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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!

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Road Comedy Recap: Philadelphia and the Bull Durham of…

Last week was a fantastic week for me as I got to go back to one of the best clubs in the country, Helium in Philadelphia.  I was the middle act for headliner Bob Marley, but rather than relay this in a series of anecdotes I will make an easily digestible list of all the things that occurred during the 4 days of shows I had in Philadelphia.  But before you do, don’t forget to check out and share my new web series COMEDY ACADEMY.  And be sure to check out my podcast (the link is below) on Stitcher.  I climbed all the way to #73 on their comedy podcast lists (out of thousands I think) and have a little flame next to my podcast to indicate that either I am scorching up the list or that Stitcher thinks I am gay. Either way, check both those things out, but for now enjoy my list of stuff from Philadelphia:

 

  • 40 – The number of CDs I brought to sell
  • 30 – The number of Girl Scout Cookies I ate in two nights – 1 box of Samoas pre show Friday and Saturday
  • 28 – The number of CDs I sold
  • 26 – The awkward number of seconds a woman pressed her breasts against me posing for a picture while her boyfriend figured out the camera on the camera phone.
  • 10 – The amount of dollars I spent on a ticket to see Frozen, Disney’s new animated movie., on Saturday afternoon.
  • 9 – The number of women kicked out from shows for heckling (in two groups over two shows) or talking loudly during sets.
  • 8 – Number of CDs I think I missed out on selling after Friday’s early show because the club owner’s daughter was selling the aforementioned Girl Scout Cookies, giving audience members a tough choice on where to spend post show dollars: cute little girl selling delicious cookies, or desperate giant selling CDS/future coasters. I lost.
  • 7 – The number of times I thought headliner Bob Marley might be a yet-to-written Stephen King villain known as The Comedian.  He is from Maine, wealthy and super nice.  Stephen King knows where the bodies are buried.
  • 6 – The total number of train rides I took to and from Philly to NYC throughout the four days. Had to commute Wednesday and Thursday.
  • 5 – The number of people who asked me if my Dad was really Haitian.
  • 4 – The number of people who paused awkwardly when I replied yes.
  • 2.3 – The number of miles I walked home to my hotel at 1 am on Friday and Saturday.
  • 2 – The number of fans I have in Philadelphia who showed up (that I know). Tina and Tameka.  Much appreciated.
  • 1 – The number of fans who walked up to me after a show and said, “Dude, you are the best opener I have ever seen.”  You can now call me the Bull Durham of comedy.

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

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Comedy Road Recap: Killing Buffalo, Losing a Camera and…

This past weekend I was in Buffalo at the new Helium Comedy Club (an offshoot of the one in Philadelphia and a great club – best run chain in America – great staff, great crowds, great management – and I am not just saying that because I am having trouble getting booked for Improvs and Funny Bones – I mean it).  I was featuring (middle act) for Steve O, who rose to huge fame on the MTV show Jackass, and was the reason I was warned by my mother to “be careful” after she read his Wikipedia page.   The first step of the trip was getting on the 715am train to Buffalo.  A manageable 8 hour train ride is all the stood between me and the land of tatonka.  The ride actually took just over 9 hours because Amtrak’s motto with Buffalo is “do you really give a sh*t when you get there?”

DAY 1 – Jeremy Renner Jr. and the Loss of a Camera

The first show went great.  Had a great set, sold almost $100 worth of CDs after the show and was invited to get a beer with a couple.  He was a dead ringer for Jeremy Renner and promised to text me a picture of the three of us to prove it.  Well he didn’t.  After the show Renner Jr. and his lady bought me a couple of beers and then wanted me to join them at a cool bar that was “two blocks from my hotel.”  I said to myself, isn’t this what fan outreach is all about – and they are buying the drinks?  So I went with my video camera into Renner’s BMW.  Now BMW’s are commonly known as the car of douches and this young man not only drove one, but may have been a dealer of them (he worked at a car dealer, but I did not find out what make – but I assume your drive what you deal), but he was a nice guy and generous with the beer so I dismissed my pre-conceived notions.  However, we ended up driving 2 MILES (not blocks) from my hotel to go to Thirsty Buffalo, a local pub.

The atmosphere was nice enough, but being fatigued from my 5 am wake up I left Renner Jr and his lady with camera in hand thirty minutes later and got into the cab waiting outside the bar.  Enter Jerry, the cab driver.

Jerry drove me back to the hotel, and in the 8 minute ride he shared with me that a multiple shooting incident had occurred at my hotel years ago (“Now I’m not prejudiced, but the blacks fight with guns, not fists, so it’s always more violent” – Jerry) and that his wife has serious health issues and is a hot Hooters waitress 20 years his junior (I believe her waitress name is Daddy Issues). Now we arrived at my hotel, but Jerry had about 4 more minutes of personal tragedy to share with me. So I sat until he was done. I gave him a pat on the shoulder and wished him good luck.  And forgot my camera.  $300 camera.

About 10 seconds into the hotel lobby I said “shit!” and ran outside, but Jerry was already gone.  The hotel staff was nice enough to drive me back to the bar where I asked the bouncer to keep his eye out for van cab drivers, in case Jerry went back to pick up more fares.  The dispatch of the cab company (Liberty Cab) refused to contact drivers, because his pick up of me was an off the books ride, so clearly she wanted to avoid creating any sort of acknowledgment or agency that could create a legal liability.  So I made almost $200 for the night and then lost a $300 camera.   Just another sign from above that the comedy house always wins.  So Jerry, if you are out there, enjoy the camera and yes, that is my kick ass set from Helium you are watching/deleting.  And I also partly blame Jeremy Renner Jr. Damn you and your BMW-selling charm/lies and generosity with beer.

Day 2 –  8 Miles for a Movie & Get Your Fu*king Shinebox

On day two of my journey I walked 4.1 miles each way to see Ride Along – here is the review that I filmed on location:

The 8.2 miles round trip was just enough to burn off my anger for losing the camera, but night two would be enough to generate more heat.  After show 1 of 2, the headliner asked me to leave my merch and handshakes with fans to put on his background music for merchandise sales. I did. Then when it was the wrong CD he yelled at me that “I had to change it.”  Then I left again, with a look on my face that worried a few patrons, but when it was not changed fast enough he stormed past me.  Later, when his mood was settled, he asked me, nicely, to get another box of his merchandise from behind the bar.  This is sort of the equivalent of when Billy Bats told Joe Pesci in Goodfellas to go get his “fu*king shinebox.”   Oh well, it was all water under the bridge, similar to my business cards which were knocked off the table by one of the headliner’s fans.  But don’t worry there is a happy ending – I picked up all the cards later myself.   I don’t even think the headliner knew what he was asking was disrespectful.  When you enter the business as a celebrity headliner the show is about making your fans happy and facilitating revenue.  Other considerations are secondary concerns at best.  Having no less than a dozen potential fans give me awkward looks as I was being quasi-bossed around like I was an assistant and not a comedian myself was rather degrading.  Which then caused me to scream “IM THE BEST FEATURE IN THIS LEAGUE!” a full two days before Richard Sherman would rip off my style.

NOW GO AND GET MY FU*KIN' MERCH BOX!

Day 3 – 6 miles in the Snow, Great Shows & Waiting to Be Murdered at Amtrak

The next day, having pushed a lot of CDs after show 2 of 2 the night before (and after I got my shinebox), found me in a better mood.  However I was starving, it was snowing pretty well and I was 3 miles from Panera Bread.  So I put on my Timberland boots and slogged three miles each way for coffee, bagel and salad (and cookie).  Let me tell you, walking in snow for a total of 6 miles is great exercise.  All that tension trying to balance and trudge simultaneously really gives you a great workout.  However, it would have helped if hotel staff had told me there were a dozen places to eat a half a mile away.  However, in America, anything not across the street = “a drive away/not close.” So I ended up walking to Panera Bread three miles away in the snow, when a Starbucks, Subway, and Mexican restaurant were half a mile away in another direction.  Anger restored.

The shows that night were great (5 of 5) and after leaving home with 40 CDs I left the club with only 8 remaining.  The crowds were great, the staff was great, and the experience was an overall plus.  I only got 3 hours sleep the last night however because I had to catch an early train.  When I arrived at the station Sunday morning it turned out it is only open on weekdays.  That struck me as odd because, where are patrons supposed to stay while waiting for the train?  The answer, from fat America, is “in your car with the heat on dummy,” which is what every other person did  while I stood on the platform for 35 minutes in 17 degree weather.  All in all a great trip, but between the camera and the frozen platform experience just enough for me to question my further commitment to the humor business.   I have a gig at a law school this Thursday. Pays well.  Snowstorm headed towards the school the day before I arrive.  And the dance continues…

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

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Comedy Road Recap: The Land of Old White Men…

This weekend was a whirlwind of comedy activity.  The final two days of Comedy Academy filming were Friday and Saturday and yielded some of the funniest and ballsiest stuff I have ever been a part of.  It will be posted to my YouTube channel on January 27th (still deciding whether to go with a Netflix’style dump of all 5 episodes at once or to release an episode a day from January 27th-January 31st), so subscribe to the channel now and spread the word if you dig my stuff.

But this week represented a bit of a throwback for me – I was actually performing comedy… on the road… for money!  I was opening at a restaurant, The Silo, in Greene, NY (about 200 miles north of NYC) for my buddy Tony Deyo on Saturday night. It was the kind of drive where you expect Scatman Crothers to be on the road with you headed to the Overlook Hotel.  Tony drives a Honda Civic, a solid, sturdy car for people under 6’0″ tall.  About two hours into the first drive I had to request an emergency stop because my left ass cheek was going numb from leaning slightly to that side with my knees up around my shoulders.

When we arrived at the venue we had plenty of time to eat the pre-show buffet, which was solid.  I managed to feel like I was eating healthy by convincing myself that four pieces of carrot cake constituted part of the Paleo diet.  The average age of the audience was Biblical and the average color was grayish-white, but I have had crowds like that before, so my mind was at east.  It was a two person show so after a brief intro by the restaurant owner I went up and did about 40 minutes, doing OK for my first gig of any significance (in length of time or importance) in a couple of months.  The only hiccup, which was mostly in my head, was the fact that one of my first bits is about me having a difficult encounter on a flight with a particularly large woman sitting next to me (let me put it this way – our average weight was equal to that of a guard and a tackle on an NFL team, and I was the light one).  Observing half the crowd to be of normal weight I saw laughs and felt good about the joke and then I just turned half way to see the table nearest the stage featured three woman who were easily 280+.  They were smiling and I poke fun at my own weight problems in the joke, but it still felt a little weird.  But then I made sure to look at their table at least 4 times during the rest of the joke, just to pretend like I was 100% unashamed of the joke (I was only actually 1-2% ashamed, but big chicks can smell even the slightest amount of fear, because it smells like chicken, and I did not want to let them know or feel how I really felt).

After the show I sold two CDs, mostly out of pity I think, but that is OK because pity dollars work in laundry machines as well (spoiler Sunday was my laundry day).  But the thing that startled me after the show was how many of these old white crusty, Jerry Sandusky looking dudes (just in stature in appearance and face) had massive, brick laying, bar fighting, phone book ripping hands.  One dude  I actually didn’t reach to shake his hand because I did not want to feel like a girl (my hands are by no means huge, but I can palm a basketball) and I could see from this guy’s hands that he might have lapped my hand in a hand shake.  All these dudes, short, tall, skinny, fat – as long as they were over 50 – had hands that could crush cantaloupes.  Tony and I just figured that places like Greene, NY must breed men of a certain heartiness, that like chopping trees down for firewood, strangling bears with their bare hands and fighting at bars just to keep warm at night and I guess those factors lead to the breeding or development of large hands.

We stopped at a McDonald’s on the way back and witnessed the weirdest fight of our lives as a man, who sort of reminded me of William H. Macy’s character in Fargo, demanding that he get an item that would not be available until  6am.  An employee from the next door quicki-mart stepped in and they went toe-to-toe in a punchless, folksy, aggressive conversation where each party threatened the other with calls to the police.  I tried to turn on my instagram app and film it, while screaming “WORLDSTAR,” but it didn’t work.

All in all, an exhausting, but fun trip and my wallet is now fat for at least the next 6 hours.

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

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Comedy Weekend Recap: 2 Gigs and The Red Wedding

Friday was the rare double dip for me – I was booked on a gig at Gotham Comedy Club at 7pm and then headlining the 1030 show at Jokers Wild in New Haven. The Gotham show went quite well… for the other comedians, but I closed it to such mixed response I was hoping a Daily Beast correspondent might be tweeting about it so I could vent some aggression after.  The crowd was not large and I got great response from the comedians and half the crowd, but I am still haunted by the face of the older woman rolling her eyes and shaking her head at me during numerous bits.  It was actually a very good lineup of people I have never seen do comedy, which means Vegas has the odds of all of them advancing past me in the business within 6 months. 

After the Gotham show, Danny took me and another comedian over 6’5″ named JP (seriously – height and initials – GET YOUR OWN GIMMICK!) into his two door car and we hauled ass to New Haven for the 1030 show. With about 70 pounds and a whole lot of anger advantage over JP I was granted shotgun.  The ride to New Haven turned out to be quite fortuitous because it turns out JP does an impression of Anthony Jeselnik that is so perfect that I have cast him (instead of me) in my November/December sketch “Comedy Academy” (I will still be portraying 4-5 comedians, but I know enough not to let JP’s impression go to waste – expect a Kickstarter/shameless campaign for this one). 

We arrived in New Haven and it turned out to be mostly my favorite demographic for a comedy audience – white chicks under 26 who are friends with one of the comedians on the lineup.  I did not go up until around 12:15 am, when about 20% of the crowd had walked or passed out, but I was very proud of the set I had.   It was a combo of using good material and taking time out of each bit every few minutes to verbally spar/flirt with a group of drunk women who would not allow the show to be about anyone but them for more than the length of a Beach Boys song.  It was one of those shows where I said to myself: “I am glad for all the good gigs and especially the bad gigs that allowed me after ten years to have a combination skill set to make this a fun show, even though I had to work harder than usual.  And why have I spend over ten years honing this skill set for half a day’s pay from a law firm?  What if I just run in front of traffic right now?”  Naturally I sold no CDs after the show, but I did get about 9 appreciative handshakes, which were heartwarming.  Danny, JP and I then headed to a 24-hour Wendy’s for a victory meal (and it was also a rest stop with showers available – I wanted to check them out just to see if I would see a Republican member of the House having a gay rendezvous and break the story for a nice finder’s fee, but alas I did not – just a bunch of truckers making tender love to each other).

But for all the comedy excitement that Friday contained, it was just the undercard for the weekend.  The main event was the wedding of John Moses, a great comedian and The Great Over 30 Hope (in boxing they are always looking for a great white hope, but in comedy circles, good comedians over thirty who have not gotten their shot are looking for a Great Over 30 Hope).  Here are the notable highlights:

  • As the bridesmaids entered to a string duo playing the theme from Game of Thrones, Moses began to tear up with a smile. As I tweeted (#MosesWedding) on Saturday, it was the wedding and comedy equivalent of Rocky opening a cut on Drago in Rocky IV (“The Red Headed Tough Guy is Crying!”). He also shed tears during the vows at which point I stood up during the ceremony and yelled “If he can change, then we can all change. Everyone can change (yes I have mixed the Rocky-Drago metaphor)!!!”
  • Picking out John’s most intimidating groomsman – easy call.  Given John’s great performance on my podcast, detailing many of the brawls he has been involved in, there was one groomsman who was clearly the Ty Domi (a famous hockey enforcer who played for John’s Toronto Maple Leafs I believe) of the group – a guy who looked about 6″0″, 230lbs of ass kicker.  The kind of receding hairline that looked like his hair was just slowly sneaking away to avoid his wrath.  Basically the guy looked like an angry Stanley Tucci on a protein and creatine diet.
  • I got a laugh during the best man’s speech.  The best man was giving a great, heartfelt speech about how John did not understand “why kids were beating him up because he just wanted to be their friends” as a kid.  I let out a huge laugh (once again listen to the podcast for context), which then got a nice echo of laughter from John and some of the crowd.  I then ran up to the best man, grabbed the mic and dramatically dropped it to signify that I was done.
  • Hearing John sing a not half bad “It’s not unusual” during karaoke, which led me to believe that his management is really trying to destroy any semblance of tough guy John to try and get him a sitcom as a triple threat in the Broadway sense, instead of the criminal justice sense.
  • Sitting at a table with John’s manager.  I resisted to stand on the table and scream “I’m the fu*king Louis CK impersonator!”  Instead I just introduced myself and within 20 minutes he left the wedding.  But comedian Owen Bowness, sitting next to me, did the right thing and told the wait staff that “he didn’t know if they were still there” so that extra pieces of cake would be left at their plates and subsequently buried in my stomach.
  • Getting a ride home from the aforementioned Owen Bowness, saving me two hours on NJ Transit.

All in all a fun weekend in and around comedy.  Time to get back to submitting resumes for day jobs.

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

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The Cleveland Recap and Salon Backlash

This weekend I was at the Cleveland Improv emceeing shows.  My math, which is probably good for the present bottom line and horrible for future earnings is, “Will this gig net me more than sitting on my ass this weekend?” If the answer is yes, then I usually take the gig.  I was supposed to be featuring at the Cleveland Improv since a little while back, but just after logging half a dozen emcee spots (as in weekends, not shows) I was told that the feature booking responsibility had been shifted the main Midwest outpost of the Funny Bone/Improv chains (just like the Mob in Casino had Kansas City as a critical control hub between the East Coast and Vegas, so too does a town in Ohio control the fate of many working comedians.  And instead of adding (and earning) a club to my roster of places I feature I effectively had to take one off and be content emceeing.

The shows were fun and I ended the weekend with a 5-1 record (the Cleveland Improv is a largely urban club and I would compare my experiences there to playing organized basketball – you only have fun at the end of the game if it turns out you won a/k/a won over the crowd – but every show feels like work.  This is not shooting around or pick up basketball – it is adversarial and it partly feels, especially as the emcee (the three shows I have featured at the Cleveland Improv have always been my best), like you have to break the will of the crowd to laugh at you.  And before this sounds too much like a slave master analogy, let me remind you at this time that my father is black.  At best I am a house slave chiding field slaves (now the featured pic makes some offensive sense).

On more fun notes, AKA the time spend off stage, I must say downtown Cleveland is beautiful.  This is not a joke.  I think my purpose in comedy is not to become a successful or even marginal comedian – perhaps this adventure has just allowed me to scout many American locations so I can choose a place to live and work when I hang up the microphone.  And I think I identified the exact location in Cleveland.  Near the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame (recap of that next paragraph – WOW) there is a Catholic Church, an Amtrak Station, a football stadium (OK – the Browns, but still), a beautiful, expansive lakefront view and all the municipal buildings, presumably where prosecutors who did not get into comedy go to work every day.  If Cleveland were willing to throw an IHOP and a Cheesecake Factory into the area I would gladly plunk myself down there and die of happiness and trans fats sometime in my early 40s.

Sunday I went to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.  Holy sh*t that place is even better than I remember.  If you like music at all or do not suck as a human you must go here.  You learn so much (Les Paul should have a movie made about him already if there isn’t) and the place is chock full of great music, interactive exhibits, memorabilia and more.  Right now there is a two story exhibit on the Rolling Stones and for me the highlight is still the (now 90 minute) montage film of all the Rock n Roll HOF inductees.  That place should be on everyone’s bucket list.  Most readers of this blog would not believe how much I was smiling while inside the museum, but my face hurt a little bit when I left for overusing muscles I never use.

So thanks Cleveland for having a very underrated city and I hope that rumors of a comeback and rejuvenation are not wrong.

In other, probably more significant news I was featured in a piece on the popular site Salon.com.  The article was the work of Daniel Berkowtiz (no relation to David) a Columbia journalism student who met with me over many months to write a 6500 word tour de force about a respected, but failing comedian in the age of social media (me in case you do not respect me).  One of the interesting things about my peers and I that often gets overlooked is that I am part of the last generation of comedians who really invested themselves in comedy right before YouTube and social media completely changed the game of stand up for better and worse.  The article captures that very well, but when Salon took the article they required it cut down to 2500 words (though I did appreciate Salon using a photo of me from before comedy took my jaw line).  The big loser in that was probably my mother who was interviewed for the article and who gets a lot of praise from me for her support and is one of the biggest reasons I feel guilty for potentially squandering a law degree/career to pursue a more selfish/self-centered career.  The biggest winner was probably my ex fiancée who was not spared in the original version for being a terrible presence in my life at the very point when my career may have been poised to take off.

But the article has driven new traffic to my work and of course most comedians are respectful, appreciative or even encouraging, but some “comedians” and many heroes in the Internet Commenter Community have come to trash me.  Part of the problem is the title of the article Salon chose “YouTube Is Killing Comedy” was overbroad, sensational and completely inaccurate when compared to the substance of the actual article.  It probably primed some readers (those with poor reading comprehension) to view it under a totally false framework.  The original title “The New Life of a Stand Up Comedian” was a better choice, but perhaps would not have generated as much traffic (ironic that an article about a comedian having to bend over backwards and devote efforts to other pursuits to satisfy Internet business models had to adjust to a title that was more sensational and inaccurate to drive Internet business).  But I enjoyed all the negative comments (cue Nas’ Hate Me Now, but with all the wealth references replaced by sarcasm).  People that still insist on defending Louis CK from an impression as if he is their child (and attack me because I am not famous – had the sketch been on SNL it would be exempt from scorn) or people trashing my comedy – one guy shot up my Ferguson set with no real ammo, but wrote with self-important authority so I guess I should heed his non-advice – these folks are the backbone of Internet comedy!

So on to Breaking Bad week.  This week I will record a new video – a Breaking Bad parody to promote my new album.  Looking forward to everyone telling me I don’t look like Walter White (I won’t be in costume – I’m playing myself – but I assume at least one comment will say “This was OK, but Bryan Cranston is a much better actor”).

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic or iTunes. New Every Tuesday!  This week’s episode will be all BREAKING BAD so subscribe or follow today to get it Tuesday.

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The Cleveland Show – 2013 Edition (plus the worst…

Dispatch from BWI.  Today I left NYC on a 3:00 am Amtrak to catch a 915 am flight from BWI to Cleveland (travel for free will make me do annoying things to myself, but I have Amtrak points to cover the train trip and I had enough points on Southwest to get to Cleveland for free round trip from BWI, but not from NYC.  But it is not all bad news.  Thanks to some good luck I will be staying in a nice hotel instead of the comedian condo.  Perhaps this is just luck, or perhaps my no-holds barred, bridge burning, career destroying blog tactics have gained me a measure of fear among bookers and managers (to paraphrase Walter White – I AM THE ONE WHO BLOGS)!  But probably just luck.

Either way, I am too tired to write much, but I have already experienced something funny, or at least memorable. Because the diner was closed (July 31st-August 1st – great timing) I had to eat breakfast at McDonald’s when I arrived through security.  There is no level of satire that could parody the experience of a 645 am trip to the BWI McDonalds.  I feel like the service style was one of such hostile apathy that it would make the most hardened fast food employees stop and take notice.  I know it is McDonald’s and the pay sucks, but to combine apathy with hostility takes some effort.  Saying “can I help whose next would you like to try the egg white surprise” in the form of one word, delivered in monotone and just repeating it with increasing volume so that some intimidated Midwestern couple in their 50s hop to attention takes a real dedication, as do the dozens of tattoos adorning the arms of the women of BWI McDonalds.  The best is when the food is ready they drop it off to a spot 3 feet from you and no matter how many people reach to be handed the food it was consistently placed just outside of the reach of the customer, yours truly included.  It felt like the whole staff were women who were deemed “too tough and nasty” to play Snoop on The Wire.  Oh well, time to get on the flight to Cleveland.

Ay - welcome to McDonalds, fu*k you want?

Review of 2 Guns tomorrow.  Shows all weekend starting tonight at the Cleveland Improv.

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

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San Antonio Recap – Week 1

A fun week is in the books in San Antonio, but it was not without its ups and downs.  The lineup consisted of a clean, Christian, 47 year old Mom of three headliner (the shows were billed as “clean” so I said no curses all week, though I did say “cockblock” in three of my seven sets), a 54 year old male father of three emcee who was getting back into the comedy game and a 34 year old comedic genius featuring.  It felt like Major League, with the emcee as Lou Brown, the headliner was Harris – the Christian pitcher at odds with Cerano, and myself as Rick Vaughn minus the invigorating entrance music or the groupies.  So the shows were an interesting mix – here are some other interesting tidbits related to the shows.

1. Clean comedy audiences do not buy merchandise like regular audiences.  Jews and Blacks – time to welcome a new group into the cheap stereotype fold – Evangelical comedy fans.  I sold a ton of CDs last time I was at this club (LOL Club), but this week it was like I was passing around a 3rd collection plate at Church.  I also lost one sale because of my parental guidance sticker on the album cover.  She asked me if the CD had “D’s” or “F’s”  and I said it has a few “F’s” but look out for my new alum this Fall which will have some “C’s”.

2. Attached women are devious at comedy clubs.  A lot of clubs have bars within their property, but not in the showroom.  I had a woman come up to me drunk at the Sunday show during the headliner’s set while I was sitting at the bar, which often happens, and say great set and then flirt a little bit and go back inside.  She then did the common thing in these circumstances – she went back in and emerged at the end of the show with her boyfriend or husband and said nothing as they left (e.g. “good show”, “you were funny,” “thanks for the quickie in the bathroom”) – nothing!  Comedy club attendees of the world – don’t trust your chicks if they take too long at the bathroom at the comedy club!  Though, I must admit this is still preferable for me to the chick that is inappropriately huggy (hand on chest of comedian versus a more neutral hand on arm or shoulder as an example) or flirty in front of their man after the show.  I often think, “Don’t get me mixed up in your husband’s future murder-suicide of you! I don’t want to be on his hit list when he realizes you are a skank!”

3. The manager of the club is a nice guy named Jeff.  Very pleasant to talk to and to work with.  One problem – he is a soft spoken British man and he has the worst hype game of all time.  When he gets the crowd pumped up for the emcee it sounds like a shy butler from Downton Abbey asking if anyone wants more tea.

4. A young woman gave me a weird look when I referenced The Godfather in my set – 2nd time in two weeks – now this was not to the joke, which was admittedly obscure – it was when I explained it to laughs and the chicks still looked at me like “How the fack would I know what the fack The Godfather is?”  I am not asking young women (and especially attractive women who in America are often so uninformed because the market of partners does not require them to know or think anything – still waiting to meet a hot woman under 35 with a subscription to a newspaper  – print or digital – I am not sure she exists any more) to quote The Godfather, but recognize that if I reference that movie I am referencing a cultural touchstone and not some obscure flick.  You don’t have to know quotes from Charles Dickens, but you should not look at me weirdly when I say Charles Dickens and go “Who???”

5. Last, but not least I did very well.  Here is a clean 30 minute set of mine from one of the shows if you are bored, have time or know anyone at Comedy Central:

Rounding out the usual road news I also saw three movies (for free MOM) this weekend so here are the quick reviews:

The Conjuring – excellent.  real throwback to well acted, occult terror of 1970s horror movies.

Pacific Rim – amazing effects – too much bad acting.  still worth the visuals.

RIPD – Ryan Reynolds is now down to his last 6 chances to succeed in Hollywood.  Funny Jeff Bridges, bad effects, lazy movie and the worst performance of Kevin Bacon’s career.

So now I have a big week ahead of me.  Here is a preview of what is to come in JLComedy world

  • The launch of Comedian Esquire – a new Facebook page, twitter account and section of my website dedicated to legal humor and booking law school gigs.  In case you did not know I quit Comedians at Law a while ago, so please do not associate me with them any longer.  You want funny humor with legal knowledge look no further than me.
  • Scared Straight: New Comedians Edition – the JLC video of the month goes up Tuesday – it is AWESOME
  • The Dog Yoga episode of the Righteous Prick Podcast goes up Tuesday also.  Coming off the big week of downloads for my Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman analysis I am back to debate and humor discussing and dissecting a woman who runs a successful dog yoga practice in Florida.  Another win for the state of Florida!
  • And before the end of the month my criminal law-comedy web series with Investigation Discovery “Dumb Criminals” launches.

And if you are one of my 10 fans in Texas or know someone near San Antonio, remind them that I am at the Rivercenter Comedy Club this week from Wednesday to Sunday.

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Comedy Recap: Early Wake-Ups, Soccer and Stand-Up in DC

This weekend I was in DC to emcee some shows for Sebastian Maniscalco, which meant, per my usual DC arrangements, rooming with my 5 year old nephew for the weekend.  He has been pretty cool about me cramping his bachelor lifestyle in the past and this weekend was no different.  Of course arriving at home at 1am each night and then waking up to a fully alert nephew at 615am each morning to discuss soccer and/or dinosaurs (my nephew’s two favorite topics, though showing him highlights of Vince Carter on YouTube may have given my nephew a new interest to supplant his Carmelo Anthony/JR Smith fan club membership) is not ideal, but so be it.  My younger nephew’s motto is “I do more before 9 am than my lazy, underachieving uncle does all day.”  My older nephew, who is up even earlier on a consistent basis, which is why the two ‘phews don’t share a room, has been described as Mel Kiper Jr. as having a “great motor.”  I feel like Shaq the Buick salesman trying to keep up with two Russell Westbrooks.

On Saturday I went to watch the younger nephew play soccer where he has been dominating (they instituted a rule, based on his dominance, that if you score two goals you then need to go to defense). However, I was meeting my brother at the game and I arrived before him, which was a real wake up call.  Like most adult males I have a hard time coming to grips that I am a grown up.  I am 33 years old, but it still feels like an insult when people call me “sir.”  My brain keeps telling me that I am just out of college and still a young buck, but the fatigue under my eyes and expanded waist line tell me I am a man.  But it is a true rude awakening when you arrive at a park by yourself and are watching a bunch of 5 year olds that you don’t know play soccer.  That is when it hits you, through a series of curious stares from parents, that you are in fact an adult man.  Thankfully my nephew arrived shortly thereafter and I stopped handing out Second Mile Charity fliers.

My nephew dropped a hat trick, including a coast-to-coast third goal after being placed on defense (I particularly liked it when he said “fu*k your rules losers” or that might have just been me yelling that).  I am now searching for whoever the youth soccer equivalent of Bela Karolyi is so I can get this kid to maximize his potential.  His initials are JLC and it is high time a JLC bring pride to our family, instead of shame.

But the main point of the visit to DC, other than to buy discounted cigarettes for my mother (I assume at some point Mayor Bloomberg is going to make me a poster child for a crackdown on people circumventing the NYC cigarette taxes), was to host shows at the DC Improv. I was opening for Sebastian Maniscalco.  It was a really fun week.  The crowds were great and I was really surprised by Sebastian.  I had watched a couple of clips on line before working with him, but in a way that really underscored how important the live show is to stand-up comedy, even though the live show is starting to become just part of a comedian’s package instead of the major selling point, Sebastian’s live show was fantastic in a way YouTube clips cannot capture.  One of my great aversions is when someone tells me that I need to develop my character.  I always want to say, “my character is that I am a funny person with good, original material.”  But watching Sebastian was cool because he has a definitive character on stage, but it works hand in hand with the material, rather than trumping it.  With the help of a buddy who came by and watched one of the Friday shows we determined that Sebastian was a combo of Boardwalk Empire’s Gyp Rosetti and Brian Regan.

So the comedy was great this week.  My sets went great, the feature, Francisco Ramos, did great, and Sebastian crushed each show.  Both guys were cool to chat with and it was nice to see crowds appreciating different sensibilities all on one show (but DC always has some of the best crowds in the country).  Made me feel happy to be doing live comedy.

Now the good news – my calendar is empty of road work until July 18th.  So do the right thing and get tickets to my CD recording in NYC on May 18th HERE.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic or iTunes

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Hipster Pancakes, Testicle Jokes & Jared from Subway –…

Last week I toured some of the South with members of Comedians at Law.  We never officially decided on a name for our Southern tour stops, but since we were visiting clubs in Nashville and Atlanta and Vanderbilt Law School I had thought that perhaps “Southern Places with Teeth Tour” would have been a solid choice.  I was closing the show at Zanies in Nashville on Wednesday, going up first after the emcee in Atlanta on Thursday and middling at Vanderbilt Law School on Friday.

Wednesday, after the smoothest flight I have ever been on, the three of us went to see Mama.  There were four of us in the theater.  Three comedians and a random guy who came into the theater and sat 4 seats away from me.  I know this pet peeve has been beaten into the ground, but seriously, why in a theater of 500+ seats would you have to sit within the top .5% seats away from me?  The movie had a good premise, was scary for about an hour and twenty minutes and then fell apart in the last twenty.  This is also known as JJ Abrams-ing something.

The show at Zanies was solid.  The green room was stocked with lots of delicious candies, at least before I arrived.  I ate so much candy my set list got diabetes.  The crowd was medium sized, both in quantity of people and waist-line measurements.  I had a very good set and sold a couple of CDs and a couple of “LiveANGRY” wristbands.  And the night ended with me getting a bed to myself in a two bed-three comedian situation (this was the case for two of the three nights, but when traveling with two Jews who have a combined weight of less than one massive gentile, getting the bed to yourself is a perk).

It should be noted that with two Jews and a man of (some) color driving around the South I thought “Mississippi Burning” would have been a decent name for our Southern Tour, but the other guys thought it too offensive.

The next day we headed to Atlanta for our gig at The Punchline.  We stopped in Chattanooga, TN for a late (1pm) breakfast and it was delicious.  Chattanooga, TN, as we would surmise from our two trips through the town, is basically the Williamsburg, Brooklyn of the South (they hate black people ironically).  In all seriousness it seems to be a growing town with a mix of Williamsburg and a generic college town.  The only disappointing thing about the place where we stopped, the Bluegrass Grill, was that they were out of biscuits.  We felt it was our obligation to eat some biscuits in the south and were denied.  That is like walking into a NYC steakhouse and being told they are out of rich, fat white men.

The Show at the Punchline went well, as far as I could tell.  But that is because I did my set, left to laughter and then went to IHOP on an immediate solo mission.  I was starving and the other two guys had already made their IHOP hatred known, so I knew a post-show trip was unlikely. I sat down in IHOP and ordered my usual (milkshake, sausages, pancakes and an extra large casket).  The food came and I ate happily until, towards the end of my meal, the waitress asked me something that only one other human had ever asked me:

“One of the guys wants to know if you are the guy from Subway?”

You know it is a bad comparison when someone asks if you are the guy from Subway and you hope he or she means a homeless guy from NY.

Sadly they did not mean Justin Tuck or Michael Phelps.  This mystery person meant Jared.  Fu*king Jared.  One other person has ever come up with that comparison.  There are certain factors that contribute to these rare instances:

  • I have to be wearing my glasses.
  • I have to have grown out my hair – no buzz cut
  • The person who makes this observation is incredibly stupid.
  • The person who makes this observation has nothing to live for.

So for only the second time in my life all four of these factors must have been satisfied.  So after two good shows in the South (which is now my personal record for most good consecutive shows in the South) I was immediately put in check by IHOP.  It is not enough that they kill me physically with a heart disease-diabetes 1-2 punch, but now they have brought the fight to my emotional doorstep.

But Atlanta was not quite done with their punishment.  I sold a couple of wristbands after the show, no CDs, but got a piece of incredible advice from a patron:

Patron: That was a really great set.  I  mean really great.

Me: Thanks so much. Glad you Enjoyed.

Patron: But if I can suggest one thing…

Me (internally): Fu*k.

Patron: When you do the Lance Armstrong thing, say “He didn’t have the ball…” you know… because he has one testicle.

Me: Ohhh, hahaha, ok ok.

My eyes: I will fu*king end you.

He liked my set a lot, but thought I could have used a little bit more nuance with an original take on Lance Armstrong’s one testicle.  Comedy rules!!!

The next day we left back for Nashville to perform at Vanderbilt Law School.  We stopped back in Chattanooga for lunch and went to another web-recommended spot called Aretha Frankenstein’s.  We were greeted by a short Indian woman in a knit hat and thick black glasses, a red-headed waitress with a short haircut and several neck tattoos and a cashier with a beard big enough to book him two Comedy Central specials.  The food was delicious, the biscuits (we got them!) were large and tasty and the food only took 50 minutes to prepare.    They literally took up our entire time difference in the Atlanta-Nashville time zone change with their hipster pancake tardiness.

She is a wool cap away from serving me pancakes in Chattanooga, TN.

The Vanderbilt Law show was awesome.  I have destroyed in my life, but this may have been a top ten performance by me.  And it was a good thing too, because just before the show I overheard a law student say (not recognizing me from my poster on campus), “This better be funny.” Right, because you are drinking a free beer at a comedy show that you have paid zero dollars for at your law school on a Friday evening, so if anyone is entitled to be demanding of excellence it is you.  I started my set by reminding the students that I went to a higher ranked law school and I now tell jokes and wear $50 New Balance sneakers so they should not feel too hopeful.  The show was really great though and I sold some more CDs afterwards.

And then I went back to the hotel to watch Bill Maher on HBO, to find out that that the La Quinta Inn we were staying at gets only Showtime.  That is like walking into a restaurant to find out they only serve Hunt’s Ketchup.  Other than sharing one hotel room with two other men, including one with IBS, this was the low point.  But like any comedy trip, no matter how good it always ends badly.  Either you are saying goodbye to a nice club, or being called a homely sandwich spokesman or someone is trying to insert hackery into your joke or you just sit on a bed watching Fox News for laughs because Bill Maher is not available.  But we made money, we made people laugh and did not get murdered and that is what I call a successful trip through the South.