In response to Charlotte not willing to guarantee a Covid orgy for Donald Trump’s August convention, Trump and the RNC, in a joint statement early Sunday morning, announced that the convention would be held at the end of August at a Hooters restaurant in Clearwater, Florida. “We wanted a restaurant that reflected both our Christian values and could provide the kind of sweaty intimacy that the President wants for his convention,” said Ronna McDaniel, chair of the RNC. “It’s like the original Hooters and also in a great state of Florida so those are two things I really appreciate,” Trump emphasized. “Great food, great people and women who have to pretend to be nice to you while you drool over them is what makes America great so I am proud to have our great convention at Clearwater Hooters.”
In addition to the location change, which was praised by faith leaders Jerry Falwell Jr, Franklin Graham and Ralph Reed, the announcement also provided a detailed itinerary of the convention:
Monday August 24 – “All Lives Matter”
Opening prayer by Joel Osteen
Sheriff David Clarke (AKA “Angry Hootie”) will take the stage, scream “Blue Lives Matter” and shoot himself to prove solidarity with his fellow officers and convention goers
Steve King will endorse Donald Trump while urinating on an immigrant child in a cage
Tuesday August 25 – “The Real America”
A salute to Patriot Farmers will feature a selection of songs by Kid Rock and Ted Nugent and a documentary about the beauty of the teenage women growing up on farms, narrated by James Woods.
The “Jews will not replace us” marchers from Charlottesville will take the stage in a powerful moment to honor Robert E Lee and Strom Thurmond.
Keynote speaker: Don Trump Jr will be introduced by his girlfriend Kim Guilfoyle, who will not at all wonder how she went from Gavin Newsome to Donald Trump, Jr. Junior will announce his plan to run for office in 2024 and will humanize his father with a speech expected to highlight the time his father said he didn’t want his first born to be a Jr “in case he is a loser” as well as the time his father bitch slapped him while he was a student at Penn.
Wednesday August 26 – “Faith and Guns”
Dana Loesch of the NRA will come out after the opening prayer and make herself climax using a loaded AR-15.
Alex Jones will eat his neighbor’s body on stage.
Pastor Robert Jeffres will set fire to a copy of the Koran
Vice President Pence, introduced by Jerry Falwell’s pool boy, will declare Donald Trump the greatest force God has ever unleashed on America and that Covid, like being gay, is just something we needed the strength to overcome.
Thursday August 27 – “Keep America Great”
Candace Owens will start the evening by walking on stage with George Zimmerman and the officers that killed Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and George Floyd (following his pardon by President Trump) and declare “It’s time to get off the Black Lives Matter/DNC plantation.” She will then announce a new dating show on OAN where she will choose from among 10 cops who have killed black men/boys to get engaged. It will be called Tie the Knot.
Jon Voight will introduce President Trump declaring him the greatest leader in the history of mankind. Voight will also apologize for having a black son on the show Ray Donovan.
President Trump will take the stage as MAGA children bring up surgical masks on stage for a giant burning. Stephen Miller’s wife will then give birth to a demon live on stage. Ivanka will parade the stage in a bikini while Trump speaks. He will then end his speech with a threeway kiss with Ivanka and Melania and declare his second term “The Wild Things presidency.” Balloons filled with hydrochloroquine will fall from the ceiling.
This weekend I, along with three other quality comics from New York City, made a twelve hour trek to Asheville, North Carolina for the 4th Annual Laugh Your Asheville Off Festival. It also happened to be the same week as the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival, so while the comedic equivalent of the NBA All Star Game was going on in Montreal, we were headed twelve hours in the opposite direction to the equivalent of WNBA tryouts.
The three other members of the car were Nick Cobb, recently of Last Comic Standing, Adam Newman of College Humor and Sam Morril, who most recently won March Comedy Madness at Comix. And me of www.JLCauvin.com, but you already knew that. I had not auditioned for the Montreal festival this year (was not asked to – so it is good to see that I am less worthwhile as a comic than I was two years ag0 – always a rewarding feeling), but I was still happy for all the people doing comedy half as long as me in some cases who were finally getting their shot at the big time after waiting all the time it takes to graduate a community college. I guess next year instead of writing jokes I will simply work on my networking for a year. I’m still convinced that my path to success lies somewhere along the path taken by Johnny Fontaine.
So we headed down to Asheville by car at 5 am on Friday. Nick Cobb did yeoman’s work, both in the amount of driving he did and the pity party he threw for himself for doing so much driving. Sam and I are New Yorkers in the sense that we both obtained driver’s licenses to get people to stop asking us if we have a license. See, outside of New York City people attach ideas like independence and self-worth to the ability to drive as soon as possible. But since native New Yorkers actually have things to look forward to other than driving to the Mall after school we don’t place the immediate importance on it (except for the rich kids I went to high school with who could not wait to drive the Mercedes, Range Rovers and BMWs to school junior). But thanks anyway to Nick for doing about 21 hours of driving in less than three days.
So on the ride down to Asheville we complained about comedy, ate boatloads of fast food and listened to various comedy CDs. By the time we arrived in Asheville at the Super 8 it was 5:30 and we all felt disgusting. Sadly, a Super 8 motel is not the place to feel refreshed. Super 8 motels feel like movie sets for the “brutal rape scene.” They are dark, dirty and the water pressure in the shower feels like someone urinating on you that has prostate problems – just warm enough to feel unsanitary and just enough water pressure to feel like air conditioned drip is falling on you from above. It’s like starring in a scene from Alien whenever you shower.
So after we all half-freshened up and relieved McDonalds and Wendys from our systems we headed to the closest restaurant to the Super 8 – Hooters. The waitress must have smelled the anger, cynicism and general failure of four comics because I have never felt less flirted with by a Hooters waitress in my life. We still left a generous tip because she looked like a young version of Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights.
After Hooters we headed to the Diane Wortham Theater in “downtown” Asheville, but not before some Asheville resident swerved into a puddle (intentionally almost for sure based on its place PARALLEL TO THE SIDEWALK) splashing all four of us (me the most) with some of Asheville’s finest, three day-old puddle water. I then said a humble prayer that the driver of that car find his or her way through their windshield (the haaaard way -Rodney Dangerfield voice).
The DW Theater is beautiful (I knew from last year, but it was the first viewing for my three companions) and the crowd was laughing at everything on the first show. We all got very excited. Only Sam was performing on the second show Friday night (Nick, Adam and I all had spots on Saturday) so we just hoped for his sake that the crowd was as good.
What do you get when you take 350 and subtract 280? The crowd for the second show. Sam had to lead off the show after the “emcee” who resembled Jesse Pinkman’s prostitute friend from Breaking Bad (but with more tattoos) introduced him with – “he’s played the Carolinas” – which was actually Caroline’s in NYC. Sam had a very good set and at least 40 of the 70 people appreciated it. After the show we went out and had ice cream sundaes and drank beer because comedians are both immature and self-loathing. If Nicholas Cage had eaten ice cream to kill himsef instead of drinking alcohol in Leaving Las Vegas it would have resembled my weekend.
Saturday came around and the highlight of the day for Adam and Nick would be performing killer sets Saturday night. In a bit of foreshadowing, my highlight would be seeing Inception Saturday afternoon. Now that is no slouch of a highlight. Inception is a great great movie and you should see it if you have not. But I will explain shortly.
We made a post-movie, pre show trip to Hooters (hey if it’s broken why make the effort to fix it) where we ate chicken quesadillas and talked to the bartender about her 10 month old daughter. I find that before a set of mine it is good to have a conversation with a nice woman who seems to have a somewhat less than great life. If I still feel resentment and hostility towards the world and some women after that then I know I am going to have the right mindset to do comedy. I felt ready.
We headed to the theater and I was to perform first after the intermission. I went out on stage and there was a jazz band playing intro music for every comedian. My first line:
“Give it up for the jazz band. Yeah – jazz, my 11th favorite form of music.” A few comics in the balcony laughed.
I could not see everyone in the crowd, but it was my worst nightmare – it felt like a lot of old people. I guess the theater was having a special – “got to dinner at 4 pm and get half priced tickets to stare at a judgmental as*hole from New York City.”
My first actual joke that I prepared went well enough about shopping at big n tall stores, but it did not go as well as it has the previous 80 times I have told it. Then I did my joke about cougars, butsome loud-mouthed middle aged feminist fu*k kept shouting over my joke, apparently to defend the honor of the women on the Bravo channel from a relatively innocuous joke. In the last part of the joke I ask and answerthe question – “remember what they used to call cougars… uggggggggh.” However, during the pause, the woman who was defending the honor of “cougars,” decided to yell out defiantly, “SWEET!” as in cougars are sweet a/k/a awesome. So when I said “uggggh” it appeared that I was just responding to her with disdain. At that moment, when there was complete silence for my punchline, I was very tempted to stage dive like Axl Rose and at least beat up her male companion if she had one, but instead I just went through my jokes.
Next joke was a 2 minute bit on Facebook photography, which has been doing very well, but when even the children of half your audience aretoo old for Facebook , the joke will fall flatter than usual. I actually did get a big laugh at the end of the joke, but could not leave well enough alone and said with 100% disgust, “Oh, thanks for waking up Asheville.” Crowd lost again.
My jokes from that point on got very consistent laughter, except for the final line of a 2 1/2 minute closing bit, which got nothing after getting lots of laughs throughout the entire bit. So my final words on stage were, “That was the way to end a set poorly.” At least the last line had the Festival producer and the festival headliner, Jake Johannsen, laughing hard backstage.
Now this is when the real fun began. There were some managers and bookers of shows in attendance. And one of the bookers came back stage in between the early show (which I was on) and the later show (which Adam and Nick were on). This booker went and spoke to a few comics exchanging compliments and a desire to get them some bookings. I never even got eye contact from the guy. The best analogy I can think of is when a friend of yours is talking to someone at the bar and he/she has a friend. But the friend has no interest in you so the best he/she gives is sort of a smirky smile and then looks away, which sort of says “Hey I don’t think your an awful person, I just want nothing to do with you.” My experience backstage was whatever would be the level of humiliation after that. Not sure how many bookings I will get form the Festival, but it will probably be between zero and I’m going to call the cops if you email me again.
So the second show Saturday night was a big success as Nick led off the show strong and Adam absolutely murdered it two spots later. So of the four comics that travelled together from NYC, the other three got to be Bosh, LeBron and Wade, and I ironically, as the only one with any minority blood in the water, was Mike Miller. Some of our group even got to speak with a manager from a somewhat reputable agency after the show who offered such insights as “don’t get married, you’ll never regret fu*king a lot,” and “I was chatting up this hot chick tonight. I’m married, but it’s good to see I can still do it.” I am just surprised he was not missed from his Montreal Festival seminar, “Here’s everything that you don’t need to know about comedy, but do need to know about how insecure and regretful I am about my decision to get married and have a family.” I just told the festival producer, Charlie (one of the coolest and nicest guys I have met in comedy) that if I did not see him relatively soon, there was a good chance he’d see me again in several years when I am teaching his kids high school History.
After the show, Sam, Nick and I went to Waffle House at 2 am because I feel it is therapeutic to hit complete rock bottom after a disappointing show. When we were leaving the Waffle House we were approached by a possibly drunk, definitely crazy, man in his late fifties, early 60s with a long white beard, flanked by 3 Latin/light-skinned black guys in their late teens.
Now as a Northern man with a black Dad and an Irish mom there are a few things I fear. 1) The South, 2) Old white men from the south, 3) groups of minority teens wandering parking lots at 2 in the morning. But I learned a new, more powerful fear that night – when an old crazy southern man is hanging out in a parking lot of Waffle House with three minority teens in the south. There is something so prison rape-ish about that combo to me.
So the old man walks up to us and has the following exchange:
Old Man – “You walkin’?”
Me – “No.”
Old Man – “You look like you’re walkin’?”
Me (walking away with Nick and Sam) – “Well yeah, now.”
As we walked away Nick started laughing uncontrollably, but Sam quickly informed us that they were all still looking at us as the old man mumbled something with the word “fu*k” and started angrily mocking Nick’s laugh. It was at that moment that I first imagined what it would be like to star in a re-make of Deliverance. We got back to our rooms and I slept 3 hours that night, both because we were leaving early the next morning and because I feared becoming a victim in The Hills Have Eyes 3.
Nothing much to report the next day – we just drove 14 hours back to the city (90 minute of travel was the Holland Tunnel), ate a bunch of crappy food, discussed comedy (we spent about 4 hours alone mocking comedians who discuss the difference of black people and white people) and just wished for the sweet embrace of death when we arrived back in NYC.
When I got back to Facebook world I got to see all the photos and tweets from all the comics and people from Montreal. Time to start looking at Masters programs in education I guess.
Three of the biggest stories of the last couple of weeks have been sex related: Adam Lambert’s simulated gang-bang at the American Music Awards, Tiger Woods having sex with everyone (it’s bad enough that he stole the white man’s game, but now by having sex with porn stars and Hooters’ waitresses, he has now stolen the redneck’s fanstasy) to make up for lost time that his large teeth and bug eyes cost him in his younger days before his $1 billion net worth, and I saw today on CNN that one-third of 9th graders in America are having sex and that one half of 10th graders are.
I know this will make me appear as a Puritan relative to many of my contemporaries (especially in comedy), but perhaps the sexual revolution has swung the pendulum too far. Like the nuclear bomb creators thought, sure we can, but should we? Like gun control and abortion, it seems advocates of individualized morality and sexual freedom to the nth degree seem to consciously or sub-consciously fear ceding any ground for fear that it may validate an opposition that they dislike, hate or from which they fear judgment. But isn’t this enough?
First there was the Lambert story. He claims that he has been banned from most ABC shows (except that bastion of freedom, The View – will Hasselbeck boycott?) because there is a double standard – when women act extremely sexual in heterosexual or lesbian acts during performances it is not treated nearly with the same outrage and repulsion as homosexual men. And I agree with Lambert (but to be fair, I can’t say I can help my instinctive – “did he just tongue rape that guy? ewwww” reaction. The double standard is true (Janet Jackson’s nipple crossed the line from simulated to actual, so don’t bring up that hoopla). However, I would simply ask, why is any of it actually appropriate or necessary? Maybe people getting dry humped or skull-fu-ked is inappropriate for general public viewing, regardless of who is doing it with who.
I often try to stand up for religion, not even in doctrinal specifics, but as an overall structure of values that I think people can benefit from – you can get them from other places besides religion I suppose, but the sense of being part of something bigger is important to a healthy society I think (believe me if Twitter, cell phones, Blackberries and Facebook are now providing us with our sense of belonging, unity and community I think we are in trouble as a culture and society. That faux-community is based solely on the importance of, and focus on, self. Say what you want about religions (not necessarily religious people), but they usually have community well-being as their bases, at least the way I’ve experienced them).
Following that, one of the biggest criticisms of religion I hear from my friends is the sense of repression and shame religion attaches to sex. A valid point, but even jaded atheists will agree that at some point (perhaps as “innocent” as 16 year old Britney Spears or as gross as Jerry Springer/Maury Povich guests) people should feel some degree of shame for their conduct in the sexual realm – not knowing your baby’s father, but narrowing it down to 11 guys is sort of nasty (or being one of 11 guys on that panel). But with religion, or at least the sense of community well-being that it can foster and nourish, being diminished in our society, as well as many of my friends believing “judgmental” is the worst epithet that can be thrown at a person, it has come to feel like, “do whatever you like because we are free, we have no restrictions, no code of decency beyond our own individualized sense of what that entails and most importantly no judgment from others.”
However, I think there is still a sense of outrage at Tiger Woods, which I think is appropriate (note to his wife – marrying a driven, successful man, who was driven by his Dad from a young age and is not that attractive, but-for the media saturation of his face that creates a comfortable familiarity mistaken for attractiveness and is now worth a billion dollars is a bad recipe for marital bliss – as if a nerdy loser with money, met a horny black guy and a pushy Asian with a sense of entitlement to form the perfect storm of cheater) Some people say, who cares? Or he’s a celebrity – that’s what they do. But this guy did not just have an indiscretion. That was five or six or twenty-two women ago. This guy’s endorsement shouldn’t be worth anything that is not golf-related. Not that we put much stock in his endorsement to begin with, but I think you can agree with me. We have gotten to the point where the only realistic role models we can have (or are allowed to have without incurring the wrath mentioned in the previous paragraph) in terms of personal conduct are men like Derek Jeter or George Clooney, guys who don’t cheat on wives because they don’t have them (please don’t let Obama have an indiscretion). Most of young people’s role models for moral behavior are now those who decide to sit out of the game basically.
It reminds me of something that happened when I was engaged. I remember hearing from a friend of my ex that she had been releived when she found out I had once cheated on a girlfriend in college (which I told her). And I asked, “relieved?” And the friend said, “well no girl feels secure if they think their guy is perfect.” Now I know this is not every woman’s opinion, but it still startled me, which it probably should not have. The reality television culture we live in is now a race to a view of the bottom – so we can always see that we are better than someone else, rather than a view of the top – so we can aspire to be better (once again Obama being the exception – even just for this can’t the self-righteous conservatives give him a break?). We seem to enjoy people’s failings because they make ourselves feel better about ourselves. We want less Kennedy and Obama and more Jersey Shore and Real Housewives.
And now there is a trickle down effect, which is sort of the point of this whole rant. Congress held hearings about steroid abuse by athletes because of “the children.” But to those who may have felt that concern it should be no surprise that 9th graders are banging each other at record highs in this country. Some may not feel there is anything wrong with this, but doesn’t that feel a bit young for such high numbers? Sure it seems a little more appropriate for that kid that was shaving in 4th grade or that girl with the really touchy-feely uncle, but one of of every three? And then one of every two by 10th grade? Kids are impressionable to what is marketed to them and to peer pressure. Even the best and most enlightened parents will have a tough time combating that. And between all the social tools that act to separate us despite their purported connectedness, sex has become the latest thing to depreciate in this country to record lows along with the dollar and letter writing.
Liberals and libertarians (yes you comedians!) love bashing the Puritanical views of sex in this country and mocking the religious right (who sadly, often turn out to be hypocrites, at least the ones you are told about because America loves to hate a hypocrite), and I will admit I am no saint. But at some point when will we feel liberated enough? I don’t want to have to make sure my future daughter is using protection when she still has a lunchbox (for the record I will make any future daughters use a lunch box through graduate school).
Sequels are often worse than the original, even if excellent (soshut up Godfather II fans). Last night at the Stardome was no different. The difficulty is that for Tuesday and Wednesday shows the club sends out like of promotional invites for things like birthdays so that crowds are there for free comedy, not necessarily because they are devotees of the particular comedian(s). On Tuesday it did not matter – it was a rock solid crowd that laughed their asses off.
Last night it was a tougher crowd – I kept making segments of the crowd laugh at different things, but only a few times felt like I had the whole crowd. Some lessons I learned that may be helpful for comedians:
Good anal sex jokes are universally funny in the South, even for a tougher crowd.
If you are a tall, relatively fit comic do not put jokes about obesity close to the front of your set. It will make the audience that fries their oreos, snickers bars, salads, etc. not like you as much. The joke that really lost them was when I said: “Big and Tall Stores treat tall and fat like one big group of circus freaks. The store had jeans with 30 inch inseam and 56 inch waists? The only thing that should come in that size for humans is a casket because you are not long for this Earth with those dimensions.” Not appreciated.
In a room of 400+ people, you need a lot of people laughing. 50 people dying of laughter on one joke may seem good, but when 350 people are just smiling or frowning it sounds like silence.
So I would rate the overall feel for myself a C+. The three comics (myself, headliner Tim Pulnik and emcee Matt Mitchell) then headed to Hooters after. I continued to amaze them by not drinking, but having a piece of chocolate cake (I have decided my rap name would be German Chocolate), which Hooters should really be publicizing over their wings. We were then treated to a story by our waitress about the time a fellow waitress attacked her in the bathroom and beat the sh*t out of her because she slept with her man. I just got up in my chair and started shouting “JERRY, JERRY, JERRY!”
Tonight I open for Reno Collier, who, among other things, has been the national opener for Larry The Cable Guy. The good news is that means the crowds will almost definitely be consistent in their tastes. The bad news is I may have to wear a flannel shirt with no sleeves.
And tonight begins my need to sell at least 15 CDs by Sunday night. Seriously it will be funny/tragic if I don’t.
This weekend I was in Asheville, North Carolina for the Laugh Your Asheville Off Festival. Here is the whimsical recap:
I woke up at 530 AM to get my flight from Newark. Not my first choice, but when it is a free flight from American Express you go to Newark. For anybody that doubts the toughness of Newark, NJ you need to look no further than their TSA agents. A woman in her early 50s obviously gave a Napoleanic TSA agent some guff when she was told that she would need to have a separate screening. I did not hear what she said, but she received a “you got something to say?” from the TSA agent. Actually she received about 4 “you got something to say’s,” with each one drawing the TSA agent closer until he was literally in her face, which was followed by her silence. He then said, “that’s what I thought,” and started walking away, to which she started saying something, which was followed by TSA agent turning around and walking back saying, “Don’t start talking when I turn around baby girl.” Now to clarify the tension this was not some sassy black queen talking to this woman, but a slightly more thuggish young man, so it probably didn’t help when I kept muttering, “hit the bitch.” When it was my turn I looked at him and said, “You think you bad? You ain’t bad! You ain’t nothin’!” So my trip started with an inauspicious start, as I thought of something that sounds like a tag from a terrible horror or thriller movie, “The TSA protects you from terrorists, but who will protect you from the TSA?”
So I arrived in Asheville on one of the smoothest small plane rides I can ever remember and had plenty of time to kill before my 930 pm show. I had lunch with the producers of the show, which was nice and allowed me to get the scoop on the Asheville scene (bottom line – if you are a comedian and get a chance to do a show there – do it).
Then I spent the next few hours in my Super 8 Motel room working on my set, but then I got hungry. Seeking an authentic Southern experience I went to the only non-Waffle House across from my motel: Hooters.
There are several things strange about my trip to Hooters. I brought a book to read, which already can indicate homosexuality to certain neanderthal thinkers at anytime, but bringing a book into Hooters is like going to a Neanderthal meeting and saying I prefer tales of Richard Nixon’s election in 1968 to breasts. But I brought the book simply to avoid gazing into the dead eyes of the waitresses. Another strange thing was that the televisions were playing That’s So Raven on the Disney channel. It seemed ironic to me, but maybe Hooters can be a family restaurant,considering that signs at the restaurant indicated that today was Conceive Your Daughter At Work Day. I kid the Hooters waitresses – but I felt like I should be pimping them to come to New York, “Ladies you know what pretty girls with big boobs can get in NYC? Anything you want! But you’ll want to lose that cheerful attitude.”
Then it was time to go over for the night’s shows. The shuttle from the Motel was basically a golf cart, but less masculine and cool (my door closed by Velcro). It would have been less humiliating to arrive at the show dressed as Professor Dumbledore riding a Big Wheels truck. This was at 6 pm, which only meant that I had 6 hours until my set. After waiting for what felt like an eternity I went on and had a great set in front of an amazing crowd. Really amazing.
After the show a guy came up to me to tell me that he thought the Obama impression was really good and that he is an impressionist and is struggling to get an Obama. I very much wanted to go Kenny Powers on him and say, “Actually I don’t understand you. I’m a comedian, not trying to be the best at imitating,” which is a lie since I like doing impressions, but it would have been funny to me to say that.
The next morning was Waffle House time, where I ate a ton of food for $7 before getting on my flight back to Newark. it was very bumpy the whole way back and then I realized that we had a female pilot and co-pilot. I have never seen that before, but other than the emotional instability of the flight it was pretty much a normal flight.