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Weekend Comedy Recap: The Magnificent Seven

This weekend was a busy weekend in comedy for me.  On Friday night I opened for Bill Maher (this is what I call eating a sandwich and tweeting a couple of funny jokes before sitting down to watch Bill Maher on HBO) and Saturday I was having an important industry meeting (this is what I call having a couple of beers with my friend John while telling him an Adam Carolla joke about microbrews, “are there any more ‘brews’ or is everything now a microbrew?” while he suggested to me having a podcast on craft beer – not a bad suggestion, based solely on the irritating trendiness potential of the topic).  So after that whirlwind of comedy (I was also asked to review a contract of a comedian friend on Saturday evening, giving my unpaid legal work gigs an early 1-0 advantage over unpaid comedy gigs in 2015) I moved on to Sunday where I actually had that lesser valued part of a growing stand up comedy career (after Twitter followers, Google analytics, numbers among millennials, etc.): a stand up comedy gig (and just like that unpaid comedy gigs pulled even with unpaid legal consultations for comedians at 1 a piece).

On Sunday night I was on a show at the Laughing Devil in Long Island City, the club where I recorded my Louis CK video and my best album, Keep My Enemies Closer. In other words I am only a Hells Angels’ stabbing a random black dude away from making that place world famous.  Well, to confess, this was my first gig of 2015 so I decided to try a batch of mew material for my 10 minutes set.  When I entered the showroom a minute before my set I noticed that there were 6 audience members.  I felt like Rain Man counting toothpicks I calculated the number so fast, but upon slowly fact checking my brilliant first impression it was indeed only 6 people.  But as much as it is a cliche for comedians to say, I had a great time with those six people (if you are not as good at math as I am, the title of this blog alludes to the fact that me performing would be added to the six audience to make it a “Magnificent Seven.”) and at least 5 of them seemed to enjoy my set.  about 8 of the 10.5 minutes I did was 2015 new and the biggest chunk, based off a blog I wrote, really killed (you would have thought there were 11-13 people laughing) so that was encouraging.  I can confidently say that two of the bits from last night will almost certainly make the cut for my next album recording this Spring/Summer (it will be album #5 and so far the two titles I am considering are Chinese Democracy or My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, assuming that neither is taken)

So that is it folks – the first comedy recap blog of 2015.  Now here’s hoping the hostel gig I have booked for February 1st is the gig that finally takes me to the next level. #Blessed #ComedyMogul

Epilogue: It was raining when I went to the gig so I brought an umbrella.  The rain had stopped by the time my set was done so I left my umbrella at the club. Assuming it is gone now the gig actually cost me $15 in a lost umbrella. #ComedyMogul

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: The Town Greyhound Bus Forgot

This weekend marked the last scheduled comedy work of the year for me (and technically the last scheduled work of my life if you check the barren wasteland that is the calendar page of my website, but I am mildly confident it will not stay that way) and it was a classic J-L gig full of positives, negatives and sad transportation.  The trip began with Martz Trailways – the Monkees to Greyhound’s Beatles.  The shows were at Mohegan Sun in Wilkes Barre, PA.  The first thing to mention is that the casino is really nice.  It is how small casinos should do it – make your casino a smaller site of luxury instead of making a big, cheap, shitty casino.  People would rather have a small dose of a luxury hotel with nice restaurants, bars and table games then some behemoth of slot machines and crappy buffets (the buffet at MSWB by contrast  is quite good).  But before I can get to the casino I had to take the aforementioned Martz Trailways.

There are a few signs that your town or city is struggling.  One is if there is an Ebola breakout.  Another is if the girls who reside there are routinely beaten for attending school. But a worse sign than either of those is if Greyhound buses choose not to service your town or city.  And Greyhound does not go to Wilkes Barre.  So when one arrives at the bus depot at Wilkes Barre it sort of resembles a group of overfed walkers from The Walking Dead.  After a relatively pleasant three hour bus ride (as pleasant as I can be with my knees firmly lodged into the encroaching seat in front of me I arrived and waited for the local bus to arrive.

You guys going to NYC or Scranton?

Pulling up to a nice casino on a public bus is probably exactly how the Rat Pack did it in Las Vegas, so naturally I felt like a real big shot when I stepped inside the Mohegan Sun.

Dean? Frank? Sammy? You guys there?

The first night the show was tremendous though I had a moment that made me feel really guilty.  One of my jokes that I recently wrote, based on an actual encounter at a Panera Bread in October of this year, is about a confrontation between an older man and a young woman.  I described the man as a “Clint Eastwood type who had the look of a man who had killed a bunch of teenagers in some foreign village.”  It got a decent laugh, though that is not one of the big laugh lines in the bit anyway.  But coming off stage (to tremendous applause #Blessed) a man in a motorized scooter stopped me and said “You were very good, but we didn’t go over there to kill kids. That wasn’t right.”  And for one of the few times in over 11 years of doing comedy I felt really bad.  Obviously I did not mean the reference as an indictment of veterans, but of course the imagery would be graphic to someone who actually had been in Vietnam.

So I was feeling bad waiting outside to sell CDs after the show (sold 3 #ComedyMogul) and I saw the man drive his scooter (is that how you describe that?) to the bathroom and then he just got off it and walked with relative ease to the bathroom!  Knowing that he could walk made me feel less bad about the joke for some reason so the night ended on a high note and I celebrated with a large chocolate milkshake (#ComedyMogul).

The next day I spent in my room writing two of my best sketches ever.  Look for the first one on December 16th (a novel look at the violence affecting black men in America) and the other one in early January (me as Joel Osteen).  I will leave it at that, but I have missed the days of being able to just sit and write for 5 or 6 hours in a row.  I can really crank out good shit when left alone by people trying to get me to pay my bills.

The Saturday show was very good and I sold one CD after which I promptly used to buy a large chocolate milkshake ($4 change left over #ComedyMogul).  The club paid me in cash, which given my love of gambling was dangerous, but for the second trip to MSWB in a row I avoided all gambling. After all, trying to make stand up comedy a career is a much bigger gamble than anything you can put on the roulette wheel.

The next morning woke up early and went to the Wilkes Barre station which at 645 am is fortunately cleared of walkers.

All is quiet on the Wilkes Barre front

So there it is folks. Another year of stand up and travel is over.  Now it is time to get into the office and help some real #moguls make money so I can continue my #ComedyMogul lifestyle (extra chicken on my lunch salad).

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: Comedy Sharecropping in Connecticut

This past Saturday I had a gig at an Italian restaurant in Connecticut.  To be fair I also had a paid gig at a bar in NYC on Friday so it was basically a cash bonanza for my comedy career.  The Friday gig conflicted with the Utah Jazz- (my favorite hoops team of the last 27 years) NY Knicks game at Madison Square Garden.  The Jazz had lost 9 of their last 10 games at MSG (including the last 6 that I was in attendance for).  Last year I went to the game courtesy of Lorne Michaels’ seats (a writer on an LM show gave them to me because he was unable to go last minute and when an NYC comedian hears Utah Jazz they think of me) and the Jazz lost by about 140 points.  So of course this year I decide to take a $20 spot in NYC and predictably the Jazz won on a buzzer beater in a very exciting game.  Meanwhile at the bar show I was heckled for 20 minutes a cop during my set (the kind of heckler where after the show he/she says “hey man… I am just being me… it’s all good” which is basically what the heckler said).  My main response to him halfway through one of his unsolicited tag suggestions was “Thank you, I will be sure to stop by your station house Monday and offer tips on how to better beat up black teens.”

On Saturday morning it was time to film a new sketch. I had to construct a desk podium the night before, but after filming the sketch I donated it to Ripley-Grier studios. So not only am I a great artist, but I am also a patron of the arts. #Hero

All of this was prelude to the main event: featuring at a restaurant in Danbury, Connecticut.  Not only was there a check at the end of the show, but non-alcoholic beverages were on the house!  However, alcohol and food were full price.  First step was the $27 round trip ticket on Metro North. Upon arriving in Bridgeport it was a $30 cab ride (split with the emcee so only $15 bucks per person #blessed) to the restaurant.  There was a Dunkin Donuts next door to the restaurant so I thought, “Hey I will go to Dunkin Donuts, eat a cheap egg white sandwich and juice for dinner to save my constantly diminishing profit margin!”  But we arrived at 8pm to the restaurant and guess what time DD closed?  8pm. It was like a coherent strategy had been implemented against my financial well being.   So I went inside and ordered a lasagna at the restaurant bar.  As my profit officially dipped into double digit dollars I just instinctively began humming negro spirituals.  Here is a clip of the emcee and I right before our sets:

The sets went really well, but during the headliner’s set I got hungry so I ordered a piece of carrot cake because I knew we would be making a run for the 11:13 train (the last one to NYC for the night) and I did not want to starve on the train home (#HalfWhitePeopleProblems).  So with $1 left in my pocket I got my check and the booker’s wife drove the emcee and I to the Metro North station.  There was no time to sell CDs sadly so I ended up netting slightly less than my monthly Sprint Mobile bill.   I know the sharecropping analogy in the title may seem a stretch, but if the financial realities of a one-nighter don’t convince the reader I was also forced to sit in the comedians-only section of the Metro North train on the way back to NYC.

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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Labor Day Weekend Comedy Recap: DC Comic

This weekend I was at the Arlington Drafthouse in Arlington, Virginia to feature for Jay Chandrasekhar (or Jay C as I would have called him if I knew him better and had thought of that funny nickname on the spot instead of on a train two days later), known best as a comedy director and star of the films Super Troopers and Beer Fest, though I was happy to hear that he had also directed several episodes of Arrested Development.  I took Amtrak down to DC on Saturday and then ventured to the Metro Pentagon City stop, which was also the location of the mall I always went to during law school when I wanted to spend money I did not have. I hopped a cab to my hotel, the Pentagon City Sheraton, a 4 star hotel according to Hotwire.com, which continued its excellent streak of providing me with criminally low prices for DC Summertime hotel rooms (honestly – I feel like the cheapness of DC area hotels in the Summer could not be any lower even if there was an outbreak of Ebola in the DC area).

When I arrived at my hotel with an almost dead cell phone I realized I had left my cell phone charger at home.  So I took the hotel shuttle back to the Pentagon City Mall to purchase a cell phone charger, which quickly put my net earnings from the weekend at a robust -$21.00.

It was then time to head over to the theater.  My hotel was literally .9 miles in a straight line from my hotel so I started walking, forgetting that I am 36 lbs heavier than the last time I lived in DC for a Summer.  By the time I arrived at the theater I looked like Robert Hayes trying to land the airplane at the end of Airplane!  The staff at the club was great and the crowds were some of the best I have performed in front of.  And CD sales were surprisingly robust.  I saw an older gentleman leaving the theater on Friday night wearing a Williams College hat and I said – “Hey Williams – I am class of 2001.” He then gathered his family around to chat – he was Class of 1964, his son was class of 1996 and his daughter was a vile human being, which I inferred when she said that she had attended Duke.  We had a nice chat and then they bought my albums, which made me finally feel like I was benefiting from the Williams College alumni network.  After that an older drunk woman sort of sexually harassed me which was made weirder by the fact that her date/boyfriend/lover/husband/benefactor was right there. She actually spent 4 drunken minutes guilting him into buying one of my CDs.  It would have been less awkward if he had just paid me $10 to come back to their apartment and have sex with her while he filmed.

The next day was a big day of podcasting.  First was recording a mega movie episode of my podcast with Chris Lamberth (goes up tonight/Tuesday morning) and then I headed back to the theater to record back-to-back-podcast episodes with the guys behind the Three Guys On podcast.  Then, with 7 hours of my life gone I felt like I had had a busy day of accomplishments, until I realized all I had done was record three podcast episodes.  The show was not until 10pm so I had more time to kill so I grabbed dinner with my buddy Ross, whose wedding was chronicled in last week’s blog post.  He then revealed a  truly shocking pair of opinions to me: he is a huge fan of The Leftovers and hated Guardians of the Galaxy.  I asked him when he was joining up with ISIS, since he clearly hates America.

The show was surprisingly packed, sold a few more CDs and then headed back to the hotel. Sadly, my trip back to NYC this morning has been punctuated by a disturbing amount of people in my Acela train car with bare feet up in the air or on their seats.  I am so tired of people putting their feet everywhere like the world is their foot rest.  Feet, whether covered or not, belong on the floor, unless you are in your own home.  And no one wants to see your feet.  I have been angry about this and not many people articulate it better than Adam Carolla in his new book President Me.  From my perspective it is one of those things that is wrong, but the burden shifts to the complainer if you complain.  Like being owed $5.  The person should just pay you back, but if you ask for it back too often you will get the “Jeessh, alright – it’s just $5!!!”and YOU end up feeling like an asshole even though they owe you money.  Put your shoes on people and keep them on the ground.  Other than that, really successful trip to DC.  Hope to see some of you people at the DC Improv October 24-26 when I am back (assuming the people at the shows read this blog).

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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Cleveland Journal Pt 1: A Weird TV Offer &…

I am currently in Cleveland in week one of my two week “My schedule does not constitute a tour, so unlike other comedians I will not refer to my slate of gigs as a tour” Tour and already it is shaping up to be a tremendous trip.  Like any of my comedy adventures it starts with mediocre travel arrangements.  In an effort to constantly win the battle of life vs. crushing economics of feature work I took a 530 am Amtrak to BWI (using points) and flew from BWI to Cleveland (saved me almost half the airfare, but none of my dignity).  The flight started annoyingly because during the emergency exit symposium with the flight attendant (I got the exit row because I had A 21 as my Southwest ticket, which allowed me to enter the plane early – if you don’t understand the Southwest seating system I won’t explain it; I will just congratulate you on having the money to fly real airlines) a guy sitting on the other side of the aisle asked if the door was one that pulled in or pushed out.  Really Captain America?  Because you have so much experience saving lives on commercial airplanes you just want to make sure you use the proper technique during our plane crash?  What a douche.

So, being tired from my early wake up I started to doze off during the short flight to Cleveland.  Now one of the things I do before any flight is scan the NY Times weather map.  And on the Amtrak to BWI I noticed nothing but lightening bolts (not a good symbol in case you were wondering) from Chicago to NYC.  So I momentarily forgot that we were heading into the beginning of a potentially horrific storm (which apparently hit NYC last night) and dozed off, something I almost never do on airplanes.  Well, I was jolted to consciousness about 20 minutes outside of Cleveland by the worst jolt of turbulence I have ever encountered. The first jolt woke me up and then the plan turned to the side (if 90 degrees would be us on our side we definitely wobbled at least 30 degrees)  The bumps and turns only last about 15 seconds and I realized I sort of prefer that to the 30 minutes of nothing but chop.  Then I discovered something that I am sure most psych students know – fear is the best warm up for jokes.  Because the humorous comments I made for the next 5 minutes after the turbulence had my terrified row mate laughing hard.  And then I had an epiphany:

Instead of alcohol, comedy clubs should scare the shit out of customers before the show.  Think of how much we laugh nervously after leaving a haunted house or getting a jolt from a scary moment in a horror movie.  Why not apply this to comedy clubs?  (This feels like an idea for Nathan For You).  You just get big scary dudes (black a bonus at most American comedy clubs) to threaten patrons in the lobby of the club, and blocking the entrance so the show room is the only escape. Or a guy with fake dynamite to his chest runs into the club screaming “Allahu Akbar!”  Or a barrage of killer clowns.  Or maybe girls walking up to couples on dates claiming to be secretly having sex with the men in the couples – basically just an assortment of things to create nervousness and fear and then they walk into the club and laugh harder than they ever have.  Sure you will have to pay lots of actors/comedians for their work inciting fear, but you save on your liquor license and insurance.  Added bonus this might provide me another alley into working comedy clubs.  “J-L we are all booked up for stage time, but there is a bachelorette party coming in that we would like you to strike fear into.  CONFIRMED!”

Well I arrived in Cleveland around noon I took the city’s “we are really trying hard” 2 car subway from the airport to the city center.  Getting to the comedy condo I saw that the club has continued to improve the condo (I have been coming to the club since 2010 and the condo has improved every year – but do not worry, even back in 2010 it was 10 times better than the Saw basement level accommodations at the River Center Comedy Club in San Antonio (seriously comedians – shame on any of you for working that club – not worth the money). Condo is now very clean, has two mounted flat screens, fast WiFi and the toilet paper is even folded with a triangle like at the fancy hotels like Days Inn.  And then after dropping my bags I received a Facebook message from a non-FB friend:

“J-L”

That was it. So I replied:

“yeah?”

And the reply to that was:

“Would you like to be on COMICS UNLEASHED?” (caps included in message)

Now the person sending the message was not a friend of mine and I was not sure if it was a prank or a goof, considering the accompanying lack of any pleasantries or introduction.  I checked the person’s profile and they do work in entertainment so I replied:

“Sure. Sorry for the delay. I’m travelling.”

That was 20 hours ago at the writing of this blog.  I have not heard anything back. Perhaps it was just a poll to see if comedians would agree to appear on the show, but I am still somewhat confused by whether I have been offered or submitted for anything.  Maybe it’s just like Ghostbusters, “When someone asks if you want to do a TV show you say YES!”  Anyway, show went well last night and I am sleeping in the quasi-famous windowless bedroom of the Cleveland Improv comedy condo.  Sounds creepy, but is fantastic for sleep.  No light of day or hope to interfere with me and my slumber.  Check back Monday for the Cleveland recap and Chicago preview as my Tour continues.

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: Chappelle, Danbury and Twitter Credit

This weekend presented a diverse array of comedy exposure.  I featured at a country and western bar in Danbury, Connecticut on Saturday night, but the undercard for the weekend was going to see Dave Chappelle at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday.  I have not been to Radio City Music Hall since I was a child and I forgot how big and beautiful that place is.  It really looked too big for a good comedy show.  But being a huge star that the crowd has been missing for a decade has a way of taming an intimidating room.  The DJ started the show with a tremendous slate of hacky jokes, but he’s not a comedian and the crowd enjoyed them so as usual… I’m the asshole.  The show started late, which led to numerous people standing in front of us (what happened to places like Broadway and Radio City? It used to be if you were late enough you didn’t get to sit and especially a comedy show with an intermission there is no reason to allow late people to disturb the experience of people who paid substantial money for tickets (they were a gift to me for my birthday but I am never above acting indignant).

So the show started with an immediate J-L Cauvin connection.  Tony Woods, a well known DC comic, was the opener.  The difference between DC comedy and NYC comedy is at some point NYC comedians decide they are above open mics and some bar shows, whereas in DC Tony Woods, who was already an established headliner, showed up all the time to any decent bar show or shitty open mic to work on his stuff.  And he always killed.  And I remember the first time I saw Dave Chappelle and Greer Barnes at the DC Improv, after seeing Tony Woods enough times, and it didn’t seem hard to guess who one of their inspirations was.  Whether that is true or not I do not know, but when you see two younger comics with a similar style to an older, funny comic your brain cannot help but make connections.

Woods did very well and then after an intermission Donnell Rawlings had a set that had me laughing at a few moments harder than anything I would see that night (this is only meant as a compliment, not as an insult to any other performers).  Then it was Chappelle time.  I enjoyed his set and I also enjoyed the fact that he was wearing a suit and  not a sleeveless shirt.  One of the few areas where black people are given a pass that white people are not is fashion (#blackprivilege?).  This is why Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook feel so comfortable walking around like morons after games wearing clothes that the Emperor would not be caught in.  And this is also why when Chappelle wears sleeveless shirts on stage to show off his new muscles people marvel at his guns.  White comic with muscles does it today I guarantee other comedians are chanting douche-bag at him (the way we all did at Dane Cook – unless we were the chick he was banging that night – and he didn’t even have muscles to show off).

Cool or Douche?

The set was fun, fairly light and enjoyable.  I was more impressed with the ability to control a room that large with standard stand-up.  Obviously his fame and devoted fans buy a longer attention span, but he also delivered.  If I had to grade it I would say it was a B+/A-, but I am sure that is “hating” to most people.  Oh well.  It was a relief to me though, because he washed away the memory of when I saw him in DC a decade ago, for top club dollar, and he delivered what amounted to “Hey man, I’m Dave Chappelle and I’m famous, rich and just me talking about anything is worth the price of admission.”    I left with a much better impression on Thursday.

But this was all prelude to my soon-to-be legendary performance at Coyote Maverick Bar in Danbury, CT on Saturday night.  I was featuring, but still brought 10 CDs because you never really know if you are going to sell zero or all of your CDs on gigs like this.  When I arrived at the location about 20 minutes before showtime I saw that the room was pretty small (roughly 100 capacity).  That is a good thing, unless you consider that 20 minutes before showtime and there are still approximately 98 seats left to fill.  I was informed from the smiling manager that the advertisement for the show (which was jam packed the week before) was placed in the wrong paper in a different city.  So now I had to deal with the fact that people in Bridgeport, CT were intentionally ignoring my show, instead of the good people of Danbury intentionally ignoring my show.  Now they just had to indifferently miss my show.

When the show started the crowd was about 25 strong.  I worked my ass off and felt good about my set, but pretty bad about my life.  They were a solid crowd (though with the average age being Crypt Keeper I had to dump a bit of my 40 and under material) and I did some of my best crowd work ever so at least that skill set got some exercise.  However, the biggest laugh of my set came with “I am selling CDs after the show…. oh who the fu*k am I kidding…”  But the gig was fun, the bar is cool and the check cleared despite having my last name spelled incorrectly.    So great job Dave Chappelle opening for me for the weekend. You really set the comedy table nicely.

But like any weekend of comedy it ended on a down note because after the world cup USA game yesterday, which was great and with an objectively incredible ending, I tweeted “That was some George RR Martin shit!  #WorldCup””  It got 5 retweets and 7 favorites from my 1700 followers.  20 minutes later I saw a retweet, from someone I follow, of a tweet by some tech geek with 11K followers who tweeted 1 minute after me (he doesn’t follow me so I doubt he saw mine) that said “George RR Martin wrote that game” and it had over 3200 retweets.  And I shut off twitter and felt a renewed sense of hate for all things comedic.  Sorry Chappelle and Danbury, but hate is stronger than any joy you can provide, but thanks for trying. #Blessed

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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Road Comedy Recap: Mohegan Sun Casino – Always Bet…

This past weekend I was performing at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Wilkes-Barre, PA (normally I post my comedy recaps on Monday, but had to bump up this week’s Oscar recap podcast to Monday).  I always love doing casino gigs. Not because they are always great crowds, but because even the weirdest, crappiest (pun intended), in the middle of nowhere casino still has a standard level of accommodations that shame almost all other road comedy accommodations.  It is a sliding scale of trade offs that comedians often have to do: Hey this club is great (no room); hey this club is really good (semen stained comedy condo accommodations); hey this club sucks! (can’t wait to be back because you put me up in a Hampton Inn and I am desperate for money). But casinos are always a win, no matter how good or bad the crowds are (the crowds were solid at MSWB, so this is not a tease to some nightmare story from the weekend).  So here is the recap:

The Bus

I took the Martz Trailways bus to Wilkes-Barre.  Always a good sign when Greyhound tells a town, “No, we are either to scared to travel to your town or your town is too insignificant for Greyhound to service.”  The bus trip was uneventful, but the Martz Trailways bus depot in Wilkes-Barre was anything but uneventful.  It made the average crowd at NYC’s Port Authority Bus Terminal  look like the cast of Downton Abbey.  It looked like the people from The Hills Have Eyes had had an orgy of unprotected sex a few decades ago with the zombies from The Walking Dead.  The kind of sad that makes you feel sorry for some of the people if you were not also simultaneously frightened.

The Casino

The casino was really really nice (other than the stream of tobacco entering my lungs).  All the accommodations were great, the buffet was delicious (though I did flaunt my comedy wealth by eating at Johnny Rockets one night), but rather than tell you here are some pics of some of the highlights:

My TV at the Mohegan Sun heard I was on my way.

 

No more paper signs for Mohegan Sun! Now room service can ignore an electronic do not disturb signal.

 

The diner next to the casino was delicious. And made for people 6'3" and shorter.

 

When you sell 2 CDs the night before what else do you do besides spend that money immediately on room service breakfast?

The Shows

The first show on Friday was solid. Sold zero CDs, but delivered at least 40 firm handshakes after the show.  I was still feeling the effects of a cold and was a little lower energy than normal, but I still, like any veteran entertainer, blame the crowd for me not selling well.  Crowd was good though.  The second show (Saturday) though was a full house (450 versus show #1’s 150) and was great.  Other than the woman who kept muttering possible hate speech about President Obama before I did my impression they were a great crowd, as evidenced by the two CDs I sold after the show. That is an increase of INFINITE percent over the zero I sold on show 1.  Then I was paid cash by the club and managed to walk by all the tables without losing any of the money before leaving the casino the next morning. #Hero

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 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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Road Comedy Recap – Syracuse, Greyhound and an Epilogue…

This weekend I was in Syracuse, NY performing at Wise Guys Comedy Club (actually, the club recently moved from Syracuse to a sleepy, store-less, almost organic life-less VILLAGE (not a big fancy place like a town) called Camillus.  I was performing Friday and Saturday nights.   It is worth noting that this was my first time performing at this venue since the New Year’s Eve roided up MMA massacre that occurred after the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2013 (read the full recap HERE).  The disturbing epilogue to that story is that the victim was convinced not to press charges by his wife who was/is friends with K-FedRoid’s girlfriend.  So good luck to the men and women of Syracuse knowing that that dude is free in your city.

But before I heard that bit of disturbing news I was taking Greyhound round trip for the gig.  Because it was a holiday weekend Amtrak was not allowing customers to use points for travel and jacked up their rates.  So instead it was too Greyhound, or as I call it, the Anti Olympics (because on every bus it looks like every nationality has sent their worst representative).  And I must take back some of the bad words I have said about Greyhound. Sure there was a flaming gay guy who shuffled in his Ugg boots to cut me on line and a wanna be tough guy rapping vulgar lyrics while sitting right behind two old ladies, but the bus was 20 minutes early to Syracuse AND was already a faster scheduled trip to Syracuse than the train and less than half the cost.

When I arrived I was driven to the Green Gate Inn, which as you can tell from the thumbnail picture above appears to be the site of several horror films.  It was a pleasant enough space, though I did not fully fit on the bed and the nearest Starbucks (a good sign of civilization in 2014 America) was over four miles away (the nearest IHOP was 14+ miles away I believe).  The Green Gate is actually a local pub where it appears Syracuse Basketball fans that were around when James Naismith invented basketball hang out.  My room was located above the pub.

The shows were both great. Sold several CDs and no official complaints were logged as far as I know.  And as a bonus, no roided up MMA wannabes showed up to beat up mild-mannered sweater wearing husbands.  But after Saturday’s show it was time to get on the 115 am Greyhound.  I decided better to be home as early as possible than get a fitful six hours sleep in a bed made for a smaller person.  And if you think Asian women are crafty at snatching up seats on the New York City Subway no matter what rule of civility they must ignore, you should see them work on the 115 am Greyhound from Syracuse to NYC!  As I got on the Greyhound (note to Greyhoud – leather seats, plus full of people equals no need to have the heat on full blast) I noticed no less than half a dozen tiny Asian women with face masks on (seriously, cut the sh*t Asians – Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets  was less narcissistic and delusional in his approach to personal health than Asian women) sleeping (or pretending to sleep) taking up both seats. One Asian – rude. Two Asian women – coincidence.  Three?  Trend. Six on the same bus?  A fu*king epidemic.  As a large person, the Asian woman is my ideal  bus seat companion because they rarely use their entire bus seat.

So all in all it was a productive weekend of comedy and Greyhound buses earned some points in my book. But their customers are still the Anti-Olympics.

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!