The Obama Showdown: Jay Pharoah vs. J-L

As Saturday Night Live prepares for its 36th Season with a monopoly on late night comedy viewing on Saturdays (which sometimes feels like the way the Detroit Lions still have an inexplicable and indefensible hold on Thanksgiving Day football) there has been a lot of buzz from the Huffington Post via The Comic’s Comic blog about a 22 year old comedy phenom named Jay Pharoah who claims to have (and is being claimed to have) a great Obama impression.  Now he is 22 years old so he has clearly paid the dues in the comedy business that every comedian is told they have to pay, so I don’t begrudge him his hard earned buzz and success, but I do take umbridge at his Obama impression, which is good compared to exactly one person, Fred Armisen.

Now a while back I sort of abandoned impressions because I was more interested in exploring personal matters on stage and not setting up tons of scenarios that allowed me to showcase impressions.  I had a ton of traditional and non-traditional impressions that I was proud of, but I sort of grew out of them.  But the one I still use as my closer is Barack Obama because there are no well known good ones.  It is probably the best impression I do and it kills every time.  In fact I almost got a manager based solely on the strength of it.

So I have done as much as I can to promote it without the help of a manager and the comedy bloggers, but it has not caught on beyond individual comedy club audiences and my family.

But to watch this guy do Obama is like seeing someone urinate on my comedy.  My friend comedian Jim Dodge told me he did not want to send me the clip for fear that my head would explode.  It just is not good.  To quote Zoolander’s Jacobim Mugatu, “Am I taking crazy pills?”  Of course if Jay Pharoah gets SNL, he will no doubt be groomed into the Eddie Murphy-Chris Rock mold and will receive praise for his “great impression” simply because it is not Fred Armisen.

This is not the usual “oh he did that joke and I cannot do it now” quandry that happens to lots of comedians.  This is a “I do it better than him and it’s obvious, but I do not have the means or know-how to become a ‘YouTube sensation'” situation.  I cannot fault Jay Pharoah – he is just trying to get his and make people laugh, but has Lorne Michaels become Joe Paterno in his talent evaluation?

So if Mr. Pharoah gets to do Obama on SNL, move on to a lucrative comedy career of headlining clubs, starring movies and doing cocaine with strippers I will be forced to challenge him the way Clubber Lang hounded Rocky Balboa, standing outside SNL offices demanding to know why he keeps ducking me.

And despite appearing mostly white I am much closer in resemblance to Obama (not to mention a black Dad from a foreign country and a white Mom, sound familiar) – this guy looks like a small Justin Tuck from the NY Giants.  People will rejoice because he is black and Fred Armisen is undetermined racially, but lowered expectations should not a comedy career make.

So I guess if you are reading this – I will provide you with links to my video and to Jay Pharoah’s video of Obama impressions and then write to your Congressman, your Senator and to Lorne Michaels to get me an Obama showdown.  And forward my video to people.  It’s 90 fu*king seconds for God’s sake so try to do me this one favor if you read this and let people know. Pretend like I’m Betty White or something.

Jay Pharoah

J-L Cauvin


Despite The Nobel Peace Prize, The World Needs Obama…

In light of President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize I must encourage him to engage in a newer and more muscular form of international and domestic governance.

(warning – you need a working knowledge of the first two Godfather films to fully appreciate)


New plan that should satisfy everyone.  After consulting my advisers (NY Times, my uncle, my mother, history books) I have come up with a plan.  Several years ago a jingoistic and bellicose colleague of mine at the Bronx DA’s Office had suggested nuking the entire Middle East because you could not reason with that part of the world (most likely save Israel, lest his parents become upset with him as a military advisor) And I thought he was nuts, primarily because invading a country that you had no business invading (Iraq) and then claiming them to be unreasonable savages when they fight back is hardly conclusive proof of a people’s inability to use diplomacy.

But Afghanistan has proven a clearer quagmire (giggity giggity) if that makes any sense.  They attacked us and we half-assed fought back because Bush and Cheney had dumber and/or greedier ideas.  My advice to Obama is simple on Afghanistan.  I believe that is the real front on terrorism and that leaving it alone will only foster another 9/11 perhaps 10 or 15 years from now.  But at the same time the corrupt leaders of Afghanistan are more than willing to talk out of both sides of their mouths, letting America fight for it, while badmouthing America and all the while not preparing and securing their country as best they can.  So my solution is simple.  We leave.  Pack up everybody.

But at that point Obama should play Vito Corleone to Hamid Karzai’s Barzini, Tataglia, Strattchi and Cunio (seriously, who the fu-k was Cunio?).  We will denounce their heroin production as a dirty business which Karzai will insist on keeping among the dark people because they are animals anyway.  But then on to more serious matters – this Bin Laden business.  Obama should just stare at Karzai chillingly and tell him we are leaving and will let them do what they want, but if any harm comes to the United States in any form; if we should be attacked by terrorists finding safe haven in Afghanistan;or if our troops are harmed in another part of the world; or if Americans are struck by a bolt of lightening then this we will not forgive.  And we will literally erase Afghanistan from the map (I’m talking nuclear), or at least blow it into the 12th century, which may actually be an improvement in some respects.   But until that day we swear on Bo Obama that we will not be the ones to break the peace.

The Senate

The Senate, except for a few members, is a group of whores and prostitutes.  They have been turned out by corporations and industries and are no better than the women who date investment bankers (I feel the crack whore stereotype needs to be updated).  Health care reform, gun control, environmental legislation and a myriad of other issues are blocked, not by the minuscule consciences of the Senators, but by their corporate pimps.  So, what the country needs now is term limits for Senators.

Someone once wrote to me that we do have term limits; they’re called elections.  Not when we have allowed money to infect and dominate every part of the process we don’t.  The longer you stay in the Senate, the more corporations want your ear because of your seniority and influence.  The corporations buy your money and then give you more money to keep it, which allows you to advertise more and gain a stronger and stronger foothold for re-election.  Your constituents gain from your seniority in the form of small pork projects so they remain pacified.  The cycle continues until you are a big, bloated fat (sometimes both literally and metaphorically) whore of a Senator.  The ironic thing about men like Ted Kennedy was that he was able to be a champion of the people because his money and legacy did not come from, or at least was not reliant on, an industry pimp.  He did not rely (though I am sure he used) the wealth of soulless companies and lobbies to get him re-elected so he had the rare luxury of actually prioritizing people over companies.

Would the NRA really be the biggest lobby if Senators could only serve 12 years?  Think of how much more would get done for people if the Senate was not a de facto lifetime appointment.

Needless to say this might require more of a Michael Corleone approach, more aggressive than the diplomatic Vito.  After all, Michael put Senator Pat Geary of Nevada in his place, so if Chris Dodd or Max Baucus wakes up in a sorority at Oregon State with a dead co-ed, I assume Joe Biden will be there to assure them that they are lucky it happened there because that’s President Obama’s Brother-in-law’s place.

Saturday Night Live

Make a call to Lorne Michaels and have Fred Armisen removed from impersonating you.  Yesterday I received a call from my brother.  My 2 1/2 year old nephew had seen a picture of Obama on the computer and said, “Uncle J-L”.  One of three things is possible:

  1. My brother has shown my nephew my YouTube clip way to many times.
  2. Obama is leading a double life.
  3. Fred Armisen needs to step aside.

I think the answer is #3.  Make the call President on all of these things.  Especially the SNL thing.  Lorne Michaels, I think you know what happened to that producer Woltz.