Road Comedy Recap: Lofty Heights in a DC Basement

This weekend, 21 years after the first month I went to my first open mic in Washington, DC to begin one of the most frustrating experiences of my life, I returned to the nation’s capital for four shows at the DC Comedy Loft (ironically enough across the street from one of the first places I ever performed at).  There was classy Amtrak travel, podcasting that aged horribly 8 hours later when President Biden took the debate stage, 4 great shows in front of 3 great crowds and an 11 person meeting, 2 meals at the Cheesecake Factory, a reunion from my days as a prosecutor in the Bronx and a tremendous amount of sweat.  So let’s get into this epic!

Thursday Tired Thursday

I woke up at 5am for no reason Thursday so I went and worked out in my building, making it one consecutive days of exercise before I caught the 9:15am Acela from Newark to DC. The shows were Friday & Saturday, but a fan turned friend has a podcast called Political Shadings that he wanted me to be an in studio guest for.  And when he said, “we can get you a hotel for the night” I thought, perfect! One of my pet peeves about road comedy is arriving in a city after a day of travel and having to perform that night.  This would allow me to settle in, have dinner with a buddy and relax.  Except after the podcast (which was recorded less than a day before the Biden-Trump debate (my take is hilariously bad in hindsight) and the overruling of Chevron by the Supreme Court (solid work by me) I agreed to co-host a live zoom event with Pete Dominick, which would leave me depressed (because of President Biden) and exhausted (I went to bed at 1am). So much for a relaxing day before showtime.

Friday: Moving Day

On Friday I first woke up at 3:30am. That sucked, but since 2020 my brain has been permanently wired it seems so good sleep only really comes with complete exhaustion. I fell back asleep and went downstairs for the Residence Inn complimentary breakfast.  Shout out to Political Shadings (the episode should be available Monday – definitely listen) for the great hotel room and breakfast.  And, just to let you know why I am a Hampton Inn type hotel guy.  I am usually not a fan of the super upscale places. It’s like, “for the privilege of paying triple what you need to for a hotel room, we will also charge you for meals, internet, the gym and eye contact.” I like the “clean room, free Internet, free breakfast” places.  I will highlight that as part of my “man of the people” marketing for my Senate campaign.

I checked out of my hotel and headed to the comedy club provided hotel, which was about a mile away (in a J-L Jinx type irony, the Residence Inn was across the street from the club). I checked into that hotel, which had a “is this a niche, boutique hotel or part of the Bates Motel family of hotels?” vibe. My hotel appeared safe and well air-conditioned so I settled in to watch some CNN and continue mapping my set for Fridays shows, but the hotel did not have CNN. It had CNN Headline News. So for the next two days I was forced to read the news like my ancestors did before me.

I had an early dinner at the nearby Cheesecake Factory (as I said on stage, “when in DC I like to go where the power players dine”) where I had the salmon and skipped dessert because my girlfriend texted me and said no cheesecake. I said truthfully that I had not had cheesecake… that meal.

That night I headed out for the DC Comedy Loft. It was warm, but not as warm as I expected so I walked the mile and, of course, arrived at the club sweating like a fat fu*k. I had a half hour to cool off, which I did and then it was time for the show. Openers did a great job and then I killed it, which was a relief because the whole set, sans two jokes, is all new material from the last 6 months.  And there was extra pressure because friends and colleagues of my brother and sister-in-law showed up and even 21 years into this I am nervous to embarrass myself and have it get back to my family.  Sold a lot of merch and walked back to my hotel (only saw one giant water bug).

Me, judging something or someone from the stage

I arrived back in my hotel room and turned down my sheets and saw what can only be described as ,which I learned is owned by the club owners and had a wonderful night of sleep.

Saturday: Faith and Funny Conference

I woke up and headed to the nearby Starbucks to read and have some disgusting coffee (seriously, Starbucks made the right move making drinks for children and immature adults because their coffee tastes like burned motor oil). I then went to the Cheesecake Factory again, this time for lunch and had the Factory Meatloaf. The stacked Latin woman who brought it to me said “I always tell people this is my favorite” and then I said I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that” and she said “huh?” and the moment was lost.  But obviously if you know me or have followed any thing I’ve done you know that a hot Latin woman bringing me Cheesecake Factory food is pretty much the only porn category that I would subscribe to.  I went for a long walk after my meal, which I had finished off with a coconut cream pie cheesecake (low key might be a top 3 on the menu), all the way to Georgetown University Law Center to see how the institution that drove me into comedy was doing. It looked nice and I then went back to my hotel.

At 515pm I made my way to the Cathedral of St Michael the Apostle. I love this Church. It is so beautiful and it is always a safe bet for the paparazzi to catch shots of me on my trips to DC.  After the service I walked up to the Sweetgreen at Dupont Circle and ate a Kale Caesar salad while a table of young people (mid 20s?) discussed how they were going to see Taylor Tomlinson at the DC Improv. I said, “you could see me!” And they said who are you? And I said, “Ask your grandparents, they probably love my sh*t on YouTube!”

There is a gay bar next to the club so either the glass needed to be cleaned before I got there or the fellas were really excited to see me

Saturday early show was my best set of the weekend.  Clips will go up on my Patreon and maybe even one or two publicly, but not too much as I obviously want to keep developing this new hour or so of material.  The second show was not quite as good, but I think that was just my energy dipping a little. A bit I’ve been struggling with working on about the history of DJs finally hit big with that late crowd, probably saving it from the trash heap of the (extremely rare) jokes I write that don’t crush.  Met up with various people from my life after Saturday shows, including a former colleague from my days as a prosecutor who is now in DC after a multi decade career working for the [Redacted].

In a reversal of the J-L Jinx, the DC Comedy Loft lost most of its air conditioning, except in the room I was performing in.  When I left at 1245am after talking to my girlfriend’s friends (she grew up in northern VA) and it was finally clear to call the escort service, I bought a vanilla milkshake and walked back to the hotel in maybe the most humidity I have ever experienced.  I saw one rat and fell asleep at about 2am.

Sunday – Time to Leave

I woke up at 8am, took a shower (was too tired to take my 2nd shower in 10 hours when I got back the night before) and eventually made my way to Union Station to take my First Class Acela trip home.  I had a 4 seater to myself and dined and read my book like the wealthy scholar that I am not.

The trip to DC was great. The shows were great. The support from fans, friends and the club was great (though I have noticed that a lot of the fair weather folk from 2021-22 have disappeared so in my delusional, Michael Jordan-bulletin board for slights-type attitude, if you are not coming to see me drop majestic new material in DC now (but seeing awful hacks with more heat) I will not acknowledge you when that heat swings back on me. Just wanted to end the fun blog on an absolutely true and menacing note!

Finishing the trip with some crepes for the guy with the French name

Convenience Over Life

Jimmy Carter warned that the country needed to get off of fossil fuels over 4 decades ago.  Needless to say we did not listen. Or perhaps we listened and did not like what we heard because Carter was given the boot for Ronald the Baptist, who would unknowingly, but certainly, pave the way for Donald Christ.  Unfortunately, this is emblematic of modern American politics: a lethal combination of short term selfishness and long term stupidity.  And I should be clear, this is not a “both sides” argument.  I simply say “modern politics” because the reality is that the American Republican party controls our politics, not as a majority representing the will of the people, but more like the way stage 4 Lung Cancer controls the life of a longtime smoker.  And given that enough Americans seem to want to continue metaphorically smoking rather than seeking moral and political chemotherapy, we may really be in the end phase of America’s “greatness,” however you might define that.  I think that even goodness may be too high a calling for America.

Of course, while acknowledging the obvious asymmetry in what causes our political paralysis and cynicism,  this does not mean the Left is absolved.  “Do Something!” they shout and tweet after a mass shooting, but do they yell at their neighbors to “do something!” on Election Day?  Do they themselves vote and participate in the boring parts that make democracy work, or do they rely on cynicism on those days, staying home to tweet dissatisfaction?  “We must solve homelessness!” but do they support higher taxes or shelters and/or affordable housing near their properties?  “We need criminal justice reform!” but do they balk at long term policing and prosecutorial changes the first instance some crime ticks up from record lows (I added this one after the San Francisco DA was recalled)?

The problem is that even though the Right is far more responsible for the denigration of Democracy & the dysfunction of D.C., the whole country appears afflicted to some degree.

A couple of weeks ago I was driving (OK – being driven) from Philadelphia, PA to Sellersville, PA for a show. As we increased our distance from the city to the suburbs and towns I noticed, like hundreds of trips I have taken around the country, that the houses got bigger and nicer.  Without any data or even knowing the economic or political information about the specific towns I went through in Pennsylvania I can say with certainty that I have been to dozens of affordable towns over the years with houses and properties that would be 5x as expensive or more if located closer to cities (or even strip malls).  But this appears to be America’s promise – if you are willing to drive a long way, American Dream – classic edition is still within reach for more people than it should be.

Living in cities costs more and comes with benefits, but those benefits are often paid for and are ecologically more sustainable.  These places are often vilified by the Right, but Blue cities and states clearly contribute more to the national economy and less to national gun deaths (per capita).  To quote Col. Jessup, “I would rather you say thank you and be on your way.”  As I listen to the stories about gas prices hurting Americans I have to wonder: did people never think the bill would come due?  Instead of treating this as the 20th foreshadowing of the ecological and economic catastrophe of climate change, it is treated as an inconvenience or a deprivation of the fundamental right to cheap gas and a larger carbon foot print as long as you are willing to drive an hour or two a day to get to your American dream (which, of course, compounds the problems).

I think the aforementioned guns are another good example of this at work.  Some states pass laws to protect their citizens from gun violence, but they are only as strong as the porous gun laws in neighboring states.  But once again, the freedoms of the (majority) conservative spaces in this country are sacrosanct and the rights to clean air, life and a future for the actual majority seem to be allowed only as far as they are compatible with the immediate whims and desires of “Real Americans,” who love their country more than anyone, but often seem to live in spaces with… fewer Americans.

The American Dream has become an environmental, economic and emotional Ponzi scheme.  Except if you point out the problem early (Jimmy Carter) you will get voted out and if you preside over the consequences (Joe Biden) your approval ratings will plummet.  How can anything actually get done when enough of the voting public will punish you for trying to solve a problem or blame you before you can fix it?  The Right often acts like food stamps and other forms of assistance create a dependency that will ruin the country and the communities that are (perceived to be) the beneficiaries of those benefits.   Yet somehow, many Americans need never make the choice between more expensive housing or higher gas prices, because living cheaply is the right of “real Americans.”  This is not a sustainable model for a country or a future.  No one would accept a politician saying “If you wanted cheaper gas bills at the pump, maybe you should have worked harder so you could live closer to your job or the city!”  And yet, it has always been a viable political argument to so many in this country to decry poverty as more of a life choice than middle class comforts as the choices that they actually are.

We will not limit guns, even if to save the lives of some children. Gun control cannot stop all shootings. But is it not worth stopping some shootings?  Is unlimited cheap gas some inalienable right or something we should have moved beyond decades ago?  Is shoplifting and homelessness the fault of progressive DA’s in the first 2 years of their tenure, or symptoms of problems going back decades?

Covid, as I feared, proved the depth of our concern with the individual over the greater good.  If we are bombing brown people we must be united as a nation, but to save life, the personal burden of wearing a mask or getting a vaccine was too intrusive for many.  How can we expect people to become more selfless when we couldn’t stop being selfish as a million Americans died?  How can we expect to save the planet for our grandkids when we couldn’t wear a mask to save our grandparents?

To end on a truly depressing note (before I read the article in today’s New York Times about the “environmental nuclear bomb” in red Utah), I was waiting for a train in New York’s Penn Station a couple of afternoons ago and a homeless man, who clearly had intellectual disabilities, was asking for money.  He had cigarette burns in his sweatshirt. He seemed genuinely harmless as he walked from person to person saying “excuse me, do you have change?”  Sadly I did not have money on me.  I thought to myself, how are we a society where a man to exist like this?  How much would it be worth to make sure he has a roof over his head, clothing that does not look ravaged from both nature and humans, and safety from a world that I can only imagine has been unimaginably cruel to him?  How much would the pro-life Right and the progressive Left be willing to add on to their gas bill or gun permit fee?  Sadly, I think the answer is $0 and that seems appropriate for a country headed quickly toward moral bankruptcy.


11 Headlines You Will See with a Hillary Clinton…

Yesterday the biggest surprise announcement since “the sky is blue” occurred when Hillary Clinton announced she was running for President in 2016.  There are several obstacles in Clinton’s way, the biggest one that America hates a presumptive nominee this far in advance.  American voters like to feel that they matter, even if it means shunning the qualified candidate to make a statement (e.g. the 2000 election should not have even been that close, whether you think GW Bush actually won or not).  But the nomination and election are still a ways away so I think now is a good time to anticipate some of the headlines and click bait that are sure to arise if Clinton is elected president.  Other than ruining men’s perfect 44-0 record of presidents, click bait may be the biggest reason I choose to not vote for Clinton. After all, minimum wage increases, Pacific trade deals and Middle East violence are much less part of my life than Facebook and Twitter click bait articles. So here are some titles you are likely to see from liberal and conservative sources:

1) Middle East leader refuses to shake President Clinton’s hand because she is a woman. What she does next is AWESOME! – Upworthy.  I put this at 117% chance of occurring

2) #YesAllPantSuits will become a hashtag after some conservative bloggers and Elizabeth Hasselbeck criticize her wardrobe one too many times.

3) The Bitch is Back?! – Controversy after GOP fundraiser featuring several GOP nominees plays Elton John’s song upon hearing that Clinton has secured the nomination. After a major backlash, Metallica agrees to play a Clinton fundraiser blaring their song Aint My Bitch to the crowd’s delight.  GOP commentators on Fox then blast Metallica and Clinton claiming hypocrisy. Discussion quickly moves on to how black people shouldn’t use the N word either.

4) Breaking The Glass Floor – mean article about Hillary gaining weight while on the campaign trail

5) Dy-nasty – NY Daily News headline when Bill inevitable takes off the gloves (and perhaps his pants) to defend Hillary against comments, probably by either Ted Cruz or Chris Christie once she secures the nomination.

6) 17 Times Hillary Caught Bill Cheating… and did NOTHING – yes this old chestnut will be re-packaged with 2015 click bait sensibilities by one of those fringe conservative Facebook pages.

7) 19 Other Women Who Should Have Been Our First Female President – inevitably boredom, dissatisfaction or some other bitter emotion will overcome the Internet and Jezebel will post some list of women, presumably including Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Chelsea Handler, who were overlooked for the job before Hillary’s rise to power.

8) You Won’t Believe These Younger Pics of Hillary – Babe Alert! – Some site will located a few decent pics of young Hillary Rodham and declare her a babe at which point a feminist site will post less than a week later…

9) What if We Judged Male Presidential nominees like Hillary???

10) Why Hillary Clinton is the Worst President Ever – After all she may not be black, but she won’t give the GOP even that 6 month grace period of “I’m popular and have a mandate, but let’s see if we can work together on 1990s Republican ideas about defense and health care” that President Obama foolishly tried.  So their anger may equal or exceed that for Barack.  And for good measure:

11) Why Michelle Obama would be a better President than Hillary – Oh come on – you know this one will show up sometime between today and 2018.

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!


Biggest Winners and Losers from Marriage Equality Day

With today’s historic decisions in the Supreme Court, one striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and the other, on procedural grounds, paving the way for Same Sex marriage in California, the Supreme Court has made today the most recent, and probably to be the most festive, celebration of the expansion of Civil Rights.  So before you start selling your stock in Grindr, double down on your in vitro medical practice or become a lawyer with a specialty in foreign adoptions I think it is worth looking beyond the obvious victories today and see who the real winners and losers are on this monumental day for gay rights, civil rights and lubricants.

1. Jason Collins. Loser.  Sorry Jason, but just a few weeks ago you were a pioneer, as the first “active” (unsigned) major sports athlete.  Now, with the avalanche of nationwide good news for the gay community, people will start to just look at you as a pleasant person who is terrible at basketball.  Get starting on that memoir now because I am pretty sure you will have all winter to finish it.

2. Marcus Bachmann. Winner.  Sure he is still married to Michele Bachmann, but this may give him the strength he needs to get rid of the Wicked Witch of the Midwest and finally be the Chicago Bear he was meant to be (this is the gayest sentence I have ever written)!

3. Heterosexual White Chicks. Losers.  Uh oh.  Your usage of gay men as mascots and sounding boards at brunch may be at an end.  it may not be as fun anymore having to listen to Thom and Brint’s wedding plans over mimosas while you struggle with yoru 19th failed relationship with a guy who is just not motivated or successful enough.  Start your own brunch Thom and Brint!


4. The WNBA. Losers.  Just thought I would reiterate this point.

5. Marijuana Smokers. Winners. Now as we move on down the line of freedom issues, the next will be weed smokers.  And as Adam Carolla once or twice said about gay marriage and marijuana – “Reason 1 I want them legal is because it is a matter of having equality and freedom as citizens and tax payers.  Reasons 2-10 is because I want them to shut the fu*k up.”

6. Scalia and Thomas. Winners.  They get to erode the fabric of the progressive movement each year playing the Wade and Bosh to Chief Justice Roberts’ Lebron, but also they will now be able to have their man crush legally recognized.  Huge week for these two love birds.


7. Frustrated Fathers of Gay Sons. Winners. OK, so as a father we know that your goal is to keep your kids away from dick, regardless of gender or orientation and you were dealt a tough play with a gay son.  But look on the bright side – if your son gets married, there is a strong (though I must stress, not certain) chance that that marriage will cut down his dick quantity but at least 40%.  It may not be the win you want, but it is mitigating your frustration (yes this is part of a bit from my upcoming album Keep My Enemies Closer)

8. Hollywood.  Draw. The Court loves business. And now it loves gays.  You guys are like the Vatican to the Supreme Court.  The world is yours, though remember Hollywood execs, when you bugger that young stud actor just looking for a role in your next pilot it might not just be business as usual – it might also be adultery.

9. Justice Anthony Kennedy. Winner.  Expect Time or Newsweek to declare Justice Kennedy “The Gay Justice” or to drop the “The” and just refer to him as Gay Justice – which either sounds like a Hollywood producer or a superhero who spent too much time learning punishment tactics on HBO’s Oz.  Kennedy has his digits on the two most significant victories for the gay community with his decision in Lawrence v Texas, which overturned sodomy laws and today’s DOMA decision.  He will never have to pay for another drink or pill of ecstacy for the rest of his life.

10. Crystal Meth. WinnerIf you thought the gay community was into Breaking Bad’s candy of choice before, just wait til that market explodes when they realize that marriage sucks!


For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic or iTunes. New Every Tuesday!


James Comey, Lebron James and The Formula For Greatness

It is a great week to be a tall  lawyer in America.  James B. Comey has just been named President Obama’s choice to lead the FBI.  Comey is a moderate Republican, who stands 6’8″ and is best known for his principled refusal to authorize a renewal of President Bush’s wiretap program as Bush’s White House counsel tried to get a disoriented and hospitalized John Ashcroft to re-authorize the program.  It was a great moment for a principled lawyer, and it could not have hurt that Comey is 6’8″ and then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalez is as big as you would imagine a man named Alberto Gonzalez would be.  He also demonstrated the most clutch moment, other than possibly getting clemency for a death row inmate at the 11th hour, that a lawyer can have.  Blocking the re-authorization was the legal equivalent of a Pick-6 in football down 5 in the 4th quarter.

Comey is only one star of the 6’8″ variety this week.  The other is a man I have already written about this week – Lebron James.  He is certified as the best basketball player in the world and he stands 6’8″.  He is 6 wins from winning back-to-back NBA championships (though two losses from not doing that) and is playing basketball at an incredible level.  He has also proven clutch and will have to do so again (I hope he does).


But great things always happen in threes, right? Or is that disasters? Anyway, with the success of these two tall men this week I imagined it was finally my time as well.  In fact I am a lawyer (non-practicing – so I guess I am not a religious lawyer, but a cultural one, but  I do enjoy being a dick and arguing so maybe I am a lawyer spiritually) AND I played college basketball (my 4 year career stats look like the line of a dominant college player’s best week of his career), so how could my comedy career not be ready to blow?  I mean, my Mom is white just like Jame Comey’s mom and my Dad is black just like Lebron James’ Dad (presumably – his last known whereabouts are ejaculating into a crazy woman in Akron, Ohio in the early 1980s)! Perhaps I am just too much of a good thing – or two rights make a wrong?  I decided 2013 would be my last year doing comedy if opportunities did not arise and just like a Lebron layup or a James Comey hospital interception I got a gig as a host of a legal-comedy web series affiliated with the Discovery Channel (look for it in July) and made my first truly viral video.  So I have the law, the hoops, the white Mom and the black Dad and the clutch performances, so it has to happen now, right?

And then I realized that I am 6’7″ and those guys are 6’8″.  So there it is people – the formula I thought I had mastered is in fact wrong.  The key to success these days is to be 6’8″.  Good luck working on your height everybody.  I am going to start doing yoga.

So close to greatness…

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic or iTunes. New Every Tuesday!