into a deficit.

When I finally arrived in Houston greeted by fellow comedian Alex Barnett who informed me that Brian Jian, the third comedian who would be performing Thursday (tonight) had flown in to Houston’s other airport.  So we arrived at the arena only 8 minutes after tip off, but in Texas, everything is bigger, especially the lines of people driving into parking lots because public transit does not exist here because public stuff is part of a socialist plot – AMUUURRRRRICA!

So the three of us arrived and we absolutely were representative of the Rockets organization.  We had Brian, representing the Asian community, which was in full force to support Jeremy Lin, or as they call him in Houston, Yao .5. Then there was me at 6’7″ the average height of an NBA player. Then we had Alex, a short Jewish attorney to represent the agents and ownership ranks of the NBA.  And lastly we had Alex’s friend Chuck, who was black.  We could have been a promotional ad for the NBA.

 

A tall guy, a Jewish lawyer and an Asian - it must be NBA action in Houston!

As soon as we arrived we discovered that some people were in our seats.  They asked if they could stay because they were part of an office party and they had nearly identical seats on the other side of the arena and were willing to pay us $20 each to exchange (naturally that deal was orchestrated by Alex). We did and the seats were almost as good; I still had an aisle seat to stretch my awkward legs.

At this point, after being up for 16 hours and travelling for 12 of them I was beat and don’t forget we were at the game because a show was cancelled.  And then, in one of the greatest ironies in my 10 years of comedy, a man with a beard made it all worth it.  James Harden, the immensely talented well-bearded star of the Houston Rockets put in one of the greatest performances I have seen live (for the record I have only been able to watch myself perform stand up on recorded video, for obvious reasons).

We were enjoying the game which featured Harden’s old team, the Oklahoma City Thunder and it was back and forth all game, but with the Thunder always in the lead.  Here are some of the highlights up until Harden and Lin went legend:

  • Harden hits a half court shot at the buzzer of halftime.  We all missed it because we were arguing over something.
  • But fortunately the INCREDIBLE HD scoreboard of the Toyota Center replayed it for us several times – seriously the scoreboard at that place is incredible and the producer of it is so good it looks like he is producing highlight reels and music videos live.  Seriously, if you are in Hollywood I would snatch up the Toyota Center Jumbotron segment producer now.  He (or she, but probably he) most likely has a cheap price tag.
  • The giveaway people are really good at the Toyota center.  We were in the cheap seats (which are $69, so not that cheap) but the t shirt giveaway people run up there and hand out free t-shirts since we are out of range of the 16 year old girl with the t-shirt gun. Also, there is “parachute time” when some guy in the scaffolding (I dubbed him “The Phantom of the Giveaways”) starts dropping down prizes in mini parachutes.  Unfortunately our seats were behind, and practically above him so we did not get any.
  • Speaking of giveaway teams – wouldn’t this be a great place for Al Qaeda to launch their next team?  The stadium gives you t-shirt gun firepower, the opportunity to stand in the middle of the court and a chance to drop miniature parachute bombs all over the crowd.  You get a motivated sleeper cell of energetic Al Qaeda teens (the jungle gym workout is great for auditioning as a halftime tumbling act as well) and next thing you know you have 9/11 x 6 at a sports arena.  In other words I think we need to screen these arena employees more carefully.
  • And last thing I noticed at the arena is that during the game they highlighted a “Suite of the Game.” This is where the arena takes the richest people in the stadium, who have luxury boxes, and puts them on the screen for the masses to cheer and appreciate their success.  WE DID BUILD THAT!
Here they are Houston... your rich people of the night!!!

So with all those highlights the game was coming to its conclusion the Thunder were leading by a dozen or so points with less than five minutes and Brian, who earlier in the game met up with Jeremy Lin’s agent for China-related dealings (they are friends, proving that the Chinese are the Jews of China) said words that must have reached Lin on some sort of cosmic, Asian, telepathic level.  He said “The Rockets better make their move now.  Time is running out.” It was like when Drago’s trainer yelled “SHOSHYA!” right before Drago murdered Apollo.  And just like that James Harden and Jeremy Lin put on a display of brilliance that had me going “HOUSTON IMPROV WHO???!!!”  Harden put on a dazzling display of shooting and testicular fortitude on his way to a career high of 46 points and Lin dropped in two three pointers in the last few minutes, ending the game with 29.  Rockets win by three.  And comedy disappointment was unexpectedly handed its second straight week of defeat.  Nice win rockets.

And now tonight it is time to a show for the Houston Intellectual Property Bar Association.  Dammit – maybe I should wait til tomorrow to gloat over the comedy gods.

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

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Comedy Monday

I am in the midst of a very busy time in my comedy “career,” which is fortunate because it means more time feeling good in front of crowds, more time working on different pieces of comedy content and less time dwelling on my barren calendar after March and pontificating on all things comedy.   So today I am sharing a few of these things and hoping you will share the stuff and enjoy.

1) The End of Racism – a new bit filmed at the Stand in NYC this weekend (great show, great club, but as you can see from the photo below – not enough ceiling.  This is a bit I have been working on for months and it will be on my next album (this Spring/Summer”):

2) Movie Review of the Week – Side Effects

Terrific movie. Greater movie review – please subscribe to the channel to be updated every time a new review goes up.

3) Two New Podcast Episodes:

I am co-hosting the Comedians at Law Podcast this week – check the episode HERE and share with comedy fans, news junkies, lawyers and law students please.

And of course my own podcast, the Righteous Prick Podcast.  There is a new episode this Tuesday (tomorrow), but last week’s episode was my most popular ever, with almost 1600 downloads!  So check out the podcast on Podomatic or on iTunes – both free.  And please please please give my podcast 5 stars on iTunes and/or become a follower on Podomatic.  All of this stuff is free, but to get more fans and more exposure (and in theory, some actual financial reward one day) I need some clicks and help also.  So I hope you will treat this like a monthly pledge drive for me, but instead of donations I guess just try to share and support some or all of m

And as promised here is the pic of me at The Stand:

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Hipster Pancakes, Testicle Jokes & Jared from Subway –…

Last week I toured some of the South with members of Comedians at Law.  We never officially decided on a name for our Southern tour stops, but since we were visiting clubs in Nashville and Atlanta and Vanderbilt Law School I had thought that perhaps “Southern Places with Teeth Tour” would have been a solid choice.  I was closing the show at Zanies in Nashville on Wednesday, going up first after the emcee in Atlanta on Thursday and middling at Vanderbilt Law School on Friday.

Wednesday, after the smoothest flight I have ever been on, the three of us went to see Mama.  There were four of us in the theater.  Three comedians and a random guy who came into the theater and sat 4 seats away from me.  I know this pet peeve has been beaten into the ground, but seriously, why in a theater of 500+ seats would you have to sit within the top .5% seats away from me?  The movie had a good premise, was scary for about an hour and twenty minutes and then fell apart in the last twenty.  This is also known as JJ Abrams-ing something.

The show at Zanies was solid.  The green room was stocked with lots of delicious candies, at least before I arrived.  I ate so much candy my set list got diabetes.  The crowd was medium sized, both in quantity of people and waist-line measurements.  I had a very good set and sold a couple of CDs and a couple of “LiveANGRY” wristbands.  And the night ended with me getting a bed to myself in a two bed-three comedian situation (this was the case for two of the three nights, but when traveling with two Jews who have a combined weight of less than one massive gentile, getting the bed to yourself is a perk).

It should be noted that with two Jews and a man of (some) color driving around the South I thought “Mississippi Burning” would have been a decent name for our Southern Tour, but the other guys thought it too offensive.

The next day we headed to Atlanta for our gig at The Punchline.  We stopped in Chattanooga, TN for a late (1pm) breakfast and it was delicious.  Chattanooga, TN, as we would surmise from our two trips through the town, is basically the Williamsburg, Brooklyn of the South (they hate black people ironically).  In all seriousness it seems to be a growing town with a mix of Williamsburg and a generic college town.  The only disappointing thing about the place where we stopped, the Bluegrass Grill, was that they were out of biscuits.  We felt it was our obligation to eat some biscuits in the south and were denied.  That is like walking into a NYC steakhouse and being told they are out of rich, fat white men.

The Show at the Punchline went well, as far as I could tell.  But that is because I did my set, left to laughter and then went to IHOP on an immediate solo mission.  I was starving and the other two guys had already made their IHOP hatred known, so I knew a post-show trip was unlikely. I sat down in IHOP and ordered my usual (milkshake, sausages, pancakes and an extra large casket).  The food came and I ate happily until, towards the end of my meal, the waitress asked me something that only one other human had ever asked me:

“One of the guys wants to know if you are the guy from Subway?”

You know it is a bad comparison when someone asks if you are the guy from Subway and you hope he or she means a homeless guy from NY.

Sadly they did not mean Justin Tuck or Michael Phelps.  This mystery person meant Jared.  Fu*king Jared.  One other person has ever come up with that comparison.  There are certain factors that contribute to these rare instances:

  • I have to be wearing my glasses.
  • I have to have grown out my hair – no buzz cut
  • The person who makes this observation is incredibly stupid.
  • The person who makes this observation has nothing to live for.

So for only the second time in my life all four of these factors must have been satisfied.  So after two good shows in the South (which is now my personal record for most good consecutive shows in the South) I was immediately put in check by IHOP.  It is not enough that they kill me physically with a heart disease-diabetes 1-2 punch, but now they have brought the fight to my emotional doorstep.

But Atlanta was not quite done with their punishment.  I sold a couple of wristbands after the show, no CDs, but got a piece of incredible advice from a patron:

Patron: That was a really great set.  I  mean really great.

Me: Thanks so much. Glad you Enjoyed.

Patron: But if I can suggest one thing…

Me (internally): Fu*k.

Patron: When you do the Lance Armstrong thing, say “He didn’t have the ball…” you know… because he has one testicle.

Me: Ohhh, hahaha, ok ok.

My eyes: I will fu*king end you.

He liked my set a lot, but thought I could have used a little bit more nuance with an original take on Lance Armstrong’s one testicle.  Comedy rules!!!

The next day we left back for Nashville to perform at Vanderbilt Law School.  We stopped back in Chattanooga for lunch and went to another web-recommended spot called Aretha Frankenstein’s.  We were greeted by a short Indian woman in a knit hat and thick black glasses, a red-headed waitress with a short haircut and several neck tattoos and a cashier with a beard big enough to book him two Comedy Central specials.  The food was delicious, the biscuits (we got them!) were large and tasty and the food only took 50 minutes to prepare.    They literally took up our entire time difference in the Atlanta-Nashville time zone change with their hipster pancake tardiness.

She is a wool cap away from serving me pancakes in Chattanooga, TN.

The Vanderbilt Law show was awesome.  I have destroyed in my life, but this may have been a top ten performance by me.  And it was a good thing too, because just before the show I overheard a law student say (not recognizing me from my poster on campus), “This better be funny.” Right, because you are drinking a free beer at a comedy show that you have paid zero dollars for at your law school on a Friday evening, so if anyone is entitled to be demanding of excellence it is you.  I started my set by reminding the students that I went to a higher ranked law school and I now tell jokes and wear $50 New Balance sneakers so they should not feel too hopeful.  The show was really great though and I sold some more CDs afterwards.

And then I went back to the hotel to watch Bill Maher on HBO, to find out that that the La Quinta Inn we were staying at gets only Showtime.  That is like walking into a restaurant to find out they only serve Hunt’s Ketchup.  Other than sharing one hotel room with two other men, including one with IBS, this was the low point.  But like any comedy trip, no matter how good it always ends badly.  Either you are saying goodbye to a nice club, or being called a homely sandwich spokesman or someone is trying to insert hackery into your joke or you just sit on a bed watching Fox News for laughs because Bill Maher is not available.  But we made money, we made people laugh and did not get murdered and that is what I call a successful trip through the South.

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Some New Clips

Hello readers, fans, and haters!  No profound thoughts on life, culture or comedy this week, so I thought I would share some new stand up bits/clips from recent shows.  Hopefully you enjoy one, some or all of them and will share one you like. Thanks, and don’t forget to check out my weekly podcast Righteous Prick on iTunes or Podomatic.

A Bronx DA Tale

From Riches to Rags

Back to Haiti

2012 Racism in NYC

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The Best Terrible Trip to San Francisco

Last week was a historic week for half-black people of America.  Barack Obama became the first two-term half-black President, breaking his own record of one term.  Then, just two short days later, I performed at Cobbs Comedy Club in San Francisco for the first time.  You all probably know the story of Obama’s re-election so I will spend the remainder of the post re-capping the story of how a horrible trip to San Francisco became a terrific night of comedy.  Like the reverse of delusional right-wing pundits I started with horrible expectations and left victorious.

Seat 44F – The Worst Seat in the World

Being 6’7″ tall with knees that have been semi-crippled from a combination of basketball, squats and Dunkin Donuts the only seats that I can survive in on a plane are Emergency Exit rows, or, in a pinch, aisle seats, which allow me to crack my knees when I stretch them in the aisle.  And these are for flights of 3 hours or less.  As you may know, the trip to San Francisco from NYC is approximately 6 hours, which if my knees had a bladder, hearing that information would make them urinate involuntarily.  Then I looked at my seat assignment: 44F.

If you do not know, 44F is the last row window seat of a Delta 757.  It is literally the worst seat on the plane for various reasons:

  • No reclining capability.
  • Last to get off the plane on arrival
  • In the movie Flight, only the people towards the back of the plane got severely injured (with exceptions of the crew)
  • Enough legroom for a 13 year old version of J-L, but no older than that

I sat down for about five minutes, with the corners of the trays digging into my knees and my nuts crushing with the combination of the tiny width of the seat and size of my legs.  I then contemplated that there were only 300 more 5-minute increments (assuming the flight would take off on time) and immediately got out of my seat and begged the flight attendant to bribe another passenger with my money or her mouth for another seat for me.  Fortunately a kind, older Australian couple sat down in seats D and E next to me and offered to switch D and F with me.  I thanked them profusely and told the flight attendant she would no longer need to re-up her mile high club membership for my benefit.

Of course the flight was then 90 minutes delayed from that point as we waited for the food and beverages to be delivered (I would rather have that delay than the “checking out some mechanical issues” delay).  So I ended up standing for about an hour chatting up the two Atlanta based flight attendants.  This chat would subsequently earn me a free meal, M & Ms and free booze for the couple sitting next to me because the flight attendants felt so bad for my soon to be destroyed knee cartilage and so good about their Aussie benevolence.

This is what my legs look like in coach WITH an aisle to spread out into.

Am I Dreaming?

When we finally reached our cruising altitude I stood up (I spent about 3 of the 6 hours standing) and continued chatting with the flight attendants.  I never got either of their names, so I will call one the 48 year old and one the 58 year old.  We began talking about television shows and the 48 year old said her favorite show on television was Breaking Bad.  And just as I was about to climax in my pants, the 58 year old one brought up Six Feet Under as one of her favorite shows.  (for the record these are two of my 3 favorite dramas of all time – The Wire being the third).  So as I am enjoying these entertainment-enlightened, free food and beverage goddesses they then asked me what I did for a living.  I told them I make my money in human trafficking because I constantly shuttle myself around the country to be underpaid and abused, but other people call it comedy.  They replied with “get out of town” type reactions and then started asking me who I enjoyed in comedy.  I told them Chris Rock and Bill Burr.  The 48 year old then told me that there was a “popular guy who everyone talks about, but she doesn’t really get all the hype.”  I then asked, with the same tone as a man asking a woman to marry him, who is unsure of the answer, if she meant Louis CK.  She said yes and said “I just don’t find him as funny as everyone.”

At this moment I slapped myself in the face because I assume the plane had already crashed (Lost style) and I was already in some sort of afterlife of goodness.  A Breaking Bad enthusiast, Louis CK skeptic flight attendant?  I have actually written a porn with these exact specifications for the female lead!

But the dream had to end and when I arrived in San Francisco it was time to say goodbye to these generous angels of Delta and make my way to Cobbs Comedy Club.

The Night I Blew The Mic So Hard Even San Francisco Was Uncomfortable With It

So the lineup for the Comedians at Law show for the night at Cobbs was CAL member Alex Barnett leading off, then a guest spot for a chick comedian, then me, then a guest spot for a guitar playing comedian, then CAL-er Matt Ritter closing.  So to sum it up I was between a woman and a guitar, two things I have been a vocal supporter of in comedy.  So I went up and was slated for 30 minutes.  I did 39.  One of the strongest sets I have had in a long time.  Did a new bit on law school relationships that I wrote on the the plane ride when I was not making wedding plans with the 48 year old flight attendant.  Did some other newer bits and a host of older ones and it was awesome (the new bit is basically that women in law school should lock up their law school man immediately because life is going to get worse for them and that men in law school should avoid getting locked up under all circumstances because life will get exponentially better for them).

My name up in lights. Sort of. Not really. But I am one of them.

So despite blowing the light so hard that Harvey Milk rose from the dead to support me the show was a huge success and I sold a bunch of CDs. I then got to hang out with some friends, including one of my best buds from law school.

Skyfall Day

I decided to stay an extra day in San Francisco to hang out with my friend, but as it turns out, like almost every other graduate of Georgetown Law Class of 2004, he has a day job so I ended up just walking around the shopping district of San Francisco and seeing a matinee of the new James Bond film Skyfall.  I then filmed my weekly movie review show in the guest room of my friend’s apartment, with his two gay fish as co-hosts.  Here it is:

The Myth of Preferred Seats on Delta

With nothing else of note to report from San Francisco it was time to fly back to NYC.  I had a 615 am flight and arrived at the airport at 410 am. I then noticed upon checking in that there were a few open seats in the “priority category.”  For only $29 I might actually have just enough room to sit only slightly uncomfortably?!  Amen!  So I bought the seat (27C) and got ready for extra leg room.

Side note as a tall guy.  I understand that the diminishing width of seats is my fault.  When I was trim seat width did not bother me and my love of cookies and hate of self has started to make it a more snug fit.  And I understand that airlines like Southwest want to charge double for fat people, because to a large extent (pun intended), weight is an issue of personal choices.  But height is immutable.  I am tall and cannot become shorter if I want. So why are all these airlines charge more money for leg room?  I NEED THOSE SEATS!  My height practically becomes a disability on airplanes, but am I allowed to board with other people who need special assistance?  No!  This sh*t has to stop!

Now when I got on the plane I was looking forward to my extra leg room, especially since I actually have bruises on both knees from my flight out to San Francisco (always suspicious as a heterosexual man to show back up to NYC with bruised knees after a few days in San Francisco). So imagine my surprise to sit down and see that I had no extra room whatsoever.  I asked the flight attendant why there was a mistake in my seat.  As it turns out I had only purchased a preferred seat (translation an aisle seat not in the taint of the airplane), but not an “economy comfort” seat (translation seat that would fit me), which cost $80 extra dollars.  At this point in aviation, there is going to be a guy whose sole job it is to ejaculate on 100 seats on an airplane and then there will be a “semen free seat” upgrade for $100 for those few seats without ejaculate on them.

Fortunately no one sat next to me so I guess it was a preferred seat, because I prefer to not sit next to anyone! BAM!

So that is the San Francisco recap. Videos from the show will be up on my site and YouTube page soon.

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The High and Low of My Comedy… in the…

Today has been a day that has been circled on my calendar (yes a physical desk calendar) for quite some time.  I am headed to Boston in a few hours to do a very 2012 (or at least 2010) style comedy show.  I, along with two other members of Comedians at Law, are performing a live stand up show and podcast at Harvard Law School, which for comedy aimed at the legal community is like having an alternative comedy show inside the beards of the guys on Duck Dynasty – a dream location and marketing opportunity.

Me performing at Harvard is like a majority of modern comics performing with these guys or in their beards.

In addition to performing the show and recording a podcast live (our first time trying this so get ready for a nightmare) we are live streaming the show on the web.  High tech? Yes.  Free to the public? Yes.  Following all the do’s of the cottage industry growing around telling comedians to do cool interactive things with fans in the hopes of some sort of long term monetary growth? Reluctantly, yes.  This is a small monetary risk to the group, but the big risk is that after hyping this event at America’s most revered academic institution to our niche market we still may not expand our reach significantly (in part because as I have learned over the last year of hauling ass to make this entity grow, a lot of our fan base is a bunch of meme-loving tools who only enjoy the novelty of Comedians at Law, but do not actually give a flying fart about stand up comedy (e.g. mediocre meme – 50 likes on Facebook, video clip of us on television promoting a live show – 2 likes).

Sadly, this is actually the positive part of this blog – I am hopeful that the live streaming of the show can expand our fan base and show people our product – and if you are reading this blog – you can watch live from 7pm to 9pm at the home page of Comedians at Law or go to the LiveStream page.

Of course about 10 different faculty, students and administrators have said no to being guests for the podcast, so it could be a horrific and awkward live podcast tonight.   Either way it should be entertaining web viewing tonight.

But comedy has usually found a way to not allow me to savor or feel too much happiness.  Whether it is a friend telling me things like that she “likes the most recent episode of my podcast…much better than the last one, which sucked,” or another friend saying that he cannot make a show where I am headlining at Gotham Comedy club because he is going to a pub trivia night, it always seems that comedy cannot let well enough alone.   A more relevant example is that in 5 days Comedians at Law are performing at Gotham Comedy Club.  Tonight at Gotham Comedy Club? “America’s Funniest Lawyer” competition.  At least we are being given five days for NYC to cleanse its palette from lawyer-based comedy for our show.  What did Rodney Dangerfield say… Oh yeah “put a fu*king bullet in my head.”

But logistical problems/conflicts are par for the course in this business.  But my least favorite scourge du jour is the “everyone is funny” phenomenon in our culture.  As I always gripe, thanks to YouTube, Twitter and our general “everyone is special” aspect to our culture, comedy has become so cheapened that unless you are famous, many people assume that they can do what comedians do.  I do not need to re-hash all the ways people do this (though my favorite was after a particularly good show at some Funny Bone a guy told me that I should meet his buddy from work because he would make me laugh), but the reason I bring this up is that joining/forming Comedians at Law has actually exposed me to a new form of hubris in the “I am funny also” culture.

For some reason, having a law degree from a prestigious university, nearly ten years performing and a national television credit is not enough to discourage people from equating a musical performance at an office party to what my mates and I do.  We have received several inquiries from people who, by their own admission, have been performing for “a few weeks” to join Comedians at Law.  (Not to mention we have been duped by an entire State Bar group into comping 100 people with an implied promise of a private show – post-show emails not getting answered).  But an email one of our members received last night is literally the grossest piece of self-aggrandizing, self-involved, piece of fu*king sh*t e-mails I have ever read.  It almost reads like a parody it is so ridiculous:

        I got an e-mail from the head of my NYC Bar Committee about your group’s upcoming show at Gotham Comedy Club. I’ve been suffering from a super crazy schedule lately & generally don’t do anything without significant notice (I’ve been doing extra work where I got about 3 hours of sleep for 2 days in the past week & will likely have to do it again on Friday; there was also 4 days of Comic Con) but did want to see about networking. I have also performed in City Bar’s Talent Night (mostly singing but I did an original monologue 2 years ago; last year I read the female lead in a radio play). Oh, and I have red hair + most people think I’m an actress when I go to creative networking events. I’ve also been deemed “attractive” by Central Casting while in high school, I was considered an ugly girl & look exactly the same as I do now.
         We may have mutual contacts. I do know some people in that scene, such as——– (he’s done a lot of emceeing at———-, where hubby & I prefer to go). ——- was in one of my film company’s features; that feature was sold to a major distributor though it was a no name, no budget production. I also have the distinction of doing about 3 different things & having credibility in my realm for both creative ability and legal skill (more recently, I’ve been getting writing opportunities & had an essay published on Slate.com’s XX Factor blog a few months back). No one sticks me in a “lawyer” box or really any type of box.

         At my company, my title is Production Exec/In-House Counsel. I’m also on IMDB & have my own rant blog that people tell me is funny. A bland, dry, boring legal blog it’s not since I happen to be an anti-lawyer (someone who’s not the legal stereotypes & has no desire to be).
I’d love to get your general take on bar associations & lawyer networking. Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with the whole thing. I’m actually only involved in City Bar because of my singing voice. I also seem to have finally gotten acceptance for being me & some measure of respect in that community. I’ve been licensed almost 5 years in NY & CT but started at my film company as the CEO’s Exec Asst before getting admitted. I’ve also gotten much more respect in the creative community for being a lawyer & in general than I have from most other lawyers so it’s probably no wonder I’ll do more for the creatives than the lawyers.
         If I get a response, I’ll send a link to the blog. Otherwise, money is tight & husband works until 7 now so I probably can’t go on the 23rd. If you wish to know about my events, let me know. In the meantime, feel free to look all this up.

An artist's conception of our red-headed friend.

Needless to say I have not stopped wishing ill on this woman since I read the e-mail at 545 this morning.  This is our status update/Twitter/comedy disrespect culture on steroids.  E-mails like this, which come with alarming frequency (to be honest even 1 of these emails would count as alarming to me, but it has been many more), but this is a new low.  Thanks to a culture which increasingly values the  pathetic and intrusive sharing of inner feelings on Facebook, (when previously prayer and therapy kept those things private), we get to be sounding boards for people’s misplaced sharing of thoughts, feelings and accomplishments.  The only thing that makes this insulting is that it is a roundabout way of dismissing our product because we should really be impressed with her.  I hope her husband is cheating on her.

But this is what our culture is doing in general and to comedy, specifically.  Fame is the respected quantity, not comedy or hard work.  Just out of respect for what we are trying to do and the site and content that we have worked tirelessly to produce you would think people, especially people who are educated and work in business might have the social skills to show a modicum of respect.  But we are no longer that society. Everyone is special, everyone is cool and everyone is funny if they think they are.

So forget my comedy, Comedians at Law or anything else I produce – if you want to meet a red-headed, arrogant, ugly fu*kling who cannot stop talking about herself (first off get rid of that erection if you are a man after this description) then I can get you her info.  Or you can just walk down the street, bumping into people busy tweeting, texting and posting status updates whose heads are buried in their phones because after all, you are not as important as them.

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Comedy Hits Back in a Big Way

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog called “The Death of Stand Up Comedy” (https://jlcauvin.com/?p=4382).  Well apparently I was wrong because comedy woke up and beat the sh*t out of me in the last 6 days.  So maybe comedy is a zombie – sort of dead, but still able to inflict pain and humiliation.

Last Friday night I worked a room in Connecticut.  It was in the back of a restaurant opening for a ventriloquist.  And that was the highlight.  Upon arriving back in  New York City around 1:30 am I went to a bar near Grand Central Station to have a beer.  About halfway through my beer I felt a rub against my leg.  It was a seductive touch that immediately piqued my interest and seemed exactly like what the doctor ordered after closing my window of hope by opening for a ventriloquist.  Here’s a picture:

This slut tried to pick me up at a bar.

That is right – a dog was getting awfully frisky with me at the bar.  Perhaps it was my animal magnetism, or the peanut butter I use to wash my genitals or he just confused me for a tree to urinate on. Any of these would have been palatable alternatives to the truth.  The truth was that the dog’s 80 year old owner was about to begin courting the young, depressed buck known as Righteous Prick.  That is right, the gay dog slut was only playing wingman to Cruella DeVille.   She just sat next to me and kept asking me questions, including where I lived.  Naturally, when she went outside to let her dog urinate (at least the urine it had not already left on the bar room floor – what a sloppy drunk) I asked the bartender what her deal was.

Bartender: She is rich.

JL: Really?

Bartender: Big time.

JL: Do you have any date rape drugs?

Bartender: For her?

JL: No, for me.

J-L Groupie

Fortunately, my better angels won out and I went home alone, but I hope my moderate kindness got me into her will. Though asking people at the bar if they saw her also, to make sure I was not seeing dead people, could have been interpreted as insulting.

Then after the weekend I headed to New Orleans to perform for the Conference of State Bank Supervisors.  The show was exactly as exciting as it sounded.  It was myself and two other members of Comedians at Law performing down there and we made a pact after the gig that our next gig should be for 9/11 widows because we need a more feel good show to participate in to pick up our spirits.  I already wrote the gig up for the Comedians at Law site so enjoy it here – http://comediansatlaw.com/2012/08/01/well-alright-comedians-at-law-go-to-the-big-easy-the-hard-way/

If any comedians want the short story and a tip to walk away with from the New Orleans gig it is that when the organizer of an event greets the three comedians after the show with, “Well… alright,” then something has gone horribly wrong.

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The Things You MUST Know Before and After the…

Hey folks – I wrote this for Comedians at Law today – so read it and click that Facebook like button if you are on Facebook.  Thanks – enjoy. Regular blogs later this week.

http://comediansatlaw.com/2012/05/29/the-things-you-must-know-before-and-after-the-bar-exam/

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Comedian Speaks At South Bronx High School Career Fair…

A few months ago I was asked by a friend of a friend who had seen me perform at Gotham Comedy Club if I would be willing to discuss my career at their South Bronx high school career fair.  My first question was, “which career – my defunct practice of law or my depressing practice of comedy?”  The answer was all of the above.  Now truth be told it was rather ironic to ask me to speak to young people about my two careers, because other than print journalism I am not sure you could pick two careers more on a path to destruction than law and comedy.  My guess is that law will be the first white collar profession to start going the way of manufacturing in America.  Companies are looking to get leaner and reduce their legal expenditures, and other than the absolute top legal talent which will always be in demand and command top dollar, much of the grunt work done in private practice will eventually be automated.  Fortunately government work will always exist as long as we have a society that has both an increasingly large group of have-nots and for-profit prisons because people will always be needed to defend and prosecute crimes.

Not only did I bring this uplifting message about a career in law, but I also brought a wealth of knowledge on how to not succeed at comedy despite doing everything under the sun to increase exposure and develop one’s comedic skill set.  Thanks to Twitter and YouTube, which have everyone thinking they are hilarious, and a system that favors cheap labor force (newcomers who do bringers and local mediocre talent to emcee and feature without the need for lodging) and benefits the already established upper echelon of comedic talent (unlike many of the banking 1%, at least the comedic 1% still has to work hard and provide an actual product to people to maintain their elevated status), the ability of an up and coming, hard working talent to rise through the ranks by simply working hard as a comedian is becoming more and more difficult.

I was inspiring kids in the tradition of great lecturers like Dewey Finn.

But despite this depressing duo of life failure I of course said yes for a couple of reasons.  The first reason was this had the potential finally to be my moment to plant the seed of an inspirational movie.  After all my father is Morgan Freeman black and my Mom is even whiter than Michelle Pfeiffer so let’s just get Lean On Dangerous Minds into production already!  The second and more serious reason is that it is important for inner city kids to see people from different walks of life and to get real exposure to careers that they might not encounter in great abundance, or at all, in their neighborhood.  Having been lucky enough to go to an elite private school, most kids have Ivy League on their minds from the first day of high school and even if your parents were not lawyers, bankers or doctors, many of your classmates’ parents were.  We often take this exposure for granted, but in some communities “college is a white people thing,” is a common idea, not because of some laziness, but because it is so unfamiliar to them (this was an actual quote a friend of heard at a Boys and Girls Club a few years back from a black teenager).  So before I resume mocking myself and the career fair, the idea behind the career fair is essential to broadening the minds of kids like those I met yesterday.

And of course the third reason I said yes is that I love the Bronx because it is full of Latin women.

So I arrived at the career fair and my name tag said J-L Cauvin – “Comedians At Law.” I chose to use Comedians At Law, my touring band of lawyers-turned-comedians, because at least it was an eye catching and semi-respectable title for an affiliation. My other options were “J-L Cauvin – 270 pounds of wasted potential” or “J-L Cauvin – ticking time bomb.”  In other words it may have said “career fair,” but I occuppied that thin line between “inspirational career fair” and “scared straight program.”

 

"You wanna be a fu*king comedian!?? You want your family to cry all the time? You wanna eat in airport and Greyhound bus stops??"

 

I sat down at a table flanked by an attorney, an actor/aspiring producer and a speech coach and waited for the kids to come in and soak up my years of bitter knowledge.  Of course I immediately became a softie when these kids came in. I underestimated how young 10th and 11th graders actually look and finally was willing to admit to myself that R. Kelly really may have been in the wrong.  Despite the youth of some of these kids their questions seemed oddly adult and parental.  Here’s a sample:

  • “What made you go from law to comedy?” Truth: Laid Off What I said: I wanted to follow my passion.
  • “Don’t you make more money as a lawyer?” Yes. (while holding back tears of rage)
  • “How come I never seen you on TV?” What I said: Because I was on at 130 in the morning. What I wanted to say: Who is Your English teacher?  And you are a 16 year old Latino with a tongue stud so you are not in my target demographic.
  • “What’s your best joke” What I said: I don’t really tell joke jokes, but more like funny mini stories that aren’t safe for high school.  What I wanted to say: Well it starts with anal sex with an ex girlfriend…
  • “Have you been on Comedy Central?” (no answer – I just walked out and went to the train to go home)
"YOU WANNA BE A COMEDIAN?? YOU KNOW WHAT IT DOES? IT KILLS YOUR BRAIN CELLS SON IT KILLS YOUR BRAIN CELLS!!!!

This was just a sampling of the interactions I had, but it was a worthwhile event for these kids.  They were able to meet many people in different fields from acting to PR to computer science to medicine, and that is all well and good, but I would like to think that I may have done the best work of anyone.  Thanks to me, dozens of kids in the South Bronx met me and will now probably avoid attempting careers in law and stand up comedy like the plague.  Now they have a fighting chance at a good life.

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Comedians At Law Recap – Penn Law

My big gig this weekend was performing for the alumni of University of Pennsylvania Law School on Friday.  I wrote the recap for Comedians At Law on their website so check it out:

http://comediansatlaw.com/2012/05/14/penn-law-alumni-have-greatest-reunion-ever/

New podcast tomorrow on The Avengers. That’s all for now.