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Road Comedy Recap: Impressions, Injuries and Deal Making in…

I have been in Los Angeles for the last five days and it was a trip befitting my social media hashtag #ComedyMogul.  I was making big media appearances, performing at stand up clubs and engineering deals with one of the biggest chain restaurants in the country.  It was one of my most productive trips to the west coast ever, even though every plural in the proceeding sentence should actually be a singular.  As I write this in an airport motel with plans soaring uncomfortably close every 10 minutes I am beaming with a sense of pride that I managed to crush it on the #1 podcast on iTunes, had a great set at a comedy club and filmed it and helped start a potential big deal between the Cheesecake Factory and a new craft beer, ALL while managing to earn exactly zero dollars while doing it all.  This is what Black Twitter would call “Peak J-L.” So here is the recap you have been waiting for.

Saturday – The Gentlemen’s Lodge

My flight out was pretty uneventful.  My legs felt good because I was in the Extra leg room seats (still unfair that in this day of trans bathrooms a tall man must pay extra to be in seats that fit) and I watched Daddy’s Home, a perfect airplane movie starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg (very funny throughout, not really sure why critics crushed it, but perfect way to pass 100 minutes on a cross country flight).  I also had a 2 hour conversation with the woman sitting next to me, who happened to work for digital advertising for YouTube. We had a fun chat about politics, millennials, digital ads (I told her the kinds that I am most likely to watch – so now she has a good sample study of comedy moguls’preferences) and how I can help my content get more views. She said I should aim to get to 5000 subscribers because then I have access to YouTube studios.  With just over 1500 subscribers at my current pace I asked her to reserve me some space in 2032 for me to record some killer content.

When we landed in LA I was greeted by my buddy Nick D. in his Mercedes and he drove me to my hotel in Studio City.  Thanks to Hotwire.com I got a great deal at a place named The Gentlemen’s Lodge.  I figured the great deal I got was based on the fact that in Los Angeles, a place called The Gentlemen’s Lodge would either be a far right enclave where conservatives hunted teenage boy and girl runaways for sexual sport or it would simply be an ironically named place where gay orgies were taking place.  Well, it turns out it was just a normal hotel, despite the presence of kids named Harper and Brooklyn roaming the hallways.  The rest of the day was uneventful as I prepared for a big next couple of days.

The Gentlemen's Lodge 4th floor (my floor) featured a quote from Bruce Springsteen's worst album for some reason

Sunday – Comedy Mogul Down!

I woke up at 4:45 am on Sunday because I never adjust well to the time zone change. But I felt energized and decided to get up and go for a run like I was the Rock sharing annoying Instagram workout pics.  Around 5:45 I started jogging on a quiet and empty road. Feeling good, like I might be able to churn out a couple of extra miles I made the mistake of relaxing and feeling a moment of happiness.  Just when those feelings infected me I tripped.  I rarely trip. It’s sort of weird. I will sometimes have my foot catch on something and not trip either because of balance or gait or weight distribution but I rarely trip.  Well, about ten years of never trips caught up in one epic fall.  When I hit the ground I scraped my palms, busted open one of my knuckles, busted my knee wide open (it still has not scabbed yet 4 days later) and bruised (or worse) my ribs.  I don’t even understand how I could have fallen only once and done that much damage to so many different body parts, but at my height maybe it’s like falling from a 2nd story window.  Whatever the case I was basically a gimpy invalid the rest of the trip. But that didn’t stop me from heading to Flappers in Burbank that night.

My name in lights
Later in the month, Flappers will be headlining a comedian eve more relevant than me: Jake The Snake Roberts, a 1980s wrestler

Despite performing at 1:20 am east coast time I had a great set closing the side room at the club.  Here is a quick clip of my new material about my dog Cookie. Enjoy:

Monday –  Cage, Crushing Carolla & Cheesecake 

Monday was celebrity day for me.  When I limped to the Starbucks across the street from TGL I was on line next to the actor who plays Luke Cage (co-star of Netflix’ Jessica Jones and the start of his own Netflix series this Fall).  We both played it cool, which was refreshing – just getting treated like a regular Starbucks customer and not a Comedy Mogul.

That afternoon I headed to Carolla Studios and had a great appearance (best one of the 6 I have made).  You can listen to the episode here and also watch my new Carolla sketch video I made for the show:

But the biggest thing I did had nothing to do with comedy.  Ryan is the manager at the Pasadena Cheesecake Factory and a big fan of The Adam Carolla Show.  My friend’s girlfriend is a waitress there and when Ryan found out last year that I was the guy that did the impressions on Carolla I began to see my bills shrink exponentially at the Cheesecake Factory.  As the second biggest regular celebrity at the Pasadena Factory (Terry Crews currently holds the #1 spot) I wanted to give back and show my appreciation for being treated so well.  And it turns out that a few hours before I went on the air I learned that Ryan was hoping to get Adam Carolla’s new craft beer into the Pasadena Factory (yes I am aware that calling The Cheesecake Factory, “The Factory,” is hugely douchey).  So on air I brought up the idea of Adam getting his Endless Rant IPA into the PCF and the idea was a hit with him and later his producers when I connected them to Ryan.  So now in addition to #ComedyMogul I am also a budding #CheesecakeMogul.  I have never read Trump’s The Art of the Deal, but I am pretty sure I just wrote the sequel in Pasadena.

Salted caramel cheesecake - one of my 2 free pieces of cheesecake during the week

Tuesday & Wednesday – Sun, More Cheesecake & 2 Nicks

Tuesday was the only full day I had to soak up some Sun because, like The Nothing in The Neverending Story, dark cluds metaphorically and literally follow me.  After getting a little darker I then headed back to the Cheesecake Factory to get more free food and to soak up Ryan’s praise since he had now heard the deal get sealed on air, along with his name said on the air.  I then ended the evening watching CNN in bed because I was too sleep to check out some LA shows. I fell asleep at 9:45pm local #RockStarLife

Wednesday was uneventful – met up with my buddy Nick Cobb and met his infant daughter (I asked her if she could put in a good word with me at MTV2) and completed my trip goal of hanging with only two different friends in LA and having them both be named Nick. Now I am about to go to sleep in my Super 8 Motel with jets lodly flying overhead.  Can’t wait to get back to NYC and earn some money doing legal work, but to be fair this was as good an unpaid trip as I could hope to have.  Hoping some good things materialize in the next few weeks, but hopefully they don’t pay.  #KingOfAllUnpaidMedia

The view from my airport motel. #Blessed #HumbleBrag #WaingroFromHeatStayedHere

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes and/or STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe for free!

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Lebron, Nipples and Shows: LA Comedy Journal

This week I have been in Los Angeles, with the main purpose of my visit being my second appearance on The Adam Carolla Show, which you can listen to here.  The recording went great and I think ensured me a third appearance (at which point I will refer to myself as a show “regular,” which although a stretch, will certainly be more true than the 1.5 million people walking around LA with either “activist” and/or “producer” on their business cards.  Among the perks of the show were the new vending machine that is completely free sitting in the studio.  Leaving the studio I did the classy thing and only took one bag of Famous Amos Cookies, instead of taking 9 bags of cookies, 14 bags of various candies and some gum, like I wanted to.  But there has been so much more to this LA trip than just crushing another appearance on the Carolla Show (#grinding #blessed #thankful).  So here are some of the highlights:

Los Angeles’ Confused Relationship with Lebron James

On Sunday evening I watch Game 2 of the NBA Finals at a sports bar.  My friend Nick and I were rooting for Lebron, which earned us numerous scornful stares, which I found odd given the fact that half of this town are people who left their hometowns behind to pursue the noble professions of acting and fellatio.  But fast forward to Tuesday night for Game 3 at a different sports bar that was dominated by Miami Heat fans (they even had jerseys to prove that they have been die hard fans for at least 4 years) and the reaction was completely different.  Being that this town feels like it is full of front running ass-kissers (imagine if the NYC comedy community ran an entire city) this felt more appropriate than the hostile reaction Lebron support got on Sunday.  Of course I eventually felt uncomfortable supporting the Heat when with 4 minutes left and the Heat  down 18, Rashard Lewis hit a 3 pointer, cutting the Spurs insurmountable lead to 15 points.  And then I saw a 13 year old Latin kid (I would guess Puerto Rican) ,who did not weigh on the triple digit side of 100 pounds pump his fist, mean mug a table of chubby Mexican dudes who were rooting respectfully for the Spurs, and say “what the fu*k you gotta say now you fu*king fa*gots!?”  Now they did not hear him, but I did… and so did this kid’s proud family members.  The response?  Nothing.  Obviously there was an undertone of Latin-on-Latin hate (Puerto Ricans rank 2nd on the Latino on Latino rankings, trailing only Cubans, but far outranking Mexicans), but I thought to myself “What would have happened if I called a group of strangers “fu*king fa*gots” at 13 in front of my family.  My guess is my parents would have stabbed me to death in shame before the table of Mexicans could do it.  But I wish this young man in his future as a low ranking member of the Latin Kings or as a high ranking member of a fast food management team in a decade.

Epidemic of Male Nipples at LA Gyms

So after a few days of eating terribly (the unlimited chips and cookies on a six hour flight are a gateway drug) I went to the gym today, a nearby 24 Hour Fitness.  And boy did it deliver.  Over 50% of the people had tattoos, including several guys that look like Harry Potter.  A majority of the women had ink, but the thing I noticed most of all, besides the worst pec size-to leg size ration I have seen in a good while, was the proliferation of male nipples.  Now I am not one of these tools that thinks women should be allowed to walk around topless (my apologies to Bruce Willis’ oddly big-breasted son who has been campaigning hard for this), but it makes me think that maybe men should do some covering up.  I would actually find it less weird for a dude to be working out shirtless than with a tank top that only seems to be beating the gym rule of “must wear shirt” on a technicality. Congrats sirs, 4 millimeters of each shoulder and your lowest 2 abs are covered by your “shirt.”  Other than seeing two women walking around with gallon jugs of water (is this a new cause? to prove that women can be as douchey as men in a gym?), the proliferation of male nipple was the weirdest trend I saw in the LA gym.

Fun Shows ad Reunions with NYC Comedians

It is amazing the mental change that can occur when doing unpaid bar shows 3,000 miles from home.  Other than been paid in a substance that I have no desire to use my four shows this week are all unpaid (#Grateful #blessed #Grinding #thankful).  Normally I would just watch TV or hang out with buddies in town, but being in a different city in front of different people, has a natural rejuvenating effect that motivates one to get on stage and, at least in my case, work on newer material.  I have also seen enough familiar faces to add a touch of comfort to the experience.  So I guess what I am saying  is when I get back to NYC… I will return to my normal level of unmotivated.  #Grinding

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes and/or STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe for free!

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Los Angeles Journal Part 2: The Carolla Show Recap

There are multiple ways to view most events, where from one perspective something plays out one way, but from a different perspective (either visually, mentally, or emotionally) it can seem to be a completely different result.  My appearance on The Adam Carolla Show last Wednesday (aired on Thursday) could be one of those situations.  As I discussed with Nick Dopuch (my friend and chauffeur for my three days in LA) here is the neutral way to describe what led me on to that show: Step 1: I wrote a web series, which required both a fund raising campaign and out of pocket costs to get made, with the intention of showcasing my impressions and my voice within comedy.  Step two was to find a way to get the series publicity because 100% of the comedy media sources were unwilling to promote the series because the only thing more important to these sites and their creators than web clicks (which my videos are reliable for) is access to celebrities, several of whom are targets in the series.  Step three was a well timed tweet to Adam Carolla who actually watched and enjoyed the video and had his producer play it on the air. Step 4 was a dialogue with the show producer about making a new video specifically for the show. Step 5 was to write, cast and make the new video on my own dime within a week.  Step 6 was to be offered a guest spot on the show to release the video and fly myself out to Los Angeles. Step 7 was to do the best I could on the show.  And then step 8 was hopefully pick up lots of new traffic and fans and (long shot) begin a relationship with the show.  Right now, the plan was executed perfectly and led to exactly zero dollars (at least in the short term).   As Nick and I said in his car after my appearance, what I had just pulled off was BEST CASE SCENARIO for a comedian with no management and no industry connections.  To paraphrase Scarface, all I have in this world is my comedy and my balls and I don’t break them for no one.  (for the record, the other way to look at this scenario is like my Mother or millions of other rational human beings and ask “So wait, you are not getting paid?”)

But let’s break down the appearance, which meant more to me and has done more for me than my appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson six years ago (landmarks in my comedy career are like Senate elections):

I was starting to feel sick the day of the show (it is now full blown bronchitis), which was probably a combo of a 1 am Greyhound trip from Syracuse to NYC on Sunday morning, followed by a six hour early morning flight to LA two days later and the stress of what I knew was an important opportunity for me.  About three hours before the show I almost puked (from nerves, not sickness).  The fact is when you are not in the chosen class of comedians where industry is fawning for whatever myriad of criteria they use, chances to expand your fan base in a big way are few.  So even though I did not know what I could gain from a successful appearance I also knew that opportunities like this are not frequent so I had to make the most of it.

When I arrived at the studio about 15 minutes before they told me to be there I was greeted by a small woman who had never heard of Adam Carolla.  The address number I wanted was 629, but I had a mental slip and went to 621. Now that my ride had left the neighborhood I panicked and thought what if I had the whole address wrong?  I have 15 minutes to get where I needed to be and had no idea how far I was.  Then an older gentleman popped his head out of another room and said “Carolla? Two buildings down.”  Crisis averted.

When I walked in to the Adam Carolla Studio building I was blown away. First I was meeting all these behind the scenes characters from the show and putting faces to names and jokes.  I have been listening to the show for 4 years, 5 days a week so at least to me it was very cool.  And then there was the studio itself.  It was like a shrine/fan room/man cave of the show.  Not so much a tribute to Adam, but rather a collection of things (probably made by fans who like the show) and tons of stuff Carolla likes.  And, although not politically in tune with Carolla, his humor and his “fu*k the industry – I will run my comedy business how I see fit” are things I appreciate and respect (and foolishly emulate since I do not have hundreds of thousands of fans).

I proceeded to get buzzed off of Carolla’s signature drink, Mangria, before the show to calm my nerves and then it was showtime.  I threw in a few quips, got to do impressions of President Obama, Louis CK, Biggie, Dane Cook and JB Smoove.  I got Adam to laugh a few times, which was a real accomplishment, and got compliments from the show’s staff (maybe they do that for everyone but I think they meant it).  They also played my new video Adam Carolla vs The Patent Troll in its entirety on the air.  In other words I really felt like I stuck the landing.  Afterwards, while waiting by myself in front of a Del Taco by myself waiting for Nick to pick me up I almost started turning into Tom Hanks at the end of Captain Phillips, but I kept my composure.

"Huh? What? Yes I did a good job on the podcast!"

More than anything I have done in comedy this was the most satisfying thing I have accomplished in 11 years.  Because it was all me.  It offered me a day or two of validation for the way I have approached comedy and it is all attributable to me. This may sound conceited or selfish, but for all the effort and sacrifice I have made to build my own life raft (Carolla calls his a pirate ship, but given the relative size of my operation, as well as my Haitian father, I feel life raft is a more apt analogy), I earned a chance to say for a night, like Cerano in Major League, “fu*k you comedy business… I do it myself.”

But like anything in comedy, there always seems a price to pay.  And not only did my bronchitis get worse, but randomly checking my bank balance the next day I saw that my bank account was short what it should have been because a check from a previous gig had just bounced.  If anyone has read the book 11/22/1963 by Stephen King, it is about someone changing the course of history, but the bigger the event, the more impediments pop up to prevent change to that event.  It felt sort of like that “Congrats on working your way into an opportunity not usually provided to people in your position. Hope you don’t mind us taxing you for the chance.”

But not even that could make the trip any less than a big success.  I picked up 100 YouTube subscribers, 50 Twitter followers and a ton of new podcast subscribers.  And sadly, in comedy this counts as currency.  It also validated my work to a large pool of people that I think will also appreciate my work.  Now all I need to do is figure out how to appear on The Adam Carolla Show 225 times a year and I will be a star by this time next year. Check the episode HERE (or on iTunes)

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on PodomaticiTunes and NOW on STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free!

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Los Angeles Journal Part I

Well I am writing this post from LA and as expected the weather is beautiful.  Not that 80 and Sunny that would have Cross Fit Brosephs walking around shirtless with Oakley shades and 5 o’clock shadow kind of weather, but that 60 with a slight breeze that accommodates my relative lack of fitness and makes me feel good (60 and a breeze is the out of shape man’s 80 & sunny).  Tonight is a huge opportunity for me as I will be a guest on the Adam Carolla Show.  It feels particularly good because it is an opportunity I created 100% on my own.  No manager, no PR, no agent, no connection – just a good web series and a timely tweet led to this.  I don’t know if it will be the launching pad for anything beyond a bump in traffic for my various media, but it sure beats watching Amazon Prime (Netflix is for successful comedians) in my apartment this week. So here’s your recap up to this point:

On my flight yesterday I watched The Croods (it was free because we were 90 minutes delayed) and it sucked.  Don’t know how the Academy missed nominated Monsters University this year, clearly the best animated movie of the year, but nominated The Croods, which had a few moments of quality, but was generally a boring flick.  Other highlights from the flight were the matching bruises on my knees from being buried into the seat in front of me.

Aside – why as a tall person (#blessed) do I need to pay extra money for extra leg room?  I understand fat people (#unblessed) having to pay for two seats because there is some element of personal blame with that, but why do I, bearing Evolution-favored traits, have to suffer in seats made for Asian infants?  I am thinking of challenging it under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  My slogan: I’m so abled, it is like I am disabled.

Other highlights on the flight were a teenager, who I believe may have really been autistic had a therapy dog with him. Walking around. The thing was only slightly smaller than a Labrador.  I don’t mean to be uncaring, but if you need a big ass dog to fly maybe you shouldn’t fly?  Though the dog was well behaved (the dog never pooped on the plane, but someone near me dropped a tremendous fart halfway through the flight).

When I arrived in LA my friend Nick D. picked me up and I will present the rest of my first day in LA in a series of bullet points (#Lazy):

  • We ate at In n Out Burger.  It is cheap and solid, but still wildly overrated.  Half a step above Wendy’s.
  • I noticed that Carolla’s criticism of traffic cops in LA is not exaggerated.  Nick and his friend Melody had fear of tickets’/towing (even when the signs clearly indicate that they are parked in a correct spot) the way a field slave feared the master in antebellum south.  I am like their northern cousin going “you can park there – look at the sign,” to which they reply “SHUSH Traffic cop master gonna hear you – Master don’t care – he will tow your car away without thinking and he’ll arrest your ass just for talking back. I didn’t want to see this movie anyways.”
  • Did a show at a hostel (see – I traveled 3000 miles to bang out another hostel show #blessed) – it was fun and I like that people I have never met know me from my work.  I am changing my intro on stage from “You’ve seen him on Craig Ferguson…” to “This motherfu*ker’s name rings out in the comedy street, ya heard? J-L Cauvin!”  Granted the audience was tiny, but still felt good. And the hostels in Santa Monica are much less roachy/burglary-y/dirty than NYC.
  • Did some shopping this morning at a local grocery store.  LA is a major city, but because of its sprawl they have suburban size grocery stores!  I don’t have to bang my shoulders on hanging items like I am Dwight Howard in the NYC thin-aisled supermarkets.  I can feel like I am in a city, but get the jumbo-sized aisles to accommodate my defensive lineman frame (retired).

Well, off to see a movie, vomit and then hopefully kill it on Carolla’s show.  Either way I will be at the Cheesecake Factory after. Salmon and 1 piece of cheesecake if it goes well.  4 pieces of cheesecake and 4 gin and tonics if it goes poorly.  Stay tuned.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on PodomaticiTunes and NOW on STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free!

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Good J-L Hunting

A recent breakdown of my finances coupled with the plate-tectonic speed of my comedy career have brought me to the conclusion that I will have to re-enter the workforce at some point towards the end of 2010.  With this dreadful idea comes several dilemmas:

  1. Do I embark on a new career?  If so would that be tantamount to giving up on a comedy career if I have to revert back to serving two masters?
  2. Do I just take a regular job while lying to the people looking to hire me when I should just be telling them, “Yeah, there are going to be a lot of sick and personal days in my future and a lot of bringer shows in yours.”
  3. Do I dare touch the legal profession with a ten foot pole?

The solution I have come up with is so good it is as if a Hollywood screenwriter came up with it.  What I will do is move out west and take a job as a janitor at a law school in Los Angeles.  At night in between open mics at clubs, coffee shops and dog yoga studios I will write out brilliant answers to questions posed on blackboards.  This of course will not stem from my legal analysis, which is quite pedestrian, but rather, from the fact that I have already taken the classes for which I am writing answers. 

Broaun vuhses -how do you say - buhd uf educacion?
Broaun vuhses -how do you say - buhd uf educacion?

I will also work on my French accent and go by an alias, like Jean-Louis.  As the law students, half of whom want to be screenwriters and actors anyway, get wind of my story I will team up with one, preferably with a Jewish name and a father and/or uncle high up at a studio to put together Good J-L Hunting.  After all, Good Will Hunting is 12 years old, which in today’s culture seems almost over-ripe for a re-make.

After the movie grosses $80 million or so, thanks in part to the casting of Matt Damon in the role of the shrink that tells me to pursue my dream, I will be able to headline clubs around the country and field many offers for movie roles. 

I’m glad I am starting to think realistically about my comedy career now.  Now I just need to learn how to mop.