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Tea Party Comedy Show

This weekend I was featuring at Magooby’s Joke House in the greater Baltimore area.  I emphasize “greater” and “area” because if you are thinking an urban crowd (a/k/a Omar, Bodie and the rest of the cast of The Wire) would show up you would be mistaken.  There were four shows.  The two shows Saturday were my kind of crowd and I was very happy with my sets.  But Friday offered many lessons in comedy and life, which is why I will share those with you now.

Season 2 of The Wire was the closest thing the Friday 830 pm show had in common with pop culture's best Baltimore reference - and it was not close

Friday April 9, 2010 – 830 pm Show

First show demographics  2.5 people of color, including myself (.5), 160 white people.  50% of the crowd was over the age of 48.  This would not damn me because I have been pleasantly surprised by crowds with not so different stats before, but this crowd would be an animal that I have never had before.  If the show were a children’s book it would be called “Where’s Negro?”

My second bit of the night was this:

So Sandra Bullock’s husband cheated on her.  Let’s just be honest – if you marry a tattooed man-whore and he goes out and sleeps with a bunch of whores that have tattoos, can you really claim to be surprised?  (Laughter) And come one Sandra – 46, no tits and expects to keep a man in Hollywood? (Silence with start of murmuring)  How arrogant Sandra!  You obviously made a deal with the Devil to win an Oscar of Meryl Streep and now it’s time to pay the price. (Silence broken by a couple of boos).

My girlfriend had warned me about making any jokes that got near the star of The Blind Side, which is treated by white people in Maryland with the same reverence that Hoosiers is treated with by rural basketball players in Indiana.  But one of the decisions I made with these shows this weekend was that I was going to do my best to not compromise a lot on the road.  I have the material to do NYC rooms and road rooms, but who I am as a comic is closer to the NYC material and I need to make crowds meet me a little bit more so at least my reputation will start to be based on who I really am as a comic and not just on an ability to be Jay Leno-ish one night and then more personal and edgy when I feel safer doing so.  But this crowd obviously loved Sandra Bullock because she saved a big black dude from eternal damnation, etc.

They probably would hate my short film, The Blind Side 2:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_oK6EPc6QA

My 5th bit of the night:

I took Megabus here tonight… I can’t take Greyhound anymore because it is like travelling with Hollywood celebrities – Hey there’s Precious (HUGE LAUGHTER), there’s a creature from Avatar and there’s that dude from that old movie Mask (laughter almost completely dies).

My comedy can sometimes be conservative, but it does not necessarily mean I want the support of fringe conservatives.  Another parallel is when I watch Jim Norton perform comedy.  I think the guys is absolutely brilliant, but he is also dirty, which draws a lot of fans to him that I don’t like.  He may tell a joke involving the words “pussy” and “cock,” but it is also brilliant comedy in there.  Some of his fans get it and some of his fans I think just get off on the usage of the words “pussy” and “cock.”  I feel the same way about some of my jokes that maybe take more conservative angles on abortion or entertainment or religion.  I want comedy fans to appreciate the comedy and thought in the joke, not necessarily to take it as an endorsement or a statement for a certain group.  Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t, so the real point is to not bring all your agendas to the show and just laugh if it is funny.

Like the seam of her pants, Precious split a clear line between the two Friday crowds.

However, when I heard the all white crowd almost cackle at the Precious reference what I heard was, “Yeah, that fat black bitch is gross.” Which of course, she is but that is not the point.  This crowd was so sensitive to a millionaire white lady who helped an exaggeratedly helpless black man, but not to an impoverished obese black teenager.  You laugh at both or you laugh at neither in my book.

My final exchange of the evening:

I know you may not like this, but I’m not being political when I say I like Obama-

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Hey – great I just turned the show into a Tea Party rally –

a few laughs and some claps

Your closing act – Sarah Palin (joking)

Applause Break

I eventually got to my Obama bit and it went over well enough, but I was startled to be what amounted to a Tea Party rally.  I genuinely don’t understand people who are Sarah Palin fans.  I understand (diminishing every day), but disagree with many Republicans, but Tea Party people are from another planet to me.  Booing Obama, but an applause break for Sarah Palin, who is that magical combination of stupid and increasingly smug/arrogant the more money that gets thrown in her face for “speaking” engagements.  But that also explained why my comedy went over so poorly at that first show.  I was performing for a Tea Party.  Because I like the owner of Magoobys and enjoy playing there I will not connect the dots, but if you have read my blog I think you know what other “R’s” I associate with Tea Partiers besides Republican.

I expect the Teap Party audience to bring their guns next time.

Oddly enough on the 1030 pm show that same night – the Precious joke got near silence because about half the crowd was black.  That did not anger me as much, but it still angered me a lot because the joke is funny and the same way the Tea Party crowd let their cruel humor run rampant on Precious, the second crowd decided, as if they were a liberal arts college in the northeast, that they would let me know how attuned to the plight of poor and sad people they are and would not laugh.  The second crowd was overall 100 times better than the first crowd, so one annoyance did not break an otherwise good show and good crowd, but I still thought I should mention it lest a Tea Party Comedy member read the blog and comment, “See he’s letting all the African-American Nig-ers get off without any complaint.”

Overall it was a fun weekend at Magoobys (3 out of 4 shows a success – previous lessons of shaking off bad shows quickly came in handy), but just another reason for me to hate the Tea Party.  Before it was just business, but now… it’s personal.

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Conan & Obama – Hard Work, Nice Guys &…

It was a tough week for professional comedians and half black men, but it was also a tough week for Conan O’Brien and Barack Obama.  Conan O’Brien’s dignified speech towards the end of The Tonight Show was very impressive and inspirational, but at the same time felt like a scolding for me.  He said not to be cynical (too late) and that nice people who work hard do have good things happen to them (apparently he missed the Cohen Brothers’ “A Serious Man”, and the bringer system of NYC comedy clubs).  I feel like the motto this week should have been “Be Careful What You Wish For” for two of America’s most prominent public figures.
See you on Fox Conan.

In The Untouchables, Robert DeNiro’s Al Capone said to a reporter, “We have a saying in my neighborhood, ‘you get a lot further with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word.'”  Despite its cynical undertone, Conan and Obama would be wise to consider it (metaphorically, at least in Conan’s case) from here on out.

Here are a couple of other lessons I think they could learn:

1) Young People Can Get You To The Top, But Cannot Keep You There

Obama – all the new voters, especially in the young and African-American communities, (as I stated when he was inaugurated) were excited about Obama the idea and Obama the fad, but not enough were interested in Obama the policy maker or Obama the executive.  Here is an analogy – when Jay Z or Green Day come out with an album it sells well in the first week, but then tails off greatly because of iTunes and an overzealous anticipation of that first week.  However, if you want to sell a lot of albums today you want someone like Susan Boyle – someone who benefits from the media saturation of today, but whose base is old school and will support their artist in a substantial way that lasts longer and in a more traditional way (i.e. massive CD purchases).  Obama played the new technology in a great way making him a superstar, but a lot of his supporters will not support the old, boring white (albeit inspiring to some people) Susan Boyle’s who make the laws year after year (midterm elections).  They are just waiting for 2012 when the new metaphorical Obama album drops.  And by then he will have lost Congress and they’ll be complaining about his ineffectiveness.  See, Republicans are not to blame for all of Obama’s problems.  Just most.

She's not cool, she's not pretty, but no one has been more valuable to a record label in the last year.

Conan – his fans woke up when it was too late.  In the end the folks that eat up the road comics’ jokes on GPS navigation systems, erectile dysfunction and how odd white people can be to black people (and vice versa) have decided they want the safe guy back.  And like Congressional Republicans, Jay Leno had no interest in what was right and only interested in getting (more of) his. 

2) Getting Tough Works

Obama – I hope he stops his moderate, reach across the aisle rope-a-dope and lives up to his recent speech in Ohio.   He will help himself and his country in the long run if he digs in and says enough is enough.  The word moderate has to have an objective value, which it does not for Republicans.  Instead, when Republicans hurl the term “moderate” they really mean, “We will prop up the Glen Becks, Sarah Palins and Tea Parties, pretending they speak for mainstream Republicans, even though we really believe they are far-right crazies, but then we will claim ‘the middle,’ by comparison, which is actually very right of center.  We will then bash the president for not moving halfway between rational and batsh*t crazy.”  But he should also get tough with the far left morons who are calling him George W. Obama.  They still need to live in the real world and not in a progressive utopia that is impossible with the Internet, 24 Hour News and the Constitution.

A tad much progressives

Conan – It may have seemed cynical or mean-spirited, but dropping the hammer on NBC was great (and funny)television.  He may not want to, but I think becoming the anti-hero of late night television would be great.

3) If all else fails, be a little cynical.

They both work in a country where a guy named The Situation may have more enduring popularity than either of  them.

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Stuff I’ve Been Watching

In keeping with today’s cultural trend I will provide some random and short quips today on television (I have been watching more because the book I am reading on Robert Oppenheimer is sort of heavy – side note – is it possible that if Mel Gibson were sober he might have meant to say “Jews End All The Wars” – based on how many were involved with creating the Atomic Bomb?):

I have seen documentaries on Rwandan genocide that made me laugh more than the debut of Saturday Night Live.  Lorne Michaels needs more black friends because maybe he is looking for their permission to fire Keenan Thompson.  That guy has taken more jobs from deserving black people than segregation and Jim Crow.

Fred Armisen does such a bad Obama impression that Secret Service should arrest him.

Did Lorne Michaels know that these men were ruining comedy and if so, when did he know it?
Did Lorne Michaels know that these men were ruining comedy and if so, when did he know it?

Bill Hader of SNL is extremely funny.  His Kieth Morrison alone almost makes watching SNL worth it.

Friday Night Lights is a great show (re-joined Netflix to catch up on some shows that I have heard are great – Breaking Bad is on the list).  So of course it has terrible ratings.   it is odd to me that a show featuring good looking young people and football could not be a success.  It is as if America is collectively saying – give us shallow things, but don’t you dare deliver them to us in anything that could be called high quality.

If Modern Family can keep up the pace from its pilot then it will be the best comedy on television not named Eastbound & Down.

I watched a 5 part mini series on Sundance called Brick City, on Corey Booker and his attempt to change Newark, NJ.  I am now working on a Corey Booker impression and once I have perfected it one of two things will happen: Corey Booker will not get re-elected and will fade into obscurity, or he will gain an even higher national profile and then Fred Armisen will do an impression of Corey Booker that is so bad, it will make his Obama look good.

Part 2 of my comedy tour entitled: Impersonating Light Skinned and/or Half Black Politicians. that's right Harold Ford Jr - you're next!
Part 2 of my comedy tour entitled: Impersonating Light Skinned and/or Half Black Politicians. that's right Harold Ford Jr - you're next!

The Cleveland Show was not good.

Family Guy premier was great.

Glee started strong, but I think it will fade, only bolstered by religious-like support from women and gays.

Cougar Town – see Glee, but eliminate the started strong part.  And the term Cougar is really just a brilliant re-branding of “she’s kind of old, but yeah, I’d probably fu-k her?”

I have only seen 4 episodes of Jay Leno’s show, but only Jim Norton stood out to me as exceptional.

Bored To Death, Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm provide a nice HBO Sunday night.

At 4 pm, if not at the gym or sitting at my desk staring at the wall, I prefer Ellen to Oprah.

On Saturday will be the 2 year anniversary of my appearance on Craig Ferguson (my national television debut).  Since then, based on travel expenses, web expenses and gigs I have made about -$450 dollars from comedy.   My comedy career feels like the final third of a Behind The Music special; the downfall part, but without the awesome rise and hedonism that precedes it.

Voice of Behind The Music narrator: October 3, 2007 seemed like comedy was working out, but little did J-L know that was all about to change.  Next after commercial.
Voice of Behind The Music narrator: October 3, 2007 seemed like comedy was working out, but little did J-L know that was all about to change. Next after commercial.
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Inside My Acting Studio

Tonight I begin taking an acting class.  I figure if I can expand my skill set beyond stand up and add acting to my entertainment resume I will double my chance of exposure and “making it” to 1 in 500,000.   Getting into comedic acting seems to be like getting into  SUV manufacturing in Detroit.   Great dramas are not really being made either.  The Sopranos, The Wire and The West Wing have given way Jay Leno’s Comedy Hour on NBC and the largest collection of stupid, unrealistic crime shows ever compiled known as CBS. 

CSI: Crummy Sh*t for Idiots - NOW CUE THE WHO!!!!!!
CSI: Crummy Sh*t for Idiots - NOW CUE THE WHO!!!!!!

So, with the American people and television executives conspiring to produce cheap, thoughtless entertainment I asked the acting coach one question: Can You make Me A Reality Television Star?

She responded with many more questions for me:

Are you an abrasive black woman?  No.

Are you a wealthy, bitchy white woman between the age of 16 and 54? No.

Can you sing? No.

Are you morbidly obese?  Not yet.

Are you incredibly stupid? No.

Can you dance?  Not really.

Can you cook? No.

Are you flamingly gay and good at knitting? No and no.

Are you in a terrible relationship and feel like doing a lot of travelling? Nope.

Are you poor and in need of a new home?  Not yet.

Have you appeared in any sex videos or done anything to completely shame your family? Not to my knowledge.

Do you have a ton of kids and are willing to be a terrible and abusive parent by putting their lives in front of a camera for a voyeuristic and increasingly stupid American people? No and no.

Well then it looks like you better hope that stand up comedy works out for you. 

Welcome to the reality show douchebag track.
Welcome to the reality show douchebag track.
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Orlando Magic

Just got back from Orlando (wedding and a trip to Universal Studios).  A few things I learned and confirmed this weekend.

JetBlue is a fantastic airline.  The leg room, unlimited snacks and television are all great.  The old European bitch sitting near me with her poodle was the only drawback.  She got into it with a flight attendant about placing the dog underneath the seat (it was a small one), to which she proclaimed, “I travel to Europe all the time with the dog,” as if the flight attendant was supposed to reply, “Oh, you travel often… and to EUROPE, welllllll I did not know – excuse me and my provincial sensibilities.”  People should not be able to bring dogs onto an airplane unless they are blind.   At one point, as the dog started whimpering I almost shouted, “Somebody get these motherfu-kin’ dogs off my motherfu-kin’ plane.”

In the words of Harrison Ford, "Get off my plane."
In the words of Harrison Ford, "Get off my plane."

Caricature drawings are interesting experiences.  I had one drawn of me at Universal Studios.  As people walk by you know they are judging.  They are saying one of two things:

  1. Damn!  – that dude is fu-ked up looking and she is drawing all of it or
  2. That artist sucks and that dude sitting right there is getting ripped off.

Fortunately I think it came out well (resembling me, but funnier looking).  However, it is the first time I feel like instead of Obama-Adam Sandler my combo has come out to look like Billy Zane mixed with Milton Berle.  Enjoy:

Billy Zane's skull, Milton Berle's mouth and Jay Leno's chin
Billy Zane's skull, Milton Berle's mouth and Jay Leno's chin

 

So this week has a lot of promise.  Tonight is my first trip to Yankee stadium and the season finale of 24 (can it possibly suck any more?), Tuesday more Laker basketball to hate and The American Idol finals to enjoy (Lambert has been the star all season and must win) and then Thursday is Terminator Salvation.  Stay tuned. Or stay whatever it is when you read stuff.