Road Comedy Recap: A Tale of Two St Pete’s

This weekend I was on the road in St Pete’s Beach at the Sunshine Comedy Club. The gig involved two 25 hour train rides, a lot of walking and two shows that would both surprise me.  Let’s just get to it!

The Ride Down

I hopped on the SIlver Star (NY-Miami Amtrak) on Thursday at 11:30am. I was happy to see that I was in the newer of the two sleeper cars.  The east coast long distance trains often have one old sleeper car and one new sleeper car. What is the difference you ask?  The new sleeper cars slightly nicer rooms, mainly because each room is missing an individual toilet.  In the older car, each room has its own toilet, which is great if you don’t mind 14 separate rooms smelling like obese and/or elderly feces. No judgement, but I do mind that so I was happy to be in the newer car where the toilets all reside at the end of the car, and on the Silver Star, thankfully, that end was not my end.

I spent my next day reading and watching shows on my tablet and after a night of not the worst sleep I arrived in Tampa, from where I took an Amtrak shuttle bus to St Petersburg, from where I then took a Lyft to arrive at the club.  Exhausted I checked in to the club’s air bnb and then went for a leisurely walk near the beach. I passed several people who said hello, which made me realize the blue state-red state tradeoff. Sure some of these people may love a racist dictator and want to control women’s bodies, but I got more hellos and eye contact from strangers in St Pete’s Beach in an hour than I have from my neighbors in New Jersey in 4 years.  Obviously I will still take my state where the majority does not support racist dictators, but the everyday feelings of courtesy and warm sunshine (in the Winter) makes it a closer race than it should be.

Friday Show

When I arrived to the club on Friday I caught up with the owner, Kenny, a successful comedian and all around solid guy. I noticed very quickly his term “good for you” is a nice way of saying “I think you have mental issues” because no one has ever said to me “good for you” after I just told them I spent 26 hours on a train to get to central Florida, besides Kenny.

As I watched the crowd come in, it was a little bit of what I expected demographically (white, no young people), but it was not until close to showtime that I saw what I really wanted: a super jacked dude in a wife beater, who would independently be referred to by me and the feature act as “Goldberg” (the famed wrestler) and his girlfriend or wife who appeared to have, apparently keeping with the WWE branding, an HHH bra.  They had a decidedly Trump vibe (conservative bearing with hedonistic undertones), so I prepared myself for anything ranging from heckling to them treating me like the Capitol in a sequel to January 6th.

And what happened?  A great show!  The emcee, Bart, turned out to be a longtime admirer of mine (pre-Trump stuff) because he discovered me as a fellow lawyer-comedian (the same way Greg Giraldo inspired me to hope for great things, I think I comforted Bart by showing him that one could be a lawyer, a good comedian and deeply unsuccessful and it was not the end of the world). The feature, Jay Legend (which really is tough to follow as merely J-L(sans egend), did great and then I had a blast.  I did not shy away from politics, but as I have learned through trial and error – when MAGA people feel they are in control of a room, they are happy with me as irreverent lib-cuck-beta-bitch court jester. However, in a divided crowd (I am talking to you 2023 Governors in Levittown) they get much more snowflakey about jokes concerning their golden idol.  The show was fun and I got a great, much needed night of sleep afterward.  Here is an extended clip from Friday’s show:


On Saturday I woke up at 630am (rise n whine bro) and walked to the nearby Starbucks to read and write (I skipped arithmetic). I then went for a 3 mile walk on the beach and then went back to the Starbucks for a lunchtime Frappuccino.  I then went for a 1.5 mile walk (3 miles round trip) to St John’s Catholic Church for the 4pm vigil Mass.  I expected it to be Mary Magdalene Church – the patron saint of Only Fans, but perhaps that is only in Miami and Tampa.  I must confess that I often like going to places that I dislike politically.  I like people saying hello to neighbors and strangers and I like going into a Church that is full, even if I arrived beige and sweaty like either a giant Jesus or a giant terrorist. And one other thing – on my walk I saw a truck with a Co-exist bumper sticker, but all the letters comprised of different types of guns, instead of religious symbols. Now perhaps the truck owner is a gun owning psycho, but at the same time I thought it was absolutely hilarious.  But J-L, why didn’t you take a picture of it? Because I left my cell phone in the air bnb so I can be at one with nature and the women on the beach who have augmented nature. Namaste.

Some people have fun in the sun… I have regret in the sunset

After Mass I walked back to Chick Fil A for dinner (that’s double the power of the Lord before the show) and not to quote Christ on the Cross (not to be confused with Christopher Cross) but by the end of the Saturday show I was asking “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

St John’s – the official Catholic Church of St Pete’s comedian visitors

Saturday Shows Show

When I got to the club Saturday I was told I had not sold enough tickets to justify a third show. I understood (no one is more familiar with my fans than me and it was really on brand on the way home from St Pete’s that one of these so-called fans told me on X/Twitter, “Oh I would have gone if I had known.”  If only there were 6 social media sites, my Twitter NAME which said “St Pete’s 2/9-2/10 for almost to months, or a monthly newsletter I put out that could better inform my fans…).

When I saw the crowd I immediately thought looking at them, “Man if I won over that WWE porn parody and MAGA orgy crowd last night, these people will be eating out of my hand!”  This was the show where fans of mine (or more accurately, mostly fans of The Black Guy Who Tips Podcast and Stand Up With Pete Dominick who like me as a side character) came to the show, along with people who did not look like wrestlers and retired porn stars.  Well folks, I think you know where this is going, but this was a crowd that did a lot of smiling, several “huh?”s and only a decent amount of laughing.  Friday’s crowd was definitely better, which I informed the Saturday crowd of multiple times (to laughs, in case you think I was just blaming them without humor).  After the show people kept saying to me “why did you think it was bad?” and I realized it may have been one of those shows where the crowd did not meet my expectations, but most of them still enjoyed the show.  Maybe.

After the show I had a very enlightening conversation with Kenny, during which he informed me (after hoping I would not take offense) that I am someone he uses as an example to comics of how hard the comedy business is.  I said I cannot take offense, when that is basically my mantra (hard work + talent + prolific production + good manners = miserable frustration). I then went to sleep.


I woke up at 6am on Sunday and decided to go for a 3 mile walk (younger me would have gone for a run, but I am old me) and rewarded myself for my geriatric workout with 7am IHOP. Bart (the aforementioned emcee) picked me up and drove me to shopping mall where the bus would pick me up to take me to Orlando to catch the Silver Meteor (the Silver Star’s much more pessimistic cousin).  And to complete the pessimism, I was in the old sleeper car so all the rooms in my car had a toilet and only 45 minutes into the trip my neighbor wrecked shop (seriously, how do you leave your own toilet without shitting and then as soon as you are on an Amtrak, you feel relaxed enough to take an abusive dump – I left the car for the lounge for 2 hours because I felt like I was choking).  But J-L, do you ever go #2 on these long train rides you take?  No and to to quote DeNiro in Heat, “that’s the discipline.”

In the old sleeper cars, your toilet and head are very close

I then read, watched shows and read tweets about the Super Bowl before falling asleep. I woke up Monday morning in Washington DC and was home by 1130 am. Cookie greeted me in her usual whimpering, enthusiastic way, but I am starting to think she likes the smell of Amtrak funk almost as much as she likes me.


Road Non-Comedy Recap: Las Vegas

As a break between gigs in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, I did something I have not done since 2018 or 2019… I took a vacation!  Admittedly it was a 24 hour vacation to break up travel between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, but it still counts!  The only two times I have visited Vegas in my life were both with my family. The first was in college with my basketball team and my family visited so I did no gambling and no clubbing (and to be honest not even that much basketball playing) and the next time was to take my Mom for her birthday with my brother many years ago.  it was fun enough, but buying three tickets to Thunder Down Under was a lot more awkward than we anticipated.  So this time I was meeting my girlfriend for a Masks Up, Finances Down trip to Sin City!

I took an 830 am Greyhound from LA to Vegas and unlike my bus ride from San Jose with 3 recently released felons (see previous road recap blog) this bus ride really felt like it had a criminal element.  The woman behind me was going to get her son who was recently released and the woman next to her never stopped talking on her phone for 5 hours (no mask – so spreading her profanity-laced droplets). In the back of the bus, which I ventured through only once for a Cirque du Soleil-level piss on a moving bus, I saw an awkward white dude surrounded by sleeping Black dudes and it made me laugh because it felt like a Greyhound reboot of The Mad Real World from Chappelle’s Show.

When I arrived at the Vegas bus dept, I hopped on a local bus with an incredibly unhelpful bus driver (DUDE – YOU WORK AT A TRAVEL DEPOT IN A TOURISM CITY – HOW DO MY QUESTIONS BOTHER YOU?).  I arrived at the MGM Grand and my girlfriend met me on line waiting to check in.  We had a large room, but had to walk down a long hallway that smelled like a stripper ready to go on stage (post perfume, pre-sweat and Champagne Room).

MGM Grand was so wild, even the pandas were twerking

Then it was time to gamble.  Long story short on gambling – the Wheel of Fortune machine was our best friend.  I ended up losing money eventually, but the only time I was in the plus was with my success on that machine. My girlfriend, meanwhile, crushed the shit out of the machine, winning every time except for once.  I lost everywhere I went – Game of Thrones and Little Shop of Horrors machines ended up murdering me (I know the fun-theme machines suck because casinos know you will play based on the theme regardless of how expensive the plays or how bad the pay outs… but I did it anyway).  I then placed $20 on my college number (33) on roulette.  The only positive to losing that is that a couple wearing Let’s Go Brandon masks followed my lead with more expensive bets, hoping I would be good luck.  So they lost their MAGA dollars at least.  I must admit, I did not have the same level of disdain for them as the usual MAGAts because they were following casino rules on Covid, which plenty of people were not.  So if it’s between hating Joe Biden and not spreading Covid and hating Joe Biden and spreading Covid, I will tip my ironic red hat to the former.

Then we went to Craftsteak, an outstanding and expensive restaurant in the hotel.  I was able to retroactively count it as Valentine’s Day dinner, so that means I get a break Monday… pizza party!  Then we headed to see Vegas/Magic legend David Copperfield.  We both enjoyed the show, though some of the theatric elements were a little too much for me.  And, as a big fan of the show Arrested Development (the greatest tv comedy of all time – Netflix seasons do not count), it is hard to take magic 100% seriously after Wil Arnett’s GOB performance.  And the most inadvertently hilarious part of the show was how many non-English speaking/barely speaking people Copperfield ended up selecting for demonstrations.

So that was it – the next morning we got out early for a 6 hour drive to Salt Lake City, which is where I am typing this now.  The epic Salt Lake Recap will be written Saturday from Amtrak as I wrap up the epic vacation/tour.


Road Comedy Recap: No Sidewalk Suburbs of Chicago

I am sitting in Chicago’s Union Station (the Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge to be more specific) racing to write this before my train gets called.  This first leg of my whistle-please-stop doing comedy tour in Chicago is complete and now it is on to leg two – the Southwest Chief, which is Amtrak’s daily train from Chicago to Los Angeles, with stops at many cities, including Las Vegas,… New Mexico?  I did not know there was a Las Vegas, New Mexico, but I hope it is known as Virtue City.  I am taking Amtrak and Greyhound this entire trip because after 2 years of largely working 2 jobs in my apartment, I wanted built-in relaxation where I could not do anything besides look out a window, read or watch a show, even if I wanted to.  So let’s see if I can type the Chicago portion quickly before getting on the train!

Capitol Limited

On Tuesday I made my way to Washington, DC to catch the Capitol Limited – their DC to Chicago train.  I had been upgraded to a full bedroom (from a “roomette,” which is French for “too small for a giant”  – spoiler I am taking a roomette to LA) and settled in.  I watched the entire season of Hawkeye on Disney+ (solid) and made it halfway through the first of four books I packed, David Frum’s Trumpocracy (an autographed gift from the author) and ate some decent meals courtesy of my my excellent train car attendant , who looked like an extra from Dances with Wolves, but sounded like Hank Azaria in The Birdcage.  The train was actually running ahead of time (I slept about 4.5 hours during the night) when we left Toledo but due to train traffic and mechanical difficulties on other trains we got to Chicago 2 hours late. THANKS BIDEN!

I am an Amtrak sleeping car tall

When I got to Chicago I hopped in a Lyft to Schaumburg, IL where the Chicago Improv is located.  It was my first time back at the Chicago Improv since 2010. That year, one year into my “I don’t need another job after being laid off because I am going to make it in comedy,” I went to audition for feature work at the club. The pay for the spot was $50, which slightly exceeded my $100 hotel and $405 Jet Blue round trip flight.  I was passed that night to feature at the club… as I joked once “I will end up headlining clubs before they ever feature me.” Prescient and pessimistic. Prescimistic!  (trademarking that since it is basically my brand).

I arrived at my Hampton Inn at 1145am, but as people who have seen my stand up recently, the Hampton Inn has really been the hospitality hero of my comedy career.  They let me check in at 1145am, which was a nice help since the Chicago temperature was a balmy 0 when I arrived.  If I ever get big enough to sign with a hotel chain it will be Hampton Inn.

MTV Cribs – Amtrak bedroom edition

Now my show was not until Thursday night so I had time to do my favorite road activity: legal work in my hotel room.  I got to town early by a day for a few reasons – so I had a day to feel acclimated and fresh and also because a social media friend that I made during the pandemic was a local TV personality and had told me to let him know if I got a gig in Chicago. This was no BS offer – the guy had me on via zoom twice in 2020 and was just very kind and supportive – he looked LA, but clearly had solid midwestern values.  Well, as the JL Jinx would have it, after 10 years on air the show had been canceled.

Now the night before I left for Chicago I received an email that my tickets sales in LA for February 6th were not good, so as often happens to me when alone, negativity snowballs and I began to ask myself “what the fu*k am I doing?” And with that joyous thought I fell asleep.

Street Walker

A common complaint I have had throughout my travels in America is, “why aren’t there more sidewalks?”  No wonder we are a fat country!  Well, Schaumburg has sidewalks… but they were all buried under a mound of snow. So to walk for lunch or a coffee on Thursday I found myself walking on the edge of quasi-highways, looking like a drifter. I never got hit by a car, but one person yelled at me “Run Forrest Run” as I trotted past traffic, which did not make me feel optimistic for the comedy sensibilities of the people of Chicago suburbs. Really?  Run Forrest Run is the best you’ve got?

After a meal at PF Chang’s (I like to lean on my eastern philosophy and training before a stressful show) I made my way into the Chicago Improv.  An absolute beauty of a club. Seriously, if you live in Chicago and did not go to my show (like the woman (Fan?) who had a lengthy conversation with me on IG about where I should have eaten lunch and then wished me luck on my show… maybe I can just seat 50 Zagat’s guides at my next show, in lieu of humans) you should go to the Improv.

PF Chang’s next door to the Improv tried to set me up with a sidepiece

The emcee and feature both did well and then I got on stage in front of a respectable crowd and proceeded to do a very self-indulgent 80 minutes.  To be honest I have never gone quasi-hoarse on stage and that is when I knew I had done too much. That said, most of the set was pretty damn killer and already have developed some new bits that make me want to plan for another album at the end of the year.  The audience was really great and after the show meeting the fans was really great.  I know a lot of people have said things like “you got me through the pandemic” and other such nice statements, but after being so stressed and bummed about so many things related to my career, including in the last 48 hours, meeting the fans after the show was maybe the first time ever (no offense to all other great fans in other cities) that it really lifted my spirits.  Not sure if it was because there were many people who I had many interactions with on social media, or if they were at the right show at the right time to pick me up or if it was nice that so many people had specific comments about bits they liked, but whatever the reason (the real reason may have been that they bought more merch than any other crowd in the last year) it made me feel damn good!  So to the fans and friends who came out in Chicago – thank you!  Be warned though, once this all turns south in 6 days or 6 months I will probably blame you for making me want to keep at it.

Goodbye Chicago. Thank you for your service

Bam!  Finished – time to get on this 40 hour train (2nd David Frum book and season 1 of Raised By Wolves on HBO Max is this leg of the trip’s content). Follow my YouTube and Instagram for more train adventures. See you in California!