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Road Comedy Recap: Killing and Getting the Death Penalty…

This weekend was Labor Day weekend, but in one of the great ironies of my comedy career in 2015 it was one of the few weekends I found myself working in a comedy club, instead of at a computer doing legal work.  I was in Timonium, Maryland at Magooby’s Joke House featuring for Rob Maher (he is the guest on this week’s podcast).  So, continuing one of the most revered traditions in all of stand up comedy, here is another road recap for you to enjoy:

Thursday – Small Crowd, Smaller Laughs: I arrived in Baltimore with The Wire theme song repeating in my brain and got on the light rail to Timonium. From there it was a .6 mile walk to the Red Roof Inn Plus, where I was staying. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived at the RRIP for a few reasons: one – I have stayed at some very pleasant, well-attended Red Roof Inns; two – this was a Red Roof Inn PLUS so it was probably better than that and three – I paid $159 (including taxes and fees) for three nights. So those are two reasons it could be good and one that could mean I would get raped and murdered by Waingro from Heat (an analogy I have made too many times to the various lodgings in my comedy career).

That night there was only one show. The crowd was light and for me, the laughs were lighter.  It was one of those crowds where way more people came up to me after to tell me variations of “really funny,” and I always want to reply, “Yeah, I know, but it would have been cool to laugh out loud during my set so that I didn’t get the universal sign for “not funny at all.”

After the show Rob (the headliner) and I were caught in a conversation with a 5’7″ busty blonde from Bel Air, MD who taught special ed kids (what’s not to like?).  Now on a quick biographical note, I dated a 5’7″ busty blonde from Bel Air, MD for three years so perhaps engaging in any conversation with her was an attempt to re-capture a pleasant moment from my past.  However, that lasted about 20 seconds. Why?  Because the woman at the club was kind of racist and might have been looking to cheat (two of my three rules with hooking up are 1) must not be racist and 2) must not be in a relationship – the third, which does not apply here is 3) must not be someone a friend dated). Well this woman was regaling Rob and I with stories of how she has relationships with women, that her husband was away for the weekend and how she gave her 1st BJ in 7th grade.  She had an accurate count of how many black men she had made out with in her life (“three”) and many other odd statements that might have made her super progressive during the Civil War, but felt uncomfortable in 2015.

After leaving the club and bisexual, racist version of my ex, I stopped by the gas station across from the RRIP, bought a pack of Soft Batch cookies and a 1% milk (an old road tradition of mine) and went to cross the street when I saw a young 20-something woman in a low cut tank top and shorts holding a sign that indicated that she was hitchhiking.  Needless to say that this empowered woman was just another in the quietly dignified group of “sex workers” in America who, despite a 99.9% correlation of being victims of sexual trauma and/or parental neglect, she seemed like the exception to the rule and just making sound life choices to augment her entrepreneurial life.  But since my room had two beds and I felt bad I asked the woman three quick questions…

Washington had Mt Vernon. Jefferson had Monticello. J-L Cauvin has the Red Roof Inn Plus

Friday – J-L is Back! (but still not selling much merchandise): Friday I spend about 5 hours in a Panera Bread reading (FYI – the best chocolate chip cookies available from a chain are Panera Bread’s. They are awesome).  Message to any men over the age of 60 in Timonium, MD – there is an oasis of senior citizen vagina in the Panera Bread.   I also tried to watch a movie through Amazon Prime in my room, but Red Roof Inn Plus has the WiFi equivalent of 1997 dial up.  I also noticed that there were a lot of ants in  my bathroom area so I did buy a can of Raid-Ant Killer and proceed to become the Bashar-Al Assad of the Timonium ant community.

Weapon of Ant Destruction

That night I had two strong shows, but sold almost no merchandise.  So instead I bought two packs of Soft Batch, one for each CD I sold. I would have given the local prostitute a pack, but she was not out on Friday night.  I then got home in time to catch an amazing fifth set between Rafael Nadal and an Italian dude named Fabio Fognini. In addition to upsetting Nadal, he also led to the greatest tweet in US Open history when I wrote “Fognini looks like the hot member of an ISIS boy band.”

Breaking hearts and bones as a member of ISIS' #1 boy band

Saturday – Kill on Show 1, Get the Death Penalty on Show 2: One of the things I have learned recently is that even as I get better at writing and performing my comedy I will still alienate some crowds, even when I am on my game. Generally it will be a combination of easily offended and mentally dumb that don’t get or like me.  Well Show 1 Saturday was NOT that crowd. I murdered as hard as I ever have with that crowd (video clips coming to the YouTube channel soon).  I really had a terrific set and felt great.  I had earlier watched Northwestern upset Stanford on TV (my brother went to NU so they are the college program I root for/follow) and had had another Panera chocolate chip cookie that day so with a great first show the day had the makings of perfection.  Then Show 2 occurred…

I felt good going into show 2. My friend Marie, from law school, showed up with her husband so I thought – “I am killing with strangers – now the crowd has people I know – THIS IS GONNA ROCK.”  What followed for the final show of the weekend was nothing short then capital punishment.  Awkward silences to the early litmus test jokes I have (early set jokes I use on the road that always kill so I can gauge the crowd) and then when discussing Latin women and working in the Bronx an audible “Wow… wow” from an unhappy women. That wouldn’t be so bad, except that was the only sound.  In 3 of the 4 shows before the laughter may have drowned the feigned shock of this woman, but the late Saturday crowd’s silence provided her with an audible spotlight.

The best thing about doing comedy long enough is that you really don’t feel badly after a tough set (they did lose it to a 5 minute bit about being blamed for other people’s shits in public bathrooms – not surprising).  I think they could tell I felt mentally superior to them, which may have hurt my chances of regaining their affection (which I never actually had).  Oh well, 3 of the 5 shows went great, one went so so and one was a bloodbath (with me as the sole victim).  But it is weird that in the same town, on the same night one crowd of residents can think you are the greatest thing ever and then the very next crowd hates your guts within ten minutes.  But that is how real life has been for me so at least my comedy appears to be true to myself. #Blessed

Off to Los Angeles next week. Stay tuned.

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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Weekend Comedy Recap: See Something, Say Something, Laugh at…

This weekend I was in Timonium, Maryland performing at Magooby’s Comedy Club.  I had performed a couple of weekends at the club’s older space a few years ago, but had not been booked since.  But then I worked a weekend in Syracuse a couple of months ago with the brother of Magooby’s owner, killed it and got him to vouch for me to work Magooby’s (side note – this is why for the rest of the year I am putting together a “Working With Relatives of Comedy Club Owners” tour).  But like all my comedy recap stories, the comedy club is just one player in an ensemble of experiences over the course of three days.  So here it is:

On Friday I arrived in Baltimore and then proceeded another hour via light rail and bus to Cockeysville, Maryland where my hotel, The Ramada Limited, was situated.  The first thing that bothered me was that the place was listed as a hotel, but had the motel-esque feature of all rooms accessible from the street (the lobby was just its own kiosk and not an entryway for access to any of the rooms).  In addition to that was the fact that within 2 blocks of the Ramada Limited (the Limited stands for your chances of success in life if you have to stay there) there was a Chick Fil-A, a Five Guys, an IHOP and a Dunkin Donuts.  The message from Cockeysville was simple: if a drifter looking for a quick score doesn’t kick in your door and murder you, the food options will do it to you.

The first bad omen on the trip was when I checked in to the ho/motel I was sent to one room that had not been cleaned. I came back and was sent to another room. That one had not been cleaned either (I could see the dead hooker’s body through the window).  Finally I got a third room that was clean. #Blessed

I only stay in 5 star hotels, if you add up the five 1 star reviews they receive.

FRIDAY SHOWS

Friday night’s shows were interesting.  The first crowd was dead for the emcee.  Now sometimes I can see an emcee doing poorly and say either “crowd is not warm yet or the emcee sucks.”  But in this case there were some solid jokes that were not even registering with the crowd.  My set had some good laughs and plenty of almost inexplicable dead spots (like language barrier level dead spots).  Here is how I basically ended my first set:

“Well, this was fun, though it was more like a TED talk than a stand up set.”

Crowd – nothing

“Oh Christ, I did it again – you guys probably don’t know what a TED talk is!  Now my set is turning into an Inception of references you don’t get – like layers of things you have never heard of on top of each other.”

Crowd – nothing

“Oh, Inception. Sorry – this tiny movie that made like $300 million a couple of years ago.  I referenced two movies in this set – Avatar and Inception and you’d think I mentioned some obscure foreign film.” 

See a lot of politicians say things like “The American people are smarter than that…” to discredit opponent’s positions.  And many comedians focus on being likable or pandering.  To quote Danny Glover, “I’m getting too old for this sh*t.”  I understand if someone like Dennis Miller can throw people off with all his references, but if an analogy to Avatar or Inception in a joke doesn’t register (when it registers laughs 98% of the time) then yes, crowd, it is you.  So I will treat you with disdain and condescension (even more than usual).   I have never watched a TED talk, but I know what the fu*k they are!  As another example unrelated to my jokes, I have never watched Citizen Kane from start to finish, but I wouldn’t stare like a vegetable if someone made a broad reference to it.  But maybe the crowd was just tired from a long work week. Or stupid. Or both.

The second show went much better Friday and I sold a couple of CDs.  It was a hard earned split.

SATURDAY SHOWS

Saturday’s shows were both solid.  The first show was probably my favorite crowd. I celebrated with a couple of gin and tonics and a burger (important note for a later part of this story – the last thing I ate until 8pm Sunday was the burger at about 1030pm) and then Rob Maher and Joe Robinson of the Rob and Joe Show arrived at the club.  They run a very good podcast and we communicate often on social media, but it was good to hang out in person.  Of course I woke up today to see that I had fallen 10 spots on the Stitcher Comedy Podcast Rankings, which I think is directly attributable to my association with them this weekend.

3 podcasting legends in one place!

The second show was probably only the third best set of the week for me (nothing was going to be worse than the first Friday show unless someone shot me while on stage) but I felt like I ended the weekend with a 3-1 record.  However, the most eventful part of the weekend was just getting started…

SUNDAY FUN DAY!

I could not sleep well Saturday night. I was getting up at 8am anyway to begin my journey on the Maryland bus system to get to Baltimore Penn Station, but what should have been 6 hours of relatively satisfied sleep was about 2 hours of crappy sleep.  My stomach was feeling a little queasy so I decided to skip the “executive continental breakfast,” as the Ramada Limited called it, and went to the bus.

During the 80 total minutes I was on the different buses I started to get progressively more tired and queasy feeling, though travelling through several neighborhoods in Baltimore I could not help but smile thinking about The Wire because everyone had the physique and accent of Prop Joe (and half the characters on The Wire – either the white-ish Baltimore accent of saying words like “Coach” as “Cauch” or the one I heard much more common, the blacker Baltimore accent of saying words like “two” as “tseu” (I hope that is clear and if it is not, I blame you)).

By the time I reached Baltimore Penn Station I was sweating profusely and my stomach was reacting like I had just chugged a gallon of Mexican tap water.  As I result I ending up spending so much time in a Baltimore Penn Station bathroom I nearly qualified for adverse possession.  Feeling better and barely making a train I had been 50 minutes early for I sat down in my seat and started to feel a different kind of queasy coming on.  Not to mention the sweating got worse to the point that it might have been making fellow travelers uncomfortable.  I went to the snack car to have a water and a Gatorade and to get a little more space.  About 25 minutes into that I had the sudden urge to vomit. So I shuffled my way to the bathroom (by this time my back was hurting and all my muscles felt weak) and let forth a furious puke fest.  Now I was just left with back pain and a headache, but my stomach was much better.  I then went back to my seat to see someone sitting in it (to be fair it was a crowded train and I had been gone for an hour) and my backpack missing.  Turns out someone had seen a sweaty dude with thick eyebrows leave a backpack and told the conductor!  I could finally cross “be suspected of being a terrorist”  off of my bucket list.  To show how out of it I was, the conductor had walked right by me with my backpack – as it was at the table right next to where I had been semi-comatose in the cafe car.

An artist's rendering of me on Amtrak yesterday

So there it is folks – comedy, hostility, illness and terror threat – just another weekend in comedy.

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!